UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Jack Watson, professor of soil physics in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, has been named interim head of the college's Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, effective Oct. 17.
Watson succeeds David Sylvia, who will become director of academic affairs for graduate programs for Penn State's World Campus.
Watson joined the Penn State faculty in 1999. From 1999 to 2006, he served as state program leader for agriculture and natural resources for Penn State Extension. In that role, he provided leadership and support for the development, implementation and evaluation of statewide educational programs centering on all aspects of animal and plant agriculture, horticulture and natural-resource issues.
His research has focused on soil, water and solute interactions, and the fate and transport of pesticides, other toxic organics and recently identified "contaminants of interest," such as personal-care products, pharmaceuticals, and natural and synthetic hormones. Since 2009, he has been coordinator of the department's graduate programs.
From 1984 to 1999, Watson was an extension specialist and research scientist in the University of Arizona's Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science. Previously, he worked as a research scientist in the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization's Division of Environmental Mechanics in Canberra, Australia.
Watson received a bachelor's degree in education/mathematics from Kent State University. He earned a master's degree and doctorate in soil and water science at the University of Arizona.
He received the Arizona Extension Faculty of the Year Award in 1986 and a Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of County Agricultural Agents in 1997.
Watson is a member of the Soil Science Society of America, the American Geophysical Union and the American Society of Agricultural Engineers.