Geography Ph.D. Student Earns Prestigious Soil Science Award

June 21, 2022

Chris BaishCongratulations to Christopher Baish, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Geography, Environment and Spatial Sciences at Michigan State University, for earning the 2022 Pedology Division Award from the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA). The award is presented annually to a single candidate nominated for an outstanding contribution to the field of pedology, or the study of the origin and formation of soils, within the last three years.

Baish was nominated for this prestigious award, open to division members in any career stage, by his Ph.D. Advisor, University Distinguished Professor and SSSA Fellow Dr. Randy Schaetzl. In particular, Schaetzl cited Baish for his research on glossic features genesis in soils of northern Michigan. The award committee declared that contributions from this work represent significant advances in the development of methods and techniques that open the door to a better understanding of pedological mechanisms. The article, entitled “New insights into the origin and evolution of glossic features in coarse-textured soils in northern lower Michigan (USA),” was published in Volume 85 (2021) of the Soil Science Society of America Journal.

In conjunction with the award, Baish has been invited to present the work at the “Advancing Pedology Colloquium” at the joint International Annual Meeting of the American Society of Agronomy, the Crop Science Society of America, and the SSSA. The gathering serves as the premier international scientific meeting that brings together leading and emerging scientific leaders from industry, government agencies, and academic institutions working to advance agronomic, crop and soil sciences. The meeting will take place this year from November 6-9 in Baltimore, Maryland. 

Chris Baish conducting research for his thesis.

Baish is a Physical Geographer with an interest in studying landscape history and dynamics, primarily through the evaluation of soil genesis and geomorphology. Prior to arriving at MSU for his graduate studies, he earned a B.A. in Environmental Geography from the University of Northern Iowa in 2017. After receiving an M.S. from the Department in 2020, Baish decided to stay on at MSU and pursue doctoral studies. Early in his Ph.D. program, however, Baish took a yearlong hiatus in 2021 to take advantage of an impressive opportunity to work as a researcher at the renowned Desert Research Institute (DRI) in Reno, Nevada. Having returned to East Lansing earlier this year, Baish continues to serve as an Adjunct Associate Researcher in the Division of Earth and Ecosystem Sciences at DRI while he works to complete his Ph.D.