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Young scientist with X factor

PhD student Cecilie Hermansen from the Department of Agroecology has won the prize for the best student presentation at a large international conference in the United States.

2016.01.28 | Janne Hansen

PhD student Cecilie Hermansen won the student prize for her presentation in a competition at a large international conference in the USA. Photo: Janne Hansen

It is not only in Tour de France, Wimbledon and various talent contests that young people compete in being best at what they do. Young scientists compete too – and in that area PhD students from the Department of Agroecology shine particularly brightly.


The latest star in that sky is PhD student Cecilie Hermansen, who won the student prize for her presentation at the annual international conference of soil science at which there were more than   4,000 researchers, professionals, teachers and students. The conference, which was organized by the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America and Soil Science Society of America, was held in Minneapolis, Minnesota in USA 15-18 November 2015.


Cecilie Hermansen competed in the competition without ever having seen how it takes place and without ever having tried to present a poster. Nevertheless, she was a strong winner.


- It was a no-brainer. She will become a great scientist, says one of the judges, professor Ole Wendroth from the University of Kentucky, who remarked that her performance was outstanding.   

Competition in two stages

The first part of the competition included giving a speed talk in three minutes and with a maximum of two slides. Thereafter two minutes were set aside for questions. There was a full house during this part of the competition with listeners that included the anonymous judges.


The second part of the competition took place later on the same day in the poster hall and lasted about two hours. During this time Cecilie stood by her poster and explained it to the people who dropped by – which once again included the anonymous judges.


- It was the first time I have tried to present a poster so it was somewhat of a challenge in the beginning but after a while, as I repeated the message in the course of the two hours, it went better and better, says Cecilie.


Evaluation of her presentations took into consideration how good she was to boil her message down to the bare essentials and make it comprehensible orally, in her slides and in her poster. Besides the honour, a monetary gift and a book, Cecilie has also gained other things from the competition. .


- It was very educational to have to reduce the explanation of my work to the most important principles and to tell about a complex subject in a few words. It was a positive experience and nice to receive questions and critique. I can use the questions that popped up to improve my way of explaining things the next time I write an article. I also believe that the result of the competition contributes to asserting my name, thus opening doors of opportunity, says Cecilie.


Cecilie Hermansen is employed in the Department of Agroecology under the supervision of Professor Lis Wollesen de Jonge and Postdoc Maria Knadel. She is working on developing a model that with the aid of near infrared spectroscopy can predict various soil properties, which are otherwise difficult to measure with traditional methods. This could, for example, be the surface area in a soil sample, the soil’s water repellency, or its ability to bind pesticides. 





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