UAPB’s first Ph.D candidate to defend thesis June 11

Will Hehemann School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences

Ganesh Kumar KarunakaranGanesh Kumar Karunakaran, doctoral student of aquaculture/fisheries at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, will soon defend his dissertation to become the university’s first Ph.D. graduate. He was the first student to enroll in the inaugural program after it was established in 2011.

Karunakaran ‘s dissertation is titled “Economics and Adoption of Alternate Catfish Production Technologies.” The presentation will be held 10 a.m., Thursday, June 11, at the S.J. Parker 1890 Extension Complex auditorium, at the corner of L.A. “Prexy” Davis Drive and Oliver Road.

“It has been a pleasure for me to work with and mentor Mr. Kumar throughout his Ph.D. studies,” Dr. Carole R. Engle, director of the Aquaculture/Fisheries Center of Excellence, said. “There are very few individuals who can effectively bridge the disciplines of aquaculture and economics, yet there is a strong need for those with the background and knowledge to do so. This is especially the case for someone like Mr. Kumar who is dedicated to the land-grant mission of providing solutions to the problems of our fish farmer stakeholders.”

Karunakaran has already presented many of the results of his dissertation work at national and international scientific meetings, Dr. Engle said. Some of his work was selected for presentation earlier this year at the triennial Research Symposium of the Catfish Farmers of America. The scientific journal “Reviews in Fisheries Science and Aquaculture” has already accepted a manuscript from his dissertation for publication. Three other manuscripts from Karunakar’s dissertation are in various stages of review.

Ph.D. students must meet a series of rigorous milestones that includes the formation of a dissertation committee and the finalization of a plan of study by the end of their first semester and the completion of a dissertation proposal within 200 days of enrolling in the program. Additionally, the candidates must pass a preliminary examination that includes five days of written exams, including a comprehensive exam, and an oral exam.

Dr. Engle, who is set to retire in late June, said, “It is particularly gratifying to me for UAPB’s first Ph.D. student to complete his studies and earn his degree before I retire.”

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