Dr. Sandra Guzmán
Assistant Professor of Agricultural Engineering
Dr. Guzmán works on solutions to protect East Florida water resources and improve citrus production, from the farm scale to the watershed scale. Her current research involves the simulation of agricultural practices, water quantity, quality, and crop production and their impacts on the upper Floridan aquifer.
Dr. Guzmán joined the team of IRREC research professors who support the University of Florida’s statewide Institute of Food and Agricultural Science’s (IFAS) goal to restore Florida’s legendary grapefruit industry. Her experience with machine learning for groundwater forecasting and precision irrigation brings to the center a new perspective for water management in the region.
Dr. Guzmán started her appointment as an assistant professor of agricultural and biological engineering at IRREC, in November 2018. A recipient of a prestigious grant, and a number of professional, and academic awards, Dr. Guzmán served as a co-principal investigator for a grant in precision irrigation which was supported by both Colombia’s National Learning Service and the U.S. Department of State.
Dr. Guzmán's research program is “all about water especially for agriculture”. Her program employs the latest technologies for water management focusing on citrus production. For example, there is a big potential for implementing smart irrigation and machine learning techniques to manage tree health in Florida. One of Dr. Guzmán’s program priorities is to evaluate and generate solutions for our current conditions across the region. “In order to come back as leaders in the production of grapefruit and, at the same time, maintain the quality of our fresh waters, we need to better understand the complex soil-plant water-environmental interactions in Florida so we can generate innovative water management practices”, says Guzmán. In collaboration with scientists at the Indian River Research and Education Center (IRREC), she plans to assess impacts of agriculture on water resources from multiple perspectives and propose alternatives based on scenarios of projected environmental changes.
Before her appointment with IRREC, Dr. Guzmán worked with the Floridan Aquifer Collaborative Engagement for Sustainability group as a postdoctoral fellow at Auburn University. Leading the group is Dr. Wendy D. Graham, director of the UF Water Institute. Dr. Guzmán worked on modeling watershed and farm scale water and nutrient transport in the lower Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin. Dr. Guzmán and the collaborating scientists engage with local stakeholders such as crop producers and water managers to develope scenarios to improve their models and to develop sustainable solutions to water issues.
Dr. Guzmán's extension program includes sharing her research findings with stakeholders during field days and with educational platforms. The events will involve use smart technologies and Best Management Practices (BMP’s). Dr. Guzmán will review the most current water management needs in the Indian River region.
Dr. Guzmán stresses that a better understanding of the producer perspective is required to generate efficient water management programs that benefit both crop production and environmental conservation.
Several of Dr. Guzmán's extension initiatives include:
- Education in water use and scheduling for irrigation
- Education of interaction between agriculture and freshwater systems
- Public awareness of water issues
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- Ph.D. Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Mississippi State University, 2016
- MSc Agricultural Engineering, National University of Bogotá, Colombia, 2011
- BSc Agricultural Engineering, National University Bogotá, Colombia, 2009
Awards and Service
- American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE)
- American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
- American Society of Agronomy (ASA)
- Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS)
- Co-PI: Study Abroad and Spanish Language for Precision Agriculture. Supported by the Servicio Nacional de Aprendizaje (National Learning Service) SENA and the U.S. Department of State. Competition #13: 2017 tech challenge – promoting study abroad in innovation, investigation, entrepreneurship, and bilingualism. $25,000
- Selected as the 2016 Graduate Student Ambassador from the office of graduate school - Mississippi State University
- Nominated for 2016 Graduate Research Assistant of the Year, for the significant contributions to the growth of Mississippi State University through exemplary leadership abilities and outstanding research
- Nominated to the 2016 James Worth Bagley College of Engineering Student Hall of Fame, for superior academic achievement, leadership, service, and character within the college and the field of Engineering
- Travel Grant, Tucson Arizona, CUAHSI watershed science master class, course on watershed modeling, January 2016
- Conference Grant, Baltimore, MD. Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers - SHPE Research and Innovation in STEM (RISE) Symposia, November 2015
- Finalist of the 2015 Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers - SHPE RISE Symposia best poster presentation at the Agricultural, Civil Environmental and Biological Engineering track
- Professional Scholarship, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), award, Recognition for achievements in academia, leadership, and community service, July 2015
- Finalist of the 2015 American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) Boyd-Scott Graduate Research Award
- Second Place Poster competition, Mississippi Water resources Conference, Jackson MS, April 2013
- Training Fellowship, Denver CO. SHPE’s 27th Annual National Institute for Leadership Advancement (NILA) Training Program
- Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station MAFES/FWRC Director’s Fellowship Award. Fellowship to complete doctoral studies in Biological Engineering. January 2013
- National Center for Banana Research CENIBANANO (Centro Nacional de Investigación del Banano), Fellowship Award. Bogotá, Colombia, Fellowship to complete Master´s degree in Agricultural Engineering, August 2009