Meredith is a PhD student and a part of Dr. John E Barrett’s lab in the Biological Sciences Department at Virginia Tech. She is interested in soil microbial community response to pyrogenic carbon inputs. Specifically, she is focusing on how these communities functionally change after wildfire and prescribed burn disturbance in southern Appalachian forests. She is also studying the microbial community and physicochemical changes associated with biochar additions to soil in agriculture. Her dissertation work will contribute to our knowledge of long-term carbon storage and nutrient cycling in a future where wildfires are predicted to become more prevalent on a global scale.
Meredith became interested in biogeochemistry as an undergraduate when she performed an honors thesis on microbes facilitating iron cycling within the Floridan Aquifer. She graduated with a B.S. in microbiology from the University of South Florida in 2019. After hiking the Appalachian Trail the following summer and fall, she worked in industry as a quality control scientist. While an insightful experience, she realized that research and land conservation was more important to her and decided to attend graduate school to study nutrient cycling in soil. She started as a PhD student in 2021 with the intention of contributing to our knowledge on how to best manage Appalachian landscapes through the lens of soil microbial community function and response to global change related disturbance.