Issue: 1283

CALS Online and Dean’s Message
February 12, 2024 

Dean’s Message

Greetings CALS Colleagues – Last week we were dealt a true blow with the loss of Bill Northey – a great friend, partner, alum and so much more. His service to our university and college, the state of Iowa and the nation in regards to agricultural activity and prosperity, conservation and community, all the while offering an upbeat forward-leaning optimistic innovative outlook, was truly nothing short of extraordinary. He will be dearly missed, and we must all catch our breath with his sudden passing… These past couple weeks I have made some rounds to meet with lots of you, and still more to do… More 

Top Stories

A pair of Iowa State researchers in the genetics, development and cell biology department – Eric Henderson and recent doctoral graduate Chang-Yong Oh – are among the first research teams in the world to construct DNA nanoparticles that can express their own built-in genetics instructions.

Henderson and Oh Construct DNA Nanoparticles Capable of Expressing Genetic Code
A pair of Iowa State researchers in the genetics, development and cell biology department – Eric Henderson and recent doctoral graduate Chang-Yong Oh – are among the first research teams in the world to construct DNA nanoparticles that can express their own built-in genetics instructions. Gene-bearing capacity increases the potential impact of DNA nanotechnology, which could lead to major advances in medical treatment. More 


Weather Swings Bring Steadier Results when Studying Crop Adaptability
Efforts to breed more adaptable crops benefit from testing locations with wide ranges of weather, according to a research team led by Jianming Yu, agronomy, Pioneer Distinguished Chair in Maize Breeding and director of the Raymond F. Baker Center for Plant Breeding. The study is Yu’s latest work exploring phenotypic plasticity, the disparate ways plants respond in different environments. More 

Deadline for Faculty Mentors for GWC Summer Program, Feb. 15
Faculty mentors are needed to provide research lab or field experience for students in the 29th George Washington Carver Summer Research Internship Program, held on campus from June 3 to Aug. 1. Details are in an email from Theressa Cooper, assistant dean for diversity, sent to college faculty and staff on Jan. 25 (via Alison Parker at 1:08 p.m.). Applications are due Feb. 15. More 

Teaching and Students

New CALS Placement Rate Reaches 98.3%
CALS Career Services is reporting an undergraduate placement rate of 98.3% for students graduating 2022-2023. Placement includes students that are employed, furthering their education or fulfilling military obligations. Of the 1,021 graduates, 81.5% were employed, with 94.2% in professional employment positions. Of those working, 65.5% remained in Iowa for their first employment experience, up 3% from last year. “Keeping our graduates here in the state is always a good thing,” said Mike Gaul, director of CALS Career Services. “Last year CALS had the highest in-state retention rate, with the university average being 46.6%.” More  
Top Employers of CALS Undergraduates, 2022-2023
Mike Gaul, director of CALS Career Services, reports the following top 10 employers of CALS students who received their bachelor’s degrees during 2022-2023: Iowa State University with 27 hires; Corteva Agriscience with 23; Cargill with nine; Syngenta with eight; Bayer CropScience and Iowa Department of Natural Resources with seven each; Ag Leader Technology, John Deere and Vermeer with six each; and Blank Park Zoo and Van Wall Group with five each.

New Vine and Wine Club Looking to Grow Membership
The Vine and Wine Club is a new graduate student organization designed to spread interest in wines and vineyard management. Open to any student 21 years of age or older, the club meets monthly to discuss viticulture (the science of growing grapes), taste different wines and learn about the winemaking process. Aude Watrelot, food science and human nutrition, is the club advisor. More 

Horticulture Club Valentine’s Day Bouquet Sale Underway
The Horticulture Club is holding its annual bouquet sale consisting of roses, carnations and spider mums. If you missed last week’s preorder deadline, arrangements can be purchased on Feb. 13-14 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the commons of the Union Drive Community Center. Cash, check or credit cards are accepted. Proceeds support club and outreach events throughout the year. More 

Student Entrepreneurs Sought for College Pitch Off Competition
The Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship, in conjunction with Iowa State’s seven colleges, is hosting its annual College-by-College Pitch Off. 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. 21. More 

Extension and Outreach

Houser Named Digital Agriculture Extension Specialist
Doug Houser has joined ISU Extension and Outreach as a digital agriculture extension specialist. He is part of the Digital Ag Innovation Lab at Iowa State – a group of agricultural engineers and specialists dedicated to researching and showcasing improvements in digital technology. With Houser’s help, the team plans to expand its Planter University program to include combines, sprayers and drones. More 

Publication Takes Closer Look at Beavers as Superheroes
ISU Extension and Outreach has released “A Closer Look: Beavers as Superheroes of Water Quality.” Beavers offer a host of ecosystem benefits. This publication explores best management practices for the rural landscape – identifying ways to work with beavers, not against them. More 

ANR Extension Spotlight: Matt Helmers
Matt Helmers is an extension agricultural engineer, professor in agricultural and biosystems engineering, holder of the Brent and Cindy Hart Professorship and director of the Iowa Nutrient Research Center. His focus is on studying the impacts of agricultural conservation practices, specifically the impacts on water quality, and then sharing this information with stakeholders across Iowa and the region. More 

Around the College

Nettleton Reappointed as Statistics Department Chair
With a demonstrated record of building community within the department and effectively managing resources, Dan Nettleton will continue leading Iowa State’s Department of Statistics. Nettleton, distinguished professor and Laurence H. Baker Endowed Chair in Biological Statistics, was first appointed chair of the department in 2019. His reappointment will take effect July 1 for another five-year term. More 

Chi’s First Question is, ”How can I help you?”
Hoa Chi is the safety coordinator for the agricultural and biosystems engineering department and manager of its student concept teaming lab, a makerspace for the department. Any ABE student with a project that requires building or fabrication visits with Chi. He's driven, he said, by two things: a love of knowledge and a desire to make a difference. “Whoever walks in this door is under my care,” Chi said. More 


Feb. 14: Iowa Learning Farms Conservation Webinar
Michelle Soupir, agricultural and biosystems engineering, will present “Woodchip Bioreactors: Expanding Carbon Sources and Implementation Strategies” for the Iowa Learning Farms conservation webinar on Wednesday, Feb. 14, at noon. More 

Feb. 14: INRC Focus on the Future Webinar
The Iowa Nutrient Research Center’s monthly Focus on the Future webinar is Wednesday, Feb. 14, from 3:10-4 p.m. The hybrid seminar will be presented online and in-person at 1306 Elings Hall. More 

March 4: The Untold Story of American Cuisine
The Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition and the Culinary Science Club are co-sponsors of a lecture on “Eight Flavors: The Untold Story of American Cuisine” on March 4 at 6 p.m. in the Memorial Union Sun Room. Sarah Lohman will explore how American food is united by eight flavors and explain how these ingredients made their way to the American table. More 

Communications Kiosk

Repetitive vs. Repetitious
Both repetitive and repetitious mean “occurring over and over.” But whereas repetitive is fairly neutral in connotation, repetitious has taken on the nuance of tediousness that induces boredom. (The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition, pg. 350)


Nominations Open for P&S Council 
Nominations are now being accepted for the Professional and Scientific Council, a resource and advocate for all P&S employees. Nominations for the 2024-2025 P&S Council are accepted through Feb. 29. More 


This Old Oak…
The campus services team in facilities planning and management began removing a diseased red oak northwest of Curtiss Hall last week. The tree, more than 100 years old, was weakened by Ganoderma, an aggressive root rot fungus that impacts a tree's stability and kills limbs over time. Since it was in an area with high pedestrian traffic, the tree came down as a safety precaution. According to records, the tree was part of a grove of eight oaks planted in 1917 to honor the memory of Seaman Knapp, who served as the first chair of the agriculture program (1879) and later, the second president of Iowa State College (1883-84). 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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