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Nation’s Top Weed Scientists Recognized by Their Peers

WESTMINSTER, Colorado – May 2, 2022 – The Weed Science Society of America (WSSA) and its affiliates have recently singled out a dozen of the nation’s most accomplished weed scientists for Fellows Awards – a recognition honoring their outstanding contributions to the field.

“Those honored join a long line of professionals who have advanced the weed science discipline through innovation, research, teaching, publishing and outreach,” says Anita Dille, Ph.D., president of WSSA. “We are proud to call them our colleagues.”

The awards were presented during the most recent annual meeting of each organization, as listed below:

Weed Science Society of America (WSSA)

David Monks, Ph.D., is currently associate director of the N.C. Agricultural Research Service at North Carolina State University and director of the North Carolina IR-4 Field Research Center. He has been a leader in developing new strategies for controlling weeds in vegetables and fruit crops and in contributing research to support many new herbicide registrations. He previously held roles in extension, research and teaching and had statewide responsibilities for weed control in vegetable and small fruit crops through the IR-4 Field Residue Program. Students he has advised or coached have won more than 70 awards.


Patrick Tranel, Ph.D., is a faculty member and associate head of the Department of Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois. He is internationally recognized for his weed science molecular and genomics research and for his contribution to our understanding of the evolution and mechanisms of herbicide resistance. He serves on the editorial boards of three journals and is an associate editor for the journal Weed Science. He also has contributed significantly to the training of future practitioners – introducing approximately 1,000 undergraduate students to the fundamentals of weed science.


North Central Weed Science Society (NCWSS)

Aaron Hager, Ph.D., is an associate professor of extension weed science at the University of Illinois. In that role, he is responsible for weed biology and management research in corn and soybean production systems. His research focuses on the biology and management of weed species that are common in Illinois agronomic crops. He says his mission is to increase crop production by developing and implementing sustainable, integrated weed management programs and by identifying and managing herbicide resistance in aggressive agronomic weeds.


Eric Spandl, Ph.D., is a senior manager with Winfield United. He is responsible for business development, relationships with key partners and the Spray Application Lab. He has made a significant commitment to both NCWSS and WSSA by serving on multiple committees – from strategic planning and finance to steering and policy. He also served on the committee charged with delivering the first-ever online NCWSS meeting in 2020. He has contributed to numerous professional and industry publications as an author or co-author.


Northeastern Weed Science Society (NEWSS)

Rakesh S. Chandran, Ph.D., is an extension specialist and professor at West Virginia University. He is a former president of the NEWSS and a winner of the organization’s 2020 Distinguished Service Award. He was instrumental in organizing the first Northeastern Plant Pest and Soil Conference in 2016 – successfully negotiating with multiple regional science organizations on the format and content of the conference. The event has become a positive, inclusive and unifying force, recognized for its multidisciplinary approach and for highlighting varying perspectives related to pest management.


Southern Weed Science Society (SWSS)

Peter Dotray, Ph.D., is weed science chair and extension weed specialist with Texas Tech University, Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service – Lubbock.  In addition to teaching both undergraduate and graduate courses, he conducts crop-related weed control research. As an extension specialist, he supports a 20-county area with 3.5 million acres of cotton crops. He has authored or co-authored numerous journal articles, book chapters, abstracts and proceedings, technical publications and popular articles. He also has delivered hundreds of presentations and seminars for growers and other professionals. 


Eric Prostko, Ph.D., is a professor and extension weed specialist at the University of Georgia.  He is responsible for the statewide weed science programs in field corn, peanut, soybean, sunflower, grain sorghum, canola, sesame, pearl millet and winter pea – commodities valued at more than $1.5 billion. He has conducted more than 1,100 field trials and has delivered nearly 1,300 educational presentations at local county crop production meetings, extension agent trainings and other industry-sponsored events.


Western Society of Weed Science (WSWS)

Andrew Kniss, Ph.D., is a department head and professor of weed science at the University of Wyoming and a former president of WSWS. His basic and applied research is focused on sustainable weed management in diversified agronomic cropping systems of the region. His efforts to develop and optimize statistical analyses have influenced publications, manuals and software packages that are likely to be widely used by future generations of weed scientists. In addition to serving in multiple board and committee roles with WSWS and WSSA, he has served as an associate editor for the WSSA journal Weed Technology.


Richard Zollinger, Ph.D., is a product development manager for AMVAC Chemical Company and a previous member of the academic team at North Dakota State University. His relevant, high-quality research and expertise in adjuvants have made him an in-demand speaker both in the U.S. and abroad – able to tailor information to both scientific and lay audiences. As a former North Dakota liaison to the IR-4 program, he drafted many registration requests to benefit growers. Now he continues to promote grower access to proper use of herbicides through herbicide registration efforts at AMVAC.


Aquatic Plant Management Society (APMS)

Honorary members are the APMS equivalent of the Fellows awards presented by WSSA and its regional affiliates. Three individuals have recently received this top recognition.


Kurt Getsinger, Ph.D., is a research biologist for the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center – focusing on effective management of submersed, floating and emergent invasive species. He serves as a technical advisor for more than 30 federal, state and international water resource and aquatic plant management agencies, including the IR-4 Project Aquatics Committee and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Pesticide Programs. He holds faculty appointments at Mississippi State, North Carolina State and Portland State universities and chairs the Technical Advisory Committee of the Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Foundation.


Terry Goldsby, M.S., has dedicated 49 years of service to aquatic plant research and management. His professional career began as a research botanist for the Tennessee Valley Authority and eventually led him to launch his own company, Aqua Services. Today the firm provides lake and pond management services across 11 southeastern states and three countries. Goldsby first joined APMS in 1974 and has held multiple leadership positions through the years.


John Rodgers, Ph.D., is a professor of ecotoxicology at Clemson University where his research focuses on aquatic plants and ecosystems. He serves as a science advisor to the Environmental Protection Agency. He also is a member of the science advisory board for the Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Foundation and of the science advisory panel for the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement. He is a former president of APMS.


About the Weed Science Society of America

The Weed Science Society of America, a nonprofit scientific society, was founded in 1956 to encourage and promote the development of knowledge concerning weeds and their impact on the environment. The Society promotes research, education and extension outreach activities related to weeds, provides science-based information to the public and policy makers, fosters awareness of weeds and their impact on managed and natural ecosystems, and promotes cooperation among weed science organizations across the nation and around the world.  For more information, visit www.wssa.net.


Press Contact:                                                      

Lee Van Wychen 

Executive Director of Science Policy

National & Regional Weed Science Societies

[email protected]