Monthly Archives: June 2012

Telling Extension’s story: Communicating program impacts

Virginia Cooperative Extension administration has identified and recruited five self-directed impact reporting teams and charged them with developing and piloting an impact reporting process that can be replicated across the Extension system.

Faculty members met in March at the professional development conference to meet their fellow team members and to receive their charge from Extension Director Ed Jones and Karen Gehrt, assistant director, accountability, planning, and impact communications.

“We must be able to must demonstrate the impact we are making to our local, state, and federal partners to help build the case for programmatic and funding support,” said Jones. “We have measured some things that we can articulate to funders, but we need metrics that can articulate the impact in economic, social, and/or environmental terms. Currently, we have no way of aggregating data across the state in specific program or content areas.” Continue reading

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Jewel Hairston named dean and administrator, 1890 Extension Program

Jewel E. Hairston was appointed the dean of the School of Agriculture and administrator of the 1890 Extension Program at Virginia State University. While serving as the interim dean of school, she led the school’s efforts in developing the strategic vision and plan for the Extension and research divisions and the academic departments of agriculture, family and consumer sciences, and hospitality management.

Hairston received her master’s degree in education and her Ph.D. in career and technical education from Virginia Tech. She served as the associate administrator for Extension programs and as a 4-H youth development specialist at Virginia State University. Prior to her tenure at VSU, she served as an assistant professor at Bowling Green State University and as a marketing teacher and adult education coordinator in Roanoke, Va.

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From the Dean — June 2012

Alan Grant

Alan Grant

Dear colleagues,

Many thanks to everyone who contributed to the success of the commencement activities in May. More than 600 undergraduate students and 60 graduate students from the college received degrees. An additional 100 students who plan to complete their degree requirements this summer also participated in the ceremonies. It was nice to see so many families and friends of our graduates on campus sharing in the excitement of everyone’s success. Many thanks to everyone for the positive impacts that you have had on our graduates while they were students at Virginia Tech.

As many of you know, Martin Daniel, our director of operations for the college, has accepted a position as associate vice president for research operations with the Office of the Vice President for Research. He will begin his new role July 1. I hope you will join me in wishing Martin well as he advances to his new role and that you will thank him for his extensive contributions to the college. Martin’s departure will leave significant voids, so we will be working on a transition plan in the coming weeks. Continue reading

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Also in this issue

Administrative Updates



Research Updates

Extension Updates


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Save the date

June 18-21: Virginia FFA 86th State Convention

Time: All day
Virginia Tech Campus
Andy Seibel ( | 540-231-3823)
This year the Virginia FFA Association will be celebrating its 86th State FFA Convention on June 18-21, 2012 at Virginia Tech. This year’s convention is planned to be an exciting convention for members, advisors, and guests from all around the state. The Virginia convention sessions are held in Burruss Auditorium. Convention hosts over 2000 members and guests from all across the state. Students will be competing in Career Development Events and workshops hosted by State Officers from other State Associations. For more information, please visit the Virginia FFA.

June 18-22: Junior 4-H Camp

Time: TBD
W.E. Skelton 4-H Center, Wirtz, Va.
Michelle Dickerson ( | 540-382-5790)

June 20-22: Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue

Time: TBD
Henrico County
Shea Porr ( | 540-687-3521 ext. 27)
Emergency preparedness training for all those involved in the care and transport of large animals. Visit for registration forms.

June 25-27: Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue

Time: TBD
Virginia Tech’s MARE Center, 5527 Sullivans Mill Road, Middleburg, Va.
$400 or $150
Shea Porr ( | 540-687-3521 ext. 27)
Classroom and hands on training for anyone involved in emergency rescues. This is an excellent course for firefighters, EMT’s and animal control officers, as well as the general public who owns horses or just has an interest in the wellbeing and safety of large animals. To register please visit our website:

June 25-28: Virginia 4-H State Congress 2012

Time: All day
Virginia Tech Campus
Your local unit office. For locations, visit
“Mission: I’m Possible, 4-H Superheroes in Training” is the theme of the 93rd Virginia 4-H State Congress. For more information, please visit the congress website.

June 25-July 5: Virginia Tech Summer Riding Series 2012, session II

Time: 4-8 p.m.
Virginia Tech Alphin-Stuart Indoor Arena
$150/2-week session
Sherri West ( | 540-808-7701)
Virginia Tech is offering four, two-week summer riding classes open to adults and children ages 11 and older. Please visit for more information about the classes offered.

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Ten reasons to support VESA

The Member Services Committee of VESA developed “Ten Reasons to Support VESA”. We want all agents to be involved with this association!  Please pass it along and discuss with new agents.

Nancy Stegon, M.P.H., R.D.
VESA member services chairperson, FCS Extension agent
VCE Prince William County Office
8033 Ashton Avenue, Suite 105
Manassas, VA  20109-4630
Phone: 703-792-4764

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Unraveling the origin of devastating kiwifruit bacterium

Originally published on VT News, May 10, 2012

An international research team led by Virginia Tech Associate Professor Boris Vinatzer and Giorgio Balestra of the University of Tuscia in Italy has used the latest DNA sequencing technology to trace a devastating pathogen back to its likely origin.

Since 2008, Pseudomonas syringae pv. actinidiae (Psa) has been threatening the world’s kiwifruit industry and destroying orchards in Europe, South America, and New Zealand. In the four years since it was first reported in Italy, the “kiwifruit canker” disease caused by Psa has resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in economic losses. A similar disease broke out in the 1980s in China and Japan, but nobody knew if it was the same pathogen that is currently wreaking havoc throughout the rest of the kiwifruit world — until now.

Vinatzer and Giorgio published a paper on May 9 in the journal PLoS ONE, which is the first study released in a scientific journal to trace the bacterium back to its likely origin of China. Continue reading

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Virginia Tech researcher receives Grand Challenges Explorations grant

Richard Veilleux, the Julian and Margaret Gary Professor of Horticulture, was awarded the Grand Challenges Explorations grant, an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Veilleux will work with Mark Williams, an assistant professor of horticulture at Virginia Tech, and Merideth Bonierbale from the International Potato Center in Lima to pursue an innovative global health and development research project titled, “Growing nutrient-rich food for an impoverished world: exploiting gene diversity for Fe and Zn accumulation in tubers of potato and its interaction with helper microbes.”

Grand Challenges Explorations funds individuals worldwide to explore ideas that can break the mold in how we solve persistent global health and development challenges.  Veilleux’s project is one of more than 100 Grand Challenges Explorations Round 8 grants announced today by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Continue reading

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Recent hires

CALS Faculty

  • James Anderson, assistant professor, AEE, May 1
  • Mihir Mandal, postdoctoral associate, Biochemistry, May 7

CALS Staff

  • Mary Parks, financial coordinator, Entomology, May 7
  • Amanda Thomas, administrative assistant, Communications and Marketing,
    May 10

Extension Faculty

  • Mya Braxton, associate Extension agent, Norfolk Coop Extension Service, May 10
  • William Frame, assistant professor, Tidewater AREC, May 1
  • Brian Campbell, ruminant livestock production specialist, Southern Piedmont AREC, May 10
  • Erin Menchhofer, associate Extension agent, Virginia Beach Coop Extension Service, May 10

Extension Staff

  • Tina Vencill, unit administrative assistant, King & Queen Coop Extension Service, April 25
  • Shelda Daniels, unit administrative assistant — Prince W Co, Prince Edward Coop Extension Service, April 25
  • Marie Welling, unit administrative assistant, Prince William Coop Extension Service, April 25
  • Christopher Elke, agricultural specialist, Southern Piedmont AREC, April 25
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Campbell joins Southern Piedmont Agricultural Research and Extension Center

Please welcome Brian Campbell to Virginia Tech as the ruminant livestock production specialist at the Southern Piedmont Agricultural Research and Extension Center.

Campbell received a B.S. in animal science from Texas A&M-Commerce in 2005 and his M.S. and Ph.D. in animal science from University of Tennessee in 2008 and 2012, respectively. His research focused on incorporating winter annuals into tall fescue-based forage systems for stocker cattle production. Additionally, he examined cow and calf production incorporating reproduction, genetics, and environmental factors. One aspect of this research involved determining the efficacy of a genetic marker for identifying beef cattle that are resistant to tall fescue toxicosis. He also compared fall and spring calving production in a forage-based system. His evaluation of production strategies will yield more efficient use of the forage base and information on the consequences of calving at different times of the year.

Dr. Brian Campbell
Southern Piedmont AREC
2375 Darvills Road
Blackstone, VA  23824
Phone: 434-292-5331 ext 233
Fax: 434-292-5623

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