Graduate Program Fall Semester News

New graduate students

There are sixteen new graduate students in Ecosystem Science and Management this fall. Ten of the students are on campus, so you will very likely see them around our buildings, in classes and at seminar and other department events. Six students are in the distance program, but you may run into them when they happen to be on campus. Please extend a warm welcome to each of these new graduate students.

Master of Natural Resource Development—distance program
Matthew Jackson—Dr. Rogers
Danny Lynch—Dr. Knight
Abigail Martin—Dr. Knight
Jane McFarland—Dr. Kreuter
Alexander Smith—Dr. Conner
Geoffrey Tarbox—Dr. Rogers

Master of Natural Resource Development—on campus
Tyler Adams—Dr. Rogers
Darcy Moreland—Dr. Boutton

Tanner Garth—Dr. Kreuter
Audra Hinson—Dr. Feagin
Thomas Huff—Dr. Feagin
Deseri Nally—Dr. Smeins

Ryan Mushinski—Dr. Boutton
Xiangmin Sun—Dr. Wilcox
Tan Zhou—Dr. Srini
Yong Zhou—Dr. Boutton

Departmental awards for incoming students

Each of our four new doctoral students received an ESSM departmental award to support their graduate programs. Ryan Mushinski holds the McMillan-Ward Memorial Graduate Fellowship, Xiangmin Sun and Yong Zhou both have the Sid Kyle Graduate Merit Assistantship, and Tan Zhou holds the Dishman-Lucas Endowed Graduate Assistantship. In addition to the departmental awards, these four students also received Excellence Fellowships from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Congratulations Ryan, Tan, Xiangmin and Yong!

The department has given the McMillan-Ward and Dishman-Lucas fellowships over many years. However, the Sid Kyle Graduate Merit Assistantship is newly established and was awarded for the first time in 2013. All three awards are set up as recruiting tools, available to highly qualified incoming doctoral students—those with an undergraduate GPA of 3.25 or higher, GRE scores above the 50th percentile, strong letters of recommendation and focused personal essays. While not an explicit requirement, each of this year’s awardees also has hands-on undergraduate- or graduate-level research experience.

The McMillan-Ward fellowship is a two-year award for a student whose research will focus on the ecology and management of forestlands in eastern Texas. The one-year Dishman-Lucas assistantship is also intended for a student interested in forest ecosystems. Sid Kyle Graduate Merit Assistantships provide three years of support to students whose research will focus on the ecology and management of dryland ecosystems.

Rachel Wellman receives Franklin F. Wasko Graduate Merit Fellowship

Congratulations to Rachel Wellman! She received the Franklin F. Wasko Graduate Merit Fellowship for the 2013-2014 academic year. Rachel is a Ph.D. student working with Drs. Tom Boutton and Mark Tjoelker on a project examining the impact of global changes in climate on soil nitrogen cycling. She plans to complete her degree by August 2014.

The Wasko fellowship is an ESSM departmental award that has been given periodically in recent years to Ph.D. students whose research and course of study focuses on rangeland ecology and management. For this cycle, we geared the award specifically for a current doctoral student who is within one year of graduation, offering support to a student in the final stages of his or her degree program.

Summer 2013 graduates

Congratulations to our summer 2013 master’s and doctoral graduates! This was the first semester when students graduated with degrees in “Ecosystem Science and Management,” an exciting milestone for our department. (Because the current forestry students still may opt to graduate with a degree in “Forestry,” we did have one student stay with that degree title.) We wish you all well in your next endeavors and adventures.

M.S., Ecosystem Science and Management
April Mattox—Dr. West
Frances Toledo Rodriguez—Dr. Feagin

M.S., Forestry
Lu Zhai—Dr. Vogel

Master of Natural Resource Development 
Austin Richards—Dr. Smeins

Ph.D., Ecosystem Science and Management
Ricardo Colón-Rivera—Dr. Feagin