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Alum Phoebe Ferguson ’17 receives high praise for research video

Student researchers collect soil samples at Greenbrier Farms in Easley, S.C. (Photo by Phoebe Ferguson).

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth thousands more—especially when it comes to understanding scientific concepts and experiments.

The Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE), a scientific journal in video format, held its first ever “Film Your Research” video contest in which researchers worldwide were invited to produce two-minute videos of their projects. A film by 2017 Earth and Environmental Sciences (EES) graduate Phoebe Ferguson, “Soil Sampling in the South,” won critical acclaim as one of the top 15 favorites amid the hundreds of videos entered for the competition.

Among the top 10 finalists and the 15 critically-acclaimed videos, only two were submitted by undergraduates, Ferguson’s being one of those.

JoVE allows scientists, educators, and students to see the intricate details of cutting-edge experiments rather than read them in text articles, with the goal to maximize productivity, efficiency and successful outcomes for STEM research.

Said EES professor Brannon Andersen, “This recognition shows the great creativity of our students and the importance of undergraduate research as a high-impact experience at Furman.”

Ferguson’s clip is about research conducted at Greenbrier Farm in Easley by Ferguson and Emily Kirby ’17, who were assisted by Furman junior and Sustainability Science major Miles Hauser. The study was an outcome of a grant from the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) organization, part of the United States Department of Agriculture. The grant was awarded last year to EES professors Andersen and Courtney Quinn, and principal investigator Biology professor John Quinn.

Ferguson gives special thanks to these professors and EES professor Suresh Muthukrishnan for the drone footage, Roddy Pick at Greenbrier Farms for providing access to the farmland for the last decade, Furman Watershed Research Technician Lori Nelson, and finally, shout outs to Robert George for music and Furman University Communications for video clips.

Ferguson is finishing a Geological Society of America internship in Montana as the Groundwater Program Assistant with the Forest Service (Minerals and Geology Management). She plans to seek employment in Montana following the internship. For next year, Ferguson is applying to graduate school and will pursue a National Geographic/Fulbright Fellowship.

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