URSA Engage Program 2013
Position Descriptions for Students to Apply For


Faculty Name & Department/School: Dr. Maria Dragila / Dept. Crop and Soil Science


Research Project Title: Protecting our Soil for Future Generations: A study of 6 agronomic practices 


Project Overview: 
Students will measure the long term effect of 6 different agronomic practices on soil physical properties. They will go to the field site to collect soil samples and soil data, analyze these samples in the laboratory, generate Excel spread sheets with the data, generate graphs and evaluate the data. They will generate a project report delineating which practices had the best or worst effect on long term soil health. This project is an excellent opportunity to learn field and laboratory techniques in soil science and to obtain training of proper data handling and report generation.


What skills will students obtain in this project? 
Student will learn proper field sampling techniques and the use of various field equipment (bulk density sampler, penetrometer, infiltrometer). Student will learn how to collect data on a field/laboratory notebook, how to upload data onto Excel, how to make Excel calculations, and how to generate and evaluate graphs. Student will learn how to prepare a technical report.


Student research tasks: 

  1. Weekly group meetings.
  2. Field-site trips for data collection and sample extraction.
  3. Properly use field equipment (penetrometer, density sampler, infiltrometer)
  4. Conduct laboratory experiments (soil sieving, simple chemical analysis)
  5. Conduct data analysis using Excel software
  6. Generate report
  7. Timeline: Spring term will be dedicated to field data collection and laboratory analysis. Fall term will be dedicated to data analysis and report writing. There will be two field trips during fall to assess soil prior to planting.

Period of work - Spring and Fall


Number of hours per week expected of student:   10  


Preferred Faculty Contact Information: Maria.dragila@oregonstate.edu


(note - applications are NOT sent to mentors - see instructions)

q Yes    X  No:   Human Subjects 

q Yes    X  No:   Live Vertebrate Animals

q Yes    X  No:   Recombinant DNA Molecules Transgenic Plants or Animal, and/or Infectious Agents of Plants, Animals, or Humans

q Yes    X  No:   Ionizing Radiation

q Yes    X  No:   Chemical Carcinogens

q Yes    X  No:   Scuba Diving, Free Diving

q Yes    X  No:   Small Boating Operations


If you are interested in applying for this position, you MUST complete the student application HERE and email it to Dr. Kevin Ahern at ahernk@onid.orst.edu

Do NOT email your application to the faculty mentor.