Satish Samiyappan | Mississippi State University

India-born Associate Professor Sathish Samyappan never guessed that he would end up halfway around the world helping experts in the fields of nature conservation, wildlife management and agriculture preserve and restore vital habitats and protect watersheds, as well as improve soil health and water quality.

Samiappan is from Tamil Nadu, a state in southern India, and like Mississippi where it landed, agriculture is the most dominant sector of the regional economy. Growing up, immersed in outside culture and knowing that nature’s connection to the global economy and its impact on human societies makes it one of the most important frontiers of conservation.

“I wanted to make a difference by combining my curiosity about advancing global science with imaging analysis, electrical and engineering skills, and connecting them to my passion for conservation, nature conservation and wildlife management,” said Samiappan. “I discovered that research in remote sensing and image analysis was my answer.”

After obtaining his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in India, Samiappan began searching for US universities for his Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering. He chose Mississippi because it is among the best agricultural and engineering research institutions in the country.

Michigan State University has continued to emerge as one of the leading universities applying remote sensing and imaging analysis to agriculture and natural resource management. Learning that Mississippi State University research also supports vital Mississippi economic sectors such as agriculture, Mississippi seemed like a perfect fit to me when considering my background, my interests, and the way I grew up.”

Samiappan earned his Ph.D. eight years ago. Since then, a GeoSystems Research Institute scientist has conducted research using unmanned aerial systems and satellites to collect visual and multispectral data to help evaluate crops. This accurate data helps the agricultural industry save money and protect the environment.

“High-quality aerial images obtained from drones with imaging sensors give us data that I analyze and then write computer applications so that wildlife managers can easily discover, classify and count animals. We use them to help plant ecologists identify invasive plant species. to eradicate them, and we use them to identify the best lands for conservation.”

MSU’s Agriculture and Natural Resources Research and Conversation major has been ranked in the Top 15 by the National Science Foundation. Samiappan believes that the collaborative efforts of researchers from different backgrounds, along with a desire to share experiences are why MSU is so highly regarded.

“Becoming a new faculty member and scholar is easier when you have reputable scholars guiding and supporting you,” said Samiappan, “MSU set me up for success.” “In Mississippi, I have never felt lonely. They provide support services, networking events, and social activities for me and my family. The inclusive Mississippi culture has helped me build a career and a life here. It’s home.”

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