Penn State Soil Judging Team takes first at Northeast Regionals

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- A Penn State Soil Judging Team finished first in the Northeast Regional Soil Judging Contest held Oct. 21 to 25 near Adamstown, Md.

The annual contest allows students to practice describing and interpreting soils. The top schools from each region then compete in a national event held the following spring. This year, students described soils formed in Piedmont and Ridge and Valley provinces across Maryland.

Seven teams competed this year. The University of Maryland hosted the event and placed second, and the University of Rhode Island finished third. Also competing were Delaware Valley College, Wilmington College, Richard Stockton College and Ohio State University. A second Penn State team competed but did not place.

The winning team was comprised of Nancy Kammerer, a junior agroecology major from Gettysburg; Scott King, a senior nondegree major from Hillsgrove; Rachael Krizmanich, a senior environmental resource management major from Edinboro; Greg Ritson, a junior environmental resource management major from Limerick; and Devon Turner, a junior environmental resource management major from Philipsburg.

Penn State team members who finished in the top 20 among the 46 competing in the contest's individual component included Kammerer, who finished first; Turner, sixth; Jacob Gogno, a senior Environmental Resource Management major from Pottsville, 10th; Kaitlyn Benson, a junior Environmental Resource Management major from Elizabethtown, 13th; and Krizmanich, 16th.

"The team did exceptionally well this year given that so many of the members were new to soil science and soil judging," said coach Patrick Drohan, associate professor of pedology. "Penn State teams have participated in national and regional soil-judging competitions since the 1950s."

The contest is part of the Soil Science Society of America's commitment to soils education and provides participating students with an opportunity to see new soils and to test their skills against peers from across the region, Drohan noted. "The team's commitment to furthering the soil science profession and soil science at Penn State is something they can be proud of," he said.

"Students in the Soil Science option of the Environmental Resource Management major have 100 percent job placement over the last five years."

The team has qualified to go to nationals, which will be hosted in spring 2014 by Delaware Valley College, Doylestown. Traveling to nationals will be a great experience for the students, but costly, Drohan pointed out. He urged anyone interested in supporting the team to contribute to the squad's travel fund.

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Last Updated November 01, 2013