College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences

Clemson graduate takes first in international soil judging contest


Brazil — Recent Clemson University graduate Anna Scott conquered the soil-judging world by placing first in the 3rd International Soil Judging Contest held in Seropédica, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  The contest took place Aug. 8-11.

Scott bested 48 competitors from eight different countries on her way to victory.

Recent Clemson alum Ann Scott (pink hat) took first in international soil judging competition.
Recent Clemson alum Ann Scott (pink hat) took first in international soil judging competition.

When Scott joined the Clemson Soil Judging Team in September 2017, she never imagined how much she would achieve within her first year of competing in soil competitions.

In her first contest at the Southeast Regional Contest, in Moscow, Tenn., Scott placed first overall individually. She then competed at the National Collegiate Soil Judging Contest, in Martin, Tenn., placing seventh overall and qualifying her to compete in Brazil.

Clemson’s soil judging team, “The Muddy Tigers,” is coached by Dara Park and Bill Smith, associate professor of soil and water dynamics and professor emeritus of soil science, respectively, in Clemson’s Plant and Environmental Sciences Department.

“When Anna called me to tell me she won, she asked me ‘Can you believe it?’ and I answered, ‘Yes, Anna, yes I can,’” Park said, “Anna is a remarkable young woman. She is a natural learner and is always giving herself new challenges and surpassing them. She is also a genuinely nice and unassuming person, who was always there to help a teammate.”

“Anna is an outstanding soil scientist. She has an exceptional ability to recognize, understand, describe the morphology and interpret soils on the landscape,” Smith added.

Scott’s trip to Brazil was funded by the Clyde McRay “Ray” Rauch, Sr. HD ’06 and Clyde McRay “Chip” Rauch, Jr. ’91 Endowed Memorial Student Enrichment Fund.

Ann Scott judging soil in Brazil.
Ann Scott judging soil in Brazil.

The endowment was established to support creative initiatives and experiential learning opportunities for students in the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences.

“I can’t thank Clemson enough for the support that they give their students. It feels even better to represent Clemson well at an international stage,” Scott said.

Scott credits her success to what she learned from Park and Smith.

“They both gave me a great foundation in soil classification and judging,” Scott said.

After conquering the soil judging world, Scott will begin pursuing a master’s degree at the Technical University of Munich in Germany through the Sustainable Resource Management program beginning in October.

“Because of soil judging I have decided to concentrate in soil science. Through soil judging, I have discovered a new interest in soil classification and pedology. My success in this competition has only grown my interest in the soil science field. After I graduate, I would like to pursue a career in environmental consulting­­­­—one that’s focused on soil,” Scott said.


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