Griffis competes for Team USA at international soil judging contest

by Judith Turk | School of Natural Resources

Kennadi Griffis
The University of Nebraska–Lincoln Soil Judging Team, including Kennadi Griffis (from left), Charlotte Brockman, Mason Schumacher and Mason Rutgers, poses for a photo after the National Collegiate Soil Judging Contest April 23 near Columbus, Ohio.
July 26, 2022

Lincoln, Neb. —University of Nebraska–Lincoln student Kennadi Griffis, a third-year environmental science major, with a concentration in soil science and a water science minor, will compete in the International Soil Judging Competition July 26-31 in Stirling, Scotland.

Griffis, of Lincoln, Nebraska, will be a member of Team USA, along with students from Virginia Tech, North Carolina State University and the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, and two coaches from Virginia Tech. She is the first student from Nebraska to earn a spot on the national team.

The contest is being held as part of the 2022 World Congress of Soil Science. Participants will receive training from soil experts in the United Kingdom and represent their respective countries in the contest. The event is hosted by the British Society of Soil Science on behalf of the International Union of Soil Science. Other countries sending teams to the contest include Korea, Hungary, Germany, Italy, U.K. and Spain. The U.S. team has been training together online throughout the summer.

Students will learn about the soils of Scotland, meet and network with soil scientists from around the world and compete on an international stage. Stirling, Scotland, is known as the “Gateway to the Highlands.” In Scotland, students will encounter Spodosols (colorful forest soils regarded as the most beautiful soils by many soil scientists) and Histosols (organic soils, such as those of peatlands).

Griffis earned a spot on Team USA by placing fourth individually in the 2022 National Collegiate Soils Contest sponsored by the Soil Science Society of America and hosted by The Ohio State University April 18–23 near Columbus, Ohio. The national contest included 84 individual students from 21 colleges and universities. Other University of Nebraska–Lincoln Soil Judging Team members include Charlotte Brockman, an agriculture and environmental science communication major; Johnathan Kelly, a water science and environmental restoration science double major; Mason Rutgers, an agronomy major; and Mason Schumacher, an environmental science major.

The team is coached by Judith Turk, a pedologist in the Conservation and Survey Division of natural resources, and Becky Young, a professor of practice in agronomy and horticulture.

Funding for Griffis’ trip has been provided through the Agronomic Science Foundation, as well as contributions from CASNR, the School of Natural Resources and the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture.

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