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


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

Read the article on UDaily by clicking here.


Dickersons celebrate anniversary with gift to Cooperative Extension

July 7, 2010 under CANR News

University of Delaware alumnus Chet Dickerson and his wife Sally celebrated half a century of wedded bliss on Friday, June 11. To mark their 50 years together they chose to celebrate another marriage — that of the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension with its constituents in the state of Delaware.

As the outreach arm of UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Extension has served the people of Delaware, the Delmarva Peninsula, and beyond for more than 90 years.

At a celebration of Cooperative Extension event held on Thursday, June 10, and hosted by the Dickersons at their farm in Dover, Del., they announced a gift of $50,000 to establish an endowment to help fund the Cooperative Extension Scholars Program.

This innovative program, open to rising UD juniors, seniors and graduate students, offers a 10-week internship with Cooperative Extension during the summer months.

Jan Seitz, associate dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and director of UD Cooperative Extension, created the Extension Scholar program in 2004 to give UD students an opportunity to become fully engaged in service learning, which has long been a hallmark of the Cooperative Extension Service.

Extension Scholars receive a stipend of $3,000 and, if needed, an allowance of $500 for job-related travel and/or housing.

“The goals of the Extension Scholars program are to give undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to see Extension up close and personal; to provide them with experiences connected to their courses of study at UD, and to encourage them to think about Extension for their life’s work,” Seitz said.

She noted how each year applications for the program grow in both quantity and quality, making the selection process more and more challenging. Currently in its sixth year, 35 scholars have been served through the program.

Addressing a crowd of more than 100 friends of Extension, Delaware Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee, himself an alumnus and also a former UD Extension agent, said, “Extension is always current, relevant, and connected to the people in the state (of Delaware). Chet and Sally’s gift will help us to continue to connect.”

“The support of the Dickersons is greatly appreciated,” said Seitz. “With them on our side, we go forward with renewed energy as we continue our efforts to make a difference in the lives of our youth, their families, and the community in which they live.”

Article by Katy O’Connell

See the full story with photos on UDaily by clicking here.


CANR Students Say Thanks to Scholarship Donors

May 18, 2010 under CANR News

About 220 University of Delaware scholarship students and the donors who made those scholarships possible gathered at Clayton Hall on Thursday, May 13, for the second annual Celebration of Scholarship reception and dinner.

The event is held to provide donors and scholarship recipients an opportunity to meet and to get to know one another better.

A video shown during the Celebration of Scholarship event is available at this website.

Gary Smith said he was thrilled to finally meet the recipients of the Raymond C. Smith Memorial Scholarship, a scholarship awarded in memory of his father, Raymond C. Smith, who taught for many years in UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

“My dad was so dedicated to the University that [the memorial scholarship] just made sense, so our whole family contributed to it,” Smith said. “When he passed away, it was just a way of trying to remember him and what he did for the University and also allow future students to take advantage of the education.”

When asked what he likes best about providing for a scholarship, Smith said, “This is actually my favorite part. It is great to meet the students involved. They started this event last year — before we would get a card or a letter saying ‘thank You,’ but you never really got to meet the students — and it just makes it a lot more personal, so that it gives you a real sense of what we’ve done.”

The recipients of Raymond C. Smith Memorial Scholarship, Lenna Hildebrand and Katy Zook, were equally excited to finally meet those who makes their scholarships possible. Hildebrand is sophomore and Zook is a senior, both in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Said Zook of the scholarship, “it means a lot. It means recognition, it means you can go study abroad, which is definitely a good thing.”

Hildebrand said the scholarship is great simply because it allows her to “come to school, being able to study here and to attend classes and get involved here at the University.”

Both Hildebrand and Zook said that they would “absolutely” give a scholarship similar to the one they received, should they find themselves in the position to do so one day.

Delaware Gov. Jack Markell spoke before the dinner, saying he was in attendance in a dual role as a state official and as a member of a donor family.

As to the latter, Markell cited his mother Elaine Markell, and the scholarship named for his late father, the William Markell Scholarship, and acknowledged the scholarship recipient, Debra Starr, a student in the Lerner College of Business and Economics.

As governor, he said such scholarships are important because “we are trying to make Delaware’s economic climate better and better, and what that really means is having the best possible work force and the most talent we can possibly get.”

Markell said the students in attendance were there because they have accomplished something special. “We desperately want you to stay in Delaware and we will do everything we can to make sure there’s an economic climate in which there are good jobs so you can help build the state for years to come,” he said.

UD President Patrick Harker spoke on the importance of the students and the donors meeting face to face. “We want you to know the students who are putting your money to work. We want you to see exactly what you’re making possible. We want you to hear about their achievements, their experiences, their dreams and plans,” he said, adding, “And, frankly, we want you to hear a much-deserved ‘thank you.’”

Students Meredith Rubin, a junior in the College of Education and Public Policy and recipient of the David W. Baldt Scholarship, and Matt Sullenberger, a senior in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, also spoke at the event.

Said Rubin, “I have been so incredibly lucky to have the support of the Delaware community to learn these life skills, form life-long friendships, and enrich my college experience. My appreciation for the thoughtful and selfless donors here tonight cannot be conveyed enough. Without the generous gifts made by the donors here tonight, I would have not been able to realize how much I have accomplished and what I have to look forward to.”

Sullenberger spoke about how he was excited to get accepted to the University of Delaware, but that “getting accepted isn’t always enough. Along with attending college comes a financial burden, which unfortunately, can prevent a lot of people from ever making it that far. I probably wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the help I’ve received from scholarships, especially the John Papen Memorial Scholarship, which has supported me for four years. Without financial assistance I would definitely be spending all my time working just to pay for tuition and stay in school, and I’d be missing out on all the other opportunities.”

Click here to see this article with photos on UDaily.


Cooperative Extension Announces 2010 Extension Scholars

May 10, 2010 under CANR News

University of Delaware Cooperative Extension recently announced its 2010 Extension Scholars. This innovative program, open to rising UD juniors, seniors and graduate students, offers a 10-week internship with Cooperative Extension during the summer months. The Scholars began their work experience in early June.

The Scholars are: Stephanie Fraze of Newark, DE; Alexandra Barnard of Ellicott City, Md., Emily Johnson of Bridgeville, Del.; Marissa Gilinksy of Brick, N.J., and James Vari of Bear, Del.   

The Scholars are engaged in projects that relate to their career interests. In the case of undergraduate Stephanie Fraze that means working with Carissa Wickens, a UD assistant professor of animal science, on equine education programs for youth and adults. For graduate student Marissa Gilinsky, it’s the opportunity to collaborate with Sue Snider, Cooperative Extension specialist for food and nutrition, on nutrition programs at summer camps statewide.

Jan Seitz, associate dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and director of UD Cooperative Extension, created the Extension Scholar program in 2004 to give UD students an opportunity to become fully engaged in service learning, which has long been a hallmark of the Cooperative Extension Service.

“The work that Extension Scholars carry out each summer is integrated into their academic curriculum; meet the needs of local communities; provide structured time for reflection; and help foster civic responsibility,” says Seitz. “This year, our pool of applicants for the Scholar program was the largest ever. The 2010 Scholars are an impressive group and I am eager to see all that they accomplish this summer.”

Extension Scholars receive a stipend of $3,000 and, if needed, an allowance of $500 for job-related travel and/or housing. The program is funded by Cooperative Extension and the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, as well as other sources, including a generous contribution from Chet and Sally Dickerson. To receive information about the 2011 Extension Scholar program, contact Alice Moore at


Animal Science Student Among Goldwater Scholarship Award Winners

April 22, 2010 under CANR News

Four University of Delaware students — Amanda Lee Welch, a junior animal science major, Michael G. Napolitano, a senior biochemistry major, Patrick Robert Devlin, a senior mathematical sciences major, and Mark Clayton Weidman, a senior chemical engineering major –have been awarded scholarships by the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation.

The scholarship program, honoring the late U.S. Sen. Barry M. Goldwater of Arizona, is designed to encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering.

The Goldwater Scholarship, the premier undergraduate award of its type in these fields, covers the cost of tuition, fees, books and room and board up to $7,500 per year.

This marks the first time that all four University of Delaware nominees have received the award.

According to the Goldwater Foundation press release, the four University of Delaware students were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,111 mathematics, science and engineering students who were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide.

Amanda Lee Welch

Welch said she was “very surprised, excited and flattered” when she found out she won the award.

“I realize there are not many of these scholarships given out and I feel very honored,” she said. “I heard all four UD nominees received the award this year and that makes me feel very proud of my University.”

Welch said she plans to attend a research-based veterinary school to pursue a combined doctor of veterinary medicine (DVM) and Ph.D. degree to explore disease etiology for biomedical applications.

As to those who helped her along the way to attaining the Goldwater Scholarship, Welch said, “I have to thank my research mentor Dr. Bob Dyer (associate professor in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences) for being a wonderful teacher and furthering my interests and experiences in research and scientific exploration, and for assisting me with the Goldwater application.”

Welch also cited Sue Serra, coordinator in the Office of Service Learning who “played a huge role in helping me decipher my discontinuous thoughts about my future into a coherent idea of my graduate school and career plans and I thank her greatly for the assistance.”

Read the full story on UDaily.