After her final thesis presentation, VSU Soil Science Instructor Deejay S. Maranguit received her doctorate degree with high academic honors from the University of Gottingen (UG) in Germany, September 25.

Maranguit finished her PhD degree in the Department of Soil Science in Temperate Ecosystems under the Experts4Asia scholarship, with “Great Distinction” or magna cum laude.

As a PhD student, she focused on assessing the impact of converting forest areas into intensively-managed rubber and oil palm plantations on the availability of phosphorus, an important soil nutrient.

Phosphorus, along with nitrogen and potassium, is an important element for the plant’s growth. With too little phosphorus, plants have weak root systems, and are stunted.

Under the supervision of her mentors, Prof. Dr. Yakov Kuzyakov and Prof. Dr. Michaela Dippold, Maranguit found that various land uses affect the availability of phosphorus in the soil. This she ascertained by understanding the abiotic and biotic mechanisms in the soil that are closely linked to soil organic matter content.

As a result of eight related experiments, Maranguit recommends an ecologically-based soil management to minimize soil organic matter losses.

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Takeaways from Germany

Her journey as a student in Germany taught her to be humble, Maranguit said. Germany introduced her to different cultures, not only the way of life in the country. She learned that cultural differences should never be an issue as long as one knows how to accept and respect them.

Maranguit also realized that “poverty is not a hindrance to success.” This is an adage she kept on believing since high school.

Overall, Maranguit has sweet and challenging times to remember from her three-year study in Germany.

“It was a roller coaster ride, nevertheless, along the way were sweet memories to keep and to cherish forever,” she told.

Maranguit is set to return to the Philippines on October 14, and serve VSU’s Department of Soil Science.