Yadi Wang, Ph.D. student

Spring 2019 Ph.D. Graduate Associate


Yadi Wang
Caroline Mosley/University of Arizona

Despite numerous challenges, Yadi went above and beyond expectations at every turn... he taught with a palpable and infectious energy that instilled a passion for soils in students.

Dr. Rivka Fidel, nominator

Tell us a little about yourself.

I originally came to the United States to play basketball on a scholarship after working in finance and marketing in China. In my spare time, I'm either on outdoor adventures or working on engines--I fix up old trucks. Since I like mechanics, math and physics, I pursued an undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Arizona.

What do you research and why?

I started working with Dr. Rob Root in 2013 on mine tailings, the ore waste from mining activities, and developed an interest in soil and water quality. So for my Ph.D. work, I work in Dr. Jon Chorover's lab on the geochemical components of the Landscape Evolution Observatory at Biosphere 2. My research and experiments focus on observing landscape evolution and the soil-forming process. Since I am the only geochemistry Ph.D. student, I've been able to work independently to develop new methods and novel experimental approaches.

One of my favorite parts of research is collaborating with all different kinds of researchers, from microbiologists to hydrologists, and gleaning knowledge from all kinds of scientific disciplines.  

What do you teach and what do you enjoy the most about it?

I teach soil labs and enjoy breaking the traditional educational setting and encouraging students to interact with me. I really want my students to think critically. I often think about teaching in terms of baseball: Students are batting and I'm the pitcher, always throwing different balls of information at them!

Future plans?

My goal is to merge my passion for solar energy and farming--I think about how we can harness the sunlight in agricultural technology.

Words of advice?

Enjoy your time and flexibility as a student! It's an amazing opportunity to be exposed to all different kinds of science and people.