Outstanding Alums, Students Recognized by Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences

Mike Phillips, left, with the interim Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences Department head, Trent Roberts, is director of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.
Vaughn Skinner

Mike Phillips, left, with the interim Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences Department head, Trent Roberts, is director of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

Mike Phillips, Edgar Mersiovsky, Robert Rorie and Jody Davis were honored at the annual Department of Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences Spring Awards Banquet, along with several students.

Phillips was named Outstanding Ph.D. Alumnus, Mersiovsky Outstanding M.S. Alumnus, Rorie Young Alumnus and Davis Friend of the Department.

Phillips, from Benton, is director of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System on the campus of Auburn University. He spent 22 years at the U of A Southwest Research and Extension Center. He earned master's and doctorate degrees from the U of A in agronomy.

Mersiovsky is the associate director for soil program management for the Soil and Plant Science Division with the USDA-Natural Resource Conservation Service. He was the state soil scientist with NRCS in Arkansas from 2014-23 and from 2002-14 held several positions in the Regional Soil Survey Office and NRCS office in Little Rock. He earned his master's degree in agronomy with an emphasis in soils and geomorphology in 1993.

Rorie is a research operations lead at the Corteva Research Facility in West Memphis. He began his career with the Soybean Physiology Laboratory in 2004. He earned bachelor's and master's degrees from the U of A.

Davis is director of student records in the Student Services Office for the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences. She is responsible for assisting with the advising needs of faculty and staff, and monitoring academic progress of students and eventually approving them for graduation.

Other award recipients included:

  • Diego Della Lunga, outstanding Ph.D. student whose academic career has focused on environmental and agronomic analysis of mitigation strategy aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and global warming potential in rice production systems;
  • Tanner King, outstanding M.S. student, has authored or co-authored 24 abstracts and five research series publications, presented research at five conferences and placed among the top three in six speaking competitions;
  • Carrie Ortel, outstanding graduate teacher, served as instructor of record for the Soybean Production class, as a teaching assistant for Soil Fertility lecture and lab, and mentored students;
  • Mason Castner, Gerald O. Mott Award winner, earned his M.S. in CSES and is working on his Ph.D., has presented research, won multiple speaking and poster competitions and been named Bumpers College Distinguished M.S. Scholar;
  • Katie Jansson, Tri-Societies National Student Recognition Award, an active member of the Tri-Societies and the soil judging team, vice president of the Horticulture Club and an Honors College Fellow;
  • Abigail Norsworthy, outstanding senior, now an M.S. student in weed science at Purdue University, served as a college ambassador, presented research and active in CSES club activities; and
  • Pamela Carvalho-Moore, Ron and Alice Talbert Endowed Weed Science Scholarship winner, earned her M.S. from the U of A in 2020, working on her Ph.D. in weed science, research focuses on addition of metabolic inhibitors to improve the efficacy of the herbicide glufosinate under varied environmental scenarios along with understanding resistance mechanism of glufosinate-resistant Palmer amaranth from Arkansas.

The soil judging team was recognized for winning the regional championship for the fifth straight year and the 12th time in 14 years, and the weed science team for winning the Southern Weed Contest for the third consecutive year.

In addition, 76 undergraduate scholarship recipients were recognized, along with officers of the Graduate Student Association, Undergraduate Student Association, Agronomy and CSES clubs.

About the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences: Bumpers College provides life-changing opportunities to position and prepare graduates who will be leaders in the businesses associated with foods, family, the environment, agriculture, sustainability and human quality of life; and who will be first-choice candidates of employers looking for leaders, innovators, policy makers and entrepreneurs. The college is named for Dale Bumpers, former Arkansas governor and longtime U.S. senator who made the state prominent in national and international agriculture. For more information about Bumpers College, visit our website, and follow us on Twitter at @BumpersCollege and Instagram at BumpersCollege.

About the University of Arkansas: As Arkansas' flagship institution, the U of A provides an internationally competitive education in more than 200 academic programs. Founded in 1871, the U of A contributes more than $2.2 billion to Arkansas' economy through the teaching of new knowledge and skills, entrepreneurship and job development, discovery through research and creative activity while also providing training for professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the U of A among the few U.S. colleges and universities with the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the U of A among the top public universities in the nation. See how the U of A works to build a better world at Arkansas Research and Economic Development News.

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