Category Archives: Past Issues

State Department seeking young scientists in the field of food security

The APEC Science Prize for Innovation, Research and Education is an annual prize that recognizes young scientists who have demonstrated a commitment to excellence in scientific research and cooperation with scientists from the 21 member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. Each year, the host economy selects a theme to guide the ASPIRE prize.

The 2016 APEC host economy Peru selected Technologies for Food Security as the theme for ASPIRE nominations. This theme focuses on innovative technologies that enhance food security, food safety, and nutrition to build resilient and healthy communities across the Asia-Pacific region.

Each APEC member economy is eligible to nominate one young scientist under the age of 40 to be considered for the 2016 ASPIRE prize. These finalists will then be considered by the full APEC Policy Partnership on Science, Technology and Innovation for selection as the 2016 ASPIRE prize winner, with prize money in the amount of $25,000. 

For interested candidates from the United States, the U.S. State Department is hosting a U.S. ASPIRE competition to identify this year’s U.S. ASPIRE nominee. The competition will invite a winner and five finalists to be honored at an award ceremony in Washington D.C. The winner will receive a $3,000 cash prize and be nominated as the U.S. representative for ASPIRE. The five finalists will receive cash prizes of $1,200 each.

The U.S. ASPIRE competition application is open until April 10.  Interested applicants can find more information online.

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Upcoming grant writing workshops for farmers market and local food promotion programs

The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service recently announced they will be accepting grant applications for their Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Programs. To raise awareness about the two programs and, hopefully, increase the number of applications and overall success rate for Virginia, Theresa Nartea and Eric Bendfeldt will be offering two free grant-writing workshops. The first workshop will be in Petersburg on April 8 and the second will be in Roanoke on April 15.

Preregister for only one of the workshops. The workshops are free, and materials and light refreshments will be provided.

If you have any other questions about the workshops, please contact Eric Bendfeldt at 540-432-6029.

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Save the date

April 6-8: National Health Outreach Conference

April 12: Beyond Nature: Engineering microbial factories for sustainable chemicals

  • Time: 3:30-4:30 p.m.
  • Where: Biocomplexity Institute Auditorium
  • Contact: Justin Barone ( | 540-231-0680)

April 20: Plant Sale preview

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

Oct. 15: Hokie BugFest

  • Time: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Where: The Inn at Virginia Tech
  • Contact: Mike Weaver ( | 540-231-6543)
  • Event website for more information
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Also in this issue

Administrative updates



College updates

Academic Programs

Research updates

Extension updates


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Virginia Agribusiness Council Connections schedule

The Virginia Agribusiness Council is excited to host a new series of regional events! Council Connections will provide attendees with a unique opportunity to interact one-on-one with representatives from their district. Guests will receive a legislative update from the Council and hear brief comments from local legislators.

Like the member/prospect receptions that were started last year, these events are designed to provide current and prospective members with an opportunity to network with local agribusiness leaders, industry colleagues, and council staff, while learning more about the organization and the member benefits. This new event format will be less formal, allowing for a more natural flow of conversation and dialogue amongst guests and with elected officials. There is no charge to attend (feel free to bring guests), but please register online.

April 21, 2016
5:30-7 p.m.

Reception Sponsor: Pacific Tomato Growers

Event Sponsors: Accomack County Farm Bureau, VNLA


Eastern Shore

Eastern Shore Community College (Melfa, Virginia)*Atrium of the Workforce Development Bldg.

Special Guests:

Local elected officials & legislators

April 27, 2016
5:30-7 p.m.

Dinner Sponsor: Farm Credit

Event Sponsors: Mennel Milling Company  & VNLA


New River Valley

Catawba Center
(Catawba, Virginia)

Special Guests:

Local elected officials & legislators

May 24, 2016
5:30-7 p.m.

Event Partner: Rockingham County Economic Development

Dinner Sponsor: Farm Credit

Event Sponsors: First Bank & Trust Co. & VNLA


Shenandoah Valley

Cross Keys Barn
(Harrisonburg, Virginia)

Special Guests:

Local elected officials & legislators

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Seeking nominations for CALS Excellence in Research Award

Dear colleagues,

We are seeking nominations for two research awards: CALS Excellence in Basic Research and CALS Excellence in Applied Research Awards. The deadline for nominations is May 27, 2016. Each award winner will be receiving $5,000 from the college to be used in support of his/her research program. The award winners will be recognized during the CALS faculty and staff picnic in early August.

Please share this information with your unit’s awards committee and let me know if you have any questions. These nominations should be made by the department head or the chair of the award committee and should be sent to Robin Williams. Previous nominees will be considered by the award committee for up to two additional years, if not selected the first year of consideration, for a total of three years.  


Saied Mostaghimi 

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Recent hires

CALS New Hires

(between Feb. 10, 2016 and March 24, 2016)

Full Name Job Title Hire Date Organization Description

CALS Faculty

Jones, Jennifer E. Graduate Program Coordinator 02/10/16 CALS Administration
Buckwalter, Joseph D. Research Associate CY 02/10/16 Crop & Soil Environmental Science
Hale, Kasey S. Laboratory Specialist 02/10/16 Human Nutrition, Foods, & Exercise
Pollio, Deborah L. Academic and Stu Supp Advisor 03/14/16 Human Nutrition, Foods, & Exercise
Marine, Sasha C. Postdoctoral Associate CY 02/29/16 Plant Pathology, Phys, & Weed Sci.

CALS Staff

Khatri, Kshitij Research Spec Sr 02/15/16 Plant Pathology, Phys, & Weed Sci.
Bilbro, Nicholas L. Research Assistant 02/25/16 Human Nutrition, Foods, & Exercise
Lake, John R. Research Technician 03/14/16 Biological Systems Engineering

Extension Faculty

Hale, Kasey S. Assoc Extension Agent 02/10/16 Scott Coop Extension Service
Winston, Rachael C. Assoc Extension Agent 03/10/16 King William Coop Extension Service
Butterfield, Kimberly M. Assoc Extension Agent, FCS 02/25/16 Roanoke Co Coop Extension Service
Hale, Daniel L. Assoc Extension Agent 03/10/16 Danville Coop Extension Service
Mize, Kayleigh J. Assoc Extension Agent 03/10/16 Brunswick Coop Extension Service

Extension Staff

Schrecongost, Ruth G. Unit Administrative Asst 03/14/16 Albemarle Coop Extension Service
Jenkins, Katie Unit Administrative Asst 02/10/16 Madison Coop Extension Service
Johnston, Julie A. Unit Administrative Asst 03/10/16 Orange Coop Extension Service
Fuentes, Liffny E. Unit Administrative Asst. 03/10/16 Norfolk Coop Extension Service
Martin, Hunter T. Office Support/4-H Prog Assist 02/25/16 Halifax Coop Extension Service
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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.

Office of Communications and Marketing blog screen shot

Check out our most recent posts:

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J.B. Daniel wins national award for pastureland conservation

Native Virginian J.B. Daniel recently received the American Forage and Grassland Council’s Pastureland Conservationist of the Year award for his exceptional education and outreach to promote sustainable grazing practices statewide.

This annual award recognizes a natural resources conservation service employee who has exemplified outstanding service to the agency, our clients, and the science of grazing land management. Daniels received this recognition for excelling in five categories: communication, training, partnerships, conservation application, and job complexity.

J.B. Daniel receives his award after being selected as the American Forage and Grassland Council’s Pastureland Conservationist of the Year

(Left to right) J.B. Daniel receives his award from NRCS National Rangeland Management Specialist Sid Brantly and AFGC President Gary Wilson.

As the state’s forage and grassland agronomist, Daniel is committed to education and outreach. He serves as an advisor to the Virginia Forage and Grassland Council, providing key support to the annual VFGC winter conference series with an annual attendance of more than 500 producers and grazing advisors. He also spearheaded the development of the Beginning Grazier School, a multi-day, immersion-style training course on management-intensive grazing.

Demonstration farms are another key component of his outreach strategy to promote sustainable practice implementation. In 2010, Daniel began working with Shenandoah Valley farmers to launch a project promoting year-round grazing and reduce the need to feed stored hay. Many other demonstration farms have now been added throughout the state, and other initiatives followed to explore the use of annuals in livestock grazing systems and the silvopasture practice, which integrates forage grazing and forest production.

Continue reading

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Featured department or program of the month

Featured faculty and student profiles on CALS homepageAs many of you know, each month we feature a department or program in the college on the digital signs in Latham Hall. We rotate these signs throughout the year, highlighting all the great things happening in the college. We also feature a faculty member and student each month on the college homepage.

Starting earlier this year, we decided to dedicate each month to a department or program by highlighting it on both the digital signs and with the faculty and student nominations. In March, we featured the Agricultural Technology program, and in April, we are featuring the Department of Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education. Make sure to stop by Latham to view the digital signs and check out our featured faculty and student of the month!

Please also keep faculty and student nominees from your own departments or programs in mind to feature on our website. You can send them to at any time.

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