Dr. Devinder Sandhu is one of the two recipients of the 2020 Outstanding Agricultural Scientist Award. Dr. Sandhu finished his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees as a gold medalist from Punjab Agricultural University and obtained his Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Dr. Sandhu then served as an Assistant Scientist at Iowa State University and subsequently as faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP). At UWSP, Dr. Sandhu received both the University Scholar and the Excellence in Teaching awards and rose to Full Professor in nine years. He has mentored more than 100 undergraduate students on their research projects and has published 70 papers in high-impact factor journals. “He created a model of student mentoring for the rest of us to follow, regularly employing 10 to 25 undergraduates in his lab at any one time while teaching a full academic load”, Dr. Sol Sepsenwol, Emeritus Professor in the Department of Biology at UWSP wrote.
Dr. Sandhu joined as a Research Geneticist at the USDA-ARS Salinity Laboratory in Riverside, CA in 2015 and served as the Acting Research Leader position for the Water Reuse and Remediation Research Unit from 2017-2019. In five years, he rose to GS-15, which is the maximum classification for a scientist in USDA.
“Devinder is a rare combination of exceptional intelligence and very hard working. On top of this, he is amazingly helpful and a pleasant personality” said Dr. Kulvinder Gill, Professor & Director of Climate Resilient Wheat Innovation Laboratory in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences at Washington State University. “Although he has had a brilliant career as a scientist in the US, Dr. Sandhu never forgot his roots and continues to be a promoter and enthusiast of everything that is Indian and related to his cultural upbringing in Punjab”, said Dr. Jorge Ferreira, Research Plant Physiologist at the USDA Salinity Laboratory.