CANR announces 2012 Benton graduate student award winners

June 25, 2012 under CANR News

The University of Delaware’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) has announced the winners of the 2012 William J. Benton Graduate Student Awards. The 2012 recipients are Rachael Vaicunas, Jixian Zhai and Kirsten Hirneisen.

The awards were established in honor of William J. Benton, former CANR associate dean of research and professor in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences (ANFS).

Rachael Vaicunas

Vaicunas received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from the Department of Bioresources Engineering, and she said that studying in the department “was a great experience because it provided me with valuable skills that will be useful for my future as an engineer.”

She is researching water quality throughout the state of Delaware, specifically looking at “concentrations of hormones and antibiotics in surface waters across the state and how different land uses affect water quality.”

Vaicunas said that receiving the Benton Award has made her “feel like I brought value to the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.” She also wanted to acknowledge her graduate adviser, Shreeram Inamdar, associate professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences (PLSC), as she called him “a great mentor and motivator throughout my time at UD.”

Jixian Zhai

Zhai, a doctoral student in CANR, said his research focuses on understanding the roles of small RNA molecules in plant development and disease resistance. He conducts his research by utilizing high throughput sequencing technology, studying the small RNA molecules in a variety of plant species.

Zhai said that he is “really honored to receive this award and very grateful to the donors who always support graduate research in CANR. I believe this is an important step in my career and I am deeply motivated to live up to the expectation of this prestigious award.”

Zhai called his adviser, Blake Meyers, Edward F. and Elizabeth Goodman Rosenberg Professor of Plant and Soil Sciences and chair of the department, an “extraordinary adviser” and he wanted to thank Meyers for “all the guidance as well as the freedom that he gave me on my research.”

Kirsten Hirneisen

Hirneisen, also a doctoral student in CANR, said that receiving the Benton Award is “a great honor. Past recipients have been wonderful students and great scientists and it’s a wonderful feeling to be associated with them through this award.”

Hirneisen’s area of research is microbial food safety and she said that she enjoys working in the field because it encompasses many different areas. “As a food safety microbiologist; I get to be involved in all these areas to control hazards from the field to fork.”

Her doctoral research focuses on “the enteric viruses, including Hepatitis A Virus and human noroviruses, and their interactions with fresh produce in a field environment. The impacts of my research helps assess the risk of human pathogen contamination of produce and aids in the development of strategies to ensure a safe food supply.”

Hirneisen said that her adviser Kali Kniel, associate professor of ANFS, has been “a wonderful mentor to me and a great role model.”

Article by Adam Thomas

This article can also be viewed on UDaily



In Memoriam: Ernest N. Scarborough

November 16, 2011 under CANR News

Ernest N. Scarborough, 89, of Newark, Del., died Nov. 9.

Dr. Scarborough retired from the faculty of the Department of Bioresources Engineering in 1983 after 28 years of service, including several years as department chairperson.

During his tenure at UD, Dr. Scarborough was honored with a National Teacher of the Year Award and, in 1964, with the Christian R. and Mary H. Lindbach Excellence in Teaching Award.

Among his many professional affiliations, Dr. Scarborough was invited by his peers to the membership of Who’s Who in the EastAmerican Men of ScienceWho’s Who In Technology and Outstanding Educators of America.

Born in Annapolis, Md., on May 21, 1922, Dr. Scarborough was the son of the late Dr. James Blaine Scarborough and Lessie Neville Scarborough. He served his country as a captain in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II and would go on to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Iowa State University.

A gifted educator and researcher, Dr. Scarborough began his teaching career in Agricultural Engineering at North Carolina State University.

According to his famiy, Dr. Scarborough enjoyed gardening around his home and traveling with his wife and family. He was also an avid sports fan throughout his life.

He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Miriam Jacklitch Scarborough; children, James Scarborough and wife Carol of Earleville, Md., Barbara Scarborough of Greensboro, N.C., Betsy Kenyon and husband, Austin, of Park Hill, Okla., and Robert Scarborough and wife, Judith, of Newark, Del.; brother, William Scarborough and wife, Pat, of Hattiesburg, Miss.; and grandchildren, Michael, Rebecca, Nikki, and Tyler.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Ernest N. Scarborough Scholarship Fund, University of Delaware, University Development Office, George Evans House, 5 Main St., Newark, DE 19716; or to Compassionate Care Hospice, 702 B Kirkwood Highway, Wilmington, DE 19805.


Hong Li Joins CANR Faculty

July 8, 2011 under CANR News

Hong Li, assistant professor in the Department of Bioresources Engineering, has joined the faculty at the University of Delaware College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR).

Li said that he looked forward to working at UD after being “attracted by the great research and teaching opportunities presented by the University of Delaware.”

While he visited, he said that he was given a phenomenal tour of the CANR campus and that felt that “the University of Delaware would be an ideal place for me to develop my scientific career.”

After earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agricultural biosystems engineering from China Agricultural University in Beijing, Li went on to earn his doctorate in agricultural structures and environmental systems engineering from Iowa State University in 2006.

Before joining the CANR faculty, Li conducted research as an associate scientist and adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering at Iowa State University.

Li said that his favorite part of joining the faculty has been “enjoying the company of many intelligent people who are willing to take the time to let you bounce ideas off them.”

While he did not teach any courses last semester, Li said that he hopes to teach courses in the areas of environment management and animal production. These courses will be designed to cover the principles relative to animal care, management and environmental design to ensure animal well-being and raise awareness of environmental protection, law and legislation.

Li said that during his time at UD, he hopes to conduct research on four fronts, including “monitoring technologies for animal physiological and behavioral response, assessment of animal-environment interactions, quantitation of air quality and emissions from animal feeding operations, and assessment and development of best management practices aiming at mitigating air emissions based on their character, amount, and dispersion.”

Though he has not been here long, the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources has quickly made an impression on Li as a “very active and collaborative research environment. I am very much impressed by the synergy among research projects and among researchers in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.”


James Glancey receives Water Resources Association’s 2011 Government Award

May 12, 2011 under CANR News

James Glancey, associate professor of bioresources engineering, has received the Water Resources Association’s (WRA) 2011 Government Award along with the other members of the Artesian Water Resources Management Partnership.

According to the Artesian Water website, the Artesian Water Resources Management Partnership came about when Artesian Water Resources and the town of Middletown came together to encourage and support the use of reclaimed water for agricultural irrigation and other needs. As the Operator of the Middletown wastewater treatment facility, Artesian has long used spray fields to dispose of treated wastewater. This project was the first in the state of Delaware to use treated wastewater to grow crops on private farms.

In the announcement of the award, Robert F. Molzahn, President of WRA, said “The Partnership’s Program for wastewater management and disposal is an excellent example of how government organizations can work in concert with private companies and individuals to achieve a mutually beneficial outcome.”

Members of the Artesian Water Resources Management Partnership include Delaware Gov. Jack Markell; Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee; DNREC Secretary Colin O’Mara; Dian C. Taylor, president and CEO of Artesian Resources; Ken Branner, mayor of Middletown; and Morris Deputy, town manager of Middletown.

The farmers involved in the project are Dennis Clay and Lawrence E. Jester.


April 24: Ag Day to celebrate 35 years with ground breaking of the UDairy Creamery, music, festivities

April 19, 2010 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension, Events

The 35th annual Ag Day, sponsored by the University of Delaware College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, April 24.

Every year, Ag Day draws more than 3,000 guests who come to experience the wonders of agriculture and the natural world.

This year, those who attend will be able to see the college break ground on its new ice cream store front and processing facility, the UDairy Creamery, at 11:45 a.m.

Ag Day will be held, rain or shine, on the grounds of Townsend Hall at 531 South College Avenue on UD’s main campus in Newark. The event is organized by staff and students with the support of more than 80 organizations.
The money raised at Ag Day benefits student and community organizations.

Following the Ag Day tradition, there will be a variety of educational workshops and live entertainment at this year’s event.

On the entertainment stage will be acts including:
• The Deltones, one of the premier a capella groups at UD;
• Five Points, a student band with a unique blend of rock music;
• Dodging Cupid, a classic rock and roll band from the Delaware Valley featuring Thomas Ilvento, chairperson of the Department of Food and Resource Economics;
• Tater Patch, lively folk music featuring Judith Hough-Goldstein, professor in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology; and
• The Common Room, a student band with reggae, rock, and acoustic styles.

In the education presentation area, guests will be able to:
• See live animals from the Brandywine Zoo;
• See innovative vegetable gardening with representatives of the Tyler Arboretum;
• Learn about money management with Patricia Barber, associate professor in the Department of Food and Resource Economics;
• Hear and sing along with Zach Ladin and his nature songs;
• Participate in a wool workshop wool workshop with Lesa Griffiths, associate provost and professor in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences; and
• Learn how to keep those pesky pests out of your garden in an eco-friendly way with UD’s Cooperative Extension.

Additionally, annual attractions include 3 tents of educational exhibits, pony rides, a petting zoo, YoUDee, face painting and UDairy Ice Cream.

Those with an interest in gardening will want to visit the 18th annual UD Botanic Gardens Plant Sale from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., located in the Fischer Greenhouse behind Townsend Hall. The sale offers a variety of perennial flowers, shrubs and trees that are sure to add flare to any lawn or garden.

Admission and parking for Ag Day are free and open to the public, with minimal charges for food. If you are interested in becoming an exhibitor or for additional information, visit the Ag Day Web site or call (302) 831-2508.


Ag Day Exhibitor/Vendor Registration Now Open

March 3, 2010 under CANR News, Cooperative Extension, Events

The University of Delaware’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources invites you to take part in one of the longest-running and most popular spring events in the City of Newark—Ag Day!

Ag Day 2010 will be held on Saturday, April 24, 2010 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., rain or shine, on the grounds of Townsend Hall in Newark, Delaware.

Registration for exhibitors/vendors is now open and available at by clicking on Exhibitor/Vendor Registration.

REGISTRATION IS DUE BY March 24, 2010. PAYMENT MUST BE RECEIVED BY APRIL 1. Registration is subject to approval by the Ag Day Planning Team.

If you have further questions, please contact Katy O’Connell at (302) 831-1135 or via email to  

Ag Day is a community event that brings agriculture and natural resources to life for the approximately 3000 people who attend each year. Through educational exhibits, tours, and activities, our exhibitors educate everyone from schoolchildren to homeowners, senior citizens to teenagers, about the world of agriculture and natural resources. Adding to the fun are our many supplemental vendors, who provide food and entertainment for our guests.

With its far-reaching audience, Ag Day is the perfect opportunity to promote your organization, raise funds, and enjoy a spring Saturday with people who are interested in learning more about agriculture and natural resources. We hope you will consider joining us as an exhibitor at this year’s event, which marks our 35th Ag Day!

We hope to see you at Ag Day 2010!

College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
104 Townsend Hall – 531 S. College Ave. – Newark, DE 19716
PH: 302/831-2508 – FAX: 302/831-1360


Lomax Honored by American Mushroom Institute

December 7, 2009 under CANR News
Ken Lomax honored by American Mushroom Institute

Ken Lomax honored by American Mushroom Institute

Ken Lomax, University of Delaware professor emeritus of bioresources engineering, was presented a lifetime honorary membership in the American Mushroom Institute (AMI) during the organization’s 51st annual conference.  Read the full story on UDaily.