Every year, two graduate students in the Department of Plant and Soil Science — one MS and one Ph.D. — are presented with the George Tereshkovich Outstanding Graduate Student Award. The award honors students who have not only completed their degree, but who have also achieved a level of excellence in their research, scholarship, and recognition that sets them apart in their field.
This year, the winners of the Outstanding Master's Graduate Student and Outstanding Doctoral Graduate Student awards are Ved Parkash and Isaiah Pabuayon, respectively.
Ved Parkash — who is currently pursuing his Ph.D. at the University of Georgia — focused on addressing the challenges of vegetable production in the Texas High Plains for his MS research.
"Ved has shown an excellent academic and research performance during his time at TTU," said Sukhbir Singh, his graduate advisor. "I found him confident, energetic, hardworking, and — perhaps the most important — persistent."
In his work across a number of high-value crops, Parkash displayed skill in a wide range of competencies, from both controlled and field research to data management and high-level communication. Chapters from his master's thesis were published in several flagship journals in his field, resulting in 5 first-author publications, which Singh noted as a significant achievement for a master's student in the seasonally dependent field of horticulture.
Isaiah Pabuayon, Ph.D., earned his doctoral degree under Benildo de los Reyes with research which revolves around holistic views of cellular and whole-plant level regulation and the creation of novel adaptations using systems-level approaches guided by evolutionary principles.
During his time in PSS, Pabuayon was published multiple times in high-impact journals and presented over a dozen papers in international conferences. He also served as a representative for the Reyes Genetics Lab to visiting scholars and administrators alike. According to de los Reyes, Pabuayon's advanced understanding of the complexity of plant biology, paired with his ability to develop original, paradigm-challenging ideas distinguishes him in academia.
"He belongs to an elite group of doctoral students in the Plant and Soil Science Graduate Program," said de los Reyes, "and I am sure that he will make this department proud when he shines in his own research program in the very near future."