Winter/Spring 2011

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As the new year begins the college is planning for change. It faces a budget crisis and the University is also engaged in significant program review across all campuses. Recommendations as a result of those reviews will touch the college.

Carrie Bomgardner

Wondering why you should become a member of the Ag Alumni Society? Writer Sara LaJeunesse talks with Carrie Bomgardner (’97 dairy and animal science, ’01 MBA), president of the Ag Alumni Society.


After decades of research investigating whether fish are capable of experiencing pain, whether humans cause them to suffer, and whether it even matters, Victoria Braithwaite examines this question in her new book, "Do Fish Feel Pain?"


Testifying before the Domestic Policy Subcommittee of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in July, David Mortensen explained how the use of crops that are genetically engineered to resist glyphosate has caused certain weed plants to also evolve resistance.

Tom Richard

Replacing fossil fuels with biofuels will require a major transformation of the agricultural, transportation, and energy sectors in the United States over the next few decades, according to a paper published in the August 13, 2010, issue of the journal Science.

Orchard in spring

A new project will seek to identify the importance of wild pollinators to agriculture, assess bee species to determine if any pathogen or other invasive species has infected them, enhance habitat, and promote pollinator awareness through education.

Honey bee

A gift of $100,000 will aid undergraduates in the College of Agricultural Sciences in their efforts to understand Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), a nationwide phenomenon in which adult honey bees disappear from their hives, often spelling death for the colony.

Strawberry with chocolate sauce

An international team including Professor of Plant Molecular Biology Mark Guiltinan and Associate Professor of Horticulture Siela Maximova sequenced the genome of the ancient Criollo variety of cacao, which generally is considered to produce the world’s finest chocolate.

Melanie Torres

Melanie Torres gains valuable experience as a member of the Presidential Leadership Academy at Penn State. The academy comprises 30 students from nearly every one of the University’s academic colleges.

Student climbing tree

Students in Hort 201, Applied Arboriculture, found instructor Jim Savage had placed their midterm exam high in the big trees between the HUB and Atherton Hall--nothing like a little climbing practice before a big test!

Hand on computer keyboard

Two online programs are offered in community and economic development (CEDEV) for professionals seeking to expand their knowledge and skills, and for those interested in a new career in community and economic development.

Computer in the Media Commons

Students and faculty will have access to experienced consultants, training opportunities, and digital production facilities in the new Digital Media Commons located in the Agricultural Science and Industries Building.

Samantha Pedder

Teaching and learning may begin in the classroom, but senior wildlife and fisheries science major Samantha Pedder is an example of how activity outside the classroom expands the college experience.

Brown eggs in carton

Nearly two decades ago, Penn State researchers helped egg producers in the Keystone State implement a program called the Pennsylvania Egg Quality Assurance Program (PEQAP) to guard against egg contamination. During a recent national Salmonella scare, consumers found Pennsylvania-produced eggs safer to eat.


To help curb childhood obesity in Pennsylvania, extension uses an afterschool course that targets children who are overweight or at risk of becoming overweight by educating kids and their families about the benefits of exercise and healthful eating.

Gas drilling worker

A survey of people in 21 Pennsylvania counties and eight New York counties—a region some refer to as “the Marcellus Fairway”—looks at how much they know about efforts to extract natural gas from the Marcellus shale and whether or not they support such efforts.

Dennis Calvin

As the new director, Calvin will oversee the continuing implementation of an organizational restructuring aimed at enhancing the value and relevance of extension programs for Pennsylvania's citizens and other stakeholders.


Seven members in the college receive an award from the USDA for their efforts to help eradicate the plum pox virus in Pennsylvania. Prior to its eradication, the aphid-spread virus had threatened to wipe out the state’s $25 million annual production of stone fruit, which includes cherries, peaches, plums, and apricots.

Pie chart showing job opportunities

As nationwide unemployment rate hover above 9 percent, many college graduates struggle to find jobs. But graduates in food, agricultural, and environmental sciences are in demand, according to Associate Dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences Marcos Fernandez.

USGS logo

Alumnus Douglas Beard, ’90 M.S. Fish and Wildlife Science, has been named chief of the USGS’s National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center.

Chocolate ice cream

Want Creamery ice cream shipped to your home? Check out how you can make it possible to enjoy Peachy Paterno or Death by Chocolate on the couch at a reasonable cost.

James Grace

James Grace, Ph.D. ’78, has been appointed the new Maurice K. Goddard Chair in Forestry and Environmental Resource Conservation, a three-year term in which he will provide leadership on public-policy issues related to natural resources.

Ann Tickamyer

Ann Tickamyer, an award-winning researcher and rural sociologist, has been appointed head of the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology. She succeeds the retiring Stephen M. Smith as department head.

Stink bug

In warm weather homes and orchards across Pennsylvania are battling the brown marmorated stink bug, the latest invasive insect to find its way into the United States from Asia. We’ve created a primer with reminders of what you can do to battle the bug.

Lauren Springer Ogden

A plant-driven designer carves out a career working in and designing public and private gardens around the United States and the world, giving lectures, and writing. After 20 years she’s one of the most influential horticulturalists of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

Entomologists Matthew Thomas and Andrew Read

Each year malaria infects up to 500 million people worldwide, and as many as one million people die from the disease. Researchers in the college involved in a recent $14 million grant funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) are addressing the problem of malaria.

Dottie Johns, cooperative extension client

Three million people, about one-quarter of Pennsylvania’s population, rely on some private source of drinking water. With no regulations governing well construction and location or testing of private water supplies, extension helps people find answers to problems and keep their water safe.

Frederick W. Knipe ('17 Agronomy)

Graduating in 1917, Frederick W. Knipe traveled the world battling malaria. He drained waterlogged fields with picks and shovels, gouged out ditches with dynamite—all with the goal of removing the breeding grounds of mosquitoes. A key figure in the college’s long history of malaria research.

Man holding mosquito net over children

A team of social scientists lead by Jill Findeis and Rachel Smith is working with researchers understand economic, communication, and social forces influencing whether people will actually make use of discoveries made possible through research.

Malaria testing

What do you know about the effects of malaria around the world? These fast facts will give you an idea of the scope of the problem.