FREC Masters Students Placed in PhD Programs across the US

August 17, 2010 under CANR News

The Department of Food and Resource Economics at the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources is having an outstanding year, with six masters’ students going into funded Ph.D. programs across the country in the fall.

 Titus Awokuse, associate professor of food and resource economics, said the FREC graduate program prepares students to contribute to critical social problems in education, natural resources and the environment, data analysis and the economy.

 “Our students do very well in the job market with a master’s degree, but those who desire more study are very competitive,” Awokuse said. “This year was an exceptional year with six students funded for advanced study. We are proud of that.”

 Tom Ilvento, chairman of the FREC department, said the master’s program includes rigorous courses in economic theory, operations research and statistics.

 “Our graduate education emphasizes a sound theoretical base coupled with applied opportunities to develop and practice professional skills in analysis, writing and presentation of ideas,” Ilvento said. “Students go on to complete a thesis or work in a company as an intern, but we want them to have a good foundation in theory so they can compete in advanced graduate study.”

Jubo Yan, who graduated from the FREC program this summer, said he was drawn to the department’s research when choosing a master’s program. Yan will be pursuing his Ph.D. in Applied Economics and Management at Cornell.

“I went to several meetings to present my papers and to meet other researchers across the country,” Yan said. “This might not be common for a lot of masters’ programs.”

Guang Xiao, who graduated from the program in May, is currently a Ph.D. student in Operations Management at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. He said the FREC program taught him valuable research techniques, as well as gaining experience and improving his communication skills through presentations and written reports.

“The operations research program at UD has a practical focus, which may help me to get a better understanding about the applications of OR in the real world,” Xiao said. “The OR program in UD made me well prepared for future Ph.D. work.”

Kathryn Onken, who will graduate in the fall, is planning to pursue a Ph.D. in Agricultural and Applied Economics at Virginia Tech. After completing her bachelor’s degree in the FREC department, Onken said she jumped at the chance to earn her master’s degree while conducting research with UD faculty.

“My master’s work provided me with a solid foundation from which to further build upon—not just course work, but also the opportunity to assist with research projects and publications,” Onken said. “I was never short on good advice; the faculty in the department genuinely want to see their students succeed.”

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New Crosswalk Installed on Rt. 72 at the Webb Farm

August 3, 2010 under CANR News

As summer begins to draw to a close and classes are just around the corner for students at UD, those taking classes on the Webb Farm will return to the campus to find a new kind of traffic signal — one meant to make it easier and safer for students, faculty members, and visitors to cross Route 72 at Farm/Webb Lane.

The signal is a High-intensity Activated crossWalK (HAWK) and is being installed as a joint partnership between the University of Delaware’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) and the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT). The location is the first in the state to be outfitted with this new type of signal.

Route 72 separates two areas of the farm used by the college. Robin Morgan, dean of the college, said students and faculty often have trouble crossing the intersection, which currently does not have traffic signals or a crosswalk.

“This project really belongs to our students,” Morgan said.

The project gathered momentum in 2008 when members of the Ag College Council presented a petition to DelDOT from concerned students and local citizens. They then worked with DelDOT to devise a plan that would make the intersection safer for pedestrians.

“This traffic signal is unique,” said Mark Luszcz, assistant chief traffic engineer with DelDOT. “These signals were developed to be used at locations that do not meet the criteria for a traditional traffic signal. They provide a reasonably safe way for pedestrians to cross the roadway, while being less disruptive to traffic.”

Luszcz, who worked with UD on the project, said the HAWK signal has been experimentally used across the country for 10 years, with impressive results. The device received approval for national use in January.

The HAWK system, originally developed by the city of Tucson, Ariz., is only activated when a pedestrian approaches the signal and presses a button, like they would at a traditional signalized crosswalk. Once it is activated, the signal will go through a series of stages that will stop traffic long enough for pedestrians to safely cross the roadway.

Traffic will then be allowed to proceed and the signal will reset itself until activated again. When the signal is not active, it will be dark to allow traffic to move freely.

“We realize that there will be a learning curve with this system since it is new to the citizens of Delaware,” said Luszcz. “We have been working with the University of Delaware to get the word out to their students before the school year begins, as well as to citizens who travel the road.”

An informational session for students will be held at the start of the fall semester.

DelDOT began installing the system in July and it is tentatively scheduled to be activated on Friday, Aug. 6. Citizens will also notice new informational signs as they approach the intersection, which alert them to the presence of the new signal.

“This new type of signal is another tool that we can use to ensure the safety of our citizens as they cross our roadways at intersections that would traditionally be outfitted with only a flashing yellow beacon or a crosswalk without a traffic signal,” said DelDOT Secretary Carolann Wicks. “This system has been tested and proven to be highly effective in numerous jurisdictions throughout the United States and we are happy to be bringing it to Delaware.”

If the HAWK signal is successful, Luszcz said, DelDOT will consider using the system in other locations throughout the state.

“We feel this is a good place for us to start with these devices,” he said.

You can read the article on UDaily by clicking here.

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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

Read the article on UDaily by clicking here.

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DelDOT, UD announce New Route 72 Pedestrian Crossing

June 30, 2010 under CANR News, Events

After years of concern being voiced about pedestrian safety from the main UD Farm to the Webb Farm, the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) and the University of Delaware, a solution is now on the horizon.

This summer, DelDOT will install an experimental traffic light, called a High-Intensity Activated Crosswalk (HAWK), at the intersection of Route 72 and Farm/Webb Lane.

Route 72 separates two areas of the farm used by the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Robin Morgan, dean of the CANR, said students and faculty often have trouble crossing the intersection, which currently does not have traffic signals or a crosswalk.

“This project really belongs to our students,” Morgan said.

The project gathered momentum in 2008 when members of the Ag College Council presented a petition to DelDOT of concerned students and local citizens. They then worked with DelDOT to devise a plan that would make the intersection safer for pedestrians.

Luszcz, who worked with UD on the project, said the HAWK signal has been experimentally used across the country for 10 years, with impressive results. The device received approval for national use in January.

The new traffic light will be the first of its kind in Delaware. The device is activated when a pedestrian presses the button to cross. A flashing yellow light followed by a solid yellow light, signals drivers to slow down. A traditional red light stops traffic while the pedestrian crosses the street. The last step is a flashing red light, equivalent to a stop sign, which allows cars to move through the intersection if no pedestrians are coming. When not activated, the signal is dark and traffic can move freely.

“It gives you the solid red indication, but it’s less disruptive to traffic,” said Mark Luszcz, assistant chief traffic engineer for DelDOT.

He said they hope to break ground on the signal in July and be operational by the beginning of the fall semester. The signal will hang overhead on both sides of the intersection and be accompanied by a striped crosswalk and modified signs.

An event for students, faculty, and staff will be held at the start of the fall semester to demonstrate the new technology.

If the HAWK signal is successful, Luszcz said, DelDOT will consider using them in other locations throughout the state.

“We feel this is a good place for us to start with these devices,” he said.

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The 161st Commencement: UD Class of 2010

June 1, 2010 under CANR News, Events

More than 22,100 attended the University of Delaware’s 161st Commencement ceremony, held Saturday, May 29, in Delaware Stadium. Featured speaker was Catherine Bertini, who has played a major role in the fight against world hunger. She served as chief executive of the United Nations World Food Programme for 10 years, and currently is a professor of public administration at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. “You are leaving here with a first class degree from the University of Delaware,” she said. “And you are entering a world full of opportunities and a world full of needs.”

For full coverage, other articles, photo slideshows, and more, please visit the commencement website by clicking here.

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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.

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Volunteers plant seeds of hope at UD Garden for the Community

May 10, 2010 under CANR News, Events

Volunteers from the University of Delaware and Food Bank of Delaware began the first stages of planting at the University’s Garden for the Community on Friday morning, May 7.

Located on one-third of an acre of land on UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources site off South College Avenue, the garden will provide a steady stream of fresh vegetables, herbs and fruits to Delaware’s hungry this season.

Volunteers spent the morning mulching, spreading compost and straw, harvesting radishes, planting cabbage and more. They were joined by U.S. Rep. Michael N. Castle and Laura Coogan from U.S. Sen. Tom Carper’s office.

“What a great partnership we have with the University of Delaware,” said Food Bank of Delaware President and CEO Patricia Beebe. “The abundance of fresh produce they provide throughout the summer and fall months helps ensure that we get nutritious foods into the hands of those that need it most.”

“The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources is very happy to continue our successful partnership with the Food Bank of Delaware by again planting our Garden for the Community,” said Tom Sims, deputy dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. “Last year, thanks to the help of more than 100 volunteers, our garden provided the food bank with more than 7,000 pounds of fresh, locally grown vegetables.”

Volunteers will be needed at the Garden for the Community throughout the summer months to help harvest, pull weeds, plant late summer crops and other tasks. Those interested in learning more can visit the Garden for the Community website.

In addition to helping at the garden, the Food Bank of Delaware also encourages the community to keep hungry Delawareans in mind as summer’s crop of tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, string beans and more begin to sprout. Surplus donations can be donated directly to the organization’s hunger-relief efforts.

Donations are accepted at the Newark (14 Garfield Way) and Milford (1040 Mattlind Way) warehouses weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, visit the Food Bank of Delaware website.

View the full story and photos here on UDaily.

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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 ammoore@udel.edu.

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Volunteers Needed to Plant UD’s Garden for the Community

May 3, 2010 under CANR News, Events

Volunteers are needed to help the University of Delaware and Food Bank of Delaware plant the “Garden for the Community” on Friday, May 7 (at 10 a.m.) and Saturday, May 15 (9 a.m. to 2 p.m.).

The garden, now in its second year, produced more than three tons of fresh produce for the Food Bank of Delaware’s hunger-relief efforts last growing season. Located on a third of an acre of land on the University of Delaware’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the garden will provide a steady stream of fresh vegetables, herbs and fruits to Delaware’s hungry.

“The Garden for the Community represents the core mission of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources — helping to feed the world in a sustainable manner,” says Tom Sims, the associate dean who is overseeing the project for the college. “We are privileged to manage UD’s 350-acre agro-ecology teaching complex and very happy to provide this land so that our students and community partners can help the Food Bank meet its mission, a community without hunger.”

The Garden for the Community is located in front of the Wilson Farmhouse on the UD Farm directly behind the Girl Scouts facility on Route 896 in Newark, Del.

Interested? Email commgard@udel.edu or visit the Garden for the Community website  for more information.

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May 7: Electronics Recycling Day

April 26, 2010 under CANR News, Events

The Longwood Graduate Program is proud to announce the upcoming Electronics Recycling Day. On Friday, May 7th from 11:00am to 1:00pm, we will be collecting your unwanted electronics in the Commons of Townsend Hall. They will be recycled with UD’s Supporting Services or available for reuse by anyone coming to the Commons (someone last semester took home a perfectly good paper shredder!).

Some examples of items we will be accepting are: computers, computer components, TVs, scanners, printers, cell phones, batteries, microwaves, stereos, and other smaller electronic items. Last October, at our second CANR Electronic Recycling Day, we collected two vehicles full of materials (click link to visit the blog post). So please help us put on another successful event by bringing in your items from your office or home.

Also, please feel free to email any questions to me at the following email address katebalt@udel.edu.

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