Innovations Volume 3, Issue 3

December 11, 2014  |  By  |  Impressions: 152  | 


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

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