FIU alum Miles Medina, who graduated last May, was awarded 1st Place in the Outstanding Thesis in Food and Agricultural Sciences Competition by the USDA-American Association of Hispanics for Higher Education-Texas A&M University.
His thesis research, conducted under FIU's Dr. Mahadev Bhat and Dr. Krishnaswamy Jayachandran, focused on the effect of fish feeding on plant growth, water quality and economics in an aquaponic production system.
As part of this research, he built six aquaponic units at the Organic Garden on FIU's Modesto Maidique Campus during the summer of 2013. Each of the six units is composed of a fish tank and a hydroponic grow bed built from 55-gallon plastic drums.
The systems housed blue tilapia, lettuce, and red amaranth crops. Medina explains, "I ran them with fish and plants from October 2013 until graduation in April 2014 (7 months). The experiment for the thesis ran from October to December (60 days)."
His research was supported by the USDA-NIFA HSI Higher Education grant which aims to attract outstanding students and produce graduates capable of enhancing the Nation's food and agricultural scientific and professional work force. In addition to his recent award, Medina's thesis was also recognized as Best Environmental Studies Thesis 2013-14 by the FIU Dept of Earth & Environment Graduate Committee.
Medina has been accepted to the doctoral program in Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department at the University of Florida, starting Spring 2015.