Latest News

Kelsey Pryze, undergraduate researcher, captures photographs of potato leaves at Penn State's Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rock Springs. Image: Penn State / EPFL
October 5, 2016

A network of computers fed a large image dataset can learn to recognize specific plant diseases with a high degree of accuracy, potentially paving the way for field-based crop-disease identification using smartphones, according to a team of researchers at Penn State and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL), in Lausanne, Switzerland.

September 14, 2016

Penn State and the Peace Corps have finalized a new partnership that will help returning Peace Corps volunteers pursue their graduate education in the School of International Affairs, Smeal College of Business, or the College of Agricultural Sciences.

Exposed tree roots Image: Michael Hoelzl/ Wiki Commons
August 10, 2016

On the surface, trees may look stationary, but underground their roots -- aided by their fungal allies -- are constantly on the hunt and using a surprising number of strategies to find food, according to an international team of researchers. The precision of the nutrient-seeking strategies that help trees grow in temperate forests may be related to the thickness of the trees' roots and the type of fungi they use, according to David Eissenstat, professor of woody plant physiology, Penn State. The tree must use a variety of strategies because nutrients often collect in pockets -- or hot spots -- in the soil, he added.

Mikaela Hermstedt sits on the Cliffs of Moher. Image: Penn State
August 8, 2016

Penn State Plant Science majors Casey Baxter and Mikaela Hermstedt may know all there is to know about the Irish potato famine. This past spring, they took HORT 499H Walking in the Footsteps of the Irish During the Irish Potato Famine: Examinations of New World Crops in Old World Societies. The honors class included a 10-day trip to Ireland after a semester of lectures on the potato and other essential crops of both the United States and Ireland.

Women farmers in Tanzania harvest an improved variety of bean developed as part of a CGIAR collaborative research project. Image: Georgina Smith, CIAT
June 23, 2016

Gender researchers from around the world converged at Penn State in June to discuss the importance of incorporating gender concepts into international agricultural research. Sponsored by the College of Agricultural Sciences' Gender, Agriculture and Environment Initiative, the events kicked off June 6-7 with the initiative's inaugural event, the Gender, Agriculture and Environment Symposium, which provided participants with an opportunity to learn from gender researchers and practitioners who are leaders in gender scholarship and policies.

With almost 30 years of diverse, globally oriented service in the international arena, Deanna Behring has dedicated her career to public services that stimulate broad-based economic growth and sustainable development. Image: Penn State
June 16, 2016

Deanna Behring, director of international programs in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, recently received a distinguished service award from the Association for International Agriculture and Rural Development. With almost 30 years of diverse, globally oriented service in the international arena, Behring has dedicated her career to public services that stimulate broad-based economic growth and sustainable development, and to improving the quality of life for people by enhancing global capacities to eliminate poverty, improve food security, and conserve and protect the environment, according to the association.

Brett Abele, left, worked closest with the carpenters, as he personally taught them how to build the greenhouses. Image: Penn State
May 12, 2016

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." (Margaret Mead). Brett Abele often thought about that quote during his time in Africa. The biological engineering major — who just graduated this month — spent last summer in Zambia. He went with 17 other students in the Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship program. For three weeks, Abele worked as part of a small team of six people to build greenhouses to improve food security.

May 11, 2016

Climate change, pests and diseases, unimproved planting material and growing consumer markets especially in Asia, present major challenges to sustainable cacao production. World plant biologists are developing and applying new integrative approaches to address these challenges. This symposium, “Frontiers in Science and Technology for Cacao Quality, Productivity, and Sustainability”, will bring together scientists working at various levels to develop solutions for cacao agricultural systems of the future. The symposium will take place from May 31st to June 3rd, 2016 at the Penn State University campus.

Philip Moore, a research technologist for the Center for Pollinator Research, inspects a frame from one of three honey bee hives located on the roof of the Millennium Science Complex. Image: Michelle Bixby
April 27, 2016

Spring is a season of new growth, with buds on the trees, green grass and flowers beginning to bloom. It’s also a prime time for pollinators such as honey bees, as they begin to feed off of the pollen from the newly blooming flora. But recently, the bees have been creating a different kind of buzz. About 10 years ago, beekeepers began to notice a significant decrease in the North American honey bee population—and that decrease can have big implications beyond your backyard.

April 25, 2016

This past year has brought about some significant changes in the Office of International Programs with the addition of team members Daniel Tobin, Ruth Mendum, Ann Stone, Paige Castellanos, and Blair Cooper. Join us in welcoming them to the office!

April 21, 2016

We are excited to announce a new program at Penn State University -- the Gender, Agricultural, and Environment Initiative (GAEI) -- that aims to enhance scholarship at the intersections of gender, agriculture and the environment.

2016 Stand Up Awardee Alanna Kaiser Image: Penn State
April 19, 2016

Penn State students Alanna Kaiser, Nathan Larkin, and Jaden Rankin-Wahlers are being honored respectively for their work in social & environmental justice; organizing efforts to address climate change; and combatting stigmas associated with poverty and homelessness. The Penn State Rock Ethics Institute created the Stand Up Award in 2008 to honor Penn State undergraduate students who have the courage and fortitude to take an ethical stand for a person, cause or belief and thereby demonstrate ethical leadership. You can learn more about each awardee and their story by watching their Stand Up Award Video Story.

Olivia Murphy Sweet poses with a lizard in Belize. Image: Penn State
April 19, 2016

Olivia Murphy-Sweet was alone when she ventured into San Jose Succotz, a rural village in the Central American country of Belize. To supplement her coursework as an agricultural and extension education major and international agriculture minor, the senior made the five-week trip last summer to conduct research under the guidance of one of her professors.

Image: Courtesy Alabama A&M/Auburn Universities Extension
March 25, 2016

The massive global livestock industry holds the key to mitigating greenhouse gases from the agriculture, forestry and land-use sector, but actual reductions in the foreseeable future likely will be just a fraction of what technically is possible. That's the conclusion of a study conducted by an international team of researchers that included Alex Hristov, professor of dairy nutrition in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences. Hristov oversaw key components of the report assessing the potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by improving animal nutrition and management and by using feed additives to curb enteric methane emission from ruminant animals.

A farmer harvests her crop in Siem Reap, Cambodia. A new Penn State-led project aims to improve the livelihoods and nutrition of Cambodian women and families by promoting the sustainable production of marketable vegetables. Image: Rick Bates, Penn State
February 25, 2016

A team of researchers, led by scientists in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, will launch a project designed to improve nutrition and empower women in Cambodia by promoting their production and marketing of horticultural crops and rice produced via sustainable intensification practices.

February 10, 2016

Penn State Global Programs is issuing advice to travelers about the risks of mosquito-borne illnesses, like Zika, based on the latest information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Penn Staters are currently traveling to affected areas and are likely to continue to do so. Officials, however, say Zika is not the only concern, as travelers should take simple precautions to prevent all mosquito-borne illnesses — such as Zika, dengue or chikungunya viruses.

"Dairy Production and Management" will provide students around the world with information to better understand dairy production systems and their role in feeding the global population.  Image: Penn State
February 10, 2016

Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences has a long history of helping to fulfill the University's land-grant mission by providing educational outreach to dairy farmers and other producers in Pennsylvania and beyond. Now, utilizing the latest educational technology and methods, the college is poised to offer "Dairy Production and Management," the world's first dairy-related "massive, open online course" (or MOOC to the tech savvy).

Keirstan Kure, left, and Emily Newman pose in front of a poster promoting the sustainable takeout container program they helped to create at Penn State. Image: Penn State
February 8, 2016

With the help of Keirstan Kure, Penn State Food Services created the Green2Go container, a reusable takeout box that replaces the need for Styrofoam cartons in campus dining halls. Kure, a senior plant sciences major with minors in international agriculture and geography, worked as the sustainable food programmatic intern at the Sustainability Institute on campus.

Biological engineering junior Gaby Garzon stops into a lab between classes in the Rodney A. Erickson Food Science Building on Feb. 3. Image: Provided by Gaby Garzon
February 8, 2016

Gaby Garzon’s love of food extends far beyond the kitchen or campus dining hall. With a prestigious internship at Frito-Lay in Mexico last summer, the junior biological engineer in the food and bioprocessing option is working to be an innovator in the food industry. Garzon, who was born in Ecuador and grew up in Mexico, moved to the United States three years ago to pursue a degree at Penn State. She said Penn State seemed like the perfect fit because of the University’s renowned engineering program and close proximity to family in Queens, New York.

As part of her doctoral research, Ariel Rivers studied insect and spider communities in low-input cropping systems in Mexico. She said the INTAD program provided her with networking opportunities and challenged her to grow professionally. Image: A. Rivers
February 3, 2016

Agriculture is a human endeavor that is practiced in every corner of the world. That's why consideration of human behavior in an international context is necessary to gain a complete picture of agricultural problems. According to Deanna Behring, director of international programs in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, the International Agriculture and Development (INTAD) dual-title degree program does just that.