Issue: 1245

CALS Online and Dean’s Message
April 10, 2023 

Dean’s Message

Hello CALS – I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and found time to enjoy the fabulous weather that seems to have suddenly arrived. It looks like it’ll be around all week… We are truly in the run up to CALS Convocation on May 12, and Iowa State's Commencement on May 13. I hope to see you at these events, and please definitely turn out for CALS Convocation and be part of the handshake and high-five line to congratulate YOUR students as they come off the platform smiling and looking forward to all that’s next in their individual journeys… More

Top Stories

Samuel Shobade, graduate student in biochemistry, is the recipient of the inaugural 2023 Dhamu and Kanchana Thamodaran Innovation in Agriculture Student Award.

Shobade Selected for Thamodoran Family Innovation in Agriculture Student Award
Samuel Shobade, graduate student in biochemistry, is the recipient of the inaugural 2023 Thamodoran Family Innovation in Agriculture Student Award. This award was established to support CALS undergraduate and graduate students who have innovative scientific, technological or business ideas for solving grand challenges in agriculture. The $3,000 scholarship is intended to be used to advance research methods, develop technology, and fund tuition and travel. Carmen Bain, associate dean for academic innovation, said the selection committee for the award agreed Shobade’s research was innovative and cutting-edge in its approach to enhance crop growth, crop yields and food quality. Funding for the award comes from CALS alumnus Dhamu Thamodaran, who earned his doctoral degree in economics in 1983, as well as his wife, Kanchana. More  


New Report on Monarch Status Shows Continuing Need for Conservation
The last year was a difficult one for the eastern monarch butterfly, according to a report just released that indicates monarchs occupying forest canopy in their wintering grounds in Mexico decreased by 22%. The report, produced annually by the World Wildlife Fund in collaboration with international partners, is based on annual surveys that go back to the 1990s. The surveys help shape objectives for establishing breeding habitat in the Midwestern states. Iowa has been making progress toward establishment of new habitat, thanks to the Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium. More  

Keating Wins PIRS Grant for Research
Aileen Keating, animal science, leads one of three teams of Iowa State researchers selected for funding through the 2023 Presidential Interdisciplinary Research Seed Grant program. The project she is leading in collaboration with the University of Iowa is exploring how the set of “forever chemicals” known as PFAS impair female reproduction in humans and other animals, especially swine. More  

Teaching and Students

CALS Student Researching Essential Oils’ Potential as Bio-Fungicide
Alexandra Starkey is pursuing a doctorate in plant pathology with a minor in microbiology. Working with Leonor Leandro, plant pathology, entomology and microbiology, Starkey's research involves experimenting with bio-fungicides to prevent disease in soybean fields. Her bio-fungicide of choice: essential oils. Funding for her research is coming from the CALS Innovation in Agriculture Young Scholar Award, provided by the CALS Office for Academic Innovation and the Office for Research and Discovery. More  

Agronomy Student Works to Fill Biodiversity Gaps in Knowledge in Honduras
Andrew Hokanson, senior in agronomy, will be headed to Honduras this summer to complete his proof-of-concept project titled “Maize Diversification and Genetic Resource Acquisition in Western Honduras.” Hokanson will collect samples of maize seeds from various locations in Honduras and add them to the U.S. National Plant Germplasm System collection. Funding for the project will come from the CALS Innovation in Agriculture Young Scholar Award he recently received from the CALS Office for Academic Innovation and the Office for Research and Discovery. More

Block and Bridle Club to Host Animal Learning Day on April 15
The ISU Block and Bridle Club will hold its annual Animal Learning Day on Saturday, April 15, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Hansen Agriculture Student Learning Center. The event is free and provides an opportunity for the public to learn about animals in agriculture. More   

A Home Away from Home at Iowa State
Joe Van Essendelft, senior in agricultural business, grew up on a family farm in North Carolina where he developed his love of agriculture. With a dream of pursuing a major that would allow him to combine his passions for agriculture and business, Van Essendelft set his sights on Iowa State. More  

Extension and Outreach

Integrated Crop Management News Offers Timely Solutions for Growers
Crop producers and the crop industry can get timely updates on growing-season challenges by subscribing to Integrated Crop Management News, a web service offered by the crops team with ISU Extension and Outreach. Agronomists, plant pathologists, entomologists, weather experts and others collaborate to write timely articles and blogs that are posted to the ICM News website and emailed directly to subscribers. More  

Organic Ag Podcast Features Innovative Industry Topics
In a new podcast recorded by ISU Extension and Outreach, Kathleen Delate, professor and extension organic specialist, interviews four organic farmers and an organic researcher engaged in organic technologies that may offer some value in organic operations. The Innovations in Organic Ag Podcast is available on Iowa State’s Small Farm Sustainability website. More  

‘Agronomy in the Field’ Events Planned Across Iowa
Four “Agronomy in the Field” cohorts for women will focus on developing agronomic decision-making skills that can be used on one’s personal farm or family cropping operation, including water quality and conservation practices. The first workshop series begins April 18. More  

Extension Turfgrass Specialist Discusses Spring Lawn Maintenance 
As soil temperatures increase and lawns across the state begin to turn green, many Iowans will begin performing routine lawn maintenance. Adam Thoms, ISU Extension and Outreach turfgrass specialist, provides tips to properly maintain a lawn. More  

Around the College

Wiedenhoeft Named Interim Chair of Agronomy
Mary Wiedenhoeft will begin leading Iowa State’s Department of Agronomy as interim department chair, effective May 16. Wiedenhoeft, Morrill Professor of Agronomy, will take over for current department chair Kendall Lamkey, who has accepted the role of CALS associate dean for facilities and operations. More  

Stewart Named Harmon Family Professor
Timothy Stewart, natural resource ecology and management, has been named the newest holder of the Harmon Family Professorship in Forestry at Iowa State. Stewart was recognized during a medallion ceremony on March 24. More  

Woteki Inducted into Virginia Tech Hall of Fame
Catherine Woteki, food science and human nutrition, was inducted into the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Hall of Fame at the Celebration of Ut Prosim Awards program on March 17. More  

Cooper Receives Women of Distinction Award
Theressa Cooper, CALS assistant dean for diversity, received a Women of Distinction Award from the YWCA Ames-ISU for her leadership in diversity, equity and inclusion. Cooper was recognized at the 2023 Women of Achievement Awards and Ceremony in early March at the ISU Alumni Center. More  

Poultry Farm Donates Eggs to Campus Food Pantry
Students Helping Our Peers, the campus food pantry that serves students living with food insecurity, is receiving a new weekly donation from the Department of Animal Science – eggs. The SHOP team has been picking up eggs once a week from the Robert T. Hamilton Poultry Teaching and Research Facility. The eggs are packaged in a half-dozen carton size at the SHOP. In five weeks, 390 cartons were distributed. More  

Proposals Sought for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Faculty Fellows Program
The Dean’s Office for Academic Innovation and Start Something CALS are seeking proposals from college faculty for the 2023 cohort of Innovation and Entrepreneurship Faculty Fellows. The program seeks to foster and expand a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship of CALS faculty across departments. To advance this goal, the Dean’s office provides funds to support faculty seeking to incorporate innovation within teaching, research or extension activities. All CALS faculty, regardless of rank, are eligible to apply. Up to six fellowships will be awarded. Proposals are due to Carmen Bain ( by noon on Friday, April 14. More  


April 11: Hertz Lecture on Emerging Issues in Agriculture
Tim Glenn, executive vice president of the seed business unit at Corteva Agriscience, will deliver the 2023 Carl and Marjory Hertz Lecture on Emerging Issues in Agriculture on Tuesday, April 11, at 7 p.m. in Dolezal Auditorium, 127 Curtiss Hall. He will present “Industry Perspectives and Emerging Trends in the Global Agriculture.” More  

April 12: Iowa Learning Farms Webinar
The Iowa Learning Farms conservation webinar on Wednesday, April 12, at noon, will focus on a review of Iowa water and nitrogen balances using APSIM modeling, presented by Sotirios Archontoulis, agronomy. More  

April 12: INRC Water Quality Research Seminar
Communications and social sciences will be the focus of the next Iowa Nutrient Research Center seminar on Wednesday, April 12, at 3:20 p.m. Presenters are Laurie Nowatzke, USDA Midwest Climate Hub, Laura Witzling, Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, and Dara Wald, Texas A&M University. Attend in person at 1306 Elings Hall, or register to participate online. More  

April 13: CALS Town Hall Meeting
Dean Robison is holding a CALS Town Hall meeting for all faculty and staff on Thursday, April 13, at 11 a.m. in 0125 Kildee Hall.


Iowa State Celebrates the First Amendment
Iowa State will celebrate the First Amendment and the essential freedoms it preserves with a week of events on campus. First Amendment Days kicks off today, April 10, and extends through the week with events, discussions, a free meal and art displays calling attention to the importance of the five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: religion, speech, press, assembly and petition. Iowa State celebrated its inaugural First Amendment Days in 2003, and the event has become a showcase for the university’s commitment to free expression and constructive and respectful dialog. More  


Does the Soil on a Baseball Field Influence the Players?
A March 31 blog post by the Soil Science Society of America, details how professional baseball fields are built from many types of soil. Beneath the athletes’ feet is a precisely-engineered mixture made of multiple components. Engineered soils are designed and manufactured for a specific purpose: in this case, to keep the playing surface safe and allow the game to continue during rainy weather. 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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