Serita Frey, a doctoral candidate in ecology and a research associate at Colorado State University, has been awarded the Francis Clark Soil Biology Scholarship.
Established in 1997, The Francis Clark Soil Biology scholarship provides awards to undergraduate or graduate students in the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory to advance research in soil biology and to keep NREL on the cutting edge of science. Awards are made in the area of soil biology, bases on scholastic merit and financial need, with favorable consideration to applicants who show concern for the public welfare. Although the scholarship typically is presented to one person, the selection committee, in consultation with Clark, recommended that Frey share the award with third-year graduate student Amy Treonis, who is working toward a doctorate in ecology.
Frey’s dissertation research examines how different agricultural management practices influence soil microorganisms, particularly bacteria and fungi, and how changes in the microbial community impact soil organic matter dynamics. Her work has included field observations collected from several long-term agricultural experiments located in the wheat and corn-growing regions of the U.S. as well as laboratory and field experiments designed to test specific hypotheses.
Frey, who received her undergraduate degree from the Univerwsity of Virginia at Charlottesville, would like to integrate her research in soil microbial ecology with her interest in science education. She participates in community outreach activities aimed at school children. This past spring she organized and taught a 6-week, after-school ecology program at a local Fort Collins elementary school.