Around the college

Virginia Cooperative Extension once again held its popular Extension Day at the State Fair, which included educational exhibits on food safety, 4-H youth development programs, gardening, emergency preparedness, nutrition, aquaculture, and much more. Students in the Ag Econ/NAMA Club handed out grain jars during the fair, while Block & Bridle members served up its popular barbecue.
  Professor Glenda Gillaspy was recently named head of the Department of Biochemistry. Gillaspy’s research focuses on molecular pathways that plants use to respond to the environment, which is important for developing strategies to increase crop yield in stressful or nutrient-poor soil conditions. She also does extensive outreach work with local elementary and high school students.
Associate Professor Boris Vinatzer is serving as the Interim head of the Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology, and Weed Science.
At the end of August, the corpse flower dubbed “Stinky Phil” bloomed for the first time in 11 years, unleashing a malodorous stench akin to rotting flesh. More than 1,500 people came out to see the flower in the Jacob A. Lutz Garden Center, and Phil became a local celebrity and social media sensation with the hashtag #stinkyphil generating 1.7 million impressions on Twitter. Check out a video of the unfolding flower at https://vimeo.com/137853117.
The College Diversity Council hosted a Diversity Showcase in October. Groups from around the university gathered to share their ideas on how to promote and expand inclusion efforts around the college and the university.
The college held its annual Scholarship Banquet in October, when students who received the more than 240 available scholarships were able to personally thank and meet some of the people who made the more than $1 million in scholarships possible. Daniel Giraldo, left, who is majoring in biochemistry and human nutrition, foods, and exercise, spoke about the value of the scholarships and thanked his mom, Elena Lewis, during his talk.
  Tim Kring became the head of the Department of Entomology in January. Kring came from the University of Arkansas, where he worked on biological control of insect and weed pests, the impact of beneficial insects, pest management, and insect biology, among other topics.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe was one of the many people who attended the Governor’s Agriculture and Industry Biotechnology Conference in Danville, which is geared toward boosting biotech companies around the state. Professor M.A. Saghai-Maroof, right, with the Department of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences is one of the researchers from the college who is leading the way in agricultural biotechnology.
  The 2015 Agency 229 Annual Report that highlights the impacts of Virginia Cooperative Extension and Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station was published last fall. The report describes how research and outreach from the two organizations touch dairy production, forestry management, food security, and youth development, among other issues. The report can be viewed online at http://news.cals.vt.edu/229-report.
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