Issue: 1249

CALS Online and Dean’s Message
May 8, 2023

Dean’s Message

Happy Monday CALS Colleagues – This week, we conclude the semester and take a deep breath as we head into the wonders of summer. Our students are so ready to commence – some to summer work and opportunities before coming back in the fall, and others to graduation exercises and the next stage in their lives and careers. It’s a fantastically wonderful place we get to inhabit here in higher education to help people learn, to engage in discovery and to transfer knowledge to others. We make lives and livelihoods and people and communities better everywhere. It’s proud service we do, and a deep experience for our students… More

Top Stories

CALS Convocation, Friday, May 12, Class of 2023

CALS Convocation to Honor Graduating Seniors, May 12
The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences will hold its spring convocation Friday, May 12, at 9 a.m. in Hilton Coliseum. (Please note the time change from previous semesters.) Doors open at 8 a.m. The event will also be livestreamed. The CALS Student Council will present its senior awards (see award winners below). Julia Campbell, agricultural business, is the convocation speaker. Sydney Paris, microbiology, will serve as the CALS student marshal at the university undergraduate commencement ceremony Saturday, May 13, at 9 a.m. in Hilton Coliseum. The graduate commencement ceremony will take place Thursday, May 11, at 7 p.m. in Hilton Coliseum.

Senior Award Winner: Nathan Behrends
Nathan Behrends, agricultural studies, is the spring 2023 recipient of the Outstanding Senior Award given by the CALS Student Council. Behrends’ leadership and extensive involvement in various organizations has shaped him into a resounding representative of the college.   

Senior Award Winner: Gracie Greiner
Gracie Greiner, animal science, is the spring 2023 recipient of the Leadership Excellence Award given by the CALS Student Council. Greiner has served as the president of Block and Bridle since her sophomore year and remained active in many other areas of campus.  

Senior Award Winner: Amber Friedrichsen 
Amber Friedrichsen, agricultural education and studies – communication option and agronomy, is the spring 2023 recipient of the Academic Achievement Award given by the CALS Student Council. Friedrichsen’s willingness to pursue things that piqued her interest led to her major in agronomy, go on study abroad trips to Costa Rica and the United Arab Emirates, and take on leadership roles within the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow Club.  

Senior Award Winner: Sofia Fernandez
Sofia Fernandez, global resource systems and agricultural studies, is the spring 2023 recipient of the Distinguished Service Award given by the CALS Student Council. Her commitment to helping others has shone through her participation in the Iowa State University—Uganda Program and her leadership as president of the Ag 450 Farm.  

Senior Award Winner: Leah Mosher 
Leah Mosher, agricultural and rural policy studies, is the spring 2023 recipient of the Outstanding Ambassador of Agriculture and Life Sciences Award given by the CALS Student Council. Mosher’s involvement in agricultural organizations on and off campus helped to shape her future in agriculture policy.  

Senior Award Winner: Turner Anderson 
Turner Anderson, animal science, animal ecology and biology, is the spring 2023 recipient of the Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion Award given by the CALS Student Council. During his time at Iowa State, Anderson has served as a George Washington Carver program peer mentor and an undergraduate representative on the NREM department’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee. He encourages others to seek ways to engage in diversity efforts across campus and the community to become better global citizens.  

Class of 2023: Owen Dykshorn 
Owen Dykshorn, agricultural studies, will check graduating from college off of his list more than 50 years after he started his degree program – and he will do so alongside his grandson, Charlie. Dykshorn was called to serve in the Vietnam War toward the end of his senior year in college in the late 1960s. After discovering last fall that he was only seven credits away from graduating, he decided to return to Iowa State to complete his degree.  

Class of 2023: Abby Fowler 
Abby Fowler, microbiology, has fostered her research passion through working in Iowa State University labs. She joined Donald Sakaguchi’s lab her freshman year and now mentors younger students, teaching them how to carry out various lab procedures. With graduate school as her next step, she hopes to continue sharing science with others, either through community science outreach or written media.  

Class of 2023: Danny Gill
Danny Gill, biology and environmental science, is a CALS Ambassador, making connections with prospective students and their families. While giving tours, Gill uses his personal connections with faculty and staff to give prospective students a unique experience.  

Class of 2023: Vincent Vanyo
Vincent Vanyo, microbiology, has had several research experiences that have allowed him to study microorganisms from various perspectives. These include analyzing non-thermal food treatment methods, performing insecticidal trait discovery in soil, and exploring the science behind brewing beer.   

Commencement Speaker: Kevin Schalinske
Kevin Schalinske, Morrill Professor in Iowa State’s Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, is the commencement speaker for the graduate ceremony on Thursday, May 11, at 7 p.m. in Hilton Coliseum. Schalinske has been an active member of the graduate faculty at Iowa State since 1999, including serving as the inaugural director of graduate education for the Interdepartmental Graduate Program in Nutritional Sciences.  

Commencement Speaker, Honorary Degree Recipient: Temple Grandin
Temple Grandin, distinguished professor of animal science at Colorado State University and autism activist, is the commencement speaker for the CALS undergraduate ceremony on Saturday, May 13, at 9 a.m. in Hilton Coliseum. In addition to being a world leader in the design of livestock handling facilities, Grandin has written books and appeared on numerous TV shows. An HBO movie that won five Emmy’s was made about her life. She had no speech until age four and is autistic. Iowa State is awarding Grandin an honorary doctor of science degree. More  

Teaching and Students

Studying What Influences Students to Return to Family Farm
What factors influence a student’s decision to return to the family farm following college graduation? That is what students in Katie Dentzman’s sociology class sought to find out this semester. More  

Students Create New Products for Food Product Development Class
The FSHN 412: Food Product Development class will be holding their poster session today, May 8, from 2:45-4 p.m. in 210 MacKay Hall. All are welcome to attend the come-and-go event to learn about and sample five new products. 

Extension and Outreach

Geographic Technology Provides Landowners with Precise Tools
While Iowa’s topography may not be as dynamic as in some states, even minute differences throughout a field can be augmented by the flow of water and wind. According to Lee Burras and Bradley Miller, agronomy, advances in geospatial technology coupled with more traditional farming knowledge have allowed researchers and landowners to understand the land more intimately than ever before. More  

Biochar Study Focuses on Red Pepper and Cauliflower Production
Ajay Nair and Taylor Mauch, horticulture, have recently completed a three-year study of a soil amendment product known as biochar. Their goal was to find out if this black, charcoal material could improve the production of certain vegetables commonly grown in Iowa. The results have not shown a major impact just yet, but they believe there may be long-term benefits to adding biochar, especially to degraded soils and soils prone to nutrient loss. More  

Registration Open for Iowa Swine Day
The 12th annual Iowa Swine Day is June 29 on the Iowa State campus. Speakers will focus on important issues facing U.S. pork producers. New this year is a pre-conference barbecue at the Hansen Agriculture Student Learning Center on June 28, tailored toward student networking. The conference is presented by the Iowa Pork Industry Center. More  

Do Virtual Field Days Work?
Virtual field days are a valuable outreach tool that provides an opportunity for participants to attend multiple events without the travel requirement. Hosted in Zoom, virtual field days are one-hour events that feature a video from a field site and a live question-and-answer session with the presenters. In 2022, Iowa Learning Farms hosted seven virtual field days, reaching 1,116 participants between the live event and archive views. More  

Around the College

Rodriguez Appointed Interim Director of Seed Science Center
Lulu Rodriguez has been named interim director of the Seed Science Center, effective April 28, following the departure of Manjit Misra. Rodriguez has been serving as global programs lead for the center since 2019. A search for a permanent director will begin soon. More  

Applications Being Accepted for IPIC Director
Applications are being accepted through June 1 for director of the Iowa Pork Industry Center in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The director will lead an integrated extension and research program that informs and serves the Iowa pork industry and ensures that Iowa producers receive accurate and timely information to aid in making their operations more efficient and profitable. This is an internal search open to tenure-track faculty in CALS.

CALS Faculty, Staff to Receive Top University Awards
Several CALS faculty and staff are among the recipients of the university’s most distinguished awards, to be given this fall at the ISU Faculty and Staff Awards Ceremony on Sept. 20. The following individuals from CALS departments and centers are recognized. More  

  • Christopher Tuggle, animal science – Distinguished Professor
  • Marit Nilsen-Hamilton, biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology – University Professor
  • Curtis Youngs, animal science – Morrill Professor
  • Matt Darr, agricultural and biosystems engineering – Regents Award for Faculty Excellence
  • Ben Drescher, animal science – Regents Award for Staff Excellence
  • Don Sakaguchi, genetics, development and cell biology – Award for Impact on Student Success
  • Jeff Mitchell, animal science – P&S Excellence Award
  • Patrick Wall, ISU Extension and Outreach – P&S Excellence Award
  • Jim Jordahl, natural resource ecology and management – P&S Outstanding New Professional Award
  • Claire Kruesel, biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology – P&S Outstanding New Professional Award
  • Garland Dahlke, Iowa Beef Center – Outstanding Achievement in Extension or Professional Practice Award
  • Beth Reynolds, Iowa Beef Center – Early Achievement in Extension or Professional Practice Award 

Agriculture Honor Society Presents Awards
Gamma Sigma Delta, the Iowa Chapter of the Honor Society of Agriculture, held its annual award ceremony on April 20. Twelve undergraduate students and 27 graduate and veterinary medicine students were initiated into the honor society. The following CALS faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends were presented awards at the ceremony. More  

  • Teaching Mission Award – Josh Selsby, animal science
  • Research Mission Award – Cheryl Morris, animal science
  • Extension Mission Award – Nancy Grudens-Schuck, agricultural education and studies
  • International Mission Award – James Dickson, animal science
  • Alumni Award of Merit – Angelica Van Goor, USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture
  • Distinguished Achievement in Agriculture Award – Douglas Ware, Nutritional Physiology Corp.
  • Senior Scholarship – Allie Wicklund, animal science
  • Sophomore Scholarship – Isaiah Bates, horticulture

Limited Space Remains for Second Session of Feed Mill Tour
Limited spots remain for the CALS Staff Council tour of the Iowa State University Kent Feed Mill and Grain Science Complex. It’s set for May 15 from 2-3 p.m. and registration is required. A name, email address and phone number are required when registering. Participants must receive an email reply about the status of their registration for it to be valid. Those on the attendance list that find they cannot attend, please email Sherry Hoyer,


May 10: INRC Water Quality Research Seminar
Research on cover crops and forages will be highlighted in the next Iowa Nutrient Research Center seminar on Wednesday, May 10, at 3:10 p.m. Presenters are Alison Robertson, plant pathology, entomology and microbiology, and Erika Lundy, Iowa Beef Center. Attend in person at 1306 Elings Hall, or register to participate online. More  

May 17: Soil Management and Land Valuation Conference
A robust farm economy, soil health and land values are topics that will be addressed at the 95th annual Soil Management and Land Valuation Conference on May 17 in Ames. Sponsored by CALS and ISU Extension and Outreach, it is the longest running conference at Iowa State. More  

May 17: CALS Faculty and Staff Picnic
CALS faculty and staff are invited to celebrate the end of the semester at a picnic on May 17 from 4:30-7 p.m. at Moore Memorial Park, Big Bluestem Shelter. Dinner, dessert and live music will be provided. Family and guests are welcome to attend. RSVP by Wednesday, May 10.  

May 18: Conservation on Tap
Iowa Learning Farms, in partnership with the Des Moines Water Works and Conservation Learning Group, is hosting “Conservation on Tap” on May 18 from 6-7 p.m. at the Firetrucker Brewery in Ankeny. To ensure adequate space and food, please RSVP by May 15 to 515-294-5429 or More  

June 2: Dairy Farm Open House
The annual open house at the ISU Dairy Farm is scheduled for June 2 from 7 a.m. to noon. Tours include stops at the milking parlor, the milk house and dairy barns. Visitors can sample dairy products while learning about the dairy industry. More  


World Food Prize Laureate Announcement, May 11
The 2023 World Food Prize Laureate Announcement will be at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, May 11, at 9 a.m. The livestream link is available online. More  

Traveling Cyclones Program Highlights Upcoming Trips, May 25
The ISU Alumni Association’s Traveling Cyclones program began in 1973 and – over the course of a half century – it has gone to all ends of the earth, educating people and bringing them together in lifelong connections. On May 25 from 4-6:30 p.m. at the ISU Alumni Center, ISUAA tour operators will hold a preview of trips planned for 2024. U.S. Postal Service representatives will be on site accepting passport applications or renewals. More  

University P&S Council Hosting Creamery Tour, May 26
The university’s Professional and Scientific Council is hosting a tour of the ISU Creamery on May 26 at 1 p.m. The tour will end at the Creamery Retail Store. Registration is limited to 60 people.  

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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