Texas Tech University

Student Spotlight: Shelby Young

Shelby Young

Name: Shelby Young; Location: South Africa/Zimbabwe; Program: International Soil Classification Congress (South Africa); Mapping locations for future study abroad program (Zimbabwe); Timeframe: December 2016; Major: Plant and Soil Science; Classification: Graduate Student; Hometown: Plainview, Texas

  • My Experience: Attending the International Soil Classification Congress in South Africa exposed me to the inner-workings of soil classification systems from around the globe. I was able to see how researchers from many countries collaborate to improve these systems.
  • Why Go: Adventure. I was excited to learn about subjects I had studied at Texas Tech in a completely new context.
  • Any Advice: Do a little research before you go. Reach out to other students and faculty that have travelled to your destination before. It's always fun to hear about their experiences and share your own when you return.
  • Favorite Part: Learning from people abroad and sharing experiences is such an important part of education and one that I cherish as a favorite memory from my time as an undergraduate at Texas Tech. I returned to the United States with a better understanding of different cultures and history of places I would have never investigated on my own. I learned an incredible amount through my program, but also by just being there and interacting with others. It's somewhat difficult to fully articulate the value of international experience. In short- you'll return as a better person than when you left, with new, invaluable perspective.
  • Looking Ahead: My travel to South Africa and Zimbabwe was my first international experience. Since then, I have had the confidence to embark on many more adventures with a better understanding of what is required to navigate travel in general. As I continue my education at Texas Tech, working on my M.S. in Plant and Soil Science, I've taken advantage of other opportunities to travel (I'm writing from Australia at the moment). Once you go abroad, you'll want to travel more and more.

The three-day International Soil Classification Congress included a four-day, pre-congress field workshop. The workshop took participants to the soils of Pretoria (manganiferous soils), Lichtenburg (aeolian, granitic and dolomitic agriculture soils), Potchefstroom (technosols and aeolian agricultural soils), Sasolburg (high-activity clay agriculture soils), and the Vredefort meteor impact site, the largest impact visible crater on earth. The Pretoria area has a high urban pressure, and will probably become urban developments in the next few years. There was a discussion in the field about the origin, geography and pedogenesis of these soils, as well as the features they present according to the position of the profiles in the general landforms.

CONTACT: Cindy Akers, Associate Dean for Academic and Student Programs, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Texas Tech University at (806) 742-2808 or cindy.akers@ttu.edu

0216NM18 / Editor's Note: For detailed information on CASNR Study Abroad programs and how to apply, click here.