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Soil Science Graduate Students

Kaushik Adhikari standing in a hallway.

Kaushik Adhikari

Degree sought: Ph.D. in Soil Science
kaushik.adhikari@wsu.edu
Advisor: Dr. Markus Flury

I came from a small country Nepal where more than 80% of populations involve in farming. Growing up in an agricultural suburb motivated me to pursue further study in the Agriculture field. I completed an undergraduate study in Bachelor of Science in agriculture from Tribhuvan University, Nepal. After working as an instructor for one and a half years in Nepal, I joined University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff as a graduate research assistant for a master’s study. My master’s research was focused on the fate and effects of nanoparticles in soil. Recently, I have been appointed as a research assistant at Washington State University to pursue a Doctor of Philosophy in Soil Science. I will be working under the supervision of Dr. Markus Flury during Ph.D. My potential research will be based on fate and transport of micro- and nano plastics in terrestrial systems including biosolids, soils and air.


 

Madeline Desjardins

Degree sought: Ph.D. in Soil Science
madeline.desjardins@wsu.edu
Advisor: Dr. Deirdre Griffin


 

Patrick Freeze leaning up against straw

Patrick Freeze

Degree sought: Ph.D. in Soil Science
patrick.freeze@wsu.edu
Advisor: Dr. James Harsh

I come from a small farming community nested in the “hill country” region of central Texas, but completed my undergraduate education in Reno, NV.  At the University of Nevada, I graduated with a B.S. in environmental science, and focused on soil science, environmental chemistry, biofuels synthesis/production, environmental policy and regulations, and community outreach.  After working with indigenous groups impacted by environmental degradation through large-scale mining, in both Nevada and western Africa, I ultimately decided soil science and resource conservation were the logical foundations to center my studies on for my Ph.D.As part of the Low Impact Development research program at WSU, my research will focus on the use of iron-gluconate amended compost and its ability to mitigate the impacts of agricultural land runoff through the adsorption of xenobiotics, excess nutrients, and arsenic, with the main focus being the speciation, fate, and transport of arsenic.

Education Background: B.S. (Environmental Sciences) – University of Nevada, Minor: Analytical Chemistry


 

Sarah Hallyburton

Degree sought: M.S.. in Soil Science
sarah.hallyburton@wsu.edu
Advisor: Dr. Stephen VanVleet and Dr. Lynne Carpenter-Boggs


 

Gagandeep Kaur

Degree sought: Ph.D. in Soil Science
gagandeep.kaur1@wsu.edu
Advisor: Dr. Clark Neely

 


 

Teagan Kleman standing in front of a tree.

Teagan Kleman

Degree sought: Ph.D. in Soil Science
teagan.kleman@wsu.edu
Advisor: Dr. Markus Flury

I received my Bachelor of Science in Geology with a minor in Environmental Analysis & Policy from the University of Cincinnati. Starting January 2023, I am working with Dr. Markus Flury in the Department of Crop & Soil Sciences on a NSF project to characterize the fate of micro- and nanoplastics in terrestrial systems. Graduate school at WSU is a dream opportunity, where I can make a real difference in subsurface environmental research while gaining hands-on experience working with the Pacific Northwest National Lab. When I’m not in class or researching, I enjoy hiking with my dog, traveling, exploring new places with friends, and cooking.

Area of research interest:  fate of micro- and nanoplastics in terrestrial system

Educational background: Bachelor of Science in Geology with a minor in Environmental Analysis & Policy from the University of Cincinnati


 

Justin Maltry standing in front of trees.

Justin Maltry

Degree sought: M.S. in Soil Science
justin.maltry@wsu.edu
Advisor: Dr. Doug Collins

Justin’s love of plants led to his enthusiasm for soil. After volunteering as a Native Plant Steward and for various urban farming programs and organizations in the Seattle area, he worked in compost and resource conservation for 5 years.

Those experiences convinced him to continue his studies of soil science at WSU, where he has been researching cover crops’ ability to remediate soil compaction under Dr. Doug Collins since August of 2020. He is excited to be able to contribute to building soil health in Washington.

Areas of research interest:  Cover crops and soil compaction

Educational background:  B.A. Anthropology; University of Cincinnati. Certificate of Completion, Sustainable Agriculture Education program; Seattle Central College


 

Paul Martinez standing in front of a tree.

Paul Martinez

Degree sought: Ph.D. in Soil Science
paul.martinez1@wsu.edu
Advisor: Gabriel LaHue

I received my BS in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems and MS in Horticulture and Agronomy from UC Davis. As an undergraduate, I was interested in learning about the agricultural impacts on the environment and ways to mitigate those impacts without decreasing crop yields. During my masters, I wanted to study the impact soil hypoxic conditions has on fine roots for tree crops. I will be joining WSU and working with Dr. Gabriel LaHue this fall 2022 studying the impacts of soil health practices on physical and chemical properties of soils and their influence on grain quality. I very much enjoy learning about soils and crop production and hope to become an extension agent that helps farmers maintain crop yields and adapt to changing environmental conditions. When I am not doing research or schoolwork, I like to play guitar, play soccer, or go for hikes.


 

Michael Dylan Mullins

Degree sought: M.S. in Soil Science
michael.mullins@wsu.edu
Advisor: Dr. Haly Neely


 

Simon Nelson

Degree sought: M.S. in Soil Science
simon.nelson@wsu.edu
Advisor: Dr. Haly Neely


 

Rinkal Saini

Degree sought: M.S. in Soil Science
rinkal.saini@wsu.edu
Advisor: Dr. Lynne Carpenter-Boggs


 

Diana Salguero

Degree sought: Ph.D. in Soil Science
diana.salguero@wsu.edu
Advisor: Dr. Haly Neely


 

Kwabena Sarpong

Degree sought: Ph.D. in Soil Science
kwabena.sarpong@wsu.edu
Advisor: Dr. Deirdre Griffin-LaHue


 

Kat Smith in a field holding carrots.

Katherine Smith

Degree sought: Ph.D. in Soil Science
katherine.l.smith@wsu.edu
Advisor: Dr. Dave Huggins and Dr. John Reganold (Co-Chairs)

Katherine Smith is a graduate student in the Soil Science department at Washington State University. She grew up in the Chicago suburbs and attended Grinnell College in Grinnell, IA, where her research focused on methylmercury bioaccumulation in groundwater-fed wetlands. After graduating in May 2018 with a B.A. in Biology, she discovered her interest in sustainable agriculture while working on organic farms in Hawai’i. After interviewing from the islands, Katherine joined WSU and the USDA Northwest Sustainable Agroecosystems Research Unit in Pullman, WA in June 2020 to pursue her PhD. Her current research focuses on assessing the impact of alternative cropping systems on soil health, crop yield and quality, and economic sustainability. In the future, Katherine hopes to contribute to shifting agriculture towards being regenerative while mitigating the burden of risk that is regularly assumed by growers.

 

Educational Background: B.A. Biology, Grinnell College


 

Harmony Varner.

Harmony (Varner) Stephens

Degree sought: M.S. in Soil Science
harmony.varner@wsu.edu
Advisor: Dr. Gabriel LaHue

Harmony graduated from WSU in May 2021 with a B.S. in Organic and Sustainable Agriculture, and immediately joined the NWREC as an M.S. student. Harmony’s work focuses on farmer-led experimentation with irrigation, with the goal of generating research results that are relevant to a farmer’s individual field and that, in aggregate, can help us make better informed recommendations.


 

Natalie Sturm holding out soil.

Natalie Sturm

Degree sought: Ph.D. in Soil Science
natalie.sturm@wsu.edu
Advisor: Dr. Haly Neely

Even though I grew up in suburban Chicago, IL, I have long been passionate about the potential for agricultural systems to help solve some of the world’s most pressing issues, such as climate change, loss of biodiversity and soil, and human health concerns.  I earned a B.S. in Agroecology from Montana State University, during which I gained an interest in no-till farming and diverse crop rotations.  To further pursue that interest, I completed an M.S. from South Dakota State University by quantifying differences in soil quality properties between long-term no-till crop rotations at Dakota Lakes Research Farm.  I joined Dr. Haly Neely’s lab in the summer of 2022 as a Ph.D. student to investigate no-till and cropping systems solutions to soil compaction in the Palouse.  In the future, I hope to operate a farm focused on sustainable crop and livestock production, cropping systems research, and agricultural outreach and education.

Educational background:  B.S. in Agroecology from Montana State University (2020) and M.S. in Plant Science (agronomy/soil science focus) from South Dakota State University (2022)


 

Natalie Waters

Degree sought: M.S. in Soil Science
natalie.waters@wsu.edu
Advisor: Dr. Haiying Tao and Dr. Pete Jacoby


 

Claire Yost holding a dog with a barn in the background.

Claire Yost

Degree Sought:  M.S. in Soil Science
claire.yost@wsu.edu
Advisor:  Dr. Gabriel LaHue

I’ve worked on vegetable row cropping, fruit, and grain farms since 2011. These experiences have made me passionate about the connections between plant, land, and community health. I received a Biology BS from Humboldt State University with an emphasis in ecology and botany. I will be joining Dr. Gabriel LaHue in Fall 2022 researching deficit irrigation in cider apples. My goal is to find more efficient and ecological ways to produce food through soil health.


 

Hatem Younes

Degree sought: Ph.D. in Soil Science
hatem.younes@wsu.edu
Advisor: Dr. Lynne Carpenter-Boggs