Category: Faculty

VT News: Virginia Tech scientist finds sterile soil and rice-damaging nematode in Cambodia

From the VT News story:

“When Jon Eisenback, professor of plant nematology at Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, conducted nematode surveys on vegetables and rice in Cambodia this past August, one of the most surprising things he encountered in the vegetable fields was, in a word, nothing.”

Read the rest of the article here:

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Co-lead Students on an International Volunteer Project!

Opportunity to Co-lead a Group of Students on an Overseas Volunteer Project Summer 2017

International Student Volunteers (ISV) is looking for faculty and graduate students to serve as University Leaders (ULs) for a minimum of two weeks on ISV’s 2017 May to August Volunteer Programs in Australia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, New Zealand, South Africa or Thailand. Expenses will be covered; see below for details.


ISV offers students a unique 4-Week Program consisting of a 2-week volunteer project in conservation or community development, followed by an exciting and educational 2-week tour that highlights the best natural and cultural wonders of the host country. Our projects focus on experiential education and making a positive impact to underserved communities, degraded habitats and endangered species by working closely with local organizations and community leaders within each host country. Project activities include:

Building playgrounds, latrines, daycare centers and classrooms

  • Providing children’s healthcare and education programs, in addition to sports and recreation
  • Teaching children basic English, math, health and hygiene
  • Assisting with terrestrial and marine ecology research programs
  • Habitat restoration and wildlife protection
  • Providing care for threatened wildlife and rescued animals, including special focus projects for pre-veterinary groups in sanctuaries and reserves
  • Organic farming and erosion control


ISV is an internationally-acclaimed organization offering award-winning programs to students around the world. More than 350 universities worldwide have awarded course and internship credits to thousands of students for participation in an ISV Program. Additionally, all students will receive the President’s Volunteer Service Award provided as part of the U.S. President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation

ISV was also awarded a TOP TEN volunteer organization by the U.S. State Department.   More than 30 members of the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives serve on our Board of Reference in support of the nearly 4 million hours of volunteer work contributed to date by ISV participants.


 Round-trip international flights and all in-country travel within the host country

  • Accommodations and three meals per day provided on the Volunteer Project
  • All on-site project training and material, with 24 hours support from ISV in-country office


If you are interested in becoming a University Leader and co-leading a group of students on an ISV conservation or community development project next summer, please click here to complete an interest form.


Please refer to our website for detailed information about ISV Programs, destination countries, dates and more.  Check out the over 600 ISV participant reviews on, and get a 90 second video overview of the ISV Programs.

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Call for Program Submissions: International Education Week

The Council of International Student Organizations (CISO) is partnering with Cranwell International Center (CIC) to coordinate this year’s International Week @ Virginia Tech (VT), November 14-18, 2016. This coincides with the nationally recognized International Education Week (IEW), which is a joint initiative of the US Department of State and the US Department of Education.

International Week @ VT is an opportunity to showcase the university’s growing global diversity and commitment to internationalization. We are requesting program submissions that do just that. We encourage submissions of a wide range of information sessions, workshops, seminars, tours, presentations, and more from a diverse representation of departments, centers, student groups, and the broader community for inclusion in the 2016 International Week Schedule of Events. Events taking place during the weekends before and after IEW will also be included. Please submit your event by no later than October 11, 2016 at 5pm to be included in the event calendar and other promotional materials.

How do I submit my program?

You pick the topic, a date and time between November 14-18 (or the weekends before and after), and secure the location, and then submit your event on GobblerConnect. As you prepare your program submission(s), Cranwell International Center is available to serve as a resource by offering feedback and/or ideas. Please contact Lia Kelinsky at


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The US-Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund

BARD is a competitive funding program for mutually beneficial, mission-oriented, strategic and applied research of agricultural problems, jointly conducted by American and Israeli scientists. Most BARD projects focus on increasing agricultural productivity, particularly in hot and dry climates, and emphasize plant and animal health, food quality and safety, and environmental issues.

  • BARD Research Grant Program:
    Funds projects conducted cooperatively by US and Israeli scientists. Covers all phases of agricultural R&D including strategic or applied research.
    Award duration: 3 years
    Next submission date: September 14, 2016
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship Program:
    Funds postdoctoral fellowships for US citizens to perform agricultural research with established Israeli scientists. Recipients travel to Israel to carry out their research.
    Award duration: 1-2 years
    Next submission date: January 16, 2017
  • Senior Research Fellowship Program:
    The program promotes joint agricultural research between established scientists from the US and their Israeli hosts.
    Award duration: 2-12 months
    Next submission date: January 16, 2017
  • Graduate Fellowship Student Program:
    The program enables Ph.D. students in one country (US or Israel) to travel to the other country to acquire new skills and techniques in their field of study.
    Award duration: 3-6 months
    Next submission date: January 16, 2017
  •  Workshop:
    Funds workshops whose purpose is to identify research needs and to promote increased contact between scientists throughout the world in areas related to the binational and agricultural interests of the US and Israel.
    Next submission date: January 16, 2017

For more information or to apply, visit:

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Latin American Partnerships Symposium

The Latin American Partnerships Symposium will provide an opportunity for senior international officers, faculty, and other leaders from the Americas to learn about best practices in the development of strategic partnerships, trends in the region, funding opportunities, and strategies for successful engagement between institutions.

The Symposium will take place on Wednesday, September 28, 2016 on the University of California, Davis campus. An optional day of campus tours and meeting with UC Davis faculty will follow on September 29.

A preliminary event agenda is available here.

Click HERE to register for the event.

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Nominate a student: 2016 Award for Academic Achievement Abroad

The Forum on Education Abroad welcomes nominations for the 2016 Award for Academic Achievement Abroad (formerly the Undergraduate Research Award). The Award for Academic Achievement Abroad is an honor that showcases rigorous and significant undergraduate academics that occur as part of education abroad programs. Every year, award recipients are invited (all expenses paid) to present their work at a plenary luncheon at The Forum annual conference.

Nomination deadline: August 31, 2016
For more information and to submit a nomination visit this website.

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Cuba Update: Faculty and their partners are welcome

Cuba Study Abroad Program

Spring Break, March 4-12, 2017

Several weeks ago I informed you that this coming academic year a VT colleague (Devi Gnyawali) and I were planning a study abroad program just to Cuba (March 4-12, 2017), and that we were permitted to take other faculty members from Virginia Tech and other schools because of the educational nature of the program.  We just recently learned that because of the continuing relaxation of travel restrictions participating faculty may also take  their spouses or partners

Given the swiftly changing relations between the US and Cuba and the rapid changes in Cuba itself we think this is a particularly exciting time to visit the country.   The focus of the program will be quite broad, looking at various aspects of social, economic, political, and cultural activities in this rapidly changing society.  The program highlights include:


  • Day 1: Fly to Miami (from a DC airport) and do a tour of Little Havana
  • Day 2-4: Fly to Cuba and spend next 2 days in Havana
  • Day 4: Havana +  Mayabeque
  • Day 5: Havana + Cienfuegos
  • Day 6: Cienfuegos + Trinidad
  • Day 7-8: Cienfuegos + Santa Clara
  • Day 9: Return to USA

If you are planning to participate in the program you should register before the end of the month after which the travel agency’s prices will be going up due to rising costs in Cuba.  In order to enroll you should call EF’s Traveler Support: 877-485-4184 and give them the group trip number: 1823736VY.   They have lots of experience packaging educational programs to Cuba and you can find their website at:  If you see a message on their website that our program is full, you can ignore that–it is a mistake and they are taking down.

First Cuba blog post.

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Study Abroad in Cuba over Spring Break!

Cuba Study Abroad Program
Spring Break, March 4-12, 2017

Devi Gnyawali and I (Rich Wokutch) from the Department of Management, Pamplin College of Business are very pleased to announce an exciting new study abroad program to Cuba scheduled for Spring Break 2017. This had previously been approved as a regular study abroad program for students but we just received approval to faculty to participate as well. Given the swiftly changing relations between the US and Cuba and the rapid changes in Cuba itself we think this is a particularly exciting time to visit the country. Between us Devi and I have led over 20 study abroad programs to Asia, Europe and New Zealand.

The focus of the program will be quite broad, looking at various aspects of social, economic, political, and cultural activities in this rapidly changing society. The program highlights include:

· Day 1: Fly to Miami (from a DC airport) and do a tour of Little Havana
· Day 2-4: Fly to Cuba and spend next 2 days in Havana
· Day 4: Havana + Mayabeque
· Day 5: Havana + Cienfuegos
· Day 6: Cienfuegos + Trinidad
· Day 7-8: Cienfuegos + Santa Clara
· Day 9: Return to USA

Program Fee: The program fee is $4285 for faculty. The fee includes roundtrip airfare from Washington D.C., all lodging (double rooms), meals, ground travel, and entrance fees. Cuba is very expensive, but we have been able to negotiate a good rate from an educational travel company (EF: Education First located in Boston), which is experienced in Cuban travel. Faculty who pay their deposit by May 31 will receive a $100 reduction in the program fee, thus making the total fee $4185. The $4285 rate is guaranteed until the end of June. The balance of program fees will be due November 1.

Some examples of the types of activities on the program include the following: walking tour of Little Havana (in Miami), visits to University of Havana, a community day center, several national parks, Ernest Hemingway Museum/former residence, several small scale enterprises, an art school, and the Bay of Pigs Museum. We will also attend an orchestra performance and interact with a local sports team. A fuller description of program activities is available at:

In order to register for the program and secure the $100 discount and lock in the current program price you will need to call Education First at 1-877-485-4184 and make a $500 deposit (they accept credit cards). If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at 540 231-5084 or 540 915-2025 or Devi is currently out of the country but he can be reached via email at

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Scholarships for Indonesian citizens to study abroad

Opportunities to Enroll Indonesian Students on Your Campus

Indonesia holds an important role in the world.  As the world’s fourth most populous country and the only Southeast Asian member in the G-20, Indonesia demonstrates that a large, Muslim-majority country can be secular, democratic, and economically vibrant.  Yet despite being an emerging power in a geopolitically important part of the world, relatively few American universities have academic partnerships in Indonesia.

Currently, Indonesia sends more than 40,000 students to other countries each year for university-level study.  Approximately 8,000 of those students enroll at U.S. institutions, the majority of whom are undergraduate students.  Separately, three major scholarship initiatives from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the World Bank, and the Indonesian government currently provide full funding to send Indonesian graduate students to select APLU-member universities.

  1. USAID’s PRESTASI Program

USAID funds PRESTASI (Program to Extend Scholarships to Achieve Sustainable Impacts) scholarships that largely, although not exclusively, fund Indonesian civil servants to pursue master degrees in technical fields relevant to the development plan set forth by the Indonesia government.  USAID is providing nearly $20 million to fund PRESTASI through 2018 to support scholarships that cover up to two years of tuition, fees, travel and living expenses.

For more information on the PRESTASI scholarships and what the funding covers, please click here.

  1. World Bank SPIRIT Scholarships

Since 2011, the World Bank has funded the SPIRIT (Scholarship Program for Strengthening the Reforming Institution) Scholarships focused on training Indonesia’s civil servants so they are better prepared and equipped for an evolving Indonesia.  Beginning next year, the World Bank will extend the program for another five-year period (2017-2023) and has committed more than $300 million to sponsor 2,000 civil servants to pursue up to two years of a master degree program or four years of a doctoral degree program abroad.  Scholarship funding covers travel and living expenses in addition to fully covering your institution’s published tuition and fees for up to two years of a master program or four years of a doctoral program.

To be eligible to enroll SPIRIT scholarship recipients, your graduate programs must be ranked in the top 400 globally by a major ranking system such as the Times Higher Education, QS, Shanghai, or U.S. News & World Report.

  1. The Indonesian Endowment Fund for Education

The Indonesian government has established a $1.4 billion Indonesian Endowment Fund for Education, commonly known as LPDP, which fully funds Indonesian graduate students to complete a two-year master program or four-year doctoral program at universities approved by the LPDP board.   Currently, 75 Indonesian graduate students are enrolled at U.S. universities through this program, but there is much room for growth.  Next year, more than 2,000 scholarships will be awarded for study outside of Indonesia.

Only institutions ranked as a top 200 global university and/or graduate program may enroll LPDP scholarship recipients.  LPDP generally refers to the following ranking systems to determine is eligible: the Times Higher Education, QS, Shanghai, or U.S. News & World Report.

For more detailed information on the LPDP scholarships and what the scholarship funding covers, please click here.

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Ag Sector Council Seminar Feb 17 at 9am

February 17, 2016 9:30-11:00 AM EST

Join InnovATE online or in-person in Washington, D.C. for this month’s Ag Sector Council Seminar on Feb. 17, 9:30-11:00 AM EST. The seminar is “Building Linkages in Agricultural Education and Training through Systems Thinking.” The application of systems thinking to agricultural education and training (AET) is critical to sustainable agricultural development. By understanding complete AET systems and the connections within them, practitioners can account for more variables and better influence agricultural development outcomes. This approach can help any practitioner integrate AET within their work, particularly for gender, youth and workforce development.

AET systems include formal education (primary, secondary, tertiary and vocational/technical institutions) as well as nonformal education (extension and workforce development) and informal education (on-the-job training and day-to-day self-learning). The February Ag Sector Council Seminar will discuss the five AET linkages and demonstrate how they can be built into projects. These connections include those between:

  • Theory and practical instruction
  • Curriculum and workforce/industry demands
  • Educational institutions at different levels
  • Different management systems such as governmental, NGO and parochial
  • AET and extension systems

The discussion will also include examples of AET systems in practice. Presenters will showcase successful cases and how they are developed. Practitioners of all types of program will learn how to think through how their work can be bolstered by AET. AET practitioners will gain insights into other programs and the overarching role of AET in Feed the Future. Please join us for a lively discussion starting at 9:30 AM EST, and if you are in DC, for a coffee networking hour at 9 AM EST.

Register on Agrilinks:

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