Finney receives 2014 Intercollege Graduate Student Outreach Achievement Award

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Denise M. Finney, doctoral candidate in ecology, is the recipient of the 2014 Intercollege Graduate Student Outreach Achievement Award. This award recognizes outstanding achievements of Penn State degree candidates in any of the Intercollege Graduate Degree Programs that relate to bringing their scholarship to the community in order to benefit society in some manner. The award endeavors to encourage future scholars and researchers to embrace outreach and promote a commitment to advancing the welfare and quality of life for the public through scholarly pursuits.

Finney designed an outreach program that teaches farmers, and those who advise farmers, how to use cover crops to prevent nutrients in agricultural fields from reaching streams and estuaries. For the program, farmers measure parameters of diverse and simple cover crop plots in the field and then use their data to calculate the impact of diverse cover crops on nutrient losses. This outreach program was developed over several years and delivered to hundreds of stakeholders, including industry stakeholders, throughout the state and beyond.

Finney wrote a successful U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education graduate research grant, which enabled her to initiate experiments testing links between cover crop diversity and microbial ecosystem functioning, and contributed substantially to the ecology program’s larger USDA grant related to cover crops. Her most recent grant is a highly prestigious USDA-National Institute of Food and Agriculture predoctoral fellowship in which she spells out a professional development plan that balances scientific discovery, teaching in the classroom and outreach.

Finney was recognized with the Intercollege Graduate Student Outreach Achievement Award at the Graduate School Alumni Society's Recognition Program on April 5. More information about the award is available on the Graduate School’s website.

Last Updated April 21, 2014