FABE Capstone Students Investigate Soil Moisture Monitoring For Tanzanian Farmers

jagudelo General, Student Activities

GWI is working with Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering (FABE) team to work on an exciting Soil Moisture capstone project under adviser, Dr. Margaret Kalcic and course adviser, Patrick Sours.

The team’s goal is to help Tanzanian farmers determine when and how much to irrigate their fields to improve their crop yields. As a part of the capstone project, the team tests various methods and tools used in the agricultural world that measure soil moisture content in order to obtain more information.

Some of the challenges the team has faced while planning this project include limitations of technology since the users do not have consistent access to electricity, computers, resources for learning how to operate equipment, supplies for replacement parts, or limited knowledge of the English language. Despite the logistical obstacles, the soil moisture group still sees their capstone project as an exciting opportunity to address challenges in the field.

The group wants to have an impactful engineering project that put college coursework into a real-world context. Students describe their FABE participation as a rewarding experience because they have the opportunity to work closely with the natural world. Students get to consider and address problems plaguing our world’s ecosystems while using engineering principles that their education has afforded them.

“I want to use engineering tools to improve quality of life with sustainability and the environment in mind.  I was looking through the OSU majors list and FABE caught my eye. I’ve always been an outdoorsy person and I wanted to make a career of working with our environment. When I saw I could apply engineering principles to what I loved, I was sold. I got involved in FABE because its an area I could go into that can greatly help many hardworking people while also being an area that is growing, developing and changing rapidly right now.” says Craig Bennett, a member of the soil moisture capstone team.

After finishing his capstone project, Craig hopes to find a job that allows him to build on what he has learned so far, specifically in the specializations of humanitarian engineering, bioprocess engineering, or ecosystems design and restoration. Like many of the soil moisture project members, Craig wants to promote sustainability.

“Whatever it is I do, I would like to serve the environment or other people in some way. I hope to graduate and apply the knowledge and skills I’ve gained throughout my experience to help improve the environment by improving water management in agriculture.”

Thank you for all your hard work and research soil moisture team!