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Robert Porch Wins the Roger Locandro Award for Outstanding Student in Natural Resources

Robert Porch

I started my Rutgers journey in 2016 intending to major in Statistics with a Biology minor. However, after being completely captivated by the ecology and evolution lectures in General Biology, I immediately reached out to the EENR department and transferred to SEBS during my second semester. Afterwards, I was welcomed by the faculty and my fellow students, especially by Dr. Myla Aronson, with whom I started to work in the spring of 2018. My research experiences developed further, and after my junior year, I spent the summer as a full-time NSF REU scholar in Dr. Britt Koskella’s lab at UC Berkeley. During those three months, I worked closely with postdoc Dr. Kyle Meyer examining the role of plant neighborhoods in microbial transmission. It was this experience that led to my interest in microbial ecology and to my goals of applying for graduate school in the fall.

This past year, for my George H. Cook honors thesis project, I worked with Dr. Aronson to study the phenotypic traits of the world’s most successful urban plant species. I was fortunate enough to present a poster of these data in Brazil at the University of São Paulo’s SIICUSP international symposium in November thanks to Rutgers’ SEBS International Programs and the coordination of Megan Francis and Hyunjin Yeo. I will be pursuing my passion for microbial ecology as a PhD student in Biology at the University of Oregon beginning this fall. I will always be grateful for the opportunities, guidance, and support that the EENR faculty have given me over these past four years, and I will carry all of the knowledge and experiences from my time as an EENR student with me to graduate school.

P.S. I am proud to say that, as of this month, I am now the first in my family to hold a college degree!

Roger R. Locandro

Roger R. Locandro is inseparable from the history of Cook College, now the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences. Locandro holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the College of Agriculture at Rutgers University as well as a Master of Science and Post Doctoral degrees in Botany and Ecology from the Graduate School-New Brunswick at Rutgers University. Born in New Brunswick, Dr. Locandro began his teaching career in 1956 as an instructor of vocational agriculture at Palmyra High School in Palmyra, New Jersey. While at Cook College and the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, Locandro served as a county agricultural and resource management agent, associate extension specialist, assistant dean, associate dean, dean of students, and professor and extension specialist in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Natural Resources. Locandro currently is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Natural Resources.

May 2020