Issue: 1129

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Online
October 26, 2020 

Top Stories

A Virtual CALS Fall Convocation and Awards Program
The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Fall Convocation has been moved to a virtual format on Nov. 18 at noon (meeting number: 120 510 8284, password: aNTKmF2UQ89). The program will include brief comments from Dean Robison, presentation of the Dean Lee R. Kolmer Award for Excellence in Applied Research and recognition of faculty and staff honorees from the 2020 awards program. (The awards program originally scheduled for March 24 was canceled due to COVID-19.) Faculty and staff are encouraged to log-in to congratulate their colleagues.  

  • Teaching and advising award winners: Marna Yandeau-Nelson, genetics, development and cell biology; Nick Christians, horticulture; Amani Elobeid, economics; Nancy Boury, plant pathology and microbiology; Scott Smalley, agricultural education and studies; Joan Cunnick, animal science; James Wright, agricultural and biosystems engineering; and.
  • Research and diversity award winners: Nick Serão, animal science; Asheesh Singh and Kan Wang, agronomy; Michelle Soupir, agricultural and biosystems engineering. 
  • Professional and Scientific and Staff award winners: Kent Berns, research and demonstration farms; Omar de Kok-Mercado, natural resource ecology and management; Jeff Thorson and Kelsey Powell, animal science; Jeff Askey, agricultural and biosystems engineering; Garland Dahlke, Iowa Beef Center; Amy Brandau, economics.
  • Extension and Outreach award winners: Adam Janke, natural resource ecology and management; Daren Mueller, plant pathology and microbiology. 
  • Global engagement award winners: Dirk Maier and Tom Brumm, agricultural and biosystems engineering; Gail Nonnecke and Catherine Swoboda, horticulture; Lee Burras, agronomy; Dorothy Masinde and Kevin Duerfeldt, global resource systems; Shelley Taylor, global programs; Richard Schultz and Julie Blanchong, natural resource ecology and management.


Researchers to Develop Test that Could Expedite Corn Seed Exports
Silvina Arias and Charles Block, Seed Science Center, received a $38,882 grant from the American Seed Trade Association’s Seed Science Foundation to develop a test that will differentiate between two closely-related corn bacteria.  One of the bacteria causes Stewart’s wilt, a disease that prevents corn seed from being exported. The other bacterium is a close relative that does not cause disease on corn. The problem with current testing methods is that they cannot tell the two apart, potentially resulting in false-positive test results. More  

Teaching and Students

Video Highlights Learning Community Award Winners
Clark Coffman, genetics, development and cell biology, received the 2020 Learning Community Scholarship Award. A video highlights the award winners and learning community years of service honorees, which include Coffman and Jennifer Bundy, animal science, 5 years; Ben Chamberlain, agricultural education and studies, and Howard Tyler, CALS assistant dean for student services, 10 years; and Mary Wiedenhoeft, agronomy, 15 years. More  

Faculty Feedback Sessions Scheduled for early November
CALS tenured/tenure-eligible faculty are invited to join a virtual conversation with Carmen Bain, CALS associate dean of academic innovation, and Sue Lamont, CALS equity advisor. Discussion will include teaching challenges and how the college can support teaching. RSVP by Nov. 3 to Carla Persaud ( and participants will be sent the Webex link. Two sessions will be held – Nov. 5, 11 a.m. to noon, and Nov. 9, 3 to 4 p.m. 

Block and Bridle Summer Sausage and Cheese Sale
The Block and Bridle Club’s annual holiday summer sausage and cheese sale is open through Nov. 9. Orders will be available for pick-up on Nov. 17-18 and will be shipped on Nov. 19. The summer sausage is made by students and staff on campus in the Meats Laboratory and the cheese (cheddar, colby jack and mild pepper jack) is from Bongards Premium Cheese in Minnesota. The fundraiser helps support scholarships, events and activities for the club. More

Study Abroad Programs Canceled through April 2021
Spring study abroad programs scheduled to depart before May 1, 2021, have been canceled. The university will continue to monitor the global situation and provide updates when decisions are made on study abroad programs scheduled after May 1. More  

CALS Career Day 2020: A Virtual Experience
CALS Career Day was held as a virtual event on Oct. 13-14. There were 182 employers in attendance. The top five companies visited were Cargill, Corteva, Syngenta, Elanco and Farm Credit Services. There were 1,208 students that attended the virtual event, versus 2,000 for a typical in-person event. Students from 32 other schools participated, including several from international institutions. A total of 6,137 chat rooms were entered by students resulting in an average visit of 5.1 companies per student. Similar to last year, the college will not be hosting a spring career fair in 2021. will be hosting a virtual spring event on Feb. 2. 

Employers Provide Positive Feedback on Virtual Career Fair
Based on feedback from his counterparts at other universities, Mike Gaul, director of CALS Career Services, said the pandemic-driven trend of student disengagement appears very widespread. While participation was down from previous years, employer feedback was positive. “Engagement might have felt low to you, but compared to other schools it was way up!” said one employer. “Great job getting the students to show up,” said another. “I think that is the major factor in these virtual events and the ISU students didn’t disappoint.” One employer wrote, “I know it wasn't ideal, but I just wanted to share that this was the best virtual career fair I have attended this year. In my opinion, Iowa State remains the best at preparing students and being a resource to employers. We were very impressed with the turnout and with our interactions with your students.”

Students Organize Successful CALS Week
The college celebrates CALS Week every fall to recognize students and their accomplishments. This year’s event was held Sept. 28 to Oct. 4 and showcased students following extra precautions to ensure a safe environment during the pandemic. More  

Extension and Outreach

Tour Iowa’s Forests During Virtual Field Day
Tour Iowa’s varied forests during a free virtual field day on Thursday, Oct. 29, at 1 p.m. Speakers include Billy Beck, natural resource ecology and management and extension forestry specialist. The event is sponsored by Iowa Learning Farms, the Conservation Learning Group and the Iowa Nutrient Research Center. More  

Annual Iowa Organic Conference to be Held Virtually
The annual Iowa Organic Conference will be held virtually on Nov. 23. Kathleen Delate, horticulture and extension organic specialist, said the program will include a half-day of presentations and interactions with industry experts, along with a virtual show of exhibitors and sponsors. More

Around the College

Gift from Tyson Foods Supports Beef Up Iowa Program
A gift from Tyson Foods will provide 80,000 meals to food insecure Iowans through Beef Up Iowa. The Beef Up Iowa program is a partnership among Iowa State University, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa Food Bank Association and Iowa’s beef industry organizations. The animals are harvested at the Iowa State Meat Lab and the beef is distributed to Iowa food banks. More  

Successful Farming Story Features C-CHANGE Value Chain Project
An Oct. 20 Successful Farming story highlights work underway by C-CHANGE (the Consortium for Cultivating Human and Natural reGenerative Enterprise) to develop profitable options to transition land usually devoted to annual crops to native grasses for renewable energy production. The article came out of a breakout session led by J. Arbuckle, sociology, at C-CHANGE’s inaugural conference on Oct. 19, attended by more than 180 from across Iowa and the nation. More

Tidgren Talks Income Tax on Spokesman Speaks Podcast
Kristine Tidgren, director of the college’s Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation, talks about helping farmers make the most informed income tax choices on the Oct. 19 issue of The Spokesman Speaks podcast. From COVID-19 relief payments and programs to crop insurance claims resulting from the derecho, farmers have experienced a wide range of unusual things that they’ll need to account for when filing their taxes in 2020. More  

Research May Imply How Farmers Will Vote
In an Oct. 19 essay distributed nationally by The Conversation, Wendong Zhang, economics, and Minghao Li, New Mexico State University, explain why they think most U.S. farmers will remain loyal to President Trump in the November elections despite pain from trade wars and COVID-19. More

Iowa Social Institutions May Not Recover from COVID-19
In a guest columnist article for the Oct. 25 issue of The Gazette, three CALS professors address how social clubs and voluntary association threatened by the pandemic play a vital role in American democracy. Authors are Paul Lasley, sociology, Maynard Hogberg, animal science, and Mark Rasmussen, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture. More  

CALS Award Nomination Deadline Nov. 17
Nominations for annual awards presented by CALS are due Nov. 17. The list of college awards and nominating guidelines are available online. Of special note: CALS nominations are open this year for the Rossmann Manatt Faculty Development Award, which recognizes a tenured faculty member who has demonstrated a truly exceptional level of creativity and productivity in scholarship, teaching and service, and who shows great promise of continuing such achievement. Nominations will be reviewed by the CALS Awards Committee in December and presented during the annual CALS Awards Program, scheduled for March 11. Nominations for most awards presented by ISU need to be submitted to the college first. The college deadline for university award nominations is Nov. 17. The CALS Awards Committee will review and forward the best two to three nominations for each award. The list of university awards and nominating guidelines are available online. University awards are presented at the ISU Fall Convocation in September. The award page on the CALS website provides a complete list of awards available, frequently asked questions and a list of past recipients. Contact your departmental awards committee for additional information.


Oct. 28: INRC Water Research Seminar Series 
Results of a study providing in-depth understanding of decision-making around conservation practice adoption across four farmer types is the focus of the Iowa Nutrient Research Center’s next water research seminar on Wednesday, Oct. 28, from 3-4 p.m. The study also identified persuasive conservation messages for use with these groups when seeking to encourage adoption of farming practices that will improve water quality. More

Nov. 18: Virtual CALS Fall Convocation and Awards Program
The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Fall Convocation has been moved to a virtual format on Nov. 18 at noon (meeting number: 120 510 8284, password: aNTKmF2UQ89). The program will include a presentation of the Dean Lee R. Kolmer Award for Excellence in Applied Research and recognition of faculty and staff honorees from the 2020 awards program. 

Nov. 20: Retirement Reception for Lester Wilson
A virtual retirement reception will be held for Lester Wilson on Nov. 20 from 4 to 5 p.m. Wilson, university professor in food science and human nutrition, has been with Iowa State for 45 years and won numerous awards for teaching and advising. His research has involved food safety, flavor chemistry, product development and thermal process evaluation. More  


Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Work Continues
President Wendy Wintersteen, vice president for diversity and inclusion Reginald Stewart and university counsel Michael Norton released an FAQ this week on an executive order recently issued by President Donald Trump. The order bars recipients of federal grants from using federal funding to promote concepts identified in the order as "divisive.” See the FAQ for a list of concepts identified in the executive order as divisive, potential "red-flag" terms, recommendations for adjusting descriptions of diversity programs and more information about how the order may impact the university. 


CALS Featured in New Ad Campaign 
The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is featured in a new ad campaign by the Office of Admissions. The campaign is running on digital platforms targeted for prospective students. More  

FSHN Graduate Student Starter for ISU Football
Derek Schweiger’s story of hard work and persistence to rise from a walk-on to a starter for Iowa State football is featured in the Oct. 16 issue of Cyclone Fanatic. Schweiger is a graduate student in food science and human nutrition. 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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