Issue: 1241

CALS Online and Dean’s Message
March 6, 2023

Dean’s Message

Hello CALS – The 119-year-old Scots pine, Pinus sylvestris, was taken down in front of the Farmhouse. At that age, from an approximate count of the tree rings, it was planted during the time of former CALS Dean Charles F. Curtiss! At the time, he lived in the Farmhouse, so maybe on a beautiful spring day in 1904 with his family he actually dug the hole and planted the tree himself! Scots pine is a beautiful tree with characteristic mature orange bark, brought here from Europe. Older specimens especially have twisted forms, as the original seed sources were collected from stunted trees near coastal regions in Europe where the cones were easy to collect. Imagine all the things that tree saw in its years here?! Not sure why it died, but over the past months its needles turned brown and gave up. A beautiful thing now in memory. More

Top Stories

Amy Toth, ecology, evolution and organismal biology, is the recipient of this year’s Bailey Research Career Development award, administered by Iowa State’s Office of the Vice President for Research.

Toth Receives Bailey Research Career Development Award
Amy Toth, ecology, evolution and organismal biology, is the recipient of this year’s Bailey Research Career Development award, administered by Iowa State’s Office of the Vice President for Research. The Bailey award is given each year to faculty whose work is high-risk, high-reward and addresses emerging scientific, technical or societal problems. Toth will receive $149,000 in research funding over three years to investigate multiple factors in the decline of Iowa’s bee populations. “We are losing pollinators at an unprecedented rate,” Toth said. “They are tremendously important for the crops we depend on and global ecosystems in general.” More  


CALS Teams Receive Miller Fellowship Grants 
The Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching has announced its Miller Faculty Fellowship grants for the 2023-24 academic year, with CALS faculty and instructors leading four of the 10 teams receiving support to enhance student-centric instruction. More  

  • Pedagogy of Belonging for Inclusive Excellence: Interdisciplinary STEAM Challenges – led by Erin Bergquist, food science and human nutrition with colleagues in the School of Education and School of History. 
  • Enhance Learning and Skill-Building by Using "The Systems' Hidden Half" Plug-Into-Lecture Lab, led by Elnaz Ebrahimi, agronomy.
  • Clinical Perspectives on Human Nutrition: An Interactive Pre?Health Professional Seminar Course, led by Wendy White, food science and human nutrition. 
  • Evaluation of Utilizing Personal Development Tools in Collegiate Science Curriculum to Enhance Soft Skill Development, led by Laura Greiner, animal science. 

Teaching and Students

New CALS Placement Rate Reaches 98.9%
CALS Career Services is reporting an undergraduate placement rate of 98.9% for students graduating 2021-2022, up from 98.5% last year. Mike Gaul, director of CALS Career Services, said, “given the state of the labor market and agricultural economy, this high placement rate doesn’t come as a huge surprise.” Placement includes students that are employed, furthering their education or fulfilling military obligations. Of the 1,037 undergraduates, approximately 4.2% returned to a family farm, down from 4.9% last year. Of those working, 62.6% remained in Iowa, “the lowest level in 25 years, likely reflecting the increase in out-of-state CALS students looking to move back home versus the lack of opportunities in Iowa,” Gaul said. More  
Top Employers of CALS Undergraduates, 2021-2022
According to Mike Gaul, director of CALS Career Services, the top 10 employers of CALS students who received their bachelor’s degrees during 2021-2022 were: Iowa State University with 35 hires; John Deere with 15; Bayer CropScience and Corteva Agriscience with nine each; Iowa Department of Natural Resources and Nutrien Ag Solutions with eight each; AmeriCorps and Blank Park Zoo with seven each; USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service with six; and Ag Leader Technology, Cargill, Heartland Co-op and Sage Ag with five each. 

CALS Students Named Wallace Barron All-University Seniors
Three CALS students have been named recipients of the 2023 Wallace E. Barron All-University Senior Award – Jaden Ahlrichs, global resource systems and horticulture; Julia Campbell, agricultural business and economics; and Kathryn Wittrock, biochemistry and microbiology. More  

Undergraduates Showcase Research at the Capitol
Iowa State undergraduates will present results of their academic research during a special presentation at the Iowa Capitol today, March 6. The Research in the Capitol event gives students a chance to interact with legislators, state officials and university administrators to show how their work has the potential to impact the state, nation and beyond. The following CALS students will be presenting their research. More  

  • Denisse Camarena, senior in animal ecology
  • Karly Jans, senior in biology and animal ecology
  • Diana Mulder, senior in microbiology and international agriculture
  • Jeanetta Plotzke, senior in environmental science and global resource systems
  • Mckenzie Sanden, junior in genetics

Culinary Science Club Hosting Pasta Making Workshop
The Culinary Science Club is hosting a Pasta Making Workshop on April 13 from 6-7:30 p.m. in 2379 Food Sciences Building. Participants will learn how to make homemade pasta noodles and spaghetti sauce. Registration fee is $30. The workshop is open to faculty, staff, students and community members. More  

Students Give 20-Year-Old Planter an Upgrade
Exposing students to the latest farming technology is one of the goals of the AGEDS 450: Farm Management and Operation class. In February, students in the class traveled to Van Wall Equipment in Madrid, Iowa, to install a performance upgrade kit on the Ag 450 Farm’s 20-year-old planter. Working alongside John Deere technicians, the students added new hydraulics, electrical systems and row units – the part of the planter responsible for placing the seed in the ground – to the planter’s frame. More  

Upcoming Baker Plant Breeding Symposium Includes Poster Competition
The 10th annual R.F. Baker Plant Breeding Symposium is March 24 at the ISU Alumni Center. The focus will be on crop resiliency and breeding for a sustainable future. A poster competition is available to graduate and undergraduate students. The deadline to submit an abstract is March 10. More  

Extension and Outreach

Crop Nutrient Guide Updated to Reflect Current Recommendations
Research-based updates have been made to “A General Guide for Crop Nutrient and Limestone Recommendations in Iowa,” available on the ISU Extension Store and Soil Fertility websites. Antonio Mallarino, agronomy, said the last update was in 2013, and new recommendations were necessary because of improved crop genotypes that lead to higher yields, and because of changes in farming practices across Iowa. More  

Conservation Stations Now Available for Request 
The Conservation Station’s online request system for 2023 is now open. Each trailer houses a combination of visual and interactive Iowa-centric demonstrations that delve into the impacts of land management choices, both urban and agricultural, on water quality and the connections between Iowa’s water, soil and wildlife. The fleet of Conservation Station trailers are available free of charge and come fully staffed with two-to-three team members. Submit requests by March 15 for priority consideration.

Wine Industry Workshop Scheduled for March 14
An upcoming workshop for wine industry members will focus on sulfur dioxide management during winemaking. The free workshop is March 14 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Food Sciences Building, with lunch provided. More  

New Iowa Retail Trade Analysis Reports Now Available
New Iowa Retail Trade Analysis reports for cities and counties are now available from the ISU Extension and Outreach Indicators Program data portal. The new reports describe taxable sales trends through fiscal year 2021. More  

Around the College

Smalley Honored for Teaching Efforts
Scott Smalley, agricultural education and studies, was named one of seven Golden Owl Award recipients in the state of Iowa during a ceremony Feb. 27. The award, from the Iowa FFA Foundation and Nationwide Insurance, is designed to highlight the growing importance of educators and recognize the services of the country’s leading agricultural teachers. More  

25 Year Club Honors Faculty and Staff 
More than 25 faculty and staff in CALS departments and units were honored by Iowa State’s 25 Year Club at the annual banquet on Feb. 27. More Those recognized for 25 years of service are: 

  • Amy Andreotti and Donald Fulton, biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology
  • Erica Beirman, food science and human nutrition
  • John Burnett and Tom Isenhart, natural resource ecology and management
  • Gregory Courtney, Claudia Lemper-Manahl, Christopher Marett and John Shriver, plant pathology, entomology and microbiology
  • Jack Dekkers, animal science
  • Kathleen Delate and Cynthia Haynes, horticulture
  • Rodney Fischer, Brenton Center
  • Steven Freeman and Alan Kuuttila, agricultural and biosystems engineering
  • Ebby Luvaga and Darin Wohlgemuth, economics 

The following were honored for 35 years at the university: 

  • Kristine Bell, agricultural and biosystems engineering
  • Lee Bendickson, biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology
  • Todd Campbell, Philip Gassman and Giancarlo Moschini, economics
  • Carol Cornelious, Seed Science Center
  • Jeffrey Erb, Iowa State Research Farms
  • Michael Holtzbauer, animal science
  • Gail Nonnecke, horticulture
  • Julie Roberts, ANR Extension
  • Grace Welke, agronomy    

Industries to Benefit from New ISU Facility
“While the flour and feed milling industries are in many ways technology-driven, the latest equipment used to mill wheat into flour and grains and oilseeds into feedstuffs is secondary in importance to the people who oversee these milling operations,” said Arvin Donley, editor of World Grain in a Feb. 23 article. He talked about Iowa State’s new $30 million Kent Feed Mill and Grain Science Complex. The 47,000-square-foot complex will include an ingredient warehouse and education building with a 50-person classroom, analytical laboratory, a pilot plant, a 100-foot concrete mill tower, a 40-foot concrete pelleting plant, and 200,000 bushels of grain storage with handling and drying equipment. “The upgrades…will have a long-term positive impact on the industries that must replenish their workforces each year with graduates from these outstanding academic programs,” Donley said. More  

Nominations for Gamma Sigma Delta due March 24
The Iowa chapter of Gamma Sigma Delta, the honor society of agriculture, is accepting nominations for membership and awards. Nomination forms for faculty, staff and alumni membership and awards are available online and are due March 24. More  

CALS Online: Next Issue March 20
CALS Online will not be published on March 13, the week of spring break. The newsletter will resume Monday, March 20.


March 7: CALS Spring Awards Program
The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Spring Awards Program, honoring faculty and staff achievements, is March 7 at 4:10 p.m. in Dolezal Auditorium, 127 Curtiss Hall. The program will include brief comments from Dean Robison and recognition of the 2023 CALS faculty and staff award recipients. A wine and cheese reception will follow the program in Harl Commons.

March 7: Economist Speaks on Inflation
Thomas Hoenig, distinguished senior fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and former president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, will present “Inflation: The Fed’s Efforts to Control an Economic Monster,” on Tuesday, March 7, at 5:30 p.m. in 3580 Memorial Union. The lecture is co-sponsored by the Department of Economics. More  

March 8: Iowa Learning Farms Webinar 
The Iowa Learning Farms conservation webinar on Wednesday, March 8, at noon, will offer a Drone’s-eye View of Wetlands and Wildlife with presenters Adam Janke, extension wildlife specialist, and Kay Stefanik, Iowa Nutrient Research Center. More  

March 8: CALS Staff Council Coffee Talk
The CALS Staff Council Coffee Talk on “Career Development Conversations with your Manager” is March 8 from 2:30-3:30 p.m. in the Center for Crops Utilization Theater, 1951 Food Sciences Building. University Human Resources and CALS Human Resources will present. More  

March 8: INRC Water Quality Research Seminar 
Iowa Nutrient Research Center’s next Water Quality Research Seminar on Wednesday, March 8, features bioreactors, ditches and oxbows with presenters Michelle Soupir, agricultural and biosystems engineering, and Keith Schilling, director of the Iowa Geological Survey at the University of Iowa. The hybrid session starts at 3:10 p.m. More  

March 24: CALS Collegial Coffee and Cookies Circle
The next CALS Collegial Coffee and Cookies Circle will be March 24 from 10-11 a.m. in 229 Curtiss Hall. Spend time with colleagues and share ideas to enhance the faculty experience within the college. Coffee, tea and cookies will be provided.

March 30: Stupka Undergraduate Research Symposium
The 17th Annual Stupka Symposium, hosted by the undergraduate students in biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology, will be March 30. More  

Communications Kiosk

Improving Your Professional Speaking Skills
Graduate students are often asked to present their research at conferences or in academic settings. The trick is taking sometimes very technical information unique to their discipline and presenting it in a way that is understandable and relatable to a broader audience. Mark Gleason and Leonor Leandro, plant pathology, entomology and microbiology, have been on a mission since 2011 to improve graduate students’ speaking skills. An article highlighting their efforts and the class they created to accomplish this goal was recently published in Trends in Biochemical Sciences. More  


SoilTech to Develop Technology to Measure, Track Soil Health
The research groups led by Carmen Gomes and Jonathan Claussen, mechanical engineering, will be part of a new coast-to-coast, industry-university research hub called the Center for Soil Technologies, or SoilTech. Researchers from four universities just launched the center with a $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation. More 

SHOP Seeks Faculty, Staff Volunteers during Spring Break
Student leaders of SHOP, the campus food pantry that serves students in 1306 Beyer, are seeking faculty and staff help to keep SHOP open during spring break, March 13-17. Scheduled service hours are: Monday, 1-6 p.m.; Tuesday, 5-8 p.m. (9-11 a.m. food stocking); Wednesday, 2-7 p.m.; and Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. University employees are invited to volunteer in one-hour increments on the signup site.  


Ruff Takes the Lead on Team Spirit
Mackenzy Ruff, sophomore in animal science, is part of Cyclone Alley. This committee within the Student Alumni Leadership Council consists of 14 members and two co-directors who are the official leaders of the student section in Hilton Coliseum. They start cheers, direct dances and facilitate giveaways at every home basketball game. 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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