Issue: 1191

CALS Online and Dean’s Message
Feb. 7, 2022 

Dean’s Message

Hello CALS Colleagues – Another cold morning, but warmer temperatures are on the way! However, there is no doubt that inside the college we are cooking so many things with full heat, from your many courses now cruising toward mid-terms, to Extension calendars filling up for spring, to your colleagues in every department hitting on new grants and research opportunities. For me, last week and this week are full with discussions and visits… More

Top Stories

Kan Wang and graduate student Jacob Zobrist, agronomy, have harnessed gene editing to peer back through thousands of years of domestication to learn about teosinte, the wild ancestor of modern corn.

Scientists Take Major Step in Understanding Domestication of Corn
Kan Wang and graduate student Jacob Zobrist, agronomy, have harnessed gene editing to peer back through thousands of years of domestication to learn about teosinte, the wild ancestor of modern corn. The research allows for genetic comparisons and could lead to more resilient crops. More  

Teaching and Students

Active Learning Sparks Collaboration and Understanding
Nick Peters and graduate student Elizabeth “EB” Wlezien, plant pathology and microbiology, recently became Fellows of the NSF-funded Promoting Active Learning and Mentoring (PALM) Network. This organization helps university faculty implement various active learning strategies in their lectures under the supervision of an experienced mentor. More  

New Heifer Development Program Gives Students Hands-on Experience
The animal science department has developed a new heifer development program to provide hands-on learning experience for students interested in beef cattle management and marketing. The program was developed by David Bruene, beef farms manager, and Brad Skaar and Dan Loy, who teach the department's beef production and management/marketing classes. More 

Student Entrepreneurs Sought for College Pitch Off Competition
The Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship, in conjunction with ISU’s seven colleges, will host its annual College-by-College Pitch Off Feb. 10-21. Students deliver a 90-second pitch about an idea or business they are working on to a panel of judges for cash prizes. Registration is open to 25 students in each college. CALS students will present on Feb. 16. More  

CALS Students Named to Pork Producers Youth Leadership Team
Kiley Allan, freshman in agricultural communications and animal science, and Maggie Staudacher, sophomore in animal science, were selected as members of the Iowa Pork Producers Association Youth Leadership Team during the Iowa Pork Congress held in Des Moines, Jan. 26-27. Allan will serve as the 2022 Iowa Pork Queen and Staudacher a Pork Ambassador. More  

Extension and Outreach

High-Clearance Robotic Irrigation System to be Studied in Iowa
U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a $1.2 million award to fund a high-clearance robotic irrigation system that will eventually be used in Iowa. The project, which aligns nutrient application timing to a crop’s nutrient needs to improve efficiency and reduce nutrient loss, is a collaboration of Iowa State University, the 360 Yield Center and The Ohio State University. Agricultural engineering specialists with ISU Extension and Outreach will lead Iowa State’s research efforts. The team includes Daniel Andersen, Kapil Arora and Matt Helmers, as well as Kelvin Leibold, farm management specialist. More

Horticulture Specialists Continue to Air on Iowa PBS
Iowa PBS is running a four-part limited series of Gardening With Steil on Saturdays at 4 p.m. through Feb. 12. In each episode, host Aaron Steil and co-host Cindy Haynes, horticulture extension specialists with ISU Extension and Outreach, plant ideas for a wide variety of projects. More

Beef Conferences Reach more than 800 Stakeholders
The Driftless Region Beef Conference was back in person on Jan. 27-28 in Dubuque after going virtual last year. The conference is a partnership with Iowa State, the University of Illinois and the University of Wisconsin. The DRBC is one of four major conferences Iowa State partners with in January. Along with the Feedlot Forum in Sioux Center, 3-State Conference in Greenfield and the Cornbelt Cow-calf Conference in Ottumwa, the DRBC brought nationally known speakers and Iowa State faculty and staff to more than 800 stakeholders. More

ANR Extension Spotlight: Rachel Kennedy
Rachel Kennedy is the program coordinator for the Manure Applicator Certification Program regulated by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Each year she coordinates the three-state mandated programs: Commercial Manure Applicators, Confinement Site Manure Applicators and the Dry Manure Applicators. More

Around the College

ISU Water Chicks: Spreading a Message of Support in ABE
The ISU Water Chicks Twitter account has been a staple for Iowa State engineers and environmental scientists. Amy Kaleita, agricultural and biosystems engineering professor and department chair, and Michelle Soupir, ABE professor and associate chair for research, started the account many years ago, with a plethora of ideas in mind. But one that stood higher than the rest: being a role model for supporting women and each other. More

Alum to Help Prepare Field for 2022 Super Bowl
As you’re watching the 2022 Super Bowl this Sunday, pay special attention to the field. CALS alum TJ Brewer (’04 horticulture) had a role in preparing it for the big game. Brewer is the head groundskeeper at Paul Brown Stadium, home of the Cincinnati Bengals. He will head to Los Angeles, California, Feb. 8, to help prepare the field at SoFi Stadium for the Super Bowl matchup between the Bengals and the Los Angeles Rams. More

A Facelift for Iowa State’s Horse Barn
Weighing more than 300 pounds each and made of local, native lumber, the new hayloft doors on the north side of the Horse Barn are both heavy and durable. Nick Upah, agriculture specialist with ISU Research and Demonstration Farms, was tasked with replacing the old, rotten doors. The new doors were made using wood from three bur oak trees harvested from the ISU Packer farm on the south side of campus. Troy Heeren, forestry specialist, Tim Goode, farms manager, and Mark Wuebker, agricultural specialist, also assisted with the restoration and installation part of the project. More  


Feb. 9: Julie Chang Exhibition Opening and Artist Lecture
Dean Robison invites CALS faculty and staff to a reception celebrating the exhibition Julie W. Chang: Vibrant Matter at the Christian Petersen Art Museum on Wednesday, Feb. 9, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. An artist lecture will follow from 5:30 to 6:30 at 2019 Morrill Hall. Chang’s terrazzo floor installation All the Way Home is featured in the Curtiss Hall rotunda as part of the Art on Campus Collection. More  

March 25: Baker Plant Breeding Symposium
The ninth annual R.F. Baker Plant Breeding Symposium is scheduled for March 25 at the ISU Alumni Center. The focus will be on understanding crop production systems to develop targeted breeding objectives. A poster competition is available to graduate and undergraduate students. The deadline to submit an abstract is Feb. 25. More  


Registration Open for ISU Research Day
For the first time since spring 2019, the Iowa State research community will reconvene in-person to celebrate and advance research at the university during Research Day 2022, scheduled for March 30. The event will showcase insights and perspectives of recent Presidential Interdisciplinary Research Initiative recipients. Lisa Schulte Moore, natural resource ecology and management, 2018 PIRI recipient and 2021 MacArthur Fellow, will provide the keynote address. More  

Register for ISCORE 2022
Registration is open for the 2022 Thomas L. Hill Iowa State Conference on Race and Ethnicity. The forum on issues of race and ethnicity is free and open to the Iowa State community (faculty, staff and students). A virtual preconference is scheduled for March 2. The in-person conference will be held March 4. More  


How is Snowfall Measured?
Assuming you have a measuring stick long enough to reach the ground beneath 46 inches, 53 inches, sometimes triple-digit snow depths in mountainous locations, how hard can it be to measure? “You stick a ruler or yardstick into the snow and get a number, right?” wrote Bill Syrett, associate teaching professor of meteorology and atmospheric science and manager of the Joel N. Myers Weather Center at Penn State, in a Jan. 27 article for The Conversation. “Well, not so fast. It’s a little more complicated than you might think to get those oh-so-important snow totals for winter storms.” More

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 Thursday. 


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