Melissa Motew culminated several years of hard work on her Ph.D. dissertation with a fantastic presentation in front of a packed house at the Wisconsin Energy Institute on May 8. During the closed door defense with her five member Ph.D. committee (which consisted of myself and fellow UW-Madison professors Monica Turner, Steve Carpenter, Steve Loheide II, and Pete Nowak), she further demonstrated her in-depth knowledge of agroecological systems, P cycling, and the impacts of climate change and land use/land management decision-making on ecosystem services in the Yahara watershed over the next several decades.
While this was an extremely joyous and happy occasion, it is always bittersweet as an advisor to watch our graduate students move on to their next scientific endeavors in life. Melissa joined the Kucharik lab in fall of 2009 to first complete a M.S. degree, and soon became the go-to person in our lab for agroecosystem modeling with Agro-IBIS. I want to say that while Melissa was an exemplary graduate student, she was more importantly a friend, and someone who I never took for granted. She worked extremely hard and carried a heavy load of model development for the largest project I’ve been involved in to date. Thank you for all of your efforts! Your work will not be forgotten! Looking forward to new scientific adventures as you begin your new gig with The Nature Conservancy.