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​Graduate Student Research Competition

Eligible graduate students (see requirements below) are invited to participate in the Graduate Student Research Award Competition. Students who do not wish to participate in the Graduate Student Research Award Competition or who are not able to be included in the Graduate Student Research Award Competition may choose to present their abstract as a non-competitive oral presentation or non-competitive or competitive poster presentation.  Abstracts should provide background information to clearly understand research needs, clear objectives, sufficient methods, results, and conclusions.

In order to give a presentation at the 2024 SD-APS virtual meeting, abstracts must be submitted and the abstract submission fee paid through the online abstract submission form by the abstract submission deadline (December 13, 2023). If you want to participate in the Graduate Student Research Award Competition, you must indicate on the submission form that you are submitting an abstract for an oral presentation and that you intend to participate in the Graduate Student Research Award Competition.  IN ADDITION, you must email a copy of your abstract, including the title, authors, and affiliations, as a single PDF to SD-APS Vice President, Bhabesh Dutta (, by December 13, 2023, and you must register for the meeting by January 18, 2024.  Only one abstract per presenter will be considered for the Graduate Student Research Award Competition. Students participating in the Graduate Student Research Award Competition may not participate in the Graduate Student Poster Competition. Students will be notified by January 26, 2024, if their abstract will be included in the Graduate Student Research Award Competition.

Awards for the first, second, and third place speakers will be presented. Honorable mention awards may also be given. In addition, the 1st place winner is eligible for additional travel funds to represent the Southern Division at the upcoming annual APS Meeting. (The Southern Division reserves the right to modify the travel award to attend and represent the Southern Division at the 2024 meeting if the meeting is not held in-person.)

Eligibility Requirements:  Students competing in the Graduate Student Research Award Competition must (1) either be enrolled as a regular student in a graduate program in the Southern Division or have been an enrolled student in a graduate program in the Southern Division within six months of the abstract submission deadline; (2) be a member in good standing of the Southern Division at the time of the presentation; (3) be sole or senior author of the research; and (4) present the research at a meeting of the Southern Division, APS.  The presentation must include research in plant pathology that has been performed while in pursuit of a degree at a college or university in the Southern Division.


Presentations of abstracts accepted for the Graduate Student Research Competition will be judged according to a ​ rubric.  


​Award Winners






​2023Durham, NC​1st​Matthew Cullen​University of Florida
​2nd​Renata Belisario​University of Kentucky
​3rd​Renzo Ramirez​University of Florida
​HM​Juanita Gil Bedoya​IICA
​HM​Jingya Yang​University of Florida
​2022​Chattanooga, TN
​1st​Tracy Hawk​University of Tennessee
​2nd​Maricel Gonzales​University of Georgia
​3rd​Usha Bhatta​University of Georgia
​HM​Adam Connor​Mississippi State University
Virtual​1st​​Andres Sanabria
​North Carolina State University
​2nd​Owen Hudson
​University of Georgia
​3rd​Kendall Johnson
​University of Georgia
​HM​Kimberly D'Arcangelo
​North Carolina State University
​HM​Madison Stahr
​North Carolina State University
​Charleston, S​C
​Tyler Smith
​University of Tennessee

​Ying-Yu Liao
​Univeristy of Florida

​Madison Stahr
​North Carolina State University

​Ravi Bika
​Tennessee State University

​Emily Boak
​Texas A&M
Gainesville, FL
​Madison McCulloch
​University of Kentucky

​​Matthew Aaron Tucker
​Mississippi State University

​3rd (tie)
​Kelsey Andersen
​University of Florida

​3rd (tie)
​Tracy Hawk
​University of Arkasas
Fayetteville, AR1stKelsey AndersenUniversity of Florida
2ndMaria Velez-ClimentUniversity of Florida
3rdJohn RidenourUniversity of Arkansas
HMJuliet Fultz WilkesClemson University
HMKathryn HaydonUniversity of Arkansas
HMRebecca SweenyLouisiana State University
2017College Station, TX1stPatricia SoriaUniversity of Florida
2ndJeffrey StandishUniversity of Georgia
3rdMason NewarkUniversity of Florida
2016Balm, FL1stEduardo Chagas Ferreira Da SilvaLouisiana State Univ, Agricultural Center
Jeffrey R. Standish
University of Georgia
3rdWhit AblesMississippi State University
HMJake C. FountainUniversity of Georgia
2015Atlanta, GA1stPhillip Vines Mississippi State Univ
2ndJeffrey StandishMississippi State Univ
3rdAlyssa KoehlerNorth Carolina State University
HMJake FountainUniversity of Georgia
HMCaroline LandAuburn University
HMKatie NeufeldNorth Carolina State University
HMPeng TianUniversity of Georgia
2014Dallas, TX1stJacob PriceTexas A&M Univ
2ndPhilip VinesMississippi State Univ
3rdKelly MorrisUniv of Georgia
HMMary Helen FergusonLouisiana State Univ
HMJuliet FultzUniv of Arkansas
2013Baton Rouge, LA1stRebecca MelansonLouisiana State Univ
2ndPhilip VinesMississippi State Univ
3rdAbraham FulmerUniv of Georgia
2012Birmingham, AL1st Felix FrancisLousiana State Univ
2nd Jake FountainLouisiana State Univ

Jing Zhou

(View Presentation)


Univ of Arkansas
2011Corpus Christi, TX1st PlaceBhabesh DuttaUniv of Georgia
2nd PlaceAndrea PayneOklahoma State Univ

3rd PlaceAshok ChandaLouisiana State Univ
 2010 Orlando, FL1st Place

Moytri Roy Chowdury
(View Presentation)

Univ of Arkansas 
  2nd PlaceTerry Spurlock University of Arkansas
  3rd Place Ashley ZearfossNorth Carolina State University
 2009Atlanta, GA1st PlaceBhabesh DuttaUniversity of Georgia
   2nd PlaceNicholas SekoraAuburn University
   3rd PlaceNicole WardLouisiana State University
 2008Dallas, TX1st PlaceJames KernsNorth Carolina State University
   2nd PlaceBrooke EdmundsNorth Carolina State University
3rd PlaceCruz TorresTexas A&M University
 2007Mobile, AL1st PlaceWeo-bo DongUniversity of Georgia
   2nd PlaceJeffrey WilsonTexas Tech University
   3rd PlaceAnthony AdesemoyeAuburn University
 2006Orlando, FL1st PlaceSilvinia GiammariaUniversity of Arkansas
  2nd Place Courtney GallupNorth Carolina State University
   3rd PlaceSamuel NjorogeClemson University
 2005Little Rock AR1st PlaceDamon SmithNorth Carolina State University
   2nd PlaceScott MonfortUniversity of Arkansas
   3rd PlaceJason WoodwardUniversity of Georgia

Click here for a list of Graduate Student Presentation Awardees 1967 to present.