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
The Association for Career and Technical Education recently recognized G. Andrew Seibel as the 2015 ACTE Region II Carl Perkins Community Service Award winner. Seibel’s selection for this award is a testament to the scope and impact of his contributions to career and technical education.
Seibel will be recognized at the annual ACTE Awards Banquet on Nov. 19, 2015, in conjunction with ACTE’s CareerTech VISION in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Congratulations to Emma Flemmig and Rachael Kennedy, two of the recipients of this year’s Fullbright student program grants!
Emma Flemmig of Glidden, Iowa, a Ph.D. candidate in crop and soil environmental sciences, will survey rural households in the Punjab state in India. The surveys are designed to measure dimensions of food security and agricultural productivity. The data collected will offer a comparison with Flemmig’s current research in Haiti. She has a master’s degree from North Carolina State University and a bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University.
Rachael Kennedy of Blacksburg, Virginia, a Ph.D. candidate in agricultural, leadership, and community education, will spend a year in Turkey investigating food-oriented social movements. Her research will examine causal factors of social movements in Turkey and the potential for community resiliency. She has a master’s degree from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia.
“For 70 years the Fulbright Program has facilitated the exchange of knowledge and collaboration between countries,” said Guru Ghosh, vice president for Outreach and International Affairs. “We look forward to seeing the contributions their experiences will have on the global community, and the university is fortunate to have them serve as ambassadors.”
The Virginia Summer Residential Governor’s School for Agriculture graduated 97 of Virginia’s gifted and talented high school students, as well as collaborated with six students from Uniondale, New York. The GSA program ran from June 28 to July 25. While living on the Virginia Tech campus, students completed 22 courses taught by faculty and graduate students in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. Courses aligned with student majors: agricultural and biological systems engineering, agricultural economics, animal science, food science, and plant science.
As part of the GSA curriculum, students held a symposium, where they presented posters and papers on their research related to agricultural socioscientific issues framed by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture research initiatives: childhood obesity, climate change, food safety, global food security and hunger, and sustainable energy. For more information on the GSA, you may view their website or contact Program Director Curt Friedel.
Students from the primary school gardening with students from Virginia Tech, ENSA, and ISFAR.
By Ozzie Abaye, Bineta Guesse, Kathleen Jamison, and Tom Archibald in collaboration with ENSA, ISFAR, ANCAR, and Peace Corps-Senegal
4-H, the youth development branch of U.S.D.A. and Cooperative Extension, provides programming that invests in young people to evolve as independent, contributing and caring members of society. 4-H provides a positive foundation for youth by cultivating the essential elements of belonging, mastery, independence and generosity. Most of the 4-H programs are designed to engage, excite and integrate young people in the field of agriculture while offering opportunities for them to address larger global issues related to food security and environmental, social, and political needs. The 4-H curriculum and supporting programs fuse the social, cultural, and agricultural aspects of a community through hands-on experiential learning activities. Continue reading
Photos by William McKenzie
Members of CALSSA hand out gift bags.
Hethwood Market provided tasty lunch fare.
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Posted in Past Issues
Tagged AAEC, AgTech, ALCE, APSC, Awards, biochemistry, BSE, CSES, DASC, entomology, Events, FST, horticulture, PPWS, Students
Eric Kaufman, left, and Dean Alan Grant
Eric Kaufman, associate professor in the Department of Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education, was awarded the 2015 Diversity Incentive Fund for his proposal to bring a visiting scholar to campus to talk about diversity and inclusion initiatives.
The $2,000 CALS Diversity Incentive Fund is specifically designed to provide support for new, innovative, and creative approaches to raise awareness, engage learners, and change behaviors about diversity and inclusion within the academic community as well as the broader communities that the college serves.
Kaufman is going to bring Edward Romero, the chief diversity officer from Texas A&M University, Commerce, to campus for discussions with administrators, faculty, and students about recruitment and retention of underrepresented students.
Romero has a background in development of underrepresented populations in agriculture and improving the leadership of Hispanics in agriculture.
M. Antonio Silas
I had the pleasure of attending the Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences 30th Annual Career Fair and Training Conference in Houston, Texas, on March 26 – 28. The Department of Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education and the Multicultural Academic Opportunities Program at Virginia Tech were kind enough to provide me with funding for travel and conference registration. While I have been a member of MANRRS for 10 years, this was the first time that I had an opportunity to attend a conference in quite a while. While I was at the conference, I was able to make meaningful connections with other underrepresented students in the field of agriculture. I had an opportunity to present in an oral research competition and I found a renewed commitment for the organization.
MANRRS is a great opportunity to meet people that have interests that are both similar to yours and drastically different. Over the years that I have attended this conference, I have had the opportunity to meet a variety of professionals in different careers. This has given me a new perspective on the field and the various disciplines included within. As I was assisting with recruiting at the career fair, I had the opportunity to speak with undergraduate students from a variety of fields about the possibilities that a graduate education at Virginia Tech can provide. It was a wonderful opportunity to both provide information and learn from the people I was talking to.
Every year, each department in the college nominates one student as the Outstanding Senior from their unit. Stephanie Myrick of Woodbridge, Virginia, who majored in applied economic management with minors in civic agriculture and food systems and leadership and social change, was selected from these nominations as the college’s Outstanding Senior.
The Outstanding Seniors from other departments included:
- Brent Ashley from the Department of Dairy Science
- Colleen Beard from the Department of Horticulture
- Laura Griffin from the Department of Food Science and Technology
- Alyson Howard from the Department of Agricultural Technology
- Shannon Lloyd from the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise
- Kimberly Pittard from the Department of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences
- Morgan Slaven from the Department Agricultural and Extension Education
- Kirsten Ulmer from the Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences
- Kelly Young from the Department of Biochemistry
Thomas Archibald, assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural and Extension Education, was recently awarded the 2013 Michael Scriven Dissertation Award for Outstanding Contribution to Evaluation Theory, Method, or Practice. This national award, which is sponsored by Western Michigan University’s Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Evaluation program, is presented to a student whose doctoral dissertation represents a significant contribution to the theory, methodology, or practice of evaluation. Archibald received the award for his dissertation entitled “Evidence in Practice: A Study of ‘Evidence-Based’ Non-Formal Education.” His dissertation study focused on the politics of knowledge that are at play in various efforts to make non-formal community based education more closely connected to scientific evidence. Archibald’s study engaged with one of the most pressing issues facing applied social science and evaluation practice: what counts as credible evidence.
Archibald joined the Agricultural and Extension Education department in August 2013 after completing his doctoral work in Education at Cornell University. His research, teaching, and practice focus on evaluation and evaluation capacity building. As an Extension Specialist, he works closely with Virginia Cooperative Extension to enhance evaluation capacity throughout that organization. He also continues to examine some of the epistemological and methodological questions that emerged from his dissertation study on the politics of evidence in evaluation and social science.
Michael Scriven, in whose name this award is given, is widely considered one of the founders of the modern field of evaluation. Currently a professor at the Claremont Graduate University, he is a prolific and well-respected scholar in the fields of philosophy, psychology, critical thinking, mathematics, and, most notably, evaluation. Scriven’s work has been quite influential to his development as a young scholar, and Archibald is deeply honored to receive this award.