Lasher Fellowship for Graduate Students

November 2, 2012 under CANR News

The family of Dr. Hiram Lasher—a pioneer in poultry vaccine research, development, and commercialization, and a generous benefactor of the University of Delaware—has announced the establishment of the Hiram Lasher Fellowship Award at the University of Delaware.

“We are honored that Dr. Lasher’s family has established the Hiram Lasher Fellowship award to benefit graduate students pursuing studies in poultry health at UD,” says Jack Gelb, professor and chair of animal and food sciences, and the director of the Avian Biosciences Center at UD. “Dr. Lasher directly influenced many, many people from all walks of life directly through his support, his knowledge and generosity.  It is fitting that Dr. Lasher’s family has established this fellowship so that his legacy can live on.”

The family’s announcement of the scholarship is available on Egg-cite.com.

Dr. Lasher, 92, died Oct. 7 after a short illness. In 1997, the University dedicated the Lasher Laboratory in Dr. Lasher’s honor in Georgetown, Del. The laboratory, formerly owned by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, was transferred to UD when the USDA decided to close it. A $250,000 gift from Dr. Lasher allowed the University to update and renovate the lab.

In 2008, Dr. Lasher was awarded the University of Delaware Medal of Distinction. Robin Morgan, then dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, read a citation that noted his importance to the poultry industry worldwide and also noted his extraordinary contributions in Delaware to education, youth development and public service. “Hiram Lasher is a scientist, businessman, public servant, educational advocate and philanthropist who contributed significantly to the lives of many Delawareans.,” she said.

Donations to the Hiram Lasher Fellowship Award should be directed to the attention of Robert Rudd, University of Delaware, Office of University Development, 83 E Main St., Newark, DE 19716-0701 with a notation that the donation is to be assigned to the Lasher Fellowship. Alternatively, donations may be made online on the University of Delaware’s Giving webpage.    Please enter “Lasher Fellowship” in the “Other” box on the web form.

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UD grad student, local botanic gardens work to protect threatened plant species

March 29, 2012 under CANR News

Last spring, Raakel Toppila trekked through Atlanta’s Stone Mountain Park and other wooded areas in Georgia and Alabama, collecting leaf samples from the Georgia oak, a scrappy little tree that grows on granite and sandstone outcroppings.

A student in the University of Delaware’s Longwood Graduate Program, Toppila’s intent was to discover how each leaf — and the particular oak population that it came from — differed in its DNA make-up. Armed with this information, Toppila says that botanic gardens and other natural areas will be able to better protect and revitalize the Georgia oak, which is listed as threatened by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The Ontario native is interested in the role that botanic gardens can play in cultivating tree species that are at risk of extinction. “Thousands of plant species world-wide are currently threatened with extinction,” says Toppila. “Just as zoos have been at the forefront of animal conservation, gardens can start to play a similar role.”

Locally, she notes that several botanic gardens, including Mt. Cuba, are ahead of the curve and already have done considerable work focused on the conservation of native species. Since its inception as the private garden of Lammot and Pamela du Pont Copeland in the 1930s, Mt. Cuba Center has maintained well-documented, wild collected plants.

Since the early 1980s, plants from the Piedmont region, which stretches from northern Delaware to central Alabama, have been a special focus, says Phil Oyerly, the center’s greenhouse manager.

Most of Delaware — from south of Kirkwood Highway to the beaches — lies in the Atlantic coastal plain region. Plants from this region also have received conservation help from Mt. Cuba.

One notable example is seabeach amaranth, an annual plant that grows on beach dunes from New York to South Carolina. This plant had not been seen in Delaware for 125 years until one day in 2000 when state botanist Bill McAvoy found a single tenacious seabeach amaranth plant at Delaware Seashore State Park. He promptly collected its seeds and brought them to Oyerly, who propagated them in Mt. Cuba’s greenhouses.

Year after year, Oyerly has continued to propagate seabeach amaranth seeds, which McAvoy distributes on Delaware’s beach dunes each April. Today, seabeach amaranth grows at Cape Henlopen and Delaware Seashore state parks.

“Numbers fluctuate annually, but we find at least a few plants every year,” notes McAvoy.

Toppila would love to see her research into the Georgia oak be the impetus for a conservation partnership similar to the seabeach amaranth project.

“Botanic gardens could serve as a safeguard against the complete loss of the Georgia oak species,” says Toppila. “They could work on its propagation and cultivation and augment existing populations in the wild.”

Every plant species has its own particular conservation challenges and in the case of the Georgia oak (and oaks, in general) one issue is its tendency to hybridize.

With the legwork portion of her research over, Toppila is now busy analyzing the allelic variations and understanding the genetic diversity of the wild populations of Georgia oak that she surveyed last summer.

“By looking at DNA from different wild populations, botanic gardens can determine how to best represent the full diversity of the species,” she says.

Currently, the greatest threat to the Georgia oak isn’t its tendency to hybridize but human impact. At woodlands such as Atlanta’s Stone Mountain, which receive lots of visitors, Toppila saw numerous Georgia oak seedlings that had been trampled.

Likewise, people are one of the greatest threats to the seabeach amaranth plant, says McAvoy.  When he first began re-seeding the dunes, he used to see tire tracks on the tiny plant, which is particularly vulnerable because it grows on the foredune, the dune closest to the waves — and closest to the vehicles that are allowed on certain state beaches. However, state park staffers now fence off areas where seabeach amaranth grows.

Article by Margo McDonough

Photos by Danielle Quigley

This article can also be viewed on UDaily

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March 2: Longwood Graduate Program Symposium

January 4, 2012 under CANR News, Events

The University of Delaware’s Longwood Graduate Program in Public Horticulture will host its annual symposium on Friday, March 2 at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pa.

The symposium, “The Panda and the Public Garden: Reimagining Our Conservation Story,” will bring together the best of zoo and garden expertise to discover how public gardens and other institutions can inspire their audiences to care and advocate for conservation.

Designed for the professional staff of public gardens, conservation-oriented organizations, and cultural institutions, the symposium will take place in Longwood Gardens’ spectacular Ballroom starting at 8 a.m. Registration for the daylong event is $75 for professionals, and $55.00 for full-time students.

For more information and to register online, visit the Longwood Graduate Program website or call the program office at 302-831-2517.

Symposium highlights

Jerry Borin, former executive director of Columbus Zoo, will discuss how to gain a mass media audience for conservation, drawing on both his experience at Columbus Zoo and that of his protégé, Jack Hanna, through national television exposure.

John Gwynne, emeritus chief creative officer and vice president of the Wildlife Conservation Society, will speak on inspiring conservation through effective message design, based on his twenty years of creative leadership at the Bronx Zoo, and its direct link to conservation projects and expertise in developing nations.

Alistair Griffiths, curator (horticultural science) of the Eden Project in the United Kingdom, will address how to have a conservation message as the organizing principle in the life of a garden, from concept to realization. He will also present a case study on species conservation from discovery to commercialization.

Catherine Hubbard, director of the ABQ Biopark, N.M., will offer a wide range of current best practices for communicating with the public in zoos, aquariums, and gardens, with practical applications for organizations of varying sizes and missions.

Kathy Wagner, consultant and former vice president for conservation and education at the Philadelphia Zoo, will stimulate thinking about message relevance and effective evaluation techniques for measuring impact.

This year’s event includes a special new session featuring two speakers who will share their insights on the impact of storytelling and environmental psychology in communication for conservation. Sally O’Byrne, teacher and naturalist at the Delaware Nature Society, will share the practical art of storytelling. Andrew Losowsky, books editor at the Huffington Post, will address the nature and mechanics of a good story.

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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.

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Department of Plant and Soil Sciences cultivates next leaders

November 28, 2011 under CANR News

University of Delaware-trained plant and soil scientists continue to build on the institution’s stellar reputation, with six winning recent national honors.

One graduate student and five graduate alumni of the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences in UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) were presented awards by the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) and the American Society of Agronomy (ASA) at the national meetings of the societies in San Antonio, Texas.

Honorees are alumni Josh McGrath, Chad Penn and Amy Shober, who were advised by Tom Sims, CANR deputy dean and T.A. Baker Professor of Soil and Environmental Chemistry; Daniel Strawn and Kirk Scheckel, who were advised by Donald L. Sparks, S. Hallock du Pont Professor of Soil and Environmental Chemistry and director of the Delaware Environmental Institute; and Sudarshan Dutta, who recently completed his doctorate under the direction of Shreeram Inamdar, associate professor of plant and soil sciences.

Josh McGrath, a distinguished young CANR alumnus who earned his doctorate degree in plant and soil sciences in 2004, received the SSSA S6 Young Scholar Award, which recognizes young scientists who have made an outstanding contribution in Soil and Water Management and Conservation within seven years of completing their Ph.D.

McGrath is an assistant professor at the University of Maryland, and his research interests include nutrient management and environmental sustainability. McGrath leads an active research and extension program aimed at providing science-based, reliable and cutting-edge information in the arena of agricultural nutrient management, nutrient use efficiency, non-point source nutrient pollution and water quality protection.

In just a few short years, McGrath’s work has become widely recognized for its impact on sustaining agricultural productivity and improving environmental quality in the mid-Atlantic region.

Chad Penn, who earned his master’s degree in 2001, received the SSSA S-11 Young Investigator Award, which recognizes worthy professionals who have made an outstanding contribution in soils and environmental quality research within seven years of completing their terminal degree. The award comes with a certificate of recognition and $500.

Penn has worked at Oklahoma State University since 2005 as an assistant professor of soil and environmental chemistry. His current research is focused on water quality, the re-use of industrial by-products in agriculture and for environmental protection, nutrient and animal waste management, transport of phosphorus to surface waters, and thermodynamics of sorption and other soil chemical processes via isothermal titration calorimetry.

Amy Shober, who received her doctorate in plant and soil sciences from UD in 2006, won the ASA Environmental Quality Section Inspiring Young Scientist Award, which is awarded to professionals who have made an outstanding contribution toward sustaining agriculture through environmental quality research, teaching, extension or industry activity within seven years of completing their terminal degree.

Shober works as an assistant professor of landscape soil and nutrient management in the Soil and Water Science Department at the University of Florida. Her research and Cooperative Extension appointments focus on nutrient management in Florida’s urban landscapes.

Daniel Strawn, who received his doctorate from the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences in 1999, received the Marion L. and Chrystie M. Jackson Soil Science Award. Strawn is a professor of soil chemistry at the University of Idaho and his program focuses on research and teaching of soil chemistry and mineralogy with a special emphasis on the discovery of chemical and mineral speciation in soils. He is an associate editor for the Soil Science Society of America Journal.

Strawn joins a long list of UD plant and soil sciences graduates who have received the Marion L. and Chrystie M. Jackson award. Sparks was the first recipient of the award in 1991 and since then five graduates of the department have received the distinguished award.

Kirk Scheckel, who received his doctorate from UD in 2000 and won the Marion L. and Chrystie M. Jackson award in 2010, was named a fellow of the ASA and SSSA.

Scheckel is a research soil scientist in the National Risk Management Research Laboratory of the United States Environmental Protection Agency. He is an adjunct faculty member at Ohio State University and his research focuses on element speciation in soils, sediments and water to elucidate reaction mechanisms that influence fate in the natural environment. He served as associate editor for the Journal of Environmental Quality and as chair of S-11, a division of SSSA. He is active in SSSA, ASA and the American Chemical Society.

Sudarshan Dutta, who recently completed his doctorate in the department, was awarded the SSSA S-11 Soil and Environmental Quality Graduate Student Award.

Dutta received a certificate and $500 for his achievement, and impressed the award committee with his research record and the contributions he has made in the area of soil and environmental quality.

Sparks said of the awards and what they mean to the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, “They’re just a testament to the quality of our graduate studies programs and the training the students get. It also indicates the reputation the University’s programs have built — people recognize that those who come out of these programs are really first rate. Over the years we’ve developed a strong program in soil science that is recognized nationally and internationally.”

Part of this strength, according to Sparks, is derived from the ability to attract outstanding students to the graduate program. “You attract good students and then you give them a fair amount of freedom,” he said. “It is a combination of having bright students working on significant research problems, and giving them the flexibility and the freedom to pursue knowledge.”

Sparks also pointed out the outstanding equipment, facilities, grant support and faculty members who have been “good role models and mentors for these students.”

Sims said of the awards, “We’re very proud of the accomplishments of the graduates of our soil science program. It’s rewarding to see so many of our former graduate students become very successful faculty at top-ranked universities and to have their successes recognized by these prestigious awards. Their research and extension programs are cutting-edge and address some of the most important areas we face today as we to ensure a safe and secure food supply for more than 7 billion people worldwide and protect our environment for future generations.”

Article by Adam Thomas

This article can also be viewed on UDaily > >

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PLSC doctoral student receives prestigious scholarship

September 9, 2011 under CANR News

Josh LeMonte, a first-year doctoral student in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciencesat the University of Delaware, has been awarded a prestigious Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship.

The SMART Scholarship for Service Program, part of the National Defense Education Program of the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and administered by the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) and the Naval Postgraduate School, provides opportunities for both graduate and undergraduate students to pursue degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and be gainfully employed upon graduation.

LeMonte, who arrived at UD in May to work in the lab of Donald L. Sparks, S. Hallock du Pont Chair of Soil and Environmental Chemistry, says his research is still in its infancy.

“So far, I’ve been doing a lot of literature review. I’ll be trying to fit together Dr. Sparks’ expertise with Dr. Chappell’s needs, and he needs someone who can work on the organic-metal interface in soils,” LeMonte said. “So right now I am planning on doing research focused on the role of manganese in the carbon cycle.”

This work will make LeMonte an active member of the Christina River Basin Critical Zone Observatory research team, which is examining human impacts on the movement of carbon atoms through the watershed ecosystem. It will also require him to travel occasionally to national laboratories to use the synchrotron spectroscopy instrumentation available there.

“We are very fortunate to have Josh join our research group,” said Sparks. “He is an extremely capable student and researcher, and I’m really looking forward to his contributions to knowledge in this field.”

Article by Beth Chajes and reproduced here with permission

For the full original article please visit UDaily.

Photo by Ambre Alexander

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Operations Research grad student helps Newark optimize trash collection

January 3, 2011 under CANR News

Priyanka Jain, a master’s degree student in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, is working with the city of Newark to study ways to optimize residential trash pick-up and save costs.

Jain, who is in CANR’s operations research program, explained that the main goal of her work is to “enhance waste collection practices in the city of Newark in terms of minimizing fleet size, total transportation and operational cost, and avoiding time imbalance in between different routes.”

The study has two main parts. First, Jain looked at assigning different capacity trucks to various routes to help cut down on the number of trips taken by each truck. The city has trucks of varying capacity and Jain saw that specific types of trucks worked better on certain routes.

Jain found that a smaller model of truck was making two trips to pick up the same amount of waste that could be handled by a larger truck in one trip. She said she would like to cut the number of trips to save on fuel, operational costs and overtime pay.

Because there is less trash to pick up in the winter, Jain said she believes the city can collect all the trash successfully with four trucks rather than the five they currently use.

By decreasing the number of trips taken by each truck on their routes, Jain’s research showed a 19 percent reduction in yearly transportation and drivers’ labor costs.

The second part of the study concerned route optimization to save on fuel and overtime costs.

To determine the optimal route depending on the average waste to be collected, Jain used Network Analyst, an ArcGIS extension for problems such as shortest route, closest facility, location allocation and vehicle routing.

Jain said of the city’s current routing plan, “They have a good scheme, but still there are some trucks that have to do multiple trips because there are uncovered remaining houses. I’m trying to make routes, different routes, so that they have very optimal collection schemes and they don’t have to go back.”

Using optimal route solutions for the city, the ArcGIS computed using traffic directions, turn restrictions, average speeds for local roads and highways and average time for serving each bin. It included geocoding of the city’s customers on GIS maps, which can be helpful in the future if more customers need to be added. City historical data was used to calculate average drop off time at the transfer station, the area where the trucks transfer their waste. Field observations were also conducted to assess the average turn times and service time for bins.

When these optimized routes were compared to the current ones, the results showed that distance would be decreased between 4-15 percent on each route, with an average of a 9 percent reduction in mileage, leading to an estimated decrease of fuel costs by $1,500 and maintenance costs of $7,000 per year per route.

Cost is not the only benefit from Jain’s research, however, as she says another plus that comes from route optimization will be public safety.

Jain said she is “trying to optimize their routes so they do fewer U-turns, which is critical in terms of safety. They are huge trucks and when they back up, if they make a three-point turn, it is a main concern especially in terms of safety. They don’t want the trucks to make many U-turns or three-point turns.”

With fewer trucks running more efficient routes, there will be an environmental benefit to the research as well, as fewer trucks driving fewer miles will help Newark reduce its carbon footprint.

The study originated in a class taught by Kent Messer, assistant professor of food and resource economics and assistant professor of economics, and Messer says Jain was “just a wonderful example of someone going above and beyond and demonstrating her passion and knowledge. She obviously did a great job.”

Messer also said that the city of Newark was very helpful to Jain throughout her research. “They are a great team, and I give them kudos for doing it because they have to get a lot of data to run these things,” he said. “They’re very data intensive to get good meaningful results. So I just think that it’s a beautiful relationship between the University of Delaware and a student and the city.

“I think her analysis was great, and the thing that I like about it is that I think they’re going to do it. From what I can tell, they’re going to go try it out, run some of these routes, get feedback and see whether it’s actually going to get put on the ground. And that’s so much better than a study by itself.”

Along with Messer, Jain credited Rich Lapointe, the director of public works for the city; Patrick Bartling, public works superintendent for providing a lot of support, information and data; and Benjamin Mearns, information resources consultant with the University’s IT-Client Support and Services, for helping her with ArcGIS.

Jain will continue her study into next semester, adding things such as more detailed traffic data and recycling into her analysis.

Article by Adam Thomas
Photo by Danielle Quigley

This article can also be viewed online on UDaily by clicking here.

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Longwood Graduate Program Saves Electronics from Landfill

October 18, 2010 under CANR News, Events

The Longwood Graduate Program in public horticulture hosted its fourth successful Electronics Recycling Day on October 14.  They were able to collect computers, cell phones, walkie talkies, modems, radios, printers, dehumidifiers, a plethora of batteries, and many other items.  Four palettes worth of electronics were kept from the landfill and about 20 cell phones will be going to Cell Phones for Soldiers.

For photos and the blog post from the LGP, click here.

The students will organize another Electronics Recycling Day for next semester so continue to save any broken or unwanted electronics until next time.

Don’t forget that you can always recycle your plastic grocery bags in the green bin in Townsend Hall Commons!

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South Dakota State president a CANR Blue Hen

September 8, 2010 under CANR News

When the South Dakota State University football team ventures east to take on the University of Delaware on Saturday afternoon, Sept. 11, at Delaware Stadium, the Jackrabbits will bring with them a Blue Hen.

South Dakota State President David L. Chicoine earned a master’s degree in agricultural economics from UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources in 1971. He also received a bachelor’s degree from South Dakota State in 1969, a master’s in economics from Western Illinois University in 1978 and a doctorate in agricultural economics from the University of Illinois in 1979.

Chicoine, who was named president of South Dakota State in 2007, said he and his wife, Marcia, have fond memories of their time spent in Delaware.

He said the move to Delaware in 1969 marked their first time east of the Mississippi River and proved to be an “interesting and exciting life experience.” They brought with them a one-month-old son and arrived at a time of unrest, with Wilmington only recently removed from the watch of the Delaware National Guard following riots.

Chicoine said their first connections were with the faculty and fellow graduate students, and he cited Raymond C. Smith, then the chair of his department, as well as Ulrich C. Toensmeyer and Joachim Elterich. He also said his thesis adviser, Gerald L. Cole, “was first rate.”

Working both in Newark and Southern Delaware, Chicoine said the young family enjoyed seeing the Atlantic Ocean — the first time they had viewed an ocean beach — and eating soft shell crabs. They enjoyed the Delaware and Chesapeake bays, learned about the Delmarva Peninsula and visited many sites in the Brandywine Valley.

“It was a transformational period for us — a great, great experience,” Chicoine said. “We liked the campus, which was larger and very different from the northern Great Plain prairie landscape of South Dakota State.”

Chicoine said his thesis research project was funded by a regional project on the economic impact of seasonal residents on bay and shore communities, and included the collection of original attitudinal data from permanent residents and seasonal residents of those communities.

He spent the summer of 1970 collecting data in Southern Delaware, and said “the focus of the project was on financing the needed infrastructure to accommodate the growth in seasonal residents — sewer, water, roads, public safety — and the efficiency for such given the several jurisdictions in play, the impact on the bay and shore aesthetics and natural environment, and then, of course, methods for funding the capital costs of infrastructure and the annual operating costs.”

Away from the beaches, Chicoine said Southern Delaware was “similar to rural South Dakota but with more poultry operations and specialty crops.”

Chicoine said UD graduate school “prepared us well for the work world, for additional studies and for life.”

He entertained several fine job offers after graduating, accepting a position at the University of Illinois as a regional economist working on rural economic development. He remained at Urbana-Champaign for more than 30 years, receiving his doctorate and serving as a faculty member, department head, dean and vice president.

He returned to his home state and alma mater in January 2007 as president of South Dakota State.

Chicoine said he and Marcia returned to UD about 20 years ago while in the Washington, D.C., area on business. “The University, of course, was significantly different than when we were on campus,” he said. “I am looking forward to seeing the campus and the changes that have occurred.”

Chicoine added, “And we are excited about the football game. UD has been an established football FCS program for years, competing in postseason play routinely. I took in a few games in fall of ’69 and fall of ’70. South Dakota State is a new kid on the FCS block, having our first postseason experience in 2009, but we play good football. The game-day experience will be great for our players, our coaches and staff and our alumni in the Philadelphia, Baltimore and D.C. region. It will be exciting, but UD will have a game under their belt and the Jacks will be lining up for their opener. I look forward to seeing a great football game, seeing the UD campus again and reminiscing a little of the terrific times.”

The Blue Hens defeated West Chester University 31-0 in the season opener Sept. 2. South Dakota State is ranked No. 9 nationally.

To follow University of Delaware athletics, see BlueHens.com.

For the full story with photo on UDaily, click here.

Article by Neil Thomas

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CANR Summer Institute offers glimpse of graduate student life

July 20, 2010 under CANR News

This summer five undergraduate students are conducting research with faculty mentors in the University of Delaware College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR), experiencing the challenges and rewards of what a graduate education at UD might be like.

As participants in the Summer Institute in the Agricultural and Natural Resources Sciences, hosted by the college, these students are taking part in ongoing research projects guided by personal faculty mentors, networking with current graduate students and other staff within CANR, and interacting with industry professionals.

“The Summer Institute is a team effort by faculty from all departments in our college,” said Tom Sims, deputy dean of the college. “It provides these five outstanding undergraduate students the opportunity to conduct hands-on research and learn about the range of graduate education opportunities available in the agricultural and natural resources sciences.”

Now in its second year, the 10-week program — funded by the college and a Graduate Innovation and Improvement Grant from UD’s Office of Graduate and Professional Education – draws students from under-represented populations who are interested in a graduate degree in agriculture and natural resource sciences.

Maria Pautler, the program’s coordinator, said the Summer Institute was expanded from 4 to 10 weeks after last year’s participants suggested a longer program. The extended program allows students to become more involved with their research projects and present their findings at a campus-wide symposium at the end of the summer, she said.

“This, coupled with opportunities to attend seminars, workshops, and panelist luncheons, is exposing the students to facts and opinions on preparation for, and life in and beyond, graduate school,” Paulter said.

The 2010 CANR Summer Institute participants are:

Kamedra McNeil, of Forestville, Md., is a molecular biology major at Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina. McNeil is involved in the Winston-Salem Student Government Association, Tri-Beta Biological Honors Society, NSCS Scholars and Pre-Marc Scholars. She is interested in a career in forensic biology. During her time at the Summer Institute, McNeil is studying different genes associated with photoperiod in plants. Her faculty mentor is Randall Wisser, assistant professor of plant and soil sciences.

Shurnevia Strickland, of Philadelphia, is a senior applied animal science major at UD. Strickland is secretary and webmaster for Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS). She is interested in future research with genetics. At the Summer Institute, Strickland is studying the endothelin 3 gene in the silkie chicken. Her faculty mentor is Carl Schmidt, associate professor of animal and food sciences.

Rochelle Day, of Laurel, Del., is a senior pre-veterinary medicine and animal biosciences major at UD. Day is a member of Puppy Raisers of UD (PROUD) and MANRRS, and is looking toward a career in animal pathology. At the Summer Institute, Day is mapping the genome of the Infectious Laryngotracheitis Virus (ILTV), an upper respiratory disease in birds that causes economic losses for the poultry industry. Her faculty mentor is Calvin Keeler, professor of animal and food sciences.

Rothman Reyes, of Long Island, N.Y., is a sophomore pre-veterinary medicine and animal biosciences major at UD with minors in sexuality and gender studies, and women’s studies. Reyes raises puppies for Guiding Eyes for the Blind and is a member of the LEARN mentor program. He also serves as co-president of the PROUD special interest community. Reyes hopes to practice veterinary medicine at a zoo. At the Summer Institute, Reyes is creating a fosmid library, where he will induce a mutation onto the Infectious Laryngotracheitis Virus (ILTV) to create a vaccine. His faculty mentor is also Calvin Keeler.

Kristina Barr, of Kingstree, SC., is a senior biology major at Benedict College in Columbia, S.C. She is a member of the Environmental Awareness Club at her school and plans to pursue a career as an ecologist. Her research at the Summer Institute involves the effects of rose bushes on birds’ ability to forage for food. Her faculty mentors are Jacob Bowman, associate professor, and Greg Shriver, assistant professor, both of entomology and wildlife ecology.

Article by Chelsea Caltuna

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