Issue: 1084

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Online
Dec. 9, 2019

Top Stories

Kevin Schalinske, food science and human nutrition, was named one of five 2019 regional winners of the USDA Food and Agriculture Sciences Excellence in Teaching Awards.

Schalinske Receives USDA Teaching Award
Kevin Schalinske, food science and human nutrition, was named one of five 2019 regional winners of the USDA Food and Agriculture Sciences Excellence in Teaching Awards. The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities presented the award at its annual meeting on Nov. 11 in San Diego. For 20 years Schalinske has mentored students at Iowa State in classroom and laboratory settings. His teaching philosophy is built on respect for students, establishing an inclusive and safe environment and encouraging engagement and inquisitiveness. He also uses real-life examples to integrate critical thinking into his curriculum. More

New CALS One-Credit Courses Address Agricultural Issues and Hot Topics
In September, the Dean’s office requested proposals to encourage faculty innovation in developing high-quality, one-credit, special-topic courses that address issues such as local foods, climate change, water quality, global food supply and economic and rural development. With growing interest in life sciences, the environment, global issues, and the food and agriculture system, CALS faculty have an opportunity to impact the preparation of students in CALS majors and beyond. The Dean’s office awarded five $3,000 grants for classes that started mid-semester and will be ending Dec. 13. The following items outline the five one-credit courses.
Special Topic Course: The Future of Food and Agriculture
The Future of Food and Agriculture class is a one-credit course taught by Dave Krog, economics, and Kevin Kimle, economics and Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative. The course explores trends and issues impacting and shaping the future of food and agriculture markets and businesses. Video interviews with a range of entrepreneurs, investors and industry experts introduce students to ideas and opinions on the most important trends and issues impacting the future structure of agri-food markets and the implications for agri-food businesses. Students are challenged to develop their own ideas about how these trends will impact the future.

Special Topic Course: Nutrigenomics – From Basic Science to Translational Impact
Kevin Schalinske and Elizabeth McNeil, food science and human nutrition, are teaching 17 students in a one-credit course about the relationship between diets and nutrients and gene expression. The course introduces the concept of nutrigenomics and how it affects consumers and the implications for human diseases. The course outlines the impacts of personalized nutrition on health maintenance, chronic disease prevention, personalized medicine and genome sequencing, and the ethical implications of these issues.
Special Topic Course:  Predicting the Next Epidemic – Living in a One Health World
Nancy Boury and Chloe Wasendorf, plant pathology and microbiology, and Brian Musco, an interdepartmental microbiology graduate student in food science and human nutrition, are teaching a one-credit microbiology class that focuses on the “one health” concept. The One Health paradigm is an interdisciplinary approach focused on the interconnectedness of human, animal and environmental health. It is a new approach to global disease control, sustainability and the consequences of environmental disruption. The class also emphasizes the importance of scientists communicating with the general public about One Health topics, such as habitat loss, agricultural practices and the spread of antibiotic-resistant organisms.
Special Topic Course:  Rich Nations, Poor Nations – Who Needs Whom?
Ebby Luvaga, economics, is teaching Rich Nations, Poor Nations - Who Needs Whom?, a course that invites students to explore the interdependence between poor and rich countries. The course challenges students to think and discuss the interdependence between developed and developing countries from an economics perspective. It also focuses on current globalization issues, technology, population growth, environmental issues, economic growth, global poverty and food security. Luvaga plans to offer the course again in the fall of 2020.
Special Topic Course:  Introduction to Data Science for Digital Agriculture
Students are learning about common types of data increasingly used in digital agriculture from Fernando Miguez and Virginia Nichols, agronomy. In the course, students learn about the skills needed to manipulate, visualize and interpret data. The course addresses a need for students to be able to work with, and extract meaning from, data, with an emphasis on digital agriculture.


Rao Recognized by National Academy of Inventors
Guru Rao, associate vice president for research and former chair of the Roy J. Carver Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology, has been named to the latest class of fellows elected to the National Academy of Inventors. Rao’s work has focused on engineering proteins for the nutritional enhancement of crops such as corn and soybeans, and designing proteins for resistance to insects and fungal pathogens. He has 28 patents from 1995 to 2017. More

New Study Reveals Multiple Opioid Epidemics
David Peters, sociology, is co-author of a new study which appeared in the academic journal Rural Sociology. The study found regional differences in the kind of opioids that cause the most overdose deaths, and these differences should lead to policymakers considering varying strategies to address the epidemics. More

Teaching and Students

CALS Student Council Elects New Officers for 2020
The CALS Student Council has elected officers for 2020. President is Cole Eden, sophomore in agronomy; vice president is Emily Boettger, senior in agricultural biochemistry; secretary is Lindsey Meyers, sophomore in agricultural and life sciences education; and treasurer is Adam Koch, junior in agricultural and life sciences education. The CALS Council is made up of representatives from more than 30 clubs within CALS. The council coordinates the new student barbecue in August, CALS week events in October, events for National Ag Day in March and other student events. More

Entomology Graduate Student Wins Three-Minute Thesis Competition
Each fall, the Graduate College sponsors a Three-Minute Thesis Competition to challenge ISU graduate students to clearly and concisely articulate their research to a non-specialist audience. Eleanor Field, entomology, earned first place with “Understanding West Nile virus trends: mosquito biology across seasons.” More

Agronomy Club Popcorn Sales Begin Today, Dec. 9
The Agronomy Club will be selling packaged popcorn this week. Boxes sell for $10 and are available on the second floor of Agronomy Hall outside of the main office. Sales support club activities such as Experience Agronomy and Students of Agronomy, Soils and Environmental Sciences, an undergraduate student program of the Soil Science Society of America.

Tuesday, Dec. 10, the Last Day to Order Summer Sausage and Cheese
An online form is available for the Block and Bridle Club’s annual holiday summer sausage and cheese sale. The last day to order for Christmas shipping, is Dec. 10. The summer sausage is made on campus in the Meats Laboratory and the cheese (cheddar, colby jack and mild pepper jack) is from Bongards Creamery in Minnesota. Money raised will be used for club trips, and shows and scholarships hosted by the club. Contact with questions.

Final Weekend for Forestry Club’s Christmas Tree Sale
This is the final weekend for the Forestry Club’s annual Christmas tree fundraiser at the Reiman Gardens parking lot. Trees will be for sale Friday, Dec. 13, 3 to 6 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 14, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 15, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The club will have Canaan fir, balsam fir and white pine, as well as balsam fir wreaths. Proceeds go towards club activities and student development.

Extension and Outreach

Janke to Share How to Restore Farmland Wildlife Habitat
Iowa Learning Farms will host a webinar on Dec. 18 at 12 p.m. about opportunities for restoration of farmland wildlife in Iowa. Adam Janke, natural resource ecology and management, will discuss using natural features and processes to improve water quality and wildlife habitat on the same acres. More

Extension Helps Educate Women Landowners on Current Agronomic Issues
ISU Extension and Outreach is offering Agronomy in the Field for Women at several locations across Iowa from December through April. The goals of Agronomy in the Field are to strengthen agronomic skills for women that allow for better decision-making, provide a better understanding of inputs for crop production, see and understand different conservation practices and increase confidence in communication with a spouse, farming partner, ag retailer or tenant. Programs are hosted by ISU Extension and Outreach field agronomists. More

Around the College

RSVP Tuesday, Dec. 10, for CALS Dean’s Holiday Gathering for Faculty, Staff
Dean Robison is hosting a holiday gathering for all CALS faculty and staff on Dec. 18 at 4 to 6 p.m. in the Sukup Atrium. Food and refreshments will be available, along with music by Kaizer Jazz. Please RSVP by Dec. 10.

The Conversation: What Makes Wine Dry
In a Dec. 9 essay distributed nationally by The Conversation, Aude Watrelot, food science and human nutrition, discusses what makes wine dry. As an enologist – a wine scientist – she is interested in how the chemistry in a glass of wine adds up to the perception of dryness. It is easy to taste, but much harder to measure. More

Agronomy Faculty Recognized at Tri-Societies Meeting
Ken Moore and Douglas Karlen were recognized at the annual meeting of the American Society of Agronomy, the Crop Science Society of America and the Soil Science Society of America at their annual meeting Nov. 10-13 in San Antonio, Texas. Moore received the ASA Carl Sprengel Agronomic Research Award. Karlen received a Distinguished Service Award from both ASA and SSSA.

CALS Co-Sponsors Forum for Researching Solutions to Climate Change
In its Dec. 5 newsletter, the Iowa Soybean Association highlighted the “Agriculture in a Changing Climate: What the Future Holds for Iowa” forum held in Des Moines on Nov. 25. CALS was a co-sponsor of the event. Speakers included Dean Dan Robison, Emily Heaton and Michael Castellano, agronomy, and Rick Cruse, director of the Iowa Water Center. More


Dec. 10: Retirement Reception for Robert Martin
A retirement reception for Robert Martin will be held Dec. 10 from 3 to 5:30 p.m. in the Memorial Union South Ballroom (program at 4 p.m.). Martin is a professor and past chair of agricultural education and studies. Submit stories and well wishes online or contact

Dec. 11-12: Ag Communications Poster Presentation
Twenty-six students studying agricultural communications will present their internship projects at a poster presentation in the second floor rotunda of Curtiss Hall. Two sessions will be offered: Wednesday, Dec. 11, from 12:30 to 1:15 p.m. and Thursday, Dec. 12, from 2:30 to 3:15 p.m.

Dec. 11: Science With Practice Poster Presentation
This semester’s Science With Practice poster presentation open house will be held Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2 to 3:15 p.m. in the second floor of Curtiss Hall. Science With Practice is a CALS experiential learning and work program for undergraduate students in agriculture.

Communications Kiosk

Webinar: Creating Effective Presentations
The Professional and Scientific Council is holding a webinar on "Creating Effective Presentations" on Tuesday, Dec. 10, from 2 to 3 p.m. in the Memorial Union Pioneer Room. Lesya Hassall, program coordinator with the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, and Megan Landolt, assistant to the president for communications, will discuss how to blend communication principles with instructional design strategies to create effective and engaging presentations. The session will be livestreamed and can be viewed online using guest access. Also, the webinar will be recorded and posted in Learn@ISU approximately one week after the live session. Additional information on the council’s seminar series can be found on the Professional and Scientific Council website.  


Registration Open for 2020 P&S Professional Development Day
Registration is open for the 2020 Professional and Scientific Council Professional Development Conference, scheduled for Feb. 13, 2020, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Scheman Building. This year’s theme is “Cultivate Your Adventure: Thriving Together.” The CALS P&S Council encourages CALS staff to attend. If a staff member would like to attend but feel they are restricted in doing so, please reach out to Rachel Fleck (, the CALS P&S Professional Development Chair, to see if the council can help. The early registration rate is $100 and will be open through Dec. 20. The regular registration rate is $120 and will be open Dec. 21 through Jan. 31. More


Horticulture Farm Supplies Apples to Parks Library
The Horticulture Research Station is supplying 15 bushels of apples to Parks Library to hand out to students during dead week this week and finals week next week. The apples will be available during the night and overnight hours in the main walkway inside the front door.

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Online

Julie Stewart, Editor, (515) 294-5616

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Online, the newsletter for faculty and staff in Iowa State University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, is published by email every Monday. The deadline for submitting content is 12 p.m. on Friday.


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