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Soil Science Society of America
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Contact: Susan V. Fisk, Public Relations Director, 608-273-8091,

Graduate and postdoctoral students present papers at World Congress of Soil Science

Generous funding from National Science Foundation and Sponsorship by Soil Science Society of America and the U. S. Committee for Soil Science helps students get to Jeju, South Korea

June 20, 2014--The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) and U.S. Committee for Soil Science (USNC/SS), a committee of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) sent graduate students and postdoctoral researchers at U.S. institutions to the 20th World Congress of Soil Science (WCSS) in Jeju, South Korea, June 8-13, 2014. Funding was generously provided by the National Science Foundation. The fellowship program is named in honor of the USNC/SS's founding chair and SSSA past-president, Wilford R. Gardner.

Front row: Jason Fischel, Saerom Park, An-Min Wu, Youngeong Choi, Amanda Joy Ashworth. Back Row:Matthew Fischel, Jason Ackerson, Joseph Martin, Joshua LeMonte, Davide Ciceri, Eduardo Chavez.

“The World Congress of Soil Science attracted 2,000 scientists from all over the world to present their latest research findings,” says Don Sparks, S. Hallock du Pont Chair at the University of Delaware. “It was important to send our top graduate students because the presentations often define the future of scientific and technological advancements, and the interaction that occurs at the meeting helps to promote close collaborations and enhance important networking.” Sparks was the leader in coordinating the Fellowship program in 2014.

“Attending WCSS was a great chance to learn the state‑of‑the art as well as challenges and opportunities in the soil sciences,” says Davide Ciceri, a postdoctoral associate at MIT. “I am currently looking to develop my own research area, and this was a tremendous opportunity. The reason I applied for the Fellowship was my desire to meet and network with the global community of soil scientists.”

“I learned the importance of soils for human peace, food security, and ecosystem welfare at this critical era,” says An-Min Wu, a graduate student at University of Minnesota. “I connected with young soil scientists from Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, Korea, Kenya, and more.”

“This meeting also seemed to help unify soil scientists globally and help us move forward as a discipline,” says Amanda Joy Ashworth, University of Tennessee.

The fellowship program was named after the founding chair of the USNC/SS and renowned soil scientist, the late Wilford R. Gardner, a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Gardner was involved in international science throughout his career and was a strong supporter of the formation of the International Union of Soil Sciences. He was also a champion of involving younger scientists in the international arena. 

Students winning the travel grants were: Jason Fischel (University of Delaware), Saerom Park (Purdue), An-Min Wu (University of Minnesota), Youngeong Choi (Purdue), Amanda Joy Ashworth (University of Tennessee), Matthew Fischel (University of Delaware), Jason Ackerson (Texas A&M), Joseph Martin (Purdue), Joshua LeMonte (University of Delaware), Davide Ciceri (MIT), Eduardo Chavez (University of Florida).

The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) is a progressive, international scientific society that fosters the transfer of knowledge and practices to sustain global soils. Based in Madison, WI, SSSA is the professional home for 6,000+ members dedicated to advancing the field of soil science. It provides information about soils in relation to crop production, environmental quality, ecosystem sustainability, bioremediation, waste management, recycling, and wise land use.

SSSA supports its members by providing quality research-based publications, educational programs, certifications, and science policy initiatives via a Washington, DC, office. Founded in 1936, SSSA proudly celebrated its 75th Anniversary in 2011. For more information, visit or follow @SSSA_soils on Twitter.