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CONTENTS

CJ

WHEN LIFE HANDS YOU SORGHUM OK FEEDLOT TO THE GREAT WALL EXPERIENCE LIFE BEYOND THE BORDERS THE IDEAL MAKEOVER EMPOWERING WOMEN FROM FAMILY TO FARM THE WILD SIDE OF CSI ORANGE ROOTS GROW GREEN VINES FUTURE OF FARMING ON 18 WHEELS SMALL ANIMALS MAKE BIG IMPACT ON 4-H A LOVE FOR THE GAME TEACHING OUTSIDE THE LINES CAMELIDS IN CATTLE COUNTRY CREATE. INNOVATE. EDUCATE. ADVISE. WHY SHOULD I GO TO GRAD SCHOOL? THE ENCOUNTER HOME SWEET ... OSU FARM UNCONVENTIONAL ACHIEVERS OUTSTANDING SENIORS SHINE AG ALUMNI NEWS

DAVIS

OSU’S TOP 10 TIPS

6 10 12 14 20 22 26 30 32 34 37 40 43 45 46 48 51 53 54 56

Oklahoma State University, in compliance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Americans with DisabilitiesActof1990,andotherfederallawsandregulations,doesnotdiscriminateonthebasisofrace,color,nationalorigin,sex,age,religion,disability,orstatusasaveteraninanyofitspolicies,practices or procedures.This includes but is not limited to admissions, employment, financial aid, and educational services.Title IX of the Education Amendments and Oklahoma State University policy prohibit discriminationintheprovisionofservicesorbenefitsofferedbytheUniversitybasedongender.Anyperson(student,facultyorstaff)whobelievesthatdiscriminatorypracticeshavebeenengagedinbased upon gender may discuss their concerns and file informal or formal complaints of possible violations ofTitle IX with the OSUTitle IX Coordinator, Dr. Carolyn Hernandez, Director of Affirmative Action, 408Whitehurst, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078, 405-744-5371 or 405-744-5576 (fax).This publication, issued by Oklahoma State University as authorized by the associate dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources was printed by Worldcolor Midland at a cost of $10,705 for 8,500 copies (of which $5,955 was donated by sponsors). /0510/SS/EM


CJ

HAILEY HARROUN

MICHELLE JONES

LEAH KUEHN

KATIE McKINNIS

MEGAN McCOOL

MATTIE NUTLEY

KATIE ALLEN

HALEY RIEFF

AMANDA BRANDYBERRY

AMY STORTS

VANESSA AILEY

KYLEE WILLARD

LESLIE GERMAN

SHELLY PEPER SITTON

COREY DUYSEN

CINDY BLACKWELL

LINDSEY MISSEL

DWAYNE CARTMELL

JOSLYN WHITE

TANNER ROBERTSON

BRENNA DAVIS

LIMOUSIN WORLD

RACHELLE HOLT

OKLAHOMA FARM BUREAU

WHITNEY JAMESON

WORLDCOLOR MIDLAND

Editor Editor Editor

Graphic Coordinator Graphic Coordinator

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Asst. Managing Editor Asst. Managing Editor Asst. Managing Editor Founding Sponsor Founding Sponsor

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FROM THE

EDITORS

In the words of Thomas Edison, “Opportunity is missed by most peoplebecauseitisdressedinoverallsandlookslikework.”Thestaff ofthisyear’sCowboyJournalcanattesttothetruthofthisstatement as we took on the challenges set before us and produced an exceptional magazine. With the largest staff CJ ever has seen, this semester has pushed everyoneinvolvedtoreachbeyondtheirnormalboundaries.Aseditors, we have seen the growth and development of each and every staffmemberastheypouredtremendouseffortintothelayout,design and stories of this magazine. We offer our sincere thanks to Cindy Blackwell, Dwayne CartmellandTannerRobertson.TheCowboyJournalcouldnothavesucceededwithoutyourhelp.Wealsowouldliketothankthefollowing fortheirphotographiccontributions:MitchAlcala,MichaelAlpert, Steve Beck,Tom Campbell, Jeffory Hattey, Beth Jensen,Todd Johnson, Patti Miller, Katie Simpson, Kim Spady and Debbie Wilson. Finally, we would like to recognize Shelly Sitton for her extreme dedicationandpassioninensuringthismagazineexceedsexpectationseachsemester.SheisthedrivingforcebehindnotonlyCJ’ssuccess but also the personal success of each of our staff members.

VIDEO

The Cowboy Journal video is dedicated to past, presentandfutureagriculturalcommunications studentsandstaffwhohavehadorwillhaveapart in this magazine. Dedication and hard work go into this publication so it can be a success. From the first class meeting to final edits, countless hours are spent finding sponsorships, designingadsandlayouts,interviewing,andmore. The video I created depicts the teamwork and contribution put forth by all involved. Through this process I tried to show how everyone plays a key role in the making of Cowboy Journal. Each student interviews, writes, and designs the layout for his or her story. However, muchmoreworkisinvolvedthatcannotbeseenby readingthewriter’sstory,whichiswhyIwantedto make a video to showcase this project. Thevideowilltakeyouinsidetheclassroomof CowboyJournalatthebeginningofthesemester, takingaglimpseintoclassdiscussions,peerediting and sponsorship design. You will see students in the field interviewing sources for their stories while also taking pictures to get the perfect shot. Finally, you not only will see students who are involvedinCowboyJournal,butalsoyouwillmeet the people who make the stories possible. Ihavebeenfortunatetobeabletoproducethis video. I appreciate my classmates’patience in allowing me to“videotape them”on their journeys while working on their stories. I also would like to extend my appreciation to “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,”Damona Doye,JanetCole,ShaneRobinson,EdMiller,Ruth Inman and Dwayne Cartmell.Without your time andinput,thisvideowouldnothavebeenpossible. I especially would like to thank Shelly Sitton for giving me the opportunity to make this video. This video would have not been possible if it were not for her consideration and inspiration.

ab out the author Mattie Nutley grew up in Elk City, Okla. She came to OSU as a freshman to earn her degree in agricultural communications. She enjoys traveling and video production. She currently is pursuing a career in news broadcasting.

COVER SHOT: HAILEY HARROUN

DAVIS

STAFF

CJ GOES


CAMPBELL

CAMPBELL

Ejeta said.“And growing up poor we did not haveaschool,soIwalked20kilometersto[go to] school.” David Porter, head of Oklahoma State University’s plant and soil science department,saidtheindividualsfromEthiopiawith whom he has worked, including Ejeta, have been humble and unassuming. “They’ll never reveal the level of poverty and hardship they were exposed to growing up,” Porter said. “So unless you are there to experienceit,youhavenocomprehensionof what they went through.” Ejeta said after he finished grade school, thefutureofhiseducationwasuncertain.The nearesthighschoolwasalmost80milesfrom his home. “My family would either have to move, which would be very difficult, or I would have to find some way of supporting myself to get a high school education,”Ejeta said.“In those days in Ethiopia, once you finishedeighthgradeyoutookanational exam, and the top students would get to choose schools that they wanted to go to.” Because he performed well on his national exam, Ejeta was able to choosewhichofEthiopia’sfourboarding schools he wanted to attend. The school he was most interested in attendingwasJimmaAgriculturalTechnical School, established by OSU and by President Harry S. Truman’s Point Four Program. “I had heard about the reputation of the school and so I chose that as my No. 1 choice,” Ejeta said. “Fortunately for me, I was able to attend it.” PortersaidJATSwouldseekoutthe top students in the country, like Ejeta, and fund their education. The school alsoprovidedhousingandclothingfor thestudents.EjetasaidmovingtoJimmawasthemosttransformativepartof Top: Purdue University professor Gebisa Ejeta exam- his life. Before he attended JATS, he ines a stalk of hybrid sorghum. Above: Gebisa Ejeta facedtheprobabilityofstarvationand checks a sorghum field. scarcity of housing. COURTESY OF WORLD FOOD PRIZE FOUNDATION

Withnobustocatchandnobike to ride, Gebisa Ejeta was forced to walkmorethan12milestothenearest elementaryschooleachSundayevening. He would not return to the comfort of his family’sEthiopianmud-floorhutuntilFriday. Decadeslater,thosedustyfootstepspaid off as Ejeta won the World Food Prize, agriculture’s equivalent to the Nobel Prize. BeforeEjetadevelopedhispassionforscienceandresearch,hebattledthehardshipsof povertyinasmallfarmingcommunityincentral Ethiopia. Ejetasaidhismother,althoughshewasilliterate, believed in the value of education. “ShemademebelievethatIcouldachieve thingsthatIwanted,andsheencouragedme to do that as a child,” Ejeta said. “And not knowinganybetter,Ijustlistenedtowhatmy mother told me.” “I grew up poor in a very small village,”

6 CJ | summer • fall

Jeffory Hattey, OSU professor of soil science,saidstudentsreceivedvocationaltraining at JATS and students who excelled were offered an opportunity to attend college.

As a result of his performance at JATS,

Ejeta attended Alemaya University. Like JATS, Alemaya University is located in EthiopiaandwasestablishedbythePointFourProgram and OSU. Ejeta obtained his bachelor’s degree in 1973 from Alemaya University.Then his Alemaya adviser introduced him to John Axtell, a Purdue University professor who became Ejeta’s longtime mentor.The duoworked togethercollectingsorghumspeciesaroundthe world,withEjetalateracceptingapositionin Axtell’s graduate program at Purdue. “At Alemaya, my mentor was very instrumental, and then I came to grad school and worked for John Axtell, who is an incredible humanbeing,”Ejetasaid.“Onceyougettothe stage I’m at after 35 years in the profession, I lookbackandthereareindeedsomekeyindividualswhomadeagreat,greatdifferencein my life, and I am very grateful for that.”

Ejeta received his master’s and doc-

toraldegreesinplantbreedingandgenetics from Purdue in 1976 and 1978, respectively. While in graduate school at Purdue, Ejeta’s African home became a war zone and he was unable to return to his native country for nearly a quarter century. “The biggest problem, of course, is you have a love for your country like everybody else,butwearehumanbeings,sothegreater connection is with your family,” Ejeta said. “Not being able to see your parents is very emotionally difficult. When I went back nearly 24 years later, I did not know anybody youngerthan30yearsold,andthat’stoomuch of a punishment for anyone to have.” Ejetasaidhehadtomakeadjustmentsand move on. He refused to dwell on the past. “The culture evolves, and in making true connectionsyouneverreallygobacktowhat you left behind,” Ejeta said.


“As scientists, we mea-

sure things — how many publications, how many grant dollars — and that’s how you get ahead of the game in science,” Porter said. “Ejeta is accomplished across the board.” Porter said the other side of science is overall impact. “Thesciencepartofit—newdiscoveries, the journal articles, the money, all of that — is great, but what has it done for mankind in general?” Porter said. “What Ejeta has been abletodo,whichmostofourcontemporaries

President Harry S. Truman appointed Oklahoma State University President Henry G. Bennett as the firstchiefexecutiveofficerofthePointFourProgram. “Dr. Bennett went over and helped establish the Point Four, and the Point Four Program impacted a lot of people,”said Jeffory Hattey, OSU professor of soil science. “If you really look at it, the Point Four Program did what it was designed to do — it was designedsothattheUnitedStateswouldgoinandhelp educateapartofthepopulationofEthiopiawiththe idea that at some point in time they would take over theirowneducationalprogramsandcontinuetoeducate their population.” Hattey said when the Point Four Program was firstestablished,notasingleEthiopianwasinvolved in agriculture with a bachelor’s degree. “There were some involved but they were foreign,”Hattey said.“Literally, no one had a bachelor’s degree, and they were making decisions about the country’s agricultural programs.” Hattey said at the end of 1968, the year when OSU and the United States turned over the operation of the schools to Ethiopia, the United States and OSU knew exactly where all but 40 of nearly 300 graduates were. “They knew many of them had moved into the ministry of agriculture with bachelor’s degrees,andtheyknewhowmanyofthemwentontograduateschoolsoutsideofthecountry like Dr. [Gebisa] Ejeta did,” Hattey said. Hattey said a big part of Ejeta’s story is the impact the Point Four Program has continued to make throughout the generations. “YouhaveDr.BennettwhoreallyinvestedinDr.Ejeta’sgenerationandnow[Ejeta]wants to be sure and leave an impact for the next generation,” Hattey said. JOHNSON

During Ejeta’s time away from Africa, he performedgroundbreakingresearchwithsorghum.Through his research, Ejeta created a drought-tolerantsorghumhybrid,specifically for Africa, in 1983. In the 1990s, he created a newvarietyofsorghumresistanttotheparasitic weed striga. Striga,commonlyknownaswitchweed,is detrimental to the growth of the food crops in Africa and can cause a limited availability of food. Although Ejeta’s research hasbeenmonumentalforfarmers in Africa, he said he did not intend to make sorghum his focus.Ithappenedbyaccident. “I’m a native of Ethiopia, and sorghum was not an important crop in my region where I grew up, but it was an important crop for the country,” Ejeta said. “When I got to college, my first job was with acropimprovementprogram, and the crop I was assigned to wassorghum.Thenmyinterest inthe cropcontinuedtogrow.” PortersaidEjeta’sextensive research has helped increase the productivity of sorghum farmersinAfricaandhassaved countless lives. Twodifferentperspectives existregardingscienceandresearch, Porter said.

cowboyjournal.okstate.edu | CJ 7


Ejeta is continuing his research, now

incorporating his findings into maize. Ejeta saidmaize,likesorghum,doesnothavestrong striga resistance. “Weworkedwithoneoftheinternational agencies,andusingthemethodologyweused for sorghum, we were able to identify striga resistance in maize and characterize that for them,”Ejeta said.“That’s exciting — how the workwe’vedonewithonecropwecantransfer to another with relative ease and make a contribution that way.” Ejeta also contributes to the world of sciencebyeducatingtheyoungmindsofhisstudents at Purdue. He joined the staff in 1984 andnowholdsadistinguishedprofessorship. Ejeta said he is proud of using the notion

ofresearchfordevelopmentandservinghumanity to influence his graduate students. Ejetasaidhehopeshisgraduatestudents take the key aspect of science at which they excelandmakethemselvesthebestscientists theycanbe.Atthesametime,hesaidhehopes they use their research to serve humanity. “When the World Food Prize award came around and they identified the actual research that we had done, it was a pleasant surprise,”Ejetasaid.“Butinmyview,influencingtheyoungergenerationtoservehumanitythroughagriculturalsciencestotheextent thatIhavechangedmindsisthemostsatisfying thing I have done.”

ab out the author Amanda Brandyberry, a Kansas native, grew up on a diversified organic farm. She will complete her degree in agricultural communications in December. She enjoys graphic design and layout and hopes to pursue a career in a related creative field.

COURTESY OF TOM CAMPBELL

inplantsciencecan’tclaim,ishisworkhas actually saved millions of lives. “That’s an impact you can’t just put a numberto,butit’sthemostimportantimpact anyone could have,” Porter said. For his global impact, Ejeta earned the World Food Prize in 2009. This international award recognizes individuals who have increasedthequality,quantityoravailabilityof food in the world.

Gebisa Ejeta (fourth from left) joins his team.

Gebisa Ejeta was an avid basketball player and a member of Ethiopia’s national team. The uniforms his team wore in college read“AGGIES”across the chest. Oklahoma State University provided equipment for AlemayaUniversity.AlthoughEjetanolonger plays, he said he still enjoys the sport. “I remember when I came back on faculty in 1984 and I kept going to the gym and I was playing basketball,”Ejeta said.“As I got older I got injured a lot and so one of those days my wife said,‘You know even the pros retire at your age.’ “So, I hung it up and started following my children’s athletics,” Ejeta said.

www.ruralroutecreations.com

Web design • Ad layout • Catalogs • Photos • Video

8 CJ | summer • fall

Cassie Bacon 479-957-1787 cassie@ruralroutecreations.org


TAME THE

http://agweather.mesonet.org 405-325-3126 Product of the Oklahoma Mesonet, a cooperative venture between OSU and OU

www.okpork.org Partially funded by America’s Pork Checkoff Program and Oklahoma Pork Producers


OK Feedlot to the Great Wall The steaks served in Bejing, China, may soon come from ranches in Oklahoma. “China’s appetite for United States beef is growing at a long-term trend rate that isunparalleledbyanyothermajorconsuming market,” said Brad Morgan, Oklahoma State University animal science professor. In 2009, the United States exported 7.3 percent of the beef it produced. Of the top beef export markets, China was not on the list. However,Morgansaidthatmightsoonchange. “China is the new frontier,” said Derrell Peel, OSU agricultural economics professor. “While China has production potential, the fooddemandoutweighsitsabilitytoproduce.” China has not produced beef for long. Because China’s beef production infrastructure is less than 10 years old, its beef industry has structural problems, Morgan said. “Beef is not a commodity that is traditional to the Chinese, like pork or poultry,” said Kevin Smith, U.S. Meat Export Federation assistantdirectorofexportservices.“Theinvestmentininfrastructureandtechnologysimply hasn’thappenedfortheChinesebeefindustry like it has for pork and poultry.” China’slivestockproducersareaccustomed totheshortproductioncyclesandhighprofitsof thepoultryandswineindustries.Incomparison, the beef industry is unappealing, Morgan said. With more than 1.3 billion people, China lacks the resources necessary to produce the amount of beef that one of the world’s most

highlypopulatedcountrieswouldneed,Morgan said. InChina,cattleareraisedinprogramsthat donotfocusonsuperiorgeneticsornutrition, Smith said. They also do not devote land to grain production, making beef production more difficult. Almost all the corn and soybeansusedinChinaareimported,causingfeed costs to be extremely high, Smith said. The same is true for Japan, the United States’ No. 3 beef export country. “ImaginesurroundingMontanawithwater andthenfillingitwithhalfoftheUnitedStates’ population,”Morgansaid.“That’sJapan.There just isn’t enough room to produce cattle.” The United States can produce the cattle andshipboxedbeeftoChinaorJapancheaper than these Asian countries can produce their own, Morgan said. “Wehavethenaturalresourcesandpeople wholove thecattle industry to produce highquality beef,” Morgan said. Gregg Doud, chief economist for the NationalCattleman’sBeefAssociation,saidheis optimistic about the future of the beef industry and its exports, which have been hurting sincethefirstbovinespongiformencephalopathy outbreak in December 2003. “Beef exports to China are growing at an accelerating rate and should exceed pre-BSE levels in 2010,” Doud said. According to the NCBA, the best action toincreaseproducers’bottomlinesinthelong term is to increase foreign consumption.

“Wehavetogetadditionaldemandforbeef from consumers who live outside the United States,” Doud said. However, beef served in the United States is not realistic for every country, Morgan said. “You can’t expect a Chinese businessman sitting at a white tablecloth restaurant to like the same steak as the businessman sitting in Houston,” Morgan said. “It’s just unrealistic.” Chinaonlyproduces25percentofthebeef it consumes, so Morgan, along with the U.S. Meat Export Federation, is working to ensure U.S. beef is appealing in Chinese markets. Morgan works with taste panels fromTaiwan,KoreaandJapantodeterminewhatthey likeanddislikeaboutbeefproducts.Inanother project, he injects meat with Vitamin E to maintainitsbright,cherry-redcolor.Thismeat will be displayed at theWorld Food Expo in Japan, which up to 30,000 people attend daily. Morgan’s data will determine if the Chinese seek color quality when purchasing beef. However, Morgan’s work alone is not enough because the export market does not rely solely on the slaughter and packing segment of the industry. “Producers need to realize that the export marketiswheretherealgrowthopportunities lie,” Smith said. While the poor economy has helped the United States become more export-minded, each segment of the industry has improvements to make, Morgan said. “Exportingrequirestheactualexportersto work closely with the feedlots, seedstock operators,cow-calfoperatorsandanimal-health companiestomakesuretheneedsoftheinternational customers are met,” Smith said. With collaboration from all segments of the beef industry, Oklahoma beef could be in worldwide demand, Morgan said.

ISTOCK

ab out the author

10 CJ | summer • fall

Katie Allen grew up on a diversified livestock operation near Edna, Kan. She came to OSU to earn her degree in agricultural communications and animal science. She now is pursuing her master’s degree in agricultural communications at Texas Tech University.


S

Six Oklahoma State University Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrowmembersspenttheirspring break“northoftheborder”learningabout agriculture through an exchange program with the University of Guelph ACT. “The Canada ACT chapter is trying to rebuild its program,”said Amanda Brodhagen, president of CanACT. “I went to the Agricultural Media Summit in Ft. Worth with this idea and approached

COURTESY OF OSU ACT

several different ACT chapters but fell in love with the people from OSU,” she said. The Canadians were excited when OSU agreed to do the exchange, Brodhagen said. OSU’s ACT began planning for the Canadian visitors at the first executive meeting inAugust2009.KristaAnderson,agricultural communicationssenior,saiditwaseasyfinding places for the Canadians to visit. “The OSU ACT executive team wanted the Canadian students to get a real feel for Oklahoma,”Anderson said.“They saw everythingfromthe Express Ranches to Marland Mansion to Oklahoma City’s Bricktown. We had so many things we wantedthemtosee, but we didn’t have enoughtimetotake them everywhere.” In addition to sightseeing, Canada ACT members spent their spring break in Oklahoma learning about the state’s agricultural sector, visiting the OSU campus, and networking with communications professionals. “Communications is an important part of the agricultural indusOSU ACT members (clockwise from left) Elizabeth Golliver, Suzanne try, ” said Rebecca Simpson, Krista Anderson, Mattie Nutley, Stephanie Bowen and Megan Hannam, UoG agMcCool visit Canada during spring break. ricultural business

12 CJ | summer • fall

sophomore.“Thisopportunityallowedusto learn about the differences in Oklahoma agriculture and Canadian agriculture and take backwhatwehavelearnedandapplyittoour everyday lives.” As a part of their trip, the students experiencedOklahomafoodatfamousrestaurants: Head Country Bar-B-Q Restaurant, Cattlemen’s Steak House, Eskimo Joe’s, Hideaway Pizza, and Toby Keith’s Bar and Grill. “My favorite food was the lamb fries at Cattlemen’s Steakhouse,” Hannam said. “Lambfriesarenotsomethingthatwouldbe found in Canada.” What could be found in Canada later that semester were OSU ACT members during their spring break. “The timing was great,”Anderson said.“It wasagreatwaytospendspringbreakandwas agreatopportunityIwon’tbeabletohaveafter I graduate.” Anderson said her favorite part of the trip to Guelph, Ontario, was the new perspective,friendshipsandcontactsshemadewhile studying abroad. “Networkingandperspectiveiskeyinour industry,”Anderson said.“Being from a place other than Oklahoma, I understand the benefitsofanewperspectiveandhowproducers interact with the general public.” Tanner Robertson, OSU ACT co-adviser, alsosaidthistripofferedallparticipatingstudents new ideas and outlooks. “This type of exchange allowed our studentsandtheCanadianstudentstoseeapart of North America and experience a part of agriculture they may have not seen before,” Robertsonsaid.“Itprovidedachancetoexperienceculturalsimilaritiesanddifferencesand get engaged in that culture.” David Henneberry, director of the OSU College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural


“There is no substitute for the real world,” said Kuzmic, who has led a study-abroad trip to Honduras for 11 years. “There is only so much I can teach in a classroom. When students get off campus, out of Stillwater, out of thecountry,thelearningpossibilitiesareendless. Learning about your career is good, but knowing about the world is imperative.” Henneberry said studying abroad helps prepare students for the future. “Studyabroadisanexpansiveexperience that prepares an individual for a career in the 21st century,” Henneberry said. “Our world is increasingly globalized, and every CASNR graduateneedstoprepareforworkinamulticultural, global economy.” Resources International Agricultural Programs,saidspringbreaktraditionallyhasbeen atimetodosomethinguniquelydifferentand challenging for students. “The study-abroad courses offered by CASNR were created to provide a suitable background on agriculture and culture of a particularcountry,withthestudentsgaining experiencesthataretransferabletoothersituationstheymayencounter,”Henneberrysaid. Thomas Kuzmic, professor in natural resourcesecologyandmanagement,saidstudyingabroadinaspecificdisciplineisimportant.

ab out the author Brenna Dee Davis grew up on a family farm near Minco, Okla. She came to OSU as a freshman to earn her degree in agricultural communications with a minor in agricultural economics. She enjoys photography and working with youth in agriculture.

The Oklahoma State University College of AgriculturalSciencesandNaturalResources International Agricultural Programs officecoordinatesopportunitiesforstudents tolearnacrossthestateline,theU.S.border or the ocean. In 2008-2009, CASNR offered 19 study-abroadoptions.Themostcommon programs are short-term and are led by OSU faculty. “Study-abroadtripscommonlyaretakeninthesummer,”saidDavidHenneberry, director of OSU CASNR International AgriculturalPrograms.“However,students enjoy spending their winter and spring breaks in other countries.” The OSU Study Abroad Office offers scholarshipsforitsstudy-abroadprograms. SAO scholarships are available on a firstcome-first-serve basis to OSU students. “The $500 scholarship is a one-time awardforundergraduatestudents,”Henneberrysaid.“Totalcostfortripsvarydepending on location, but it can be a significant reduction in the total cost of a trip.” For more information about studyabroadopportunities,visitsois.okstate.edu.

Building Men for more than a Century

Far m House

Builder of Men

Scholarship Cup: Best Grades Among Fraternities 76 of the last 82 years Thomas Keys Most Outstanding Pledge Class 24 of the last 29 years Darrel ‘Dean’ Troxel Outstanding Fraternity 35 of the last 41 years Seven alumni studying at the OSU Center for Health Sciences 12 Seniors of Significance for 2009-2010 2010 Outstanding Campus Involvement 2010 Outstanding Campus Relations

Contact FHRush@hotmail.com www.FHOSU.com


Y

“Yes, this is Gene. No, I haven’t seenTysincethismorning.I’moutat the site right now.” As he hangs up the phone, Gene McKownsurveysthesightsandsoundsaround him. Cement trucks rumble past, filled to the brim with their heavy loads. John Deere Gators whiz by laden with wooden beams andmiscellaneousbuildingmaterials.Workersbustleabout,shoutingtoheareachother above the clamor of it all. While these activities are commonplace 14 CJ | summer • fall

for the Oklahoma State University alumnus’ constructionsites,conditionsthisafternoon are far from perfect. Recent snow accumulation and rainfall have turned an already near-impossible task for Gene’s co-founded company, Ideal Homes of Norman, Okla., into a homebuilder’s worst nightmare. ThesoppinglandscapethatFebruaryday wouldhavebroughtanynormallyscheduled homeconstructiontoahalt,butIdealHomes’ employeesdidnothavetheluxuryofwaiting for sunny skies. ABC’s “Extreme Makeover:

Home Edition” had selected an Oklahoma family as the recipient of its next project, and IdealHomesacceptedthechallengeoffinishing the new residence in a week’s time. “Itwasa‘feel-good’deal,”Genesaidabout his company’s acceptance of the project. True to all“Extreme Makeover”cases, the chosen Oklahoma family faced hardships. Brian and Audra Skaggs lived on a Limousin cattle farm in Lexington, Okla., where they were raising their 3-year-old son, Jhett, and 6-year-old daughter, Merit. Jhett received a


ILLUSTRATION BY LEAH KUEHN

hearttransplantatjust10monthsofage, and the moldy conditions of their home posed a significant risk to his weakened, unstable immune system. Gene met with Jhett and his family before the“Makeover”project, which began Feb. 1, to help identify the Skaggs’ specificneeds.Asidefrombeingaformer premier breeder of Limousin cattle himself,GenesaidyoungJhett’scharismaand charm captured his heart. “The little boy, you could put him on

a Gerber food bottle,”Gene said.“I mean, he is really cute.” Gene was not the sole influence behind Ideal Homes’decision to help the Oklahoma family. His partners — son Vernon McKown and his college friend Todd Booze — cofoundedthenownationallyacclaimedbusiness in 1990. “It really was a fun project for us,”Vernon said after the house’s completion. Thetrio’spartnershipreachesbacktothe younger partners’ university days. “My two partners built their first houses thesecondsemesteroftheirsenioryearofcollege,”Genesaid.“So,they’vecuttheirteethon the business. “They’ve been in it all their adult lives.” After attending OSU for a year and a half, Vernon transferred to the University of Oklahoma tobegin working inrealestate with his father.Todd metVernon while he was working with a homebuilder for whom Vernon happened to be selling houses. “[Gene,Vernon and I] just came together and decided we were going to give it a shot and see how it went,” Todd said.

The three men’s initial partnership

expanded during the course of 20 years into a17-locationconglomeratethatemploys100 people.Thecompanyextendeditsreacheven farther this January by opening a site in Stillwater, Okla., selling 10 homes within its first few weeks of operation. In accordance with its mission to “build quality, affordable homes today and tomorrow,” Ideal Homes has acquired accolades

for its innovative efforts in the homebuilding industry. The National Association of Homebuilderspresentedthecompanywith the Gold National Housing Quality Award in 2005. Then the National Association of HomebuildersandBuilderMagazinenamed Ideal Homes America’s Best Builder in 2007, andProfessionalBuilder magazineawarded the business Builder of the Year in 2010. “I don’t take any of the credit for those awards,”Gene said.“My two young partners are really active.” Gene attributes the chance to work with thehome-makeoverprojecttohiscompany’s awards.Hesaid“ExtremeMakeover”contactedIdealHomesbecauseofitsrecognition,especiallyforitspioneeringworkinpromoting energy efficiency among homebuilders. “My son flies all over America, encouraging people to build their houses more energy efficient,” Gene said. “We built the first Healthy House in America. We built the first Leed-certified house in Oklahoma. We built the first affordable Energy Star house in America. We have led the field in trying to convert builders to build a super energyefficient house. “Ourcompanywrotethelawthatprovides builders the tax credits to try to improve the qualityoftheirhousesandgetthemmoreenergy efficient.” TheSkaggsfamilyhasseenfirsthandIdeal Homes’pursuit to“provide quality and innovation in the affordable marketplace.”Their newhomeisequippedwithenergy-efficient systemssuchasgeothermalheatingandcooling and a fresh-air ventilation system. cowboyjournal.okstate.edu | CJ 15


“This family will be able to live in this house—totalelectric—foraboutahundred dollars a month for heating and cooling,” Gene said.

While real estatehasbeenGene’sway

of life for the past 41 years, his native roots trace back into the agricultural heartbeat of Oklahoma to his parents’ small dairy farm outside of Ardmore. “We had all the food we could eat and all the love we needed,” Gene said of his childhood home. Gene’s upbringing allowed him to be active in the livestock sector from an early age. 16 CJ | summer • fall

COURTESY OF AUDRA SKAGGS

Above: Television star Ty Pennington (left) visited Oklahoma this February to help build a customized home for Audra, Merit, Jhett and Brian Skaggs of Lexington. Below: “The Bachelorette’s” Jillian Harris and “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’s” Michael Moloney entertain reporters while waiting to welcome home the Skaggs family.

effortshavebeenequippedwiththebesttoday’s market has to offer in terms of innovations in homebuilding – accompanied by a few special touches. The Skaggses saw the fruits of the company’s labors upon the unveilingoftheir2,700-square-footsanctuary, with customized features including: • a crafty, “coloring book” room for daughter, Merit — complete with a headboard made of crayons and a gi ant interactive coloring book; • a dinosaur-themed room for son, Jhett — decorated with prehistoric landscape murals and a green dino- saur bed; and • modern ranch-themed architecture and décor. TheSkaggsfamilyexpressedanappreciationforthoseinvolvedinthebuildingoftheir new home. Hestartedshowingpigsatage8andclaimed a 4-H district championship with his steer when he was 9. Alongsideshowinghisownanimals,Gene provedanablejudgelaterinhisadolescence as he won the NationalWestern Stock Show livestock judging contest in Denver, Colo., when he was 18. “I’vejustalwaysbeenaroundthelivestock deal,” Gene said. True to his background, Gene carried his animalinterestintothecollegiatescene.After attendingSoutheasternOklahomaStateUniversity in Durant, Okla., the first semester of his freshman year, he finished an animal sci-

KUEHN

Celebrities, including “The Bachelorette’s” Jillian Harris and music sensation Xzibit, as well as locals gathered along a country road outside of Slaughterville, Okla., on Feb. 7 to welcome home the recipients of “Extreme Makeover:HomeEdition’s”localproject.The crowdenduredbone-chillingtemperatures andspatteringdrizzleforseveralhoursjustto seethefamilymembers’reactionsuponseeing their new home. Beforethemassesgatheredthemselveson theproject’sfinalday,IdealHomes’employees workedtirelesslythroughoutamud-sodden, 106-hour week to ensure Brian, Audra, Merit andJhettSkaggsreceivedalltheycouldwish for and more. Thecompanybeganitsundertakingright after 8 inches of snow and 2 inches of ice covering the area began to melt. Ideal Homes President of Construction Todd Booze said 1,500tonsofgravelwashauledinjusttobuild aroadtothehomesite,andconstructionwas 24 hours behind schedule on day three. Whileadverseconditionslentenoughdifficultytotheproject,additionalobstaclesinvolvedwithdeliveringthenewhomestarted priortoconstruction.Uponagreeingtocomplete the project with “Extreme Makeover,” IdealHomesonlyhadfiveweekstomakenecessary plans and preparation. “Atonepointweactuallythoughtthiswas goingtobeeasy,”saidVernonMcKown,Ideal Homes’presidentandchiefexecutiveofficer. Vernonsaidthecompanythoughtitcould complete the project in about 96 hours prior to Mother Nature taking her course. In the end, the recipients of Ideal Homes’

“Thankyoujustdoesn’tevenseemlikean appropriate word to me,” Audra said. AmorecompleteviewofIdealHomes’buildingprocessandthehouse’sspecialfeatureswas included in the episode’s March 14 airing on ABC. To learn more about “Extreme Makeover”projects,nominateafamily,orviewthe episode guide, visit abc.go.com. encedegreeinfouryearsatOklahomaState’s main campus in Stillwater. “Back then, that was the proper thing to do,”Gene said.“If you didn’t make the Dean’s Honor Roll with 15 or 18 hours, you weren’t a good student.” The combination of college and agriculture led Gene to meet his wife, Judy, on a trip to a national 4-H club conference. At the time, Gene still was attending Southeastern and Judy was an OSU student. “We met on the train going to Chicago in November, and he transferred to OSU in January,” Judy said. Gene and Judy dated for two years while


formingtaskshehadduringthebeginningof non as president and chief executive officer, his career, like hosting open houses on Sun- Todd as president of construction, and Gene days. Judy also acquired a job in Oklahoma as president of land development. State’sStudentUniontohelpeasetheirfinancial burdens. Gene has credited his“unbelievable “We just started working a day at a time, success”with his company during the last 23 anditstartedturningbackaround,”Judysaid. years to being blessed. “Youjustcontinuetowork,dothebasics,and But becoming a leader in his industry has don’t worry about the end results.” entailed more than luck. SoonafterJudy “I’ve read more secured her posi- I’d saved $10 million by the time I books since I got out of tion, Gene began collegethanIeverread was 40, and I went bankrupt at 44. while I was in college,” searchingforanew — Gene McKown owner for their Gene said. “I read at struggling busileast a book a quarter ness. Judy said she encouraged him to do so andsometimesoneamonth.Whatever’sthe because of his reputation as a smart and tal- No. 1 book in America on business, I read it.” ented businessman. Gene’sdedicationtosavvybusinesspracThe first person Gene called ended up tices has paid off. Gene said Ideal Homes has buying the company. continuedtosurviveinanerawherethetotal JudysaidwhenVernonandTodddecided market for homes in the Oklahoma City metto join forces with Gene at Ideal Homes, they ropolitanareahasdroppedfrom7,500houses cameinwiththeenthusiasm,energyandnew annually to 3,500. ideasnecessarytopullthecompanyoutofits “We’vehad,thispastyear,theworstrecesexisting slump. sion in 70 years, but Ideal Homes has had one “I don’t think we would be ofourmostsuccessfulyearsinabout20years,” where we are without those Gene said. two,” Judy said. Gene said he is sad to attribute the majorIdealHomeshassince ity of their success to the loss of more than developed into its cur- 100competingcompanies.Hesaidthosewho rent thriving state. didn’t have adequate capital to survive this The three owners downturn are now out of business. havebuiltthemselves As a man who has overcome all adversity upfromgroundlevel tothepositionsthey Gene and Judy McKown, together now for 45 years, both graduated from OSU. now hold — Ver-

KUEHN

atOklahoma Statebeforegetting married in 1965. Shortly thereafter in 1969, the McKowns then decided to enter the business of building houses. “When we started in real estate, we had five sales associates, and I was the secretary,” Judy said. Within10years,thecouplehadexpanded theircompany’sbeginningnumbersintothree officesemploying105salespeople.Theythen soldthebusinessintheearly1980s.Butwhen the Oil Bust hit the state, Gene and Judy felt its economic blow right along with their fellow Oklahomans. “I’d saved $10 million by the time I was 40, and I went bankrupt at 44,” Gene said. Judydescribedthenextfiveyearsas“traumatic”for her family. During that period, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and both her mother and Gene’s father died. In addition, the couple’s sons, Vernon and Richard, left for college and those who bought their business went bankrupt, returning to them one site with 24 employees. “I couldn’t wait to turn 50,” Judysaid,laughing.“The 40s were the pits!” Judy said Gene met the adversity head-on by per-


ab out the author Leah Kuehn grew up on a family farm outside of Sidney, Neb. She came to OSU in 2006 to earn her degree in animal science and agricultural communications and ride for the equestrian team. Leah is pursuing an MBA at the University of Denver.

KUEHN

lain before him to follow his passion, Gene now offers a word of advice to OklahomaStategraduatespreparingforentranceinto today’s business scene. “It’s a big world, and you can do anything in life you want to do,” Gene said. Alongwithchasinghisdreamsandsecuring financial success, Gene has managed to keep his company true to its owners’values. Judy said the company’s recent“makeover” projectfortheSkaggseswasawaytogiveback to the community. “Wealwayshavebelievedverystronglyin citizenship,” Judy said about her and Gene. “What we just got done doing with‘Extreme Homes,’ that’s citizenship.”

Audra Skaggs expresses her appreciation to Ideal Homes’ owners Gene McKown (left) and Todd Booze at the unveiling of her family’s home on Feb. 7. The Skaggses returned to Oklahoma after being sent to vacation at Walt Disney World during the home’s construction.


The mission of Annie’s Project is to empowerfarmwomentobebetterbusinesspartners through networking and by managing and organizing critical information. “Itisaseriesofworkshopsatthelocallevel with small groups of 10 to 20 people,”Doye said.“Smallgroupsarebydesigntoencourage interaction among participants.”

The program is comprised of six ses-

sions with classes meeting weekly for three hours.Avarietyofworkshopsarepresentedin eachsession.Someoftheworkshopsinvolve speakersfromthecommunitywhosharetheir expertiserelatingtobusinessandtheagricultural industry. The participants take personality tests to learn about their personality style, said Bill Burton, northeast district area agricultural economicsspecialist.Thewomenareencouragedtohavetheirspousesandbusinesspartners take the tests, also. “We have talked to them about how certainpersonalitytypesdon’tcommunicatewell with other personality types,”Burton said.“If youunderstandwhattypeyourpersonalityis, then you can do a better job with that.” Theparticipantsalsolearnaboutproperty ownershipandbasicestateplanning,saidSandra Drummond, who participated in Annie’s

DOYE

Annette “Annie” Kohlhagen Fleckdreamedofmarryingafarmer and spending her life on the farm. As a businesspartnerwithherhusband,sheenduredthreegenerationslivingunderthesame roof,lowprofitabilityandchangesinfarmoperations and regulations. Shekeptthoroughrecords,whichsheused tomaketoughfinancialdecisions,including sendingherhusbandtoanoff-farmjobwhile shemanagedthefarm.Eventually,herrecords ledthefamilytoleasingitslandtootherfarmerswhohadmoreequipmentandresourcesto manage the farm efficiently. Now, Annie’s legacy lives on in Annie’s Project.Annie’sProjectprovidesanopportunity for women to learn basic farm and ranch management skills as well as form a network of contacts. “Annie’sProjectisaneducationalprogram focusedonfarmandfamilymanagementfor women in agriculture,” said Damona Doye, OklahomaStateUniversityregentsprofessor andextensionfarmmanagementspecialist. Ruth Hambleton, Annie’s daughter, founded Annie’s Project in February 2003 in Illinois through a U. S. Department of Agriculturegrantforunderservedaudiences.OSU beganAnnie’sProjectin2007andisoneof19 states hosting the program.

Jeff Bedwell (back left) and Rodney Jones (back right) assist Garfield County participants with computer skills and software programs during the hands-on computer class. 20 CJ | summer • fall

Project in Osage County during fall 2009. Thewomenalsolearnbusinessfinancialmanagementanddiscovermanagementtoolsto use in their operations. “Ilearnedalotaboutinsurance,settingup wills and trusts to be the most beneficial to futuregenerations,andbudgeting,”saidSara Hainzinger, a fall 2009 Osage County participant.“Mostofthesetopicswereintimidating tomeinthepast,soIappreciatedhavingseveralhoursofface-to-facetimewithanexpert to explain things and answer questions.” Becky Schnaithman, a fall 2008 Garfield County participant, said she learned more about the farm record keeping and budgets andhowtoincorporatethoseintoheroverall farm plan. “Besides introducing the Quicken program, they also helped us with OSU EnterpriseBudgetsoftwaretohelpdetermineour financialinputsandoutputsinourcommodityoperationsbymeasuringourranchfinancial performance,” Drummond said. Schnaithman said they worked through scenariosontheQuickenprogramthatwere helpfulbecausemanyofthemappliedtotheir farm operations. “I have also talked with our accountant andsetupabetterrecord-keepingsystemto help with taxes,” Hainzinger said.

Doye said the women gain confidence

inmanagementskills,learnnewthingsabout programs,andbecomefamiliarwithlocalresourcesintermsofthepeopleandprograms. “Probably,thingstheyvaluemostaregettingtoknowbetterotherpeoplelocallywho areinsimilarsituationsandbeingabletoconnectwithpeoplewhohavesimilarlifeexperiences,” Doye said. Hainzinger said the skills she learned in theprogramhavebenefitedherininsurance and accounting decisions. “Since participating in Annie’s Project, I have met with our insurance agent and updatedthingsonourranchpolicythatIhadn’t realized weren’t previously covered,”Hainzinger said.


“The program costs $50, and par-

ticipants receive copies of OSU Enterprise BudgetspreadsheetsandIntegratedFarmand Financial Statements software, which combined are worth about $300,” Doye said. Hainzinger, Drummond and Schnaithmansaidtheyenjoyedtheexperienceandrecommendallagriculturalwomenparticipatein the program.

Annie’sProjecthassixsessionswitheachcontainingtwoorthreeworkshops.

COURTESY OF KOHLHAGEN FAMILY

Hainzinger said she is using the knowledgeandskillsshelearnedtoworkonagrant tobuildahuntingcabinonherfamily’sproperty. She said she hopes to have the project completed before the next deer season. Drummond said her favorite experience withtheprogramwas“seeingthoselight-bulb momentsamongtheparticipants”asthey related the subject with their own issues. “I’ve been the sole operator of our familyranchsincemyhusband’suntimely death in 1987,” Drummond said. “The first few years, I went to every producer meeting I could find in this area to learn and stay on top of my personal business andlivestockneedsrelatingtotheindustry. So, I was very aware as others grasped the ideas being presented.” Drummond said the program has madehermoreconfidentandrecharged herattitudetobemoreopentootherideas and options. Schnaithman said the program has madehermoresupportiveoftheagricultural sector and more excited about the future of agriculture. “I’m a more supportive partner, and I’m more involved now in the farming decisions,asaresultoftheeducationprovided,” Schnaithman said. Doyesaidagriculturalwomenwhoare interested in participating in Annie’s Project shouldcalltheirlocalcountycooperativeextensioneducator.Thecountyextensioneducatoradvertisestheprogramthroughvarious avenues such as e-mail, county cooperative extensionnewsletters,localnewspapers,brochures and local businesses.

Annette Kohlhagen Fleck

Session One • Personality tests • Interpersonal communication skills • Family and business management Session Two • Family financial management • Farm business planning and management • Legal issues Session Three • Insurance basics • Financial statements • Budgets Session Four • Crop marketing • Livestock marketing • Alternative enterprises • Estate planning Session Five • Hands-on computer software tools • OSU Enterprise Budget software • Quicken software • IntegratedFarmFinancialStatementssoftware Session Six • Participants’ choice

“It was a lot of fun,” Hainzinger said. “I encourageeverywomaninvolvedinranching to take it.” Schnaithman said Annie’s Project is a greateducationalprogramforfarmwomen. She said the information and support group she gained from it are really special. “Many women who are involved in productionagriculturedosowiththeirhusbands, andunlesstheyalsohaveanagriculturalbackground, they are usually not involved in the day-to-day operations,” Drummond said. “Family responsibilities are their forte. “Things are changing. I’ve seen it the last 20 years, and men are more responsive to input from their wives. Women need to be

involvedandlearnhowtohelpkeeptheoperation financially sound for the benefit of all.”

ab out the author Michelle Jones grew up on a farm outside Medford, Okla. She came to OSU to earn her degree in animal science and agricultural communications with a minor in agricultural economics. She enjoys singing, reading and taking photos. cowboyjournal.okstate.edu | CJ 21


COURTESY OF ASHLAND LAB

The Wild Side of C Wildlife forensic science is a developing field on the cutting edge of conservation and ecology Dimfluorescentlightsreflectoff coldstainlesssteeldécor.Amiddleagedscientistpeers down at the body on the table with a puzzled frown. Youexpecttoheartheresoundingchords of the “CSI” theme song, but this is not the glamorousNewYork,MiamiorLasVegassetting of a high-stakes crime drama. InthepicturesquemountaintownofAshland, Ore., home of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife ServiceForensicsLaboratory,thebodyonthe table is a leather purse made from an endangered sea turtle. 22 CJ | summer • fall

The wildlife forensic scientist staring downattheillegalfashionaccessoryistasked with proving the bag’s sea turtle origins through an eclectic mixture of DNA fingerprinting,morphologicalanalysisandmolecular genetics. Thescienceofwildlifeforensicshasdevelopedsymbioticallywiththeexponentialadvancesinmoleculargeneticsduringthepast 20years,changingthewayecologists,conservationistsandlawenforcementagenciesprotect wildlife species around the world. Though mirroring the human forensics

field in multiple ways, wildlife forensic scientistsmustwadethroughmuchmuddierinvestigative waters. The victims in this field are rarely bagged and tagged neatly by trained crime scene investigators,andmanyhavethetendencytoarrivefromtheblackmarketasshoes,coatsand ivoryfigurines,saidKenGoddard,directorof the Ashland lab. “Therearealotofpeoplewhowantexotic animals,” said David Leslie, adjunct professor and unit leader for the Oklahoma Cooperative Fish andWildlife Research Unit,“and


Reptile products from the Caribbean to Southern Asia are sent to the Ashland, Ore., laboratory for analysis and identification. The majority of these products were illegally produced and sold.

CSI

Species that top the list include Cay-

man crocodiles, whose skins are prized for boots and bags; the endangered sturgeon, whoseeggsarestolenforcaviar;andthegreat whiteshark,whosefinsareinhighdemandas a delicacy in Asian soups. TheAshlandsiteis the only laboratory of its kind, making advancements in stopping the international poaching and trafficking trade extremely difficult, Goddard said. Though the number of threatened and endangeredspecieslistedbytheConvention on InternationalTrade in Endangered Spe-

cies,aUnitedNationsoversightcommittee, continues to grow, funding is nonexistent. “Sadly, only about 1 or 2 percent of our work is international,”Goddard said.“I wish it were more because they really need our help, but we have to do our highest priority workfirst,andthehighestpriorityisourown federalstuff.Iconstantlymaketheargument thatweneedmorepeople,morefunding,to do the work for the international people.” One of the species on the CITES list that posesaconservationdilemmaforecologists andforensicscientistsistheAfricanelephant. SouthAfricannationsareseeingoverpopulationproblemsaselephantsbegintodamage the ecosystem. Because of food shortages, elephantsareconvertingforeststosavannas and savannas to grasslands. Conversely,elephantsinEastAfricawere heavily poached in the ’80s and ’90s and are struggling to maintain population size. “SouthAfricancountrieswanttobeable to market ivory to help pay for the costs of conservation,” Shaw explained. “East Africanelephantsneedprotecting,period.Until moleculargeneticscamealong,therewasno way to tell if a tusk or piece of ivory was from elephantsinSouthAfricawheretrademight be justified legally or East Africa where it is clearly not.” Now forensic scientists can use DNA technology to identify the species origin of an ivory figurine that bears no resemblance to the original tusk.

1 2 5

percent of cases at the Ashland laboratory are international.

thousand dollars buys a Tibetan antelope pelt on the black market.

Ivory is not the only product in high de-

mand on the black market. The hair of a Tibetan antelope is five times finer than cashmere, making it a coveted item in illegal trade. From high in the thin air of the Tibetan mountains, hunters poachtherareantelope,stripthehides,and sell them across the Chinese border into India where they are made into shawls. “On the black market today, an individual shawl can sell for $5,000, $10,000 or $15,000,” Leslie said.

COURTESY OF ASHLAND LAB

many of those animals are illegal, so people will go to greatlengthstotrytobring themintotheUnitedStates oranyothercountrywhere they might be illegal.” Illegalities are determinedusingacombination of genetic technologies, chemicalanalysisandmorphologic comparison. “In the old days, when youthoughtsomeonetook adeeroutofseasonbecause of a bunch of blood in the back of a pickup truck, and he said, ‘No, we killed a goat,’ you couldn’t tell the difference,”said Jim Shaw, professor of wildlife ecology at Oklahoma State University. “Now you can.” The majority of cases from state fish and game agencies involve illegal hunting and poaching, Goddardsaid.However,the highest priority is reserved for national agencies such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife ServiceandU.S.DepartmentofAgriculture, whicharechargedwithprotectingthecountry’s threatened and endangered species.

laboratory in the world is dedicated entirely to wildlife forensics.

Senior pathologist Barry Fickbohm conducts a necropsy on a bald eagle in Oregon. cowboyjournal.okstate.edu | CJ 23


The Ashland Lab

COURTESY OF ASHLAND LAB

Established in 1987 after seven hard years of struggling to lobby for funding, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Forensics Laboratory in Ashland, Ore., has grown to a staff of 35 people, 23 of whom are forensic scientists and pathologists, said Ken Goddard, director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Forensics Laboratory. “Looking out my window at this gorgeous mountain range, it worked out just fine,” Goddard mused. “It’s a beautiful location for a lab. I’m staring outattheCascadeMountainscovered with ice, fog and snow.” Because of its unique position as the only lab in the world fully devoted to wildlife forensics, the Ashland lab differsfundamentallyfromanyhuman forensics lab. “We have six teams of different typesofscientists here, which is highly unusualforthemtoeverbeinthesame lab together,”Goddard said.“The morphologists,thebiologists,theDNAand physicalevidenceexperts,theanalytical chemists,thepoliceforensicscientists andthe pathologists would usually be in different types of laboratories.” This co-curricular dynamic has pushedthelabpersonnel to think outside of the box, lean on each other’s expertise, and blur the boundaries of the scientific disciplines. The tightly knit workingenvironmentisevident,Goddard said. “It’slikehavingafamilyget-together except it happens every day.”

24 CJ | summer • fall

Rhinoceros horns are one of the many international products that come to the Ashland wildlife forensics la

ForensicscientistsattheAshlandlaboratorycanusecharacteristicsfromindividual hairs to positively identify a Tibetan antelope shawl and successfully prosecute the black market traders.

The biggest setback for a success-

ful apprehension and prosecution of black market traders is the lack of a unified trade authority. While CITES maintains and updates appendices of species in varyingstatesofendangerment,the United Nations convention does nothaveaninvestigativeorlawenforcement arm. “There are many who participate in listing and trying to draw attentiontoparticularanimalsthat areinneedofconservationandprotection,” Leslie said. “But there is notasingleagencyinternationally that oversees that.” As the field of wildlife forensics devel-

ops, related careers are seeing increased involvement in the fight for conservation andecologicalmanagement.Becauseofthe deficitofinternationallystandardizedrules for animal trafficking, a need exists for conscientiouspersonnelwillingtoworktoward betterinternationalcommunicationandcooperation, Shaw said. “Ifsomeonewereinterestedinthisfield, there probably are a lot of little niches for work at the policy level of establishing protection for animals that need it,”Leslie said. Currently,eachcountryisindependently responsibleforpolicingitswildlifeconservationrules,andthatjobfallstogamewardens andfederalagents.Herethelargestgapbetweenawildlifecrimeandaprosecutedsuspect appears, Goddard said. “I’vebeentryingtogetagentsandgame wardenstoworkcrimescenesforprobably 30 years now, and they really don’t,” Goddardexplained.“Theycollectevidence,but they don’t try to figure the scene out. “We’llconductanautopsyonawolf,and


Human forensics labs suffer from

ab for identification.

we’ll see that there is a bullet in it.We will pull the bullet out, examine it and tell the agents it’s probably a 30.06 rifle — could be a Winchester.They’llgooutandstartinvestigating, but it’s not CSI.” In 2009, Goddard spent three weeks in South Africa teaching game wardens about crimesceneinvestigationsotheycanmoreaccurately identify and pursue ivory hunters. “Therewillbeemploymentopportunities forlawenforcementpersonnelwhodepend on being able to send something off for molecular work and get it verified so they can make a case,” Shaw said.

The involvement of wildlife foren-

sics does not end when the trial begins. The report forensic scientists provide is the irrefutable evidence crucial to the judgment in the case. The wildlife forensic scientists are rarelycalledtotestify,partiallybecauseofthe expenseofhiringanexperttocross-examine themandpartiallybecauseofthetimeittakes away from their laboratory investigations.

the same insurmountable backlog of cases. “So do we take taxpayers’money and put it into another human forensics lab, or do we put it into a wildlife forensics lab?”Van den Bussche said.“Most people will say a human forensics lab. I think that’s part of the problem with trying to get a wildlife forensics lab funded by the federal government.” For now, the Ashland forensics team attemptstoeducategamewardensandagents aboutinvestigativetechniquesandinforma publicthatisincreasinglyawareandsensitive to protection of endangered species. “We keep crossing our fingers that other countries will at least get their federal crime labstodevoteasectionjustforwildlife,”Goddard said.“At the same time, we hope a lot of our state crime labs would create a wildlife section within their state crime lab, but so far that hasn’t happened.”

ab out the author Hailey Harroun grew up on a ranch in northeastern Washington. She received her bachelor’s degrees in animal science and agricultural communications. She is studying veterinary medicine at Colorado State University, specializing in equine surgery.

COURTESY OF ASHLAND LAB

COURTESY OF ASHLAND LAB

“For humans, lawyers who deal with this kind of problem understand enough of the technology that they canmakethearguments,”saidRonVan den Bussche, OSU associate dean for researchandregentsprofessorofzoology.“I don’t think most of the lawyers who are dealing with wildlife issues havethesameknowledgeandthesame background.That’sanareathatwould be open as a job possibility for somebodywhowantedtobecomealawyer andreallycaredabouttheenvironment and wildlife.” As conservationists struggle to protect threatenedspeciesagainstpoachers,thetrade of black market animal products thrives. The 35 members of the Ashland team wade through cases from 175 countries, trying to assign priority between a walrus from Alaska, a crocodile from the Caymans, a rhinocerosfromBotswanaandanantelopefrom the Tibetan mountains.

Forensic scientist Andy Reinholz examines an elephant tusk for latent prints.

Bioinformatics A career in the forensic science field requires both analytical knowledge of techniques and practical experience in a laboratory setting. “We do have students who go into forensicprogramsafterabachelor’sdegree here in biochemistry,”said GaryThompson, head of the biochemistry and molecularbiologydepartmentatOklahoma State University.“Our biochemistry major is a pretty rigorous program, and the students, when they leave, are very well prepared for what they need to do next.” To aid this training, the OSU biochemistry department has developed a certificate program in bioinformatics. “This is dealing with how to turn data intoinformationwhendealingwithlarge data sets,”Thompson said. “It’s an interdisciplinarycertificateprogram,andwe’re involvingcomputerscience,statisticsand then life sciences.” The program was initially designed as an addendum to a graduate program, but it can be completed independently, aswell.Encompassingroughlyhalfofthe requirementsofatraditionalmaster’sprogram, the certificate would take a year to complete, Thompson said. “This program is telling you how to handleandmanipulatedataasstatistically significant,learningthecomputerscience that is necessary for it, and finally the molecularbiologyandbiochemistrythat goes with it, as well. I think it will be a really fun program,” he said. The bioinformatics certificate will be offeredforthefirsttimestartinginthefall 2010 semester. cowboyjournal.okstate.edu | CJ 25


Orangerootsgrow green vines Oklahoma wineries see a bright future with the help of the OSU viticulture program When driving down a dusty Oklahoma road, most visitors wouldnotexpecttoseegrapevineson the corner section. But with the help of Oklahoma State University’shorticultureandlandscapearchitecturedepartment,grapevinesmightbecomea staple in Oklahoma agriculture. InacooperativeeffortamongOklahoma State University-Stillwater, Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City,Tulsa Community College, and the Oklahoma Grape GrowersandWinemakersAssociation,facultyand producershavedevelopedaviticultureeducation program. “Theprogram’spurposeistocreateinthe student a broad base of horticulture knowledgeapplicablenotonlyinthevineyardbut also across disciplines,”said Eric Stafne, OSU assistantprofessorandviticulturespecialist. Now in its 10th year, the program has had 26 CJ | summer • fall

morethan600studentsfromeightstates.The program’s basic level is designed to be completed in two years, while an advanced level of the program requires an additional threeyearcommitment.Bothprogramlevelsoffer avarietyofhorticulture,viticultureandmanagementcoursesandcanbeappliedtowarda bachelor’s degree in horticulture. “Manyofthestudentshavegoneontocreatetheirownvineyardsorwinerybusinesses,” Stafne said.

Winery owners and

prospective growers can choose classes from any of the participating schools. “Theprogramwasdesignedtobeflexible forthestudentbutencompassawidevariety of class offerings,” Stafne said. “The OSU grape-managementshortcoursehasbeenthe cornerstone of the program.” Thesix-monthgrape-managementclass

costs $250 and is limited to 70 participants eachsession.Individualslearnaboutvineyard establishment, pruning and site selection, among other topics. “The class meets once a month from 1 p.m.to5p.m.,buttheclasswassointeresting that it went by fast,” said Kim Hunn, a shortcourse participant. Hunn said she enrolled in the viticulture programbecauseherfamilyisputtingavineyard on its farm. “I learned how you are supposed to test thesoilbeforeplantingthegrapes,thedifferentdiseasesthatcanoccuringrapes,anddifferent pesticides to use,” Hunn said. Mary Steichen, marketing and development coordinator for Silvertop Farm and Vineyards, said she has benefited from the grape-managementshortcourse,aswell.After evaluating her Ponca City, Okla., operation, SteichendecidedtoenrollinStafne’scourse.


“AftergoingthroughEric’sclass,Irealized Silvertop Farm could start growing grapes,” Steichensaid.“WeraiseShropshiresheephere at Silvertop Farm, and what goes better with an upscale cut of lamb than a glass of wine?”

HARROUN

edge Steichen gained from the grape-management short course, Silvertop Farm and Vineyards has a fresh start. “IhelpedMary withsite selection, variety selectionandnumerousotherquestionsshe had,”Stafnesaid.“Thisyearsheshouldbeable to harvest a few grapes off some of the vines.” Steichen credited Stafne for her success. “Without the help of Eric and the grapemanagement short course, I would have put my vineyard in the wrong location and wouldn’t be successful,” Steichen said. Oklahomagrapegrowersalsohavebenefitedfromtheviticultureeducationprogram. DonNeal,managerofStableridgeWinery in Stroud, Okla., credited Stafne and the staff at OSU for helping with issues at his winery. Neal’ssuccessatwine-makinggarneredfour international awards in 2009. “Ifyouareintheagriculturebusiness,you have got to use your resources to succeed,” Neal said.“When I find a new bug that I have no idea what it is, I send it to Eric and his staff. We are so fortunate to have OSU nearby to help solve our issues.”

Though challenges arise with any

newvineyard,Oklahomacanbeagoodplace to start a winery, Stafne said. Stafnestressedpropermanagement,pruningandpestcontrolasthekeystooperatinga successful vineyard. “Having a vineyard is work, but good growers are out there now, and more are on the way,” Stafne said. Formoreinformationabouttheviticultureeducationprogram,visitwww.grapes.okstate.edu.

ab out the author Haley Rieff grew up on a livestock operation near Bentonville, Ark. She came to OSU as a junior from Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College to earn her degree in agricultural communications. She is working on her graduate degree to be a teacher.

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With Stafne’s help and the knowl-

OPPOSITE PAGE: Wineries provide a large selection of wines for visitors. ABOVE: The climate in Oklahoma is just right for grapes.

OSUviticulturereceivesnationalgrant OklahomaStateUniversity’sviticultureand enology program recently received a competitive grant through the Specialty Crop Research Initiative, a national program administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. “Itwasimportantforthisgranttobesuccessfulsothatwecouldputsignificanteffort intodevelopingasingularsourceofinformationforthegrape-growingcommunity,”said Eric Stafne, OSU assistant professor and viticulture specialist. Stafnesaidwebsitesfromeachstatecurrently inform growers, but no single, comprehensive information source has been available until this grant project. The three-year, $850,000 grant will createacommunityofpractice,whichwillprovide scientific research information about grape production.The grant is designed to

contributetothesuccessofprospectiveand currentgrowersinthegrapeandwineindustry, Stafne said. “The hope is folks who are thinking aboutgettingstartedwillconsultthegrapes website on eXtension, find out what they need to get started, and use the site for upto-dateinformationonnewhappeningsand research,” Stafne said. The community of practice materials willbeavailableoneXtension.org,acollaborative site in conjunction with the Cooperative Extension System. Facultymembersandprofessionalsfrom the13participatinginstitutionshopetocreate interest in Oklahoma wineries as well as those in other states. “Wearestrivingtowardagoalofserving all grape growers across the United States, and thus growers in Oklahoma will benefit asthoseinanotherstatewould,”Stafnesaid. cowboyjournal.okstate.edu | CJ 27


world-class horses world-class internships leading the way for the next generation. www.lazyeranch.net

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As farming becomes more diversified, Monsanto is taking technologyonestepfurtherbytransporting its lab to students and crop producers across the United States. The MobileTechnology Unit, a custommade 53-foot semi, hit the ground on all 18 wheels nearly three years ago. The MTU brings learning experiences to farm shows, universities, the National FFA Convention and other events.

The MTU visited Oklahoma State University for three days this past spring. “Hosting the MTU allowed students to seecareersinagriculturalbiotechnologyand learnaboutscienceinagriculture,”saidSarah Lancaster, OSU assistant plant and soil sciencesprofessor,whocoordinatedtheevent. The MTU came to OSU because“a numberofMonsantoemployeesreceivedatleast one of their degrees from OSU,” said Allan Ciha, Monsanto’s agricultural educator.

ALCALA

Future of Farming on

Monsanto works worldwide to provide retailers,cropproducersandplantpathologistswithcutting-edgeresearchknowledge about plants and crops. As an agriculturally based company, Monsanto spends $2.6 million a day in research for its new product development. It usually takes eight to 10 years and an investment of $50 million to $100 million to developandintroduceasinglenewtraitina plant species.

Inside the MTU ...

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Left: High school students from several area agricultural education programs visited the exhibit. Top right: Monsanto developed the Mobile Technology Unit in 2007, which travels throughout the United States each year. Immediate Right: As a part of the exhibits, scientists extract DNA from these samples of corn and soybeans. Center Right: The technology used in the MTU is identical to the equipment used in Monsanto’s St. Louis lab. Far Right: Visitors to MTU learned about products developed from plants such as cotton. Below: Animal science senior Cami Jeter learns more about Monsanto’s efforts to produce ethanol from corn.


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ab out the author Joslyn White grew up in rural southwest Oklahoma and has been a life-long Cowboys fan. She came to OSU as a freshman to earn a degree in agricultural communications and animal science. She enjoys photography, marketing and design. cowboyjournal.okstate.edu | CJ 31


As the late-night hours ticked away, the small puppy whimpered and whined, longing for comfort in an unfamiliar environment. This new start for the rescued pup helped Hughes County 4-H member Ashlan Wilson, 17, develop a passion for small and companion animals. “Rescuingadoghasmadememoreaware of everything around me, the population of pets and how they are treated,”Ashlan said. Ashlan’s involvement with her small and companion animal project began when she adopted a sickly puppy from a neighbor. “Generally,youinteractwithacompanion animal moreona sociallevel than a food production area,” said Charles Cox, Oklahoma CooperativeExtensionServiceassistantdirector and Oklahoma 4-H program leader. Coxsaidyoungpeoplemayentercareers in relatedareas because of their experiences with their companion animal projects. 32 CJ | summer • fall

“Having 4-H programs that introduce young people to Oklahoma State University and to the resources that are available to themwillhelpsupportsomeoftheirinterests, which will have a long-term benefit and impact,” Cox said. Thesestudents’careeroptionscouldrange from veterinary science to being a canine trainer for police dogs. “The list goes on and on of things a young personmightexploreasaresultofgettinginvolved with this kind of project,” Cox said.

The abundance of small and com-

panion animal 4-H projects gave reason for developing the position held by Steve Beck, theOklahoma4-Hsmallandcompanionanimal specialist, Cox said. Beck said his position was developed about a year ago. “We’ve always had dog and rabbit clubs

BECK

BIG

and other small animal projects but never anybodytocoordinatethemanddevelopthe programs,” Beck said. Beck said 4-H small and companion animal projects can include not only dogs, cats andrabbitsbutalsosugargliders,chinchillas, turtles, rats and a variety of other animals. “People love pets,”Beck said.“A lot of kids have their own pets. It is a natural fit to build programslikethistodevelopouryouthbyusing small animals.” BecksaidAshlandoesanoutstandingjob with her companion animal dog project. She said she wanted to heighten other people’s awarenessof shelterdogsand“runaway” dogs on the streets. As an Oklahoma 4-H district and state council officer, Ashlan and others assisted the Ardmore Animal Shelter in fall 2008 and made blankets, toys, dog biscuits and other items for the shelter animals.


MILLER

“It has really changed my outlook of shelters,”Ashlan said.“I’ve gotten to impact a lot of other people’s lives.” Ashlan and other 4-H members also helped the Humane Society of Stillwater by making approximately 250 dog and cat toys for the shelter in summer 2009. Theymadebraidedchewtoysfromfleece and cat toys from recycled water bottles for the shelter animals, Ashlan said. “Wecutfleeceuntilwecouldn’tcutfleece anymore,” said Debbie Wilson, Ashlan’s mother and 4-H leader. “We all helped. She really has a passion for wanting to get out there and educate people.”

Patti Miller, mother to Okfuskee

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County 4-H members Mitch, 15, and Mark, 19,saidMarkwasintroducedtothesmalland companionanimaldogprogramwhenhewas 11yearsoldbyawomanfromanothercounty. Mark started in obedience, later became certified with the American Red Cross and traveledthroughoutOklahomaconducting seminarsonpetsafety,CPRandtheHeimlich maneuver on animals, Patti said. “As soon as Mitch turned nine and could join 4-H, he jumped into 4-H,” Patti said. Patti said they showed their Australian Shepherds for the American Kennel Club, joinedanOklahomaobedienceprogram,and participatedinareadingprogramatOakeElementary School in Okemah, Okla. “They started the program at our school that they called‘Read to the Dog’,”Patti said. “Somekidswhohaveproblemsreadinghave difficulties reading to a class of students. “ThemoretheyreadtothedogandMark, the more confident they get and the better readers they become.” Mark and Mitch also have written pet manualsgivingadviceandinstructionsforbasic knowledge for pet owners. Patti said Mark and Mitch branched off

Ashlan Wilson’s rescued dog, Wrangler, plays with a fleece toy made by his owner.

Above: Mark Miller and his dog Titan with first-grade reader Dylan Neely during a Read to the Dog session at Oake Elementary School in Okemah, Okla. Opposite page: Mitch (left) and Mark Miller with their dog Sheila demonstrate dog obedience and safety around dogs at the Oklahoma Military Kids Kamp at Camp Gruber. Mark and Mitch presented five workshops to more than 200 youth and 60 adult volunteers.

into different areas for their projects at times buttheiractivitieswiththerapydogsarewhat they have done together. Pattisaidthe 4-Hcompanionanimalprogramis“reallyaneatproject”becausekidsliving in town either cannot afford livestock, or cannotkeeplivestockintheirresidentialareas. “They started the program to give all kids a chance to get out there and show something,” Patti said.

Members do not need pedigree dogs

or animals to have a 4-H small and companion animal project, Cox said. “If you have a dog, you can train it to do obedienceoragility,andit’snotanewinvestment,”Coxsaid.“Youdon’thavetogooutand buy a multi-thousand dollar animal.” Cox said young people also could participate in a citizenship project by teaching others, working with children through promotinginvolvementwiththeirprojects,and becominginvolvedinnursinghomeprograms or certifying their canines as therapy dogs. “All of that would be citizenship,” Cox said. “Young people would not only have a small animal project they could enter into a statecontest,buttheyalsohavecitizenshipor leadership projects.” 4-H members can earn scholarships through keeping a state record book or

throughobedienceandothersmallandcompanion animal shows. “We see more and more counties that are organizinggroupsarounddogorcompanion animals,” Cox said. Youthinterestedinthesmallandcompanionanimalprojectcanenrollthroughtheirlocal county extension office. “We hope before long we also will have an enrollment system where young people can enroll in a 4-H program online without ever having to go to a county office,”Cox said. “Then they will become connected virtually to other kids who are in that project area.” To find additional information about Oklahoma 4-H and its multitude of project areas, visit oklahoma4h.okstate.edu.

ab out the author Whitney Jameson grew up in Claremore, Okla. She transferred from Connors State College her junior year and is in her first year of graduate school. She enjoys writing and helping her family with their Missouri Fox Trotting horse operation. cowboyjournal.okstate.edu | CJ 33


34 CJ | summer • fall


Ken and Kim (Taggart) Spady have a deep passion for OSU and for baseball. Both 1990 OSU agricultural economic graduates, they havesharedtheirpassionswiththeirsons:Jacob, 13; Caleb, 11; Luke, 8; and Seth, 6. Butasthe2008baseballseasonbegan,life changed for the Spadys. “On April 1, the boys were out playing catch,” Kim said. “Caleb was a phenomenal ball player but was making bad throws.” Caleb would swing and miss, Kim said. “I asked Caleb if there was something wrong,” Ken said. “Caleb responded, ‘I am seeing two of you and don’t know which ball to hit, dad.’” The Hinton, Okla., family knew something was not right. Concerned, Kim scheduled an eye doctor appointment for the next day. Caleb’s eye appointment was at 10 a.m., and later the doctor scheduled an MRI for noon, she said. The test results identified an inoperable brain tumor located on the pons of Caleb’s brain stem. “I told Caleb what the doctor said, and he responded cheerfully, ‘Chemo or radiation first?’” Ken said.

said.“Eachgametherewouldbeachestfullof hot wraps and gauze in case Caleb’s pain became unbearable.” Despitethesecircumstances,Calebplayed baseball as if nothing was wrong. “He would wear football lineman gloves while batting so the bat would not hurt his hands,” Kim said. “The treatment affected his coordination and athletic ability, but he played ball through it all.” Caleb finished radiotherapy in June. Just amonthlater,theSpadyfamilydepartedona quest for medical trials in the Northeast. “We drove to Baltimore, Md., and enrolled Caleb in a clinical study,”Kim said.“On our way, we stopped at the funeral of a little girl who died of DIPG. “Imagine being told your 10-year-old or 6-year-old would die in the next year. It is a difficult road. It is amazing the heart people have.We were only two months into the battle and developed so many family friends. It was amazing to find so much love and caring spirit in a world so full of sadness.” Throughout Caleb’s medical trials, the Spadys continued to enjoy their favorite sporting venue. “We stopped at every baseball game we could,” Kim said. “It was important for us to focus on family time. We knew the time was short, and we needed to make memories.”

Five-and-a-halfmonthsafterthediagnosis, Caleb returned to the hospital for an-

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In perfect stance, the crimsonclad pitcher throws a fast pitch to homeplate.Asthecrackofthebatechoes through the spring air, the announcer shouts, “HOME RUN!” The crowd erupts as CalebSpadyscoresanotherhomerunforhisbelovedteamandtheOklahomaStateUniversity Cowboys win in Bedlam. Whilemanyyoungboysdreamofbeingprofessionalballplayers,Caleb’sdreamwillnever come true.

Caleb Spady before treatment in April 2008.

otherMRI.Hissicknessagainwasadvancing, Kim said. “Iremembersovividlythatbasketballseason,”Kim said.“Caleb started another round of chemo on Nov. 19, and he played his first basketballgameoftheseasonthatevening.” After the game was over, the team came outofthelockerroom.Calebwasnowhereto be found. “I found him shooting free throws, dribbling and running laps around the old gym,”

ys first battle with cancer. In March 2007, Kim wasdiagnosedintheearlystagesofbreastcancer. “Our family had been through cancer treatmentbefore,soCalebknewtheprocess,” Kim said. Caleb’s cancer was diffuse intrinsic pontine glimoa, or DIPG, which targets the brain stemaffectingmotorskills,coordinationand bodily functions. “Caleb’sprimarysymptomwasdoublevision,” Kim said. “His vision never improved, butwegothimglasseswithprismsandmade other adjustments.” Treatment began with radiation, and Caleb developed painful blisters on his hands, arms and face. “I would be on call from the dugout,”Ken

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Caleb’s diagnosis was not the Spad-

Ken and Kim Spady surrounded by their sons: Jacob (back left), Luke, Seth and Caleb.

cowboyjournal.okstate.edu | CJ 35


Life goes on. As difficult as it is to grasp, it is true without a doubt. I watch Caleb’s classmates, and they are different children than they were when Caleb last saw them. They have a semester of middle school under their belts and have played an entire season of football and basketball that he will never play.” ISTOCK

– Kim Spady on Caleb’s Care Page

36 CJ | summer • fall 38

SPADY

Ken said.“Caleb knew that he did not perCalebhadtowriteashortbiographytoinformathisbestandwasworkingonhisgame.” troducehimselfbeforeoneofhisappearances Caleb did not realize the effects chemo- at an OSU Coaches vs. Cancer event. He kept therapy had on his body, Kim said. He just his speech short and to the point. thought he played poorly. “Caleb firmly said,‘I am going to kick this “Calebwasanamazingguyandwasquite cancer in the rear, play baseball for the OSU a fighter,”Kim said.“He was such a competi- Cowboys,andthenplaybaseballfortheTexas tor and factual go-getter. Rangers.Thatisallthesepeopleneedtoknow “InMarch[2009],thechemohadstopped about me,’” Kim shared. working.We were treating the untreatable.” Caleb’shealthpreventedhimfromplaying In the midst of Caleb’s battle, Kim was in the 2009 baseball season. diagnosed with colon cancer in July 2009. At “TherecameapointwhenCalebcouldno the same time, Caleb was in need of urgent longer play baseball,”Ken said.“He could not medicalattentiononlyfoundatSt.JudeChilswing a bat, run the bases, or throw the ball. dren’s Hospital in Memphis. He never gave up, “Caleb’s health was though.Hewould Caleb loved OSU so much. There declining rapidly,” Ken work out and lift was no greater OSU fan than Caleb. said. “Just after Kim finweightsbutcould ished her first surgery, — Kendria Cost not play.” Caleb and I left for TenStricttreatmentprocedurespreventedCa- nessee. By the time we made it to Memphis, lebfromstartingadifferenttreatmentoption. Caleb was very weak.” “It is hard to know what to do with your DoctorssaidCaleb’shealthwasnotstable day,”Kim said.“I had laundry to do, meals to enough to treat him. cook and toilets to clean, but I had to do it “IrememberCalebwantedanOreocookwith the boys.” ie, but he could hardly eat it,” Ken said. “We knewtheendwasnear,andthecleargoalwas To cope with life’s struggles, the Spadys to get him home.” put their situation“in God’s hands”and used TheyreturnedhomeandKimarrangedto baseball to spend time together. be in the same hospital room as Caleb. At the 2009 Bedlam baseball game in “The doctors moved me to Caleb’s hospiOklahomaCity’sBricktown,FrankAnderson tal room so we could be together,”Kim said.“I and his OSU Cowboys Baseball Team hon- did my recovery in pediatrics ICU.” ored Caleb, and each player sported a“Pray Later in July, Caleb took his last breath for Caleb” bracelet. and completed his short life in Ken’s arms “Coach Anderson was such a minister to while Kim underwent emergency surgery. Caleb,” Kim said. “He changed Caleb’s life. “Betweenfamilyandfaith,wegotthrough Coach Anderson reached out to our family.” it,” Kim said.

OSU Baseball Coach Frank Anderson and Caleb Spady before the first pitch of the 2009 Bedlam baseball game.

“Our family was so blessed by Caleb in the last months of his life,”she continued.“All we have is his memory, and it makes it all that much more special.” Caleb was laid to rest clad in his orange and black. “He wore an OSU ball cap and was wrapped in an OSU blanket,” Kim said. “He bled orange, for sure.” Caleb’s admiration for Oklahoma State wasknownbyallwhoknewhimandbymany who did not, said Kendria Cost, OSU SereteanWellnessCentermarketingcoordinator and Coaches vs. Cancer coordinator. “Caleb loved OSU so much,” Cost said. “There was no greater OSU fan than Caleb. “Not a day goes by that I don’t think of him in some way,” Cost said. “I still wear my ‘Pray for Caleb’bracelet and keep his picture and the signed baseball by my bed. He reminds me of all the things good and right in this world. “Caleb reminds me that we have to keep fighting for a cure,” she said. A signed portrait of Caleb also peers across Anderson’s desk. “When Caleb was very sick, he was busy doingthethingheloved—playingbaseball,” Anderson said. “Caleb touched more lives than I have in my 50 years of existence.”

ab out the author Kylee Willard grew up on a farm near Hudson, Colo. She transferred to OSU from a community college in Illinois to earn her degree in agricultural communications. She is attending graduate school at OSU. She enjoys designing ads and video production.


In a time when “agriculture” might mean only“cows, sows and plows” to those outside the United States’food, fiber and natural resources industry,highschoolagriculturaleducation teachers understand its importance to the world.Astheyteachandencouragetheirstudents, they impact future generations. Inthepast,agriculturaleducationteacherscompletedtheirdegreesthroughanagriculturaleducationundergraduateprogram, said Shane Robinson, assistant professor in theOklahomaStateUniversityDepartment ofAgriculturalEducation,Communications and Leadership. However, in the 2009–2010 academic year, 44 of Oklahoma’s 435 agricultural educationteacherswere“alternativelycertified” or working toward reaching their teaching certification in this area. Thischangehasoccurredbecauseteaching is something that “found” alternatively certified teachers after they had earned degreesinotheracademicareas,Robinsonsaid. “There is not a teaching area that has the opportunitytorewardlikeagriculturaleducation,”said Jack Staats, Oklahoma FFA adviser and former agricultural education teacher.

MCCOOL

While earning adegreeinagricultural

education to prepare to teach is the best option, OSU and the Agricultural Education divisionoftheOklahomaDepartmentofCareerandTechnologyEducationwantstohelp thosenewteacherswhohavemadethiscareer change, Robinson said. As a result, OSU has createdathree-courseplantoassistalternatively certified teachers with the transition. Robinson’s courses include AGED 5990: Teaching Methods for Early Career Agricultural Education Teachers, AGED 3103: Foundations and Philosophies of Teaching

Agricultural Education, and AGED 3203: Planning the Community Program in Agricultural Education. These classes help enhance an alternatively certified teacher’s knowledge in areas suchaslessonplanning,learningtheory,the National FFA Organization and supervised agricultural experiences. April Offolter, who has served as an alternativelycertifiedteacheratCowetaPublic Schoolssince2007,wasoneofthefirstteacherstocompletethiscoursework.Shesaidthe classeshelpedprovidetheresourcessheneeded to be successful. “I enjoy students and want to provide them with the opportunities that will help make them successful later in life,” Offolter said.“If my agriculture class is the only class they enjoy in high school, then I am giving them a reason to come to school while providing them with education and skills in the agriculture industry.” Bert O’Hara, an alternatively certified teacher at Coyle Public Schools, said he uses hispreviousagriculturalworkexperienceas well as the information he has gained from Robinson’s courses to help him be a better teacher in the classroom. “My previous jobs have been helpful to teach the classes currently in the Coyle agricultural education curriculum,”O’Hara said. Robinson works with Offolter, O’Hara andtheirpeerstoprovidethemwithsomeof thesametoolstraditionallytrainedteachers have at their disposal. “Teachers who are alternatively certified are not developed in pedagogy, which isteachingmethodsandtechniquesforchildren or young adults,” Robinson said. OSU collaborates with the ODCTE to producereferencematerialsandoffertraining toreducedifferencesbetweenteacherswho

have an agricultural education degree and those who do not. “Thelackofpedagogicalexperienceisthe realdisadvantageofbeinganalternativelycertifiedteacher,”Robinsonsaid.“However,one thingwehavefoundistheseteacherstypically havemorelifeexperiencethantraditionalagricultural education teachers.” OSU’s curriculum allows alternatively certified teachers to complete the three coursesinthreeyearswhilegaininghands-on teachingexperienceintheirclassrooms.Two ofthesecoursescanbeusedtowardagraduate degree as well.

With the increase in alternatively

certifiedteachers,Rep.LeeDenney,R-Cushing,introducedabilltoensureallalternatively certified teachers have at least three years of post-undergraduate professional work experiencerelatedtothesubjecttheyintend toteachbeforestartingtheteaching-certification process. Robinson said OSU supported this legislation to help prepare teachers. “Therewasagrowingconcernofteachers bypassingthetraditionalrouteofbecoming certified,” Robinson said. H.R. 1333 places additional stipulations on alternatively certified teachers. For instance,theneededgradepointaverageincreased from 2.0 to a 2.5. In addition, alternatively certified teachers must complete a professionaleducationcomponent,likethe one Robinson offers, within three years of their teaching appointment.

Aside from the classes offered by Robinson,teacherscandevelopteaching methods in additional ways. “Resources are available to help people improve on their teaching styles and the ef cowboyjournal.okstate.edu | CJ 37


theresourcesyouhavetogettheinformation and knowledge out.You can be as good of a teacher as you put forth.” The job of an agricultural education instructor is to teach the importance of agriculture, but O’Hara is quick to say what an impact his students can have on him. “When I see a kid come in and say they ‘can’t’dosomething,andthentheydoit,isreally what makes this a rewarding job,”O’Hara said with a smile.

ab out the author Megan McCool grew up in Cushing, Okla. She came to OSU to earn her degree in agricultural communications. She enjoys designing and writing. McCool has been involved with many organizations and community service projects while at OSU.

MCCOOL

fectivenessoftheirteachingmethods,”Offoltersaid.“Ateachercannotcomplainabout becoming a more efficient educator.” Robinsonsaidhevisitseachalternatively certifiedteacher’sclassroomonceasemester. Thisinteractioncaneasetheanxietyofbeginning one of Robinson’s courses during their first year teaching, he said. Participating teachers complete work onlineandthroughface-to-faceinstruction, Robinson said. “Dr.Robinson’s classes provided me with the understanding of how to better prepare andexecutelessonsandlessonplanning,”Offolter said. Althoughtheexperiencetheybringtothe classroomisbeneficial,afewdrawbacksexist withbeinganalternativelycertifiedteacher. Offoltersaidoneofthebiggestdisadvantages she has is she cannot participate in the student-teachingprogramofferedthrough the agricultural education degree program. “Leadership has made me an effective teacher,” Offolter said. “From there, you use

38 CJ | summer • fall

A different ‘alternative’ Oklahoma State University is one of 88 institutions in the United States with an agricultural education program to prepare high school teachers. Oneofthewaystheagriculturaleducationprogrambenefitsnewteachersis by immersing them in a classroom setting.Eachfallandspringsemester,Oklahoma agricultural education teachers work with OSU to host college seniors in student-teaching experiences. “We have a rigorous program,” said Shane Robinson, assistant professor in OSU’sagriculturaleducation,communications and leadership department. Beforecompletingtheirdegrees,agriculturaleducationstudentsmustpassthe Oklahoma General Education Test, the OklahomaProfessionalTeachingExamination and the Oklahoma Subject Area Test–Agriculture. “Agriculturaleducationcanopenany dooryouwantopened,”saidJackStaats, Oklahoma FFA adviser and former agricultural education teacher.“If you want tochallengeyourselfandyourstudents, teach agricultural education.” Peoplewhohaveabachelor’sdegree should consider returning to school to complete a graduate degree in agricultural education, Robinson said. “We have a strong Master of Agriculture program with an emphasis in agricultural education,” said Dwayne Cartmell,associateprofessorandgraduate coordinator for agricultural education, communications and leadership. Applicantstotheagriculturaleducationgraduateprogrammustprovidethe following information: • completed online application, • three recommendation letters, • undergraduate transcripts and • astatementofpurposedescribing why you want to enroll in a master’s program. Forinformationaboutcompletingan agriculturaleducationgraduatedegree, please visit aged.okstate.edu. Bert O’Hara, Coyle agricultural education instructor who is alternatively certified, works with students on various topics including mechanized agriculture projects.


40 CJ | summer • fall


Think “Oklahoma,” and cattleprobably are the first animals to come to mind. But theveterinariansattheOklahoma StateUniversityCenterforVeterinary Health Sciences also think of llamas and alpacas. While the center’s primary case load is cattle, an increasing number of camelids are treated at CVHS because of their high value and unique physical features. Alpacas and llamas are valuable speciesoflivestock,withllamasranging from $200 to $3,500 and breeding-quality alpacas ranging from $10,000 to $100,000, said veterinarian Katie Simpson, CVHS food animal medicine and surgery resident. The Oklahoma alpaca industry has grown from 14 farms in 2004 to 44 farms in 2010, according to the Alpacas of Oklahoma organization. “It’s a miniscule number of animalscomparedtocattle,butbecause ofthehighvalueoftheindividualanimals,theownerstypicallygotogreat lengthstoseekveterinarycareifthey arehavingproblems,”saidveterinarian BobStreeter,CVHSadjunctassociate professor of food animal medicine and surgery. “There are a lot of sick cattle,sheepandgoatsouttherethat aretreatedbytheirownersandnever seeavet,butalmosteverysickalpaca sees a veterinarian.” Steve Hull, AOK board member and co-owner of Timberlake Farms in Arcadia, Okla., said he has referred owners from Oklahoma and Texas to CVHS because he knows it is a great program. Stephanie Olssen, who runs the llama rescue Stephanie’s Zoo in Gainesville, Texas, said how the CVHS staff treated her on her first visit to CVHS is what convinced her to be a repeat client.

but occasionally up to five, Streeter said. CVHS veterinarians have provided care for a multitude of camelids with a wide range of medical issues. Robin Howser, AOK board member and owner of Chisholm Trail Alpacas in Guthrie, Okla., took one of her baby alpacas, called a cria,inforemergencytreatmentaftershenoticed he was doing poorly about six hours after he was born. “He had low blood sugar, was getting dehydrated,andwasn’tabletostandandnurse,” Howser said. “They ended up putting an IV in him to give him extra fluids and gave him a plasmatransfusionfortheimmunitysincehe wasn’t able to nurse initially.” Howser’s cria was at CVHS for about a weekbeforeherecoveredandwassenthome. “Hegotthesupportheneededtogethim throughthefirstcoupleofdays,”Howsersaid. “This baby is about 10 months old now, and he’s doing great!” Howser also has taken some of her pregnantfemalealpacastoCVHSforultrasounds. Some of Streeter’s favorite cases involve theuncommonbutoccasionalbirthingproblemsincamelidsbecausehesaidtheyare“rewarding to correct.” Afewyearsago,Hullhadanalpacagointo labor, but she was not dilating. So he rushed her to OSU’s CVHS for an emergency cesarean section. “This was the only C-section I’ve had in

15 years,” Hull said. “Most of the time there are actually no problems with the births.” The situation worsened when the CVHS staff realized the cria was premature. They worked hard to save him, and now he is a “magnificent breeding male,” Hull said. Simpson’s involvement with Hull’s cria caseiswhatledhertochooseneonatalintensive care cases as her favorite type of case.

After finishing her residency in July,

Simpson will accept a new CVHS faculty position as a small ruminant and camelid clinician for the hospital. “My job will involve treating camelids, sheepandgoatsintheclinicaswellasprovidingon-farmservicestocamelid,sheeporgoat producers for both routine procedures and emergency calls,” Simpson said. “It will also involveformulatingherd-healthprogramstailoredtotheneedsofeachindividualherdand providing herd-health monitoring through scheduled on-farm herd visits.” Simpson’s position also will include presentingatcontinuingeducationseminarsand creating research projects for camelid and smallruminantstudies.Otherspecializedcamelidprograms,includinganelectivecourse onsmallruminantsandcamelids,alsoareoffered for CVHS veterinary students. “There’s a small ruminant club, and it encompassessheep,goats,llamasandalpacas,” Simpson said. “We do a lot of ‘wet

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alwaysinneedofsupportandclinical cases, so I make sure when I hear of an alpacaintroubleatalocalveterinarian I say,‘You know, this would be a good one to bring up to the vet school,’and they often do,” Hull said. CVHS typically has one or two camelids in the hospital at a time,

MCKINNIS

“Veterinary schools are

Above: CVHS veterinarian Katie Simpson has a specific interest in camelids like this alpaca. After her residency, Simpson will join the CVHS faculty as a small ruminant and camelid clinician. Opposite page: Alpacas are the most popular of the camelids found in Oklahoma. cowboyjournal.okstate.edu | CJ 41


SIMPSON

labs,’which are just experiences for the students to learn different procedures on all of those species outside of their class time and outside of the clinic.The club has actually grown exponentially.” Veterinarian Melanie Boileau, CVHS assistantprofessoroffoodanimalmedicineand surgery, has presented at three continuingeducation seminars for camelid owners and veterinarians in the past year. CVHS is unique because it has specializedequipmentandveterinaryspecialistsin a wide range of areas who work together to diagnose and treat animals, Boileau said. “One of the main advantages to bringing a sick llama or alpaca to OSU is to allow veterinary students not only to learn about camelidnormalbehavior,normalphysicalexaminationfindings,andhandlingtechniques, but also to be proficient at examining a sick camelid, diagnosing the animal’s disease or condition,andprovidingtreatmentaswellas recommendations for prevention of the disease,” Boileau said.

CVHS receives support from cli-

ents as well as local associations. AOK, which is the state affiliate of the national Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association, is growing in popularity as alpaca numbers increase, Howser said. The AOK alpaca show, held in January as theassociation’sannualfund-raiser,hadmore than 500 entries in 2010, and the public attendance also increased, Howser said. “We always try to do a donation to OklahomaStatewiththeproceedsfromtheshow because they’re trying to learn more about camelids, and that helps us in the long run,” Howser said. 42 CJ | summer • fall

ALPERT

Above: This male cria, named Bubba, who is owned by Michael and Sherry Alpert from Oklahoma City, was treated at CVHS after being born premature. Below: Bubba survived and is now a full-grown alpaca who has been successful in the show ring with Sherry Alpert.

In 2007, AOK gave scales. The next year they donated a cria scale. In 2009, AOK and MSA Equipment donated an alpaca chute to the veterinary school. “Wewantedtodonatethechutebecausea lot of us are taking our animals there for care,” Howser said.“Having a speicalized chute to restrain the animals makes it safer for them and the veterinarians.” The alpaca chute has straps to put under the animal’s belly to prevent it from laying down, or “kushing,” Simpson said. “You can do a really good physical exam, andthey’rebasicallystillinstandingposition,” Simpson said. “It’s really great.” The CVHS veterinarians are appreciative oftheassociation’scontinuedsupport,Simpson said, because they encourage people to bring their animals to CVHS. “Iwouldn’tgoanywhereelse,”Olssensaid. “There is nowhere to go but OSU for my animals. They’re just wonderful. Even if it’s a simple gelding, I’ll drive the three and a half hoursuptherebecauseIknowthey’llbewell taken care of.”

The camelid family includes the four species of the Lama genus. The two domesticatedspeciesarellamasandalpacas,andthe twowildspeciesareguanacosandvicunas. Llamas and alpacas are two types of camelids commonly seen at CVHS, with alpacasbeingthemorepopularofthetwo. “First, it was llamas, and now the interest has kind of shifted toward alpacas, so alpacasareourpredominantcamelidnow,” said veterinarian Katie Simpson, CVHS foodanimalmedicineandsurgeryresident. Llamas were first imported to the United States in the 1920s, while alpacas first arrivedinthemid-1980s,saidveterinarian Bob Streeter, CVHS adjunct associate professoroffoodanimalmedicineandsurgery. “The alpaca industry definitely seems to be increasing,”said Bob Streeter, CVHS adjunctassociateprofessoroffoodanimal medicineandsurgery.“IsawrecentlyOklahoma is thirty-fifth in the nation as far as the number of registered alpacas.” Streetersaidalpacasareprobablymore popularthanllamasbecauseoftheirsmaller body size and more valuable fiber. Stephanie Olssen, who runs the llama rescue Stephanie’s Zoo in Gainesville,Texas, said she enjoys having llamas because theyeachhavedifferentpersonalities,they are good guardians of other animals, and they are fun and gentle. “A lot of the owners are younger retireeswhohavemovedintoareassurrounding cities where they have 20 to 100 acres and they want to have an agricultural lifestyle,” Streetersaid.“Buthavingalargeanimallike a cow or horse takes quite a bit of facility input.Camelidsaresmall,relativelydocile, and need minimal facility infrastructure.”

ab out the author Katie McKinnis grew up on a cattle and horse farm in Watertown, Tenn. She came to OSU to earn her degree in animal science and agricultural communications. She enjoys photography and is currently working on her master’s degree in education.


As Oklahoma State University works to“create, innovate and educate,” faculty members in the CollegeofAgriculturalSciencesandNatural Resources add one more responsibility: to advise. “Faculty advising provides the best overall mentoring for the students,” said Cheryl DeVuyst, CASNR assistant dean of academic programs.“Thisrelationshipbetterprepares students for the future.” Facultymembershavecareerexperience in their academic areas, and they bring their professionalknowledgetotheclassroomsand to the student-adviser relationship. “Advisers take a personal interest in the student,andthestudentnoticestheadviseris sincereandgenuine,”saidPatriciaAyoubi,an assistant professor in biochemistry and molecularbiology.“Makingsurethestudentsstay on track is my greatest responsibility.” Studentsappreciatethepersonalizedattention they receive as they meet the challengesofearningtheirdegrees,DeVuystsaid. “It really feels like walking into home when you come into the front doors of Ag Hall,” said Jamie Andrews, an agribusiness pre-law sophomore.“We aren’t the biggest college,soit’srelativelyeasygettingtoknow your peers as well as the faculty.” Theinvitingatmosphereisespeciallyhelpful to new students. “Ican’texpressenoughhowmuchbetterit is for me to be in CASNR,”said Jessica Lewis, an agriculturalcommunications senior who transferred from Carl Albert State College in Poteau,Okla.Ifeellikeevery faculty member hasadvisedmeinsomeway,notonlyinwhat classestotake,buttheyarealwaystheretojust talk when I need to. I find that very encouraging.” Although students schedule appointments, Ayoubi and most of her CASNR colleagueshavean“open-doorpolicy,”allowing

Advisersareheretohelpstudentsintheir studentstocomeatanytimetheyneedhelp. “TheCASNRadvisersarestudent-orient- academiccareers,nottodotheworkforthem, ed,”saidanimalscienceprofessorBobKropp, Kropp said. “We offer a warm, friendly and helpful atwhohasservedasanacademicadviserfor38 years.“ItreatmyadviseeslikeIwouldtreatmy mosphere,butwealsoprovideachallenging learningenvironmenttopreparestudentsfor own children.” Beingstudent-focusedincludesmeeting their careers,” DeVuyst said. Williams said his main job was to push with prospective students and their parents when they come to campus and discussing and stretch students to be their best in all aseverythingfromdegreeprogramstowaysthe pects of college life and later on in their prostudents can meet their professional goals. fessional lives. “The most enjoyable thing about being Parentswantapositiveatmospheresothey know their children will do well during their an adviser is to see a student enter a university with a lot of energy and ideasabout what college experience, Kropp said. they want to do “Myparentsneverattended college, so for them to see It really feels like walking into in life and seehow well I have fit in has really home when you come into the ing how those ideasanddreams been a surprise,” said Wyatt front doors. are redone or reSwinford,anagriculturaleco—Jamie Andrews, agribusiness sophomore shaped,”saidJeff nomics senior.“The students work together. Whether it is presentation Hattey, plant and soil sciences professor. Being able to work closely with students night for agricultural sales or if it is the Christmastreephilanthropy,youareworkinghand toward their goals is enjoyable for both the in hand with students, faculty and alumni.” advisers and students, DeVuyst said. “Fortunate is a word that fits our situation DeVuyst said most CASNR advisers keep intouchwiththeirformerstudentsevenafter here in CASNR,” said Jace White, an agriculturaleconomicssophomore.“Tohavefaculty they graduate. “I have a list of every one of my advisees whocarethismuchaboutusasstudents,andas since 1971,” said Joe Williams, agricultural people,issomethingamazingaboutCASNR.” For more information about CASNR proeconomicsprofessoremeritus.“Ikeepincongrams, visit www.casnr.okstate.edu stant contact with several of them.” Williamssaidhekeepseverybusinesscard he receives from former students. His collection has grown to more than 600. Bart Fischer, one of William’s former advisees and now a graduate student at Texas ab out A&M University, has kept in touch with Wilthe liams throughout his academic career. FischersaidhiscareeratOSUwassuccessauthor ful because of the faculty advising. Vanessa Ailey grew up in Ponca City, Okla. She came “I had a fantastic experience with Dr.Wil- to OSU as a Junior from Northern Oklahoma College liams,” Fischer said. “It is a great format, and to earn her degree in agricultural communications yougetoutofitwhattheadviserandstudent and minor in agricultural economics. In her spare are willing to put into it.” time she enjoys reading, photography and politics. cowboyjournal.okstate.edu | CJ 43


The day every student waits for: Graduation! While some collegegraduatesmovedirectlyinto theworkplace,othersareatacrossroad, contemplatingtheideaofworkorfurthering their education through graduate school. “There are several good reasons to go to gradschool:Itisrequiredtomeetyourcareer goals, it fulfills a personal goal, or you want to pursueacareerwithafocusonresearch,”said Ed Miller, Oklahoma State University College ofAgriculturalSciences and Natural Resourcesassociatedeanforacademicprograms. Veterinary and human medical professions,forexample,requireadditionalschool as a standard. Other professions do not require more school to enter a career field or to advance your career. “Be well informed about the educational requirements for your career interest,”Miller said.“Does your ideal professional position requireabachelor’s,master’sorevenaPh.D.?”

For some students, receiving their

master’sdegreeissomethingtheyhavesimply always wanted. “A great reason to go to grad school is for your personal goals,”said Amy Gazaway, CASNR career development coordinator. “You know what you want to do, and you can advance your career.” Obtaininganadvanceddegreehasalways been an important goal for her, said Cori Woelk, who received her Master of Agriculture in agricultural leadership from OSU in 2009. Woelk earned her bachelor’s degree from Kansas State University in 2003. “When the opportunity to pursue a master’sdegreepresenteditself,Ijumpedrightin,” Woelk said. Even if graduate school is part of your educational plan, it may not follow immediatelyafteryouobtainyourfirstdegree.Some studentsdecidetotaketimeawayfromschool before pursuing an advanced degree.

“Itookonefullyearoffbeforereturningto gradschool,”saidMattStockman,whoearned aMasterofAgricultureinagriculturalleadership.“At the time of graduating, I already had a job and was a little burned out on school, so Ineededsometimetoregroupanddetermine what program area best suited me.” Withthepotentialtoadvanceone’scareer, make more money, and further your education, graduate school has several perks. “Ichosetogotograduateschoolbecause I wanted to pursue a new career,”Woelk said. “At the time, I didn’t feel like I could pursue what I wanted with only my B.S. degree.” Graduate school is not right for every student, however. “Going to grad school is not always the bestchoice,”Gazawaysaid.“Whenyoudonot knowwhatyouwanttodo,haveafearofabad economyoryoubelievetherearenojobsavailable, these are not good reasons to go.” Ifastudentpursuesgraduateschoolwithout a clear plan or is still deciding on a career path,theycouldfindthemselvesundecided after graduation, Gazaway said.

CASNR takes extra steps to ensure its

studentsarewellawareofjobopportunities. The CASNR career services office provides studentswithhelpintheircareersearchesas wellasaccesstopotentialemployers.Thestaff isalsotheretoassiststudentswithresourcesto apply for graduate school. “Gettingyourmaster’sdoesnotnecessarilymeanyouwillhaveahigherstartingsalary,” Gazawaysaid.“Youridealjobmaynotrequire amaster’s,andyoucouldhavemadethesame salary with a bachelor’s degree.” Duringthepastfiveyears,enrollmenthas increased 36.8 percent in CASNR’s graduate programs, Miller said. Several different reasons exist for this increase, but the most important reason was moreopportunityforfunding,Gazawaysaid. “Afewyearsagowehadanincreaseinnew

facultywhoreceivedgrantsfornewresearch,” Miller said.“With this increase in grants, opportunitiestofundassistantshipsopenedup andasaresult,increasesinrecruitinggraduate students occurred.”

Going to graduate school does not

mean one must obtain more student loans or support from parents. Several options for financingagraduatedegreeexist,includingassistantships, fellowships and scholarships. “Assistantships are typically in research, teachingoraneducationalservicearea,”Miller said.“Theynormallyrequirestudentstowork 20 hours a week and typically pay $14,000 to $20,000 for the year.” Although assistantships offer financial assistance, they often help students in other ways, Miller said. “Without my assistantship, I would not have known as many students, professors or other CASNR personnel,”Woelk said.“Since I was not familiar with OSU and CASNR, theassistantshipcreatedmanypersonaland professional opportunities that I would not have had otherwise.” Graduate school is a big step, but it is a great opportunity for many students. “My advice is figure out what you want,” Stockman said.“If you want a higher degree, then go for it.”

ab out the author Corey Ann Duysen grew up showing cattle and lived on a citrus farm in Porterville, Calif. She started at OSU as a freshman in agricultural communications. She enjoys designing websites and creating complete marketing materials and plans for companies. cowboyjournal.okstate.edu | CJ 45


A chance Encounter changed the path of Kristi Bishop’s life. Asayouthonherfamily’spurebred HerefordranchinsoutheasternMontana, Bishopsoughteveryopportunitytodevelop herleadershipskills,apassionthatcontinued when she chose to study at Oklahoma State University in 2004. “Icametotheanimalsciencedepartment

because I knew the department was good at crossingtherealworldwithclassroomeducation,”saidthe24-year-old,whonowservesas thegrantwritingspecialistandfuturitysales coordinator for the Oklahoma Youth Expo. She said coming to OSU from Hardin, Mont., was an easy decision because her father, Gary Bishop, graduated in 1973 with a bachelor’s in animal science. At OSU, she earned a degree in animal scienceandaminorinagriculturalleadership.She joinedOklahomaCollegiateCattlewomenas well as the College Republicans and Alpha Zeta, but it was her decision to apply for the OklahomaAgriculturalLeadershipEncounter that changed her future. “OALE was a way that I could learn about Oklahoma,” Bishop said. “Being an out-ofstatestudent,Iwasunawareoftheunlimited possibilitiescontainedwithinOklahomaand thediversityoftheindustrycontainedwithin its rural counties.”

As a member

of OALE “Class IV,” Bishopgainedabetterunderstandingofpeople and agriculture, which is what makes her a good leader, said Jeramy Rich, OYE execu-

tivedirectorandpartnerofCapitolResource Group, a lobbying firm in Oklahoma City. “I had the opportunity to meet Kristi andherclassmatesthroughouttheiryearon OALE,”Rich said. “I was able to see her really blossom through the year.” Networking is the No. 1 thing students are able to do during their OALE experience, Rich said. “Herloveisyouthdevelopmentandyouth leadership,”said Jerry Fitch, OSU animal science professor and OALE adviser. “She has been able to get more out of this program than any other participant.” Not only did Bishop network with Oklahoma professionals, she also had the opportunity to travel to Australia and learn more about agriculture.

Bishop’s OALE experience

became a steppingstone to graduate school in theOSUanimalsciencedepartment,shesaid. “Iwasabletofurthermyeducationbefore going out into the real world,”Bishop said.“I wasabletotakemanydifferenttypesofclasses likeenvironmentallaw,agriculturaleconomics and so many more.”

GERMAN

How to start your OALE experience

Kristi Bishop, a Hardin, Mont., native, said OALE provided her the opportunity to learn about Oklahoma agriculture and the diversity found in the industry. 46 CJ | summer • fall

CollegeofAgriculturalSciencesandNaturalResourcesstudentscanapplyfortheOklahoma Agricultural Leadership Encounter during their collegiate junior or senior year. “Theapplicationisavailablethefirstdayofclassinthefall,andstudentshaveaboutthree weeks to get them submitted,”said Jerry Fitch, Oklahoma State University professor and OALE adviser. OklahomaYouth Expo personnel review the applications and select approximately20 individualsbasedongrades,leadership,communityactivities,clubactivitiesandotheractivities, Fitch said. Finalists participate in interviews as part of the selection process. Since OALE Class I began in 2003, more than 85 students have participated in this program, said Rusty Gosz, OSU extension youth livestock specialist and OALE adviser. EachOALEclassisgivenadifferentnumbertohelpidentifywhenstudentsparticipated in the program. OALE participants complement their monthly trips within Oklahoma with a trip to Washington, D.C., and an international experience. “The international trip is funded by the OklahomaYouth Expo and other sponsorsafter the first $1,500, which the student pays,” Fitch said. Theinternationaltripistheonlycosttheparticipantswillhavetopayduringtheirexperience, Fitch said.


Bishop said she hopes to find additional grants for OALE so the program can become self-sufficient in the near future.

COURTESY OF KRISTI BISHOP

While working at CRG, she has seen

Oklahoma Agricultural Leadership Encounter Class IV visits an Australlian farm in 2007: Katie Amaral (left), Alex Tolbert, Shana Robson, Kristi Bishop, Clayton Smith, Lindsey Coupe, LeeAnna McNally, Chase Runyan, Tyler Castonguay, Wravenna Phipps-Bloomberg, Cale Walker, Tyler Smith, Coleman Hickman, and Ashley Marquart-Harris.

While pursuing her master’s degree, she served as an intern for OYE and CRG. Bishop saidshealwayshasenjoyedpolitics,andworking with CRG allowed her to become more involved in the political arena.

After graduating with her Master of

Agriculture in animal science in 2009, she went to work for OYE and continues to work with CRG. “I really enjoy my job because it is something different every day,”Bishop said.“I am

able to market animals one day, work with kids the next, and then lobby the next.” Bishop said she enjoys her job because it combinesherthreepassionsinlife:kids,cows and public policy. “I love my job,” Bishop said. “I love the people that I work with.” Bishop’s main focus at OYE is grant writing to find funds for OALE and OYE. “Mygrantwritinghasbeenfocusedmainly on OALE funding, although I am trying to expand to writing grants for OYE,” Bishop said.

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many of the people she met while in OALE. “OALE opens up so many doors for those who have the opportunity to participate in the program,” Bishop said. “Class members areintroducedtothediversityofagriculture, the legislative process on both the state and nationallevel,andtheentrepreneurialspiritof countlessOklahomanswhohavehelpedcontributetothestate’seconomicdevelopment. “At the collegiate level, there is no other programthattiessomanyinfluentialleaders, one-of-a-kindencountertripsandaninternational experience in the same package!”

ab out the author Leslie German grew up on a dairy farm in Cushing, Okla. She came to OSU as a freshman to earn her degree in animal science and agricultural communications. She enjoys taking photographs and designing publications.

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As Kim Wilson steps out her doorandsmellsthearomaofcattle, it reminds her of her home in Missouri. The Oklahoma State University animal science senior said she finds living at the OSU Dairy Cattle Center to be a home-awayfrom-home. “I live at a dairy back home,”Wilson said. “Living at the Dairy Cattle Center made the transition easier than it would have been if I would have lived in an apartment.” Wilson said residing on the university farm also has helped her with the transition fromafamilyfarmtoacommercialoperation and has given her the chance to work with newcomers to the dairy industry. “Working at the Dairy Cattle Center is a benefit because I get to work with all kinds ofpeople,whetherpeopleknowaboutdairy cattle or not,”Wilson said.“And getting to see howtheherdmanagersmaketheirdecisionsis very interesting.” Becauseshewantedtocompeteonauniversity dairy judging team, Wilson said she was deciding whether to attend school outof-statewhenDavidJones,OSU’sdairyjudging team coach and the Dairy Cattle Center herdmanager,toldheraboutlivingonOSU’s farms to help decrease living expenses. “Ultimately, I came to OSUbecause of the money I could save living at the Dairy Cattle Center,” Wilson said. AnimalsciencejuniorTannerPullenmade a similar choice. “I decided to live at the Swine Research andEducationCenterbecauseitwasthebest financial decision,” Pullen said.

The students who live at the farms

When specific cattle have received medical treatments, Kim Wilson separates their milk into special containers.

STORTS

work to offset their living expenses, which meanstheyareexpectedtoworkmoreandare givenmoreresponsibilitythanotherstudent employees, said Kim Brock, the swine center herdmanager.Forexample,thesestudentsare the first to be called if an emergency arises. “One of us has to be here constantly, or at least in town, because every SREC building is climate-controlled,”Pullen said.“A power failure could cause the ventilation system to shut off.” Pullen, a native of Davis, Okla., who lived at the swine center from January 2009


to March 2010, said by living on a university farm,studentsalsogainexperiencesandqualities to benefit them in the future. Jeremy LeisterandChaseReedsaidtheychosetolive atthe OSUPurebredBeefCenter to gain realworldexperienceandlearnmoreaboutbeef cattle production. “We learn a lot of hands-on things you can’t learn in a classroom,”said Reed, a Winfield, Kan., native who grew up on a ranch. JeffMafi,herdmanageratthebeefcenter, said having students on site benefits OSU. “We like having students live here since I can’t be here all the time,” Mafi said. Both Leister and Reed said their jobs provide a way to blend their passion into their daily lives. “It’s a chance for responsibility,” Leister said.“I really like working with the show cattle because if you look at a lot of other purebredbeefunits,theydon’thaveasmanyshow cattle as we do.” Leister, an Amsterdam, Mo., native who also grew up on a ranch, said he lives at the beef center to help him achieve his goal of producing beef cattle after graduation. Pullensaid he expects employers will appreciate his experience at the swine center. “An employer can see that I have worked attheswinecenterforthreeconsecutiveyears,

STORTS

Animal science juniors

Tanner Pullen feeds at the swine center on a daily basis. He also performs regular inspections like checking the hogs and making sure the temperatures are correct in the buildings.

and I have lived here for a year,” Pullen said. “Knowing the responsibilities of the farm could really help you in the job market.”

For alumni like Cody Sankey of Coun-

cil Grove, Kan., being “on-call” for two years helped him move into his career. Sankey,nowtheherdmanagerforMichigan State University’s Purebred Beef Center, said living at the OSU Purebred Beef Center was valuable to him.

“I gained a better understanding for beef cattle production,”Sankey said.“It was good hands-on experience living out there.” Jones credited the quality of animal scienceprogramforattractingstudentworkers. “Althoughthosewhoapplyhaveaformal interview,moststudentshavebeenreferredby alumni—someonewhohaslivedorworked hereinthepast,”Jonessaid.“Wepreferanimal science majors, but anyone can apply.” Students who consider this living and workingoptioncanapplywiththeherdmanager at each location. Regardlessoflocation,studentslivingon OSU farms gain more than a roof above their heads and a paycheck in their pockets.Their experience opens the door to their futures.

STORTS

ab out the author

Jeremy Leister (left) and Chase Reed indicated their favorite part about living and working at the OSU Purebred Beef Center is getting to work with the show cattle.

Amy Storts grew up participating in sports in Owasso, Okla. She came to OSU as a freshman to earn her degree in agricultural communications. She enjoys designing publications and taking photographs as well as broadcasting. cowboyjournal.okstate.edu | CJ 49


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isanythingbutmonotonous.Oneofthechallengesofherjob,however,isnotbeingableto leave her work at the office, she said. “The hardest part really is your mind is always spinning,” Pierce said. “It is difficult to turn your mind off.” Now married to John Barbush and the mother of two children, Ella and Mac, Pierce said she has found a good professional fit for herself and is the only lawyer in her firm with anagriculturalcommunicationsbackground. Piercehasmultiplefamilymemberswho arelawyers,butshesaidthatisonlypartofthe reason she decided to become a lawyer. “I learned through my undergraduate classes what I was good at,” Pierce said. “I learned I was very good at writing and research. That transferred well into law.”

MISSEL

For 1996 OSU alumna Amy Pierce, the skills she learned in agriculturalcommunicationshavehelped herdownherunconventionalroadtobecomingapartnerattheOklahomaCity-based law firm Corbyn Hampton. Pierce, who earned her law degree from Oklahoma City University in 1999, said one of the main similarities between her undergraduatedegreeandherjobasafull-timelawyer is writing. “Writing a brief is like writing a story,” Pierce said. “You have to get your information, write a‘story,’then present it, where you use your oral argument skills.You have to be able to take a logical path.” Pierce said she enjoys the day-to-day activities at the law firm and the fact her work

MISSEL

NoteveryonewhoearnsadegreefromtheOklahomaStateUniversityCollegeofAgriculturalSciencesandNaturalResourcestravelsaconventional careerpathintheiracademicmajor.Some,likeAmyPierceandMattRalls,usetheireducationalexperiencestoexplorehiddenopportunities.

The Idabel, Okla., native said he learned responsibility on the family farm. He credits hisparentsforinstillinghisworkethicasthey managedtheircow-calfandsheepoperations. “As an agent, I understand we have a very importantjobthatrequireslonghours,tough assignmentsandworkingunderstressfulconditions,” Ralls said. “When things get tough or uncomfortable, my farm work ethic kicks in and says,‘Get the job done, no matter how long it takes or what is required.’” Ralls’desire to serve others started while working at the Rocket Roller Rink, his hometown skating rink. “Itwasmyjobtoensurethateveryonehad asafeandenjoyabletimewhileattheskating From a young age, Matt Ralls rink,” Ralls said. dreamed of being a federal agent. Ralls said he uses the skills he gained in Afterearningadegreeinenvironmen- college on a daily basis. tal science in 1998, his dream came true. “The three things I use the most are reWhile at OSU, Ralls was involved in searching, writing and presenting,”he said.“I the Student Government Association, was a will investigate a case, write a formal report, memberoftheAlphaGammaRhofraternity, andsometimeswillbeaskedtotestifybefore and served as Pistol Pete from 1996 to 1998. a jury or court.” “Being Pistol Pete was the greatest job I Ralls said the diversity of the people he ever had,”Ralls said with a smile.“Being a Se- works with is an asset to the agency. cret Service agent is a close second.” “The Secret Service has agents from all

walks of life,” he said. “I do not know of any otheragentswithanagriculturaldegree.Our backgroundsmakeusastrongeragencyand good at what we do.” The heart Ralls has for service fits his role. “The opportunity to serve my country by protectingtheOfficeofthePresidentandour nation’sfinancialinfrastructurewasaperfect match for my desire to serve others.” Rallssaidheenjoysthevarietyinhiswork. “One day I can be protecting the most powerfulpersoninthecountry,andthenext dayIcouldbearrestingsomeoneformanufacturing counterfeit credit cards,” Ralls said.

ab out the author Lindsey Missel grew up showing horses in Bartlesville, Okla. She came to OSU as a freshman to earn her degree in agricultural communications and minor in agricultural leadership. She plans to own an equine advertising agency one day. cowboyjournal.okstate.edu | CJ 51


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joseph.wolf@alpharma.com 800.645.4216 X80432 office/fax 405.341.9491 mobile 201.407.9976

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The Oklahoma State University College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources honors its best each spring.

JOHNSON

The 2010 Outstanding Seniors include Cami Jeter (back left), Stephen Eller, Travis Schnaithman, Joshua Ketch, Tyler Powell, Jared Crain, Brady Brewer, Michelle E. Jones, Hailey Harroun (front left), Ashley Mason, Carrie Highfill, Megan McCool and Ana Gessel. Not pictured: Leah Kuehn

Outstanding Seniors Shine Students,advisersandstaffoftheCollege of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources watched as Carrie Highfill of Enid, Okla., received CASNR’s Outstanding Senior Award on March 26. “My time at Oklahoma State University has been amazing, and I feel truly blessed for themanywonderfulexperiences,opportunitiesandfriendshipsImadewhileastudentat OSU,” Highfill said. Highfill,ananimalsciencemajor,studied abroad in Mexico, competed in the InternationalMeatJudgingContestinAustralia,and served on numerous leadership teams. “Organizations such as Mortar Board, Homecomingsteeringcommitteesandmysocialsororityprovidedmanyopportunitiesfor metoorganizeeventsandcompletecommunityservicewithstudentsacrossthecampus,” Highfill said. In addition to Highfill, the top five CASNR seniors received the Dean Fred LeCrone Leadership Award: Jared Crain, plant and soil sciences; Ana Gessel, animal science/ biochemistryandmolecularbiology;Hailey Harroun, animal science/agricultural communications;andTylerPowell,agribusiness. Crain of Woodward, Okla., said the clubs and opportunities CASNR offered allowed him to succeed and broaden his horizons. “There has never been any typical day,”

Crain said. “One day I might be in class and working at the Agronomy Farm and the next day going to Mexico or Honduras on a studyabroad trip.” Gessel of Plano, Texas, said CASNR was one big family and she really enjoyed her experience at OSU. “My involvement in multiple student organizations allowed me to develop strong leadershipskillsthatwillhelpmeimmensely as a veterinarian,” Gessel said. “I am taking with me a strong knowledge of the agriculturalindustryandtheconfidencetosucceed in vet school.” Harroun of Chewelah, Wash., said the education she received at OSU made it possible for her to fulfill her dream of becoming a veterinarian. “I have been fortunate to have some outstanding professors who have a passion for teaching and have gone out of their way to helpmesucceed,”Harrounsaid.“Myinvolvement in leadership and service at OSU has helped me mature as a person and find my place in the world.” Powell of Guthrie, Okla., said the college has a great atmosphere in which to learn. “Being a student in CASNR has really put my experience over the top,”Powell said. “Havingtheopportunitytoworkwithfaculty memberswhotrulycareaboutmeallowedfor

thecreationofalearningenvironmentsecond to none.” Completing the list of CASNR’s outstandingseniorswereBradyBrewer,agricultural economics/accounting; Stephen Eller, biosystems and agricultural engineering; Cami Jeter, animal science; Michelle Jones, animalscience/agriculturalcommunications; JoshuaKetch,naturalresourcesecologyand management; Leah Kuehn, animal science/ agriculturalcommunications;AshleyMason, agricultural economics; Megan McCool, agricultural communications; and Travis Schnaithman, agricultural economics. CASNRpresentedseveralstudent,faculty and staff awards as well as more than $1 million in scholarships at the 2010 banquet. Ryan Ramsayer, an agricultural economics/accounting major, received this year’s Charles and Magda Browning Outstanding Freshman award. Udaya DeSilva, an animal science professor, received the Alpha Zeta Outstanding Teacher award. Sarah Lancaster, a plant and soil sciences professor, received the Ag Ambassadors Outstanding Adviser award. Debbie Wells, agricultural economics departmentseniorsecretarywasnamedtheAg AmbassadorsOutstandingProfessionalStaff. — compiled by Corey Duysen

cowboyjournal.okstate.edu | CJ 53


Serving the past year as the president of the AgriculturalAmbassadorshasbeenoneofmy mostmemorableexperiencesasanundergraduate.Ihadtheopportunitytomeetandwork with several of the members of the CASNR Alumni Association, and I am grateful for those experiences. Avarietyofopportunitiesareavailableto you. I encourage CASNR students, alumni andallreadersofthe CowboyJournal tolook forwaystosupportagriculturalsciencesand natural resources in our state. One opportunity is the Annual Access Tour, which is planned by the CASNR AlumniAssociation’sboardofdirectors.Thetouris a trip designed to educate the division of the currentissuesOklahomaagriculturalistsface. Theparticipantstravelthestatetomeetwith agriculturalists, farmers and ranchers. Other opportunities for students and alumni to work together are the legislative days at the capitol. DASNR Day at the Capitol, 4-H Day at the Capitol and State FFA Convention are all times when legislators meet with the DASNR team to discuss the legislativeaspectsofagriculture.Theseevents are critical to agriculture because they teach legislators about agriculture and help them realizetheimportanceofcontinuedfunding. Staying involved in CASNR after graduation is a goal I have set for myself. I have learnedthroughmyexperiencesthatstaying active in CASNR after graduation is important and can be accomplished easily. As a retiring Agricultural Ambassador, I lookforwardtograduationandtojoiningthe CASNR Alumni Association. Participating in thesupportofourcollegeanduniversitywill allowmetocontinuelearning,tokeepupwith friends,andtomeetnewpeoplewhosupport agriculturalsciencesandnaturalresourcesand Oklahoma State University. I encourage you all to do the same to ensure a growing future for agriculture. Karolyn Bolay CASNR Senior 54 CJ | summer • fall

JOHNSON

A note to alumni

CASNR alumna and state Rep. Skye (Varner) McNiel, R-Bristow (right), meets with Oklahoma 4-H Ambassadors Paige Blevins (left), Chelsea Ann Blevins and Marissa Perryman during the 2010 4-H Day at the Capitol.

Make plans now to be a part of

HOMECOMING 2010

COWBOY NATION

CASNR Alumni Barbecue Saturday, Oct. 23 11 a.m.* Wes Watkins Center Call 405-744-5395 to reserve your tickets today. *If the Nebraska vs. OSU football game begins before 2 p.m., the barbecue will follow the game.


Summer/Fall 2010

Cothren leads CASNR Alumni Association

J o hn C o thr e n Pr e si d e nt S haw n e e, O k l a . Ky l e Hu ghb ank s V i c e Pr e si d e nt A l v a, O k l a . Dana B e s si n ge r S e c r e t ar y Wato n g a, O k l a. C h e r y l D eVu y s t E xe c u ti ve S e c r e t ar y M o r r i s o n, O k l a . JOHNSON

NewlyelectedCollegeofAgriculturalSciencesandNaturalResourcesAlumniAssociation PresidentJohnCothrengrewupinStratford, Okla., on a farm and cow-calf operation. While in high school, Cothren served as state 4-H president and was active in FFA. Afterhighschool,heattendedOklahoma StateUniversitywherehereceivedaBachelor ofSciencedegreeinagribusinesswithminors in economics and management. While at OSU, Cothren was active in the CASNR Student Council, Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity and Student Alumni Board. “My OSU experience taught me a lot that I still use today,” Cothren said. “I learned a greatdealabouthowtoworkwithothersand about leadership.” OSU and CASNR are a Cothren family tradition. Cothren’s mom, Phillis, recently retired after more than 25 years of service as an extension educator in Garvin County. His dad, Donnie, has an agronomy degree from OSU, and his sister, DonEtta, received her degree in animal science. Cothren started his career with John Deere Co. as a summer intern with the Dallas marketing branch. After graduating, Cothren went to work for John Deere Co. full-time, holding several differentpositionsinMissouri,Arkansasand Texas. His last position was as an instructor in theagriculturalequipmentdivision,wherehe interviewed students at OSU andTexas A&M University for full-time and intern positions. He also managed summer interns for the Dallas marketing branch. Cothrencurrentlyisthegeneralmanager of Grissoms John Deere LLC. The company has six John Deere locations in central and eastern Oklahoma. “The most rewarding part of working for Grissoms John Deere LLC is helping farmers havethemostproductiveandprofitableoperations possible with their equipment and input needs,” Cothren said.

A gricultur al S ciences and Natur al Resources Alumni A s so ciation B oard of Direc tor s

Newly elected CASNR Alumni Association president John Cothren serves as the general manager of Grissoms John Deere LLC.

In addition to serving as the president of the CASNR Alumni Board, Cothren is a recent graduate of Class XIV of the Oklahoma Ag Leadership Program and is still active in his family farm in Stratford. Cothrensaidhisgoalsaspresidentinclude continuingprogramssuchastheAccessTour, CASNR Round-up and the Homecoming Alumni Barbecue while also increasing the involvement of young alumni. “Another goal is to promote OSU and all of agriculture in a positive manner and to educatethepubliconhowwefeedandclothe the world,” Cothren said. “Most of all, I hope Icangivebacktoauniversityandcollegethat has done so much for me personally.” Cothren and his wife, Leigh-Anne, currently live in Shawnee, Okla., where LeighAnne is a pharmaceutical representative for Merck Inc. They have one infant son, Cash, who Cothren said already is a Cowboys fan!

M e c h e ll e Hamp to n Tul s a, O k l a . Ke nt Gar dn e r O k l ah o ma C i t y, O k l a . Danna G o s s C anu te, O k l a . C o l e man Hi c k man J e nk s , O k l a . D o n Ro b e r t s Eni d, O k l a . Steve Up s o n A r dm o r e, O k l a . We s Elli o t t Elk C i t y, O k l a . Kim Spady Hi nto n, O k l a . S h e ll y R ams ey Jones, Okla.

cowboyjournal.okstate.edu | CJ 55


Learn the inside scoop on how to become a true OSU Cowboy.

Wear Orange!

Welcome to Oklahoma State University and the land of orange! It’s time to support the Cowboys!Youhavemanychoicesoncampus andaroundStillwater,sopurchaseanorange shirt and fit in with the student body. “On Fridays, you get to be part of something bigger than yourself,”said Mary Hunt, an animal science junior.“It’s funny that you usuallystickoutbywearingsuchabrightcolor, but here at Stillwater you stick out if you are not wearing orange.”

Exercise.

56 CJ | summer • fall

SITTON

AvoidtheFreshman(orSophomoreorJunior or Senior) 15. The Colvin Recreational Center is an incredible place to get fit and stay in shape.The$23-million,240,000-square-foot center features 10 basketball and volleyball courts,12racquetballcourts,anindoortrack, weights,fitnessequipment,dancestudios,indoorandoutdoorpools,arockclimbingwall, and golf. The Colvin also coordinates intramural sports all year. “We have a great place to go and work out,”said Chris Muegge, an agricultural business junior. “The Colvin offers lots of fun things to do. I enjoy getting involved with intramurals or just going there to work out by myself on the equipment.”


Watch deadlines.

The Office of the Registrar in the Student Union works to let you know deadlines of addinganddroppingclasses,butitisyourjob toberesponsible.Procrastinatingwillleadto long lines and “short fuses.” “Take advantage of e-mail notices,”said SamuelDonica,ananimalsciencesenior.“Pay ontimetoavoidenrollmentholdsanddecide earlyifyouaregoingtodropaclass.Makesure you do it in the first week to get your full refund.Anydroppingafterthedeadlineshould only be a last resort.”

Get Loud!

Be a part of one of the rowdiest arenas in the nation:Wear your orange and get loud! OSU is home to 49 National Championships, the best in the Big XII. Gallagher-Iba Arena and Boone Pickens Stadium host multiple Cowboy and Cowgirl athletic events. OSU providesfreeentranceforstudentsatallsporting eventsexceptmen’sbasketballandfootball. “Thegamesandcrowdhavesomuchpassion for the Cowboys,”said Eric Humphreys, alandscapearchitecturesophomore.“It’sreally neat to go to all the sporting events and feel like you are really a part of something. It doesn’tmatterwhetherit’sbasketball,wrestling or football. They are all fun.”

Go to class.

Manyfacultygiveattendancepointstoward the final grade of the class. “Almost 99 percent of making a decent grade in a class is showing up,” said Trevor Thomasson,anagriculturaleducationjunior. “Going to class and letting the professor see that you are there is a big deal. Don’t go out the night before if you are planning on making it to class in the morning. “If you are paying for school, you might as well go.”

Hungry?

Great food is not far away. With 30 locations to choose from, OSU offers many choices in campus cuisine. One of the newest locations is Roots, located in the Classroom Building North, where, OSU offers “Made in Oklahoma” products. These foods are from local producers who offer students healthy, wholesome food choices. Another new restaurant on campus is Which-Wich?, located in the Kerr-Drummondresidencehall.Thiseateryletscustomers pick their sandwich and toppings, as well as if they want a milkshake, cookie or other yummyaddition.Thesandwichismadefresh right in front of the customer.

Be a Pro. Look Out!

“I have definitely seen someone get hit by a bike,” said Ray Schatzer, a biosystems and agricultural engineering senior.“I saw a girl walk out into a crosswalk while talking on herphone.Sheneverevenlooked.Whenthe biker hit her, they both went flying through the air.They were both fine, but it can be dangerous if people don’t pay attention.” While walking on the crosswalk without looking can become habit, it can be dangerous. By looking both ways, you can avoid a big wreck.

Treating school like a job and your professor like a boss teaches professionalism and prepares you for the real world. In large classes, if your professors know you are interested in their subject area, they are likely to help you andyourgrade(andtheymaybegoodforfuture references on applications). “Professorscanbescary,buttheyarenormal people,” said Dillon Sparks, an animal science junior.“Don’t be nervous when you go and talk to them. If they get to know your name, who you are, and know you are interested in the class, they will typically help you if you need it.”

Get involved.

The College of Agricultural Sciences and NaturalResourceshouses35studentorganizationstohelpstudentsengageinavarietyof diverse activities. “Students will get to meet and develop relationshipswithotherstudentsandfaculty, learnaboutimportantlegislativeandcurrent issues pertaining to the purpose of the organization, build a résumé, and learn valuable skills related to working with large and small groups of people,”said Stephen Eller, 20092010 CASNR Student Council president. Throughstudentorganizations,students haveachancetomeetOSUalumniwhocould bepotentialemployers.Theyalsogetachance tomakeadifferencethroughcommunityservice on a local and national level.

Watch your step.

Don’t combine leather-soled boots and the metal grate in front of the Animal Science Building or other places on campus. When thesnowandicearriveinOklahoma,traversing campus can be a little treacherous. Kyle McLean, an animal science senior, recalled falling on his way to class. “It had been sleeting and snowing all morning,” McLean said. “When I walked across the grate, I stepped onto it with one foot and my foot just kept going. I unintentionally did the splits and proceeded to fall. Just be careful.”

ab out the author Rachelle Holt grew up on a farming and ranching operation in Gruver, Texas. She received an agricultural communications degree and is pursuing an MBA degree. She enjoys rodeoing and riding horses and will continue to rodeo professionally. cowboyjournal.okstate.edu | CJ 57


We are members of the Association to ensure the legacy of OSU will continue through future generations. The Association programming, including the Alumni Recruiting Network and Homecoming, works toward continuing this great legacy.

Scott Dvorak, ’79 Carol Dvorak, ’77 Justin Dvorak, ’11

We are OSU.

201 ConocoPhillips OSU Alumni Center Stillwater, OK 74078-7043 TEL 405-744-5368 FAX 405-744-6722 orangeconnection.org


Feeding and clothing the world …

one farmer

at a time.

Paul and Melinda Fruendt’s cattle are just one part of their diversified Logan County farm. In any given year, you will find any combination of wheat, corn, soybeans, grain sorghum, canola, sunflowers and experimental crops growing in their fields. It takes time and dedication, but these Oklahoma Farm Bureau members love coaxing a living from the Oklahoma soil — and providing a safe and reliable food supply for the United States and the world.

Oklahoma Farm Bureau 2501 N. Stiles • Oklahoma City, OK 73105 • okfarmbureau.org

Oklahoma Farm Bureau


Cowboy Journal Oklahoma State University Department of Agricultural Education, Communications and Leadership 448 Agricultural Hall Stillwater, OK 74078-6031

103 AG HALL • 405.744.9464 • CASNR.OKSTATE.EDU • CASNR@OKSTATE.EDU

Profile for Cowboy Journal

Cowboy Journal v12n2  

Cowboy Journal Volume 12, Number 2 Summer/Fall 2010 Oklahoma State University College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

Cowboy Journal v12n2  

Cowboy Journal Volume 12, Number 2 Summer/Fall 2010 Oklahoma State University College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

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