As part of her doctoral research, Kristal Jones, center, worked with scientists in West Africa to study crop seed systems. Image: Penn State
June 17, 2014

Two Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences graduate students -- each from different backgrounds and primary areas of study -- graduated Spring 2014 with something in common. Both gained valuable international experience and earned dual degrees that make them stand out as they embark on their professional careers. Jonathan Dumas and Kristal Jones were enrolled in the International Agriculture and Development dual-title degree program, known as INTAD, which provides students with international perspectives and expertise to strengthen their primary graduate degree.

June 13, 2014

When Mark Brennan became the UNESCO chair in rural community, leadership and youth development at Penn State in 2013, he articulated a call to action for groundbreaking research, teaching and applied programs for the betterment of young people and communities worldwide. Today, Brennan and two of his fellow UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) chairs from Ireland announced a major event to further that agenda. The UNESCO Symposium on Youth Civic Engagement and Leadership through Sport and Recreation will be held Aug. 28 at Croke Park Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, in conjunction with the American football game between Penn State and the University of Central Florida, scheduled for Aug. 30 at the stadium.

May 23, 2014

Samuel Duo, like many Liberians in the 1990s, was forced to flee his home country and seek refuge in Ghana to escape the terrors of the First Liberian Civil War. The civil war displaced over a million Liberians like Duo into refugee camps in neighboring countries. Entire villages were emptied as people fled. The war destroyed a once-viable economic infrastructure, and spread to Liberia’s neighbors, destabilizing a region that already was one of the world’s most marginal. To make matters worse, the war severely damaged the nation’s agricultural sector. Productivity plummeted, especially as people fled their homes, and agricultural value chains were left under-developed.

Rob Ritson posed before a pride of lions in Tanzania. Image: Penn State
May 14, 2014

To junior Rob Ritson, African wildlife was the stuff of books and documentaries, not college experience. But a semester in Tanzania turned the exotic ecosystem into a place where he could bring his education from the classroom to the field. Field research is what drew Ritson to Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences. Growing up in a family of hunters, he became fascinated by game management. "I knew that this program would allow me to do exactly what I want to do -- work outside with and study animals," he said

African honey bee, Apis mellifera scutellata, on ornamental succulent, Kitui, Kenya. Image: Maryann Frazier/Penn State
April 23, 2014

Several parasites and pathogens that devastate honeybees in Europe, Asia and the United States are spreading across East Africa, but do not appear to be impacting native honeybee populations at this time, according to an international team of researchers.

Kate Thompson, a senior in the Schreyer Honors College, flashed the Four Diamonds sign, a symbol of THON, Penn State's annual Dance Marathon, while atop Sangasanga, a mountain outside of the village of Kianjavato in Madagascar. Image: Photo provided
April 7, 2014

When people hear that Kate Thompson went to Madagascar last summer, they think she stepped into a cartoon adventure. And Thompson will agree that the lemurs she was studying for her honors thesis are indeed cute and cuddly. But her study of the species has a serious purpose.

February 18, 2014

Two Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences graduate students have been awarded fellowships from the U.S. Borlaug Global Food Security Program. Maggie Douglas, a doctoral student in Entomology and International Agriculture and Development, and Katie Tavenner, a doctoral student in Rural Sociology and Women's Studies, received the fellowships to support their international research projects.

December 18, 2013

Ten Penn State students have been selected as College of Agricultural Sciences Alumni Society 2013 Internship Award winners. The award, which includes a $760 stipend, was established to encourage students to enroll in internship courses offered within the College of Agricultural Sciences. Three of these awards went to students who completed international internships in Poland, Kenya, and Italy.

July 19, 2013

Mark Brennan, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) Chair and Penn State professor, delivering the keynote lecture, “Achieving Education for All, Realizing Engaged Communities, and Creating Global Citizens for Change through the UNESCO Chairs Program.” His lecture, which was a call to action for groundbreaking research, teaching and applied programs for the betterment of young people and communities worldwide, capped a two-day symposium, "Shaping the Future of International Development," held July 15-16 on Penn State's University Park campus.

July 19, 2013

The Call for Applications for the 2014 AWARD Fellowships is now open. Application forms can be found on the AWARD website. The deadline is August 9, 2013. The competition is stiff: last year 1,094 top women scientists from 11 eligible African countries applied for 70 available fellowships.

May 29, 2013

Two scientists in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences are part of a research team that recently was named the winner of the 2013 Africa Collaboration Challenge Prize. Sjoerd Duiker, associate professor of soil management and applied soil physics, and Ephraim Govere, research support associate and manager of the college's Soil Research and Cluster Laboratory, are part of a joint Penn State-Global Knowledge Initiative team that was awarded a $20,000 prize.

January 23, 2013

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO, has established a UNESCO Chair in Rural Community, Leadership, and Youth Development in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences. Co-hosted by the college's Center for Economic and Community Development and its Office of International Programs, the chair will be held by Mark Brennan, associate professor of rural community and leadership development.

November 12, 2012

With the help of information technology (IT), Penn State professor Mark Guiltinan makes the world a sweeter place. Guiltinan is a professor of plant molecular biology in the Department of Horticulture in the College of Agricultural Sciences. He currently runs the Guiltinan Lab, where he studies crop improvement and sustainable farming methods. Guiltinan was a key player in The International Cocoa Genome Sequencing Consortium, a worldwide effort to sequence and analyze the genome of the Criollo variety of the Theobromo cacao plant, the key ingredient in high-quality chocolate. Using genome sequencing programs and computer clusters at Penn State and abroad, Guiltinan and his colleagues have mapped the cacao genome and are working to breed better, more disease-resistant cacao plants.

September 20, 2012

Jimmy Burridge (Plant Sciences) was in Zambia from September 5-14, 2012 working with the Zambian Agricultural Research Institute at the Misamfu Research Station.

July 26, 2012

This year's Africa2Ag week will be held at the University Park campus, August 27-31, 2012, during the first week of the Fall semester. The theme of the week will be "The next generation of African agriculture: youth, innovation, science and technology. All events are free of charge and open to all. Only the Africa Collaboration Colloquium event and the Wednesday afternoon symposium require registration.

May 29, 2012

Today, Roger Thurow, senior fellow for Global Agriculture and Food Policy at The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, who was the keynote speaker at Penn State's Global Food Security Seminar in February, released his new book, The Last Hunger Season: A Year in an African Farm Community on the Brink of Change. It is an intimate portrait of the lives of four smallholder farmers in western Kenya as they work to move from subsistence farming to sustainable farming, from farming to live to farming to make a living. It is a narrative of struggle, resilience and, ultimately, success. It is a story of strong, empowered women striving to feed their families and provide the best education possible for their children. It is a book for our time, as the daily dramas of the farmers' lives unfold amid growing awareness that to feed the world's growing population, food production must double by 2050. If these farmers succeed, so might we all. The book is available for order today at

May 29, 2012

President Obama spoke earlier this month at the Chicago Council for Global Affairs symposium on global hunger and food security about the launching of a New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition as part of his administration's Feed the Future initiative. The New Alliance will focus initially on Ghana, Ethiopia and Tanzania.

May 23, 2012

A Penn State researcher has been chosen to receive a grant through the Grand Challenges Explorations program, an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. David Hughes, assistant professor of entomology and biology, will pursue an innovative global health and development research project, titled "Taking Out the Bodyguards: A Novel Solution to Ag Disease."

April 13, 2012

When 70 Fulbright scholars -- graduate students from around the world -- came to a food-security workshop at Penn State in late February, the four-day event kicked off a special year for the College of Agricultural Sciences. The college is marking 2012 as its "Year of Global Food Security." This observance coincides with July's 150th anniversary of the Morrill Act, which led to the creation of land-grant universities, such as Penn State.