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


UD senior Rubino spends summer interning at Philadelphia Zoo

January 5, 2012 under CANR News

Looking for a summer internship that would provide hands-on experience with a variety of different animals, University of Delaware student Gabrielle Rubino decided that she should apply to a place defined by its animal diversity: the Philadelphia Zoo.

Rubino, a senior in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources who is majoring in pre-veterinary medicine and animal biosciences with a minor in wildlife conservation, applied for the animal care internship through the zoo’s website after talking with an acquaintance who had interned at the zoo in the summer of 2010.

She explained that after submitting an application, writing a letter of interest and sending two letters of recommendation, officials selected her for an interview and, ultimately, the internship.

The internship lasted 11 weeks, from the end of May until the middle of August, and Rubino started her day at the zoo every morning at 8:30 a.m. She worked alongside the staff at the Children’s Zoo, and her main duties included preparing and distributing food for the animals.

Feeding a wide array of animals, ranging from ferrets and box turtles to owls, ducks and porcupines, Rubino received first hand experience on the dietary needs of diverse wildlife.

Feeding and preparing meals was not the only part of her job, however. Rubino explained that she also “learned how to maintain animal enclosures and exhibits with proper cleaning methods. I learned proper handling, crating and capture techniques for these different animals as well.”

One of the most interesting parts of her internship was learning about animal enrichment. “I learned what it meant to provide different types of enrichment for the animals such as visual, tactile and auditory enrichment,” said Rubino. “I never knew that a Senegal parrot could be so fascinated by bubbles, or that Macaws would be completely silent while watching a Disney movie.”

Rubino also got her hands dirty tidying up various animal living spaces, cleaning out the mini-horse and donkey yards, the bunny village pens and the chicken and turkey yards. Of the cleaning process, Rubino joked, “I have never spent so much time with hay in my life, nor do I hope to again.”

When it was time to take the animals out for “play time” for the public to see, Rubino had to make sure that she was sharp on the animal information so she could answer any questions that the zoo’s visitors might have. “I was always asked questions about the animal that was out for showing so I had to be very knowledgeable on all the types of animals.”

Rubino said that she “absolutely loved this internship.” She met great friends and learned fascinating information, all the while gaining hands on experience with a variety of different animals from a staff that she described as “always helpful and willing to teach.”

Although she is not 100 percent sure what she wants to do with her future, she said that she wouldn’t rule out working at a zoo because she “enjoyed every day I spent interning at the zoo.”

For those students interested in a summer internship at the Philadelphia Zoo, visit the website.

Article by Adam Thomas


UD student spends summer as intern at Baltimore’s National Aquarium

December 16, 2011 under CANR News

When Sarah Thorne was young, she would take trips to the National Aquarium in Baltimore and her favorite part would be getting to see the big three-finned turtle, Calypso, languidly swimming in the “Wings in the Water” exhibit. Little did she know that in just a few years, she’d be on the other side of the exhibit, swimming right alongside Calypso as part of a summer internship at the aquarium.

“I’ve been going to the aquarium since I was a baby and I loved this turtle, so when I got to swim with her, that was pretty neat,” said Thorne.

As an aviculture intern working in the “Animal Planet Australia: Wild Extremes” exhibit, Thorne, a junior Honors Program student in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, was able to interact with a lot of the birds at the aquarium and she said that her favorite part involved giving the birds baths.

“At the very top of the exhibit you could put a mister on a hose and then spray it at this one tree, and the birds would all come over and start stretching out their wings to cool themselves off. That was kind of cool to watch,” Thorne said. “It was the easiest part — you just stood there and got to watch the birds.”

Her work was not restricted solely to birds, however. Thorne explained that she was able to interact with a host of different animals, including getting the opportunity to conquer her long-standing fear of snakes. “I’m afraid of snakes so they thought they’d try to let me see how I could deal with it, but I just fed them.”

Thorne said that she didn’t get around to holding the snakes and joked that she was “OK with that.”

Although sometimes she would get into a normal day-to-day routine, such as cleaning or feeding the animals, Thorne said she learned to always expect the unexpected because the animals could be unpredictable.

“Sometimes you could have a sick animal and you had to go do the veterinary exams,” she said. “You thought you were going to be preparing the diets or cleaning, then all of a sudden you were taking care of that animal instead.”

She also participated in enrichment programs for the animals, sometimes giving an animal a different toy to play with or switching its food.

Other tasks included putting up towels for flying foxes to hide behind, and spraying those towels with different animal scents. Thorne said it was while working with the flying foxes that a particularly memorable event occurred.

Thorne explained that the foxes don’t so much glide like a plane as they do crash into objects to make themselves stop: “They are crash landing flyers, they have to hit something to stop.”

So when one flying fox got stranded on a tree in the exhibit, Thorne said it “couldn’t figure out where to go next, ended up trying to fly and fell on the floor.”

She had to warn people nearby to stand back and then summoned an aquarium staff member to pick the animal up because she wasn’t allowed to do that.

Thorne said that except for being frightened, the flying fox escaped the incident without a scratch. “Luckily, he tried to land on a tree and he sort of slid down and then he fell on the floor.”

Not only did Thorne work as an intern at the National Aquarium, however. She also kept busy during the first part of the summer as a veterinary intern at a U.S. Department of Agriculture center in Beltsville, Md., while also holding down a part-time job at Clark’s Elioak Farm in Ellicott City, Md.

As a double major in agriculture and natural resources and animal biosciences, Thorne gained valuable hands-on experience at all of her jobs and was thrilled to get the chance to intern at the National Aquarium.

For those who would like an internship at the National Aquarium, Thorne encourages them to visit the internships website.

She also encouraged anyone who might apply not to be discouraged if things don’t work out right away. “I did apply another year and I had to apply again,” Thorne said. “So it might take two times, but it’s definitely worth it.”

Article by Adam Thomas

This article was originally posted on UDaily


CANR Students Honored

November 1, 2011 under CANR News

CANR students were among those honored at the UD Office of Equity and Inclusion‘s annual Women of Promise dinner and Students of Distinction Awards Breakfast.

Kasia Dinekloo (PLSC), Laruen Stewart-Brown (ANR), and Shanetta Walker (ANS) were named Undergraduate Women of Promise.  Kun Huang was named a Graduate Student Woman of Promise.  They join more than 100 other UD women students, nominated by UD faculty as exceptional students.

Shani Craighead (PVAB) was named an African American Student of Distinction and Kyle McCormick (PVAB) was named a Latino Student of Distinction. Students were honored based on a grade point average of 3.6 or higher.


Undergraduate Research

August 12, 2011 under CANR News

Undergraduate researchers were busy at the University of Delaware this summer, and the results of their research were on display during the second annual Undergraduate Research and Service Celebratory Symposium, held Wednesday, Aug. 10, in Clayton Hall.

Representing every UD college and discipline, some 330 undergraduate research and service scholars and visiting scholars participated. The event featured 243 poster presentations and 87 oral presentations.

CANR student Matthew Fischel won first place in the first-ever Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Research in Sustainability Prize.  His topic of study was “Kinetics of Arsenite Exodation by Manganese Oxide Minerals:  Importance for Water Quality and Environmental Sustainability”, and his faculty sponsor was Don Sparks.

For the full UDaily article click here.


A UDairy farewell

June 13, 2011 under CANR News

Graduation day was a bittersweet ending for Rachael Dubinsky and Amanda Prudente. The day marked a great milestone in their academic careers, but also meant that their time as student managers at the UDairy Creamery was coming to a close.

Both Dubinsky and Prudente played a pivotal role in the plans for and development of the creamery. Now, as graduates of the University of Delaware College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR), they have positions that fall directly in line with what they learned as student managers.

Dubinsky, who served as the creamery’s communications manager, graduated with a dual degree in agriculture and natural resources and interpersonal communication, with minors in food science and food and agribusiness marketing and management. In her time at UD, she was a member of the UD Color Guard, the Food Science Club, Sigma Alpha (the professional agriculture sorority), and gave tours to prospective students and families as an Ag Ambassador.

In her role as the communications manager, Dubinsky was responsible for promoting the creamery to the University and Newark community, as well as developing marketing plans for the future of the business.

Using her skills and knowledge in both agriculture and communications to educate others about the “cow to cone” process, Dubinsky stated, “Not only was it exciting to see this project come to fruition but by being on the management team, I really do feel as though I have left my mark here at UD”.

Dubinsky is staying on at CANR as the special assistant to the deputy dean. In this position, she will continue to work on public relations and advertising ventures for the creamery.

Prudente served as the dairy and food science manager for the creamery and is now pursuing a career as a flavor technician at David Michael and Co. in Philadelphia. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in food science, with minors in chemistry and food and agribusiness marketing and management. In addition, she served as the vice president of the Food Science Club, was a member of the Delaware Repertory Dance Company and was an Ag Ambassador.

As the dairy and food science manager, Prudente was responsible for securing health permits for events and ordering supplies for the store. Prudente was integral in making the creamery’s first batch of ice cream with the new equipment and also used her food science knowledge to create herb-themed ice cream toppings for the annual “Spring Fling” event in March, which celebrates the Garden for the Community, a partnership between the CANR and the Food Bank of Delaware. Prudente’s unique background in both food science and business management has prepared her for a successful career in the flavor industry.

She said, “I really think this position helped merge both my science and business interests.  Ultimately, I was able to apply the things I learned in the classroom to a real world business setting.”

The creamery had many milestones this past year, including the construction of the storefront and the ribbon cutting ceremony on Ag Day. Dubinsky and Prudente were able to use their internship experience to hone in on their individual strengths and ultimately play an integral role in the development and success of the creamery.

To learn more about the creamery student managers, visit the UDairy Creamery website.

This summer, the creamery is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. And, don’t forget to “like” UDairy Creamery on Facebook for information on upcoming events and special promotions.

This article can also be viewed online on UDaily.

Article by Jenna Byers

Photo by Danielle Quigley



CANR Students Honored for Volunteerism

May 16, 2011 under CANR News

Thirty University of Delaware student volunteers (6 from CANR) were honored for their work in the community at the annual Town and Gown Awards ceremony held May 12 in the Trabant University Center Theatre.

The awards are presented by the city of Newark, and the program is in its 15th year. University of Delaware Career Services solicits nominations of deserving UD student volunteers from local, regional and campus nonprofit organizations.

Read more about the students and their projects by visiting this UDaily announcement.


UD professors showcase rainwater harvesting at Philadelphia Flower Show

March 7, 2011 under CANR News, Events

Jules Bruck (left) and Jonathan Cox, as UD's Philadelphia Flower Show exhibit takes shape.

Jules Bruck, assistant professor of plant and soil sciences, and Jonathan Cox, instructor in art, along with students and faculty from the University of Delaware, have put together a display to be showcased at the Philadelphia International Flower Show, March 6-13, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

The theme of the show is “Springtime in Paris,” and Bruck explained that their project is a model two-story structure resembling a Paris street scene, with the purpose of the exhibit to be both aesthetically pleasing and educational, informing spectators of the values of residential rain harvesting.

Said Bruck of the structure, “The two facades represent a flower shop on one side and a winery on the other. The front represents a vibrant cafe — and shows rain coming out of gutters into decorative rain storage systems that can be used to water the street trees and containers. The backyard shows the ‘Paris underground’ and the ‘basements’ of the two shoppes.”

To watch a student-made video showing the construction of the exhibit, click here.

Once she and Cox heard the theme, Bruck said that they got invested in the idea of decorating the display like a catacomb.

“The rooms have a catacomb theme so they are dark and we have skulls as shelving and various decorations. The flower color theme is red — as in red wine. So, we are forcing a lot of red flowering and foliage plants.”

Bruck said that the goal in designing a model house was “You own a house, you’re at the Philadelphia Flower Show and you go ‘Oh, I never thought about harvesting rain to use to wash my car or to use to water my plants.’ So the idea of building a house is that visitors can translate the information really easily to their own scale.”

When homes are not set up for rainwater harvesting, Bruck said, “the typical path for that rainwater is out to the storm sewers and ultimately into a watershed.

“So anything you’ve applied to your lawn in terms of chemical fertilizers, any detergents you’ve used to wash your car, any oil that’s on your driveway, all gets swept away with that rainwater into the storm system, which typically end up in streams and rivers.”

Bruck said that they are advocating for people to try and collect rainwater through a variety of means, such as rain barrels that sit under down spouts, or an underground cistern, or designing a rain garden, which Bruck said makes sure “all the rainwater on your property is graded toward a garden full of plants that can handle wet conditions.”

The rain garden also allows rainwater to naturally percolate back into the ground, which filters and cleans the water naturally.

With so many people from departments across campus pitching in, Bruck couldn’t stress enough that the exhibit wouldn’t have been possible without a partner like Cox and all the support from everyone involved.

Students involved in the project include Chris Rocco and April Starkey, both seniors in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, who worked to grow plants in the Fischer Greenhouse. Starkey’s husband, Steve, works as a cabinet maker, and Bruck said that he was a huge help as the group built the structure.

Taylor Fehmal, a freshman in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and Rebecca Zerby, a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences, both members of the Design Interest Group (DIG) helped design the innovative rain storage system on the display as part of a design club challenge.

Bruck also said that her construction students worked on the build this fall as part of their coursework.

Anthony Middlebrooks, an associate professor in the School of Urban Affairs, helped out with the project by having his leadership students work on a design challenge that focused on the educational aspects of the show.

The group also has received generous financial support and donations to help with the building of the model. Alumni Jordan (’96) and Erinne Hammell, Doug (’81) and Mai Blonski, and Jane Pepper (’76) all contributed funds to the project, as did Lele and Brad Galer.

Zach Starke is creating custom metal work for the project, while Galer Estate Vineyard and Winery supplied wine barrels and other accessories.

Erik Castle also helped out by contributing irrigation supplies.

Article by Adam Thomas

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


CANR highlighted in new UD virtual tour

February 17, 2011 under CANR News

The University of Delaware has unveiled a virtual tour of the campus for prospective students and their families, and for anyone else who might be interested in learning more about UD.

The tour is less of a map and more of a tour through UD’s new “pillars” (discovery learning, talent magnet, smart money, east coast classic, idea leadership, citizen university).

Below is a listing of the video segments that highlight CANR faculty and students, so that you can more easily find them.  There are also photos and video shots scattered throughout all of the pieces.

When the page opens, click on Discover the University of Delaware.
Discovery Learning tab: Hands on Experience
Talent Magnet tab: Undergraduate Research
East Coast Classic tab: Access to Internships
Smart Money tab: Career Focus
Citizen University tab: Study Abroad; Go Global; Feeding the world, protecting the planet

Many thanks to the CANR faculty and students who contributed to this project.

For the complete UDaily story about the new tour, click here.

To learn more about video capabilities at UD and to learn how YOU can be involved in projects like this at UD and CANR, please contact Katy O’Connell, CANR Communications Manager, at


Fall 2010 Dean’s List Available

February 17, 2011 under CANR News

Two hundred and twenty four CANR students were named to the Fall 2010 Dean’s List.  A full list of students who made the University of Delaware Dean’s List for the 2010 fall semester is now available online.

Named to the Dean’s List are full-time students with grade point averages of 3.33 or above (on a 4.0 scale) for the semester, with no temporary grades as of Feb. 1. The list is searchable by name, college, major and ZIP code; a new feature allows multiple ZIP codes to be searched.

For the original UDaily posting about this topic, please click here.