Innovations Volume 3, Issue 2

June 26, 2014  |  By  |  Impressions: 449  | 


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 calseditor@vt.edu. Editorial inquiries and other comments should be sent to Editor, Innovations, 131 Smyth Hall (0904), 185 Ag Quad Lane, Blacksburg, VA 24061 or calseditor@vt.edu. 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

More from Mark Chorba