Innovations Volume 3 Issue 1
January 29, 2014 | By Mark Chorba |
Featuring the latest news about Virginia Tech's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences' and Virginia Cooperative Extension's and research and academics.
More from Mark Chorba
Scientists discover way to potentially track and stop human and agricultural viruses By Amy Loef er Page 2 HTTP://NEWS.CALS.VT.EDU/INNOVATIONS Volume 5, Issue 2 Dean’s Update By Joey Viray, a junior from Richmond studying human nutrition, foods, and
Healthy Food, Healthy People, Healthy Planet. Welcome to Innovations. Highlighting Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the Virginia Agricultural and Experiment Station, and Virginia Cooperative Extension, this publication will keep you in-the-know on the latest innovations by our top students, faculty, and researchers. Published three times a year, Innovations also showcases the college’s alumni who champion Virginia Tech’s mission long after graduation. From finding ways to feed a hungry world to helping Virginians lead better lives, the stories of CALS’ and VCE’s past, present, and future illustrate the work being done to foster healthy food, healthy people, and a healthy planet.
HTTP://NEWS.CALS.VT.EDU/INNOVATIONS Volume 3, Issue 3 Page 2 Copeland served on the Virginia Tech Women in Leadership and Philanthropy council, and she has remained active in the CALS community — currently serving on the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Alumni Organization board and attending the National Agricultural Alumni and Development Association annual conference as a board volunteer. Copeland is an associate manager in corporate communications for Altria Client Services Inc., and one of the many ways she embodies the spirit of Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) is through volunteering with the Altria Companies Employee Community Fund’s Grantmaking Committee. The organization has awarded 1,594 grants totaling more than $43.1 million to local community organizations in the past 13 years. “Service to others above self is one of the core guiding principles of how I live every day — a value that was instilled in me early on but enhanced while I was at Virginia Tech. Now when day-to-day tasks become overwhelming in the real world, I try to step back and take a moment to remember what is truly important to me — helping others,” said Copeland. Dean’s Update Alan Grant, dean Keep up to date with all the college’s news and upcoming events at www.cals.vt.edu Alumni making a difference We invest resources in our ARECs so that our faculty can continue to conduct research and Extension programs that are relevant to the industry and to communities. Serving others is a personal aspiration of Elizabeth Copeland, a 2000 animal and poultry sciences graduate. Greetings from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. While you are reading this issue, I am sure you will be as impressed as I am by the many accomplishments of our faculty, staff, and students. On the following pages, you will learn more about students working across the globe on food security and environmental issues; the faculty’s innovative research, such as the recent discovery of how plants communicate with each other at the molecular level; and how Virginia’s rst lady, Dorothy McAuliffe, recently joined us to kick off our Eat Smart, Move More campaign, which is helping young children lead healthier lives. These are among the many stories that help to illustrate the value and impact of the programs in the college. CALS is making a difference in people’s lives around the world. As many of you know, agriculture is the largest economic engine in Virginia, and the college has a large supporting role in the industry through its teaching, research, and Extension missions. In addition to the facilities in Blacksburg and the 107 Extension of ces located across the commonwealth, the network of 11 Agricultural Research and Extension Centers represents Virginia’s diverse agricultural industry and addresses the unique characteristics, needs, and challenges of various regions. We invest resources in these ARECs so that our faculty can continue to conduct research and Extension programs that are relevant to the industry and to communities. We have also begun an external review of the ARECs, using a team of scientists from peer institutions, in order to identify ways to make an even larger impact on the commonwealth. We are looking forward to the team’s feedback. I am especially encouraged by the comments in this issue of Innovations by Virginia Tech’s new president, Timothy Sands. As you will read, he is a strong supporter of the work the college is doing every day to ensure Virginia Tech’s reputation as a global leader. We could not do it all without the support of our alumni, stakeholders, and friends, so thanks for all you do to help make our college an exceptional one. Sincerely, Alan Grant Dean Elizabeth Copeland, a 2000 graduate of animal and poultry sciences, continually nds ways to exemplify the same Virginia Tech spirit of community service in her current professional life that she fostered when she was a student. Timothy Sands, who became Virginia Tech’s 16th president in June, was the provost at Purdue University, so he has a history with land-grant universities. We asked him for his thoughts on the land-grant mission, student experiences, and how the university impacts Virginia. What role do you see our college playing in the state’s economy? Part of the land-grant mission is to foster economic growth, which is what the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is doing every day. It is preparing students for rewarding careers in the changing agricultural and life sciences industries, carrying out basic and applied research which is important for these industries, and delivering Extension programs throughout the commonwealth and beyond. The college, Extension, and the Agricultural Experiment Station work together to leverage advancements in science and technology to transform knowledge into practice that powers the economy and creates jobs around the commonwealth. Agriculture is the state’s No. 1 economy, and we want to help keep it that way. Virginia Cooperative Extension celebrated its centennial this year. What do you see as Extension’s role in the university’s mission? Extension is an invaluable component of the land- grant system, and it plays an important role in extending Virginia Tech’s knowledge to the citizens of the commonwealth. In addition to the Extension programs on campus, the programs at 11 Agricultural Research and Extension Centers along with 107 Extension of ces located across the state are essential for this land-grant mission and also help serve as gateways to Virginia Tech. Our partnerships with communities allow us to address local needs and provide speci c educational opportunities to help Virginians better their lives now and in the future. You have spoken a lot about student experiences since you started. Why do you think these are so important? The students who are in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences today will be tomorrow’s leaders. They will be involved in some of the most pressing issues our society is going to face, including feeding a growing planet and ensuring a safe water supply. By providing students with experiential learning opportunities, they gain the skills and experiences they need to be ready to tackle the many challenges awaiting them. As is apparent by the 17 patents you hold, most of your professional career has been involved in research, both in the private sector and at public universities. What role do you see our college playing in helping the university reach its research goals? Research is at the heart of what we are doing at Virginia Tech — helping make the world a better place. The work that the college is doing in developing renewable energy sources, making a safer, more-reliable food supply, improving health, and protecting our environment are crucial as the global population swells and new challenges arise daily. The college’s amount of sponsored funding has increased signi cantly in recent years, contributing to the National Science Foundation’s ranking of Virginia Tech as seventh in the nation for university research expenditures in the agricultural sciences. These are testaments to the high-quality, relevant work the college is conducting. Timothy Sands Q & A with President
HTTP://NEWS.CALS.VT.EDU/INNOVATIONS Volume 3, Issue 2 Page 2 “Teaching kids about natural resources is important for 4-H goals and the Peace Corps mission,” she said. Mary Elmer, of Surry County, Virginia, who received her bachelor’s degree in agricultural and applied economics and agricultural sciences in 2012, is currently serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Panama. She started traveling abroad in high school and studied in Australia as an undergraduate at Virginia Tech. One of Elmer’s projects is a collaboration with the University of Panama where she leads seminars that introduce volunteers to farming and business practices. “I can see a measurable change and really feel like I am empowering people,” she said. INNOVATIONS Summer 2014 Of ce of Communications and Marketing 130 Smyth Hall (0904) 185 Ag Quad Lane Blacksburg, VA 24061 540-231-5417 Innovations is published by the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, 104 Hutcheson Hall (0402), 250 Drill eld Drive, Blacksburg, VA 24061. Please email address changes and circulation inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org. Editorial inquiries and other comments should be sent to Editor, Innovations, 131 Smyth Hall (0904), 185 Ag Quad Lane, Blacksburg, VA 24061 or email@example.com. Innovations is produced by the Of ce of Communications and Marketing in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Virginia Tech does not discriminate against employees, students, or applicants on the basis of age, color, disability, gender, national origin, political af liation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, veteran status, or any other basis protected by law. Anyone having questions concerning discrimination or accessibility should contact the Of ce of Equity and Access. VT/0514/CALS-518 Dean’s Update Alan Grant, dean Keep up to date with all the college’s news and upcoming events at www.cals.vt.edu Alumni making a difference Faculty members are developing effective learning environments that allow students to become immersed in experiential learning so they are better prepared to pursue successful careers and engage in lifelong learning . By Amy Loef er It’s no surprise that many graduates from Virginia Tech go on to serve in volunteer organizations like the Peace Corps, where agricultural knowledge and leadership skills are widely sought-after. In fact, Virginia Tech is among the top 25 large universities when it comes to the number of alumni who volunteer for the Peace Corps. A career in the Peace Corps seemed like a logical step for Elizabeth Riley, of Hopkinsville, Kentucky, who received her master’s degree in animal and poultry sciences in 2012. Her family has a history of military service, but Riley was looking for a way to give back that would draw on her training in animal and poultry sciences and her experience growing up as a member of 4-H. Riley saw the Peace Corps as a way to incorporate the 4-H “learning by doing” mission in her career. She currently serves in the Parish of Saint Ann, Jamaica, where she helps students establish school gardens that teach them about healthy eating habits, sustainable agriculture, and environmental science. Elizabeth Riley and some of her students in one of their school gardens. Middleburg AREC provides novel equine research opportunities The Equine Studies Program allows students to contribute to all aspects of a large-scale research facility, outreach center, and commercial equine enterprise while simultaneously engaging in a full semester of coursework that includes practical, hands-on training. Robert Jacobs, a Ph.D. student in animal and poultry sciences from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, spent part of his academic career at the Middleburg Agricultural Research and Extension Center. His research focused on equine reproduction and physiological interactions that occur during pregnancy between a mare and her unborn foal. “The center gives me the opportunity to mentor undergraduate interns and help the faculty, staff, and undergraduate students with research trials or other activities,” said Jacobs. Students at the MARE Center such as Robert Jacobs, a graduate student in equine reproduction from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, get hands-on training at the large-scale equine research facility. Matthew Hulver named head of human nutrition, foods, and exercise Associate Professor Matthew Hulver was tapped to lead the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise in January 2014. Hulver heads a department with an enrollment of more than 900 undergraduates and 55 graduate students. He is also an af liated faculty member of the Fralin Life Science Institute. Hulver’s research seeks to understand the negative consequences of an overconsumption of dietary fat on whole body and skeletal muscle metabolism. Hulver has been a faculty member at Virginia Tech since 2006. Matt Hulver Greetings from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. I hope you enjoy this issue of Innovations that explores the exciting programs and activities from the 2013-14 academic year. It highlights just a few of our many outstanding students, faculty and staff members, and alumni; a number of exciting academic, research, and Extension programs; and our capital building projects, and it provides some updates on the college’s alumni programs. Our college continues to grow in many ways. Student enrollment is maintaining its upward trend, and many new faculty members have joined the college as part of the research clusters that support the priorities of our strategic plan. Faculty members are developing effective learning environments that allow students to become immersed in experiential learning so they are better prepared to pursue successful careers and engage in lifelong learning. Our faculty and staff members are having tremendous success in obtaining a record level of extramural funding that is paying great dividends by giving students challenging research experiences and providing our industry and stakeholders with basic and applied research that is critical for the future. As a result of new Virginia Cooperative Extension agents and new programs that serve communities in the commonwealth and beyond, our Extension programs are growing, too. In this issue, you can read about events celebrating the centennial of the signing of the Smith-Lever Act, which created the nationwide Cooperative Extension Service. Teaching, research, and Extension programs are integrated throughout the college, and everyone’s creativity and hard work allows the college to help lead the land-grant mission of the university. This year will be one of transition for the university as Timothy Sands begins his tenure as the 16th president of Virginia Tech. Former President Charles W. Steger concluded a long and impactful presidency during which he outlined and implemented a bold vision. He leaves for future generations a land-grant university widely regarded for its academic excellence — both nationally and abroad. I am fortunate to have worked with President Steger for nearly ve years. I now look forward to serving under President Sands and ensuring that our college continues to be a leader at this great university. I hope many of you are able to visit the college during the upcoming year — you are welcome at any time! Sincerely, Alan Grant Dean
Featuring the latest news about Virginia Tech's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences' and Virginia Cooperative Extension's and research and academics.
Eight-page magazine from The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech, highlighting research, academics, and Virginia Cooperative Extension.