Emily MacDonald at Unity CollegeMany of us look down and see only dirt, but Emily MacDonald and her mentors at Unity College study the soil and see the future — for Emily, for the planet, and for the discipline of soil science.

Emily MacDonald (‘19), an Earth and Environmental Science major at Unity College, recently became the first student in the College’s history to earn the Janet Engle Cormier Soil Science Scholarship from the Maine Association of Professional Soil Scientists (MAPSS). Education is a key part of MAPSS’ mission, for both its members and the public, to help advance the soil science profession and also tackle pressing issues.

Emily was recognized at the MAPSS annual meeting on Wednesday, March 7, at the Unity College Center for Performing Arts in Unity, Maine.

“Congratulations to Emily on this significant honor from MAPSS,” said Unity College President Dr. Melik Peter Khoury. “She is doing incredible work at Unity College, and it’s great to see her being recognized for that. It’s a testament not only to Emily’s dedication to her studies, but to the remarkable education and professors we have here at Unity College.”

“I’m so grateful for all of my professors’ help, especially the letters of recommendation, but also for MAPPS for presenting the scholarship,” said MacDonald. “It means that I’ll be able to really succeed in my field, and hopefully be able to join them for the future of soil science.”

One of those professors is Dr. Kevin Spigel, Professor of Geoscience and Director of Undergraduate Research at Unity College.

“Emily has a passion for soil science. She thrives on field and lab work, and has a bright future ahead of her,” said Dr. Spigel. “She can often be found in the Geo Lab taking hydrometer readings, calculating hydraulic conductivity, or performing any number of soil tests. Her education in soils combined with a growing interest in agricultural systems will undoubtedly prepare her for graduate school and a successful career in sustainable soils management.”

Emily’s academic advisor, Dr. Jim Killarney, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, agrees.

“Emily is a driven student who has a clear idea of her future career,” added Dr. Killarney. “She understands the hard work required to reach her goals and is successfully meeting the challenge.”

Sometimes the future is written in the stars, sometimes in tea leaves. For Emily MacDonald, the brightest future is written in the soil.

The Janet Engle Cormier Soil Science scholarship was first awarded 1997, in honor of Janet who was an active member of her local chapter of the Soil Conservation Society, and also served as President, Vice President, and Treasurer of MAPSS.