On soil fertility, historical trauma and fungal ecology

Monday, November 19, 2018
Dissertation Year Fellows

Andrea Jilling
Program/Department: Earth & Environmental Science

Andrea Jilling studied botany at McGill University and worked on a series of farms – first, at a rooftop greenhouse in Montreal, and then at a vegetable farm in southwestern New Hampshire – before starting her Ph.D. at UNH.

Her research looks into the ways we define and measure soil fertility. She is interested in how plants and microbes (microscopic organisms) work together to release nutrients that are otherwise not immediately availability to plants.

“Microbes can transform soil organic matter into a form plants can use, but it is challenging to predict when, how, and where this transformation takes place,” she said.

Jilling hopes her research will improve our ability to measure soil nutrient supply and help reduce our reliance on fertilizers. After UNH, she would like to build a program bridging fundamental and applied research on soil-plant-microbe interactions to benefit current and future sustainable agricultural systems.

She’s grateful to the Graduate School for the recognition and the time, mental space and financial support the Dissertation Year Fellowship provides so she can commit wholeheartedly to the final stages of her research and writing. She plans to graduate May 2019.

Jin Lee
Program/Department: English

Jin Lee’s dissertation focuses on 20th and 21st century Asian American novels and graphic narratives in view of trauma theory, comics theory and world literature.

She’s particularly interested in writers and characters who reference historical trauma in relation to tales and people real or imagined, from Fa Mu Lan to Godzilla.

“As scholars note, history inherently has blind spots. Written by the victors of major global conflicts, historical narratives are often silent about the oppressed. However, literary and graphic arts can effectively give voice to the voiceless and offer insight into unremarked