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
For the last 16 years, Professor Leon Geyer has taken students every other year to Australia to study land, environment, water and cultural issues.
Although students learn much about Australia during these trips, the following comments show that this program is not just about book and class room learning. What do students learn on a study abroad? Here are three students’ views after returning from their trips.
“When Dr. Geyer first told me about this trip, he told me that I would learn about myself, others, and Australia — in that order. His words of wisdom could not have been more accurate! Traveling halfway across the world allowed me to experience life in ways I’d never been exposed to before. Knowing only ten other people on the continent granted me friendships that will last for years, perhaps with people I would not have met otherwise. When put in a place that is entirely new and unfamiliar, one begins to build a sort of camaraderie with those in the same position. It is this striking camaraderie that made my Australian adventure such a thriving success. Because of respect and love of friendship, I was able to collect firewood in the Outback, hike mountains, explore new cities, and learn more about our beautiful world with people I had never met before. What a truly inspiring experience!
Photos by William McKenzie
Members of CALSSA hand out gift bags.
Hethwood Market provided tasty lunch fare.
More photos >>
Posted in Past Issues
Tagged AAEC, AgTech, ALCE, APSC, Awards, biochemistry, BSE, CSES, DASC, entomology, Events, FST, horticulture, PPWS, Students
Leon Geyer, professor in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, was recently elected chair of the Land Grant Tax Education Foundation at its yearly organizational meeting.
The Land Grant Tax Education Foundation is responsible for developing and implementing a what’s new in taxes 600-page book for over 30,000 tax practitioners in 25 states. The program is a 70 year effort of extension to educate tax practitioners, enrolled agents, certified public accountants and lawyers to assist the public in doing taxes correctly.
The Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, or RAGBRAI, is an annual seven-day bicycle ride across the state. RAGBRAI is the oldest, largest, and longest bicycle touring event in the world.
From left: Grady Boyle, Kevin Boyle, John Rowsell, and Phil Rowsell as they participated in the 42nd annual ride in July.
Professor of Agricultural and Applied Economics and Director of the Program in Real Estate Kevin Boyle and his son Grady first competed in RAGBRAI in 2012. This year they rode with alumnus John Rowsell and his son Phil.
John Rowsell serves as the CEO and President of Glenwood Capital Investments, LLC. He received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Guelph in 1982 before completing his graduate studies at Virginia Tech. He received a master in agricultural and applied economics in 1987 and a Ph.D. in 1991. John is also a member of the Advisory Board for the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics.
RAGBRAI is a fun event for participants and a fund raising event for communities and nonprofit groups along the ride. These groups sell food, refreshment and entertainment to riders to raise funds to support their organizations’ activities. Kevin and John say that the corn and soy beans looked good, but they also saw a lot of flood damage.
Professor George Davis and Associate Professor Wen You, both in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, are the recipients of the 2014 Award for Excellence in Applied Research.
Wen You receiving award from Dean Alan Grant
Davis and You have been in the forefront of research investigating how time allocation affects the diet quality and health of individuals. Recently they have focused on their research on understanding how time allocation may affect the efficacy of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as the food stamp program).
They reported that SNAP-based food costs are underestimated as much as 40 percent, and the percentage of individuals reaching SNAP consistent nutrition target levels may be overestimated as much as 50 percent.
Their research has been instrumental in shaping the public policy debate regarding the importance of accounting for time required by low-level income households to purchase and prepare healthy foods.
Davis and You are receiving this award for their excellent research contribution to the importance of incorporating time in the evaluation of the adequacy of SNAP benefits.
Alan Grant, dean
The weather was beautiful for the 19th annual faculty and staff awards ceremony and picnic on July 24. It was a wonderful opportunity to enjoy camaraderie, share a great lunch, and celebrate the outstanding accomplishments of some of our faculty and staff.
This year’s Andy Swiger Award was presented to Glenda Gillaspy, professor of biochemistry. The Andy Swiger award recognizes a faculty member who has demonstrated both a talent for and a commitment to the fundamental elements of the land-grant mission of serving students and citizens both directly and through the generation of new knowledge. We were pleased that Andy Swiger was in attendance to help present the award. Glenda has demonstrated both a talent for and a commitment to the fundamental elements of the land-grant mission.
Pablo Sobrado, associate professor of biochemistry, received the college’s Award for Excellence in Basic Research for his outstanding contributions to elucidation of novel enzyme mechanisms and drug discovery.
Five College of Agriculture and Life Sciences employees were recently awarded certificates from University Organizational and Professional Development in the Department of Human Resources.
Supervisory Excellence Certificate
Susan Gill, CALS administration
Office Software Skills Certificate
Vicki Keith, food science and technology
Lesley Mitchell, CALS adminstration
Administrative Professional Development Program Certificate
JoAnna Lewis, agricultural and applied economics
Angela Worrell, human nutrition, foods, and exercise
In order to stimulate translational research, foster agricultural outreach, and to enhance research and Extension activities at the Southwest Virginia, Shenandoah Valley, and Southern Piedmont Agricultural Research and Extension Centers, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences awarded five capacity building grants which are intended to provide seed funding to improve competitiveness for extramural grants and to provide opportunities to the faculty to more fully utilize and support these AREC facilities.
The Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station and Virginia Cooperative Extension jointly funded five projects for a total of about $250,000. The funded projects are listed below.
Kevin Boyle, director of the Program in Real Estate and professor of agricultural and applied economics in Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, was recently named to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Science Advisory Board’s Economics Advisory Committee.
In his capacity as a committee member, Boyle will be part of a team that reviews policies at the federal level to ensure that cost and benefits analyses are computed correctly.
Though nominees don’t know the criteria used for selection, Boyle’s expertise in environmental and health economics, in addition to his recent cost-benefit analysis work with storm water policies, were most likely contributing factors to his being nominated.