PhD candidate John Jones was awarded with the Future Leaders in Science Award from the ASA-CSSA-SSSA. Speaking with colleagues who had attended the ASA-CSSA-SSSA Congressional Visits Day in the past led him to apply for the award. The tri-societies provide workshops and sessions for graduate students who have an interest in communicating their science to a broader audience. After interacting with actively engaged graduate students and representatives from the ASA-CSSA-SSSA science policy office, the Future Leaders of Science Award seemed like an excellent opportunity for John to expand his understanding of science communicator.
The Future Leaders in Science Award is designed for those who have shown interest or taken initiatives to communicate the importance of agricultural research to a broad audience. Those applying for the award typically have a desire to learn more about the process of the appropriations of government resources and funds towards programs such as USDA-NIFA.
This award provided John an opportunity to receive instruction on effectively communicating with legislators and their offices. He was then able to use this instruction when meeting with members of Congress who represent the state of Iowa, along with representatives from their offices. John also attending a Congressional Visits Days, which was a very rewarding experience that he has used to create networks with those involved in state and federal government to continue providing a scientific perspective to larger-reaching policy discussions.
“I enjoyed establishing relationships with congressional offices and continuing to serve as a resource for information related to my discipline. There is a strong connection between agricultural science research and economic, environmental, and societal well-being. Exhibiting how soil fertility and nutrient management fit into that connection was very rewarding for me. I will continue to advocate for the importance of science that promotes optimal management of soil and water resources,” John said about his time in DC.
John’s work focuses on improving the management of phosphorus for agronomic and water quality benefits. This entails studying what forms and quantities of phosphorus are present in soil and surface runoff associated with widely used management systems in Iowa and the Midwest. A more comprehensive understanding of phosphorus dynamics in the soil can lead to management strategies that maintain or improve agronomic system performance, while mitigating risk for water quality impairment. His PhD advisor is Dr. Antonio Mallarino.