Food and resource economics students complete survey project

May 16, 2012 under CANR News

University of Delaware food and resource economics students spent the spring semester conducting surveys and analyzing data on two projects, one concerning a student’s proposed food truck business and the second on general campus awareness of alternative energy sources.

The students in the Food and Resource Economics (FREC) 409 class of Rhonda Hyde, associate professor of applied economics and statistics in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, presented their findings during a session held Tuesday, May 15, in Robinson Hall.

Half of the class discussed the results of a survey conducted on behalf of UD student Leigh Tona, who plans to open the I Don’t Give a Fork food truck business this fall, and the other half analyzed data taken from an alternative energy survey.

Food truck survey

The I Don’t Give a Fork food truck will open for business in a space at the Delaware Tire Center on South College Avenue in Newark.

The FREC 409 students working on the project surveyed about 250 people who visited south campus to assess the viability of the business as well as the best times of operation, price points and recommended menu items.

In the end, the students found that there was a large amount of interest in the food truck from the University community, and that many of the 250 people surveyed said that they would visit the food truck in the afternoon, after 4 p.m. There was also a lot of potential for customers on Saturdays, especially during sporting events such as football games.

With regard to price points, one group found that survey participants were willing to pay $4.67 for a six-inch sub or wrap, while another group found that if Tona does offer a combo meal — a sandwich, side and drink — she should raise the price anywhere from $1.27-$1.39 in addition to the sandwich price.

Recommended menu items included sides such as potato chips, pretzels and apples, and drinks such as soda, water and Gatorade. There was a good deal of interest in purchasing tea, as well.

Sandwich suggestions included turkey and cheese on a bagel, and bagels with cream cheese.

Tona, a management major with an entrepreneurial studies minor in the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics, was in attendance for the presentations and had a keen interest in the findings. “I’m really surprised to see that people want to come after 4 p.m. because my original plan was to be open 9 a.m.-3 p.m., so I may have to rethink that a little bit,” she said.

Tona did note, however, that she plans on being open to the public in general and not just the UD community, which was the focus of the survey.

One of the students also pointed out that Tona will probably benefit from the early morning traffic generated by construction at UD’s Science, Technology and Advanced Research (STAR) Campus.

Alternative energy survey

The alternative energy survey was used to gauge the amount of awareness that UD professors and students have about three alternative energy sources: solar power, wind power and biomass.

Select faculty and students were polled regarding their self-reported knowledge of the technology as well as the potential economic, regulatory and sociological barriers of the three alternative energy sources in Delaware.

Faculty and research scientists working in these areas were targeted for the survey. UD students majoring in natural resource management, resource economics, environmental engineering, environmental science, environmental studies and energy policy were also targeted.

Results revealed some differences in the knowledge areas of the six environmental-oriented majors listed above.

An interesting aspect pointed out by all of the survey study groups was that while UD students consider themselves very knowledgeable about solar and wind power, almost all of them answered that they did not know as much about biomass.

One group pointed out that the UD wind turbine could possibly contribute to the fact that many students consider themselves knowledgeable about wind power.

Article by Adam Thomas

This article can also be viewed on UDaily


Environmental professionals speak to UD students about careers

April 2, 2012 under CANR News

A number of University of Delaware students spent their St. Patrick’s Day learning about potential career paths from environmental professionals at the 2012 Environmental Career Morning event hosted by the Department of Food and Resource Economics in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR).

Panelists included representatives from federal and state government, an analyst from a consulting firm and a coordinator from the non-profit sector.

After a welcome from Steve Hastings, professor in the department, the four professionals engaged in a panel discussion, answering questions from Hastings, who served as the panel moderator, and from the students in attendance. The panel was followed by a mingling session during which the students got to meet the professionals in a one-on-one setting.

Kate Miller, a senior environmental studies major in the College of Arts and Sciences and an Honors Program student, attended the event and said that the panelists offered great advice to the students. “I feel like a lot of the advice students receive about the job market is either very sugar coated or downright depressing,” she said, “so it was refreshing to have professionals share their experiences in a way that made you feel like even though finding the job you want can be difficult at times, it can certainly be done.”

Miller, who plans to pursue a master’s degree in water science and policy at UD and hopes to eventually work in watershed policy for either the government or a non-profit agency, added that the panelists presented great tips about the hiring process and provided helpful insight into resumes and interview skills.

Erika Farris, a UD alumna and an environmental scientist with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Water, was one of the panelists, and offered up some advice to current students seeking a career in the environmental field, saying that it is important to obtain as much experience as possible and to pursue an advanced degree. She also stressed the importance of remaining open minded when looking for a career. “Even if something does not fit perfectly with your interests,” she said, “you can probably learn something from the experience, and may even discover new interests or skills.”

Farris — who graduated from UD with a bachelor’s degree in 2007 and a master’s degree in 2009, and who had Hastings as an undergraduate adviser — said that she had wanted to be a part of a career day because she can remember what it was like being a student and looking for a job. “I remember being in their shoes, not that long ago, and being uncertain about what opportunities existed with that major,” she said.

Besides reaching out to the students and providing them career advice, Farris also said that she wanted to take part in Career Morning because she was “interested in hearing about the career interests of current students, and learning about what career paths other alumni have taken.”

Jennifer Walls, the principal planner for the planning section of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), also sat on the panel. She explained that it is important for students entering the work force to “be flexible and open to job opportunities outside of your major.” She encouraged students to “think outside of the box when looking for jobs, and take part in as many internships as you can as an undergraduate or graduate student. If you can’t find an internship, then volunteer locally.”

Melissa Luxemberg, a senior in CANR and an Honors Program student, said that with graduation approaching, she is trying to keep all doors open as to what she can do for a future career, so she enjoyed being able to speak with professionals from the environmental field. “It was great to pick their brains about the opportunities they think are most promising for someone with my major and degree.”

Panelists included:

  • Jennifer Walls, principal planner for the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s Planning Section;
  • Erika Farris, environmental scientist, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Water;
  • Samantha Loprinzo, analyst for the consulting firm ICF International; and
  • Erin McVey, watershed coordinator for the non-profit organization Sassafras River Association.

Article by Adam Thomas

This article can also be viewed on UDaily


UFLA’s Sugano speaks to UD community about Brazilian agriculture

March 19, 2012 under CANR News

Continuing a strong partnership with the University Federal de Lavras (UFLA) in Brazil, the University of Delaware College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) Department of Food and Resource Economics hosted a special guest speaker last week.

Joel Sugano, a UFLA professor, gave a talk in Townsend Hall on Thursday, March 15, focusing on “Developing Business in Brazil through Innovation: The Case of Brazilian Business Platform in Ethanol, Coffee and Seed Industries.”

Sugano discussed problems that face global agriculture as population and affluence increases. As affluence rises, Sugano noted that there will be more people looking to buy more products and he asked the question, “Can you say to consumers, ‘You cannot consume?’ To tell someone, ‘You cannot buy a new car,’ that’s impossible.”

Sugano said that a rising world population has increased the need for food and renewable energies, and countries are being faced with a tough decision regarding whether to use their land for fuel or for food.

Sugano noted that in 2000, 1 percent of the world’s grain consumption was used for biofuels, as opposed to 2010 when that number jumped up to 6 percent.

He used Brazil as an example of this, noting that land that was once allocated for growing food has now been used to grow sugar cane in order to meet the world’s growing ethanol demands.

Sugano also noted that Brazil will play a key role in the global food crisis, as the nation is among the leading global exporters of goods such as coffee, orange juice, poultry and sugar cane.

Although there could be cause for alarm due to the potential gap in the world’s growing population and scarcer and more expensive food products, Sugano said that there is reason to be optimistic. He said that the world’s food crisis presents great challenges but also great opportunities for new innovations in agricultural business, which could help mitigate higher global food demand.

Time at UD

This is the second time that Sugano has visited UD. His first visit came in fall 2010 and he said he has fond memories from his time at UD.

Sugano also said he believes the partnership between UD and UFLA “is a door that will open to new possibilities to research, business, the exchange of knowledge and the exchange of ideas.”

Continuing, Sugano said, “the most important research is knowledge and the knowledge can come from any part of the world. If we build such a platform that we can exchange knowledge through this kind of collaboration between universities, we can create the platform to exchange ideas. That is more important than goods and so forth. Without this collaboration, I never would have been able to meet Titus (Awokuse) or other faculty here to exchange ideas and to show what we are doing and then to see what is going on here.”

Sugano said the experience for UD students to study at UFLA and vice versa is one that will benefit both universities, as well. “The important thing about study abroad is that it’s not only about knowledge but it’s about the experience itself. This kind of experience will last for their entire life.”

As the need to come up with solutions on a global basis increases, so too does the importance of studying abroad, according to Sugano. “The effects of one change in one thing will be sensed in another totally different area of the world because of the relationship that has been created through the Internet and through communication.”

To solve global problems, Sugano said, “we need expertise and knowledge and this will be done and exchanged through several different points of view. Not only in one country, but in another country that has another perspective, I think that will be the next way to solve problems.”

While at UD, Sugano also gave guest lectures in two undergraduate classes and visited with other faculty and state officials. He met with David Weir, director of UD’s Office of Economic Innovation and Partnerships; Matt Robinson, director of UD’s Institute for Global Studies; and David Mathe, deputy director of international trade and development for the state of Delaware.

About the partnership between UD and UFLA

In 2011, CANR and the College of Arts and Sciences received a $150,000 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture and International Science and Education program (USDA-NIFA-ISE) to continue on a three-year partnership with UFLA.

The hope of this partnership is to establish both long-standing academic programs and research partnerships, with both institutions helping each other in those areas in which their research overlaps.

Ranked fourth overall among universities in Brazil in a recent poll, UFLA is equipped with state of the art facilities, 160 laboratories and two experimental farms.

Article by Adam Thomas

Photos by Christy Mannering

This article can also be viewed on UDaily


Ashley Fry Prepares for Career in Higher Education

March 6, 2012 under CANR News

As an undergraduate at the University of Delaware, Ashley Fry said that she wanted to study statistics in the Department of Food and Resource Economics in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) because of the plethora of career opportunities it would provide.

Now, as a master’s student studying counseling in higher education in the College of Education and Human Development and working as a graduate assistant in the CANR Office of Academic Programs and Student Services, Fry said that she has her career choice set on working in higher education.

Fry, who graduated in 2010 and also minored in math and business administration, said she hadn’t figured out what she wanted to do with her future until her senior year as an undergraduate, and that the activities in which she participated outside of the classroom fostered her interest in working in higher education.

“I was really involved on-campus as an undergraduate student,” said Fry, who worked in the Admissions office, as a Blue Hen Ambassador tour guide, as a student admissions officer during her senior year, as a new student orientation leader for two summers, and as an Ag Ambassador.

Convinced that she wanted to make a career in higher education, Fry started looking into graduate programs that were related to the field.

She credits Kimberly Yackoski, assistant dean of student services in CANR, and Latoya Watson, undergraduate services coordinator in CANR, for guiding her to graduate school for studies in university administration.

Yackoski suggested that Fry do a discovery learning experience—a requirement for all undergraduate students—in her office.

The experience went so well that Yackoski asked Fry if she would be interested in continuing in the office as a graduate assistant.

“Ashley epitomizes the perfect colleague,” said Yackoski.  “She’s got an amazing work ethic, is forward thinking, and thoughtfully juggles all the roles we play in the office each and every day.”

Said Fry, “I got really lucky that I got to essentially blend my new experiences in my grad program and apply them to the office here, in the college that I had already had such a strong feeling for.”

Talking about her day-to-day routine, Fry said that her main role in the CANR office is that of academic advisement and support. Working in the office has taught her to balance a lot of different projects at the same time, something that she relishes. “On any given day, I could be meeting with a student, I could be in a meeting with people from this office (CANR) or other offices around campus, I could be doing a presentation, or I could be sitting here answering emails.”

Fry said one of her goals in the office is to strengthen the partnership between CANR and the University’s Career Services Center.  “I think that they offer so many wonderful services for students that I really want to make sure that we’re promoting to our students to take advantage of.”

If class and working at CANR weren’t enough of a workload for Fry, she also has an internship at the counseling center as part of her graduate program where she mainly does career-based counseling for clients. So a typical day for her can involve any mix of class, work at the counseling center or work at CANR. “I’m just going back and forth all the time,” she said.

As she prepares to graduate in May with a master’s degree in counseling in higher education, Fry said she is looking forward to starting her professional career, but will also miss CANR, a college with which she had strong ties since before she even stepped foot on campus as a freshman.

“Being a prospective student in high school, I remember calling up my future adviser, Dr. (Tom) Ilvento,” said Fry. “And Dr. (Steve) Hastings was the first person I met here so, even from just being a high school prospective student, I started building relationships with people in the college which have only strengthened and become more meaningful to me through my undergraduate experience and beyond. I’m just really thankful for everything they’ve done for me.”

Article by Adam Thomas


Winter in New Zealand leads to summer in Germany for CANR student

January 30, 2012 under CANR News

University of Delaware student Shaw Civitarese had wanted to find an internship in New Zealand for the summer but, unfortunately for him, his summer was their winter.

So instead of heading to New Zealand, Communicating for Agriculture Education Programs (CAEP), the organization through which Civitarese found his internship, suggested that he go to Germany for the summer to work on a swine and produce farm.

Civitarese agreed and was assigned to work on the Bauernhof Keller farm in Rodgau, Germany, which is a suburb of Frankfurt.

It turned out to be a great situation for the junior, who is majoring in agricultural and natural resources with a minor in food and resource economics.

Civitarese described the farm as “the story-book farm that you would imagine it would be. Everybody in the family worked on the farm. The mom did all the finances and the father and the kids did all the farming work. They mainly grew small grains but potatoes were also a big crop that they sold. And we would deliver the potatoes to lots of different restaurants and markets.”

Of his duties on the farm, Civitarese explained that his daily routine, if it wasn’t harvest time, usually involved being out in the fields at 7 a.m. followed by a long lunch around 11. He said that the German farmer’s lunch is comparable to an American dinner, and after eating and resting for about two or three hours, he would head back out in the fields from 3 p.m. to 9 or 10 p.m.

The time in the field was usually spent gathering small grains, like wheat, barley and straw, the latter of which ended up as bedding for the pigs.

Civitarese noted that this was a little unusual. “Their pig farm was actually unique — they bedded down their pigs in straw, which is kind of unheard of but I guess it’s good for the pigs’ morale.”

He said the straw is much softer than the usual bedding of concrete slabs.

If it was a harvest day, however, the schedule became more intense. “The harvesting was so tough because we would get up at daybreak, and it would be light out at 6 o’clock in the morning because you’re so far north. And we wouldn’t stop,” said Civitarese. “At one point, we were definitely in the combines harvesting for over 24 hours straight. So, it was rough but it was a great learning experience.”

After growing up on a farm in Baltimore County, Maryland, Civitarese was able to ease into the farming aspect of his internship. It was the cultural aspects of the internship that took a little while for him to grasp.

Civitarese had one big obstacle in his path right away as he made his way to Europe: he didn’t speak a word of German.

Luckily for him, Tobi Keller, the son of the farm’s owner, Robert Keller, was fluent in English and took him under his wing, helping him out whenever a language barrier stood in his way. Though he got help from Keller, who is 21 and learned English as part of his schooling, Civitarese did have trouble communicating with some of the older members of the community, specifically, his roommate.

“I lived with the grandfather because they didn’t have any extra room in the house, and the grandfather is very old school German, so he didn’t care to learn any English,” Civtarese said, joking, “He just yelled at me in German the whole time.”

Civitarese formed such a close bond with the younger Keller that he and his girlfriend flew over to America from Germany to visit Civitarese and experience their first Thanksgiving.

Civitarese also plans on heading back to Germany this summer to attend a rock festival.

Perhaps the greatest thing the internship accomplished is that it opened Civitarese up to a world of possibilities once he graduates. “I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but now I want to do something with a more global impact with agriculture,” he said. “I was thinking either an international job in agriculture with a marketing firm or something not specific to the U.S. I want to do something with a more global reach. The trip opened my eyes to other ways of thinking in agriculture.”

He also offered up some words of wisdom for any student planning to spend time abroad. “If you’re going by yourself, make sure you learn the local language before you go and do some background information on the place.”

He did say, however, that anybody who has a chance to study in a foreign country should jump at the opportunity. “I would definitely encourage anybody to get out there and do it because it changed the whole direction that I want to go with my degree.”

Civitarese added, “It gives you a more global perspective of what agriculture is outside of the United States, and how other countries view U.S. agriculture.”

After hours spent searching on Google trying to find an international internship that was right for him, Civitarese is forever grateful that winter in New Zealand led to an unforgettable summer in Germany.

Article by Adam Thomas

This article was originally published on UDaily


CANR Study Abroad Blogs

January 10, 2012 under CANR News

Many of our CANR students are spending winter session studying abroad.  Follow them on their journeys through the blogs that they and/or their faculty leaders are writing.

Brazil (Plant and Soil Sciences)

Dominica (Food and Resources Economics/Geography)

Singapore and Indonesia (Longwood Graduate Program in Public Horticulture)

Tanzania (Entomology and Wildlife Ecology/Art)

In addition, there is another CANR study abroad program traveling to Ecuador and the Galpagos (Plant and Soil Sciences/Biology). For more information about University of Delaware study abroad programs, visit UD’s Institute for Global Studies website.


Statistics internships form win-win partnerships

December 13, 2011 under CANR News

The graduate internship program in the M.S. in statistics in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources sends students every year into leading companies to work, learn and grow in their field. Although the internship is optional, almost all the program’s students take advantage of the opportunity.

The DuPont Company is the longest-standing corporate participant in the statistics internship program and sponsors the most interns. DuPont has been with the program since 2001 and currently hosts seven interns at two locations. Other participants are Chase, ING, Barclays, Bank of America, AstraZeneca and Condé Nast, which has a more than eight year relationship with the program.

A year-long opportunity brings meaningful benefits

Statistics students spend a year in their internship positions. Longer than the more typical summer internship, the year-long arrangement gives students more opportunity to utilize what they are learning and more time to develop and grow in the job. Companies love it because they make the most of the resources they spend on training and get longer access to their already-trained interns.

The host companies have real work to do and real needs to fill when they hire a UD statistics intern. They often comment on how well prepared the interns are, and, in fact, they have had one year of core graduate study that prepares them for the often complex work they will face as interns.

Tom Ilvento, professor and graduate director and coordinator of the program, stresses that the program works hard to ensure that the interns’ experience is meaningful. “We want to place students in a work environment where they have the ability to apply the skills they learn in their courses. The goal is for the students to provide leadership in at least one project during the internship.” In turn, the students are required to report on their activities via presentations and papers.

An opportunity for teamwork

Qian Li, currently an intern at the DuPont Experimental Station, is excited about the real experience she is gaining in industry. “I like the chance to work with and talk to professional people. Both statisticians and biologists. They are very knowledgeable and very anxious to teach us interns the things we will need in our professional lives,” she says.

Lu Su, interning at DuPont’s Stein-Haskell Lab in Newark, echoes her fellow student’s thoughts. When asked about the best aspects of the internship, she quickly replies, “Teamwork.” She says she appreciates the opportunity to work with a multifaceted team of statisticians, biologists and fellow interns, each of whom brings his or her own special strengths and skills to the project. She adds, “We have the opportunity to put our skills to use on real data and see how it all works in reality.”

Credibility in the workplace

The market for individuals with graduate degrees in statistics is excellent, points out Ilvento, and all of the program’s graduates find work in the field. He credits the fact that they each already have a year’s work experience on their resumes with part of the success. “Work experience is crucial in the job search today,” he notes, “and these students have worked with real companies on real problems.”

Joe Scocas interned at DuPont Crop Protection Products as a master’s student in statistics and was later hired as a statistician by the company. Thinking back on his internship experience, he comments, “Even though I had previous work experience the internship was beneficial for me since it gave me the opportunity to participate in the working environment of my chosen profession. Scocas continues, “My internship gave me a meaningful frame of reference to better understand the new statistical concepts I studied in class. Working in an environment like DuPont Crop Protection enables you to see how ideas work together and help us understand a more complex situation.”

Scocas has found the work at DuPont Crop Protection Products personally rewarding. “We are dedicated to discovering products that can directly impact the world’s food supply, both in terms of availability and affordability,” he says. “DuPont statisticians and, in turn, the interns from the University of Delaware work on projects and with scientists from all over the world, providing them with a memorable experience that ultimately can help define their professional goals and further their career.”

Scocas now supervises UD interns at DuPont. “I believe that my experience as a former intern allows me to understand the needs and strengths of current students. I can help them advance their learning and understanding of the contribution statistics provides to research and development, as well as increase the benefit that DuPont receives from this relationship.”

UD’s Department of Food and Resource Economics benefits from the internships as well. The internships help them build linkages with industry. Some of the individuals who began as internship program contacts at partner companies have become adjunct instructors in the UD statistics program, bringing their current, real-world knowledge into the classroom. Plus, the contacts help the department get a better understanding of what companies need employees to know and what the problems in today’s work world are.

“The internship program gives us a finger on the pulse of what working statisticians are currently doing in very applied settings,” says Ilvento. “It is very easy to be theoretical at the University,” he continues, “but the world is practical.”

By Tara White Kee

This article originally appeared in the Fall 2011 issue of Professional Education News.


Dec. 2: Seminar – Design of Experiments

December 1, 2011 under CANR News

Recent Advances in Design of Experiments (DOE) Methods for Screening Factors

Attendees will learn about several exciting new Design of Experiments (DOE) methods for screening factors first published in 2011.  This presentation will introduce experimenters to the very latest and efficient DOE methods not yet found in textbooks.  Definitive Screening designs will be presented in detail.  These designs for all continuous factors, can – in fewer trials than classical fractional-factorial designs – not only detect main effects but also curvature in EACH factor.  When the number of significant factors is small, a Definitive Screening design can collapse into a “one-shot” design capable of supporting a response-surface model with which a process can be optimized or fully characterized.  A case study will be shown in which a 10-factor process is optimized in just 24 trials.  Moreover, when more than a few factors are significant and the design cannot collapse into a one shot design, the design can economically be augmented to support a response surface model in the important factors.  Additionally, “alias-optimal” designs (2011) useful when not all factors are continuous – i.e. when several factors are categorical at multiple levels, as well as a class of “supersaturated” designs (2008) for selecting dominant factors will be demonstrated. Graphical comparisons between these alternative methods and traditional designs will show the new ones to be superior or strong competitors.

Tom Donnelly has been using Design of Experiments (DOE) methods for over 25 years and has taught more than 250 short courses on the topic to scientists and engineers.  From 2005 through 2008 he worked for the US Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center in the Modeling, Simulation and Analysis Branch supporting the use of DOE with real experiments as well as with experiments conducted using computers.  Now employed by the SAS Institute Inc., he continues to promote and support the use of DOE methods particularly for use with Modeling and Simulation (M&S) at Department of Defense sites, Department of Energy laboratories, and among government contractors.  Donnelly received his PhD in Physics from the University of Delaware and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of Energy Conversion.  He was also a partner in the very first DOE software company, ECHIP Inc., based in Hockessin.

Submitted by Erma Wopert on behalf of Dr. Palaniappa


Barber awarded honorary FFA Degree

November 1, 2011 under CANR News

Patricia Barber, associate professor in the Department of Food and Resource Economics, was awarded an Honorary American FFA Degree at the 84th National FFA Convention that took place in Indianapolis from Oct. 19-22.

The award is given to those who advance agricultural education and FFA, formerly Future Farmers of America, through outstanding personal commitment. All recipients will receive a certificate and medal and their names will be permanently recorded.

In a release accompanying the announcement of her honorary degree, Barber was cited as having a huge influence on the training of current agricultural teachers in Delaware and other states. The assistance that she has provided to the Delaware FFA through acting as a judge and through hosting state and national officer visits during her time at UD was also highlighted.

Always wanting to help make her students better teachers, the release states that her students consider her much more than a teacher. “They consider her a mentor and someone they can call on outside the classroom. Many continue to call on Pat as they begin their teaching careers. Her easy manner, upbeat, and caring attitude have helped many a beginning teacher get through that first year. Many stay in touch with her as they get married and begin their own families. This is a testament as to how much she cares for students.”

The National FFA Organization works to enhance the lives of youth through agricultural education. Without the efforts of highly dedicated individuals, thousands of young people would not be able to achieve success that, in turn, contributes directly to the overall wellbeing of the national organization. The Honorary American FFA Degree is an opportunity to recognize those who have gone beyond the valuable daily contributions to make an extraordinary long-term difference in the lives of students, inspiring confidence in a new generation of agriculturists.

The National FFA Organization is a national youth organization of 523,309 student members—all preparing for leadership and careers in the science, business, and technology of agriculture—as part of 7,487 local FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. The National FFA Organization changed to its present name in 1988, in recognition of the growth and diversity of agriculture and agricultural education. The 84th National FFA Convention drew over 50,000 FFA members, advisors, and guests from across the country. The FFA mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth, and career success through agricultural education. Visit for more information.

Members of the National FFA Board of Directors approved the nomination.


Oct. 19: Lies and Statistics

October 7, 2011 under CANR News, Events

University of Delaware Prof. Joel Best will speak about his book, Damned Lies and Statistics: Untangling Numbers From the Media, Politicians, and Activists on Wednesday, Oct. 19, at 3:30 p.m., in Room 132 Townsend Hall. A reception will follow.

According to the University of California Press, “In this book Best shows us exactly how and why bad statistics emerge, spread, and come to shape policy debates. He recommends specific ways to detect bad statistics, and shows how to think more critically about ‘stat wars,’ or disputes over social statistics among various experts.”

Best is a professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice at UD. He has written extensively about the sociology of social problems.  In addition toDamned Lies and Statistics and its sequels, his books include Threatened ChildrenRandom Violence,Flavor of the Month, and two books published earlier this year – Everyone’s a Winner, and The Stupidity Epidemic.

He is a past president of the Society for the Study of Social Problems and the Midwest Sociological Society, the former editor of Social Problems, and the chief editor of the online journal Sociology Compass.  He has spoken about dubious statistics at campuses across the country, and before audiences of judges, journalists and legislators.

The event is co-sponsored by the Northeast Center for Risk Management Education, the UD Department of Food and Resource Economics and the UD College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.