Issue: 1295

CALS Online and Dean’s Message
May 13, 2024 

Dean’s Message

Hello CALS – We had graduation exercises and celebrated with our students this past week and weekend… This was my first year in about 20 that I did not attend myself, being out of town for happy family events, but missing the energy of graduation, too. It was great to have Carmen Bain and Ruth MacDonald represent the college at these events in my absence – thanks to them… This week, we officially start our academic summer, with many folks anxious to get out to the field or the barn, into the lab, greenhouse or library, or on to travel near and far. Of course, all of you do these things all year, but the summer brings a different cadence to the work. Enjoy it, and most of all, be safe. Keep your eye on the weather if you’re outside, watch out for moving parts and the business end of machines and devices, and be careful around hot, flammable or toxic things… More 

Top Stories

Continuing a proud tradition, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences agricultural and forestry programs are once again ranked among the top.

Iowa State’s Agriculture and Forestry Programs Ranked among Top Worldwide
Continuing a proud tradition, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences agricultural and forestry programs are once again ranked among the top. The 2024 QS World University Rankings lists Iowa State’s programs at No. 14 worldwide among 451 institutions and No. 6 in North America. Aligning with Iowa State’s university-wide focus on innovation and entrepreneurship, CALS provides countless experiential learning opportunities to prepare students for their future careers. The newly established CALS Pathways to Innovation and Leadership program encourages students to create their own paths as they navigate their college experience. Undergraduate research opportunities are another highlight of the CALS student experience. The Science with Practice program pairs undergraduate students with faculty and staff to work on research projects relevant to the students’ programs of study. More 


ISU Researcher Presents at White House AI Event
Iowa State University researchers developing large, vision-based artificial intelligence tools to identify and eventually recommend controls for agricultural pests are one of the first teams to win computing support from the new National Artificial Intelligence Research Resource Pilot. The award provides 1 million “node hours” on a supercomputer to develop the tools. Baskar Ganapathysubramanian, mechanical engineering, is leading the computing project along with Aditya Balu, Translational AI Center. Members of the team from CALS are: Daren Mueller and Matthew O’Neal, plant pathology, entomology and microbiology; and Arti Sing and Asheesh “Danny” Singh, agronomy. More 

Teaching and Students

CALS Convocation Photo Album Available Online
Congratulations to the spring 2024 CALS graduating students. An online photo album is available from CALS Convocation, held May 10. 

Graduating Senior Found Passion for Research while Excelling in Track
It wasn’t until Quinton Orr took a class on bee biology that he really found his passion academically. A spring 2024 graduate in biology, he plans to continue his research on bees when he starts his graduate program in the fall, while using his remaining year of eligibility to continue his track and cross country career at Iowa State. More 

Graduating Senior Wants to Help Family in Senegal
From Senegal to Kosovo to Ames, it seems like Khadija Mbacke has been everywhere. Mbacke has added college graduate in agronomy and horticulture to her long list of accomplishments and experiences. Resources she discovered at Iowa State helped her get here. More 

Extension and Outreach

Soil Management and Land Valuation Conference is May 15
Farm managers, rural appraisers, real estate brokers and others interested in the Iowa land market can receive timely updates at this year’s Soil Management and Land Valuation Conference on Wednesday, May 15, from 8:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Scheman Building. Presenters will examine current issues in rural property management, appraisal, the selling and buying of land, as well as agricultural policy. The annual conference – now in its 96th year – is the longest running at Iowa State University in research and extension. More 

Women and Soil Event Scheduled for Field of Dreams Movie Site
ISU Extension and Outreach is co-hosting a “Women and Soil” event on June 8, from 1-5 p.m. at the Field of Dreams movie site in Dyersville. Participants will learn about soil health and how women can make a different in conservation. More 

Extension and Outreach Updates Resources for Selling Timber
Landowners who are considering a timber sale can record their inventory and form a contract with buyers by using two newly updated resources from ISU Extension and Outreach. More 

Horticulturists Offer Tips for Care of Hanging Baskets
Horticulturists with ISU Extension and Outreach explain factors to consider when shopping for your next hanging basket, and offer special care considerations. More 

Around the College

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. 25. The following individuals from CALS departments and centers are recognized. More  

  • Kan Wang, agronomy – Distinguished Professor 
  • Robert Wallace, ecology, evolution and organismal biology – Regents Award for Faculty Excellence 
  • James Dickson, animal science – International Service Award 
  • Dipali Sashital, biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology – Margaret Ellen White Graduate Faculty Award 
  • Jason Ross, animal science – Award for Early Achievement in Departmental Leadership 
  • Amy Andreotti, biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology – Award for Outstanding Achievement in Research 
  • Jianming Yu, agronomy – Award for Outstanding Achievement in Research 
  • Yang Yang, biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology – Award for Early Achievement in Research 
  • RegenPGC Team – Interdisciplinary Team Research Award: Daniel Andersen, Amy Kaleita, Anne Kinzel and Raj Raman, agricultural and biosystems engineering; Cynthia Bartel, Susana Goggi, Thomas Lübberstedt, Marshall McDaniel and Ken Moore, agronomy; Amani Elobeid, economics; and Shuizhang Fei, horticulture 
  • Brian Gelder, agricultural and biosystems engineering – P&S Research Award 
  • Thomas Lübberstedt and Ursula Frei, agronomy – Award for Achievement in Intellectual Property 
  • Shelley Taylor, CALS Global Engagement – P&S Excellence Award 
  • Brett Ramirez, agricultural and biosystems engineering – Award for Early Achievement in Extension or Professional Practice

Nominations Open for Second Cohort of CALS Staff Champions
Nominations are open for the second cohort of CALS Staff Champions program. Ten staff (P&S or merit) will be selected to participate in a professional development program focusing on the college’s operations. Sessions will take place the second Friday of each month from June to December from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. with lunch provided. Applications are due Friday, May 17. More 


May 17: Loomis Symposium
The Walter E. and Helen Parke Loomis Symposium is Friday, May 17, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in 1414 Molecular Biology Building. The focus is on New Frontiers in Plant Biotechnology. More 

July 25: Iowa Swine Day
Registration is open for Iowa Swine Day, scheduled for July 25 in Ames. More 


CAST Releases Soil Health and the Hydrologic Cycle, May 15
The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology will be releasing its paper “Soil Health and the Hydrologic Cycle” on Wednesday, May 15, at 10:30 a.m. at the Pivot Bio building in the Iowa State University Research Park. The event will also feature the announcement of the 2024 Borlaug CAST Communication Award recipient. The event is free, but registration is required. More 

World Food Prize Foundation Names 2024 Laureates
Two scientists who were instrumental in creating a back-up vault of the world’s crop seeds to protect global food security have been named the 2024 World Food Prize Laureates. Geoffrey Hawtin, founding director and executive board member at the Global Crop Diversity Trust, and Cary Fowler, the U.S. Special Envoy for Global Food Security, were chosen by the World Food Prize Laureate Selection Committee for their longstanding contribution to seed conservation and crop biodiversity. The two men played key roles in establishing the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, which today holds 1.25 million seed samples of more than 6,000 plant species in an underground facility in the Arctic Circle. More 


Livestock Conservancy Releases Annual Priority List
The Livestock Conservancy has released its 2024 Conservation Priority List. The roster of more than 180 breeds across 11 species ranks the extinction threat for America’s farm animals. Conservation efforts have led to two breeds – Hereford hogs and Southdown sheep – graduating off the list this year. Additionally, the status of several breeds, including Spanish goats, Tamworth pigs and Rhinelander rabbits, has improved from the list’s “Watch” category to “Recovering.” In all, 15 endangered breeds are being reclassified in 2024, most in a positive direction. 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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