The Musser International Turfgrass Foundation has selected Phillip L. Vines as the 2019 Award of Excellence recipient.
The award is given to outstanding Ph.D. candidates who, in the final phase of their graduate studies, demonstrate overall excellence throughout their doctoral program in turfgrass research. Vines received a grant of $35,000 from the foundation.
Vines completed his B.S. degree in agronomy from Mississippi State University. He went on to earn his M.S. from Mississippi State University in plant pathology. Additionally, he received an M.S. from Rutgers University in statistics. He is on track to receive his Ph.D. from Rutgers in plant breeding and genomics and wrote his dissertation on “Molecular Breeding Tools for Improving Morphological Traits and Biotic and Abiotic Stress Responses in Perennial Ryegrass.”
“It is an extreme honor to be selected for this prestigious award,” Vines said. “The list of past recipients is an incredible collection of leading scientists in our field. I am excited about my future in the turfgrass industry and my goal is to exemplify the true meaning of the Award of Excellence, which was first demonstrated by Professor Musser.”
After graduation, Vines plans to become an assistant professor of plant breeding where he can focus on developing improved turfgrass cultivars for use throughout the world.
“The application qualifications are very high for the doctoral candidates that apply for the Foundation’s Award of Excellence, so all of the applicants are of the highest caliber,” Musser Turfgrass Foundation President Frank Dobie said. “We strive to select the one candidate that we feel is the best of the best.”
The criteria for selecting award recipients include graduate work, academic record, dissertation, publications, leadership and extracurricular activities. To date, awards have been granted to doctoral students from Arizona, Auburn, Cornell, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina State, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Michigan State, Rutgers, Tennessee and Texas A&M.