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UW-Eau Claire Geology Students
Win Outstanding Paper Award from AGU

RELEASED: April 15, 2008

EAU CLAIRE — Two University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire geology students, December 2007 graduate Cale Anger, Spring Valley, and senior Anna Baker, Eau Claire, were recently notified that they had won an "Outstanding Student Paper Award" from the hydrology section of the American Geophysical Union for a poster and presentation they gave at the AGU fall conference in San Francisco, the largest gathering of geoscientists in the world.

Assistant professor of geology Dr. Katherine Grote said she was particularly proud of Anger and Baker because there is no undergraduate category in the competition, so the two were competing against master's and doctoral degree candidates.

The weeklong conference was broken down topically within the geosciences each day and had about 15,000 participants. Thousands of posters were presented at the conference and a series of oral presentations were given each day.

Anger as first author and Baker as second author presented their research, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, on "Experimental Estimation of the Penetration Depth of the GPR Groundwave" during the hydrogeology poster session.

"At first, it was incredibly intimidating presenting alongside graduate students and professionals in our field," said Baker. "Honestly, it didnt feel like a competition to me at all, because, as an undergraduate, I had no expectation of receiving any distinction for our work — which makes this award truly an honor," said Baker.

"I am extremely proud of Cale and Anna for their great work on this project and the way they presented their research at AGU," said Grote. "It is very rewarding that the scientific community recognizes the quality of the research they are doing here."

According to Baker, their research is developing techniques for using ground penetrating radar for a variety of agricultural applications. This includes using GPR for estimating soil conditions such as soil type, moisture content and nutrient levels. She explained that being able to read all of this information from one measurement could help farmers know where and how much to irrigate and fertilize, as well as what crops will perform the best on their fields based on the existing soil conditions.

"This poster detailed our work in its beginning stages with testing how deep into the soil column various frequencies of GPR are able to read," said Baker. "This is important in determining which frequency or combination of frequencies will provide the most useful soil profile."

Additionally, said Baker, their research could help reduce problems of over-irrigation and fertilization, which have serious environmental consequences in Wisconsin and throughout the United States.

-30-

NC/NW

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