MSU students win regional weed science honors, professor earns Educator Award

Contact: Meg Henderson

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Three Mississippi State weed science graduate students and a faculty member received awards at the 2023 annual meeting of the Southern Weed Science Society held recently in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Photo of Darrin Dodds
Darrin Dodds (Photo Submitted)

Darrin Dodds, professor and head of MSU’s Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, was honored with the Outstanding Educator Award, recognizing an individual who has made distinctive contributions to the society and weed science through efforts in the classroom, outreach and published research.

“I’ve been blessed to work with excellent graduate students, and this award is as much of a reflection of them as it is of anything I have done,” Dodds said. “It also speaks to the university’s support of the research, teaching and extension activities we do as faculty. This award is a culmination of all the people who have been in our program over the years rather than an individual award.”

MSU student winners at the Southern Weed Science Society annual meeting include, left to right, Jake Patterson; Tábata Oliveira and Tayden Burrell.
MSU student winners at the Southern Weed Science Society annual meeting include, left to right, Jake Patterson; Tábata Oliveira and Tayden Burrell. (Photo Submitted)

Second-year doctoral student Jake Patterson of New Market, Alabama, won first place in the Ph.D. oral presentation competition. Patterson’s work focuses on mitigating herbicide antagonism—reduced performance results that may occur when tank-mixing herbicides.

Master’s student Tábata Raissa de Oliveira of Paulinia, São Paulo, Brazil, took second place in oral presentation with her research on additives to make herbicide applications for tomatoes safer.

Tayden Burrell of Cleveland, also a master’s student, received second place for his oral presentation about controlling Italian ryegrass through fall herbicide application to prevent spring growth.

“Mississippi State has a strong record of service and graduate student participation in the SWSS annual meeting, and these students are the next generation,” Dodds said. “I enjoy working with our graduate students and helping them advance. It’s gratifying to see them represent the university so well.”

Dodds joined SWSS 21 years ago and has spent the last few years on the executive board, serving as vice president, president-elect and program chair and president. He currently is past president.

“I’ve tried hard to give back wherever I can. It’s a great honor to contribute to our scientific societies,” he said.

SWSS brings together producers, academics, industry and state and federal personnel who are interested in weed control. Members come from 14 southern states and Puerto Rico to annual meetings, where they exchange research, ideas and experiences in weed research and control. The society also offers annual scholarship opportunities, which allow undergraduate and graduate students to participate in a weeklong educational experience with industry or academia. For more information, visit

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