This summer, I joined Agroecology lab at the Department of Plant Science, University of Maryland (UMD). I earned MS degree in soil science from North Dakota State University (NDSU), where my training and research have revolved around nitrogen loss management and soil salinity in North Dakota. My MS gave me a better understanding of soils and the strategies needed to solve the problems faced by the farming community. I also realized that there is a need to conserve soil health and maintain ecosystem sustainability while ensuring economically viable yields. This is when I decided to pursue my higher studies focused on agriculture and ecosystem sustainability.
In my PhD degree, I will be working with the incredible research team at Agroecology Lab (Dr. Kate Tully) at UMD and Sustainable Agricultural Systems Lab (Dr. Steven Mirsky) at Beltsville Agricultural Research Centre (BARC-USDA).
I feel so lucky to be the part of the research team at UMD and BARC-USDA. The research crews at AgroEcoLab-UMD and USDA are involved in various regional- and national-level projects that focus on agricultural sustainability. Moreover, I find the team highly innovative, motivated and helpful. I really like our lab meetings, which I see as a great opportunity to develop skills and build my future career.
I am also highly excited with my research project. The main objective of my research is to determine the effects of cover crops on nitrogen dynamics. I will be involved in laboratory incubation, field, and model experiments to understand the decomposition kinetics from different cover crops under varying environmental conditions. Our main focus is to determine the N release pattern from the decomposition of cover crops to succeeding maize crop. I envision that this research will enhance my understanding of soil and ecological processes and provide me a unique expertise in the field of sustainable agriculture.
As a PhD graduate in sustainable agriculture, I hope to improving the lives of low-income farmers, supplying enough food to ever-increasing human population, and creating a safe and healthy environment for future generation. I am hopeful that one day I will be able to give back to the farmers, without whom we could not eat nor survive on earth.
-By Resham Thapa
Dr. Kate Tully
Kate is an Assistant Professor of Agroecology at the University of Maryland.