ABE Student to Attend Oxford

Rachel working at Ordway-Swisher Biological Station for Dr. Jasmeet Judge.

Agricultural and Biological Engineering student Rachel Lo has been selected for the 2018 Frost Scholarship Programme at the University of Oxford. This program funds students of the State University System of Florida and University of Miami that allows them to study full-time for one year in master’s courses in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Rachel will be using her time at Oxford to complete a one-year, coursework-only Master of Science degree in Biodiversity, Conservation, and Management. This degree program aims to provide understanding of biodiversity science along with socio-economic, political, cultural and institutional environments of management and policy.

Rachel’s goal is to integrate her technical engineering background and social sciences management training she will receive to work in environmental conservation in the future. After attending Oxford, Rachel plans on pursing a Ph.D. program, possibly in environmental engineering and policy.

Rachel Lo
Rachel Lo

Ten Frost scholars are chosen from Florida institutions along with four Frost scholars from Israel schools. Rachel will be in the fifth cohort of scholars of this program, which started in 2014. Scholars are choosen based on academic merit. Typically, one student is accepted into the program from each Florida institution.


ABE Student receives NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Land and Water Resource Engineering student Sharmin Siddiqui was selected for the National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship. This program recognizes outstanding students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines. This fellowship is awarded to students attending accredited U.S. institutions who are pursuing a research-based master’s and doctoral degrees.


Siddiqui is graduating from the UF Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department with a specialization in land and water resource engineering. Her project will focus on the impact of dams on the Amazon and works to determine management strategies that will support the conservation of the Amazon River.

A group of 2,000 students were selected for the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program from over 12,000 applicants. These selected students will have opportunities for international research and professional development, along with the freedom to conduct their own research. Fellows benefit from a three-year annual stipend along with a cost of education allowance for tuition and fees.

Siddiqui plans to continue her graduate studies at the University of Florida where she will pursue her Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering.

Congratulations to Sharmin Siddiqui on achieving this great honor! For more information, visit the NSF article by clicking here.

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UFABE Doctoral Student presents 3MT at Conference of Southern Graduate Schools

UF Agricultural and Biological Engineering doctoral student Thiago Onofre was a finalist in the top eight students at the regional Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition at the 47th Annual Meeting of the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools (CSGS) in Fayetteville, Arkansas on February 24, 2018.

The 3MT competition is a research communication contest that challenges students to discuss their thesis topic in a three-minute presentation. This contest was created to help students gain experience in academic, presentation and research communications skills. This contest also helps students relate and discuss their research with non-academic audiences.

“I think that the mission of the 3MT is to help students to improve communication skills and to disseminate knowledge and build a bridge between graduate school and society,” Thiago said.


Thiago placed first in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering’s Three Minute Thesis competition before moving on to the campus-wide contest at the University of Florida where he placed first overall. After his first-place win at the university-level, he moved on the regional competition at CSGS.

“I am extremely proud to represent the AgroClimate research group in the Agricultural and Biological Department and the University of Florida at the regional 3MT competition,” Thiago said. “It was the first time a candidate from our school went to the finals and I did my best.”

Thiago’s presentation, titled A Wireless Sensor Network for a Strawberry Disease Warning System, focuses on using WiFi networks along with agricultural sensors and disease algorithms in order to instantaneously observe weather conditions, which helps farmers make more informed decisions while also contributing to environmental sustainability.

This technology allows sensors to collect weather data in real time, send this data over the Internet, combine the data with the disease risk algorithms, and provide these results to an advisory system that notifies farmers when disease risk is too high. This helps farmers to know precisely when to apply disease preventions efforts and avoid unnecessary chemical spraying.


The Conference of Southern Graduate Schools is an organization of over 200 graduate schools of fifteen states of the southern region of the United States. Forty-seven different universities across the south sent their students to the regional 3MT competition.

“During the CSGS meeting, I had the chance to attend to several talks and to meet deans from different universities. I am amazed with the deans’ leadership skills as well as their welcoming and warm personalities,” Thiago said.

Thiago will present again in the 3MT competition at the first Conference of Florida Graduate Schools that will be held at Florida State University on April 20, 2018.

ABE PhD Student Receives Travel Award with Plans To Serve in Uganda

Agricultural and Biological Engineering Ph.D. student Raminder Kaur has been selected as one of nine recipients from the University of Florida to be awarded the Trellis Fund grant. Kaur was awarded a travel grant that she will use to travel to Uganda to train farmers in processing a variety of speciality crops in a program called the Ndibwami Integrated Rescue Project.


The Ndibwami Integrated Rescue Project aims to train farmers in how process crops such as pineapple, tomatoes and passion fruit. Along with Kaur, Ranjeet Singh Randhawa, who is pursuing a doctoral degree in Horticultural Sciences and a master’s degree in Agribusiness from the UF Department Food and Resource Economics, will also be working on this project.

For more details, please see the UC Davis blog by clicking here.


An Giang University Visits ABE to Begin Collaboration

The University of Florida and An Giang University signed a memorandum of understanding on January 16, 2018, that outlines future collaborations between the two institutions.

Dr. Vo Van Thang, the Rector of An Giang University, along with a group of colleagues, travelled to Florida to sign this memorandum of understanding and visit the University of Florida’s Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, which will facilitate the upcoming collaborations. Plans to collaborate include country visits, faculty and student exchanges, short courses and study abroad opportunities.

(From left to right) Dr. Vo Van Thang, the Rector of An Giang University and  Dr. Allen Wysocki, Associate Dean of the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences

The Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering has an established connection with An Giang University through ABE alumnus Dr. Tanh Nquyen. Nquyen graduated from the Agricultural and Biological Engineering department in 2014 with his Ph.D. His research, titled “Combining hydrologic modeling and economic factors to optimize water management for a Vietnamese wetland system,” focused on seeking scenarios meeting parallel optimization criteria including hydrologic optimization and economic optimization.

Nguyen is currently the Dean of College of Engineering, Technology, and Environment at An Giang University as well as the AGU coordinator for UF-AGU collaboration development. Nguyen said current collaborative projects that are ready for UF students to join include modeling water flow and sediment transport using Telemac 2D and 3D, evapotranspiration for vegetation and aquaponics.

Dr. Vo Van Thang, the Rector of An Giang University, signs a memorandum of understanding with Dr. Allen Wysocki, Associate Dean of the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.

An Giang University is located in Vietnam and was established on the basis of An Giang College of Education as a public training institute in the universities of Vietnam. An Giang University’s mission focuses on “training human resources (multi-level and multidisciplinary) in order to meet the learning needs in An Giang province and the Mekong Delta; conducting research and applying technology to meet local socio-economic development requirements in the process of industrialization, modernization and international integration.” The university is making continuous efforts to become a prestigious institute for training, researching and applying technology with a high-quality teaching staff and modern facilities in Vietnam and Southeast Asia.


ABE Professor elected to Irrigation Association Board of Directors

Michael Dukes
Michael Dukes, Agricultural and Biological Engineering Professor

Dr. Michael Dukes, professor and irrigation specialist at the University of Florida, has been elected to the Irrigation Association Board of Directors, which establishes the association’s strategic direction, policies and programs.

The board monitors current and evolving industry trends, determines strategic priorities, defines public policy positions and acts as stewards of IA’s financial resources. Directors are elected each fall by regular members of the association and represent the diversity of member types and market segments. The Irrigation Association is a leading membership organization for irrigation companies and professionals.

According to a news release from the Irrigation Association, Dukes’ first exposure to the irrigation industry was in his uncle’s irrigated cornfield. He has almost exclusively worked in irrigation research and education throughout his career and has been active with the Irrigation Association since 2001.  Serving in the  Smart Water Application Technologies group of the IA, he developed the rain sensor test protocol used to test a variety of commercially available products.

Michael Dukes.  Photo taken 02/11/16.

In addition, Dukes has been a member of the Irrigation Show Technical Program Committee since 2006 and has served as vice chair and chair of that committee. He has won many awards and honors for his work, including the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers Fellow in 2017 and the Irrigation Foundation Excellence in Education Award in 2014.

ABE at UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center 100th Anniversary

John K. Schueller, ABE affiliate professor, (right) receives a plaque as an invited speaker at the Citrus Research and Education Center’s 100th Anniversary celebration during Distinguished CREC Alumni Forum from Michael Rogers (left), director of UF CREC

ABE Affiliate Professor John K. Schueller was an invited speaker at the Distinguished CREC Alumni Forum as a part of the celebrations of the UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center’s 100th anniversary. It is UF’s first and biggest research and education center outside of Gainesville. Prof. Schueller’s presentation included descriptions of the cooperative research he has conducted with former ABE faculty Jodie Whitney, Bill Miller, Masoud Salyani, and Reza Ehsani at the CREC.

From left to right:  Jodie Whitney, Masoud Salyani, Bill Miller, Larry Parsons

Former UF ABE faculty members Jodie Whitney, Masoud Salyani, and Bill Miller were also in attendance at the CREC anniversary celebration. All three are enjoying retirement and recently celebrated Jodie’s 80th birthday. They are shown at the center with fellow CREC retiree, Larry Parsons.

To learn more about the UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center, watch this video presented by UF/IFAS.