Issue: 1264

CALS Online and Dean’s Message
September 11, 2023

Dean’s Message

Hello CALS – It’s a beautiful day here in Ames, and we even got some rain yesterday for the thirsty ground all around us. It was a terrific weekend for our college and the university, even if the final score of the CyHawk game did not reflect that… We’ll have another go at it next year!
The rest of the weekend was filled with wonderful things for us… And finally, today is Sept. 11. A day of remembrance and dedication to the highest and best ideals of the United States. I’ve heard that about 30% of today’s Americans were not alive on that day in 2001, and an even larger share of the world’s population. But it is a day that rings with agony and a day that deserves awareness by all… More 

Top Stories

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences enrollment for fall 2023 is 4,250 students – 3,710 undergraduates and 540 graduate students.

CALS Enrollment Reflects Strengths in Student Success
The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences enrollment for fall 2023 is 4,250 students – 3,710 undergraduates and 540 graduate students. This continues the positive trends of major-specific recruitment increases, consistently strong retention rates and strong graduation numbers. Increases in both recruitment and overall enrollment across a diverse set of majors reflects trends at the university level. (More on ISU’s enrollment.)  

  • CALS increased the number of Iowa resident undergraduates compared to last fall.
  • More than 66% of CALS undergraduate students are from Iowa. University-wide, 54% of the student body is from Iowa.
  • CALS has increased the number of newly recruited undergraduates by 8.3% since 2020.
  • CALS has continued the tradition of excellence in student retention, with 89.4% of first-year students from last fall returning.
  • CALS awarded 1,177 degrees in 2022-2023.
  • Several undergraduate programs increased enrollment over 2022 levels, including agricultural studies, agronomy, biology, culinary food science, dairy science, dietetics, environmental science, food science and genetics.
  • Increases of newly recruited undergraduates contributed to enrollment of agricultural studies, agronomy, agricultural and life sciences education, microbiology, agricultural systems technology, forestry, food science, genetics, dietetics, dairy science and diet and exercise.
  • The largest undergraduate majors are animal science, agricultural business, animal ecology, agricultural studies, biology, industrial technology and agronomy, making up 69% of CALS enrollment.
  • 59% of CALS undergraduate students are women. University-wide, female students make up just over 45% of the student population.


NBC News Talks with Vorst on ‘Forever Chemicals’
Keith Vorst, food science and human nutrition and director of the Polymer and Food Protection Consortium, was included in a discussion with NBC news on a recent study pertaining to straws and ‘forever chemicals.More  

Teaching and Students

CALS Faculty Win OER Grants
Three CALS faculty will receive Miller Open Education Mini-Grants to support creation of open educational resources for use at the university and beyond. Recipients include: Amber Anderson, agronomy; and Karri Haen Whitmer and Carly Manz, genetics, development and cell biology. More  
CALS Students Among National FFAR Fellows
Two CALS doctoral students are part of the national cohort of 2023 FFAR Fellows, sponsored by the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research and North Carolina State University. The program is a three-year professional development training and development program for doctoral students studying food and agriculture sciences. This year’s 30 fellows include Erika Ibarra-Garabay, ecology, evolution and organismal biology, and Oluwatuyi Olowoyeye, agricultural and biosystems engineering. More 

Alumni: Smith Receives Emerging Iowa Leader Award
Martha Smith (’04 agricultural business, international agriculture) was presented Iowa State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences 2023 Emerging Iowa Leader Award at the annual CALS BBQ on Sept. 2. This honor is given to individuals 40 years of age or younger who live or work in Iowa and demonstrate high potential for future professional growth. More 

Alumni: Farming in the Virtual and Real Worlds
Grant Hilbert (’20 agricultural business, economics) created a YouTube channel as a sophomore in high school, playing Farming Simulator with friends. After graduating from Iowa State, the channel had generated enough money for him to buy a real farm in Iowa’s Poweshiek and Mahaska counties. More 

Extension and Outreach

Schultz Honored Nationally for Women in Agriculture Extension Program
Madeline Schultz, Women in Agriculture program manager with ISU Extension and Outreach’s Farm Management Team, received the Distinguished Service Award at the 108th Annual Meeting and Professional Improvement Conference of the National Association of County Agricultural Agents on Aug. 16 in Des Moines. With her team, Schultz led development of 10 curricula and more than 200 Annie’s Project and other multi-session farm management courses for women. She also initiated the annual Women in Ag Leadership Conference. She directed 40 grant and gift projects bringing more than $3.5 million to Iowa and national extension programming. More 

NACAA Meets in Iowa, Recognizes Top Achievers
The National Association of County Agricultural Agents recognized top achievers during its annual conference, Aug. 12-17 in Des Moines. This was the first year the annual meeting and professional improvement conference was held in Iowa, hosted by ISU Extension and Outreach. More than 1,100 people from across the nation were in attendance. More 

Learn More about Organic Production during Training
ISU Extension and Outreach experts, USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service soil conservationists and USDA Agricultural Research Service soil scientists will present organic practices and NRCS programs to support these practices during a training on Tuesday, Sept. 12, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Reiman Gardens. More 

Iowa Turfgrass Day to Focus on Automation
The Iowa Turfgrass Field and Demo Day will be held Wednesday, Sept. 13, at the Horticulture Research Station. This year’s session will feature automation in the turfgrass industry. More 

Iowa Public Radio at Horticulture Field Day
Charity Nebbe, host of Iowa Public Radio’s “Horticulture Friday,” will visit Iowa State’s Horticulture Research Station for a field day on Saturday, Sept. 16, from 1-4 p.m. Guests will have the opportunity to take tours led by Iowa State faculty through the 230-acre farm and see research stations including fruits and vegetables, ornamentals, and turtle and bee research. More 

Around the College

Singh Appointed to Sprague Professorship
Professor and plant breeder Asheesh (Danny) Singh has been named to the George Sprague Professorship in Agronomy, succeeding emeritus professor William Beavis, who served in the position since 2007. More 

Start Something CALS to Co-Host ISU Innovation Prize 
On Sept. 15 and 16, the Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship and the Start Something College of Agriculture and Life Sciences program will host the seventh annual ISU Innovation Prize. Students, faculty, staff and the local entrepreneurial community are invited to participate in the weekend-long incentive competition, working in small teams to develop innovative solutions in three focus areas: AgTech, EdTech, and Global Impact. More 

‘Broadband Prairie’ Project Moves to Public Testing Phase
A wireless tower at Iowa State’s Ag Engineering/Agronomy Farm west of Ames is loaded with hardware sending radio waves across the countryside, creating wireless internet connections for rural users. There are more poles, antennas and cabinets full of electronics around campus, including at the Curtiss Farm south of town. There are electronics and lower-to-the ground antennas next to research fields, in a sheep barn and more. The deployment of all this infrastructure in and around Ames means the $16 million ARA Wireless Living Lab for Smart and Connected Rural Communities is moving to a public testing phase. The project’s progress was celebrated during a launch event Sept. 6-8 on Iowa State’s campus. The event featured technical presentations by Lie Tang, agricultural and biosystems engineering and Plant Sciences Institute faculty scholar, Joshua Peschel, agricultural and biosystems engineering, and Matthew Darr, leader of Iowa State’s Digital Ag Innovation Lab. More 

Iowa State Wines Garner Local, International Awards
Wines produced at Iowa State recently brought home several top awards from international, regional and Iowa competitions. The 2022 vintages – La Crescent, Rosé and Marquette – were bottled in March 2023 in Iowa State’s Commercial Winery inside the Food Sciences Building. The wines are primarily made using cold-hardy grapes grown at Iowa State’s Horticulture Research Station and a few other locations in the state. These grapes are unique to Iowa and the Midwest. More 

In Memoriam: Fred Lorenz
Fred Lorenz, sociology and criminal justice, passed away Aug. 29. He was 74. He joined the faculty at Iowa State in 1980 where he held joint appointments in the sociology (and later psychology) and statistics departments, as well as the Institute for Social and Behavioral Research, before retiring in 2016. More 


Sept. 13: INRC Water Quality Research Seminar
The first session in the Iowa Nutrient Research Center’s fall 2023 seminar series, “Focus on the Future,” is Wednesday, Sept. 13, at 3:10-4 p.m., in person (Elings Hall) or online. Current students and recent graduates will discuss their perspectives on water quality research. More 

Sept. 14: Feeding the World Seminar Series
The Feeding the World seminar series continues Thursday, Sept. 14, from 3:40-4:55 p.m. in 1204 Kildee Hall, Ensminger Room. Clayton Mooney, co-founder and CEO of Clayton Farms, will present “From Poker to Starting and Growing Food Technology Companies.” More 

Sept. 19: CALS Chat with the Dean
Dean Robison will host a CALS Chat on Sept. 19, from 11 a.m. to noon in 311 East Hall. The informal, drop-in event will be an opportunity for casual conversation.

Sept. 23: Ag 450 Farm 80th Celebration
This year marks the 80th anniversary of the Ag 450 Farm at Iowa State. To celebrate, agricultural education and studies is hosting an event at the farm on Sept. 23 from 8-11 a.m. Students, alumni and friends of the farm are invited for a light breakfast and tours. RSVP’s are appreciated in advance. More 

Sept. 27: Deal Lecture
Al Tank, ag and food entrepreneur, investor and consultant based in Bethesda, Maryland, will present the 2023 William K. Deal Leadership Lecture Sept. 27, at Iowa State. His presentation, “Innovating Ag Innovation,” will begin at 5:30 p.m. in Dolezal Auditorium, 0127 Curtiss Hall. The event is free and open to the public. More 

Communications Kiosk

Ensure vs. Insure vs. Assure
Ensure is the general term meaning to make sure that something will (or won’t) happen. In best usage, insure is reserved for underwriting financial risk. So we ensure that we can get time off for a vacation, and we insure our car against an accident on the trip. We assure people of things by telling them what’s what, so that they don’t worry. The important thing to remember is that we ensure events or occurrences, insure things and assure people. (The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition, pg. 329)


Study Abroad Fair Includes Passport Service
The fall Study Abroad Fair is Thursday, Sept. 14, from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Memorial Union Great Hall. The U.S. Postal Service will provide a team to handle passport application appointments. More 

Iowa State Helps Ukrainian Grain Farmers Now Raising Hogs
Many Ukrainian farmers are raising hogs for the first time, converting cheap grain into needed meat. Justin Brown, veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine, is helping Ukrainian farmers safely navigate the war-driven pivot to pork with a series of online workshops. More 

University Honors Program Seeks Proposals for Honors Seminars
The University Honors Program is accepting proposals to teach an honors seminar in spring 2024. The one- or two-credit courses, offered for a half or full term, allow honors students to examine topics of current or special interest. They are offered on a pass/fail basis and enrollment is usually limited to 17 students. Proposals are due Sept. 22. More 


Smoothie Program Expands Following Successful Pilot
A checkoff-initiated smoothie pilot program showed increased consumption of milk and yogurt and will be offered to more schools this fall. Dairy Management Inc. pitched the smoothie program concept in 2022 to Chartwells K12, a food management company that serves more than 2 million meals in 4,500 schools representing 665 districts across the U.S. General Mills provided culinary support and training materials for school nutrition staff and Hubert, a foodservice equipment manufacturer, offered blenders and other materials at a discounted rate. 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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