The SIPS Soil and Crop Sciences Section recognized four outstanding members for the 2017 McDonald Musgrave awards. These awards are the highest honors bestowed by the Section, in honor of former professors McDonald and Musgrave. Recipients were Jeff Melkonian, Senior Research Associate, Kirsten Kurtz, technician and lab manager in the Soil Health Lab, Akio Enders, technician in the
Lehmann Lab, and Angela Possinger, PhD candidate. The awards were presented at a ceremony December 2017 by SCS Chair, Professor Tim Setter.
Jeff Melkonian is recognized for his thorough and visionary role in the modeling that underlies the Adapt-N tool. Jeff also works on climate change research and helps on projects of several others. Recently, he organized the SCS seminar series; and he currently represents SCS on the CALS Faculty Senate. He also has volunteered his time as an Associate Editor for the journal Crop Science, for which he received a Citation of Excellence from the Crop Science Society of America.
Kirsten Kurtz is technician and manager of the Soil Health Lab, where she is recognized for her enthusiasm for soil health and new laboratory methods. She co-authored the lab’s Comprehensive Soil Health Manual and rewrote several of the lab’s protocols. She is recognized for her artistic creativity as she designed the soil health logo, outreach publications, and this year she organized the Cornell entry in the United Nations FAO global soil painting competition for World Soil Day on December 5th, 2017.
Akio Enders is recognized for his superb technical service to the Lehmann Lab as well as to anyone else who needs his expertise for lab equipment repair, design, and innovation. As stated by a PhD candidate in the lab, “He turns vague impossible experimental ideas into actual data points.” His sense of humor, productivity and dedication are valued by all.
Angela Possinger won the graduate student McDonald Musgrave award. In addition to her academics, she is recognized for the time and energy she has contributed advocating for graduate needs and fostering community within the SCS Section. Angela is currently the president of the SCS-Graduate Student Association where her leadership, hard work, and warm enthusiasm have fostered many of the graduate activities within our section. In teaching, she strives to make changes for the benefit the students and she is involved in a number of off-campus and outreach projects to give students an appreciation for the importance of soil.