The 2013 joint meeting of the Society of Wetland Scientists South Atlantic Chapter (SWSSAC), Florida Association of Environmental Soil Scientists (FAESS), and Southwest Chapter of the Florida Association of Environmental Professionals (SWFAEP) held at the Embassy Suites in Tampa concluded on Wednesday October 9.
“Our conference demonstrated how three professional organizations with similar goals yet different individual specialties can come together and encourage thoughtful discussion and networking on a variety of technical and policy issues,” said Matthew Miller, Chair of Southwest Chapter of the Florida Association of Environmental Professionals and event co-organizer.
“We are very proud that our event was attended by over 50 students representing colleges and universities throughout the southeastern United States and Taiwan,” added Miller.
The conference showcased three keynote speakers, contributed oral presentations in concurrent sessions, a poster session with student awards, chapter and society business meetings, a student luncheon, social functions, soils and plant identification workshop, and field trips.
“The joint conference was an excellent opportunity for students interested in the environmental field to interact with professionals in the public and private sectors,” said Cyndi Gates, Sr. Land Management Specialist with the Southwest Florida Water Management District and student poster session facilitator for the conference.
The First Place $400 grant award winner was Alexandra Rozin from the University of Florida with her research “A comparison of analytical laboratory and optical in situ methods for the measurement of nitrate in north Florida water bodies”.
The Second Place $200 grant award winner was Damian Menning from the University of South Florida whose research was on “Impacts of coastal spring discharge on a tidally influenced shallow marine estuary”.
The Third Place $100 grant award winner was Sean Sharp from the University of Florida with his research on “Relative elevation as main inhibitor of tidal salt marsh recovery following restoration”.
Gates notes that recipients excelled not only in conducting research but in effective communication of their findings. “These are critical traits that catch the attention of prospective employers”, she added.
Miller explained that the scholarship awards were made possible by the sponsors.“Thanks to our generous sponsors, we were able to provide $700 in scholarship awards to our student poster presenters,” said Miller.