Srijana Thapa Magar, a PhD candidate in horticulture on the University of Georgia Griffin campus, was recently named the recipient of the Marie Fort Garden Club Scholarship for 2022. The local club has presented the $1,000 scholarship annually since 2014 to a UGA-Griffin student in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. They awarded the scholarship during a club meeting in October.
“Our membership has supported this project each year,” said Diane Lamb, President of the Marie Fort Garden Club. “We work with the scholarship committee each year and support their recommendation. We feel that each year we have given the scholarship to a very deserving student. If our scholarship can make a difference in a student’s life, we feel like we have accomplished what we set out to do. In a small way we can support and encourage a student in reaching their academic goal.”
Thapa Magar was thrilled when she received the news she was this year’s recipient and knew exactly how the scholarship would help in her college career.
“I am very grateful for this scholarship,” Thapa Magar stated. “I have a very clear intention to use this scholarship to attend a conference where I will be able to share the results of my research with the growers in the industry. I want to work on the extension side of horticulture, and I understand how important it is to bond and interact with the growers. It allows me to better understand their immediate needs and find a solution.”
Growing up on a mango farm in Nepal, Thapa Magar is no stranger to agriculture, having learned farming basics from her parents at a young age. While she enjoyed partaking in all the farm activities, she was unsure about having a career in that field of work, until she began her undergraduate degree in Agriculture at Tribhuvan University in Nepal. There she learned how she could contribute to the sector and began focusing her work on the horticulture field.
“I found myself inclined more towards horticulture, especially fruit crops,” said Thapa Magar. “I saw greater potential in expanding our family farm from a sustainable one to a commercial one with what I learned. It is from that point onward that I have been working with fruit crops and wish to contribute to that same field in the future.”
While pursuing her PhD, Thapa Magar has focused her research on developing proper irrigation and fertilizer recommendations for peach production in Georgia. Throughout the last four years, she has had a part in the development of an app designed to aid in making irrigation more efficient. The SmartIrrigation Peach App can help farmers save a billion gallons of water used in peach production without affecting the tree or the amount of fruit produced. In addition, her research has also determined the current recommended fertilizer rate for peach production can be reduced to half, saving farmers thousands of dollars that go towards the purchase of fertilizer.
Thapa Magar is proud her research is helping those in the agriculture field and wants to continue that aspect through her work after graduation.
“During my time in graduate school, I have realized that I love research and extension,” she stated. “I have worked as an Extension Officer in Nepal and enjoyed interacting with growers and helping them use new technologies. I thus hope to be involved in research and extension once I complete my PhD, either in academia or the (agricultural) industry.”
In addition to her research, Thapa Magar is active in the campus community and considers UGA Griffin to be her home away from home.
“UGA Griffin just gives me a homey vibe, it’s small but everyone here is like a family and very welcoming. I have earned lifelong friends here.”
Melissa Todd, Assistant Director of Academic and Student Affairs for UGA Griffin, is thrilled to have Thapa Magar as part of the student body and is glad she was chosen as this years’ scholarship recipient.
“Srijana is the epitome of a UGA-Griffin student,” said Todd. “She’s obviously incredibly intelligent and talented as she’s pursing a PhD in Horticulture and her research will impact peach growers across our state. That keeps her busy enough, but she is also committed to being a part of the campus community. There is rarely an event or meeting on campus that you do not see her attending. She has served as a Griffin Campus Ambassador, including holding the post of President. We are truly proud of her.”
Thapa Magar plans to graduate in Spring 2023.
Srijana Thapa Magar (center) was recently named the 2022 recipient of the Marie Fort Garden Club Scholarship for UGA Griffin. The club has sponsored the $1,000 since 2014 and it is awarded each year to a UGA Griffin student in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Also pictured is David Buntin, Interim Assistant Provost and Campus Director for UGA Griffin (far right) along with Diane Lamb, President of the Marie Fort Garden Club (second from left), and other members of the club.