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Department  of
Plant  and  Soil  Science

APRIL 2022


For ongoing coverage of department news and access to an archive of past newsletters, check out the PSS Newsroom online.





PSS Coffee Break
Don't forget to stop through the PSS main office on Friday morning (8:30-10am) for coffee, tea, orange juice, donuts (or whichever pastries we dream up), and an opportunity to visit and get to know our department better!



PSS Grad Council Plant Sale
The PSS Graduate Student Council is hosting a plant sale Friday, May 13th in the PSS parking lot. There will be a variety of herbs, vegetables, and succulents for sale, with all proceeds going to support graduate students in the department. Please stop by from 11am-1pm & 3pm-5pm (cash and Venmo accepted).  LEARN MORE »



Graduate School Commencement
Texas Tech University's May 2022 Graduate School Commencement Ceremonies will be held at 7:30pm on Friday, May 13th in the United Supermarkets Arena. LEARN MORE »



Davis College Commencement
May 2022 Commencement Ceremonies for the Davis College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources will be held at 12:00pm on Saturday, May 14th in the United Supermarkets Arena. LEARN MORE »


Somayanda Impa Muthappa joins PSS as Research Assistant Professor

Somayanda Impa Muthappa, an expert in crop physiology, has been named a Research Assistant Professor within the Department of Plant & Soil Science. She officially stepped into her new research post on April 15. Muthappa's research program broadly focuses on enhancing yield potential and abiotic stress resilience in grain and forage sorghum, and one of her primary goals at Texas Tech is to help develop novel physiological and biochemical tools and methods to enhance quality and productivity of grain sorghum.


Student research shines at 2022 Symposium

The 2022 Plant & Soil Science Student Research Symposium was held on April 18, providing an opportunity for students at all stages of their programs to present their research and receive feedback from peers, faculty, staff, and external experts. This year's event consisted of a pre-symposium seminar by Dr. Daniel Hirmas, graduate student oral presentations, and poster presentations by undergraduate, master's, and doctoral students. The award winners for the 2022 Symposium were:

Oral Session | Graduate Students

1st place – Maxwell Smith

2nd place – Leo D'Agostino

3rd place – Raavi Arora

Poster Session | Graduate Students

1st place – Chidinma Lois Nwoko

2nd place – Avinash Shrestha

3rd place – Manpreet Singh

Poster Session | Undergraduate Students

1st place – Danira Garcia Gutierrez

2nd place – Lee Fischel


Doctoral candidate participates in TTU Accelerator Competition

The Texas Tech Accelerator is designed to help faculty, students and other entrepreneurs in the region launch startup companies or discover licensing opportunities based on inventions of university technology to make an impact to benefit the people in this community and around the world. Gabriella Hale, a PSS doctoral candidate, was selected as one of 16 startups tapped to participate in the program's sixth cohort competition. Hale and her husband, Gary, lead operations for G&G Ranch, a developer of pre-fabricated crop-canopy netting kits that enable West Texas farmers to grow specialty crops with less time and resources.


Lindsey Slaughter among Davis College leaders honored during Women's History Month

PSS's Lindsey Slaughter was one of the three Davis College faculty members recognized during a special 'Celebrate Women Faculty Success' ceremony at the university's main library. The President's Gender Equity Council, Rawls College of Business, and TTU ADVANCE hosted the event, which was part of the university's commemoration of Women's History Month.


Joey Young looking to increase awareness, diversity in turfgrass science

Young recently received a $425,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA) to conduct professional development for agriculture and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) educators centered around turfgrass science. "Our goal is to work with educators to provide professional development on how turfgrass science could be implemented as STEM," Young said. "One of the benefits we pointed out in the proposal is the vast openness there is to turfgrass. Almost every student in any place could have some kind of interaction with turfgrass."



PSS student earns American Society for Horticultural Science award

Manpreet Singh, a Doctoral student in Dr. Sukhbir Singh's lab, has earned the 2022 Outstanding Graduate Horticulture Student Award from the American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS). The ASHS Outstanding Graduate Horticulture Student Award officially recognizes outstanding graduate students at the Masters or Doctoral level in horticulture. Students are selected based upon academic achievements, participation in departmental or program activities, and service to their departments.


Ostmeyer's presentation wins award at sorghum conference

At the March 2022 Sorghum Improvement Conference of North America (SICNA) in Dallas-Fort Worth, PSS graduate student Troy Ostmeyer won 2nd place and $300 in the graduate student oral competition. His winning presentation was titled “Split application of nitrogen impacts grain sorghum yield, quality, and amino acid composition”.


Length of Service pins awarded to long-time PSS members

The Texas Tech University Length of Service Awards highlight the professional dedication of faculty and staff. In 2022, many members of the Department of Plant and Soil Science and the Fiber & Biopolymer Research Institute (FBRI) were among those recognized. Awarded at five-year intervals, the award includes a distinctive pin commemorating the landmark.

Department of Plant & Soil Science

Mark Burow — 20 years

Robby Carlson — 20 years

Ed Hellman — 20 years

Ricky Kellison — 20 years

Glen Ritchie — 10 years

Vikram Baliga — 5 years

Yente Liao — 5 years

Kevin Cushman — 5 years

Ai Kitazumi — 5 years

Benildo de los Reyes — 5 years

Sukhbir Singh — 5 years

Lindsey Slaughter — 5 years

Fiber & Biopolymer Research Institute

Ann Hodges — 15 years

Md Abu Sayeed — 5 years


Davis College faculty recognized for excellence at faculty convocation

Faculty members from Texas Tech's Davis College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources were honored for their achievements and contributions to the university as part of the university's annual Faculty Honors Convocation on April 25. The awards are given by the Office of the President and recognize outstanding faculty and departments for excellence in teaching, research, service and more. From PSS, Peter Dotray received the Chancellor's Council Distinguished Teaching Award and Eric Hequet was recognized as a current Horn Professor (2016).


Davis College honors Distinguished Alumni & Outstanding Young Alumni

The Davis College recognized seven distinguished alumni on April 4 at the university's McKenzie-Merket Alumni Center. The 2022 Distinguished Alumni & Outstanding Young Alumni Awards honor graduates who've made significant contributions to society, and whose accomplishments and careers have brought distinction to the college and to the professions associated with agriculture and natural resources. The Distinguished Alumnas from the plant sciences was Kerry Siders of Levelland, Texas. Siders received a master's degree in crop science from Texas Tech in 1989.


What are we missing?

Have an announcement, research development,
publication, or upcoming event? We want to hear about it!

If you have any questions, corrections, or contributions
regarding the PSS Newsletter or online Newsroom,
please contact Melanie Jackson at


Department  of  Plant  and  Soil  Science

APRIL  2022

Texas Tech University, Department of Plant and Soil Science
Box 42122
Lubbock, TX 79409

806 _ 742 _ 2838


May 12, 2022