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UW Master’s Graduate Receives Fulbright Award for Soil Research in Nepal

April 16, 2015
group of people crcouched on ground examining soil sample
UW master’s degree graduate Samantha Day, left, speaks with Bureau of Land Management employees during a Wyoming Reclamation and Restoration Center workshop in 2013 near Gillette. Day has received a Fulbright U.S. Student Award to improve soils research in Nepal. (UW Photo)

A recent University of Wyoming master’s degree graduate will use her knowledge and skills to improve soils research in Nepal starting this summer through a Fulbright U.S. Student Award.

Samantha Day, who received her master’s in soil science, is one of only a handful of people in the United States to receive Fulbright research grants for work in Nepal this year. She is scheduled to leave for the Asian nation in early August and work through June 2016.

Her tasks will include helping researchers set up a research soils lab at Tribhuvan University, the major public university in Kathmandu.

“Right now they have minimal equipment and methodology to be able to conduct even basic soils research projects,” Day says. “I will help them in choosing appropriate lab methods for the resources they have, as well as equipment, and potentially help them write some grants for more expensive instrumentation for down the road.”

Day, who came to UW after receiving a bachelor’s degree in environmental science and chemistry at Virginia Tech University, says she also will conduct an agricultural soils study using the soils lab she helps set up in Nepal.

“Food insecurity is a big issue in Nepal right now,” she says. “I hope to meet with the other agricultural research institutes in Kathmandu to see what kinds of research they’re doing, and how that might lead to a good research topic for me.”

With such a project, she hopes to help establish basic field sampling protocols for the lab. She also would like to introduce an “extension component” by taking information collected from soil samples back to the farmers or landowners where the samples were gathered.

At UW, Day conducted a two-year project examining soil disturbance due to natural gas development in southern Wyoming. Working in conjunction with industry, her research provided new insights into the best approaches to reclaim areas disturbed by development.

During her total of two and a half years at UW, she was an active researcher who published peer-reviewed papers and a UW Extension bulletin.

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