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Dr. K. Ramesh Reddy

Professor

UF Department of Soil and Water Science

2004-2005 UF Doctoral Mentoring Award Winner

My educational contribution at the University of Florida involves development of a strong graduate program, built with students recruited from soil and water science and other related disciplines including biology, limnology, and engineering. I provide training to these students in an interdisciplinary framework, and prepare them to apply modern principles of soil and water sciences in solving complex problems in agricultural and environmental sciences. My students have made major contributions in developing basic understanding of biogeochemical cycles regulating water quality, carbon sequestration, and greenhouse gases in wetlands aquatic systems. Dissertation research of my doctoral students has brought recognition to the Soil and Water Science Department and to the University of Florida. One measure of success of any graduate educator is how well his former students have become established, and how successful his or her own programs are. My students have won numerous awards and have published extensively in refereed journals. My former graduate students and post-docs are highly regarded as faculty members at major universities, and as research scientists in governmental agencies and private industry research and development labs.

My goals for teaching and advising are to: (1) assist students develop strong linkage between teaching and research, (2) instill critical thinking in students to develop questioning ability on recent research findings, and (3) motivate students to follow strong work ethics by setting goals high and help them to accomplish those goals.

My teaching and advising methods are very simple. I believe in a strong work ethics and I expect my students to perform accordingly. The underlying philosophy is that the student must learn and perform at a certain expected level, when he/she is enrolled in the wetland biogeochemistry program. As a major professor, I personalize my approach to advising my graduate students depending on their educational and cultural background and personal needs. I use an open-door policy to all my students. I believe in providing a wide range of opportunities to my students, including participation in various grant-funded research projects, working with postdoctoral fellows and visiting scientists, and attending professional meetings. I make a concerted effort for each PhD student to develop skills in preparing grant proposals and write their dissertation chapters in a form suitable for submission to refereed journals. A list of publications can be viewed here: UF Wetland Biogeochemistry Laboratory Publications.

At UF, I introduced Wetland Science as one of the major thrusts of graduate programs within the Soil and Water Science Department, and developed a strong graduate program by recruiting students from various disciplines into soil and water science. As a result of this effort, we developed an interdisciplinary program on biogeochemistry of wetlands and aquatic systems, through the establishment of the Wetland Biogeochemistry Laboratory (WBL). Since its establishment in 1987, the WBLhas provided a home for graduate students for various disciplines, post doctoral associates, and visiting scientists. Examples of teaching, research, and extension activities of the WBL can be seen at our website: UF Wetland Biogeochemistry Laboratory. Academic faculty and research scientists from Brazil, Germany, India, Israel, Japan, Kenya, New Zealand, Nigeria, Spain, and United Kingdom have spent time (few weeks or two years) in the WBL. I served as the Graduate Coordinator in Soil and Water Science and used several innovative approaches including web site, graduate student forum, brochures, and posters to increase graduate student enrollment. I was co-principal investigator with Dr. Wendy Graham in obtaining funding for fellowships for doctoral students through USDA National Needs Fellowships program.

During my tenure at the University of Florida, I have served on 106 graduate committees, including 51 PhD committees and 49 Master of Science committees. I have served as chair of 16 PhD committees and as co-chair of three PhD committees. In addition, I recruited two new PhD students in the Fall 2004. At present I serve as a chair of seven doctoral students.

The WBL is heavily funded through grants and contracts, with extramural funding in excess of one million dollars per year. A significant portion of this funding is the result of outstanding research contributions by our doctoral students. I make sure that all my doctoral students are well prepared to write grant proposals and many of them have been successful in obtaining funds to support their research. Students in my program have an opportunity to interact with scientists from various parts of the world. In addition, my students also make research paper presentations at national and international meetings.

I consider graduate students as my colleagues and expect them to bring new challenges and ideas to the program. I depend on them to be smarter and stay current with the published literature, while they depend on me for support and direction that helps them to function at their full potential. This mutual interaction and friendship has enabled me to develop long-term relationship with my students. Their accomplishments and success as young scientists gives me personal satisfaction that I played a small role in shaping their lives and making a difference. This is truly my reward.

Awards Given to My Graduate Students 
(Selected Examples)

1993: Sue Newman, Award for Graduate Student Excellence in Soil and Water Science.

1996: W. F. DeBusk, Award for Graduate Student Excellence in Soil and Water Science.

1997: L. J. Scinto, Award for Graduate Student Excellence in Soil and Water Science.

1998: E. M. D’Angelo, Award for Graduate Student Excellence in Soil and Water Science.

1998: E. M. D’Angelo, Best Dissertation Award, UF College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

1999: P. Inglett, Best MS Thesis Award, UF College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

2000: J. R. White, Award for Graduate Student Excellence in Soil and Water Science.

1995: J. R. White, First Place Presentation, Graduate Student Forum, University of Florida.

1996: J. R. White, First Place Presentation, Graduate Student Forum, University of Florida.

1998: J. R. White, First Place Presentation, Graduate Student Forum, University of Florida.

1999: J. R. White, First Place Presentation, Graduate Student Forum, University of Florida.

2001: Mark Clark, Award for Graduate Student Excellence in Soil and Water Science.

Sam Polston Scholarship awarded to W. F. DeBusk, E. M. D’Angelo, J. Leader and P. Inglett.

USDA National Needs Fellowship awarded to W. F. DeBusk and Todd Osborne.

Alumni Fellowship awarded to P. Inglett.

Current PhD Students 
(With Expected Date of Graduation in Parentheses)

M. Fisher (2005), P.Inglett (2005), J. Leader (2005), T. Osborne (2005), I. Torres (2006), K. Gokkaya (2008) and A. Keppler (2008).