Shan Wong, a doctoral student from Texas Tech University's Department of Plant and Soil Science, was awarded the Graduate Student International Research Award today (Apr. 22) at the university's Office of International Affairs Annual Global Vision Awards ceremony. The program recognizes the generosity and continued support of the university's efforts to expand its global footprint and its work to promote higher education on an international scale.
Wong's research focuses on the orchid mycorrhizal preference and specificity of wild Vanilla species in Costa Rica, which are not fully understood. By understanding the mycorrhizal interaction, growers can continue to emphasize conservation management of ecological requirements of the wild Vanilla species in Costa Rica. The award was based on her work in the annual Texas Tech's Graduate School poster competition.
One of her goals at Texas Tech is to cultivate a growth-mindset to enhance how research and perspectives of conservation are conducted and communicated/supported across U.S. and international boundaries. By integrating personal and institutional cultures especially here in west Texas provides a wealth of substantial knowledge and know how to protect conserve and restore species on a global stage.
Separately, Tech's College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources itself received the event's runner-up Global Engagement Community Award. The honor recognizes an individual or group that has made significant contributions to international understanding and engagement in the greater Lubbock community.
CASNR's faculty is engaged around the world in research, study-abroad opportunities, outreach, and program development. The college works directly with universities to draft exchange agreements for faculty and students, developing relationships can promote scholarly achievement and cultural understanding.
“The international work conducted by CASNR faculty is as diverse as the continents on which it takes place,” said Christy Bratcher, CASNR's Associate Dean for Research.
Tech's meat science program has developed a highly sought-after food safety/security program in Central America/Caribbean. And, as of the last year, Tech's Department of Agricultural Education & Communications has reached out into Australia to help develop agricultural communications strategies around their commodity groups and develop curriculum in two different universities there.
Bratcher said CASNR has been highly active in Central and South America on many fronts, from cattle production to natural resource management, 4-H youth programs, and entrepreneurial training in communities. In addition, all CASNR departments are active in leading both study abroad for students and also with research efforts and exchanges with other countries to publish research data in a collaborative manner.
CASNR has strong history of international-related accomplishments. Last year the International Center for Food Industry Excellence was recognized as first runner-up for the Global Vision Award's Campus Internationalization Award. In 2019, Gad Perry, a professor of conservation science in Tech's Department of Natural Resources Management, received the Faculty International Scholarship Award, an honor given to a tenure-track faculty member for excellence and sustained international scholarship. That same year David Weindorf, former BL Allen Endowed Chair of Pedology in Tech's Department of Plant and Soil Science, took home honorable mention honors in the Global Vision Lifetime Achievement Award category.
In 2018, Michael Farmer, an environmental and natural resource economist with Tech's Department of Natural Resources Management and Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, was selected to receive a Faculty International Scholarship Award. In 2016, CASNR was the winner of the Campus Internationalization Award. Program officials noted that the college's diversity has grown substantively in the last two decades, and at the time one of every five students in CASNR's graduate programs was from a foreign country.
“We are very proud of all the award winners,” said Texas Tech provost Michael Galyean. “Great public universities always strive to be engaged in the global conversation, and Texas Tech is at the forefront of international engagement and providing a global context for our students.”
This story was first published in the CASNR NewsCenter. See the original article here.