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Graduate School Newsletter - March 2024

Swas Kaushal

Student Spotlight

A graduate student’s time and energy extends far beyond the classroom. This statement is extremely true for Ph.D. student, Swas Kaushal. Originally from Punjab, India, Swas came to SDSU to continue his studies in Plant Science under the supervision of Dr. Sunish Sehgal. Swas’s deep interest in wheat breeding and crop enhancement, cultivated by growing up in the breadbasket of India, fueled his desire to explore the crop further.

Swas’s research aims to revolutionize wheat breeding methodologies by harnessing cutting-edge technologies such as High-Throughput Phenotyping (HTP) and machine learning. The ultimate focus lies in exploring the potential of HTP traits to enhance both genomic and phenomic predictions in winter wheat, thereby facilitating timely and informed decisions within the wheat breeding program. Swas aims to optimize the effectiveness of the models and facilitate informed decision-making throughout the breeding process. Not surprisingly, Swas’s efforts have not gone unrecognized. He has received the Gerald O. Mott Award from the Crop Science Society of America, the Edgar S. McFadden Graduate Student Scholarship, International Arid Lands Consortium Program Fund and the AG2PI travel grant for his work.

Swas Kaushal

Beyond the laboratory, Swas stays busy! He has presented his research in numerous conferences, notably the esteemed Plant and Animal Genome (PAG) conference and National Association of Plant Breeders (NAPB). Swas is also a certified Unmanned Aerial Systems pilot and an active member of the Drone Club. In doing so, Swas has been able to showcase his research across the state. “These experiences have allowed me to engage directly with stakeholders in the agricultural community, sharing insights and exchanging ideas to further advance wheat breeding and crop improvement efforts,” he shares. He has also assumed leadership roles, serving as President of the Plant Science Graduate Student Association and Vice-Captain and Treasurer within the SDSU Cricket Team and Club. Additionally, he’s also had the privilege of mentoring four undergraduate students while at SDSU.

Following graduation, Swas’s career aspirations revolve around sustaining his role as a dedicated researcher committed to tackling the pressing issues of global food security. “I firmly believe that leveraging data science tools, machine learning algorithms, and artificial intelligence will be pivotal in revolutionizing plant breeding practices,” he shares. “I seek to contribute significantly to the development of innovative and sustainable solutions for enhancing crop productivity and resilience in the face of changing climatic conditions and increasing food demand.”

Awards and Scholarships

Distinguished Innovation & Creative Work Award

The SDSU Graduate School is seeking to recognize outstanding creativity, impact and innovation in all disciplines offered at SDSU. This award includes original works accepted by the university "in lieu of thesis" - including non-thesis papers, projects, portfolios, media, computer software, etc. Nominations should be made by the student who is completing either B, C or D options or a DNP student.

Submission requirements include:

  • Completion of electronic nomination form.
  • A non-technical summary prepared by the nominee (2 pages max) describing the research, impact, innovation and/or benefit to the field and its significance.
  • A nomination letter from the major adviser and/or faculty member who can speak to the student’s contributions to the discipline.
  • An updated resume or curriculum vita.

Nominations must be submitted electronically via the MyState submission form. Deadline: April 4, 2024.

To submit your nomination form, log into MyState and click the Dashboard tab. Under the forms portlet, click "Distinguished Innovation and Creative Work Award".

The SDSU Distinguished Dissertation Award recognizes a doctoral student who has completed a dissertation representing original work that makes an unusually significant contribution to their discipline. There are two broad fields of competition: Mathematics, Physical Sciences and Engineering; and the Social Sciences OR Biological and Life Sciences, and Humanities and Fine Arts. If a dissertation is multi- or interdisciplinary in nature, a significant portion of the work must be comprised by at least one of the 2022 fields of competition. The effective date of the degree awarded, or the completion of doctoral degree requirements and dissertation, must be within the period of July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2024, inclusive, for each nominee selected. Such degree award or completion is to be confirmed by the Graduate School. The award recipient will be selected by a committee of graduate faculty. SDSU awardee’s dissertation will also be submitted to the national CGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Awards competition. Deadline: April 11, 2024

Submit a Nomination

Upcoming Events

You can begin GPA at any time during your graduate career. The deadline each year to complete and receive the GPA certificate is the second Friday of April, and awards will be presented at our annual Graduate Student Recognition Event. For Spring 2024, the deadline is April 12.

To showcase the innovative work of SDSU graduate students, the Graduate School will be sponsoring Graduate Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity Day (GRSCAD) on April 23, 2024. The day will begin with a featured speaker/presentation, followed by graduate student poster presentations, culminating with the Graduate Student Recognition Event.

The event is open to ALL graduate students, regardless of discipline or type of degree being earned. Students not completing a thesis or research paper are welcome to present on a project, portfolio, written work or any other type of creative activity. A group of faculty judges will select the top 2 posters to receive awards.

The deadline to register for the event is Friday, April 12, 2024. Graduate students will need to provide a brief abstract of the project, as well as other pertinent information. Students interested in giving an oral presentation during the featured speaker portion should also indicate this on the registration form.

GRSCAD Registration Form

Important Upcoming Dates

  • March 22, 2024 - Request to Participate Form Due (Summer/Fall 2024 Graduates ONLY)
  • April 12, 2024 - Final Oral Exam Completed
  • April 26, 2024 - Thesis/Dissertation Deposited to the Graduate School

Check out the Graduate Assistantship Opportunities.

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