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World-renowned Scientist Donald Sparks Speaks at FAMU

Visit to FAMU’s Campus Sparks Research Internship Partnership

The Florida A&M University (FAMU) College of Agriculture and Food Sciences (CAFS) recently hosted world-renowned scientist Donald Sparks, Ph.D., as a component of its 2014 lecture series.

Sparks is recognized internationally for his landmark research and writings on the kinetics and mechanisms of metal, oxyanion, and nutrient reactions at the biogeochemical interfaces. His pioneering studies on kinetic processes in soils and minerals include: the development of widely used and novel kinetic methods; the elucidation of rate-limiting steps and mechanisms over a range of spatial and temporal scales; and the coupling of real-time kinetic studies with in-situ molecular scale investigations.

“Dr. Sparks lecture at FAMU was significant to our administrators, faculty and students as they were afforded the honor of having a world-class scientist, arguably the best soil/environmental chemist in the world, come to CAFS to share his vast knowledge,” said CAFS Dean Robert Taylor, Ph.D., about the impact of Sparks’ April 28 presentation.

Sparks’ lecture covered the intensive research and undergraduate/graduate internship opportunities held at the University of Delaware’s Environmental Institute (DENIN), where he serves as director. Research and projects conducted at DENIN include: global food system threats, food security, soil contamination, and arsenic and water quality. Among the current projects being conducted at the institute is a community-based participatory research program within a neighborhood in Wilmington, Del. experiencing legacy contamination and many interconnected issues often experienced by low-income, African-American communities in America’s cities.

As a result of Sparks’ visit, students from FAMU were offered an opportunity to participate in internships at the research institute this summer and for future semesters.

“We are excited that Sparks, a person who has been awarded numerous national and international awards in the field of soil/environmental chemistry, including the Einstein Award by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, took the time to recruit students from FAMU to engage in summer internships and possible graduate training at a cutting-edge, integrated science and engineering facility,” Taylor said.
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