Issue: 1133

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Online
December 2, 2020

Top Stories

CALS Convocation Honors Graduates
The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences honored 283 new alumni during the undergraduate virtual convocation on Nov. 28. The ceremony is archived on the college Facebook page and the CALS Convocation webpage. The program included the following videos: welcome from Daniel J. Robison, endowed dean’s chair, and CALS faculty and staff congratulations; senior speaker Riley Wilgenbusch, agronomy and global resource systems; senior award recognition by the CALS Student Council; and the presentation of graduates. Senior awards were presented to:

  • Riley Wilgenbusch (agronomy, global resource systems), Outstanding Senior Award
  • Emmaline Putnam (global resource systems), Commitment to Diversity Award
  • Justin Swanton (animal science, agricultural and life sciences education), Leadership Excellence Award
  • Luke Sloterdyk (global resource systems, environmental science), Academic Achievement Award
  • Augusta Hamaker (biology), Distinguished Service Award
  • Heidi Fichter Mandt (agricultural and life sciences education, global resource systems), Outstanding Ambassador of Agriculture and Life Sciences Award

Shogar on His Way to Medical School
Mohamed Shogar came to the United States from Sudan in 2016, without knowing the language or understanding the culture. Last weekend, after four years of hard work – both academically and professionally – Shogar will graduate from Iowa State with a degree in genetics and start his journey to medical school. More  

Agronomy Senior Shares Experiences as an International Student
Kuan-Yi Lee came to Iowa State from Taipei, Taiwan, with little experience and knowledge in agriculture. Language was not the only difference between college education in the U.S. and Taiwan. She noted that the U.S. has more assignments, projects, exams and teamwork. Her biggest transition was using the unit system while she grew up using the metric system. More

Animal Science Graduate Fueled by Military Experience
Deann Winter enrolled at Iowa State as a nontraditional student—an Army vet and young mother. The new graduate served as a diesel mechanic in deployments in Germany and Italy before deciding to pursue her dream of becoming a veterinarian. More


Agronomist Strives to Make Sense of a Universe of Corn Genetics
A new study by Jianming Yu, agronomy, and his colleagues details the latest efforts to predict traits in corn based on genomics and data analytics. The data management technique could help to “turbo charge” the seemingly endless amount of genetic stocks contained in the world’s seed banks, leader to faster and more efficient development of new crop varieties. More

Research Finds Biochar Mitigates Manure-related Odors and Emissions
A new study from Iowa State shows that carbon-rich biochar could be used to mitigate many odors and potentially toxic volatile organic compounds emitted from swine manure. Jacek Koziel, agricultural and biosystems engineering, is one of the leading researchers on this work. The research results were published in Atmosphere as part of a special issue on livestock odor and air quality. More

Returning the “Three Sisters” to Native American Farming
In a Nov. 20 essay distributed nationally by The Conversation, Christina Gish Hill, anthropology, explains how Native Americans grew corn, beans and squash together in one plot. They called the plants sisters to reflect how they thrived when they were cultivated together. Working with Marshall McDaniel, agronomy, Ajay Nair, horticulture, Donna Winham, food science and human nutrition, and Native gardening projects in Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Minnesota, they are growing three sisters research plots at Iowa State’s Horticulture farm. More

Teaching and Students

Forestry Club’s Christmas Tree Sale Continues Dec. 4-6
The Forestry Club is holding its annual Christmas tree fundraiser at the Reiman Gardens parking lot. Trees will be for sale Dec. 4-6 and Dec. 11-13. Hours are Fridays, 3 to 6 p.m.; Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sundays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The club will have white pine, Korean fir and balsam fir, as well as balsam fir wreaths. Proceeds go towards club activities and student development.

Video: Good Earth Student Farm a Growing Experience
Good Earth is a Community Supported Agriculture farm managed by students at Iowa State. The farm teaches students how to sustainably grow produce and understand the challenges and issues of production systems. Good Earth was not operational during fall 2020. More

Extension and Outreach

New Opportunities for Agricultural Trade with China
Trade relations with China continue to be one of the biggest issues affecting the agricultural markets, and Wendong Zhang, economics and extension economist, says recent events point toward opportunity for both countries. In a recent article in Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, Zhang discusses the importance of healthy US-China trade relations and how Phase 1 could possibly lead to a more balanced portfolio of commodities being traded, with increases in protein and retail food products. More

Around the College

Animal Science Announces Artz Chair for Faculty Excellence
A gift from the Dr. Tyrone and Kaelene Artz family has established an endowed chair in the Department of Animal Science. Anna Johnson will serve as the first Tyrone D. Artz, M.D. Chair for Faculty Excellence in Animal Science. It recognizes a faculty member who has shown distinction in undergraduate education in animal agriculture and has a prominent research program in an area that strengthens and supports the improvement of animal agriculture in Iowa. More

Shaw Receives Kolmer Award for Excellence in Research
Angela Shaw, food science and human nutrition, received the Dean Lee R. Kilmer Award for Excellence in Applied Research at the CALS virtual awards program on Nov. 18. Shaw’s research is focused on food safety intervention practices from the farm through the grocery store environment. Her research, extension and outreach work has attracted more than $3 million in funding from external and internal sources. More

Iowa State Home to the 2020 National Thanksgiving Turkey
For the first time, Iowa State University will serve as home of the official National Thanksgiving Turkey following last week’s National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation at the White House. The 2020 Presidential Flock was raised by Iowa turkey producers Ron (’74 farm operation) and Susie Kardel from Walcott. The official Thanksgiving Turkey and alternate bird will be available for public viewing at Iowa State beginning Dec. 5 at 10 a.m. More

Communications Kiosk

Dressing vs. Stuffing
Dressing is cooked outside of the bird; stuffing is cooked inside. Use of the terms also varies regionally in the U.S., with one preferred over the other in some places regardless of how it’s prepared. (Associated Press Stylebook, 2018 edition, pg. 440)


Iowa State Ranked 11th for Entrepreneurship Studies
Iowa State is ranked 11th in The Princeton Review’s 15th annual survey of undergraduate schools for entrepreneurship studies. That’s up from 26th in the 2020 rankings. President Wendy Wintersteen’s initiative, Innovate at Iowa State, seeks to expand the campus culture centered on providing students with the skills, mindset and opportunities to change the world. More


A Thanksgiving Message from Secretary Naig
“While 2020 has been a challenging year for all of us, Thanksgiving provides a great opportunity to reflect upon and express gratitude for our many blessings,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig in a video released Nov. 24. He is especially grateful for several partners that joined them this past year to help the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, working in conjunction with the Governor’s Feeding Iowans Task Force, launch food security programs supported by CARES Act funds. 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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