University of Kentucky College of Agriculture

Careers - Soil Science

Don Sparks, Professor and Department Chair
Department of Plant and Soil Sciences
University of Delaware

Don Sparks “I was fortunate to take courses with a number of outstanding teachers and researchers while I was a student at UK. This background was instrumental in preparing me for a career in soil and environmental chemistry research and teaching.”.


  • 1975 - B.S. Agronomy, University of Kentucky
  • 1976 - M.S. Soil Science, University of Kentucky
  • 1979 - Ph.D. Soil Science, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


Dr. Sparks is internationally recognized for his research in the areas of: kinetics of soil chemical processes, surface chemistry of soils and soil components using in-situ spectroscopic and microscopic techniques and the physical chemistry of soil potassium.

Preparation at UK

"My advisors at UK not only provided sound advice on coursework and research but were superb mentors. They emphasized the importance of excellent communication skills (writing and speaking), networking, and overall the importance of professional development. They counseled me on career opportunities, and their recommendations were instrumental in me being admitted to a first-rate doctoral program in soil science at VA Tech. Long after I left UK, they have continued to take a keen interest in my career and provide support and encouragement. For this, I am forever grateful".”

Best Experiences

"My best experiences were my association with talented and friendly students and faculty members. The esprit de corps in the department and support for students was outstanding".

Web Page

Learn more about Dr. Spark's work on his website.