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Graduate student places in final three of student paper competition

Anna Hodge (left) accepts her award for her paper, "“Profile Estimation of Soil Organic Carbon and Total Nitrogen using Visible and Near Infrared Reflectance Spectroscopy," at the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers annual conference in Louisville, Ky., in early August.

Anna Hodge, a graduate student in civil and environmental engineering, was one of three finalists in the 2011 K.K. Barnes Student Paper Competition. Papers from all over the U.S. and Canada were entered into the competition.

Hodge’s paper, titled, “Profile Estimation of Soil Organic Carbon and Total Nitrogen using Visible and Near Infrared Reflectance Spectroscopy,” reported on a project in which she used the optical reflectance characteristics of soils to help define soil parameters.

The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) sponsored the contest, the objective of which is to encourage undergraduate students in the preparation of better technical papers on subjects in the agricultural, food or biological engineering field.

Hodge and the other two finalists gave oral presentations at the ASABE annual international meeting in Louisville, Ky., in early August. Hodge said interesting seminars and networking opportunities were also offered at the gathering.

“The meeting was the coolest part,” Hodge said. “At the convention, there were lots of seminars, and I met some students from universities in Texas and California.

“It was nice to be exposed to people working in that kind of engineering profession.”

Hodge heard about the competition through Kenneth Sudduth, an MU research agricultural engineer, and entered not expecting anything more than to learn more about writing research papers. Hodge was informed in late spring that she had been named a finalist.

Hodge said she was surprised, but had plenty of time to prepare for the presentation.

Founded in 1907, the ASABE is an organization that advocates a sustainable future. The contest is intended to help undergraduate students in their writing of technical papers on topics geared toward ASABE members and related industries. Hodge’s paper was based on research performed in her senior year of undergraduate studies.