Meseret Belachew Addisie, a Spring 2015 Fellow from Ethiopia, is concentrating his research on gully formation and erosion in the Ethiopian highlands. Gullies and the resulting erosion are highly destructive to arable lands and threaten food security by washing away valuable minerals and nutrients in the soil needed for crop production. He plans to investigate solutions through both field research and in-lab modeling in order to design locally produced measures capable of stopping gully formation. He hopes his work will help increase knowledge and understanding in this area of water management in order to begin repairing the damage. He also wishes to work with government policy-makers to advance the Feed the Future’s goal of increasing food security and reducing poverty in Ethiopia and around the world.
Meseret is very passionate about improving food security and promoting economic growth in his home country. He feels motivated by a childhood spent seeing his father struggle to make a living as a teacher. Eventually his father’s hard work paid off and he was promoted to a larger role within the community. This dedication to hard work and education was passed onto his son, Meseret, who continues to work hard to pursue his goals. He hopes to model being a leader through his pursuit of excellence and willingness to learn from others, while still offering guidance to those looking for advice and direction. In addition, Meseret sees Dr. Norman Borlaug as a shining example of what can be achieved through hard work, excellent leadership, and a dedication to service, and would like to use his Fellowship experience to increase his skills in those areas.
Meseret is currently a PhD candidate in Integrated Water Management at Bahir Dar University in Ehtiopia. During his fellowship, he worked with Dr. Tammo Steenhuis, of Cornell University, who has long shown a willingness and a desire to mentor developing country students looking to make a difference in their communities. He has strong ties to Bahir Dar University and currently working as an adjunct professor of Water Engineering, which brings him to Ethiopia for several months out of the year. He worked with Meseret to help guide both his studies and his fieldwork. Meseret also worked with Dr. Petra Schmitter, currently at the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) as an International Researcher of Agricultural Water Management. She worked with him to find innovative techniques for water conservation and management while he conducted research in her lab. He expects to receive his doctorate in 2016.