USA – Successes in exploring soilless soils

Brian Schulker’s research on soilless plant development systems has yielded some impressive results in his master’s degree and now in his PhD. Program with the Department of Gardening Science. Soil-growing culture is a major growth area (globally) and will be important for future food production in the near and distant future. Schulker’s work focuses on developing and testing new techniques to measure water retention, utilization, and efficiency, especially in soilless soils. His work has gained international recognition and analysis techniques. It is currently examining the services of a modern, load cell plant, weight-based modeling system to measure water use and loss in container production. In addition, Schuller’s maturity, professionalism, and work ethic have provided critical leadership for him and Dr. Brian Jackson’s general research laboratory for the past 2.5 years.

Brian Shukker

Sugar’s ultimate goal is to continue research and development in horticulture and work in soilless substrates.

What is your favorite experience in NC State and CALS?
No, they have the ability to learn to be humble, to be TA, and to be good teachers. Doing research and presenting at conferences is one aspect, but the art of teaching has always been a part of my lack of confidence. So if I had the ability to take bits and pieces of how to teach alongside professors and make my own teaching style, it might be the best thing I could learn while I was here.

What was your greatest achievement or success while in NC State and CALS?
I, President of P. Alpha Shi, have competed in national research competitions, and have been an active member of the Horticultural Division since 2018. My biggest achievement came this year when I was awarded the 2021 ASHS Outstanding Student Award.

What impact do you hope to have on your chosen field?
For some, the orchard is a nest in its own right, and soilless media is the subject of my narrow and sometimes less well-known research topic. I hope to use the knowledge I have acquired here to continue to push for a sustainable envelope in fruits and vegetables. Finally, our research here at universities is designed to find solutions to problems in the industry, but sometimes the connection can be broken. My goal is to continue to explore innovative techniques and solutions to the problems facing our industry globally, reducing waste as a whole.

How do you overcome the recent challenges of transitioning to online courses or lack of campus life?
The epidemic really affected how we went about research here in the NC State, and we weren’t able to be on campus to do any research for six months. The lack of campus life has reduced the constant excitement in the area and in the greenhouses. Small discussions and hard work might have been better for my productivity, but it just didn’t seem right. I look forward to seeing these halls in Kilgore sharing and having more fun than ever before, and seeing things slowly return to normal.

What did you appreciate most from the University and CALS?
NC State and CALS are a different community than I have ever experienced. Looking back on all the support I have received from professors and other students, it is difficult to think of choosing another university. When I was here in NC State, my favorite was the open-door policy and the constant flow of curiosity.

For more information –
North Carolina State University

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