Applications Now Open for WSSA Graduate Student Travel Scholarships

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The scholarships will fund a five-day educational experience hosted by weed scientists working in industry, government or university settings outside each student’s home region.

"This experience was one of the highlights of my master’s degree.” Jessica Quinn, a 2019 scholarship recipient

The Weed Science Society of America (WSSA) is now accepting applications for 2020 Travel Enrichment Experience scholarships that will be awarded this summer to five graduate students in weed science.

Each scholarship of up to $2,000 will fund a five-day educational experience hosted by weed scientists working in industry, government or university settings outside each student’s home region. One winner will be selected from each of WSSA’s five affiliated organizations – the Canadian, North Central, Northeastern, Southern and Western Weed Science Societies.

Applications are due by July 1. Entry instructions and a list of host opportunities that students can choose from can be downloaded from WSSA’s website. Winners will be notified by July 15. Each will have the opportunity to give a 10-minute presentation on their travel experience during the 2021 WSSA Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas.

Feedback on the travel scholarship program has been overwhelmingly positive, as illustrated by the experiences shared by several 2019 winners.

Kayla Eason, a Ph.D. student at the University of Georgia, used her scholarship to travel nearly 2,200 miles into the heart of Canadian agriculture. Her hosts were Steve Shirliffe, Ph.D., and Eric Johnson, Ph.D., at the University of Saskatchewan.

“I wanted to learn about the agricultural industry in Canada and see the multitude of crops not grown in my region of South Georgia,” she said. “During my visit, I spent time with a wide variety of people in a wide variety of disciplines. The management techniques and overall agronomic practices were incredible to learn and to see implemented in the field.”

Nick Steppig, a Ph.D. student at Purdue University and former president of WSSA’s graduate student organization, traveled to Idaho to spend the week with Marty Schraer, an R&D scientist with Syngenta. He hoped to broaden his exposure to weed science and to research in crops outside of his Midwestern “comfort zone.”

“Marty provided me with exposure to multidisciplinary research in potato, onion, pea, wheat, sugarbeet, hops, and even corn and soybean crops, just to name a few,” Steppig said. “The breadth of diversity in Idaho agriculture production was eye-opening and allowed me to realize the importance of adaptability and critical thinking for an industry-based field scientist.”

John Schramski, a master’s degree student at Michigan State University, visited with Carroll Moseley, Ph.D., a senior environmental stewardship and policy manager for Syngenta in North Carolina. Schramski said the experience offered him a much better understanding of the herbicide registration process.

“I learned about the wealth of data generated prior to submission of a label to the EPA and how the company goes above and beyond to promote stewardship of agricultural products,” he said. “I also learned more about sales and marketing, agronomic support and product reregistration.”

Jessica Quinn, a student in the master’s degree program at the University of Guelph, traveled to Montana State University to visit with Sharlene Sing, Ph.D., and Sarah Ward, Ph.D. She had the opportunity to learn firsthand about collaborative efforts to manage invasive weeds on federal and state-owned forest and rangelands using biological controls.

“Having a background primarily in chemical weed control, I was intrigued with biological control methods,” she said. “I learned about the years of research, extensive regulatory measures and strategic implementation involved. This experience was one of the highlights of my master’s degree.”

Entry Requirements
Applicants for the Travel Enrichment Experience must be current degree-seeking graduate students in good academic standing at an accredited college or university. They must be currently conducting or have recently completed weed science research, and they must be active members of WSSA.

Applicants will be evaluated based on the contributions of their research to the discipline of weed science and to the objectives of WSSA, as well as on their academic records, scholarly achievements and potential contributions to the future of weed science.

About the Weed Science Society of America
The Weed Science Society of America, a nonprofit scientific society, was founded in 1956 to encourage and promote the development of knowledge concerning weeds and their impact on the environment. The Society promotes research, education and extension outreach activities related to weeds, provides science-based information to the public and policy makers, fosters awareness of weeds and their impact on managed and natural ecosystems, and promotes cooperation among weed science organizations across the nation and around the world. For more information, visit http://www.wssa.net.

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Lee Van Wychen
WSSA
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