Three individuals from the Texas A&M University soil and crop sciences department will receive awards at the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America and Soil Science Society of America annual meetings Oct. 16-19 in San Antonio.

The awards and Texas A&M recipients are: Crop Science Society of America Fellow – Dr. Wayne Smith; Hank Beachell Future Leader Scholarship – Paige Graves; and the J. Fielding Reed Scholarship and the National Society of Consulting Soil Scientist Scholarship – Heather Watson.

Smith will join an elite group, as members of the society nominate worthy colleagues based on their professional achievements and meritorious service. Only 3 percent of the society’s active and emeritus members are elected Fellow.

Smith is a professor, associate department head and plant breeder in the department. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Auburn University, and doctorate from the University of Tennessee.

He teaches three courses and has directed 37 graduate students. His research focuses on cotton fiber quality improvement. He has released 121 improved germplasm lines and four cultivars. Smith is active in the Crop Science Society of America and the Beltwide Cotton Conferences.

“Dr. Smith has provided leadership in the cotton breeding world and this recognition – the highest by CSSA – is a tribute to the impact of his program,” said Dr. David Baltensperger, professor and head of the soil and crop sciences department.

Graves is a graduate student at Texas A&M University in the department of horticultural sciences. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M in agronomy. Her research focuses primarily on root growth of pecan seedlings in response to nitrogen fertilizer rates.

The Hank Beachell Future Leader Scholarship, which Graves was awarded, is funded through the Agronomic Science Foundation. It was established in recognition of Henry A. Beachell’s commitment to advancing the knowledge of agriculture through his work in rice breeding and development. The purpose is to expand the agricultural knowledge of undergraduate students participating in activities that enhance their university studies.

Watson, who is picking up two awards, is a senior agronomy major at Texas A&M. She will graduate in December and plans to pursue a master’s degree in soil science. She has an undergraduate research project in soil physics working with electromagnetic induction to identify subsurface variation of soil properties associated with gilgai, a soil topographic feature associated with some soil types in Texas, Australia and Africa.

Her first award, the J. Fielding Reed Scholarship, is presented to an outstanding undergraduate senior pursuing a career in soil or plant sciences. It was established in recognition of Reed's life-long commitment to advancing the knowledge of agriculture through his work in soil science and natural resources, and his passion for educating students. It is funded through the Agronomic Science Foundation.

Watson’s second award, the National Society of Consulting Soil Scientists Scholarship, was established to encourage undergraduate students to major in soil science degree programs. The scholarship recruits top quality students into nationally recognized soil science programs to meet the expanding and diverse needs of this field.