Author: Madeline Luthard
In November of 2022, I had the opportunity to attend the ASA-CSSA-SSSA International Annual Meeting in Baltimore, MD. Between the three societies – the American Society of Agronomy (ASA), Crop Science Society of America (CSSA), and Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) – which are fondly referred to as the “Tri-Societies”, this conference brings together thousands of researchers and industry professionals each year. For 2022, the meeting’s emphasis was “Communication and Public Engagement for Healthy People and a Healthy Planet.”
As a student who began my graduate coursework in the fall of 2020 and experienced much of my first two years at Penn State in virtual classes and meetings, I was thrilled to attend my first in-person research conference this past fall. A group of graduate students, postdocs, and undergraduates from our lab group made the drive from State College, PA to Baltimore. Once we arrived, we filled our schedules with research talks and symposia, as well as professional development activities, creative outlets (including soil painting and an art contest), and networking opportunities.
I presented a poster and five-minute flash talk titled, “Investigating soil texture as a control on microbial carbon cycling.” In the poster and flask talk, I shared results from a project that is supported in part by the Thriving Ag Project as a component of ongoing work by Task Team 7 – Field Scale Nutrient Management Tools. I was honored that my poster was awarded 1st place in the graduate student competition for the Soil Biology and Biochemistry Division. Overall, my experience at the Tri-Societies meeting was incredibly enriching, and I was inspired to learn about more ongoing research that is complementary to and in alignment with the goals of the Thriving Ag Project. I look forward to future professional conference meetings and more opportunities to represent the Thriving Ag team!