College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at Oklahoma State University
Volume 17 Number 2 â€˘ Summer/Fall 2015
Agricultural education alumnus fights back following injury
Join the Clubs CASNR promotes student involvement
The Surgeon is In Biochemistry graduate saves lives
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Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources Research
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TABLE OF CONTENTS The Drummond Legacy
MANRRS: New Club on the Block
Safe Farm. Safe Food.
Debunking Food Myths
Rise to Neal
The Sweet Taste of Success
Returning the Favor
Architecture and Agriculture
Join the Club
Entomology: More than Meets the Eye
Raising the Steaks
Woman of the World
Xcite-d to Discover Science
Detour to Gold
Dedicated to CASNR
Parting with the Plow
CASNR Alumni News
OSU inducts animal science alumnus into Hall of Fame.
FAPC educates processors and producers about food safety’s importance.
Family builds on a dairy dream and creates a foundation for a lasting legacy.
CASNR administration honors 2015 Seniors of Distinction.
Payne County, Okla., woman helps finance new equine teaching center.
CASNR promotes involvement through 41 student organizations.
OCES provides resources for cattle producers during record-high beef prices.
Henneberry celebrates 30 years of teaching, research and international agriculture at OSU.
An Oklahoma cowboy uses determination to overcome life’s challenges.
Farmers use no-till to preserve topsoil and counteract drought conditions in Oklahoma.
CASNR’s new student organization promotes diversity and creates opportunities on campus.
Students on study-abroad trips experience personal growth.
New class offers an inside view into how largescale agriculture feeds the world.
Sweet Spirit BBQ Sauce hits grocery store shelves after partnering with OSU.
OSU CASNR offers Oklahoma’s only Landscape Architecture bachelor’s degree program.
A small CASNR program holds a large potential for career opportunities.
OSU graduate uses knowledge to save lives through organ transplant.
Hands-on engineering program sparks youth toward new career paths.
CASNR Alumni Board activities benefit students, faculty and fellow alumni.
Get to know Mechelle Hampton, CASNR Alumni Board vice president.
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EDITORS As we reflect on this publication’s 35th issue, we could not be more honored to serve as editors of this Oklahoma State University tradition. Before we became OSU Cowboys, we were overwhelmed with the prestige of the Cowboy Journal magazine. Throughout this edition, you will find a woman of the world, a Dutch dynasty, travelers’ tales, and a transplant surgeon changing lives. This publication would not be possible without the staff ’s ambition, passion, determination and optimism. We, as editors, are honored to have had the opportunity to work alongside you throughout this process. We extend our greatest appreciation to Hannah Nemecek, Holly Blakey and Kristin Knight for their talent and attention in proofreading this issue. We also thank Avery Culbertson and Clarissa Fulton for their assistance with this time-honored publication. To our assistant managing editors, Dwayne Cartmell, Angel Riggs and Traci Naile, we thank you for your guidance both in the classroom and with this publication. We hope this final presentation of the skills you have instilled in us makes you proud. Shelly Peper Sitton, we cannot express our gratitude to you as our managing editor. Your dedication to this magazine and to us as students began far before this semester. We wouldn’t be who we are today without your encouragement, honesty and daily life lessons. Finally, we are thankful to our readers. Without you, we would not have a purpose. We hope the following pages will fill you with knowledge, warmth and pride, all of which are feelings we reflect on as we close both the magazine and this chapter of our lives.
Sara Honegger & Laci Jones
Sara Honegger Laci Jones
Shelly Peper Sitton, Ph.D.
ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITORS Dwayne Cartmell, Ph.D. Traci Naile, Ph.D. Angel Riggs, Ph.D.
PHOTO COORDINATOR Liana Wagner
GRAPHIC COORDINATORS Leighona Bernstein Saylor Bullington
SPONSORSHIP COORDINATORS Jaclyn Bush Kevin Meeks
CIRCULATION COORDINATOR Clara Gregory
Brianna Brassfield Braidyn Browning Hope Hancock Jennifer Hayes Katelyn McCoy Elizabeth Powell Alison Slagell Blair Testerman Wilma Van der Laan Katelyn Willard Brittany Zerr Limousin World Oklahoma Farm Bureau QuadGraphics
Volume 17 Number 2 • Summer/Fall 2015
ON THE COVER: Overcoming Adversity
Agricultural education alumnus fights back following injury
Join the Clubs CASNR promotes student involvement
The Surgeon is In Biochemistry graduate saves lives
College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at Oklahoma State University
Hershel Williams, a 1984 agricultural education alumnus, continues to strive toward childhood goals after a life-altering injury in 2013 nearly ended his professional rodeo career. Photo by Jaclyn Bush.
Vol. 17 No. 2
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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 Educational Amendments of 1972, Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other federal laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, age, religion, disability or status as a veteran in any of its politics, practices or procedures. This includes but is not limited to admissions, employment, financial aid and educational services. This publication is printed by QuadGraphics-Midland and issued two times a year by agricultural communications seniors in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. It has been prepared and distributed at no cost to the taxpayers of Oklahoma.
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It was the most successful comprehensive higher education fundraising campaign in state history with more than $1.2 billion given and pledged to fund thousands of new scholarships, add faculty positions, create new programs and build new facilities.
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Frederick F. Drummond earned his Bachelor of Science in animal science from Oklahoma A&M College in 1953. Photo courtesy of the Frederick F. Drummond family. 8 | SUMMER/FALL 2015
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OSU inducts animal science alumnus into Hall of Fame. rederick F. Drummond is a family man, a rancher, an Oklahoma State University animal science graduate and, most recently, a 2015 inductee into the OSU Hall of Fame. The 82-year-old grew up in Hominy, Okla., and still resides in Osage County in Pawhuska. “Our family has been in the ranching business since the late 1800s,” Frederick Drummond said. “The ranch has cattle, primarily Angus and some crossbreeds, and some horses. Everything that is supposed to be on a ranch we have, even some cowboys.” Frederick Drummond grew up the middle of three children, said Ford Drummond, Frederick’s son. “I think even my father would admit he was a spoiled child,” Ford Drummond said with a smile. “From all of the stories I have heard, he had a wonderful, idyllic childhood that sounded a bit like ‘The Little Rascals.’” Frederick Drummond has four children with his wife, Janet, who he married when he was 28. Fifty-four years later, they are still married. “All my children seem to be in different time zones,” Frederick Drummond said. The Drummond children — Diana Cummins, Jane Stiehl, Ann Harper and Ford Drummond — gave him nine grandchildren, who all live in different parts of the country. “I’m most proud to be a father of four lovely children and have a wonderful family,” Frederick Drummond said.
the banking industry for 50 years before He said he found most of his inspishifting his focus to the family ranch. ration to achieve greatness through his “After graduating from Stanford, mother and father, Grace and Frederick my father came back to this part of the G. Drummond. world and worked at United Missouri The Drummond Residence Hall on Bank of Kansas the university’s camCity where he was pus was named after I appreciate Frederick’s varied Frederick Drumaccomplishments and his long-time an agricultural mond’s father. service and generosity to OSU. He loan officer,” Ford Drummond said. Frederick is a loyal and true Cowboy. Drummond and his — Burns Hargis “He enjoyed that a father are the first OSU President great deal because he was able to father-son pair to be meet a lot of ranchers in Oklahoma, inducted into the OSU Hall of Fame. Texas and Kansas, and he would go pay “He is the reason that I went to Oklahoma State,” Frederick Drummond visits to them.” Relationships were the key to Fredsaid. “My father said I could go anyerick Drummond enjoying his job, Ford where I wanted [for college], but my Drummond said. tuition was paid there.” “Banking gave him the chance to While at OSU, Frederick Druminteract with a lot of different customers, mond was a smart and good student, to get to know their stories, and to help said Lew Meibergen, one of Frederick them out as much as he could,” Ford Drummond’s OSU classmates. Drummond said. “He thought that was “If it wouldn’t have been for his service to the community. [Frederick], I would’ve never made it,” “He commanded a lot of respect Meibergen said. from the cowboys,” Ford Drummond A top 10-graduate from OSU, said. “My father has always had the Frederick Drummond was a member of ability to talk to anyone and learn from Alpha Zeta Agricultural Student Honor anyone. I always learned from him by Society, Blue Key Honor Society, Phi watching how he would interact with Kappa Sigma, ROTC and many more other people.” student organizations. Being involved in the community is After receiving his bachelor’s degree a big part of Frederick’s life, Ford Drumin animal science in 1953, Frederick Drummond served two years in the U.S. mond said. Frederick Drummond said he likes Army. He then earned an MBA from to make contributions of any kind. Stanford University in 1957. “It doesn’t always have to be mon Frederick Drummond moved back ey,” Frederick Drummond said. “A lot to Oklahoma in 1957 and he served in COWBOY JOURNAL | 9
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Frederick F. Drummond receives his Hall of Fame medal in February 2015. Photo courtesy of Genesee Photo Systems.
of people contribute their time and their talents, and sometimes that is worth more than money ever could be.” Frederick and Janet Drummond are two of OSU’s longest-serving annual donors, dating back to the opening of the OSU Foundation, according to the OSU Alumni Association. “Frederick Drummond embodies the Oklahoma State University spirit,” said Chris Batchelder, OSU Alumni Association president and CEO. “His name is synonymous with our state. His passion for Oklahoma and its people shines through in everything he does.” Frederick Drummond served OSU as a student and continues to assist the OSU Alumni Association today, Batchelder said. “The connections you make with the people you meet at OSU are the connections you have for life,” Frederick Drummond said. “I made a lot of friends while I was there, and I’ve had them around all of my life.” Frederick Drummond said he always will be loyal to OSU. “There is not a bigger supporter or someone more loyal to OSU than
Frederick,” Meibergen said. “It’s almost a love, I think.” Frederick Drummond said he is humbled and overwhelmed to be recognized by his alma-mater. “My father is very honored to be inducted into the Hall of Fame,” Ford Drummond said. “It means a great deal to be selected by some of his peers and people he respects. He is extremely flattered, and it is just wonderful.” The OSU Hall of Fame inductees are chosen through a selection committee of OSU Alumni Association representatives, the OSU Foundation president and the OSU administration, including Burns Hargis, OSU president. “I appreciate Frederick’s varied accomplishments and his long-time service and generosity to OSU,” Hargis said. “He is a loyal and true Cowboy.”
Jennifer Hayes Perkins, Okla.
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FAPC educates processors and producers about food safety’s importance. ood safety awareness has been around for more than 50 years, and today’s producers and processors are implementing food safety programs to better protect the consumer. The Global Food Safety Initiative was developed because of the importance of food safety, said Jason Young, GFSI specialist at the Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center, which operates as a part of the Oklahoma State University Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. GFSI began in 2000 after a group of retailers gathered and discussed the need for improved food safety for the products carried in their stores. Young said GFSI changed the way food safety is viewed around the globe. “Retailers needed to reduce their risks,” Young said. “A producer may have one recall every 20 years, while a retailer could have daily recalls on the many products it carries.” The driving force behind GFSI’s widespread acceptance and application is that the initiative is driven by industry, not government, Young said. Many of the retailers who helped create GFSI are international companies. This has helped GFSI become a worldwide initiative, Young said. “GFSI is a customer-driven program,” Young said. The initiative is comprised of various third-party auditing systems. These different systems, called schemes, can be applied to almost every food production and processing unit in the industry, Young said. “GFSI’s mission is to provide continuous improvement in food safety management systems to ensure con-
fidence in the delivery of safe food to consumers worldwide,” Young said. Before the initiative, retailers required producers and processors to conduct various audits and redundancies occurred, but GFSI has eliminated those, Young said. Through his work in the food production and processing industry, Roy Escoubas, director of FAPC, can attest to the growing importance of food safety. “Food safety is not going away,” Escoubas said. “There is more intensity on food safety every day. The food industry needs have to meet the demands being placed on them.” With the growing need for food safety, a demand exists for well-trained professionals to help producers and processors become certified to a GFSI scheme, Escoubas said. DASNR and FAPC recognized that need and are implementing programs to better equip students and people in the community, Escoubas said. “Everyone who is involved in agriculture is involved in the chain of food production,” Young said. “Therefore, food safety affects every person in the agricultural industry.” Preparing for a GFSI scheme audit can be a daunting process for producers and processors of any size, Young said. In 2014, Young helped more than 70 different companies develop and implement a food safety plan. One Oklahoma farm Young helped was Triple S Farms, a diversified fruit, vegetable and commodity crop farm in western Oklahoma. “Food safety is important to us,” said Blair Switzer, office manager at Triple S Farms. “We want consumers to
feel good about buying our products to eat and enjoy.” During the audits, one of Switzer’s main jobs is documentation. After completing and passing two GFSI-accredited, third-party audits, Switzer said she knows how important good records are in producing safe food. “Documentation is key,” Switzer said. “If it’s not written down, it is like it didn’t happen.” Passing a third-party audit and having a safe facility is more than one person’s responsibility. It takes the entire staff and management to be behind the audit for it to be a success, Young said. “It takes an entire team to implement procedures and follow them through,” Switzer said. Dale Beerwinkle, special projects coordinator, deals with the GFSI process at Triple S Farms and trains employees on various food safety procedures. He said he knows the GFSI audits are more than just paperwork. “Real food safety depends on the attitudes of the workers, owners and auditors,” Beerwinkle said. The development of GFSI, combined with support of DASNR and FAPC, has helped to provide safer food to Oklahomans as well as to the world, Young said.
Alison Slagell Hydro, Okla.
GFSI standards help improve food safety for crops, including onions, lettuce and turnips. Photos by Alison Slagell. COWBOY JOURNAL | 13
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DUTCH n November 2011, an EF4 tornado ripped through the Van der Laan Family Dairy. Anita and Pieter Van der Laan said they could only watch in horror as it swept away their most precious possessions — their dairy calves. The couple, co-owners of the Van der Laan Family Dairy in Frederick, Okla., said they were devastated to see the damage the tornado caused their operation. Tornadoes are not a frequent occurrence in their homeland of Holland, they said, and Mother Nature’s capability for destruction is an unfamiliar natural obstacle. The Van der Laans said they have been Frederick, Okla., residents for only 13 years. They both were born in the Netherlands and grew up in Holland. Anita and Pieter Van der Laan came to the United States separately in 1987 for similar reasons. They said they were both searching to expand their opportunities in the dairy industry. In Holland, Anita Van der Laan said she operated her family dairy for a little more than a year. However, when her brother graduated from high school, her father told her to step down, Anita Van der Laan said. “He told me, in no uncertain terms, there was no room for girls,” Anita Van der Laan said. “He said, in May, when your brother graduates, there is no room for you here.” Anita Van der Laan said she left home three weeks after the encounter with her father. “I worked for a real estate office
there in Holland,” she said. “Then, they asked me if I wanted to go work in the United States, so I did.” Anita Van der Laan spent her early years in the United States selling dairies to immigrants from the Netherlands, helping people with dairy-related needs, overcoming the language barrier, getting immigrant children enrolled in school, and anything she could to help immigrant families settle into their new lives. Pieter Van der Laan began his journey to America with a curiosity as to how the nation ran its dairy operations. He grew up on a dairy farm in Holland so small that no opportunities for growth existed, he said. “You had to do something else,” Pieter Van der Laan said. “After two years of working for someone else in Holland, I decided ‘I want to go to the United States for a year and see how the dairies operate there.’” Pieter Van der Laan worked for a
dairyman in Como, Texas, for a year before he obtained his own dairy. By 1988, he was milking his own cows. Pieter Van der Laan and his wife knew of each other while in Holland, he said, but they never interacted until they were invited to the same Thanksgiving dinner by a mutual friend in Texas. Following their marriage in January of 1990, the couple began building their dairy business in Texas, moving from one location to the next as their numbers expanded. “We could not expand [in Texas] anymore,” Pieter Van der Laan said. “We remodeled [the dairy] twice and got to a point where the walls were bursting.” The couple rented dairies in Texas and were looking to own. They wanted to do something different, so they moved to Oklahoma. This was a small venture compared to that of moving from another country, Anita Van der Laan said.
Natives of Holland, Pieter Van der Laan (left) and his wife, Anita, operate the second-largest family-owned dairy in Oklahoma. The 5,200-cow dairy is located in Frederick. Photo by Braidyn Browning. 14 | SUMMER/FALL 2015
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One family builds on a dairy dream and creates a foundation for a lasting legacy. When searching for their new home, the couple considered several factors. Their youngest daughter, Liza Van der Laan, was 3 years old at the time, and they sought an environment in which they felt comfortable to raise their children, Anita said. Once the decision was made to move to Oklahoma, the couple said they were welcomed by locals. “The people are so warm here,” Anita Van der Laan said. Throughout their time in Oklahoma, the couple’s cow herd numbers have reached somewhere near 5,200 cows and 4,500 calves. According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, this makes them the second-largest family-owned dairy in Oklahoma. Though the dairy has experienced major successes, Anita Van der Laan said there have been trying times, as well. Anita Van der Laan credits one of her cows with helping her realize she
was suffering through one of the family’s greatest challenges to date: breast cancer. “I didn’t know I had it,” she said. “But a cow found it.” Anita Van der Laan said as she was walking around her property, one of her cows, a Brown Swiss, bumped into her. The contact brought sharp, immediate pain. She knew right away the pain was much more than it should have been. Following several doctor’s visits, she was diagnosed with breast cancer in September 2013, Anita Van der Laan said. She received chemotherapy and radiation and was declared in remission in summer 2014. “A couple of months after [diagnosis], the Brown Swiss passed away,” she said. “At first, it was too much for me.” Anita Van der Laan said she mourned the cow but believed the cow was put on earth to save her owner’s life. Anita Van der Laan said the cows are the reason behind what they do.
“It still takes my breath away every time a calf is born,” Anita Van der Laan said. “That is why we are in this, for the love of the cow.” She said although her family has faced obstacles, the dairy is where they want to be. “A day without a cow is not a good day,” she said. This love for their animals is a major reason why the tornado recovery was so trying on their hearts, she said. “We were just hoping [the tornado] was going to take the hay barns and the lagoons,” Anita Van der Laan said, “but it took the baby calves.” She said several hundred calves were swept up and many died of injuries. The exact amount of calves lost is unknown as some of them were never found. They also lost their hay and commodity barns. “We were lucky it didn’t hit straight on the milk barns,” she said, “because we would have been out of business.”
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Various professors and 25 students from Oklahoma State University drove to the dairy after the tornado to assist the family in their recovery. Anita Van der Laan said she found 675 secondhand calf houses in Colorado and had them shipped to the dairy for reconstruction. The calf houses were brought to the dairy in Oklahoma by volunteers from O&B Trucking/Farm. The OSU crew and Van der Laan family worked to assemble the houses. All of the work was completed within a single day, she said. Once the rebuild was finished, the calves were welcomed home, she said. “[The students and professors] put a smile on my face,” she said. “We are forever thankful for what they did.” OSU agricultural communications graduate Blaire Boyer said she remembers her impression of the family from her experiences assisting them during the 2011 tornado clean-up. “You just have to love them,” Boyer said. “They just make you feel so included in their family.” Boyer said she recalls the pen-building process and how touched Anita Van der Laan was. Boyer said the OSU community’s support reaffirmed the Van der Laan’s decision to move to Oklahoma and have their children attend the university.
“The help we got was one thing after the tornado that proved to us we are in the right spot where we live right now,” Anita Van der Laan said, “because the people from Oklahoma, they were amazing what they did for us.” Individuals within the OSU network have expressed their mutual appreciation of the Van der Laan family. Tommy Challacombe, long-time family friend and business associate, has raised the family’s heifers for several years now. Challacombe earned a Bachelor of Science in animal science and agricultural education from OSU. Challacombe said he holds the Van der Laan family in high regard. He said the family came from their homeland with almost nothing and made something significant all on their own. “The Van der Laan dairy runs on exceptional management,” Challacombe said. “It is a family project.” Because the dairy is Oklahoma’s second largest, it’s easy to forget the dairy is a family effort, Anita Van der Laan said. Liza Van der Laan said helping their heifers grow and building a family legacy is something Challacombe has been a part of for as long as she can remember. Challacombe still gives the Van der Laan children OSU Christmas ornaments every year. She said this is a small reminder of how Challacombe
has pushed them toward the university throughout the years. Anita Van der Laan said their children — Eric, 24; Wilma, 22; and Liza, 19 — along with Pieter Van der Laan’s niece and nephew — Leanne, 19, and Shannon, 20 — attend OSU. All were persuaded by a joint effort from Anita Van der Laan and Challacombe. As the family and their network grows, so does the number of OSU recruits, Anita Van der Laan said. It’s a small return of favor for the Van der Laans, as they have not forgotten what OSU did for them, she said. The Van der Laans said they are happy to have settled into the life they are living. “We feel we are blessed that we were given this talent to take care of these animals,” Anita Van der Laan said.
Braidyn Browning Little Axe, Okla.
The Van der Laan family raises calves in one of the pens assembled by OSU faculty and students after the 2011 tornado. Photo by Braidyn Browning.
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tudents of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources understand the importance of research in agriculture. Jessica Neal, an animal science senior from Duncan, Okla., is no different.
In honor of Neal’s academic, research and other achievements, she earned the CASNR Outstanding Senior Award at the 2015 CASNR Scholarship and Awards Banquet. As the college’s top senior, Neal received a Frederic Remington bronze statue and $500. “Being named the CASNR Outstanding Senior means that the activities that I have deliberately chosen have been worthy of merit to more than myself,” Neal said. “It is often a difficult task to see the worth of the hard work put into coursework and extracurricular activities, while in the middle of them.” Karen Hickman, professor in the Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management, serves on the committee that selects the college’s top student awards. In addition to selecting the CASNR Outstanding Senior, the committee selects the CASNR Seniors of Distinction and the Dean’s Award of Excellence recipients. “The public and certainly their family and friends should view this as a tremendous honor that acknowledges the success and contributions each student award winner has had at OSU,” Hickman said.
The Bronco Buster statue was designed by American artist Frederic Remington in the late 19th century. Photo by Laci Jones.
Hickman said the committee includes faculty from each CASNR department. Each committee member scores the applicants based on academics, extracurricular involvement, and other work and internship activities. “The OSU faculty wants more than classroom knowledge and academics,” Hickman said. “We want to build that well-rounded, service-oriented student.” Neal said she became involved in the agricultural industry through horseback riding lessons at a hunter and jumper lesson barn. She was hired as a riding student at LNJ Ranch in Marlow, Okla. “My equine interests led me to join the FFA in high school, where I began to give speeches and show market hogs,” Neal said. “My exposure to agriculture through the FFA organization led me to pursue an education and eventually a career in agriculture. “Like many other incoming freshmen, I believed that I wanted to be a veterinarian when I grew up,” she said. “I wanted to attend the university that would give me the best chance of making it into vet school.” Instead of pursuing her childhood dream, Neal will receive a bachelor’s degree in animal science with an option in animal biotechnology as well as minors in biochemistry and molecular biology and in microbiology. Neal said she plans to attend the University of Missouri to earn a master’s degree in animal science. “After the completion of my doctoral degree in animal breeding and genetics, I desire to work to improve animal agriculture by becoming a research scientist in the area of genetics,” Neal said. Steven Cooper, associate professor in the OSU Department of Animal Science and an equine specialist, is Neal’s academic adviser and horse judging coach. He said he first got to know Neal when
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CASNR administration honors 2015 Seniors of Distinction.
she became active in the Horseman’s Association and was as an OSU Horse Judging Team member. “Neal is an excellent representative for this award because she has managed to achieve a balance between academics, extracurricular activities and leadership while excelling in those,” Cooper said. Neal was involved in undergraduate research at OSU. Her research focused on the impact of genetic polymorphisms on livestock production traits. Because of her research, Neal was named a Niblack Research Scholar in 2013. “The education I have received has allowed me to find a field where I can harness both my leadership skills and scientific curiosity,” Neal said. Neal was selected as one of four undergraduate students to present at the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research Day at the Oklahoma State Capitol in March. She also has presented her findings at several conferences, including the 2014 American Society of Animal Science and American Dairy Science Association’s Joint Annual Meeting. Neal said her favorite OSU experience was being one of four students to represent the university at the ASAS Quadrathalon Contest. “Our hard work practicing paid off, and we were named the top team at the ASAS Southern Section Meeting,” Neal said. “Although I will be attending a different university for my graduate work, I will have the opportunity to once again represent OSU at the national level when we compete this July.” Besides being active in the OSU Horseman’s Association, Neal was involved in many organizations, including the Dairy Science Club, Phi Kappa Phi, Mortar Board, Block & Bridle and Collegiate FFA.
Jessica Neal, an animal science major from Duncan, Okla., received the college’s Outstanding Senior Award at the 2015 CASNR Scholarship and Awards Banquet in April. Photo by Todd Johnson. Neal was selected as the 2012 Charles and Magda Browning Outstanding Freshman, as a Top 15 Homecoming Royalty candidate, and as a 2014 Cowboys in Cambridge program participant. Neal said she did not think she would receive the Outstanding Senior Award, but she was pleasantly surprised. “Receiving this honor means that
any student could obtain this goal as long as they are committed to their goals,” Neal said.
Laci Jones Ardmore, Okla. COWBOY JOURNAL | 19
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Joshua Conaway, an agribusiness senior, was raised in Ringwood, Okla., on a non-production farm. Conaway said he had production experience on his grandparents’ farm. “From driving tractors and wheat trucks to processing cattle, I had many opportunities to be a part of agricultural production,” Conaway said. Conaway said the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources made an impact on him.
“It is impossible to know the exact impact that this college has made in my life, but it is clear to me that I wouldn’t be who or where I am today without it,” Conaway said. After graduation, he plans to attend law school at Oklahoma City University. “My bachelor’s degree will be useful in practicing energy law after I graduate,” Conaway said. “Having an economic and agricultural background will allow me to better work with farmers.”
Cassandra Rodenbaugh is a natural resource ecology and management major from Tulsa, Okla. After graduation, she will attend OSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine and specialize in birds of prey. “I hope to join the American Zoos and Aquariums’ Raptor Taxon Advisory Group and be actively in-
volved in international conservation,” Rodenbaugh said. Rodenbaugh said her favorite memory was traveling to Spain on a reciprocal exchange through OSU. “I fulfilled my 11-year dream of working with Bearded Vultures – the only living bird species specialized in eating bone marrow,” she said.
Jonathan Overton, a biosystems engineering senior, is from Yukon, Okla. He decided to attend OSU because he felt welcomed on a university tour and the research facilities were excellent. “After graduation, I will be attending the University of Maine to earn a master’s degree in biological engineering,” Overton said. Overton said he enjoyed con-
ducting research under Hasan Atiyeh, biosystems and agricultural engineering assistant professor. “The experience I have gained and connections I have made will last a lifetime,” Overton said. “In addition, the opportunity to contribute to research that may benefit the world’s energy market is extremely rewarding.”
Conaway said his favorite OSU memory was walking with friends around campus while enjoying drinks from Starbucks. “It was nothing extravagant or complex at all,” Conaway said. “That walk I took with my friends allowed me to reflect on what all has happened since I came to OSU as an intimidated freshman. Life tends to get too busy to take time to enjoy the moment you are in and look at what all you have.”
Sarah Schobert started riding horses at a young age and joined 4-H. “The more I was involved in 4-H, the more I learned different aspects of agriculture and a passion was planted,” Schobert said. Schobert attended Black Hawk College in Kewanee, Ill. She was a member of the nationally ranked BHC horse judging team, but she said she wanted to transfer to a nationally renowned university. “I visited the OSU campus and immediately fell in love with not only the campus atmosphere but also the CASNR faculty,” Schobert said. Schobert judged on the Fall 2013 OSU Horse Judging Team. “After I graduate with my degree in animal science, I plan to attend graduate school at OSU and pursue a master’s in animal science with a focus on nutrition,” Schobert said.
Melissa Golden Plant and Soil Sciences
Brian Highfill Agricultural Economics
Hannah Nemecek Agricultural Communications
Marli Claytor NREM
Kelly Vierck Food Science
Chacey Schoeppel Agribusiness
Kyree Larrabee Animal Science
Samantha Kaiser Entomology
Alexis Sirois Animal Science
Elizabeth Hickman Biosystems Engineering 20 | SUMMER/FALL 2015
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Five seniors received the Dean’s Award of Excellence at the 2015 CASNR Scholarship and Awards banquet: Jonathan Overton (left), Cassandra Rodenbaugh, Jessica Neal, Sarah Schobert and Joshua Conaway. Photo by Todd Johnson.
Udaya DeSilva Animal Science • Associate Professor
Kristi Bishop CASNR • Prospective Student Coordinator
Shannon Ferrell Agricultural Economics • Associate Professor Allison Christian, an animal science major from Duncan, Okla., received the Charles and Magda Browning Outstanding Freshman Award at the 2015 CASNR Scholarship and Awards Banquet. Photo by Todd Johnson. COWBOY JOURNAL | 21
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Payne County, Okla., woman helps finance new equine teaching center. klahoma State University soon will complete a new equine teaching center through a donation by Linda Cline in honor of her late husband, Charles. The Charles and Linda Cline Equine Teaching Center will be built east of the Totusek Arena and replace the horse barn built in 1982. Cline said she contributed to construction because she wanted to share the couple’s passion for horses with students at OSU. “The previous building served as a stall barn,” said Clint Rusk, head of the OSU Department of Animal Science. “It had depreciated and was not as functional as it needed to be. The new building will be more versatile for teaching.” Rusk said Cline has worked closely with the department for the past year to develop plans for the new facility. Cline has been involved in the planning phase because her main concern is to create a building that will benefit students, he said. The new equine teaching center will be approximately 14,000 square feet. It will include six foaling stalls, feed and tack rooms, a wash rack area, a small indoor arena, classrooms, offices, and a conference room. “It will fill a big need we have always had,” said Steven Cooper, associate professor of animal science. “We will be able
to teach in the classrooms and then step outside to give students the hands-on experience they need as a lab.” With a new facility comes the opportunity for new classes. Kris Hiney, equine extension specialist, will teach a new horse handling lab for freshmen, Cooper said. Other classes include advanced equine evaluation, equine training methods, horse science lab and equine enterprise management lab. Cooper, who teaches the majority of the equine courses, said a large percentage of animal science undergraduate students have an interest in horses. He said the new facility will give students who want to work within the equine industry the hands-on experience they need before graduation. The Clines became involved in the equine industry in 1985 when they bought a ranch west of Cushing, Okla. “Not long after we bought the ranch, Charles went to a horse sale and came back with 17 horses,” Cline said. “He was like a kid in a candy store at horse sales. He loved it.” Linda said the Char-Lin Ranch started with 17 horses and grew to as many as 300 horses. She said she sold 200 horses, leaving about 100 horses on the ranch today. The Clines are not OSU alumni, but their daughter, Amy, received a journalism degree from OSU. Cline said her
family has built a close relationship with the OSU equine program. Her way of showing her appreciation for all the help is to give back to the program, she said. Rusk said the new center is expected to be finished during the Fall 2015 semester. He said he hopes to continue development of the equine center by covering the outdoor arena and linking it to the main building. “As we continue to develop our equine center, we hope to see more people become involved and want to help support it,” Rusk said. “‘If you build it, they will come.’” Cooper said the animal science faculty is extremely excited about having the opportunity to build a facility that will meet the increasing demand from students who desire to work with horses. “Linda’s generous gift has allowed us to construct a multipurpose educational center to fulfill the needs of our expanding student population interested in horses,” Cooper said.
Blair Testerman Hollis, Okla.
Opposite Page: Linda Cline and her late husband Charles founded the Char-Lin Ranch in 1985. Photo by BlairTesterman. COWBOY JOURNAL | 25
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Founded in 1924, the OSU Dairy Science Club is the oldest dairy club in the United States. Members include Kaitlyn Sanson (left), Ben Bass, Tyler Chu Van der Laan and Connor Jackson. Photo by Leighona Bernstein. ducation? Check. Work experience? Check. Volunteer hours? Check. The only thing missing from a powerful résumé is on-campus involvement, and the Oklahoma State University College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources has students covered. According to CASNR Student Services, the college offers more than 40 clubs representing a variety of interests. “CASNR has many majors, and most of the clubs are affiliated with one of them,” said Cheryl Devuyst, OSU agricultural economics professor and Oklahoma Collegiate Cattlewomen adviser. “But you don’t have to be a CASNR major to be in one of the clubs.” The array of involvement options available to students can provide access
to an equally large range of jobs and internships for members, Devuyst said. Carson Cooper, an animal science junior, helped create the Swine Club and serves as president. She said members make connections with industry professionals from companies like Seaboard Foods and Murphy Family Ventures. “We try to bring in speakers from different companies,” Cooper said. “That’s how a couple of us found internships last summer.” Club-centered competitions and conferences also present employment and internship opportunities, said Dan Stein, animal science assistant professor and Oklahoma Collegiate Cattlemen’s Association adviser. The student group attends the Cattle Industry Convention and National
Cattlemen’s Beef Association Trade Show every year. “I tell the students to carry their résumés with them in the trade show or wherever they are,” Stein said. “The convention is basically a four-day interview.” Stein said in prior years during the conference, some student activities were canceled because the members were in interviews with prospective employers. Students also have the opportunity to participate in forums and networking events, according to the NCBA. Stein said another benefit of going to NCBA is students hear what they have been learning in class in a real-world setting. Hearing the information a second time allows for greater understanding and application, he said. Like the Oklahoma Collegiate
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CASNR promotes involvement through student organizations.
n Bass, Tyler Chupp, Zach Hollingsworth, Ryan Jones, Robert Jones, Jenica Reagan, Ashley Hollingsworth, Kaylynn Million, Bailee Whitehead, Shannon Cattlemen’s Association, the Turf Grass Club travels to an industry-specific event annually, said Justin Moss, turf grass science associate professor and club adviser. The annual Collegiate Turf Bowl and Golf Industry Show gives students a chance to meet industry professionals and compete against other turf grass teams from different programs across the country, Moss said. “When they go to those meetings, the club members get to meet people from across the United States, and usually, it’s a good place to find jobs, too,” Moss said. “They go to compete and have camaraderie there.” While college is the time to invest in future employment opportunities and professional development, the four years also are the time to meet people and
have fun, said Jessica Dobbs, an animal science/pre-vet freshman and a member of the Pre-Vet Club. “I joined a club so I could expand my network while I am still in school,” Dobbs said. Dobbs said she expects the connections she has made as a club member at OSU will provide companionship while she is still in school and will serve her in the future. A predominant reason students join clubs is to meet other people with the same interests, Cooper said. She and other Swine Club members structured the club with those reasons in mind. “It’s a really good chance to find friends who are interested in and passionate about the same things you are,” Cooper said.
Similar interests found in a club setting foster friendships and productive relationships, Moss said, both of which are essential to an effective club. “If you have a good club structure and a good group of students, hopefully some of the older students — the juniors and seniors — can mentor the underclassmen,” Moss said. Stein said students are told clubs look good on a résumé. While club membership can lead to job opportunities, being generally involved is important to employers, Stein said. “I have heard a number of employers say they would rather have a well-rounded student than a straight-A student,” said Dan Shoup, natural resource and ecology management associate professor and adviser to COWBOY JOURNAL | 27
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the OSU American Fisheries Society student subunit. Shoup said employers see involvement as the mark of a mature job candidate. Being in a club shows the job candidate interacts well with others and has real-world experience, a necessary job skill, Shoup said. Skills such as leadership and time management are benefits to getting involved in student organizations, he said. Ranjith Ramanathan, animal science assistant professor and Food Science Club adviser, said students should join two different clubs: one in their major and another one entirely different from what they are studying. Being involved with something different widens students’ horizons and shows employers students are willing to step out of their comfort zones, Ramanathan said. “When we talk with different companies, they would like to see if students can take part in some activities outside their schoolwork,” Ramanathan said. “That’s beneficial to everyone involved.” According to CASNR Student Services, each club has its own history and traditions and is an integral part of CASNR and OSU as a whole. Students’ involvement might be a small portion of their résumés, but time in a club can be a large portion of their professional and personal development. For the full list of CASNR clubs and student organizations, visit the CASNR Student Services website. Club involvement? Check.
Leighona Bernstein Golden, Colo.
CASNR Clubs participate in many homecoming activities, including a chili cook off, sign competition, window painting and float contest. CASNR received the most spirited college award during Homecoming 2014. Betty Eden (bottom) and Justin Thimesch (above) join fellow members of the PLANT Club to decorate a living sign for Homecoming 2014. Photo courtesy of the OSU Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture. 28 | SUMMER/FALL 2015
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Raising ash receipts for cattle total $3 billion per year, and Oklahoma is the third-largest cattle producing state in the nation, according to the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry. As Oklahoma’s No. 1 agricultural commodity, cattle are big business. Savvy cattlemen make the most of their livestock by improving their marketing efforts, said Nathan Anderson, Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service Payne County agricultural educator. “The Oklahoma Cooperative extension Service helps ensure cattle producers take full advantage of easily accessible management and marketing resource opportunities,” Anderson said. Record-high cattle prices have led to questions about risk and production management, said Derrell Peel, Oklahoma State University extension livestock marketing specialist. Extended drought conditions from 2011 to 2013 forced many cattle producers to sell their herds, reducing the number of cattle by more than 1.8 million head in the United States. Conditions also have increased crop prices. Fewer cattle and increased crop prices raised cattle prices to record-high numbers in 2015, Peel said. “We are at unique, unprecedented levels,” Peel said. “We’re all a bit outside of our comfort zones seeing numbers we have never seen before in terms of price levels and production changes.” Oklahoma and Texas beef cow inventories decreased by 1.25 million head, which represents 68 percent of the total decline in the U.S. beef cow herd, according to the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service. Photo by Taylor Gazda. 30 | SUMMER/FALL 2015
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OCES provides resources for cattle producers during record-high beef prices.
can apply to real-world issues during For more than 100 years, OCES times of high cattle prices, said Rodney county educators as well as area, district Jones, OSU agricultural economics assoand state specialists have helped Oklaciate professor. Although each producer homans solve local issues and manage has an individual business plan, OCES resources wisely, Peel said. has information on what all producers Although the cattle market has can do to achieve their market goals and experienced record prices, OCES offers maximize profits. consistent, research-based information “During times of high prices, it is about current market prices, factors not uncommon for producers to becausing market changes, risk-managecome relaxed in cost ment strategies to use Manage for the worst, but management,” Jones and decision-making hope for the best. said. “I would caution tools, Peel said. — Gant Mourer producers there is going These tools, commuOSU Beef Value to come a time when nicated through workEnhancement Specialist only the most efficient, shops, newsletters, fact low-cost producers will earn positive, sheets and mass media, help producers economic profits. with business plans and budgets, Peel “Cost management and production said. With an agricultural educator in efficiency are as important as they have each of the 77 counties, producers can ever been,” Jones said. access information. Extension educators communicate “Extension provides answers to business management practices that need issues each producer faces,” Peel said. to be considered when one is involved in Extension does not change managethe cattle market, Anderson said. ment strategies or program topics based “With higher market prices, it is on prices. High cattle prices may not last forever, so OCES’s goal is to prepare sometimes easier to turn a profit,” Anderson said. “When that occurs, many producers for the worst when going producers do not take advantage of the through the best, Anderson said. opportunities available because profit “We are treading in new water margins are easier to make.” with prices we have never seen before,” Extension encourages producers Anderson said. “Extension educators to take advantage of market-enhancing promote proven management practices opportunities, such as the Oklahoma that will be marketable and profitable, Quality Beef Network, so they can save regardless of the situation.” on input costs, produce efficient cattle, Questions many producers face pertain to practices of what to do during and make higher returns, Anderson said. OQBN, a project offered by OCES, times of high prices and how to do it, is a collection of beef producers, educaAnderson said. tors and industry professionals. “There is more than one right This project helps producers gain acanswer,” he said. “Producers must think cess to increased value-added marketing about their individual business structure opportunities and improve the quality because there is no ‘one-size-fits-all.’” of cattle by increasing communication OCES specialists work together to among all aspects of the beef industry, find research-based answers producers
said Gant Mourer, OSU beef value enhancement specialist. “We create communication in the cattle industry to help producers add value to their cow-calf operations,” Mourer said. “OQBN is designed for any size producers, big or small.” For example, OQBN’s Vac-45 program has producers vaccinate calves following specific requirements to wean at 45 days. Certified specialists working in this program verify cattle records to ensure calves are prepared for sale. “The Oklahoma Quality Beef Network, on average, helped producers make 20 cents per pound more in 2014 as compared to non-verified cattle,” Mourer said. Other advantages of using OQBN are value of gain, reduced death rates and lower input costs, Mourer said. If producers do not use quality-enhancing programs, such as OQBN, they need to reduce hay waste, use wormers, enforce good record-keeping practices, and use implants, he added. During times of high cattle prices, producers should re-evaluate business plans, set goals, and have an action plan, Mourer said. Good management always makes more money, he said. “Manage for the worst, but hope for the best,” Mourer said. “We cannot change markets. We can only change what we are taking to the market by making it more marketable and an overall better product so that it is the safest quality for our consumers.”
Brianna Brassfield Bokoshe, Okla. COWBOY JOURNAL | 31
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Henneberry celebrates 30 years of teaching, research and international agriculture at OSU. true woman of the world, Shida Henneberry has made an international name for herself as a teacher, researcher and mentor. During her 30 years at Oklahoma State University, she has advised 183 master’s and doctoral students as well as 33 international visiting scholars. She now serves as director of the Master of International Agriculture program, Regents professor in the OSU Department of Agricultural Economics and Humphrey’s inaugural endowed chair in international studies. Growing up near her family’s farm on the outskirts of Tehran, Iran, Shida Henneberry was exposed to agriculture at a young age and was naturally drawn to it, she said. She remembers family dinner conversations about international agricultural policy, which first piqued her interest in the subject, she said. “On our farm, we raised sheep and grew cotton, wheat and alfalfa, but we did not live on the farm,” Shida Henneberry said. “In Iran, the owners usually lived in the city because of the better school system and easier access to health care and other amenities.” Shida Henneberry’s parents were supportive of higher education, travel and learning a second language, she said. Opposite Page: Shida Henneberry, a Regents professor of agricultural economics, has taught at OSU for 30 years. In 2014, she received the USDA Excellence in Teaching Award, which is USDA’s top teaching honor. Photo by Hope Hancock.
Henneberry just happened to pass by In 1975, she graduated with a Shida Henneberry, then Rastagari, on degree in economics from the National his way to lunch. University of Iran. During her undergraduate years, she developed an interest “It was one of those random things in life,” David Henneberry said. “She in food security as well as international had mentioned that she was having troutrade and development policy. She came to Work hard. It is not as much luck ble finding parking. My department’s the United States in 1977 to pursue as it is learning and absorbing the head secretary at the a Master of Science information. By learning, the fear time said, ‘Here, factor is less. Education can give Dave, go show her in economics at where to park.’ Iowa State Univer- you self-confidence. — Shida Henneberry “After that she sity. Coming from MIAP Director parked permanently a fast-growing city [in my life],” he continued with a laugh. of 3 million people in Iran to the small “It has been 30 great years with Shida town of Ames, Iowa, was a “bit of a and also 30 years at OSU.” shock,” she said. The newlyweds came to OSU in “I had never lived in a small town, 1984 after David Henneberry was ofbut I thought the American people were fered a position as an assistant professor so friendly,” Shida Henneberry said. “I in agricultural economics. just loved Iowa State, the surroundings Shida Henneberry arrived in Stillwaand the people. I made friends easily.” ter, Okla., a few months after finishing Upon graduating with her master’s degree, Shida Henneberry continued her post-doctoral research at the University of California-Davis. She accepted a studies as a doctoral student in economjoint position with the departments of ics at ISU. While working toward her degree, Shida Henneberry accepted a job economics and agricultural economics as as an assistant professor at Ripon College a visiting assistant professor at OSU. “Back in 1984, there were not a lot in Wisconsin. During this time, she met of women in agriculture,” David Henher husband, David Henneberry. neberry said. “What I remember most “I was visiting the University of is when she first started teaching in the Wisconsin-Madison, which has 40,000 agricultural economics department, students,” Shida Henneberry said. “I the classes were predominantly male could not find the meeting location or a and from small-town Oklahoma. They place to park. would come in to take agricultural mar “By the time I found the building, keting, and there was an Iranian female the people I was supposed to meet with coming in to teach it to them. It was a had left for lunch,” she said. bit of a shock.” As a doctoral student at the Uni David Henneberry recalled his wife versity of Wisconsin-Madison, David COWBOY JOURNAL | 33
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contacting the president of the Oklahoma City Stockyards to learn about the livestock industry in Oklahoma so she could better teach her students. The president of the stockyards “took her under his wing” for an entire week and taught her everything about the industry, he said. “She realized right away in order to have credibility she needed to know more than the students did [about Oklahoma agriculture],” David Henneberry said. “It spoke very well for the state of Oklahoma that people in the industry were so willing to help someone at OSU who said, ‘I need to know more about this from your perspective in Oklahoma so I can teach the students well.’” Today, Shida Henneberry said she strives to make a difference for her students and other people in the international agriculture field. The Chinese government has implemented her research on food demand and its effects on consumers. She also has led several short-term study-abroad trips to countries all over the globe, including China, South America, Mexico and Costa Rica. “Teaching is very therapeutic to me,” Shida Henneberry said. “When you go into a classroom and connect with the students, it is the best part of being a teacher.” Recently, Shida Henneberry received the 2014 U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Agricultural Sciences Excellence in Teaching award. She is the first teacher from OSU to be honored with this national award. “Dr. [Shida] Henneberry is so deserving,” said Abbi Goldenberg, former Students of International Agriculture club president and Master of International Agriculture alumna. “She is just a warm and friendly person who truly Top: Shida Henneberry (left) and an Argentinean tour guide explore a lake in Patagonia, South America, in 2005. Photo courtesy of Shida Henneberry. Middle: Shida Henneberry (left) joins USDA collaborators in Swaziland, Africa. Photo courtesy of Shida Henneberry. Bottom: The Henneberrys raised their family in Stillwater: David (left), J.D., Michael and Shida. Photo by Hope Hancock. 34 | SUMMER/FALL 2015
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loves her students. Her office and home are always open to them.” Shida Henneberry said one of her greatest accomplishments to date has been the establishment of MIAP at OSU. She said her husband started the program in 2008, and she took over the program as director in 2010. Since then, she has grown the program from a few students to more than 50 graduate students from various backgrounds. She also incorporated course prefixes and added a Master of Science option to the program, which allows students to have a research approach to their degrees. Shida Henneberry credits most of her success to her immediate family — David Henneberry and their two sons, J.D., 23, and Michael, 28 — as well as her students. “Working with students has been
rewarding,” Shida Henneberry said. “It is not just their academic caliber but themselves as people.” David Henneberry said he thinks his wife’s success is derived from her incredible work ethic. “She is deserving of all the awards she has won because she works so hard and sincerely wanted to improve the whole time,” David Henneberry said. “She works most evenings and puts in time either at home or the office. She is dedicated to her job. During that time, we also raised two kids. That’s a big effort in and of itself, and trying to balance that is not always easy.” For Shida Henneberry, the best part about spending 30 years at OSU and the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources always comes down to the students. “The students are great,” Shida
Henneberry said. “I have been very fortunate to have good students from all over the world. “Every time I come to work, they make my day,” she said. She continues to emphasize the importance of education and work ethic to current and future students. “Work hard,” Shida Henneberry said. “It is not as much luck as it is learning and absorbing the information. By learning, the fear factor is less. Education can give you self-confidence.”
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gold An Oklahoma Cowboy uses determination to overcome life’s challenges.
n August 2013, Hershel Williams of Fitzhugh, Okla., was practicing team roping, an activity he does every day. Williams was heeling a steer with Clay Young, a fellow roper, but as he went to dally, his thumb became caught between the rope and the saddle horn. The pressure created between the two surfaces severed his right thumb from his hand. Williams was rushed to Mercy Hospital in Ada, Okla., evaluated, and airlifted to Mercy Hospital in Oklahoma City where surgeons who specialized in hand operations performed a seven-hour surgery to reattach his thumb. Williams’ longtime dream of winning a World Series gold buckle for team roping had to be put on hold as he began the journey to recovery. Williams said his doctors expected him to have limited mobility of his left thumb, but the strong-willed cowboy has regained nearly 50 percent mobility less than two years after his accident. “The doctors were very upfront with Hershel,” said Joyce Williams, the cowboy’s wife. Alan Reynolds of Antlers, Okla., William’s roping partner and lifelong friend, said he was devastated after the accident occurred. After Williams spent eight days in intensive care and one day in a regular Hershel and Joyce Williams have been married for 32 years and currently reside in Fitzhugh,Okla. Photo by Jaclyn Bush.
if something is worth doing, it is worth room, his doctor told him he could get doing right,” said 23-year-old Kristal, back to roping when he felt like it. who earned her bachelor’s degree in agriWilliams and Reynolds had qualcultural communications in May 2015. ified to compete in the World Series She said her father inspired her to Team Roping National Finals in Las Vework harder and was her biggest fan in gas that December, but no longer could compete with Williams in rehabilitation. every endeavor. “He might question me sometimes, Williams said 2013 was his second but only to make sure I knew what I time to qualify for the World Series and wanted and to know if I he had been unsure if he would get another chance. You do not appreciate wanted it badly enough,” the simple things until Kristal said. “I knew it could be Kristal said she looks done,” Williams said. “My you cannot do them. — Hershel Williams up to her father, as he has biggest role model was my OSU CASNR Alumnus shaped her views of how grandmother, Margret. a woman should be treated and always She always found good in everything.” leads by example. Williams said he used this positive Aside from his daughters’ developencouragement as he began months of ment, Williams’ goal remains set on winphysical therapy. ning a gold buckle at the World Series of “You do not appreciate the simple Team Roping, a goal he set at age 8. things until you cannot do them,” WilRaised near the Florida Everglades liams said. on his family’s ranch, Williams grew up Williams said he wears a button-up around the rodeo scene. shirt every day, but since the accident, Williams saw success during his high his wife fastens his buttons. school years as he made it to the High “It was a life-changing event for School National Finals rodeo in 1978 us in many ways,” she said. “I was just and 1979. He then attended OSU where thankful it was not life-threatening.” he majored in agricultural education and Williams said his family’s love and graduated in 1984. constant support played a major part in Williams taught agricultural educahis recovery. tion at Silo High School near Durant, “My three daughters are my biggest Okla., for 10 years before becoming accomplishment in life,” Williams said. the agricultural business management “They have grown to be women I am coordinator at the Pontotoc Technolovery proud of.” gy Center in Ada, Okla., where he has Kristal Williams, who followed her taught since 2005. dad’s path to OSU, is the middle of the Williams and Reynolds have been three daughters. successful within the past few years while “Dad always told my sisters and me COWBOY JOURNAL | 37
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team roping together, in spite of Williams’ accident. Last December, the pair won the Priefert Gold 10 World Series of Team Roping in Las Vegas. “When he healed up and we won Vegas, I knew we could do it again,” Reynolds said. If the duo maintains their current winning streak, they will compete at the World Series of Team Roping in December 2015. To work toward this long-time ambition, Williams said he practices daily. “If I am not on a horse, I am swinging a rope,” Williams said. Williams said he has access to both indoor and outdoor rodeo arenas. These resources allow him to practice regardless of the weather. Williams said to be great at something, you have to love to do it. “I love roping,” he said. After the obstacles Williams has faced, his goal has stayed the same — win a gold buckle at the World Series of Team Roping National Finals. Currently, he has a chance.
Jaclyn Bush Frankfort, Ind.
Top: Hershel Williams saddles his horse, Scooby Doo. They have been a team for more than 10 years. Photo by Jaclyn Bush. Bottom: Hershel Williams with the trophy saddle he won in 2014. Photo courtesy of Mercy Hospital Ada.
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Parting with Farmers use no-till to preserve topsoil and counteract drought conditions in Oklahoma.
ost farmers in the United States use conventional tillage practices when preparing their soil for planting. Tillage of the soil can keep weeds in check and control pests; however, it can damage the soil. No-till is a production system to reduce fuel consumption, expenses and soil erosion. It also improves rainfall storage, which is important for farmers, especially in western Oklahoma, said Randy Taylor, extension agricultural engineer at Oklahoma State University. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service, tillage practices affect soil carbon levels, water pollution, manpower, personal resources and pesticide use; therefore, the data on tillage can be valuable for understanding the tillage practice’s role in reaching climate and environmental goals. A research study conducted through the USDA-ERS shows approximately 35.5 percent of all U.S. cropland had no-till operations in 2009. In some ways, no-till farming is a big change in traditional thinking about farming, Taylor said. “Farmers are not resistant to change, but people are,” Taylor said. “It’s just in their mindset.” No-till farmers have a few initial investment costs when making the switch from conventional tillage, he said. “They might even think, ‘this was a poor decision,’” Taylor said. However, within five years of continuous no-till farming, a field will be on its way to a new life, Taylor said. Farmers make the transition to notill to minimize the cost of equipment
due must be spread evenly to allow for and to find an alternative for the shortproper decomposition of organic matter age of qualified labor, he said. back into the soil. However, no-till also creates bet By not having tillage equipment ter soil structure over time, according touch the landscape, organic matter to the USDA ERS. By improving soil increases, as do earthworms and other structure, no-till farming becomes an microscopic life in the soil. easier system for farmers to maintain the “Having used no-till farming for fields and to keep over 30 years, my equipment longer It is difficult to make the change fields can have four than conventional to no-till, and it is tough getting to six inches of rain tillage because less started, but the payoff is worth in less than an hour wear and tear oc- the work. and still be in good curs, Taylor said. —Jeff Edwards shape,” Fruendt said. “Why not OSU Small Grains Extension Specialist You sure can’t say try no-till?” said that with conventional tilling. All their Jeff Edwards, OSU small grains extentopsoil is now in another county. sion specialist. “With the weeds being “Logan County is so varied with the so difficult to control in Oklahoma, the climate, you could be in a drought for learning curve to adapt to no-till is steep, two weeks, then in two hours everything in addition to all the challenges or things is flooded,” Fruendt said. that can go wrong. The more water farmers can store in “It is difficult to make the change the ground means more dollars in their to no-till, and it is tough getting startpockets, he said. ed, but the payoff is worth the work,” In Oklahoma, the evaporation rate Edwards said. is so high, the soil temperatures must The innovations for no-till are imbe under 100 degrees for conventional proved planters and drills that can plant tillage, Fruendt said. easily through high levels of residue, Farmers have learned no-till, when Taylor said. adopted properly, is a proven system to Paul Fruendt, an OSU alumnus fight drought, improve soil structure and who earned degrees in animal science, reduce erosion. agricultural economics and agronomy in 1992, returned to his family’s farm in Guthrie, Okla., after graduation. “The flat residue on our no-till pastures offers more protection for the soil,” Fruendt said. Clara Gregory Guthrie, Okla. According to the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, erosion has affected the popularity of no-till Opposite Page: In 2003,Oklahoma ranked farming in Oklahoma. Before beginning No. 2 in the nation in hard red winter the no-till process, the prior plant resiwheat production. Photo by Clara Gregory. COWBOY JOURNAL | 41
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INVEST IN THE FUTURE. Help create an endowed chair/professorship in OSU agricultural communications.
With innovative curriculum and leading-edge technology, the Oklahoma State University agricultural communications program is undeniably one of the nation’s best. The faculty members — Shelly Peper Sitton, Dwayne Cartmell, Traci Naile and Angel Riggs — are the heart of this thriving program. Your financial contribution in their honor will create an endowed chair or professorship to sustain the quality and the reputation of the agricultural communications program for years to come. Endowed funds will ensure OSU agricultural communications will continue to attract and retain faculty who will maintain high academic standards and produce quality work like you see in each issue of the Cowboy Journal. You can make a difference.
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CASNR’s new student organization promotes diversity and creates opportunities on campus. he Oklahoma State University College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources has an abundance of clubs in which students can participate. The newest club, Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences, or MANRRS, offers unique opportunities for students. Carmelita Goossen, doctoral student in agricultural education, first became involved in MANRRS while earning a bachelor’s degree at Kansas State University. While at KSU, Goossen benefitted from the numerous opportunities MANRRS presented, she said. The benefits of being involved in MANRRS as a student motivated her to serve as a co-adviser of the MANRRS chapter at OSU with the help of her fellow advisers: Steve Damron, CASNR assistant dean; Sergio Abit, plant and soil sciences assistant professor; and Jennifer Hernandez Gifford, animal science assistant professor.
“The greatest value MANRRS provides is networking,” Goossen said. “It provides exposure to agricultural careers, networks, opportunities to participate in mock interviews and more.” Cynda Clary, CASNR associate dean, advised a MANRRS chapter at New Mexico State University and saw the opportunity it created for both undergraduate and graduate students. She encouraged Damron to push CASNR to start a chapter of its own. “The MANRRS convention is heavily sponsored,” Clary said. “We need to be there to show the quality and breadth of our students. Every time someone turns around, I want him or her to see an OSU student.” Clary said she wants CASNR students to receive every opportunity they deserve and this provides another outlet in which to showcase the value and diversity of students in CASNR. Damron said he wanted to bring
the club to CASNR because MANRRS meets students where they are, no matter where that may be. MANRRS focuses on general activity rather than on a specific discipline, he said. “While it has ‘minorities’ in the title, this club is open to everyone,” Damron said. “This organization provides a great deal of opportunity, including direct access and contact with employers and professional development.” MANRRS offers minority students a chance to connect and network with people in the agricultural industry, Goossen said. During MANRRS’ annual national conference, students can compete in speech contests, mock interviews and a trivia bowl as well as many other activities. The OSU club completes community service projects and a fundraiser each semester, such as the tamales members made and sold for Christmas. Mason Two Crow, a biochemistry and molecular biology sophomore,
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Clockwise from Top: MANRRS students attend the 30th annual Career Fair and Training Conference in Houston in March 2015: Mason Two Crow (left), Narely Castillo, Lena Polk, Zaria Vick, Jennifer Cordova and Carlos Garcia; Mason Two Crow (left) and Carlos Garcia; Lena Polk (left) and Zaria Vick; and Narely Castillo (left) and Jennifer Cordova. Photos by Carmelita Goossen. COWBOY JOURNAL | 45
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Students and faculty began the OSU MANRRS chapter in Spring 2014: Carla Henderson (front left), Mason Two Crow, McKenzie Goldsby, Carmelita Goossen, Steve Damron (second row left), Carlos Garcia, Ronnie Pitchford, Karson Walker, Jose Uscanga (third row left), Sergio Abit, Jennifer Hernandez Gifford, Courtney Jordan, Stephen Mukembo (back row left), Narely Castillo, Paige Liggens, Alex Washington and Timothy Nash. Photo by Todd Johnson. worked with OSU Campus Life to get the club registered on campus. After the Spring 2015 semester, MANRRS will be recognized as a club. He said the club’s goals are to promote CASNR, promote the growth of diversity within CASNR, and find common ground with people with similar cultures and backgrounds. “Ultimately, we want to grow professionally and encourage each other in the different opportunities we are given,” Two Crow said. “Our goal right now is to strive to establish a presence on the OSU campus.” Two Crow said MANRRS has pushed him to have a solid résumé, start a portfolio, and think seriously about the direction of his future. “I was surprised to realize that employers want students right out of college and that I needed to prepare for that now,” Two Crow said. “This wake-up call made me appreciate what MANRRS
has to offer. It has really helped me to develop as a student.” Lena Polk, agricultural education senior, said she joined the club in the 2014 spring semester when it came to CASNR. As a transfer student, she heard about it from one of her professors. MANRRS was a way for her to build connections and network with people in the same field, she said. “MANRRS is a place for CASNR students to socialize with others in their field and create networks with people in agriculture,” Polk said. Animal science junior McKenzie Goldsby said she was approached by one of her professors last year to help get the club going. Besides creating professional contacts, Goldsby said she has met some of her best friends in MANRRS. “You get to know a lot about a person on the long rides to conference
— maybe more than you ever wanted to know,” Goldsby said with a laugh. She said she hopes the club can continue to help develop and recognize diversity in CASNR. “It’s like a support group,” Goldsby said. “We have a variety of backgrounds culturally and within our industries.” Damron said he is pleased with how students have made the club their own. He said he knew it would be up to them to lead if the club was going to succeed and many students have done just that. “The growth and leadership shown has been phenomenal,” Damron said. “The future for both MANRRS and the students involved is bright.”
Saylor Bullington Gould, Okla.
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Students on study-abroad trips experience personal growth.
tudents study abroad for many reasons: to find adventure, to find themselves, or to gain a better perspective of the world. “Studying abroad is important for students to broaden and enrich their international awareness,” said Adele Tongco, interim director for international programs in the Oklahoma State University Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. “The world is now interconnected, and we need to provide opportunities like studying abroad to students so they can face emerging challenges of an internationally diverse future.” Students who go on study-abroad trips bring back a new knowledge
and a better understanding of who they are, Tongco said, making it an overall growing experience in becoming more culturally diverse and globally minded. “Many students consider their study-abroad trips to be the most memorable experience of their college careers,” Tongco said. “Also, students develop greater abilities in coping with diverse situations, and this will make them more marketable when they graduate.” While studying abroad, students become more adaptable, while improving career skills, Tongco said. “There are countless benefits to studying abroad,” said Josh Pontrelli, student exchange coordinator for the OSU Study Abroad Office. “There are
many different ways that it can fit in with a student’s education.” When students study abroad, whether it be for two weeks or a semester-long exchange, it can lead to curiosity about the world or a change in careers, Pontrelli said. “Being a part of a study-abroad trip expands horizons and leads to new business connections, language learning, relationships and a new understanding of the world,” he said. The OSU Study Abroad Office focuses on semester and year-long exchanges, said Maggie Jackson, studyabroad adviser for the OSU Study Abroad Office. Each college has faculty-led, study-abroad trips for shorter amounts of time, she said. OSU and the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources have scholarships available for students, Tongco said. For more information on CASNR study-abroad trips, visit http://internationalagprograms.okstate.edu.
Katelyn McCoy La Grande, Ore.
Lacey Newlin explored the Wicklow Mountains National Park in the Republic of Ireland while on her study-abroad trip. Photo by Lacey Newlin. 48 | SUMMER/FALL 2015
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After visiting a family in the Amazon Rainforest, Daniel Dickerson realized how privileged he was while growing up in the United States. “The dad of the family was a shaman,” Dickerson said. “They lived in what is basically a hut, and they lived off the land. They garden, fish from the river and hunt, and had no electricity.” The family had no communication with the outside world because the nearest city was a three-hour boat ride away, he said. “They were happier than anybody I have ever met in the states,” Dickerson said. “They had practically nothing, and it makes you realize how we take things for granted.” Daniel Dickerson Meridian, Miss. Animal Science
Madison Andersen has traveled across the United States until last summer when she took her traveling to the Czech Republic and Poland. During her stay in Prague, she stayed at the dorms on the Czech Life Sciences University campus, went to lectures about Czech history and agriculture, and toured different agricultural establishments. “We went on bus rides all over the country to see both historical and tourist sites as well as agriculture in a post-communist era,” Andersen said. “We toured orchards, dairies, a chicken processing plant, and we also saw hops fields.” The study-abroad group made a weekend trip to Krakow, Poland, to visit Auschwitz. “Talk about an extremely moving experience,” Andersen said. “Traveling in a foreign country provides an education the classroom alone can’t give you. “Since I have been abroad, I see and think about things differently,” she said. “It put me out of my comfort zone and more or less taught me survival skills. Now, I feel like I could take on any large American city.”
Madison Andersen Limon, Colo. Agricultural Communications/Agribusiness
Going to AuschwitzBirkenau was completely eye opening. You hear about it all the time and read about it in books, but actually seeing it and hearing stories about it is the most heartwrenching thing you can imagine.
Katie Rose Royse City, Texas Agricultural Communications/Agribusiness
Top: A guide in Ecuador shows students a raw coco bean. Photo by Sara Honegger. Middle: Stacey Brandhorst visits the Pyramids of Chichen Itza. Photo courtesy of Stacey Brandhorst.
After a trip to Honduras, Caitlin Cleary applied for admission into OSU’s international studies master’s program. Then, she completed a long-term study abroad in Ghana. “I started 10 school gardens in different communities in Ghana,” Cleary said. “Creating the gardens combined all of my interests: teaching, agriculture and community development. ” In the beginning, she had minimal support from the locals, but that did not deter Cleary from her goal of helping the children, she said. “By the end of the summer, the gardens were producing items like cilantro and yucca, and any excess was being used for school lunches or to be sent home with kids,” Cleary said. Not only did the gardens grow produce, but also they gave the students a chance to learn about science in a hands-on environment.
Caitlin Cleary Tulsa, Okla. Master of Science in International Agriculture COWBOY JOURNAL | 49
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Reina Rivera gained a new perspective on education during an eightweek internship in Uganda during Summer 2014. The internship, which was part of the requirements for her Master of International Agriculture, was based in the Busence Village in the Masaka district. She worked for the St. Jude Family Projects Sustainable Agriculture Center. “I brought notebooks and pens, and it was amazing how the children reacted when I gave them a pen,” Rivera said. “It’s the same way a kid in the U.S. would react to an iPad.” In Uganda, children only attend school if they have money and go to college if they have can afford it or become sponsored, Rivera said. “In the United States, you have a choice because of student loans or scholarships, whereas they don’t have a choice,” Rivera said. “They have either worked since they were little kids to save money to go to school or they just don’t have the choice to go to school.”
Reina Rivera Hatillo, Puerto Rico Master of International Agriculture
Stacey Brandhorst studied toward her master’s degree in marketing and management for a year at the Universidad Popular Autònoma del Estado de Puebla, or UPAEP, in Puebla, Mexico. She returned to OSU to finish her MBA and graduated in 2012. In 2013, she began working as the U.S. liaison for UPAEP. “Before this trip, I had never left the country,” Brandhorst said. “I was super scared but I decided to stay. I really fell in love with the Mexican culture and the people of the country.” “OSU opened the door for me to leave the country for the first time, and now I have been on several international trips and work internationally,” Brandhorst said. Stacey Brandhorst Weatherford, Okla. Master of Business Administration
Top: Amanda Bacon (left), Katie Rose, and Madison Andersen enjoy exploring the streets of Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic as part of their study-abroad experience. Photo courtesy of Katie Rose. Bottom: During Spring Break 2014, 15 students explore an Amazon Rainforest farm in Ecuador as part of their study-abroad experience: Daniel Dickerson (kneeling left), Victoria Thomas, Ed Miller, Amanda Utt (second row left), Kayla Hess, farmer, Amber Jeans, Mindy McNeil, Sara Honegger (third row left), Gracie Coen, Jackie Ervin, A.J. Fried, Kayla Clark, Jon Lotta, Sydney Everett, Marissa Giampaoli, Maylinn Matthews. Photo courtesy of Sara Honegger. 50 | SUMMER/FALL 2015
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Jennifer Bryant became interested in helping those less fortunate because of her study-abroad trip in Honduras. After the trip, Bryant joined the Peace Corps and traveled to Ghana. There, she volunteered with the Child to School Project, a nonprofit program that establishes a community farm to provide fresh produce for schools in rural areas. “I had thought about joining the Peace Corps, but I think the Honduras trip sealed the deal,” she said. “By spending two years of my life working with small farmers in the Peace Corps in Ghana, I helped countless people.” Jennifer Bryant Ada, Okla. Master of International Agriculture
Right: Reina Rivera works with women in Uganda. Photo courtesy of Reina Rivera. Below: The city of Český Krumlov, Czech Republic, is one stop on the Czech Republic study-abroad trip. Photo by Katie Rose.
My study-abroad trip to Ireland is still paying off. Now, I am a journalist, and I made contacts in Ireland I have been able to use at my job. Lacey Newlin Burlington, Okla. Animal Science/Agricultural Communications
Zach and Ashley Hollingsworth’s study-abroad trip was no ordinary visit to the Czech Republic. The couple got married 10 days before their departure. “We chose to go to the Czech Republic because we wanted to do something big and exciting for our honeymoon,” Ashley said. “I gained a profound appreciation for just how lucky we are to have so many things that we take for granted.” He said the difference between farming in the United States and in the Czech Republic really impacted the way he sees corporate farming. “Agriculture in that region is all corporations,” Zach Hollingsworth said. “People just work for them. After the country wasn’t ruled by communism anymore, it went through a huge change.” Zach Hollingsworth Claremore, Okla. Animal Science/Agricultural Education Ashley Hollingsworth Claremore, Okla Animal Science/Veterinary Medicine COWBOY JOURNAL | 51
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New class offers an inside view into how large-scale agriculture feeds the world. hile walking through a grocery store aisle, have you ever looked at a food item and wondered, “How is this made?” Many people, whether or not they have an agricultural background, have asked this same question. Where food comes from and how it is made can be confusing, but a new OSU College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources online class — Farm to Fork — answers these questions. “I wanted to develop this class because people are really interested in agriculture and food issues right now,” said Bailey Norwood, agricultural economics professor for the Farm to Fork class. The general public wants to talk about the arguable aspects of agriculture, Norwood said. Unfortunately, most people in agriculture tend to shy away from talking about these subjects, he added. “We tend to bore them with facts and figures and avoid the controversy,” he said. Norwood said his main goal in creating the Farm to Fork class was to tackle difficult subjects, let people know where their food comes from, and explain why certain aspects of the agricultural industry are the way they are. “Another reason I wanted to make this class is a lot of people are just genuinely interested in agriculture and the basic principles of how things are actually made, me included,” he said. The Farm to Fork class is a panoramic view of agriculture connecting agricultural science and food, Norwood said. The topics covered include dairy cattle; cattle and chickens raised for meat; swine; places to shop for food; crop production; industrialization and culture; and food and institutions. OSU has many interesting farms
and technologies related to agriculture, Norwood said, but the majority of university students, faculty and Stillwater community members do not have the opportunity to see all the parts of it. “It is hard to have a class where you essentially have seven different field trips,” he said. Classes on campus do not have time to visit the different OSU agricultural facilities, he said. Being able to record virtual field trips for the class helps with this challenge, which is one of the reasons for creating this online class, he said. “I did not know what kind of support I would have making this class,” Norwood said. “I started out just making the videos myself.” Norwood said he started getting materials ready for the class in December 2013. He began by making videos for the class with a home camera, mostly because no one knew about it and he did not know the resources available to him. However, after more people at the university learned about what the class would teach, he received support to make it happen. The OSU Institute for Teaching and Learning Excellence helped him record and edit videos. “It was almost like recording a documentary,” Norwood said. Norwood said he is happy both students and faculty have become interested in the class. “I wanted people to be engaged in it and join in on discussion sessions,” Norwood said. Norwood said despite the controversial subjects, such as gestation crates, conversations have been friendly. “The discussions have been really good,” Norwood said. “At first, I thought there would be a lot of argu-
ments or undercover people working with animal rights groups, but so far, everyone has had good, friendly debates.” Norwood said the class was offered during the Spring 2015 semester to students wanting credit hours as well as to the public. The class was free to anyone who was not seeking credit hours. OSU students and non-OSU students were able to enroll in the class at the normal tuition price for three credit hours. The course started Jan. 12 and ended May 8. Enrollment for the class included 73 students earning credit, and 770 who took Farm to Fork for noncredit. Norwood said he was pleased with the number of people enrolled, especially the number of students who took the course for credit. The course is divided into six modules. Each module covers a different topic. The module includes a video, external articles and articles written specifically for the course. After each module, students participate in discussions and take quizzes. The three exams cover two modules each, he added. “It is pretty cool that there are people taking this class who are from a different state or a different country,” said Ricki Schroeder, an agricultural leadership sophomore who took the Farm to Fork course for credit. Norwood said people from 14 different states took the course as well as a few from other countries, including Botswana and Italy. Course publicity came from posters placed around campus and from CASNR’s social media outlets and its website: http://casnr.okstate.edu. Norwood said how the class will be offered in the future depends on feedback from faculty and students as to how it should be structured and offered.
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Currently, the class is offered online and is an agricultural economics course. If it continues, it possibly could change to a general agriculture course, he added. “I would definitely recommend this class to other students,” said Amber Jeans, an agricultural leadership senior who completed the class. “I would especially recommend it for students who may not be familiar with agriculture and who are entering into an agriculturebased major.” She said although she knew a lot of the information presented in the videos, students who are not familiar with agriculture would not. Norwood said information and materials from this class could be used in a variety of ways to better educate incoming students. He said questions about agriculture are not going away and need to be addressed. “I hope this class is able to continue and more students and more people are able to benefit from watching these videos,” he said. “I hope these videos are able to answer the questions that no one else will.”
Wilma Van der Laan Frederick, Okla.
Top: Bailey Norwood explains the role of genetics in the food system. Photo courtesy of Bailey Norwood. Middle: The OSU dairy was featured in the Farm-to-Fork videos. Photo by Wilma Van der Laan. Bottom: Bailey Norwood teaches about the use of biotechnology to improve food. Photo courtesy of Bailey Norwood. COWBOY JOURNAL | 53
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of Success Sweet Spririt BBQ Sauce hits grocery store shelves after partnering with OSU.
hile a member of the Christian Life Missionary Baptist Church, the late Joyce Jacobs gathered together the women who were known to be good cooks. The women combined ingredients from their respective barbecue sauce recipes to create Sweet Spirit Foods Best Barbecue Sauce. “It started as a way to supplement
money for the church,” said Janee Jacobs, Joyce Jacobs’ friend and fellow church member. Janee Jacobs said the church had sought creative ways to increase funds. In 2002, members started the first of four snow cone stands, “Snowies,” in Oklahoma City. Then, Sweet Spirit Foods expanded across the metropolitan area, Janee Jacobs said.
They added food trucks, a hot dog cart, and a trailer used like a food truck. They also had a convenience store and a car wash to raise needed funds. However, operating solely with volunteers, what started with snow cones quickly became focused on smoked barbecue food, Janee Jacobs said. Originally, Sweet Spirit Foods served a purchased barbecue sauce through
Sweet Spirit BBQ Sauce recently received collegiate licencing, which allows the business to market OSU barbecue sauce. The barbecue sauce can be found in more than 100 grocery and specialty stores in Oklahoma. Photo by Liana Wagner. COWBOY JOURNAL | 55
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and marketing relations manager, who their food truck windows until one day works with small businesses and helps Joyce Jacobs had the idea to make their them grow. He provided the church with own sauce. leadership and expertise to develop a After the church’s cooks created the beneficial partnership for Sweet Spirit, sauce, Janee Jacobs decided the volunshe said. teers should develop, market, and sell a “The unique thing barbecue sauce to con- One of the first steps was to about Sweet Spirit is tinue raising funds for ‘contact your local university.’ that they are a church the church, she said. At the time, Janee Well, I am a Cowboy, so I knew ministry,” Willoughwhere to go. by said. “We helped Jacobs was battling — Janee Jacobs them find a co-packer cancer, so the product Sweet Spirit Foods and did a lot of work development work toward their nutrition labels.” took her mind off what she faced perJanee Jacobs said FAPC provided sonally, she said. Sweet Spirit with professional product Joyce Jacobs knew how to make the photography and assisted the company sauce taste good but she needed help with product development. getting it bottled, Janee Jacobs said. “Chuck took us by the hand and “[The work] was just what I needwalked us through the whole thing,” ed,” Janee Jacobs said. Janee Jacobs said. “I quickly began researching on the When Joyce Jacobs died in 2004, Internet,” Janee Jacobs said. “I found Janee Jacobs inherited the Sweet Spirit a website that contained a flowchart mission project. showing the steps of the production “I made myself a promise to conprocess. One of the first steps was to ‘contact your local university.’ Well, I am tinue the process in her honor,” Janee Jacobs said. a Cowboy, so I knew where to go.” She said she referred back to the Janee Jacobs, who earned a bacheflowchart and discovered the only thing lor’s degree in business administration, missing from completing the chart was a said she was directed to the Robert M. distributor for their product. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products “The church is now the distribCenter in the Oklahoma State Universiutor,” Janee Jacobs said. ty Division of Agricultural Sciences and “We go doorNatural Resources. Through this partnership, she met Chuck Willoughby, FAPC business
to-door, attend craft shows, and conduct set up displays at various businesses.” To advance their enterprise efforts, the church applied for collegiate licensing to market Oklahoma State University Sweet Spirit BBQ Sauce, she said. “Working on the licensing was a long task,” she said. Receiving the licensing approval took nearly a year, but it was worth the wait, Janee Jacobs said. Today, Sweet Spirit BBQ Sauce can be found on the shelves of more than 100 grocery and retail stores in Oklahoma. The sauce comes in three flavors: mild, medium and hot. “We were just going to offer mild and hot,” Janee Jacobs said with a laugh. “One night while the sauce was being packaged, the plant had an electrical issue. It caused a big mix up in the hot recipe, and the finished product became our medium.” Along with the sauces, Sweet Spirit also sells salsa, jams and rubs, and the church has more products “in the works,” Janee Jacobs said. First and foremost, she said, Sweet Spirit is a church ministry, not a barbecue sauce company. “It is designed to be a blessing,” Janee Jacobs said. Since Sweet Spirit Foods partnered with FAPC, sales have increased. The money from Sweet Spirit Foods will be placed into the congregation to help others, Janee Jacobs said. “We want Sweet Spirit to be as big as God wants it to be,” Janee Jacobs said.
Liana Wagner Poteau, Okla.
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OSU CASNR offers Oklahoma’s only Landscape Architecture bachelor’s degree program.
n certain cases, a degree program can be as unique as the students who graduate from it. Since 1979, the landscape architecture program at Oklahoma State University has been the only bachelor’s program of its kind within the state. “It is a professional program like being a doctor or lawyer,” said Janet Cole, Regents professor of ornamental horticulture. “For students to become a landscape architect, they have to take a licensing test, so they need to graduate from an accredited program.” The program’s accreditation visit occurs every six years and includes cur-
riculum review, faculty presentations of student projects, meeting with administrators, time spent in studio classes and student interaction to experience all aspects of the program. “If you’re an accredited program, it tells future students and employers that your students should be able to have a minimum level of competency,” Cole said. “It gives the department a place to start to make sure our students are well prepared to go out and practice after they graduate.” Graduates of the landscape architecture program at OSU are generally in high demand in the field, Cole said. Due
to their ability to design in a sustainable way and their mechanical, computer and drawing skills, graduates from OSU are high on the list of well-qualified candidates, Cole said. Baldev Lamba, associate professor of landscape architecture at Temple University, served as the chair of the Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board team that visited OSU this spring. “The program shared a sense of excitement and optimism in going forward,” Lamba said. “It is built on a strong foundation.” After a period of many changes which created instability within the pro-
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entering the field. Not enough people gram, he said it is now re-emerging and are able to do the work, she said, and an stronger than before. identity crisis within the industry exists. “The program is well-valued and recognized by the university as a whole,” “As we attract students, a lot of education has to go on with them and their Lamba said. parents to show them this is a viable The university’s investment in the career field,” Cole program is part of a All of our students have a said. “People think larger mission of OSU personal, spiritual connection of the industry as as a land-grant institumanual labor, not tion. A strong influence with the land. — Michael Holmes a career choice of horticulture and Landscape Architecture that can bring in agriculture is a unique Program Director enough money to factor, Lamba said. finance a lifestyle they desire.” Landscape architecture programs Landscape architecture is an unhave different relationships within their derrepresented field, which can be an university, said Michael Holmes, proadvantage for current students because gram director and associate professor of they will have job security after comlandscape architecture. pleting the five-year degree. Of the 40 “At OSU, we are connected to the students currently in the program, most college of agriculture,” he said. “Landscape architecture is commonly found in will graduate with more than one job offer, Cole said. schools of design.” “What we hear from professionals The program is connected to the land, natural issues and sciences by being is that our students come out ready in this college, he said. The program also to work, are humble, and are ready to do what is asked,” Holmes said. “Part has a relationship with the architecture of that is in relation to the college of school, allowing students to work with agriculture. Our students aren’t afraid of other disciplines within studio classes. hard work.” “The advantage it gives to the students who graduate from our program is The 2015 accreditation team attributes the success of OSU students in they are prepared to walk into a landlandscape architecture to strong studyscape architecture position and hit the abroad programs, connections with ground running,” Cole said. OSU Botanic Garden and the unique Cole said the landscape architecture collaborations within the university, field grows by a mere 3 percent per year Lamba said. and has been limited to this number “The program is a unique blend of only because of a lack of individuals
creativity and science,” Holmes said. “At its core, landscape architecture is problem solving, and those problems can be simple, such as a backyard garden, or as large scale as designing an entire district of a city.” The opportunities for someone graduating from this program are endless, Holmes said. From designing resorts, parks and golf courses, to subdivisions, urban planning and sustainability, landscape architects have the ability to impact others in many ways, he said. Within two-and-a-half years, Holmes has presented students with more than 100 opportunities to meet professionals, which allows for more connections to get them into the field of their choice. “All of our students have a personal, spiritual connection with the land,” Holmes said. “That’s the reason they are here. They want to create a design that helps people find that connection to the land, as well.”
Sara Honegger Arroyo Grande, Calif.
Opposite Page: David Reese finishes working on his studio project. Photo courtesy of Michael Holmes. Above: Stephanie Stoner, second-year landscape architecture student, works on her studio project. Photo by Sara Honegger. COWBOY JOURNAL | 59
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ENTOMOLOGY: A small CASNR program holds a large potential for career opportunities. areer opportunities for entomologists are as diverse as the organisms they study. Entomology is the study of insects, their relatives and the impacts they have on plant, animal and human culture. As a land-grant institution, Oklahoma State University is one of 17 schools nationwide to offer an undergraduate major in entomology and the only one in the state. “I tell students if they love bugs, they should be an entomologist, and if they hate bugs, they should be an entomologist,” said Wyatt Hoback, assistant professor and undergraduate adviser in OSU’s Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology. Within OSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, the entomology program has the smallest number of students, so the faculty and staff members know every student, Hoback said. “It’s a very close-knit department,” he said. “It is a huge advantage at a big university like Oklahoma State to have a small department where undergraduate students have a class size of 12.” Every incoming entomology student receives a $500 scholarship. If students maintain good grades, they can receive an additional scholarship the following semester, said Phillip Mulder, head of entomology and plant pathology. “It’s up to the students to either keep it, grow it, or lose it,” he said.
In pursuing this Bachelor of Science, try to control diseases and keep mosquitoes from biting people, Hoback said. students have the choice among three The second degree option is insect degree options: pre-medical/pre-veterinary sciences, insect biology and ecology, biology and ecology, which give students a general entomology program. This or bioforensics. option includes fieldwork, identifying Pre-medical/pre-veterinary sciencinsects, and understanding their relaes students advance to a professional tionship with the environment, he said. school, either to become a doctor, a “Insects are the base of the food physician’s assistant or a veterinarian, chain for most Hoback said. I tell students if they love bugs, animals,” he said. Students will they should be an entomologist, “Having a knowledge “take similar classes and if they hate bugs, they of insects also helps as any other preshould be an entomologist. managers of recremed or pre-vet — Wyatt Hoback ational resources.” major, but with an Entomology and Plant Pathology Several popular emphasis on insects, Assistant Professor fish and game species the most diverse, would not exist without insects as their abundant organisms on the planet,” food source, he said, including largeHoback said. mouth bass, trout, bluegill and catfish. Because insects transmit several Another opportunity for an entodiseases to humans and animals, learning mology graduate is to become a secondabout insect pathogens and insects that ary science teacher. vector disease can aid someone wanting “Insects are abundant, common and to become a medical doctor or a veteridon’t have the same regulations as mice narian, Hoback said. or birds,” Hoback said. “You can do “Mosquitoes kill about a million experiments and get students engaged people a year by transmitting diseases,” with living organisms without a lot of Hoback said. paperwork and without a lot of ethical Malaria is the deadliest mosquitoconcerns about doing research on them.” transmitted disease, but new diseases are For agricultural producers, knowlalways being discovered. The newest one in the United States is chikungunya, he said, and the name means crippled over in pain. The walking stick (above) is an example of This disease gives people another what you would find during a visit to the reason to wear mosquito repellent and Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service’s another reason medical entomologists Insect Adventure. Photo by Kevin Meeks. COWBOY JOURNAL | 61
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“Expose yourself to literally every aspect of entomology you can. Go on any kind of trips or conferences and just see what it’s all about because there are a zillion jobs you can do with an entomology degree.” Doug Starchman, B.S. 1995 Owner & Operator PEAK Pest Services LLC
“If you have any interest in anything related to how ecosystems work or how diseases affect either ecosystems or animals, it’s a great way to get your hands dirty and do a lot of work outdoors. You’re not always sitting in a classroom. I really loved it.” Mackenzie Jochim, B.S. 2013 Vet-Med Student OSU Center for Veterinary Health Sciences
“From extension entomologists who work with the public to state regulatory people who enforce different laws, there are a number of different options. I picked up on the regulatory section; in the nursery program, we did a lot of inspections of flower shops and nurseries in terms of insect pest infestation on plants to protect the consumer.” Don Molnar, Ph.D. 1975 Apiary Program Manager OK Dept. of Agriculture, Food and Forestry
edge of entomology is important, he said. An entomology degree can lead to working for companies such as Dow AgroSciences or Monsanto to try to control crop-related insect pests. “One entire aspect of entomology is being a field crop scout,” Hoback said. Field crop scouts assess which insects are present, determine whether they are a pest or beneficial, and present recommendations to landowners. “Right now, there are about 7.5 billion people in the world,” Hoback said. “Of those, about one third are malnourished or starving. Insects eat about one third of the world’s crop production, so if we can figure out management for the insects, we can feed all the people in the world with existing land use.” “This also applies to invasive plant species,” he said. “If your field has thistles, insects can be introduced to control those thistles, instead of having to spray or cut every year.” Just as food crops are at risk of insect damage, homes bear the same risk. Doug Starchman is the owner and operator of PEAK Pest Services in Stillwater. He graduated from OSU with a Bachelor of Science in entomology in 1995 and has more than 20 years experience in pest control. “I thought I would be a research scientist,” he said, “but pest control is a good business to be in.” A degree in entomology helps in understanding the biology and chemicals involved in pest control, he said. “There’s a lot of pleasure in helping people,” Starchman said. “We’re the good guys. People are glad to see us to take care of their problem.” Ecology also relates to the preservation of insect habitats, Hoback said. In Oklahoma, the only endangered insect species is the American Burying Beetle. The beetle has been in the news because entities — including the Oklahoma Department of Transportation and oil and gas corporations — have to spend money to protect the species. The species aids in the decomposition of small, dead animals, which reduces fly populations and improves human and animal health, Hoback said. A student with an undergraduate degree in entomology can work for a consultant company, working on envi-
ronmental issues and ensuring compliance with federal regulations, he said. The career opportunities with a bioforensics option in entomology include not only investigating crime scenes but also examining urban pest problems, such as cockroaches and bed bugs in hotels and food contamination. An entomology graduate can determine what the insect is, where it came from and how it impacts humans, Hoback said. Students will study more chemistry and physics and build a working knowledge of laboratory practices with the bioforensics option. These professionals can provide expert testimony in claims of bed bug bites in hotels or cockroaches in hamburgers. An entomologist can determine if insects are present and where they came from, Hoback said. They can help determine if a lawsuit is legitimate or made up by someone trying to get money, he said. “These entomologists can do what’s featured on TV shows like CSI,” he said. After about 24 hours, normal measures to determine a time of death can no longer be used; however, investigators can use insect data to determine how long a body — human or animal — has been dead. This information is critical when you are trying to convict a wildlife poacher, Hoback added, for example. The entomology program provides undergraduate students with opportunities focused in research and outreach, Mulder said. For example, the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service operates Insect Adventure, which is the only live insect petting zoo in the state. This program allows students to assist with presentations around the state and gain handson experience in teaching people about insects, Mulder said. Each undergraduate entomology student also completes an independent research project guided by a faculty member, Hoback said. Through these projects, students discover if entomology is right for them by exploring an area in more detail and becoming an expert. “That’s really a great part of our program,” Hoback said. One student’s research project is focused on developing ways to raise insects as a protein source, he said. “We can raise insects and then pro-
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vide those insects either for human consumption or to feed livestock,” Hoback said. “We’re looking at ways to develop that for sustainability. “Creating protein products out of insects, not necessarily for humans to eat but for livestock to eat, is going to be a huge field of opportunity,” he said. Insects are easier to grow sustainably than cattle and most of the world relies on insects for protein, though not in America or Europe, he said. Often, an undergraduate entomology degree leads to enrollment in graduate school. OSU offers master’s and doctoral programs in entomology. The number of entomologists has declined even as the human population has increased, he said. As the human population increases, urban pests will continue to increase, he added. Because of this, Hoback said many job opportunities will open for entomologists in the future. “We’ve seen an upsurge in bed bugs,” Hoback said. “They are everywhere, even though they were almost eradicated in the 1940s.” Entomologists will see more job
A honey bee collects pollen in the Botanic Garden at Oklahoma State University. Photo by Kevin Meeks. growth in molecular research, which fessor, I’m doing the same thing I did includes controlling insect diseases by when I was a kid,” he said. “It’s a job I changing the pests’ genetics, he said. absolutely love, and I can’t imagine a lot “Ninety-five percent of our graduof other jobs that would be as rewarding ates have job offers prior to or immedias this one.” ately following graduation,” Mulder said. Someone who likes being outdoors and interacting with nature would make a good entomologist, Hoback said. “People who have a natural curiosity are a good fit for entomology,” he said. Kevin Meeks “Being an entomologist as a proWetumka, Okla.
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OSU graduate uses knowledge to save lives through organ transplantation. s an Oklahoma State University undergraduate student in biochemistry, Dr. Alan Hawxby worked as a biochemistry lab technician. Hawxby said he fell in love with “substrate channeling.” “It was fascinating to me,” Hawxby said. “Substrate channeling is the ability for enzymes that are next to each other, metabolically, to pass different chemicals back and forth to each other.” Upon graduation, Hawxby was unsure of what he wanted to do with his degree, he said. Now, more than 25 years later, he uses his biochemistry knowledge and early experiences to change lives through organ transplantation. However, Hawxby’s career path did not lead straight to medicine. While his classmates headed to medical school, he pursued a second bachelor’s degree in engineering. “At the time, I wasn’t ready for med school,” Hawxby said. After earning his engineering degree, Hawxby began working at ConocoPhillips in Ponca City, Okla., as a chemical engineer. Nearly a year later, Hawxby said he decided to apply for medical school and was accepted to the University of Oklahoma. “I realized my true calling was in medicine,” Hawxby said. Hawxby said during his surgical residency at the University of Missouri, he decided to pursue a fellowship in organ transplantation. “A fellowship is additional training, specifically in a surgical subspecialty,” Hawxby said. Fellowships can last from one to three years in various specialties, including transplant surgery, cardiac surgery, plastic surgery and pediatric surgery. “My experience taking care of
“He asks a lot of questions, and if he transplant patients during my residency isn’t sure of something, he doesn’t fummade me want to become a transplant surgeon,” he said. “It was life-changing.” ble through it,” Wright said. “He makes sure he has the information he needs to He completed a two-year fellowship at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. do things the right way.” His fellowship was for transplantation of Wright said as the medical director, he has to watch over everything. the liver, kidneys and pancreas. How “We all help people in different ever, he is board-certified in general ways,” Wright said. surgery, as well. He said the way Hawxby does “You can’t do transplant surgery all things and his thoroughthe time,” Hawxby said. I realized my true calling ness allows him to stand Following the felapart from other translowship, he accepted his was in medicine. — Alan Hawxby plant surgeons. first job at the University OSU CASNR Alumnus “He was always on of Alabama in Birmingfull throttle all the time,” said Wayne ham, Ala., one of the largest transplant Bovenschen, assistant band director of programs in the world, Hawxby said. the OSU Cowboy Marching Band. “It “It was a great experience for a makes sense he’s been successful in the brand new surgeon,” Hawxby said. field he’s in.” After three years, he accepted the division head position of transplantation Bovenschen interacted with the future surgeon when Hawxby played at the University of Mississippi in Jackthe trombone in the OSU Cowboy son, Miss. “That was a time, careerwise, for me Marching Band. He said Hawxby can be described as dedicated and sincere. to spread my wings,” Hawxby said. “Af “His character was so high and positer a few years there, it was obvious my wife and I missed Oklahoma and wanted tive,” Bovenschen said. “He was good to everyone around him.” to come home.” Bovenschen joked he thought In January 2011, Hawxby acceptHawxby would become a senator or the ed a job at OU Medical Center where president because of his positive interache joined the faculty at the Oklahoma tions with people. Transplant Center. Hawxby said his favorite part of “We are thrilled to be back in Oklawhat he does is interacting with patients homa,” Hawxby said. and helping them along their journeys Hawxby married his wife, Andrea, from sickness to health. He said his in 1998. She is a former intensive care unit nurse. They met while Hawxby was patients can tell someone the exact day, time and situation they were in when a medical student at OU. The family rethey got their calls to come in for an sides in Edmond, Okla. They have three organ transplant. children: Emma, 14; Harrison, 12; and “There is nothing like a transplant Ada, 9. Dr. Harlan Wright, medical director for the patient,” Hawxby said. Hawxby said seeing the patient after of the liver transplant program at the the transplant as a healthy person is Oklahoma Transplant Center, described rewarding. However, some patients are Hawxby as passionate and thorough.
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too sick for a transplant, he said. “Occasionally, there are some people we just can’t help,” Hawxby said. “It can be very frustrating.” Hawxby said another problem in organ donation is when a patient needs an organ but none are available. He said one step to solving the problem is donor awareness. Hawxby said a lot of myths exist about organ transplantation. “There are urban legends surrounding organ transplantation,” he said. Hawxby said one myth is doctors might not save your life if you are an organ donor. “That is not true,” Hawxby said. He said he believes those myths are why some people do not choose to be an organ donor. For people struggling with wanting to be an organ donor, he would ask them what they would want for themselves or their loved ones if they needed a transplant, he said. “There is a big demand for organs,” Hawxby said. “The waiting list is around 123,000 people across the country and more than 800 in Oklahoma.” However, LifeShare, Oklahoma’s transplant donation service, saved 369 lives through organ donation in 2014. Hawxby said receiving an organ can depend on how high you are on the waiting list or how sick you are. “Currently, we share organs between Oklahoma and Texas,” Hawxby said. “We are in the same region from an organ-sharing standpoint.” He said Lifeshare flies organs in from everywhere, however. “It’s just what we do,” Hawxby said. “Everything is done professionally in organ transplantation,” he said. “It’s a whole team of people working together, and I’m just part of the team.”
Alan Hawxby (left) evaluates Hollis Offutt, OSU alumnus and friend of Hawxby, after Hawxby performed transplant surgery on Offutt. Photo courtesy of Alan Hawxby. Hawxby said patients with a high Model for End-Stage Liver Disease score get offered the organ first. He said their MELD score determines what patients’ mortality would be if they did not receive a transplant. “Sometimes we can get an organ immediately, or sometimes it can take a few weeks or months,” Hawxby said. “Sometimes, for the sickest patients, we run out of time.” Hawxby said he has had patients on the waiting list for years. He said one positive aspect with the pancreas and kidneys is the alternative: dialysis. However, with the liver, no alternative therapy exists, he said. Hawxby said transplant surgery for the liver takes about six hours and kidney surgery takes up to three hours.
He said the recovery process takes anywhere from two weeks to two months, depending on the patient’s health prior to the transplant. “It’s a big adjustment from having organs fail to being a transplant patient,” Hawxby said. He said he believes organ transplantation is more creative than other types of surgery. “Everybody will remember exactly when they had their transplant done,” Hawxby said.
Brittany Zerr Perry, Okla. COWBOY JOURNAL | 65
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Hands-on engineering program sparks youth toward new career paths. ow does one encourage today’s youth to pursue careers in science or engineering? Start by getting them Xcite-d. “The whole purpose of TechXcite is to develop more scientists and engineers,” said Jeff Sallee, Oklahoma State University associate professor and 4-H extension specialist. “More scientists and engineers are retiring than graduating and going to work.” Engineering technology graduates have declined 17 percent during the past 16 years, Sallee said. Computer science and information technology graduates declined 22 percent. Although not its sole purpose, the TechXcite program helps to increase the number of female scientists and engineers, Sallee said. To influence youth to consider a career in science and engineering, the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University, the National 4-H Council and the North Carolina 4-H program partnered to develop TechXcite. At first, the TechXcite program occurred only in North Carolina, but developers expanded a pilot program to include California, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, West Virginia, Colorado and Oklahoma. “Oklahoma was one of the last states to pilot test the materials,” Sallee said. The engineering-based curriculum was distributed by the developers across eight years to test each of the TechXcite modules, he said. This program is a hands-on experi-
ence to help youth get an idea of what “TechXcite kits are really a supplement science is about, as opposed to only to what is happening in the classroom, learning about it in school, Sallee said. and students enjoy the hands-on materi “It is targeted for middle-school als more than just reading.” students,” Sallee said. “Sixth- and Dewitt, now the 4-H extension edseventh-graders would be your ideal ucator in Kay County, said this program audience. Many instructors can bring it is neat for kids who might not have down to a lower level, if needed.” considered engineering. Sallee tested the He assisted a material three years ago If the car does go faster, homeschool cooperaat Stillwater Middle man, they are excited! That is tive in Stillwater with School in Stillwater, teaching fifth-graders a part of engineering. Okla. He said the sci— Jeff Sallee through the Rain Water ence teachers liked the 4-H Extension Specialist Harvesting module. material and taught it Though the class to all of the sixth-graders. periods were short, students could take “My students loved using the mawhat they learned in class and try it at terials,” said Janita Cormell, Stillwater home, Dewitt said. Middle School sixth-grade teacher. “It TechXcite modules and kits availwas really great that everyone had the able in Oklahoma include the Bionic same materials to work with and gave Arm, Quest for Speed, Solar Oven, Solar the teams a chance to really experience Car, TV Remote, Rain Water Harvesting success with each build.” and Bioimaging. Cormell said she would use the ma The Quest for Speed module has terials again if she were given the chance. students calculate miles per hour and Each TechXcite module includes feet per second, Sallee said. instructions for educators and students “Instead of just doing the lesson, as well as all necessary materials, Sallee students take the car and measure the said. The funding for the modules and speed,” he said. the materials needed was provided by After the students perform the calthe National Science Foundation. culations, they gain an understanding of As an OSU agricultural education engineering, Sallee said. master’s student; Corbin Dewitt helped The kids do more testing and then Sallee assemble the TechXcite kits before adjust the cars to increase the speed and sending them to educators, Sallee said. determine what makes the cars go faster “A lot of times, students don’t think or slower. class work is fun, the things they’ve “If the car does go faster, man, they learned are too hard, or they missed the are excited!” Sallee said. “That is a part practical applications,” Sallee said. of engineering.”
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Fifth-grade students from science classes at Sentinel’s middle school learned new concepts with the TechXcite modules, including the Quest for Speed module, where they tested car speed with races. Photos courtesy of the Sentinel, Okla., Middle School. Jean Bailey, the Dewey County 4-H extension educator, taught the Bioimaging module, Solar Car module and Robotic Arm module. “There were actually three lessons in Bioimaging that could be taught three separate times or all at one time in a longer period,” Bailey said. She taught the Robotic Arm and the Solar Car modules at a day camp, she said, where she taught age groups anywhere from 11 to 16. The TechXcite modules are clear and well organized, she said. “It was really easy to take and teach it without having to do a lot of additional research,” Bailey said. “I was very happy with the program.” Bailey said she received good feed-
back from the parents of the youth who participated in the TechXcite modules. TechXcite sparks the interest of youth thinking about becoming an engineer or scientist, she said. Sallee said the TechXcite program received feedback about the program from more than 1,100 Oklahoma youth. According to Compass Evaluation and Research Inc., 14,908 participants were surveyed across six states, including Oklahoma. Of those participants, TechXcite sparked more than 70 percent to pursue a career in science, engineering and technology. Sallee said TechXcite was successful in all the states in which it was tested and creators expect the material will be taught for many years into the future.
“If students don’t know engineering is an option, they may go into something else and miss their true abilities and true callings,” Sallee said. TechXcite is a great supplement for any science curriculum, but the challenge is finding educators to incorporate it into their teaching, Sallee said. TechXcite kits are available in the OSU 4-H youth development program for educators and volunteers to supplement science curriculum.
Katelyn Willard Hudson, Colo. COWBOY JOURNAL | 67
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hen students attend the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at Oklahoma State University, not only do they receive a high level of education, but also they become a part of a family with faculty, alumni and other students. To assist in keeping family traditions alive as students become alumni, the OSU Alumni Association created the CASNR Alumni Board in 1983. Several events amplify the family traditions: CASNR Roundup, the Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Ag Access Tour, and the Spring Gala. The CASNR Roundup is an event for new students to learn about student-driven club activities, said Steve Damron, CASNR assistant dean of academic programs and CASNR Alumni Board executive secretary. This event gives students the opportunity to meet and connect with CASNR alumni, students and faculty, he said. “It’s great to meet the new freshmen
and transfer students,” said Don Roberts, a CASNR Alumni Board member. “Not only do students meet other students, but also they get to know faculty and staff on a more personal note.” The CASNR Alumni Board consists of 12 directors elected from active members of the CASNR Alumni Association. Each of the four Oklahoma districts has two representatives, and additional members are elected at-large. Board members can serve a maximum of three consecutive two-year terms, but they can be eligible for re-election after taking one year off from their service. “This position gives me a chance to give something back to an organization that gave me so many opportunities,” Roberts said. “While an agricultural economics student, I was an ex-officio member of the Ag Alumni Board by being the Ag Student Council president.” Alumni members can serve on the board by expressing their interest and accepting their nominations, Damron said. The members of the board also recruit
alumni who have done extraordinary work with their careers and involvement with CASNR. Alumni board members are chosen from an internal selection with the existing board, he said. The board was created to provide support for CASNR students and faculty from interested alumni, Damron said. It also was created to help alumni stay connected and provide a place for them to continue their involvement and support, he said. When given the chance, alumni board members enjoy visiting with students who are working on their degree programs, Roberts said. The board members appreciate getting to reflect and share some of their own memories, he added. “Visiting and learning about what students are doing is fun,” Roberts said. In addition to the CASNR Roundup, the CASNR Alumni Board also sponsors the Ag Access Tour, which is designed to give alumni, students and faculty the chance to learn about differ-
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CASNR Alumni board activities benefit students, faculty and fellow alumni. ent aspects of agricultural life throughout Oklahoma. The access tour is a two-day event scheduled each May. The Ag Access Tour helps the board introduce participants to Oklahoma agriculture, said Mechelle Hampton, CASNR Alumni Board vice president. “It is fantastic to take a group of professionals to various parts of our state to see different segments of our industry,” Roberts said. “The board has supported this endeavor for several years.” The Ag Access Tour shows the different regions of the state and demonstrates the diversity of Oklahoma’s agriculture, said Coleman Hickman, CASNR Alumni Board secretary. The alumni board also supports scholarships. Roberts said he received scholarships during his time at OSU and has found it easy to support these continuing programs. From the generous donations of CASNR alumni and agricultural-related businesses, the CASNR Alumni Board can host activities such as CASNR
Roundup, DASNR Access Tour and the Spring Gala, Hampton said. Started in 2014, the Spring Gala is hosted by the college and the CASNR Alumni Board to showcase the Early Career Achievement Award winners, Hickman said. The Early Career Achievement Award winners are nominated and selected by their peers to represent CASNR, he said. “The intent of the Spring Gala is to give people a reason to come and celebrate success of alumni,” Damron said. The alumni board also is known to serve as a networking resource, Roberts said. The board can host events from honoring distinguished alumni at Homecoming to hosting a regional meeting or reception for a newly appointed officials, he said. “The alumni board is relatively visible within CASNR and shows the students there is a way to stay in touch and be involved with the Oklahoma State family after graduation,” Hickman said.
“Having the students know who we are will hopefully interest them to later be active alumni for the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.”
Elizabeth Powell Bixby, Okla.
Current and former CASNR Alumni Board members attend the inaugural Spring Gala at the Conoco Phillips Alumni Center in 2014: Tresa Trammell (front left), Dana Bessinger, Mechelle Hampton, Shelly Ramsey, Jami Longacre, Shelly Sitton, Brian Vowell, Randy Waters, Sean Kouplen (back left), Barry Bessinger, John Cothren, James Ferrell, Kyle Hughbanks, Dave Hessel, Montie Box, Jason Harvey, Coleman Hickman and Don Roberts. Photo by Todd Johnson. COWBOY JOURNAL | 69
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Get to Know:
Mechelle Hampton CASNR Alumni board vice president
echelle Hampton is a woman of many facets. The Oklahoma State University alumna received her bachelor’s degree in horticulture, serves as the CASNR Alumni Board vice president, is a Class XIV graduate of the Oklahoma Agricultural Leadership Program, and is a criminal intelligence analyst for the Tulsa Police Department. The Hartshorne, Okla., native planted gardens with her great-grandmother and grandmother as a child and was a member of her FFA chapter’s horticulture team in high school. She also showed sheep and pigs, owned cattle, and was a State Farmer Degree recipient. “I was always exposed to the horticulture aspect,” Hampton said. “I realized that FFA was something I really enjoyed, and I wanted to pursue it further.” Hampton received several different scholarships through competing in horticulture contests and attended Eastern Oklahoma State College in Wilburton, Okla., before transferring to OSU. “I was on the crops judging team at EOSC,” Hampton said. “I was in Collegiate FFA, Block & Bridle and on the horticulture judging team at OSU.” Hampton said she remembers the advice her academic adviser, the late Eddy Finley, a professor in the OSU Department of Agricultural Education, Communications and Leadership, gave her. “One of the things he told us was, ‘I still get butterflies. If I ever lose those butterflies, then I know I do not need to be here,’” she said. “I always remembered that,” Hampton said. “There still needs to be a passion in whatever you are doing.”
In May 1991, she received a bachelor’s degree in horticulture and landscape architecture with an option in horticulture. She later earned a Master of Human Relations from the University of Oklahoma. Hampton worked as a sales representative for Tri B Nursery before joining the Tulsa Police Department as the volunteer coordinator in police service. “A friend of mine worked for the crime commission,” she said. “I had worked with her on many different volunteer activities, and she said there was a position available at the police department.” Hampton coordinated the volunteers who work for the police department. She said the department had 80 volunteers in police service at the time. Hampton conducted interviews, ran background checks, and made placement decisions. “I was notified of two new positions created for criminal intelligence analysts for the police department,” Hampton said. “I was encouraged to apply.” Hampton recently received the Chief ’s Award for her collaborations in police investigations. “I provided assistance to officers and detectives on a double homicide that led to the suspect being arrested within two hours of the shooting,” Hampton said. For five years, Hampton was assigned to the Oklahoma Information Fusion Center at the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation in Oklahoma City as a liaison analyst. The Department of Homeland Security recognizes 18 different sectors of critical infrastructure. Food and agriculture is one of those sectors, Hampton said. “I was the liaison between the law enforcement side and the agricultural side
Photo courtesy of the Tulsa Police Department.
working with the Department of Agriculture identifying critical infrastructure for Oklahoma,” Hampton said. In addition to being a criminal intelligence analyst, Hampton is on the CASNR Alumni Board. She helps coordinate the Access Tour and the Alumni Reunion & Gala. She also helps with CASNR Roundup. Hampton said being involved in CASNR Roundup through the board has shown her the positive changes CASNR has made to include transfer students, such as creating a transfer student orientation. “When I was in school, transfer students did not have orientation or CASNR Roundup,” she said. “Including transfer students is a helpful aspect for assisting with the transition to a new school.” Hampton gives back to the organizations in which she actively was involved. “I still help with FFA contests, speech contests or fair events when someone asks,” Hampton said. Although Hampton remains busy with her career and her volunteer work, she keeps a garden like her great-grandmother and grandmother did when she was a child. — Laci Jones
4/24/15 12:14 PM
CASNR Alumni News
Thank you, sponsors! Gold Level Express Ranches • Gregory & Kristen Hart • Wal-Mart
Silver Level American Farmers & Ranchers • BancFirst–Stillwater Bank of Western Oklahoma • Chisholm Trail Farm Credit Farm Credit of East Central Oklahoma Farm Credit of Western Oklahoma • Grissoms LLC Oklahoma Farm Bureau • P&K Equipment Persimmon Creek Investments • Shattuck National Bank The Bank of Kremlin • The Bank N.A. • The Stock Exchange Bank W.B. Johnston Grain Co.
Bronze Level Hopeton State Bank The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation–Agricultural Division
Give your all to your
he CASNR Alumni Association is a nonprofit organization dedicated toward OSU recruitment, promoting CASNR student academic excellence and activities, and building CASNR student scholarship programs. The association has a 12-member board of directors. The board includes two representatives from each of the four districts throughout Oklahoma and four members across the United States. Throughout the year, the CASNR Alumni board is involved with several events, including Dinner with Five Cowboys, the Access Tour, CASNR Roundup, and the CASNR Alumni Reunion & Gala. The organization also supports the CASNR Early Career Achievement Award, Outstanding Senior awards and various student scholarships.
CASNR Alumni Board of Directors Brian Vowell
Pr es i d e n t Stillwat e r, O k la .
M e ch e lle Ha mp ton Vice Pre s i d e n t Tuls a, O k la .
Co le m an Hi ckma n Secre t a ry Sapulp a , O k la .
Ste ve D a mron
E xecutive Se c re t a ry Stillwat e r, O k la .
J ay Bessi nger Tuls a, O k la .
B rand o n Cha ndler Str atfo rd , O k la .
Le wis Cunni ngha m E dmond , O k la .
J am e s Ferrell Y ukon , O k la .
K yle Hughba nks Alva, O k la .
Do n Roberts E nid, O k la .
K e n Sp a dy
Hinto n , O k la .
Tre s a T ra mmell M a d i l l, O k la .
For more information, visit casnr.okstate.edu/alumni
Gle n Wi nters Altus , O k la .
4/24/15 9:59 AM
P.O. Box 657 Jones, OK 73049
4/13/15 7:04 PM
4/23/15 2:12 PM
Cowboy Journal Oklahoma State University Department of Agricultural Education, Communications and Leadership 448 Agricultural Hall Stillwater, OK 74078-6031
Develop Your Network
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resource for current students, alumni and employers to connect with one another in practical, innovative and ďŹ‚exible ways.
4/22/15 2:33 PM
Cowboy Journal Volume 17, Number 2, Summer/Fall 2015, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources ,Oklahoma State University
Published on May 15, 2015
Cowboy Journal Volume 17, Number 2, Summer/Fall 2015, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources ,Oklahoma State University