Issue: 1104

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Online
May 4, 2020

Top Stories

CALS Convocation to Honor Graduating Seniors Friday, May 8
Faculty and staff are invited to recognize graduating seniors at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences convocation on Friday, May 8, at 9 a.m. The event will take place virtually. Links to watch convocation will be promoted via CALS social media platforms. Links to the ceremony will be archived on the college website for future viewing. Vishesh Bhatia, genetics, is the convocation speaker. For the presentation of graduates, graduating seniors will each have a dedicated slide featuring their achievement. More

University Commencement Ceremonies Online May 9
ISU’s spring 2020 virtual commencement ceremonies for undergraduates, graduates and Veterinary Medicine graduates will be available on demand beginning at 10 a.m., Saturday, May 9. President Wintersteen and campus leaders will bring the pomp, circumstance and Iowa State commencement traditions to viewers wherever they may be. (See item below on CALS student marshal Justin Wigdahl.) More

CALS Convocation Speaker: Suiting Up for Graduation, Virtually
Vishesh Bhatia, a senior in genetics who is the CALS convocation student speaker, had a suit tailor-made to wear to his graduation. His parents and grandparents were flying in from New Delhi, India. He was looking forward to his moment as the college’s convocation student speaker and standing with his classmates as the Class of 2020. Then, the world shut down. More

CALS Senior Awards to Be Presented During CALS Convocation
During Friday’s virtual CALS convocation for graduating seniors, CALS Student Council will recognize the following senior award winners: Alyssa Dougherty, dietetics, for outstanding senior; Emily Franciskato, genetics, for academic achievement; McKenna Brinning, animal science, for leadership excellence; Madeline McGarry, agricultural and life sciences education, for outstanding ambassador of agriculture and life sciences; Isabella Shehab, global resource systems, for commitment to diversity; and Laura Mincks, agricultural and life sciences education, for distinguished service. Below are video stories on each of the winners.

Senior Award Winner: Alyssa Dougherty
Alyssa Dougherty, dietetics and global resource systems, received the spring 2020 Outstanding Senior Award from the CALS Student Council. The award recognizes her service, leadership and scholarship. Dougherty said a highlight of her Iowa State adventure was an internship with Land O’ Lakes as a Global Food Challenge Emerging Leader for Food Security.

Senior Award Winner: Emily Franciskato
Emily Franciskato, genetics, received the spring 2020 Award for Academic Achievement from the CALS Student Council. The award recognizes her cumulative GPA, scholarships received, honors received at ISU and the number of semesters on the Dean’s list. Franciskato said her time as a student at Iowa State was a special experience – from working with professors that are leaders in their field to a summer in Uganda. In a second video, Franciskato says thank you to the class of 2020.  

Senior Award Winner: McKenna Brinning
McKenna Brinning, animal science, received the spring 2020 Leadership Excellence Award from the CALS Student Council. The award recognizes her involvement with clubs and organizations at ISU. Brinning has held several leadership positions in Block and Bridle Club, the largest club on campus, including the position of vice president. In a second video, Brinning reflects on how COVID-19 has changed her senior year.

Senior Award Winner: Maddy McGarry 
Maddy McGarry, agricultural and life sciences education, received the spring 2020 Award for Outstanding Ambassador of Agriculture and Life Sciences from the CALS Student Council. The award recognizes her exceptional effort in building a connection between the college and the community. McGarry has taken advantage of many opportunities during her time in CALS to address hunger issues, including an internship with the Congressional Hunger Center in Washington, D.C. In a second video, McGarry reflects on the final months of her college career and what really matters.

Senior Award Winner: Isabella Shehab 
Isabella Shehab, global resource systems, received the spring 2020 Award for Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion from the CALS Student Council. The award recognizes her commitment to fostering an environment that encourages diversity within the college and at ISU. A highlight for Shehab was serving as a CALS Ambassador and the opportunity to interact with prospective students and their families. 

Senior Award Winner: Laura Mincks
Laura Mincks, agricultural and life sciences education, received the spring 2020 Award for Distinguished Service from the CALS Student Council. The award recognizes her commitment to community service on and off campus while at Iowa State. A highlight for Mincks was serving as a peer mentor and watching younger students grow and develop into young leaders in CALS. 

Class of 2020: Stringer Organizes Club to Support Ugandan Women
After participating in the Semester Along the Nile program in spring 2019, Katie Stringer, a graduating senior in global resource systems, looked for ways to expand market opportunities for the women of the Tusubila crafts group in Uganda. She started the Uganda Alliance Organization, which helps about 60 women in the Tusubila crafts group sell handmade baskets and jewelry. This gives them funds to pay school fees, start small businesses and purchase food, household items and livestock. More

Class of 2020: Klemm Introduces New Students to ISU
Kara Klemm, animal science, is finishing her senior year working at the ISU Dairy Farm before she takes a full-time job in the food safety division at Seaboard Foods, Inc. in Oklahoma. Klemm also worked as a mentor for incoming and prospective students, serving as an AnCy guide and an Iowa State Student Admissions Representative. More

Class of 2020: Justin Wigdahl to Serve as Student Marshal
Justin Wigdahl, horticulture, will be recognized by CALS Dean Robison as the CALS Student Marshal for the university’s spring 2020 Commencement ceremony. He named Barb Clawson as his university escort because of the significant impact she had on him during his time at ISU. Wigdahl specifically mentioned her help in finding internships, including one with Walt Disney World. After graduation, he will work as a design-sales assistant at Country Landscapes in Ames.

Class of 2020: Dawn Hales Earns BSN in Nursing
This weekend, Dawn Hales will achieve her twofold dream: She’ll be an ISU alumna and she will finally have her bachelor of science in nursing. At 63 years old, her formal education is finished, but she will “never stop learning.” More

Class of 2020: EllieMae Millenkamp Looks Forward to Music Career
EllieMae Millenkamp’s senior year at ISU has been a whirlwind. It started with her singing on national TV for NBC’s “The Voice.” She returned to Iowa with a busy schedule of gigs, then the COVID-19 pandemic moved classes online and she went home to work on the dairy farm. Now, she’s looking toward graduation with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural business and her singing career. More


CARD Researchers Tracking COVID-19 Impact on China’s Economy
To help understand the economic impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, and the policies used to stop its spread, CARD researchers, including Wendong Zhang, economics, have created a database that shows impacts propagated across China’s provinces and economic sectors, both during the outbreak and when most of China began returning to work. More

Toth’s Research on Spread of Bee Virus Published in National Academy of Sciences
Amy Toth, ecology, evolution and organismal biology, was part of a collaborative research team that released a new study suggesting that a deadly virus alters honey bees’ behavior and physiology in ways that boost the virus’ ability to spread to new hives. The research was published in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It also was highlighted May 1 on National Public Radio’s Science Friday in an interview with Adam Dolezel, University of Illinois, who performed the work while a postdoctoral researcher at Iowa State. More

CALS Research Featured in Latest SoAR Report 
A report recently released by the Supporters of Agricultural Research Foundation illustrates how federally-funded agricultural research generates economic benefits that extend for decades. Innovation to Profit: A Retaking the Field Publication, volume 5, features CALS research on swine health (page 9); corn production and climate change (page 29); disease-resistant soybeans (page 30); and water management on farms (page 36). More

Teaching and Students

Video: Carmen Bain Reaches Out to Students
Carmen Bain, associate dean for academic innovation, recently sent a video message to students to encourage them during these challenging times. She emphasized that CALS faculty and staff truly care about the students, their educational success and personal well bring. “We’re doing everything possible to ensure that all of our students succeed this semester,” Bain said. More

Video: Dean Robison on Summer Opportunities for Students
In a recent video message to students, Dean Robison encouraged students to reach out to their professors, advisors and the career services office to see what learning opportunities they should take advantage of over the summer. "Your college is still here to help you in a thousand different ways," he said. More

Spencer Donors Establish Scholarship for Sustainable Ag Grad Students
Gary and Ann Holck of Spencer, Iowa, have established an endowed scholarship for students in the Graduate Program in Sustainable Agriculture. The Gary and Ann Holck Graduate Scholarship in Sustainable Agriculture will support GPSA students studying or doing research in sustainable agriculture. J. Arbuckle, sociology, is the faculty chair of GPSA. More

Student Gives Study Abroad Refund to Support CSRL
David Acker, associate dean of global engagement and director of the Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods, recently shared that an undergraduate student chose to donate her entire $1,400 refund from her canceled service-learning program back to CSRL to support the center’s continued work in Uganda. “Truly inspiring!” said Dean Robison.  

Extension and Outreach

College Collaborates with IDALS on Resource Coordination Center
The Iowa Pork Industry Center and ISU Extension and Outreach are collaborating with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship to operate the Resource Coordination Center, newly formed to support Iowa livestock producers affected by the COVID-19 supply chain disruptions. “The creation of the RCC will allow both public and private organizations to mobilize their resources efficiently and effectively to help pork producers make well-informed decisions during this extremely difficult time,” said Jay Harmon, associate dean for extension and outreach for CALS and director for agriculture and natural resources extension and outreach at Iowa State. More

Fact Sheet Addresses Questions about Slowing Feedlot Cattle Growth
ISU Extension and Outreach beef specialists and the Iowa Beef Center have helped develop a fact sheet with considerations for slowing feedlot cattle growth due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The fact sheet addresses common questions as cattle producers are searching for acceptable ways to stretch the finish window for beef cattle. More  

New Video Series on Iowa Vegetable Production and Management
The horticulture team at ISU Extension and Outreach has released a new video series with detailed information on vegetable production and management in Iowa. More

ANR Extension Staff Spotlight: Alejandro Plastina
Alejandro Plastina, extension economist, is a member of the ISU farm management team, and develops research-based extension reports, tools and programs in farm business and financial management. 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. The following individuals from CALS departments and centers will be recognized. More

  • Lee Burras, agronomy – Morrill Professor
  • Mark Hargrove, biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology – Morrill Professor
  • Erin Hodgson, entomology – Distinguished Service in Extension and Outreach
  • Jeff Iles, horticulture – Departmental Leadership
  • Laura Iles, plant pathology and microbiology – Regents Award for Staff Excellence
  • Adam Janke, natural resource ecology and management – Early Achievement in Extension or Professional Practice
  • Richard Jauron, horticulture – Professional and Scientific Excellence Award
  • Robert Jernigan, biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology – Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor in Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • GianCarlo Moschini, economics – Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor in Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Basil Nikolau, biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology – Outstanding Achievement in Research
  • Asheesh Singh, agronomy – Mid-Career Achievement in Research
  • Greg Tylka, plant pathology and microbiology – Morrill Professor
  • Kan Wang, agronomy – Outstanding Achievement in Research
  • Matthew Wenger, animal science – R.K. Bliss Extension Award
  • Marna Yandeau-Nelson, genetics, development and cell biology – Early Achievement in Teaching

CALS Supports Virtual World Food Prize Youth Institute
More than 260 Iowa high school students participated in the 2020 World Food Prize Youth Institute on April 27 joined by 111 Iowa high school teachers. Each of these students is eligible for $1,000 in scholarships to CALS. This virtual event was made possible by 23 experts from CALS and ISU Extension and Outreach, as well as a number of CALS alumni and students. Participants took part in 43 Zoom-enabled roundtable discussions about global food security issues; heard video addresses from President Wintersteen, Dean Robison, and CALS alumni Paul Schickler, former president of DuPont Pioneer, and Matt Carstens, CEO of Landus Cooperative.

Connect With CALS during Social Distancing:
Ben Chamberlain, Andy Zehr and Tamara Kerns

Each week during this time of social distancing, the college will be sharing CALS faculty, staff, students and alumni’s favorite locations on campus, activities, books, podcasts and more. Meet Ben Chamberlain, academic advisor for agricultural education and studies; Andy Zehr, director of marketing and new student programs; and  Tamara Kerns, academic advisor for agricultural and biosystems engineering.  

Young Alum of the Month: Olivia Rauen
Olivia Rauen (’18 forestry) is a forester with the National Wild Turkey Federation. Rauen works with private landowners in northeast Iowa and northwest Illinois to encourage forest management on their properties. More

Wangerin Named among Iowa’s Top Nurses
Virginia Wangerin, food science and human nutrition and director of the bachelor’s degree in nursing program, was selected as one of 100 Great Iowa Nurses for 2020. The award recognizes nurses who have made meaningful, lasting contributions to their patients, colleagues and the nursing profession. More


May 6: Webinar to Discuss Benefits of Multi-Cropping
Iowa Learning Farms will host a webinar on Wednesday, May 6, at noon on multi-cropping and the soil, environmental and economic benefits of the practice. More

May 8: Drive-by Farewell for Marshall Ruble
A drive-by Cyclone tailgate will be held Friday, May 8, at 4 p.m., at the Hansen Agriculture Student Learning Center to celebrate the retirement of Marshall Ruble, manager of the Center and long-time beef teaching farm manager. Grab Cyclone flags and banners and honk/wave/cheer as you drive by the Center at 2508 Mortensen Road, Ames. Ruble (’78 animal science) has been at Iowa State since 1979 and is well-known in the beef industry in Iowa and the nation. While working at the beef teaching farm, he established a rotational grazing system on the farm that is still used as a model of grazing management for beef producers in Iowa. He employed more than 200 students at the Beef Teaching Farm and more than 200 student workers at the Jeff and Deb Hansen Agriculture Student Learning Center. Those students often express how working for Ruble was one of their best experiences at Iowa State. Thanks to Ruble’s leadership, in 2016 the Hansen Center received the ISU Alumni Association’s Impact Award. STORIES Article

Communications Kiosk

Graduation vs. Convocation vs. Commencement
Technically, graduation happens when a student completes their degree requirements. ISU requires students to complete a graduation application showing that all academic requirements have been completed. By definition, convocation is an assembly of persons called together to a meeting, and can include a ceremonial assembly of members of a college or university. At Iowa State, colleges hold convocations to recognize students graduating from the college. The gathering is smaller and the achievements of each individual student are recognized. Commencement is a ceremony connected with graduating from an academic institution. Degrees and diplomas are conferred at a commencement ceremony. 


President’s Town Hall Meeting Today, 2 p.m. 
President Wendy Wintersteen and other senior leaders will hold a virtual town hall for faculty and staff on COVID-19-related topics today, May 4, at 2 p.m. Participants can join by WebEx (which can accommodate up to 1,000 participants). Overflow viewing is available on You Tube. More

VPR’s Office Hosts Online Meeting on Team Science
“What is Team Science? And Other Tips for Working with Interdisciplinary Teams” is an online meeting hosted by the Office of the Vice President for Research on May 13 from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Christophe Marchand, a health scientist administrator at the NIH National Cancer Institute Center for Research Strategy, will present the online seminar on the principles of Team Science. More


CALS Alumni Supply One of COVID’s Hot Commodities: Potatoes
Steve and Beth Rachut, CALS alumni, co-operate Kittleson Brothers, a potato and onion packing facility, with co-owner John Kittleson, near St. Ansgar. In a typical year, Kittleson Brothers sells around five tons of potatoes per week to grocery stores in norther Iowa and southern Minnesota. The week of March 16, sales exploded to more than eight times their typical demand. “Through all this, we’re just trying to feed people who need to be fed,” said Steve. “That’s the goal of the American farmer.” 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 Friday. 


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