Issue: 1121

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Online
August 31, 2020

Top Stories

Summer Academic Program Prepares Freshman for Iowa State
Exploring resources, networks, the Iowa State community and the agricultural industry is what students in the Academic Program for EXcellence do the summer before their first year on campus. Elizabeth Martinez-Podolsky, director of multicultural student success in CALS, said the purpose of APEX is to help incoming multicultural students transition to Iowa State. This year the program was shortened from eight to five weeks and presented as a virtual class due to COVID-19. Participating in the APEX program this summer were Daisy Hernandez, a freshman in microbiology from Des Moines, Joshua Woolfolk, a freshman in animal ecology from Osage, and Paola Rodriguez Valiente, a freshman in animal science from Puerto Rico, shown above. More

Join the University Town Hall Today, 10 a.m.
President Wintersteen will lead a university town hall meeting today, Aug. 31, at 10 a.m. to discuss the university’s COVID-19 response, including testing, contact tracing and the work of the university and local response teams. Participants should join via WebEx Events. The event password should auto-populate (do not erase it), and you will need to register with your name and email address. WebEx Events also has an audio-only option. Call 1-415-655-0001, event number (access code) 120 403 7428. 


Scientists Study Response of Corn Plants to Heat Stress
A new study shows how two responses in separate locations inside plant cells work in concert to help corn plants respond to heat stress. The research was made possible by the Enviratron, an innovative plant sciences facility at Iowa State that uses a robotic rover and highly controlled growth chambers. Stephen Howell, genetics, development and cell biology, is senior author of the study published last week in The Plant Cell. More

USDA Grant Funds Gene Editing Research on Sorghum and Switchgrass
A new project supported by a two-year, $300,000 grant from USDA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, will explore the potential to employ viruses to overcome the usual tissue culture barriers that impede gene editing in sorghum and switchgrass. The research is being led by Steve Whitham, plant pathology and microbiology, with Maria Salas-Fernandez, agronomy, and Shuizhang Fei, horticulture. More

Grant Opportunity Focuses on Water Quality, Social Well-being
The Iowa Water Center and Iowa Nutrient Research Center at Iowa State will jointly fund research to explore the linkages between water quality and social well-being for Iowa communities. The focus is social justice and equity issues surrounding populations impacted by water pollution from nitrogen and phosphorus. A proposal intention is due by Oct. 23. More

AMVAC Partners with Iowa Soybean Research Center
AMVAC Chemical Corporation has joined the Iowa Soybean Research Center at Iowa State as an industry partner. In this role, AMVAC provides financial support to the center and will have a representative serving on the center’s industry advisory council, which provides guidance on research funding priorities. More

Teaching and Students

Building a Strong CALS Community
In a post on Aug. 24 about building a strong CALS community, students are encouraged to be open to listening to diversity and inclusion-related topics. The #CALScommunity message asks students to educate themselves about issues and concerns facing Black, Indigenous, People of Color and other minoritized groups in an effort to achieve an inclusive campus environment. CALS Diversity Programs staff have compiled anti-racism resources. More

Students Encouraged to (Re)Register to Vote
Voter registration is open for the Nov. 3 general election. Eligible voters are U.S. citizens who will be at least 18 years old on Nov. 3. Students may choose to vote in Ames or at their permanent address. Students who have never registered to vote or have moved to a new apartment or residence hall since the last election need to (re)register to vote. More

Horticulture Club Mum Sale Sept. 3-4
The Horticulture Club will be holding a mum sale on Thursday, Sept. 3 (south lawn of Parks Library), and Friday, Sept. 4 (east lawn of Curtiss Hall). Due to the shortened semester they will not be holding their annual poinsettia sale in December as usual. Funds raised will be used to cover club activities, contest expenses and student enrichment.

Extension and Outreach

Heaverlo Named Director of Operations for Extension 
After an internal search, Carol Heaverlo has been selected as director of extension operations with ISU Extension and Outreach, effective Sept. 8. Heaverlo will provide leadership to extension support units and strengthen ties to program units and county services. More

Forestry Resources Available as Storm Cleanup Continues
As Iowans continue storm cleanup following the derecho, resources from ISU Extension and Outreach are available to help assess the damage to trees and keep equipment operators safe. More

New Publication Highlights Importance of Forests for Birds
Even though forests cover only 7 percent of the state, more than 150 species of birds use Iowa’s forests at some point during the year. Adam Janke, natural resource ecology and management, explains how forests provide critical habitat for birds in a new ISU Extension and Outreach publication, Iowa’s Forests Birds. More

Around the College

Final Interview this Week for Entomology/Plant Path Chair
The final interview for the chair of entomology and plant pathology and microbiology will be held with Shirley Luckhart on Tuesday and Wednesday, Sept. 1-2. Her CV and cover letter are available online, along with a feedback survey and seminar recordings for candidates David Andow, Steve Harris and Heike Bucking. Due to COVID-19 safety precautions, the seminar will be closed to faculty and staff. There will be a session with Luckhart at 11 a.m. on Tuesday as well as a lunch with limited space available. Sign-up to attend is available online.

SCN Coalition Wins NAMA Best of Show Award in Public Relations
The SCN Coalition received the National Agri-Marketing Association’s Best of Show in Public Relations Award for its media relations campaign to increase the number of growers who are actively managing the soybean cyst nematode. Greg Tylka, plant pathology and microbiology and director of the Iowa Soybean Research Center, is co-leader of the SCN Coalition. More

Labor Day Reminder
As part of the fall-semester plan, classes will be held on Labor Day, Sept. 7, and student support services will be available. Most employees, however, will still have the holiday off. Departments will determine the needed level of operations, so employees should check with their supervisors to see if they will be working Sept. 7. For more information, employees should read the university human resources guidance or contact their supervisors if questions.

Young Alum of the Month: Jacob Button
Jacob Button (’11 horticulture), is the golf course superintendent at Olivia Golf Club in Olivia, Minn. He previously served as part of the grounds crew for U.S. Bank Stadium, home of the Minnesota Vikings. More


Aug. 31: Retirement Reception for Mark Edelman
A virtual retirement reception for Mark Edelman, economics and director of the Community Vitality Center, will be held today, Aug. 31, from 3 to 4 p.m. Edelman has been at Iowa State for 35 years. Contact Karen Kovarik ( for a Zoom invitation. 

Sept. 2: Managing Downed Corn Webinar
As farmers begin to evaluate the best management options for corn acres with severe derecho damage, ISU Extension and Outreach is providing a webinar on Wednesday, Sept. 2, at 1 p.m. to address challenges and considerations for those acres that will remain unharvested. More

Communications Kiosk

Avoid Overuse of Exclamation Point
Use an exclamation point to express a high degree of surprise, incredulity or other strong emotion. Avoid overuse. Use a comma after mild interjections. End mildly exclamatory sentences with a period. Place the mark inside quotation marks when it is part of the quoted material and do not use a comma or a period after the exclamation mark: “Never!” she shouted. (Associated Press Stylebook, 2018 edition, pg. 325)


Training Required for New Title IX Regulations  
In order to be in compliance with new federal regulations, Iowa State University has a new Title IX Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence and Stalking policy, and a revised Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment policy. Both went into effect on Aug. 14. All university employees are required to complete training through Learn@ISU by Oct. 1, according to a memo sent out by the Office of Equal Opportunity on Aug. 25. More Also, feedback is sought on Title IX changes by Sept. 18.

1890 Land-Grants Celebrate 130 Years of Service
August 30 marked the 130th anniversary of authorizing legislation establishing the 1890 Land-Grant Universities. Almost 30 years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Morrill Act of 1862, the Second Morrill Act, creating the nation’s historically Black land-grant colleges, was successfully shepherded through Congress by Senator Justin Smith Morrill and signed into law on Aug. 30, 1890. More

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Online

Julie Stewart, Editor, (515) 294-5616Ā 

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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