Project Leader

Josh Heitman

Josh Heitman
Professor and Faculty Scholar
3410 Williams Hall

Josh is originally from Webber, KS. He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Agronomy from Kansas State University, and his Ph.D. in Soil Science from Iowa State University. He joined the faculty at NCSU in 2007. Away from the lab, he enjoys doing his best to keep up with his wife and three kids as they race between school, ball fields, and dance studios.



Current Programs Members

Adam Howard

Adam Howard
Research Technician
3410 Williams Hall

Adam is originally from Union Grove, NC. He received is B.S. degree in Education from NCSU, minoring in Polymer and Color Chemistry and M.S. in Soil Science in 2014. He joined the Heitman Lab in 2007.


Shaddy Alshraah

Shaddy Alshraah
Ph.D. Student (co-advised by Rich McLaughlin)

Shaddy is from Jordan. He received his B.S. in Soil and Water Sciences and an M.S. in Integrated Natural Resources Management from Jordan University of Science and Technology. He earned another M.S. in Biofuel Production from Tuskegee University. Shaddy began his Ph.D. program in fall 2016, focusing on stormwater infiltration along highways.


Yongwei Fu

Yongwei Fu
Ph.D. Student

Yongwei Fu comes from China. He majored in agronomy at Nanjing Agricultural University from 2009 to 2013. He then completed his master’s degree at China Agricultural University in 2016. His M.S. research focused on dynamic change of soil bulk density and thermal properties in the rootzone during maize growth. His current research focuses on the interaction between soil and roots, especially effects on soil physical properties.



Abby Brown

Abigail Brown (Haselton)
M.S. Student (co-advised by Rich McLaughlin)

Abby is from Raleigh, NC and completed her B.S. in Plant and Soil Science in December 2016. She is excited to continue her studies at NC State focusing on wildflowers as part of a storm water mitigation system.



Cara Mathers

Cara Mathers
M.S. Student

Cara first came to NCSU as a BESST REU student in summer 2016, and returned just a year later to pursue her MS in Soil Science.  Her research will focus on dry surface layer formation and its relationship to gas flux between the soil surface and atmosphere.  She grew up in Southern Maryland, and received her BS in Comprehensive Science at Villanova University in May 2017.



Caitlin Caudle

Caitlin Caudle
M.S. Student (Co-advised by Deanna Osmond)

Caitlin is from Yadkinville, NC. She received her BS in Biochemistry from Salem College. Her research examines soil health metrics on a benchmark soil in the Piedmont of North Carolina in cooperation with the NRCS Soil Survey Laboratory.



April Maxwell

April Maxwell
Ph.D. Student (Co-advised by Wei Shi)

April is an Alabama native. She has a bachelor’s degree in crop and soil science from Auburn University. After an internship at the US EPA, she started her PhD at NC State. Her research is about the impacts of drought and heat wave on soil microbial communities.




Christina Kranz

Christina Kranz
Ph.D. Student (Co-advised by Rich McLaughlin)

Christina is originally from Madison, Wisconsin and received her undergraduate degree from Ithaca College in environmental science. She then went on to completing her masters degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in soil science focusing in soil microbiology and ecology. Her PhD work focuses on using compost and tilling to improve soil physical properties and stormwater management in degraded soil on roadways.




Sunny Goh Eng Giap

Sunny Goh Eng Giap, Ph.D.
Visiting Scholar, Lecturer Universiti Malaysia Terengganu

Sunny is from Malaysia. He has a Bachelor of Technology in Environment from Malaysia, and multiple degrees in Master of Science in Environmental Sciences, Policy and Management from a few universities in Europe. He received his Ph.D. in Agriculture from Meiji University, Japan. His current research interest is in soil physics modeling of water, vapor and heat flow in unsaturated soils.



Undergraduate Researchers

Kimberlea Harrell

Beata Eaton



Matthew Taggart, M.S. 2010 – currently Research Associate and Ph.D. Student, NCSU

Weinan Pan, M.S. 2010 – Ph.D. in 2015, Univ. of Delaware; currently private-industry R&D scientist (Pennsylvania)

Kim Whitley, M.S. 2011 – currently Agronomist with private firm (North Carolina)

Pukhraj Deol, Ph.D. 2012 – currently Extension Associate, Oregon State University

Jennifer Etheridge (honorary), M.S. in Animal Science 2012 – currently Research Assistant NCSU

Stephen Holland, M.S. 2012 – currently Soil Scientist with private consulting firm (Georgia)

Alan Meijer, Ph.D. 2013 – currently precision farming specialist with private company (North Carolina)

Adam Howard, M.S. 2014 – currently Research Technician in Heitman Soil Physics Group

Fatemeh Mohommadshirazi, M.S. 2015 – currently pursuing opportunities in private sector (Ohio)

Xinhua Xiao, Post-doc 2015 – currently Research Scientist at Alabama A&M University

John Lewis, M.S. 2016 – currently consulting Soil Scientist in North Carolina

Dejun Yang, Visiting Scholar 2016-2017 – Associate Professor at China University of Mining and Technology

Joseph Taylor, M.S. 2017 – currently with State Climate Office of North Carolina

Garrett Loyd, M.S.S. 2018 — currently with Pioneer

Tommy Stephenson, M.S. 2018 — currently Research/Teaching Associate for NCSU Bio and Ag Engineering

Wayne Roper, Ph.D. 2018 — currently Post-Doctoral Scholar at University of Connecticut

Zhengchao Tian, Post-Doctoral Scholar 2018 — currently Associate Professor at Huazhong Agricultural University


Undergraduate Researchers

Matthew Taylor, B.S. 2013

Jared Dmisczewicki, B.S. 2015

John Lewis, B.S. 2015

Dorian Perez, B.S. 2015

Kelly Floro, B.S. 2016 (George Mason University)

Mary Santos, B.S. 2016

Stanford Borrell, B.S. 2017 (Stetson University)

Helen do Cruz Paschoeto, B.S. 2017 (University of Maringa, Brazil)

Kaitlyn Markey, B.S. 2018

Troy Saltiel, B.S. 2019 (University of Deleware)