Author Archives: Brandi Evans

Virginia Tech represented in every level of the American Dairy Science Association

This year, Virginia Tech has elected leadership at all three levels (professional, graduate student division, undergraduate student affiliate division) of the American Dairy Science Association: President Susan Duncan from the Department of Food Science and Technology, Graduate Student Division President Adam Geiger, and the Student Affiliate Division President Elizabeth Davis. This is an international organization of educators, scientists, and industry representatives who are committed to advancing the dairy industry and is keenly aware of the vital role the dairy sciences play in fulfilling the economic, nutritive, and health requirements of the world’s population.

In these leadership roles, Duncan, Geiger, and Davis are contributing to the guidance and leadership of the future of dairy science and agriculture. As you may be aware, the Virginia Tech Dairy Club has a history of accomplishments at the regional and national level and the Department of Dairy Science has a very established record and alumni base of dairy science leadership in the country and internationally.

Congratulations to Susan, Adam, and Elizabeth!

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Welcome new faculty!

Our college recently hired eight new faculty members, with the intent on bringing new talent to its focus areas, including food and health, infectious disease, biodesign and processing, and agricultural profitability and environmental sustainability. These new hires are distributed across teaching, research, and Extension.

Please welcome our new faculty members:

  • Carlin Rafie appointed assistant professor of human nutrition, foods, and exercise and Extension specialist
  • Charlie Cahoon appointed assistant professor of plant pathology, physiology, and weed science and Extension specialist
  • Cristina Fernandez-Fraguas appointed assistant professor of food science and technology
  • Hannah Scherer appointed Extension specialist and assistant professor of agricultural, leadership, and community education
  • Laura Strawn named Extension specialist and assistant professor of food science and technology
  • Maria Sharakhova joins entomology faculty
  • Olga Isengildina-Massa named associate professor of agricultural and applied economics
  • Travis Mountain named Extension specialist, assistant professor of agricultural and applied economics
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Nominate a deserving staff member today

Anyone can nominate a deserving staff member to be considered for the Employee of the Month award. All staff in the college, on- and off-campus, are eligible. Please submit nominations electronically through our award webpage. Paper or email nominations may be sent to Dean Alan Grant at 104 Hutcheson Hall, mail code 0402, or emailed to

Nominations are valid for six months. If your nominee has not been selected within six months of submitting the nomination, please resubmit.

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Save the date

Dec. 5: “Mob” Grazing – Practice and Science Workshop

  • Time: 9 a.m. – noon
  • Where: Alpha Stuart Livestock Arena, Blacksburg, Virginia
  • Contact: Ben Tracy ( | 540-231-8259)

Dec. 10: Dairy Science Graduate seminar – Nutritional head start for heifer calfs, the facts

  • Time: 11 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
  • Where: 340 Wallace Hall
  • Contact: Becky Michael ( | 540-231-6331)

Dec. 11: Characterizing waterborne lead in private water systems webinar

  • Time: 10 – 11 a.m.
  • Where: Online or dial in at 1-855-749-4750, access code 643 108 221
  • Contact: Erin Ling ( | 540-231-9058)

Dec. 14: Christmas at the Hahn Garden

  • Time: 6 – 9 p.m.
  • Where: Hahn Horticulture Garden Pavilion
  • Contact: Stephanie Huckestein ( | 540-231-5970)

Jan. 12: Wednesday Garden Talk series – Gardens for peace and reconciliation

  • Time: 12 – 1 p.m.
  • Where: Hahn Horticulture Garden Pavilion
  • Contact: Stephanie Huckestein ( | 540-231-5970)

Jan. 29-30: Virginia Biological Farming Conference

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Strategies for Better Communication recent posts

Strategies for Better Communication is a blog where you can find information and resources about public relations, marketing, branding, photography, Web best practices, and other communication tools that can help you be a more effective communicator.

It is published by the Office of Communications and Marketing.

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Check out our recent posts:

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Travel scholarships available for upcoming SSAWG conference, Jan. 28-30

The Virginia SARE program has recently received additional professional development funds to enable at least eight Extension and USDA professionals to attend the Southern SAWG Annual Conference in Lexington, Kentucky on Jan. 28–30.

Please let me and your district director know if you would be interested in and would benefit from attending the SSAWG Annual Conference. There will be some per diem and meal costs that will have to be covered by Extension, but registration and the majority of travel expenses will be covered by the University of Georgia and the Southern SARE program on a reimbursement basis.

I need to provide the Southern SARE folks the list of attendees for Southern SAWG by 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 9, 2015 or the travel scholarship funds will be forfeited and redistributed other states in the region.

Please note that the dates for conference do conflict with the Virginia Association for Biological Farming  Conference. Virginia SARE also has secured funds to pay agents’ registration fees for the VABF Conference, which will be held at the Smith Mountain Lake 4-H Center in 2016.

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