Stephanie J. Connolly
2013 Recipient of the Golden Auger Award
Stephanie Connolly has made profound contributions to the promotion of soil science and the strengthening of soil survey programs in West Virginia. These contributions are noteworthy because they have been significant in both quality and quantity. Since returning to West Virginia in 2001 to become the Forest Soil Scientist on the Monongahela National Forest, Stephanie has been an advocate for soil science within the USDA Forest Service, and an ambassador for soil survey programs in WV within the National Cooperative Soil Survey.
Through her own work on the MNF, and through work conducted by the USDA-Natural Resources Service and West Virginia University that was supported by Stephanie, field and laboratory data has been collected from over 300 pedons within the MNF. The information derived from these pedons have contributed directly to the completion of soil survey projects in WV, as well as advancing our understanding of soil-landscape relationships and soil management interpretations. Her support for soil science research and development has included multiple projects at West Virginia University, including collaborations with John Sencindiver, Jeff Skousen, Louis McDonald, and Jim Thompson. Several graduate students at WVU have conducted research on the MNF with Stephanie’s assistance including Tony Jenkins, Jamie Schnably, Cara Sponaugle, Autumn Bryson, Stephen Roecker, and Travis Nauman), and Stephanie has worked to mentor young soil scientists (including Cara Sponaugle and Adrienne Nottingham).
Through her leadership and advocacy, Stephanie has served the profession of soil science in WV in many ways. Within the state, Stephanie has had an active role in the WV Cooperative Soil Survey through the partnership with the NRCS and WVU. She also represents the interests of the MNF and the WVCSS to the WV Conservation Partnership. Stephanie has served the WV Association of Professional Soil Scientists as Vice-President, President, and Past-President (2008-2010), and is currently a member of the WVAPSS Executive Council (Ethics and Registration Committee Chair). She has also been a consistent supporter of soil science education in WV, particularly through her promotion of collegiate soil judging. This is highlighted by her contributions to the 2011 Southeast Regional Collegiate Soils Contest and 2012 National Collegiate Soils Contest, which were hosted by WVU. Stephanie frequently serves as a guest lecturer for undergraduate and graduate level soil science and forestry courses at WVU (and other universities within the mid-Atlantic Region).
Stephanie is one of the top soil scientists within the USDA Forest Service and she has tirelessly worked to advance soil science within WV in the course of her greater efforts to protect the health of WV forest ecosystems. In 2005, Stephanie was recognized as the Forest Service Field Soil Scientist of the Year.