Oklahoma State University’s Garey Fox has been named the 2009 recipient of the James A. Whatley Award for Meritorious Service in Agricultural Sciences.

The award was initiated in 1982. It is presented annually to the top young scientist in OSU’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, which is comprised of the college and two statewide agencies: the Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station system and the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service.

An associate professor in the department of biosystems and agricultural engineering, Fox’s research focuses on an area key to all of Oklahoma and the region: factors affecting surface and ground water quality and use. He is a registered professional engineer in the state of Oklahoma.

“Garey Fox literally has everything you look for in an outstanding researcher,” said Ron Elliott, head of OSU’s department of biosystems and agricultural engineering. “Garey always seems to know what is coming up on the horizon, whether it’s the next day, next month or next year.”

Fox’s cutting-edge work has earned him a national and international reputation for excellence. He has been invited to speak on his research by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the European Union and private industry.

“He was by far the youngest presenter at the June special Centennial Session on Soil and Water Engineering during the annual meeting of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers,” Elliott said.

Fox has brought in $1.1 million in grant funds as a principal or co-principal investigator to support his research and graduate student programs. Though Fox is in only the sixth year of his faculty career, he has already served as lead investigator on three different USDA grants.

Ramesh Kanwar, professor and chair of Iowa State University’s Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, wrote a nomination letter citing Fox as being “among the select few rising stars and very best soil and water engineers within our land-grant academic institutions.”

“I am amazed to see the potential of this young man who is willing to develop collaborative research projects with his peers at such an early stage of his career, and above all is willing to share his grant funds to build future healthy working relationships,” Kanwar said. “In my career of more than 30 years, I have not seen a collaborating faculty member who is as good as Dr. Fox.”

Fox has published 30 papers in refereed journals and has four additional papers in the review process. In addition, he has authored 25 conference proceedings articles and has presented more than 40 papers at national and international conferences.

“Though the Whatley Award recognizes research accomplishments, it’s also important to note that Garey is a superb adviser and mentor to graduate students, an outstanding teacher and serves our department in the vitally important role of coordinator for our Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology undergraduate efforts,” Elliott said.

Fox joined the OSU department of biosystems and agricultural engineering in 2006, after serving on the faculty of the University of Mississippi for three years.

He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agricultural engineering at Texas A&M University in 1998 and 2000, respectively. Fox earned his doctoral degree in civil engineering at Colorado State University in 2003.