Skip to main content

Ferguson College of Agriculture

Open Main MenuClose Main Menu

Graduate Student Researches the Mineralogical Properties of MAOM in Soil

Friday, December 8, 2023

Originally from Michigan, Marian Tolen is a graduate student pursuing her master’s in plant and soil sciences and has lived in Oklahoma for 9 years. She earned an associate’s degree from Western Oklahoma State College in Altus, OK, and a bachelor’s degree in plant and soil sciences here at Oklahoma State University.


“I chose OSU because everyone is friendly and the faculty in the Plant and Soil Sciences Department genuinely care about their students,” Tolen said.


Advised by Dr. Andrea Jilling and Dr. Phillip Alderman, Tolen studies lab incubations of mixtures composed of mineral associate organic matter (MAOM) fractionated from whole soil from four locations, with varying amounts of decomposed particulate organic matter (POM), and sand. Her master’s thesis explores soil geochemical controls on the supply of bioavailable nitrogen from mineral-associated organic matter.


“My focus is on how the clay mineralogical properties of the MAOM and how varying amounts of decomposed POM facilitate the release of bioavailable nitrogen,” she said.

As a graduate student, Tolen loves learning about soil and exploring its complexities within the research she is doing. “It also feels good to be able to contribute knowledge to the field of agriculture,” she said.


Her favorite part of graduate school is being able to travel and present her research at conferences, as well as networking with other students and scientists.


Upon graduation, Tolen is not certain whether she will be pursuing her Ph.D. in soil science and continuing her research, or if she will pursue a career in the industry.

Back To Top