The Millennium Scholars Program, now in its sixth year, had 10 ten students present research at ABRCMS 2018 (Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students). ABRCMS encourages minority, first generation, veteran and students who are disabled to pursue higher education in STEM. The annual conference was held November 14th through the 17th in Indianapolis, IN. Students had an opportunity to network with STEM faculty and professionals and to hear about current research. Ten Millennium Scholars attended the conference eight presented research posters and two presented their research oral presentations. The group included two seniors, 3 juniors, and five sophomores. Donovan Brown (sophomore, biology) received a prize for his poster presentation on Purification and Crystallization of the Staphylococcus aureus Heme-Regulating Proteins HemA and HssR. Cuyler Luck (junior, chemistry) and Talia Seymore (junior, toxicology) each earned a $300 prize for their oral presentations. Cuyler presented on Quantifying Minimal Residual Disease in Breast Cancer Dormancy and Talia discuss her work on The Effect of Prenatal Exposure to an Environmentally Relevant Phthalate Mixture on Testosterone Levels in Adult Male Mice. Also presenting posters were: Ouniol Aklilu (sophomore, biomedical engineering) Teniola Idowu (junior, biochemistry and molecular biology) Talayah Johnson (senior, biology) David Lee (senior, biochemistry and molecular biology) Ilana Mosely (sophomore, veterinary and biomedical science) Monique Porter (sophomore, microbiology) Crishon Washington (sophomore, computer science)

The National Association of County Agricultural Agents (NACAA) presented an award for excellence to Penn State Extension Educators for their project titled “Supporting Pennsylvania Farmers in the Start-Up, Re-strategizing and Establishing Years.” Lee Stivers gave a presentation on the project at the NACAA Annual Conference and accepted the award on behalf of the team, that also included Tara Baugher, Marley Cassidy, Megan Chawner, Bob Pollock, Lynn Kime, John Esslinger, and Patty Neiner. This project was designed to increase the number and success of beginning farmers in Pennsylvania. Funded by USDA-NIFA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Specialty Crops Block Grant, the project ran from 1/2015 through 10/2017. The focus was on new farmers in years 2 to 10 who are establishing their businesses. Leading Pennsylvania's economy with $7.4 billion in sales each year, Pennsylvania's future depends on agriculture. Yet, the farming population is aging, and 16,000 Pennsylvania farmers are projected to retire in the next ten years. This project was designed to increase the number and success of beginning farmers in Pennsylvania, particularly those in years 2 to 10, and ran from January, 2015 through October, 2017. The project focused on four main components. Seven on-farm demonstrations provided living classrooms where new farmers experienced and learned cutting-edge best management practices in the context of working farms. Six study circle learning networks provided opportunities for new farmers and educators to learn from each other and from on-farm demonstrations. New Commercial Fruit Grower courses provided new producers with in-depth knowledge on starting a fruit business. Additional study circle networks provided support specific to the needs and learning preferences of women and Hispanic/Latino farmers. Information gathered and demonstrated through model plots and study circles was used to create new farmer-specific educational materials and reach a national community of new farmers. Based on survey responses, as a result of participating in this program, 52 people started farming; 248 received assistance in starting to farm; and 454 improved their farming success. Seventy-one study circles were held for 702 establishing farmers; 70% of study circle participants who completed post-program surveys (n=454) said they planned to adopt a new practice; and 88% increased their knowledge in areas that would increase profitability. 254 female farmers and 107 Hispanic/Latino growers participated in study circles established for these underserved audiences. Seventy-three farmers participating in at least one component of the program indicated that they had adopted best management practices for sustainable horticultural production.

Catherine Lara, Tree Fruit Program Assistant, Penn State Extension On January 31, 2018 during the 9th annual Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention (MAFVC) and Trade Show, a 5-hour long workshop was held for Spanish speaking growers and employees. This was the ninth year for this bilingual programming, and attendance has grown from 20 to over 40, with four states—Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, and Virginia—represented. Although participation in this event required a registration fee, admission to other educational sessions and the trade show were included. The MAFVC also provided an excellent opportunity for networking and social connection, as it is a multi-state event. The day began with a short icebreaker to allow everyone to mingle and get to know each other. This was followed by a presentation focused on the “Ecological Framework for Pest Management” by Beth Sastre, Virginia Cooperative Extension. Dr. Anamaria Gomez, an Independent Consultant, then gave a talk on “Vegetable Crop Establishment”. Before the lunch break, Maria Gorgo-Gourovitch, Penn State Extension, presented “Starting an Orchard”. The afternoon was filled with two final presentations, the first being on “Beneficial Insects and how to protect them” presented by Dr. Margarita López-Uribe and Dr. Carlos Quesada, Penn State Extension, and the second, “We are with You” a campaign presented by representatives of the Mexican Consulate. Participants were asked to complete a survey following the workshop to give organizers feedback for next year’s event as well as some insight into their background, experience and interests in horticulture. Of the responding participants in the 2018 MAFVC Spanish sessions, 36% have been involved in horticulture between 5 and 10 years and 42% of participants have been involved in horticulture for over 10 years. Workshop participants are often involved in several aspects of horticulture on their farms. Of the 34 respondents to this survey, 85% of them are involved in tree fruit production, 56% are involved in vegetable production and 52% are involved in small fruit production. This is similar to years past and the reason why each year there is an attempt to provide information sessions that can address the various responsibilities these individuals are tasked with on their farms. Instructors also hope that the information they are passing on to their audience is something that can easily be put into action back at the farm. When participants were asked to choose from a list of changes they may make after having attended the workshop, 82% of respondents stated they would implement a larger quantity of ecological practices to manage pests. Thirty-five % felt they could use practices learned in the workshop to minimize the negative effects of pesticides on pollinators. Quite a number also felt they would try new cultivation techniques on vegetables (26%) and new practices on preparing a field for planting (20%). The participants of the Spanish sessions at the MAFVC value the opportunity to attend. Close to half of respondents (46%) have attended the Spanish sessions at the MAFVC for over 5 years. Yet there are always new faces. This year 23% of participant respondents were first time attendees. The remaining attendees were back for the 2nd, 3rd or 4th year. In their feedback, they shared several things they have been able to improve or implement from having attended this workshop in the past. They’ve found an improvement in their horticultural techniques (61%), an improvement in harvest quality (39%), an implementation of new pest management techniques (39%), an improvement in pesticide management (36%) as well as being able to apply the new food safety regulations (30%) and improving the management of agriculture machinery (30%). The participants’ suggestions for future sessions at the MAFVC show their curiosity and desire for knowledge. Many would like to hear more information on pruning apple, peach, blueberry and other fruit or berry crops. They are interested in drip irrigation and chemigation techniques and how to obtain a pest applicator license. They want to learn how to better manage pests in greenhouses and how best to diversify specialty crop production. They ask, what can be done to foster more native plants for the bees so their populations are supported? And is there a way to hold back trees from flowering so they can avoid late freezes? Each year organizers try to address the most pressing questions prior year participants had by inviting distinguished extension educators to answer them during the MAFVC Spanish sessions. Beth Sastre, Virginia Cooperative Extension, and Jose Mateos, Hollabaugh Fruit Farm, lead an interactive activity during the Spanish Session of the 2018 Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention.

On Saturday, April 28, 2018, Longwood Gardens presented a practical, bilingual course in English and Spanish to teach participants how to make a milpa in the 21st Century.

Tara Baugher, Maria Gorgo-Gourovitch, Catherine Lara, Penn State Extension A five hour field training for Spanish speakers in the fruit industry was held at Hollabaugh Orchards and the Penn State Fruit Research and Extension Center in Biglerville, PA on Saturday, November 18, 2017. Presenters for this hands-on workshop were Maria Gorgo-Gourovitch, Penn State Food Safety, IPM and Water Quality Extension Educator and Mario Miranda Sazo, Cornell Extension Fruit Specialist. The program was presented in Spanish to about 50 industry employees who speak Spanish as their primary language. A catered lunch was included. The first presentation: “The Science of Pruning Young, Semi-Young, and More Mature High Density Apple Plantings” addressed the benefits and strategies for proper pruning, corrective pruning, minimal pruning, and limb renewal pruning of tall spindle apple trees. Use of an orchard platform and electric pruners were also demonstrated. Next, “Principles of Integrated Fruit Production—a Holistic Approach to Orchard Management” included hands-on training on ground cover and weed management, fall clean-up practices to suppress disease spread the following season, vertebrate scouting and management, and practices that favor native pollinators and beneficial insects and mites. Participants maintaining pesticide applicator licenses were able to earn 1 category credit during this session. The last topic presented was: “Understanding the Basics of Strict Crop Load Management for High Value Apple Cultivars”. This presentation was a review on how the number of fruit that remain on a tree directly affects yield, fruit size, the quality of fruit that are harvested, and return bloom. Practical discussions addressed hand thinning, fruit distribution, and light penetration/distribution for large fruited varieties like Honeycrisp and for small fruited varieties like Gala. The reasons for specific management practices were explained to and understood at a much deeper level by participants due to presentations being in Spanish. In this workshop, participants gained a lot of insight into the biological processes that occur in the orchards they manage, as evidenced in the survey results. In surveys following the workshop, 94% of participants were interested in developing more environmentally sustainable practices for managing weeds and pests in their orchards, 100% felt they had learned something that could potentially make their farm more profitable in the future (such as more timely weed management and reduced loss to fire blight by pruning out cankers) and 90% of participants felt confident that from now on they could prune out disease cankers during their regular pruning work. Participants also felt confident they could detect and watch for early signs of vole activity (65%). Participants received new pocket field guides and hand lenses as tools to use in the field. A large number felt they could continue to gain more knowledge on their own by using their new pocket field guides to identify new diseases and pests in the orchards (84%) as well as by using their new hand lens to find beneficial as well as pest insects in the orchards (74%). The impact and value of these workshops can also be seen in the large numbers of new and returning participants at similar workshops.

On Saturday April 12th., 2018, Penn State Extension offered a practical field training for Spanish-speaking growers and workers in the fruit industry at the Penn State Fruit Research and Extension Center and at the Hollabaugh Orchard farm in Biglerville, PA. Over eighty people packed this successful workshop on food safety and pruning; Spanish was the primary language for all the participants. Our presenters for this hands-on workshop were Maria Gorgo-Gourovitch and Lee Stivers, Penn State Extension Educators and Mario Miranda Sazo, Cornell Extension Fruit Specialist. Extension Educator Tara Baugher also helped coordinate the full day program. Maria, Lee and Mario are esteemed speakers for the Spanish session at the Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention, and at the request of program participants, they lead this interactive field training focused on worker training topics included in the new FDA mandated Food Safety Modernization Act. Some of the topics covered by Maria and Lee were Introduction to Good Agricultural Practices, Worker Health and Personal Hygiene and Pre- and Post-harvest Sources of Contamination. In addition, Mario spoke about the science of pruning high density orchards, and then demonstrated pruning skills at Hollabaugh Orchard. This project was supported by a USDA NIFA’s Food Safety Outreach Program (FSOP) grant titled “Bilingual Produce Safety Educational Programming for Hispanic/Latino Fresh Produce Growers and Farmworkers in Pennsylvania”, project number 2017-04984.

For the second year in a row, a summer intern from Virginia State University working in the Tumlinson lab has presented an award-winning lecture in the Emerging Researchers National Conference in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (ERN) in Washington, DC on the research they conducted during their summer at Penn State and which they continued at VSU. Under our guidance the students develop a research plan and experimental design here at Penn State and acquire the methods necessary to successfully continue their research at VSU. In February, 2018, Sheevah Amen won first place in the biological sciences division for her presentation, "Does the insect gut microbiome affect plant volatile release?". In March, 2017, Mekiya Fletcher, from VSU won 2nd place in the Ecology and Environmental Science division for her oral presentation “Plants stink but how do they smell?”. Both students participated in the Penn State SROP program with fellowships provided by a USDA/NIFA grant, “Plant Friends and Foes”. These students were advised and mentored by Prof. Sarah Melissa Witiak (a former Penn State graduate in Ecological and Molecular Plant Physiology) at VSU and by Dr. Irmgard Seidl-Adams in the Tumlinson lab at Penn State. Since graduating from VSU, Mekiya Fletcher was accepted into the post-baccalaureate research education program (PREP) for minority students at the University of South Carolina and started her studies in July 2017. The Emerging Researchers National (ERN) Conference in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) is hosted by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Education and Human Resources Programs (EHR) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) Division of Human Resource Development (HRD), within the Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR). The conference is aimed at college and university undergraduate and graduate students who participate in programs funded by the NSF HRD Unit, including underrepresented minorities and persons with disabilities.

The Philadelphia ZooCREW is an “immersive, award-winning urban youth program” organized by the Philadelphia Zoo. The goal behind the program is that participants will become conservation ambassadors through exposure to wildlife and the wildlife science field.

MANRRS 2017 – On March 29-April 2nd Penn State MANRRS Chapter traveled to Pittsburgh for the National MANRRS Conference. Nine of the students in our MANRRS Chapter attended with the hopes of gaining leadership skills, internship opportunities, and networking for success. This was the first time in over 10 years the conference was in Pennsylvania, and Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences by way of the Office of Multicultural Affairs were co-sponsors and co-hosts of the annual event. MANRRS Conferences are also a time for the students to compete with peers in judged competitions such as research discussions, poster presentations, and essay contests. This is where Penn State shines on an almost annual basis: Maurice Smith Jr, PhD Candidate in AEE at Penn State, took home first prize in Oral Research Contest - Division II - Graduate Student. Celize Christy, 1st year Masters Student in Rural Soc, won a 2nd place award in her research discussion contest. Chenira Smith and Merielle Stamm, both first year master’s students in AEE, won second and third place prizes, respectively, in the Research poster Contest II - Graduate Student division. It was amazing to see the hard work of these students pay off on a national level. Celize Christy was also awarded the Cynthia Hayes Memorial Scholarship from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and the South Eastern African American Farmers’ Organic Network (SAAFON). She won this scholarship through an essay contest. Congratulations Celize! Courtnee Eddington, 3rd year PhD student in Entomology, also highlights Penn State’s leadership role in MANRRS by being chosen as the Region 1 Graduate Vice President. Courtnee will do great in this role as a graduate liaison from the MANRRS chapters in our region to the national office. Overall, the conference was great. With over 950 registrants, representation from most of the 1862 and 1890 institutions, MANRRS is growing. We hope to continue to promote diversity in Ag Sciences here at Penn State through MANRRS and look forward to next year in Greensboro, NC.

Ephraim Muchada Govere, director of the Soil Research Cluster Lab in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management, was recently named as a recipient of the College of Agricultural Sciences 2016 William Henson Diversity Award.

Team Systemic Action has created a diverse cast of comic book characters to combat the under-representation of women and minorities in the STEAM — agriculture and STEM — sciences and help teach science lessons to fourth to fifth-grade students.