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INFLUENCE Alumni Newsletter

College of Agriculture & Life Sciences Mississippi State University

2014


IN F LUENCE 2014

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Alumni Newsletter Mississippi State University

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is a unit in the Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine, Mississippi State University.

MARK E. KEENUM �������MSU

GREGORY A. BOHACH �������Vice

President President, DAFVM

GEORGE M. HOPPER �������Dean

SCOTT WILLARD �������Associate

WHAT’S INSIDE 03

LETTER FROM THE DEAN

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ALUMNUS OF THE YEAR

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ALUMNI FELLOW

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THE AMBASSADOR OF COTTON

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A SEAT AT THE TABLE

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MISSISSIPPI FARMER OF THE YEAR

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FASHION FORWARD

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PROSPERITY IN POULTRY

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BULLDOGS AS MENTORS

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UNDERGRAD RESEARCH

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STUDENT SPOTLIGHT

Dean

D E PA R T M E N T H E A D S

JONATHAN POTE �������Agricultural

STEVE TURNER �������Agricultural

& Biological

Engineering

JOHN BLANTON �������Animal

Economics

& Dairy Sciences

JEFF DEAN �������Biochemistry,

Molecular Biology,

Entomology & Plant Pathology REUBEN MOO RE �������Food

Science, Nutrition

& Health Promotion MICHAEL NEWMAN �������School

of Human Sciences

SADIK ARTUNC �������Landscape

MIKE PHILLIPS �������Plant

MARY BECK �������Poultry

Architecture

& Soil Sciences Science

CONTRIBUTORS DAVID AMMON

RUSS HOUSTON

LEAH BARBOUR

KEVIN HUDSON

MEGAN BEAN

KATHERINE LAWRENCE

VANESSA BEESON

KERI COLLINS LEWIS

DOMINIQUE BELCHER

ALLISON MATTHEWS

KAREN BRASHER

VICTORIA RUSSELL

LINDA BREAZEALE

BETH NEWMAN WYNN

38 DEVELOPMENT 42

NEWS AND AWARDS

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HOMECOMING BREAKFAST

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ALUMNI UPDATES

Discrimination based upon age, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, status as a U.S. veteran, or any other status protected by federal or state law is a violation of University policy and will not be tolerated.

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LETTER FROM THE DEAN

WELCOME TO THE INAUGURAL ALUMNI NEWSLETTER

from the Mississippi State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Influence. Inside you will find the exciting activities at your alma mater and the stories of the successes of many of our alumni, faculty, and students. This fall we saw a record number of more than 2,200 students enrolled in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The college continues to be one of the fastest growing colleges on campus and we appreciate each and every one that refers a student or provides scholarships to help us recruit the best and brightest. In this newsletter, you will find stories on how alumni, faculty, and students are making global and national impacts in the areas of food security, plant and animal production systems, human health and well-being as well as building sustainable communities. We have initiated several new programs that will help our students advance in the global workplace. Our study abroad initiative has begun with the goal of having 15 percent of our students complete an international program before graduation. We are launching a precision agriculture certificate program which involves four

departments in cutting-edge technologies and instruction. Our goal is to have the certificate program in place this year. We also began the undergraduate research scholars program. This program, which is funded by the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, allows undergraduate students to develop research projects, conduct original research, working alongside a faculty mentor, and then present their findings at a professional meeting. You will find these stories and more in the newsletter. We are in the planning phase of building a new Meat Science and Muscle Biology Laboratory which should be completed by 2016. We are also planning new poultry science and animal and dairy science buildings to be located in front of the Wise Center. As we continue to improve and lead, we are so thankful to our many donors and friends who have provided scholarships, internships for our students, and faculty support. You will find in this newsletter how our alumni and friends are making an Infinite Impact at Mississippi State. Thank you for your continued support. Please come by and see me the next time you are in Starkville. Hail State!

GEORGE M. HOPPER, DEAN

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2014 Alumnus of the Year Ted H. Kendall, III 2014 Alumnus of the Year for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is Ted H. Kendall, III. Kendall is a 1958 agriculture graduate who was president of the MSU student body. Presently, he is president of Gaddis Farms Inc. and president of R&B Land Co. Kendall is an entrepreneur, a community leader, cattleman, and farmer. Gaddis Farms has been in his family for over 100 years. The 20,000 acre farm includes cattle, corn, cotton, soybeans, and hardwood timber. Kendall serves as chairman of the board for Merchants and Planters Bank in Raymond and he is the director of Live Oak Farms in Bolton. Despite his busy schedule, he serves on numerous boards including the Dean’s Advisory Board and he has received countless honors including Cattle Businessman of the Year, Mississippi Farmer of the Year, and the Southeastern Farmer of the Year. Kendall is a trusted leader throughout Mississippi especially in agriculture, business, and finance. He is a personal advisor and friend to Mississippi State University. He is a man of integrity and an outstanding example for our students and alumni.

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A lumni H onors

CALS Alumni Fellow Bryan S. Wilson 2014 Alumni Fellow for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Bryan S. Wilson, earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in entomology at MSU. Tupelo native, Wilson, held positions with Wilson Ag Service, BASF Corp., and United Agri Products. He founded Tacoma Ag LLC in 2009, and serves as managing partner. The company produces generic crop chemicals for sale and use across the United States. While MSU provided knowledge and skills that attributed greatly to a successful career, Wilson said he values most the lifelong friendships forged here. An active member of the community, Wilson supports CREATE Foundation, Itawamba FIRST Foundation, Itawamba County Development Council, and CropLife America. He is on the MSU Bulldog Club board of directors. Wilson’s fondest memory of Mississippi State was the MSU vs. Alabama game on November 1, 1980. MSU beat Alabama, breaking Bear Bryant’s 200 winning game streak. Wilson and wife, Cindy, also an MSU graduate, reside in Fulton. The couple met on campus and their daughter, Laine, is currently an MSU freshman.

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THE AMBASSADOR OF COTTON CALS alumnus sees crop as key to food security B Y VANESSA BEESO N

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Sebastião Barbosa visits irrigated cotton experimental plots in Apodi-RN, Brazil. Barbosa is leading a current effort to revive cotton production in semi-arid zones of Brazil after complete devastation followed by the arrival of the cotton boll weevil in 1983. Photo submitted. Graphic by David Ammon.

WHEN MOST OF US THINK OF COTTON,

we think of clothes. One College of Agriculture and Life Sciences alumnus, however, sees something else, something bigger. Sebastião Barbosa doesn’t see cotton as a way to clothe the world only; he sees it also as a way to feed it. Barbosa says cotton is an essential ingredient in solving global food security challenges, for the income it generates and for the food crops intercropped with cotton. “In the U.S., we only see cotton as a fiber crop,” Barbosa said, in an on-campus interview in May 2014. “In Africa, specifically Western Africa, however, cotton is very important for food production.” The Brazilian native was on campus to accept an honorary Doctor of Science degree from MSU.

After obtaining his master’s and doc- Barbosa a fellowship to obtain his doctoral degrees in entomology from MSU in toral degree just one year after he began the early 1970s, he pioneered the industry Mississippi State University for his masof integrated pest management. ter’s degree, it illustrated the potential he “I developed a good sense for the agro- possessed. nomical aspect of pest control at MSU,” “Originally I came to MSU to obtain my Barbosa said. “The college prepared me master’s degree through a USAID fellowfor a career in integrated pest manage- ship,” Barbosa said. “I had two years for ment and my time here has served me well my master’s degree but my major profesthroughout the span of that career.” sor, Henry Burwell Green, told me to take as many courses as I could that first year.” Green, who saw tremendous promise THE EARLY YEARS In the early 1970s, doctoral fellowships for in Barbosa, encouraged him to complete international students were hard to come his master’s in a year so he could focus on by in America. Typically, international his doctoral degree the second year. Barstudents who earned a master’s degree bosa finished both his master’s and docin the U.S. were required to return home toral degrees in entomology in just three and work for a few years before being con- years. He earned his bachelor’s degree in sidered for a doctoral fellowship. So in agronomy from the University of Viçosa, 1974, when the USAID granted Sebastião a top school in Brazil. 7


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A GLOBAL IMPACT

Barbosa now serves as head of the cotton unit of the Brazilian equivalent of the Agricultural Research Service-ARS of the U.S. Department of Agriculture—the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corp., or EMBRAPA. In the past, he has contributed in different areas as researcher and research manager for the organization. In the 1970s, Brazil relied heavily on food imports. With the advent of EMBRAPA, Brazil not only became self-sufficient, but an important food basket. Today, Brazil is one of the largest producers of commodities such as soybeans, coffee, sugar, orange juice, cotton, chicken, and beef. The integration of EMBRAPA has helped make this a reality. Some of Barbosa’s most significant work centers on cotton in Latin America. “My focus shifted to cotton with the introduction of the cotton boll weevil in South America in 1983. It was first found in Brazil and from there it moved to Paraguay and Argentina,” Barbosa said. The pest had previously wreaked havoc in Central America. Its presence in Latin America has led to the decline and even discontinuation of the cotton industries for many countries. “In Brazil, the pest had a lot of impact. As a country, Brazil, previously an important cotton exporter became a large importer of cotton in the 1990s,” Barbosa said. “Through an integrated pest management system, it was possible for Brazil to make a comeback and today the country is considered one of the larger players in exporting cotton.” Barbosa has implemented agricultural research-cooperation agreements with the U.S. and numerous other nations and helps develop sustainable technologies to increase food supply and protect the environment. As director of international programs for EMBRAPA, he has directed several programs in Africa, a continent that benefits greatly from the food production technologies Brazil has developed specifically for tropical climates. 8

MSU Provost and Executive Vice President, Jerry Gilbert; Sebastião Barbosa; MSU President, Mark Keenum. Photo by Beth Newman Wynn.

Barbosa promoted integrated pest management principles in more than 50 developing countries as FAO’s senior integrated pest management officer in charge of all global projects in integrated pest management. “In Asia, there was a rice crop production intensification program with a heavy dependence on the use of pesticides. The governments of Australia, Netherlands, and Switzerland funded projects for FAO to develop an integrated pest management program so that they could reduce the amounts of insecticides from Asia,” Barbosa said. I served as the backstopping officer of this effort in Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, China, and the Philippines. We were successful in solving the problem and reducing the amount of pesticides used. Eventually,

we concluded that through the proper management of rice paddies in that environment, we only needed to intervene with the use of pesticides on a sporadic basis. This was very important for the health and economic vitality of farmers, farms, the countries, and consumers in general.” FROM BOLL TO TABLE

In many developing countries cotton seed is crushed into cottonseed oil. Additionally, a byproduct of crushing the seeds is called cotton cake, which is used to feed dairy cows. In places like Western Africa, cotton is considered the predominant cash crop. With drought, fertilizer shortages, and limited technology, cotton is the one crop farmers can afford to fertilize. They sell their cotton to buy food; they also use the cals.msstate.edu


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Photo by David Ammon

EMPTY BOWLS HELPS RAISE AWARENESS, FUNDS FOR LOCAL FOOD PANTRIES By Victoria Russell

The Mississippi Student Dietetic Association and the art department, with support from City Bagel restaurant, MSU Dining Services, and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ food science, nutrition and health promotion department, provided a special way of acknowledging and helping alleviate food

residual fertilizer for other crops. “The entire cotton system helps in the production of food,” Barbosa said. “In many countries, cotton is very important for food security.” In developing countries, cotton production uses a lot of pesticides. The old world bollworm has been a serious problem in places like Africa and Asia. The pest is very resistant to most insecticides so integrated pest management was developed for these cotton production systems. Integrated pest management greatly reduced the use of pesticides, contributing to the sustainability of the cotton industry on a global scale. FEEDING THE WORLD

When asked about food security on a global scale, Barbosa is succinctly optimistic. “We have many challenges today that we

have not had in the past like climate change, depletion of resources, and less water and land; so we have to be efficient in utilizing what we have. With true technology, we can do that. We can face the problems climate change will bring. Through science, research, and technology, I firmly believe man can survive and conserve the resources we have today for future use. This will require education, a lot of science, and the application of that science. We need to produce food that is more efficient in combating malnutrition, so we talk about functional foods that taste better, that have better qualities to fight diseases, and guarantee better nutrition. Also, all of this has to be delivered at a lower cost so people can have access to good food without spending a great percentage of the family income.”

insecurity and hunger in the Starkville community on World Food Day. “Empty Bowls,” a soup luncheon and silent auction, took place at the Bost Extension Center auditorium on October 16. In conjunction with the Maroon Edition series of events and open to all, the event raised funds to benefit local food pantries. A silent auction featured 200 auction bowls made and signed by well-known members of the campus and local communities, along with others designed by students and MSU alumni. The luncheon was catered by MSU Dining Services and City Bagel.

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A SEAT AT THE TABLE

Two CALS Students Complete FAO Internships BY VANESSA BEESON

Naomi Taylor visits with a village in Malawi and conducts an irrigation survey. Photo submitted.

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Two undergraduate students in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences recently completed internships with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, or FAO. The organization’s mission is to achieve food security for all and make sure people have regular access to enough high-quality food to lead active, healthy lives. Both MSU students engaged in FAO’s critical work to ensure citizens of the world have access to a seat at the table. 11


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Naomi Taylor, environmental economics and management major in the Department of Agricultural Economics, traveled to Malawi, Africa to survey villages about irrigation while Bailey Martin, food science, nutrition and health promotion major, set off to Santiago, Chile, to do her part to combat childhood obesity.

NAOMI TAYLOR

Taylor learned about the internship from Randall Little, her agricultural economics professor. “I saw tremendous tenacity and drive in Naomi, which prompted me to encourage her to pursue this opportunity. Her sense of confidence communicates a willingness and ability to tackle such a huge venture. I didn’t know if she would go for it, but I was certain that if anyone could handle it, Naomi could,” Little said. “We are very proud of the job she did. She exhibited great courage in this undertaking and represented our department, college, and university with excellence.”

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Taylor saw tremendous promise in the opportunity. “I am majoring in environmental issues and global economics and minoring in international studies, so this internship was ideal since it gave me a chance to contribute to something big like the global issue of food security while working abroad in a developing country.” In 2004, a severe drought in Malawi caused a national food shortage. Eighty percent of the country’s economy depends on agriculture. The government requested assistance from the FAO and the Flanders International Cooperation Agency, or FICA, for small-scale farmers. In 2008, the

organizations initiated the Improving Food Security and Nutrition Policy and Program Outreach Project in the Malawian districts of Kasungu and Mzimba, both of which were heavily impacted by the drought. An emphasis of the program included introducing irrigation to farming communities. Taylor’s internship analyzed the impacts of introducing irrigation. She also assessed current challenges and suggested solutions. She evaluated food security, nutrition, and income of irrigated and non-irrigated sites throughout the two districts. FAO was in charge of getting her where she needed to go but everything else was up to her. “I created questionnaires and conducted

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Above: Naomi visits with two children in Malawi; left: a roadside market in Malawi. Photos submitted.

surveys with the help of a translator,” Tay- Taylor said. “I wish I could have visited “Much of what I did focused on economy, lor said. “After I collected the data, I created more sites because the analysis isn’t as things like affording fuel and equipment and presented a final report where I ana- quantitative as I would have liked but ulti- and delivering an efficient distribution of lyzed the information, evaluated challenges, mately, I feel like I’ve accomplished what I inputs. While I would like to focus more on the environmental side, I would love to and offered solutions. I presented the report set out to do.” Despite the challenges, Taylor grew to work with government policy, with an orgaat FAO’s Kasungu regional office and the nization like FAO. I want to have an impact organization’s Malawian headquarters in enjoy the Malawian way of life. “When I visited the villages a couple of on a larger scale.” Lilongwe.” The overall lessons Taylor garnered from The internship took a considerable times, women would sing and dance for amount of patience and perseverance. The me and tell me how thankful they were for the experience included confidence and villages Taylor visited to interview the the visit. I was also gifted with a chicken gratitude. “I never in a million years thought I farmers often required traveling for hours on two occasions.” Taylor said. “The people would go to Africa, let alone spend three down dirt roads. Additionally, there was are really what make Malawi great.” Taylor said the internship has made her months in such basic conditions,” Taylor a fuel shortage that contributed to long said. “We didn’t always have electricity or delays, altered schedules, and canceled visits. more committed to her major and minor. “I enjoyed gaining access to a global per- indoor plumbing. I have a deeper apprecia“In the end, I ended up visiting 17 irrigation sites and five non-irrigation sites,” spective on economic issues,” Taylor said. tion for these amenities now.” 13


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BAILEY MARTIN

Martin, who is pursuing a concentration in nutrition, was excited about the chance to help fight childhood obesity in Santiago, Chile. Both Sylvia Byrd, food science, nutrition and health promotion professor and Renee Matich, food science, nutrition and health promotion instructor, encouraged her to apply. “In the field of nutrition, cultural competency, and cross cultural skills are essential but often difficult to develop without hands-on experiences,” Matich said. “Bailey embraced her FAO internship knowing it would allow her to experience the world beyond her comfort zone. I believe she has returned with a strong sense of professional responsibility and validation of her personal resilience.” Martin was accepted as a resource mobilization and communications intern for FAO. Martin’s internship centered on comparing childhood obesity rates in Chile versus the United States. Her research paper, which was submitted to and accepted by the FAO, provides details and insight on policy and statistics on childhood obesity in both countries. Her findings will be used to build more research and as a reference for childhood obesity questions. She worked and interacted with interns from over 20 countries including Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Mexico, Denmark, and France. Her internship provided many opportunities to travel throughout Santiago and conduct interviews with representatives

Left: Bailey (second from right) and friends riding bikes around Santiago. Right: Bailey with fellow FAO staff on her last day at the office. Photos submitted.

from two of Santiago’s organizations working to address childhood obesity in Chile. One such organization was JUNAEB, Chile’s national council for school assistance, where she interviewed nutritionist, Sofia Bustos, who supplied information about the food offered in schools and showed interest in beginning a partnership between the council’s feeding program and FAO’s research regarding childhood obesity in Chile. She also traveled to the community of La Reina to assist in the development of the Urban Gardens there. “This garden project is designed to bring local gardens to the seven school districts in La Reina. The objective is to place gardens at the schools so that the children can develop knowledge about how healthy and nutritious local foods are grown.” Martin said. “I hosted an interview with the director

A PRI L MCCAI N, an animal and dairy sciences graduate student at MSU, is in Vietnam working as a Borlaug Fellow. She is conducting the first safety survey on meat and poultry products in Vietnam. Photo submitted.

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and creator of the project and reported the findings back to FAO to further establish rapport between the two organizations.” While in Santiago, she embraced the culture by participating in a variety of activities. “Some of my favorite memories include a curry dinner with other expats, hiking El Roble Mountains with co-workers, participating in a parade in Valparaiso and scuba diving in the waters off of Easter Island,” Martin said. While the language barrier was a challenge for Martin, she embraced it as an opportunity to delve into the culture. “Not knowing the language was a challenge,” Martin said. “I spent many evenings at the language exchange practicing and improving my Spanish.” Martin says time spent at the exchange was a source of joy, a place where she learned Spanish and forged friendships. For Martin, the experience solidified her choice of major and ignited her passion for travel and blogging. “I have a new appreciation for my major. The internship shed light on the importance of quality nutrition as something that translates across all boundaries,” Martin said. “This experience also taught me my dream job will include health, nutrition, blogging, and travel.” At the end of the adventure, the life lessons Martin gained from the experience included being able to step out of her comfort zone and embrace new experiences. “Spending three months in Chile taught me the importance of embracing another culture and striving to make a positive impact on the lives of the people you meet,” Martin said. cals.msstate.edu


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2015

2015

STUDY ABROAD INITIATIVE opens a world of opportunities for CALS students. It immerses a student into an unfamiliar world with different cultures, languages, and environments. It helps students become more marketable to employers and provides numerous intangible life skills. It also teaches students to appreciate and embrace diversity firsthand. A recent survey by the Institute for the International Education of Students found that study abroad positively and unequivocally influences the career path, world-view, and self-confidence of students. STUDY ABROAD

While a recent MSU report indicates that less

Sciences faculty member Guihong Bi is partnering

his course to agriculture. Mr. Ford had a highly

than four percent of CALS students participated

with Shien Lu, a faculty member in biochemistry,

successful career in the ag-chemical business and

in a study abroad experience as an undergradu-

molecular biology, entomology and plant pathol-

served as chairman of the board and president of

ate student, the Dean has set a goal to increase

ogy to explore the past, present, and future of

American Plant Food Corporation. Donald Ford

participation to at least 15 percent in the next five

agriculture in China.

was honored as the 2013 CALS Alumnus of the Year. Donald Ford died in February of 2014. Phyllis

years. CALS administrators and faculty believe

STUDY ABROAD MADE POSSIBLE THROUGH GENEROUS DONORS

Ford is continuing his legacy through this gift.

our interconnected global world. That’s why the college has embarked on an initiative to assist stu-

A recent gift by Phyllis Ford established the

MAKE A GLOBAL IMPACT

dents in an international or study abroad experi-

Donald and Phyllis Ford Excellence Fund in

Study Abroad is a major initiative in the College

ence as an undergraduate.

the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences to

of Agriculture and Life Sciences and you can help

that study abroad prepares students to work in

support study abroad opportunities. Growing up

provide opportunities to train future leaders in

on a farm in Greenville in the Mississippi Delta,

global awareness. Gifts may be designated for

Abroad Faculty-Led programs: Landscape archi-

Don learned about agriculture early in life. As a

the Study Abroad Initiative to fund scholarships,

tecture’s Charles Fulford is teaming with Charles

gifted athlete, he excelled in football, baseball,

faculty support, travel, and logistics. Please

Freeman and Caroline Kobia, fashion design fac-

and track and received a football scholarship to

contact Jud Skelton at jud.skelton@foundation.

ulty in the School of Human Sciences, for a trip

Mississippi State in 1955. He considered coaching

msstate.edu or 662-325-0643 or Dees Britt at

to Italy to explore farm to fashion. Plant and Soil

as a career, but following an injury, he changed

dbritt@foundation.msstate.edu or 662-325-2837.

This year the college has funded two Study

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MISSISSIPPI FARMER OF THE YEAR CALS Alumnus establishes legacy of leadership BY VANESSA BEESON

AN MSU COLLEGE OF AGRICULTURE AND

Life Sciences alumnus was recently selected as the 2014 Mississippi Farmer of the Year. Danny Murphy, who graduated from MSU with a bachelor’s degree in agronomy in 1974, represented Mississippi at the 25th Annual Southeastern Farmer of the Year Awards, sponsored by Swisher International, through its Swisher Sweets cigar brand, and the Sunbelt Expo. While Murphy has been busy tending crops of his own, he also makes it a mission to be a voice within the farming community. LEADERSHIP ROOTS STEM FROM MSU

“I studied agronomy; which prepared me for farming,” Murphy said. “Beyond that, however, my time at MSU gave me the opportunity to be a leader and take an active role in several agricultural organizations.” Murphy was an active participant in the agronomy club; Alpha Zeta, an agricultural honor society; and Farmhouse Fraternity. 16

When Murphy graduated MSU and returned home to Canton, Mississippi, to help run the family farm, he carried on the tradition of leadership. He has since devoted countless hours to the broader community, farming, and beyond. Murphy has been a farmer for 41 years. In 2014, his non-irrigated land included 840 acres of soybeans and 760 acres of corn. His yields were 46 bushels of soybeans per acre and 155 bushels of corn per acre. He has practiced no-till farming for several years. His role as a leader for the America Soybean Association, or ASA, is what led him to adopt no-till farming practices. “I have been on the ASA board of directors for several years and have experienced firsthand the global push to adopt agricultural practices that promote sustainability,” Murphy said. “I was part of the task force that recommended ways for the United States soybean industry to increase sustainability practices. I saw no-till farming cals.msstate.edu


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Danny Murphy on his farm in Canton, Mississippi. Photo by Kevin Hudson.

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Danny Murphy has practiced no-till farming for several years. Photo by Kevin Hudson.

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as a way to reduce soil erosion and help the ASA by the time it was signed,” Murphy fit their situation, using an updated base acre history that won’t reduce planting flexthe environment while reducing the cost of said. Initially, the ASA supported the Senate ibility, and shouldn’t be in violation of our labor and equipment. I felt if I were going to advocate the concept, I should practice it.” (ARC or Agricultural Risk Coverage) pro- WTO commitments,” Murphy said. “This posals for the Farm Bill. The House Bill is especially important to soybean growers (PLC or Price Loss Coverage)  recoupled since almost 60 percent of our U.S. crop and A PILLAR OF THE COMMUNITY nearly 90 percent of our Mississippi crop is At a local level, Murphy has held leadership payments and planted acres. “This would have reversed Farm Bill policy exported. Our success is based on our access roles in organizations such as the Canton Lions Club, Thornton Chapel United Meth- that has been in place since the early 90’s, to world markets.” Murphy said planting flexibility is also odist Church, the Madison County USDA and would have reduced planting flexibility Farm Service Agency, the Madison County for growers. It could also lead to  a viola- critical for Mississippi, since the climate Library Board, the Madison County Coop- tion of our World Trade Organization, or gives growers a wide choice of crops to plant WTO, commitments,” Murphy said. “Bas- including soybeans, corn, cotton, rice, wheat, erative, and Canton Academy. At the state level, he has been a longstand- ing price support on planted acres would grain sorghum, and peanuts. ing member of the Mississippi Soybean reduce planting flexibility because growers Association, and has served on the Missis- could have based their planting decision on INSPIRING OTHERS sippi Soybean Promotion Board, and the which crop provided the most government After spending a number of years contributMississippi Corn Promotion Board, serving support, not on market conditions. Distort- ing to several community-based organizain a leadership capacity within all organiza- ing planting decisions because of govern- tions, Murphy considers farmers taking an ment payments would then put U.S. growers active role in their communities and comtions at various times. On a national level, he has served exten- and the U.S. farm program at greater risk of modity organizations as critical to improvsively with the American Soybean Associa- being challenged by other countries under ing the agricultural industry as a whole. tion. He has been an ASA director since the WTO.” “It is vital for growers to realize we do As ASA became more familiar with make a difference; that our voices do count, 2005, serving in various leadership roles including as a member of the organization’s the proposals, they saw the value in giving and we have a responsibility to speak up Farm Bill Task Force from 2010 to 2014. growers a choice of farm programs (ARC or about the policies being developed in WashNationally, he has also been a director of the PLC), but felt payments in both programs ington,” Murphy said. “We need to underUnited States Soybean Export Council and should use a base acre approach instead of stand how policy is going to affect us and on the USDA’s Agricultural Trade Advisory the proposed planted acres in the House bill. what it is going to do for us. I encourage all The ASA worked closely with Senator Sta- producers, whatever commodity they are Committee. benow, chair of Senate Agriculture Commit- growing, to take an active role in their orgatee and Senator Cochran, who had become nizations and really let policymakers know A RECENT WIN Murphy considers the 2014 Farm Bill, passed ranking member on the Senate Agriculture how policy impacts the farm.” Murphy says the best thing about farmby Congress and signed by the President Committee to express their concern on this this past February, as an instance when his point during the conference committee. ing is being able to plant a crop, see it grow, work helped drive policy changes to posi- Ultimately, the conference report did offer nurture it along the way, and know that your growers a choice of ARC or PLC, basing harvest will feed many. tively impact farmers. Murphy’s actions within the farming “This bill was delayed, extended, failed in any possible payments on an average of the community have done just that; future genthe House, lapsed, and finally passed. It was past five years’ planting history. “We think this is a win for growers, giving erations of farmers will reap the benefits of about a three year process, so I was vicepresident, president and then chairman of them a choice in farm programs that best his legacy of leadership for years to come. 19


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FASHION Forward Two CALS graduates industrious in fashion industry BY VANESSA BEESON

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wo recent alumni from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, each with a Bachelor of Science in Human Sciences, exemplify considerable success in the two emphasis areas of fashion design and merchandising. Caroline Gilbert focused on the merchandising emphasis while

Kayla White chose apparel production and design. Merchandising combines an overview of the fashion industry, consumer behavior, product development, planning, buying, business operations, and entrepreneurship. Apparel production and design emphasizes the total design and production process from inception to finished product and its ultimate sale to the consumer. Gilbert and White have much in common. Each is originally from Starkville, graduated in 2013, and demonstrates an iron-clad work ethic that has propelled them far in the fashion industry very early in their careers. However, Gilbert and White chose very different paths. “Caroline and Kayla both had a clear vision of what they wanted to do,” said Charles Freeman, assistant professor in MSU’s School of Human Sciences. “They each possessed the hustle, creativity, and work ethic to go out and get the job done. It can take people five to ten years to earn the positions working for national brands that Caroline and Kayla landed right out of school.” A SERVICE-ORIENTED CAREER Gilbert interned for Nordstrom before graduation. She worked diligently and after graduation, the company offered her a job. She is currently assistant manager of customer service at the Nordstrom in Nashville and manages a team of six customer service associates. The team interacts with

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the entire store, comprised of more than 250 team members across varying departments. Gilbert trains new hires in all selling techniques and procedures, coaches sales staff, evaluates certain metrics, and makes sure the department meets those metrics. She also troubleshoots any customer service issues. “It’s important to keep an open mind,” Gilbert said. “Customer service wasn’t something I thought about in college. When I learned about the customer service and support side during my internship, it sparked my interest and now I really love it. I encounter all points of operations and the challenges of retail every day. It keeps me on my toes.” Gilbert said MSU prepared her to work in the fashion industry in a variety of ways. While knowing how to identify fabrics has given her a competitive edge, having the business background has been extremely beneficial in her position at such a large company. “Understanding merchandise planning and buying for retail has prepared me to work for a large company like Nordstrom, which has high scale planning,” Gilbert said. “Additionally, classes like accounting and personal shopping have been very useful as well.” EYE ON DESIGN While Gilbert was employed by the company she interned with, White took a different route. White interned with an upscale bridal designer and ended up landing a job with Drake Waterfowl Systems, a duck hunting apparel and accessories company. White is in product development. She dictates size and fit specifications and other technical facts to the factory, everything from the length of the seam to specific washing instructions. She also evaluates current items and researches trends for upcoming products. Right now, she is trying to determine colors for the 2016 spring season. She also plans photo shoots for product and catalog shots. “I like managing photo shoots. I enjoy styling and working with the models,” White said. “A bonus is that the scenery is

Above: Kayla White tests Drake Waterfowl products in the field. Photo by Drake Waterfowl. Left: Caroline Gilbert outside of Nordstrom in Nashville, Tennessee. Photo submitted.

absolutely gorgeous. I love being outdoors.” An avid outdoorswoman, White enjoys the occasional hunt while testing products. “I grew up fishing and started hunting about a year ago,” White said. “We test current products in the field and develop new products. You have to think, ‘What am I missing? What is my jacket not doing performance-wise?’ We also test features like the fabric’s waterproof ability and breathability.” White said both the retail and sewing classes at MSU gave her a good base. “The retail classes have been helpful with tasks like pricing,” White said. “The product side of it has also really set me up for success. A strong sewing background helps me with specific product work like

determining fit of clothing and I’ve utilized a good amount from my product development classes too.” White also says being open-minded is a key component to success. “A lot of students try to find something in New York or Los Angeles,” White said. “If you open yourself up to other markets and other sectors of the industry; you can gain considerable experience and enjoy a great career. The outdoor industry is a lot of fun and a completely different world.”

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PROSPERITY IN POULTRY CALS alumnus finds fulfillment in poultry industry BY VANESSA BEESON

Steve McLaurin holds a baby chick. Photo by Vanessa Beeson.

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As a $7 billion dollar industry, poultry is THE PROCESS Mississippi’s number one commodity. The McLaurin is responsible for all live operaMississippi poultry industry, which employs tions for the Peco Foods complex in Sebasnearly 55,000 Mississippians, is ranked the topol, Mississippi. His responsibility begins fifth largest nationally. Nearly all graduates of with pullets, which are the genetically supeMississippi State University’s Department of rior birds that are purchased and reared to Poultry Science have a job waiting for them become breeders. They move to the breeder when they graduate and it has been that way farms at approximately 21 weeks. Once the eggs are laid, they are transferred to the for quite some time. Steve McLaurin, MSU alumnus, saw tre- hatchery. The broiler chicks then go to broiler mendous opportunity in poultry science houses on local chicken farms. McLauwhen he graduated in 1979. As he seized that rin oversees the entire process from pullets opportunity, he also discovered a deep sense through to the catch and live haul when the of comradery within the close-knit commu- chickens are transported to the processing nity. Reflecting on a career that spans 35 years, plant. Oversight of the feed mill is also a part of McLaurin says it’s the people that make him his responsibility. A nutritionist formulates love what he does. “My favorite part of my job is interact- a proper diet for all of the chickens and the ing with so many good people every day,” grain is mixed at the mill, which is attached McLaurin said. “Our company has very high to a loop track. “We try to get all of the local grain we standards and a caring and nurturing atmocan,” McLaurin said. “Beyond that, however, sphere that allows you to grow in your job.” the grain is shipped in via railway. Once the grain arrives, the feed is mixed through a AN OPPORTUNITY SEIZED McLaurin grew up on his family’s farm monitored, automated process and the grain in Jones County on the outskirts of Laurel, is then delivered to the broiler houses.” Mississippi. He always knew he would pursue some kind of career in agriculture and COMMUNITY-ORIENTED, DRIVEN BY when it came time to declare a major, he COMPASSION chose poultry science because of the tremen- McLaurin makes giving back a priority. “I grew up with that farmer mentality of dous opportunity the industry presented. “In late 1970s and early 1980s, chicken farms taking care of family, neighbors, and the land,” were being built every day. Growth like that McLaurin said. “It’s good to give back.” He participates in raising money for the wasn’t necessarily happening across other agricultural sectors,” McLaurin said. “I saw John Herman Hickman Foundation, an the poultry industry expanding at a fast rate organization founded by Peco Foods, which and I knew I could grow and mature with it.” provides aid to victims of natural disasters, 23


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Steve McLaurin at the feedmill, in front of one of the trucks that transports feed to several Peco broiler houses. Photo by Vanessa Beeson.

scholarships for employees, growers, and descendants, and grants funds to charitable organizations. Additionally, McLaurin has been an active leader in the Mississippi Poultry Association, or MPA, for more than 20 years. As vice-chairman, he oversaw this year’s auction for the MPA Foundation, which raises scholarship funds for students interested in pursuing careers in poultry. “Steve is a very energetic and supportive member of the MPA. As vice-chairman, he helped raise more than $26,000 for our annual auction, which is the most we’ve ever raised in a single year,” said Mark Leggett, MPA president. “He’s been on our organization’s board of directors for several years and on Jan. 1, 2015, he will be board chairman for the second time.” Last year, to honor close friend Henry J. Bustin, McLaurin and his wife established the Joe Bustin Memorial Endowed Scholarship at MSU.

“The degree gives you a general understanding and teaches you the basics of the industry. It’s a great starting point,” McLaurin said. “It’s going to take long hours and a lot of experience to move up through the ranks. I have six different segments that I am responsible for. It was critical for me to move from one segment to the next and learn about each individual process in order to advance. Instead of honing in on one perfect job, be open-minded to all the industry has to offer.”

ADVICE TO THE NEXT GENERATION McLaurin thinks the poultry industry is as promising now as it was when he started in the field. He says a great education combined with an open mind and steadfast work ethic will help graduates succeed. 24

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ALUMNI GIVING Establishing an endowed scholarship creates an Infinite Impact in the lives of students and creates a legacy for your family. Each individual gift carries with it the power to change a student’s life forever and perhaps, through that student’s career, change the world.

JOE BUSTIN MEMORIAL

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences alumni impact the college and university with every dollar they give to Mississippi State. And the MSU Foundation has made it easy to give, tailoring your gift to meet your financial objectives. Meet some of our alumni and friends who are giving back and the students they are impacting.

Ana Lankford

ENDOWED SCHOLARSHIP

Steve and Kay McLaurin established the Joe Bus-

Donna Ainsworth established the Ted Ainsworth

tin Memorial Endowed Scholarship at Mississippi

Memorial Endowed Scholarship as a tribute to

State in memory of their friend, Joe Bustin, who

her husband. Ted Michael Ainsworth earned a

passed away in December of 2013. Bustin was a

Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Education in

1978 graduate of landscape contracting and ran his

1976 and a Master of Education in Agricultural

own landscaping business called Bustin Landscape

and Extension Education in 1978. Ainsworth was

Construction in Laurel, Mississippi. He was a won-

always involved with agriculture as evidenced

derful husband, father, outdoorsman, and friend.

by his participation in many Future Farmers of

His legacy will live on through the physical beauty

America functions. He was a lifetime member of

he helped to create, the lives he touched, and the

the National Association of Agricultural Educa-

endowed scholarship in his name. This is a rela-

tors and the Mississippi Association of Vocational

tively new endowed scholarship and has not been

Agricultural Teachers. Ainsworth died in June 2007.

awarded yet.

Two students are currently being supported by the Ted Ainsworth Memorial Endowed Scholar-

BARRY AND LANA KNIGHT

ship, Derek Huffman and Anastasia Lankford, and

ENDOWED SCHOLARSHIP

both plan on becoming agriculture teachers.

Barry and Lana Knight established the Barry and

Senior agricultural information science major

Lana Knight Endowed Scholarship for College

Anastasia Lankford was honored to receive the Ted

of Agriculture and Life Sciences students. Knight

Ainsworth Endowed Scholarship.

received his master’s degree from Mississippi State

“As someone focused on agricultural education, I

University in 1988. He currently serves as executive

felt so honored to be the recipient of such a mean-

vice president of Jimmy Sanders, Inc. in the Mem-

ingful award that has helped me financially as I

phis, Tennessee, regional office.

finish my senior year. Supportive alumni like the

Junior biochemistry major Emily McBride

Ainsworth family make me very proud to attend

is the recipient of the Barry and Lana Knight

MSU. My plans after college include teaching high

Endowed Scholarship. McBride plans to attend

school agriculture in the state. It is difficult to think

medical school after graduation.

of a more meaningful job, one that provides stu-

“I am so thankful to have the Barry and Lana

dents with a hands-on way to explore their world.”

Knight Endowed Scholarship. This opportunity has

Junior agricultural information science major

allowed me to fully focus on academics during my

Derek Huffman likewise is thrilled to be a recipient

time here at Mississippi State, and I hope to even-

of the Ainsworth scholarship.

tually give back to my community through a career in medicine.”

Emily McBride

TED AINSWORTH MEMORIAL

ENDOWED SCHOLARSHIP

“It was such an honor to receive the Ted Ainsworth Memorial Scholarship. Not only was he an inspiration as a person, he was a legend as an agriculture teacher, and part of the reason I chose to become an agriculture teacher.  I could not be thankful enough for what he meant to everyone and what his family has done in his memory to help students further their education.”

Derek Huffman

These are just a few of the endowed scholarships funded through our alumni and friends. Find out how you can help create an Infinite Impact. Contact Jud Skelton at jud.skelton@ foundation.msstate.edu or 662-325-0643 or Dees Britt at dbritt@foundation.msstate.edu or 662-325-2837. 25


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MSU FOOTBALL PLAYERS PASS THE BALL FORWARD AS MENTORS By Vanessa Beeson

In the midst of a historical football season at Mississippi State University, the spotlight shines brightly on the bulldogs. MSU athletes serve as role models on and off the field. Football players and seniors Robert Johnson and Matt Wells connect with local youth while completing their internships in the MSU School of Human Sciences. Johnson is an intern at Sally Kate Winters Family Services in West Point, a nonprofit agency that provides emergency shelter services to numerous children in need of a temporary safe haven. Matt Wells is an intern at the MSU Child Development and Family Studies Center on campus, an experiential child study laboratory sponsored by the School of Human Sciences for students majoring in Human Development and Family Studies. The facility serves children ages six weeks to five years. “Student athletes have a considerable amount of pressure to perform on the field and in the classroom,” said Michael Newman, professor and director for the School 26

of Human Sciences. “Robert and Matt are during my time at MSU,” Johnson said. keenly focused on their goals and work “My family has been a great support and long hours to achieve those goals. It takes a stuck with me throughout my entire jourconsiderable measure of perseverance, dis- ney.” cipline, and drive and each of them possess Johnson, who also ran track and played these attributes.” basketball in high school, managed to find Both Johnson and Wells credit their time to volunteer for the Boys and Girls desire to mentor young people as the reason Club. That volunteer work inspired him to behind their individual academic pursuits. major in human development and family Each of them had a mentor who helped studies concentrating in youth studies. shape their lives. Johnson said his coursework provided insight into essential fundamentals he has applied during his internship. ROBERT JOHNSON “My classes prepared me for one-on-one Johnson said his mother is his mentor. “My mom was the one who introduced interaction with children of all different me to football,” said Johnson. “I have always backgrounds and developmental abilities,” loved the sport, which I’ve played since I Johnson said. “I now have the skillset and was six-years-old. My mom has been my training to care for children ranging in age from birth to young adulthood.” mentor every step of the way.” Johnson said his internship provided He grew up in Hattiesburg as a Southern Miss fan, his parents having met and lessons that are helpful on the field as well. married on the University of Southern Balancing both, he said, requires plenty of Mississippi campus. His close-knit family discipline. “I am at the internship six days a week includes ties to Starkville, where Johnson’s and dedicated to football seven days a week maternal grandmother resides. “That sense of family has been helpful so it’s important to manage my time wisely cals.msstate.edu


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Robert Johnson, with staff members at Sally Kate Winters Family Services, where he is completing his internship. Clockwise from the bottom left: Mary Neal, Javeneh Bruckner, Georgia Sasso, Janeisha Stevenson, Kizzy Williams, and Robert Johnson. Photo submitted.

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Matt Wells with children at the MSU Child Development and Family Studies Center. Wells is completing his internship at the facility. Photo by David Ammon.

He created a sports-themed play area at middle school Wells attended while growand maintain that momentum,” he said. the MSU Child Development and Family While he has NFL aspirations, Johnson ing up in Monticello. “I played basketball growing up. I am the Studies Center. There, children learn about said he would enjoy a career mentoring second youngest of four boys and both of MSU football in addition to MSU golf, young people. “I’m keeping my football hopes alive but my older brothers were big into basketball,” soccer, basketball, and more. Wells said staying focused helps him beyond that I would absolutely enjoy work- Wells said. “Coach Sykes saw me as a fifth ing in the field of childhood development,” grader and talked me into playing football excel on the field and in academics. “I have to stay on schedule when it comes Johnson said. “I’d also be happy coaching my seventh grade year. He encouraged me and it resulted in a full scholarship to a to practice and completing my internship,” high school and little league.” he said. “It’s critical to stay focused, prioriDivision I college.” Just as Coach Sykes had a tremendous tize, and set goals.” MATT WELLS While Wells is focused on professional Wells met his mentor, Ricky Sykes, in the impact on the young athlete, Wells spends fifth grade. Sykes was the physical edu- time at his internship connecting with kids, football first in his future career aspirations, he said he would love to coach and counsel cation teacher and football coach at the hoping to pass along a love for the game.

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Photo by Russ Houston.

youth at the high school level someday. “My goal is to serve as a positive role model in order to improve the lives of young people I meet,” he said. The School of Human Sciences in MSU’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences offers a degree in human sciences with a concentration in human development and family studies and emphasis areas in child studies, youth studies, family studies, and family and consumer sciences teacher education.

JOSH ROBINSON ON CALS TEAM Robert Johnson and Matt Wells aren’t the only bulldogs pursuing degrees in human sciences. One MSU bulldog known for his prowess on the football field is Josh Robinson. As a junior, Robinson has also made a home for himself in the School of Human Sciences, in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The player who came to be known as the “Bowling Ball” this season for ironclad tenacity in avoiding tackles on the football field demonstrates that same persistence off the field as well. Robinson is currently seeking a bachelor’s degree in human sciences with a concentration in human development and family studies and an emphasis on youth studies.

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UNDERGRAD RESEARCH College of Agriculture and Life Sciences students are excelling inside the classroom and now the laboratory, thanks to a new initiative entitled the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program.

A MB ER KAY Senior biochemistry major Amber Kay is researching Bovine Herpesvirus-1, a virus known to cause several diseases worldwide in cattle. While the virus is non-lifethreatening, it weakens the immune system and makes the animal more susceptible to secondary bacterial respiratory infections. After initial infection, the virus stays in the nervous system for the life of the infected animal. Her preliminary research results suggest that viral replication is impaired in an over-phosphorylated environment, where protein enzymes are turned on and off. Kay is working under the leadership of Florencia Meyer, an assistant professor in biochemistry, molecular biology, entomology and plant pathology. H A ZEL BU K A Junior agricultural engineering major Hazel Buka is a native of Harare, Zimbabwe. Her research reviewed and assessed studies on Lake Chivero, Zimbabwe, a main water source for the area. According to Buka’s report, various factors have impacted the lake’s water quality. After collecting and analyzing water quality data, Buka proposed two possible solutions: the reduction of the overflow of nutrients going into the lake and educational outreach on clean water practices. Buka is working under the mentorship of Anna Linhoss, an assistant professor in agricultural and biological engineering.

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D A RBY D I L L A RD Senior animal and dairy sciences major Darby Dillard is evaluating the impacts of external temperature and relative humidity on semen production of boars maintained in a thermo-regulated barn. Numerous environmental factors such as seasonal variations of temperature, daylight length, and relative humidity negatively affect fertility potential of livestock animals. Dillard plans on continuing the research and developing novel molecular-based methods to identify boars that are thermo-sensitive. Jean Feugang, assistant research professor in animal and dairy sciences is the mentor for this project.

ETHAN NORVEL L Ethan Norvell is a senior horticulture major researching the difference in 20-day-old cotton plant roots with varying temperature and water stresses. Cotton plants from throughout the U.S. cotton belt were analyzed. Norvell hypothesized that cultivars from drought prone areas such as New Mexico and Arizona would do better than those from other areas. The analysis for this project is ongoing. Raja Reddy, research professor in plant and soil sciences, is the mentor on this project.

OTHER RESEARCH PROJECTS INCLUDE: B L A I R E F L E MI N G , senior animal and dairy sciences major, is determining the total serum nitrites and antioxidant capacity of late gestating Holstein heifers following dietary melatonin supplementation. Fleming is under the direction of Caleb Lemley, an assistant professor in animal and dairy sciences. E M I LY W E S T , junior biochemistry major, is

examining the presence and/or absence of COX8, a structural gene, in reptile RNA molecules. West is working under the direction of Federico Hoffman, assistant professor in

biochemistry, molecular biology, entomology and plant pathology. L E E PEEPLES , senior biochemistry major,

is studying crop improvements that will increase drought tolerance and stabilize crop yields under drought conditions. Peeples is mentored by Jiaxu Li, associate professor in biochemistry, molecular biology, entomology and plant pathology. C H RIST INA COOPER , a junior agricultural

and thus improve broiler performance. Cooper is working under the direction of Jeremiah Davis, associate professor in agricultural and biological engineering. MCK EE , junior agricultural and biological engineering major is developing a system to rapidly and accurately quantify skinning incidence in sweet potatoes. McKee is working under the direction of Jason Ward, assistant extension professor in agricultural and biological engineering.

CALEB

and biological engineering major is using 3D modeling to find ways to remove heat

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STUDENT SPOTLIGHT SWEET POTATO CHALLENGE

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he sweet potato industry had a $96 mil- of Service-Learning Excellence, created lion value of production in 2014 with the Mississippi Sweet Potato Challenge. nearly 4 million sweet potatoes harvested. The purpose of the challenge is to establish Some 20,000 acres of sweet potato were a stable market for culled sweet potatoes grown making Mississippi third in sweet through the development of innovative potato production in the U.S. Because of products. The challenge specifically asked consumer acceptance, nearly 30 percent of for student teams to create new markets for the sweet potatoes harvested are culled. The the culled sweet potatoes. Numerous CALS Mississippi Extension Service, in collabora- faculty and students are involved including: tion with the Center for the Advancement

CHARLES FREEMAN, SCHOOL OF HUMAN SCIENCES Freeman’s course is called the Design Process – Creating New Product Innovations Using Sweet Potatoes. His students are working on numerous sweet potato products including a cellulosic acetate, a makeup line, a health alternative energy drink, and a healthy pain reliever. LAKIESHA WILLIAMS, AGRICULTURAL AND BIOLOGICAL ENGINEERING Williams’ class is called Principles of Engineering Design. Her student teams are working on developing a biodegradable paper product. WES SCHILLING, FOOD SCIENCE, NUTRITION AND HEALTH PROMOTION Schilling’s class is called Special Topics: Sweet Potato Food Product Development. His student teams are working on a nutrition/power bar, a microwavable dessert similar to a lava cake, and a powder to mix with water for a beverage.

Food science students in Wes Schilling’s class visit Vardaman to learn how sweet potatoes grow, are cleaned, packed and shipped, and turned into product. Photo by Kat Lawrence.

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LASHAN SIMPSON, AGRICULTURAL AND BIOLOGICAL ENGINEERING Simpson’s class is called Senior Seminar class. Her student teams are working on biodegradable paper products, alternative sugar sources, and cellulose sponges, among other projects. cals.msstate.edu


S tudent S potlight

COTTON UNIVERSITY

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SU hosted the first cotton Summit in April 22-24, 2014. Sessions were led by a range of professionals who know the ins and outs of the cotton supply chain. The program included lectures, discussions, and workshops. The 2014 Cotton Summit is one aspect of MSU’s participation in Cotton University, a consortium of professionals and educational institutions advocating increased understanding of the cotton textile industry. MSU’s Cotton Summit was sponsored by Cotton Inc. and the university’s School of Human Sciences.

The Cotton Summit included a fashion show in Bill R. Foster Ballroom of the Colvard Student Union. Photo by Beth Newman Wynn.

MSU WINS SECOND PLACE IN NATIONAL EPA ‘RAINWORKS’ COMPETITION By Leah Barbour

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ississippi State officials plan to implement “The MSU Union Green,” a studentconceived project winning second place in the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2013 Campus Rainworks Challenge. The stormwater mitigation plan impacts a space known as the Mini-Mall, between Lee Boulevard and the State Fountain bakery, Subway retail outlet, Henry F. Meyer Media Center and University Florist. When implemented, the plan will address more than 99 percent of annual rainfall runoff on more than an acre of campus and incorporate a new dining and seating area, said Cory Gallo, assistant professor of landscape architecture. “We have a commitment at the Division of Student Affairs to not let a great idea like this go on the shelf,” said Bill Kibler, MSU vice president for student affairs. “We’re working hard to see to it that this takes place because this is a very beautiful place on our campus. This will be an amazing place on our campus that was created by Mississippi State students.”

Two regional EPA representatives visited Mississippi State on April 28, 2014 to recognize the eight-member international, interdisciplinary team. Christopher B. Thomas, pollution control chief for EPA’s Georgia-based Southeast region, congratulated the student team members. The MSU alumnus told the students he looks forward to seeing their plan come together in a fiscally responsible way. He also said the collaborative effort should serve as a model for their future

sustainability. professional endeavors. The student team includes “Take those concepts out into the world and make it a bet- residents from Mississippi, ter place,” said Thomas, who Alabama, and Texas, as well as received bachelor’s and master’s China, El Salvador, and Jordan. degrees in civil engineering in Representing majors in landscape architecture, civil engi1986 and 1988, respectively. Ben Scaggs, the federal agen- neering, and graphic design, the cy’s Gulf of Mexico program group worked through the fall director, also encouraged the semester to develop the plan. To view the award-winning students to share their stormwater-mitigation expertise with plan, visit www.lalc.msstate. the world after they gradu- edu/documents/MSU_Rainate. Like Thomas, he praised works_Challenge.pdf. MSU faculty and leaders for emphasizing the importance of 33


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MSU AWARDS FIRST MASTER’S DEGREE IN HUMAN DEVELOPMENT By Keri Collins Lewis

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he first Mississippi State University student to complete degree requirements for a Master of Science in Human Development and Family Studies graduated from the School of Human Sciences. Kirsten Ferrell of Horn Lake, Mississippi, received her diploma in August and began working with The Early Years

Network. She now trains early child care and preschool teachers in northwest Mississippi. MSU launched the master’s program in human development and family studies in the fall of 2012 and the doctoral program in 2013. At present, 19 master’s students and 12 doctoral students are enrolled in these graduate programs.

MSU HORTICULTURE CLUB WINS NATIONAL HONORS

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he horticulture club at Mississippi State University took home top honors at the American Society for Horticultural Science annual conference held in July 2014 in Orlando, Florida. The MSU team placed second

overall in the student competi- written exam. Team members crops and second in woody tion, which included plant included Lauren Gamblin of ornamental crops, fruit and nut identification of greenhouse Akron, Ohio; Christine Jack- crops, and the written exam. and woody ornamental crops; son of Versailles, Kentucky; The team members also capa commodity quality judg- and Spencer Waschenbach of tured several individual awards. ing competition of greenhouse, Kahoka, Missouri. The MSU team placed first in woody ornamental, vegetable and fruit and nut crops; and a greenhouse crops and vegetable

DELTA FARM PRESS AND TWITTER AUGMENT TRADITIONAL LEARNING

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MSU scientists Gaea Hock (pictured) and Brien Henry presented at the 60th Annual North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Conference in June. They evaluated student satisfaction of tweet assignments in Dr. Henry’s Grain Crops course. Photo submitted.

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professor at Mississippi State University wanted his students to gain a real-world perspective about grain crops, so he challenged them to head straight to the news. Brien Henry, an associate professor in plant and soil sciences, used the weekly Delta Farm Press to educate students about the current climate of the grain crops industry. He also incorporated the principles of the social media tool Twitter to help students sharpen their critical thinking and

communication skills. In addition to standard textbook instruction, weekly labs, quizzes, and comprehensive exams, students were required to receive the online version of the Delta Farm Press. They had to read any current article the press published about grain crops and summarize specific articles in the form of a tweet. “I frequently incorporated test and quiz questions from this material to reward the students who read the press. I doubt the students were accustomed to cals.msstate.edu


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churning through this much summary using 140 characters this assignment, and the stu- like to investigate the correlamaterial, but once I explained or less encouraged students to dents really seemed to enjoy it.” tion between students’ ability to Gaea Hock, assistant profes- succinctly summarize an article the assignment’s importance think critically and communisor in human sciences, evalu- and their ability to write longer and my expectations as a cate concisely. Henry assessed the tweets ated student satisfaction with texts.” teacher, they embraced the In the meantime, Henry’s and selected high-quality the assignment. workload,” Henry said. Hock evaluated Henry’s stu- students will continue to study “It was beneficial for stu- examples to share with the class. dents to see the information These then served as the basis dents and found that nearly all the Delta Farm Press to diswere satisfied with the assign- cover industry insight while presented in the classroom, in for the class discussion. “Reading the best tweets ment and would recommend employing social media prina related article, and then in an article in a popular press aloud was a teaching oppor- the practice in other courses. ciples to hone their skills as with producers talking about tunity in which I emphasized Most students preferred writing critical thinkers and editors. the economic decisions that why I selected the article, what a tweet over writing a full para- Henry’s PSS 4123/6123 Grain influence their farms,” he said. I hoped the students learned graph, and the class was split on Crops course is a split level class “Through a variety of sources, from it, and how it related whether or not to actually post for undergraduate and graduate students seeking agronomy students realized the real-world to what we covered in class,” tweets on Twitter. “The next step is possibly degrees in the MSU College of Henry said. “With technology significance of grain crops.” Although students didn’t today, students tend to com- exploring the use of Twitter in Agriculture and Life Sciences. actually post their tweets, municate in punctuated bursts. the completion of the assignthe exercise of composing a I was able to mimic that with ment,” Hock said. “I would also

MSU FOOD SCIENCE STUDENT WINS IFT POSTER CONTEST

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Mississippi State University food science doctoral student received top honors at the Institute of Food Technologists’ Annual Meeting and Food Expo. Monil Desai of Ahmedabad, India, won first place for his presentation in the Muscle Foods Division. The expo, which was held in New Orleans in June 2014, is one of the world’s largest annual food science meetings and food industry expositions. Desai won for his research on ingredient technology and poultry packaging. He studied the benefits of adding vinegar to chicken retail cuts that were packaged in carbon dioxide in order to extend the product’s shelf life. This research is important to the restaurant industry because it takes a substantial amount of time to ship

refrigerated retail cuts from the southern U.S., where a lot of chicken is produced, to dining establishments on the West Coast. Currently, packaging chicken retail cuts in carbon dioxide at refrigeration temperature provides a shelf life of 12 days. Desai’s research extends the shelf life to 20 days, providing a direct benefit to producers, restaurants, and consumers. Desai is a research assistant in the Food Chemistry and Sensory Evaluation Laboratory in the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station. He earned his bachelor’s degree in food technology and his master’s degree in food science at MSU. He is currently pursuing his doctoral degree in food science working under the direction of professor Wes Schilling. 35


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MSU GRAD STUDENT OFFERS, RECEIVES AG POLICY INSIGHT By Linda Breazeale

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Mississippi State University graduate student recently took part in an elite group meeting with policymakers in Washington, D.C. Jesse Morrison, a doctoral student and research associate in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, was one of 16 graduate students and scientists from around the country who participated in Future Leaders in Science, a program designed to raise awareness and support in Congress for science and research funding. “We were able to gain insight into the federal budget and appropriations process, as well as develop relationships with members of our congressional delegations,” Morrison said. “People from land-grant universities need to help policymakers understand different agricultural issues before they make

very aware of the Farm Bill funding decisions.” Morrison said he will use details and wanted our opinthe experience as the founda- ions, too.” The American Society tion for future connections with of Agronomy, Crop Science national decision-makers. “As a group, we were advo- Society of America, and Soil cating for more funding for Science Society of America U.S. Department of Agricul- sponsored the program. While ture research. Everyone we met in Washington, participants with seemed truly concerned had the opportunity to meet about agriculture and interested personally with leaders of these in supporting our research societies. They received policy, as money becomes available,” communication, and advocacy Morrison said. “They were also training to learn how to work

with members of Congress and their staffs. Morrison, who plans to earn his doctorate in agronomy in 2015, studies methods of improving eastern gamagrass, a nutritious, warm-season forage. Although it is a native grass that livestock love, eastern gamagrass is not prolific. He is working under the direction of plant and soil sciences professor Brian Baldwin.

CALS STUDENTS RECEIVE NATIONAL SERVICE-LEARNING SCHOLARSHIPS

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wo CALS seniors are used the funds to award four among the university’s scholarships. A world-class animal trainer, first selections for the national Dawn Brancheau Foundation Brancheau was regarded as the Service-Learning Scholarships. “face” of SeaWorld Orlando, The Orlando, Florida-based where she had worked since organization recently presented 1994. In 2010, she died after $8,000 in scholarship funds for the 2014-15 school year to being involved in a tragic MSU’s Center for the Advance- on-site accident with the ment of Service-Learning orca “Tilikum.” That same Excellence, or CASLE, which year, her family created the 36

foundation to serve as a living memorial. For more, see http://www.dawnsfoundation.org. In addition to $750 academic stipend in the fall and spring semesters, each student will receive $500 to create and complete a service-learning project honoring one of Indiana-native Brancheau’s four loves--animals, the environment, children, and handmade greeting cards.

Alexis R. Tentler, animal and dairy science major and the daughter of James and Cynthia Tentler, will focus on love of animals, while Travis R. Crabtree, landscape architecture major and the son of Kenneth Crabtree of Gulf Shores, Alabama, and Shannon Arrowsmith of Madison, will focus on love of the environment.

cals.msstate.edu


S tudent S potlight

MSU STUDENTS WIN WEED SCIENCE HONORS

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he Southern Weed Science Society recently honored several Mississippi State University students for their outstanding research. Alana Blaine of Starkville won first place in the Master of Science paper competition for her paper, titled “The Effect of Dicamba Concentration and Application Timing on

Soybean Growth and Yield.” Blaine is an MSU graduate student studying weed science. Garret Montgomery of Union City, Tennessee, won a second place award in the Master of Science speech contest with his presentation on how a rice cultivar responded to an herbicide used to control annual broadleaf weeds.

Montgomery was also elected vice chairman of the society’s graduate student organization. He is a weed science graduate student in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences. Tyler Dixon of Boyle, Mississippi, won first place in the Master of Science poster competition for his poster, titled “Evaluation of Weed Control

Programs in Enlist Cotton in the Mid-South.” Dixon is an MSU graduate student in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences. Kentucky native Gary Cundiff won second place in the Ph.D. poster competition with his poster, titled “The Effect of a Deactivation Agent on Various Concentrations of Dicamba.”

FEATURED PEOPLE FROM MSU: HANNIBAL AND MALCOLM BROOKS By Allison Matthews; Photo by Russ Houston

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arely does one encounter a more identical set of twins than MSU sophomores Malcolm and Hannibal Brooks of Pensacola, Florida. The food science majors not only look and sound nearly the same, but their interests also are closely mirrored. Their commonalities serve them well. Adjusting to being away from home wasn’t too difficult for the National Achievement Finalists. Since the Shackouls Honors College students are roommates, living in Griffis Hall is a lot like home, they said, except they have bunk beds. One of their strengths is the study habits they have developed together, and they challenge each other to do their best academically. As high school students in an International Baccalaureate program, both excelled in Advanced Placement courses and developed an interest in STEM subjects. They praise their parents, Larry and Brigette Brooks,

for allowing them to explore potential universities and career paths. “They nurtured our creativity,” said Malcolm. “They told us to pick something we would really love.” As out-of-state students, Hannibal and Malcolm weren’t very familiar with Mississippi State until they began the college search process. Although they explored different career options and were not set on choosing the same major, their interest in biology and their belief that STEM fields would offer good jobs after graduation were factors that ultimately led both to major in food science. They evaluated MSU’s food science program and found it to be a comprehensive department that focuses on everything from the processing of food to its marketing, consumption, and impact on public health. When a visit to campus revealed State’s warm and welcoming atmosphere, they were eager to enroll.

At MSU, they are gaining they also are enjoying plenty of many new experiences, such as co-curricular activities. They are studying Chinese for the first ambassadors for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, time this semester. “A lot of international stu- and they both serve on the dents are studying in the food executive board of the Food science program, and I thought Science Club. Additionally, both enjoy it would be interesting to be able to communicate with them being part of the Silver Screenmore effectively,” said Hannibal, ers Movie Club and are helping the elder brother by one minute. to expand the Quiz Bowl team. Not only are they thriving in their academic endeavors, but 37


CO L LEGE OF AGRI CU LTU R E & L I F E SC I E NC E S

2014

DEVELOPMENT

Bo Hemphill, George Hopper, Phyllis Ford, Charles Weatherly, and Jud Skelton. Photo by Russ Houston.

REMEMBERING DONALD FORD

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ppreciation for agriculture and love of American Plant Food Corporation. Rising athletics drew Donald Ford to Mis- through the ranks, his last position was as sissippi State University. In an August chairman of the board and president of the 2010 interview, Ford said he fantasized as corporation. American Plant Food Corp. is a youngster about attending Mississippi a domestic and export chemical fertilizer company that supplies nitrogen fertilizer in State. Born and raised in Greenville, Ford the form of ammonium sulfate. Proud of their alma mater and the influattended MSU following high school graduation on a football scholarship. For Ford, ence it had on their lives, the Fords estabhis dream had become a reality, playing lished 10 annual scholarships during the football and working on a degree in agri- MSU Foundation’s StatePride Initiative. The couple also established annual faculty culture. It was also at Mississippi State that Ford awards in the college during this cammet his wife, Phyllis, who was also attend- paign, which resulted in $80,000 for faculty ing the university. After graduation, the two through a special partnership with MSU were married and moved to the Rio Grande athletics. Ford was true maroon and his untimely Valley of Texas. While he was pursuing a career in the death in February 2014 remains a great loss field of agriculture, she was busy caring for to the university and agriculture community. As a lasting legacy to this incredtheir two sons, Don Jr. and Stan. Ford’s career spanned 47 years with ible bulldog, Phyllis Ford and family have 38

established gifts in honor of the football player and agricultural leader. The Donald and Phyllis Ford Excellence Fund will assist with study abroad, undergraduate research, minority student scholarship support, and faculty salary support in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. MSU athletics will also receive support for new and enhanced athletic facilities. A tree planting ceremony was held on October 3, 2014 to commemorate the legacy of Donald Ford. Planted across from Davis Wade Stadium, the tree is a lasting memorial to our MSU brother.

cals.msstate.edu


D evelopment

Former MSU President Charles Lee is pictured at the far right. Many family members, friends, and MSU leadership attended the building dedication. Photo by Russ Houston.

FORMER MSU PRESIDENT CHARLES LEE HONORED AT DEDICATION By Allison Matthews

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ississippi State honored its 17th president on October 3, 2014 with a public ceremony dedicating the J. Charles Lee Agricultural and Biological Engineering Building. The $11 million structure that opened in 2007 is located on Creelman Street between Dorman Hall and McCarthy Gymnasium. MSU President Mark E. Keenum said Lee made numerous outstanding contributions to Mississippi State during more than a dozen years of service at the university, and his many positive impacts continue to benefit the institution. “He set access for students and academic excellence as twin priorities,” Keenum said, adding that Lee significantly strengthened Town and Gown relationships with the community and improved appearance and

functionality of the campus during his tenure. “The very building that we are dedicating today was able to be built under his leadership,” Keenum said. “The programs housed here are among the academic jewels of our university.” Mississippi State is home to the region’s oldest agricultural engineering program and one of the nation’s first in biological engineering. University officials have said the state-of-the-art facility enables the 136-year-old land-grant institution to continue setting benchmarks in these fields. Vice President of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine Greg Bohach said Lee had a vision in 2002 for the agricultural and biological engineering building that came to fruition after he was able to

successfully share his vision with the Mississippi legislature, which approved funding (bonds). Dean George Hopper of MSU’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences said it was fitting that the building named for Lee is centrally located in the heart of campus. “Dr. Lee worked toward collaboration and corporation. Surrounding this building is our university, and it’s very fitting,” Hopper said. Lee said during his own remarks that the agricultural and biological sciences program highlights the best of the modern land-grant vision. “The thought of having my name on a facility that will help educate and create a bright future for thousands of students fills me with tremendous pride,” Lee said. 39


CO L LEGE OF AGRI CU LTU R E & L I F E SC I E NC E S

2014

NEW FACILITIES

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he College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station are planning three separate buildings to house the expanding programs in poultry, animal and dairy sciences, and food science, nutrition and health promotion. All three buildings will be constructed on the corner of Stone Boulevard and Blackjack Road, in the lot located in front of the Wise Center. The Meat Science and Muscle Biology Laboratory, in architectural renderings above, is currently in the design phase, with this process being 50 percent complete.

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Currently housed in Ballew Hall, the Meat Science and Muscle Biology Laboratory has become a central part of campus. Its location makes transporting animals for harvest difficult. When first built, Ballew Hall was located on the edge of campus but as campus has expanded, the need for new facilities has become paramount. Moving to a new facility will enhance teaching and research capabilities. The new Meat Science and Muscle Biology Laboratory will contain over 18,000-square feet and include a harvest area, demonstration area, and freezer space as well as classrooms and research

laboratories. Construction is set to begin in summer 2015 with completion set for the end of 2016. The Meat Science and Muscle Biology Laboratory will be used by faculty and students in animal and dairy sciences and food science, nutrition and health promotion. The poultry science and animal and dairy science buildings will complete an L-shaped complex with each of the departments housed in a separate building. This project is in the pre-planning phase with project professional selection just beginning. Funding for this construction project has not been obtained. cals.msstate.edu


D evelopment

Jac Varco, MSU plant and soil sciences professor, is using tractor-mounted sensors in precision agriculture research focused on variable rate fertilizer nitrogen application. Participating in that research are Pablo Reveles, an undergraduate exchange student from Brazil, adjusting a tractor-mounted sensor, and Jon Carson, an extension agent with Sharkey-Issaquena counties, driving the tractor. Photo submitted.

THE MSU PRECISION AGRICULTURE CERTIFICATE

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hile the MSU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, or CALS, currently offers a precision agriculture concentration in agricultural engineering, the college is planning an interdisciplinary precision agriculture certificate program available next year. Scott Willard, associate dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, said students cross-trained in their discipline with a focus on precision agriculture will meet the needs of the agricultural industries adopting precision agriculture. “These industries need a workforce with expertise in both a focused discipline and precision agriculture systems,” Willard said. “Through this program, students will garner a well-rounded capacity for understanding precision agriculture as it applies to their major and across the entire agricultural landscape.”

Four CALS departments: Agricultural and Biological Engineering; Agricultural Economics; Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology and Plant Pathology; and Plant and Soil Sciences will partner with the College of Engineering; the Geosystems Research Institute; and other MSU entities such as the university’s research and extension centers in the endeavor. Additionally, stakeholders from various industries will contribute their expertise as well. “We have tremendous support from agricultural industries to develop this precision agriculture and decision analytics focus in addition to enhancing our already successful agricultural engineering degree program and precision agriculture concentration,” said George Hopper, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “Our stakeholders hire the next generation of agricultural leaders, and no doubt students having

a good understanding of precision/decision agriculture will be critical in the agricultural workforce of the future.” Monsanto is one such stakeholder who has gifted a considerable amount to furthering the MSU precision agriculture curriculum. The partnership between Monsanto and MSU will provide insight on the interactions and relationships of the environment, crop inputs, equipment, and data analysis in order to tackle the food security challenges of an expanding global population. “The Monsanto gift will help us prepare students to become leaders in precision agriculture through the certificate program and eventually a curriculum,” Hopper said. “The gift also funds several annual scholarships which is crucial in attracting the best and brightest to work in the precision agriculture field.” 41


CO L LEGE OF AGRI CU LTU R E & L I F E SC I E NC E S

2014

FACULTY NEWS MSU PROFESSOR WINS NATIONAL FASHION DESIGN AWARDS By Leah Barbour DESIGNING,

DYEING,

KNITTING,

AND

teaching are Phyllis Miller’s passions. As a university professor in Mississippi State’s School of Human Sciences, she creates clothes for herself, and they’re earning major national recognitions. Her internationally influenced domestic designs feature bright colors, bold patterns, and skillful knitting. Miller’s most recent major honor was Best of Show at the 105th American Association of Family & Consumer Sciences National Conference. The AAFCS recognition means members of the competition jury decided her Three pieces designed and knitted by MSU professor Phyllis Miller were honored at the 2014 International Textile and design was No. 1 among 60 entries. Since Apparel Association Conference. Photo by Russ Houston. the conference only accepts half the submissions it receives for judging, just being allowed to compete is an accomplishment American Indian basketry jacket, complemented by a sterling shawl pin and sterling in itself, Miller emphasized. Miller originally designed and knit- earrings by jeweler Dennis Loss, was preted the award-winning Chogakpo coat sented with the coat and dress at the 2014 and dyed chameleon tube dress. She said International Textile and Apparel Associainspirations for the apparel came from the tion Conference in Charlotte, North Carosimple combination of some extra yarn on lina. The acceptance rate for the ITAA comhand and a book about Korean patchwork petition is approximately 35 percent, Miller wrapping cloth. In addition to the coat and dress, Miller said. produced two other award-winning original pieces. An Egyptian ceiling coat and an

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cals.msstate.edu


F aculty N ews

NEW HEAD NAMED FOR MSU DEPARTMENT A BIOCHEMIST WITH 37 YEARS OF EXPE-

rience has been named head of the MSU Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology and Plant Pathology. Jeff Dean, former acting director of the Institute of Bioinformatics at the University of Georgia, officially began work at MSU on August 1, 2014. Dean has spent much of his career working to identify the genes that control wood formation in forest trees. He was awarded the 2011 USDA Secretary’s Honor Award as a member of the Conifer Translational Genomics Network Coordinated Agricultural Project, a project in which he served as co-investigator. “Dr. Dean brings a wealth of experience into the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology and Plant Pathology,” said George Hopper, director of the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station and dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “We are excited to have someone of his research caliber join the university and lead one of the fastest-growing departments in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.” The MSU Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology was merged with the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology in December 2010. The depart- departmental faculty and staff.” Dean earned bachelor’s degrees in chemment includes faculty with appointments in the college, MAFES, and the MSU Exten- istry and biology at Stanford University. He earned a doctoral degree in biochemistry sion Service. “The Department of Biochemistry, from Purdue University. He is a fellow of Molecular Biology, Entomology and Plant the International Academy of Wood SciPathology provides critical agricultural ence. The Department of Biochemistry, and environmental programs and problem solving to our state in the areas of insect Molecular Biology, Entomology and identification and abatement, plant diseases, Plant Pathology offers a bachelor’s degree and youth activities, such as 4-H entomol- in biochemistry with 11 concentrations ogy, Bug and Plant Camp, and beekeeping,” in two tracks: pre-professional medicine said Gary Jackson, director of the MSU and research/science. The department also Extension Service. “Dr. Dean will pro- offers master’s and doctoral degrees. vide leadership in directing our exemplary

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CO L LEGE OF AGRI CU LTU R E & L I F E SC I E NC E S

2014

LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT PROFESSOR WRITES ABOUT CROSBY ARBORETUM By Keri Collins Lewis BOB BRZUSZEK, AN ASSOCIATE PROFES-

sor of landscape architecture at Mississippi State University, is the author of the recently published “The Crosby Arboretum: A Sustainable Regional Landscape” (Louisiana State University Press, $23.95 hardcover, pdf or epub). He teaches courses in landscape design, ecology, and management, and was site director and first curator of the Arboretum, from 1990 to 2003. A native of the Midwest, he lived in Picayune for 13 years and frequently visited the immediate coast during that time. The impetus for the book was that “some of the people in the early days—Fay Jones, Ed Blake—both passed away in the past 10 years. I knew if I didn’t put this stuff down now, it might not get saved,” he said in a recent telephone interview. Blake was a landscape architect who designed the master plan, and internationally known architect Jones designed Pinecote Pavilion and wooden bridges associated with Piney Woods Lake. “It took 14 years of planning,” Brzuszek said of the Arboretum, which encompasses 104 acres in the Native Plant Center as well as management of 700 acres in seven associated natural areas. The Native Plant Center includes the Pinecote Pavilion and the Piney Woods Lake for display of native water plants in their natural setting. What many visitors don’t know, he said, is that the Arboretum is a planned gardena natural garden, to be sure, but one created. “What is significant is that the Arboretum could have gone in a lot of other directions,” he said. When the facility was being seriously 44

planned in the early 1980s, there were plenty of European-inspired gardens in the United States. But an advisor, a botanist from Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania, noted these gardens were quite abundant. Richard Lighty urged the Crosby board to consider “looking at the plants of their own backyard.” And so the Crosby Arboretum became “a garden of place,” as Brzuszek calls it, of “growing woodlands, developing wetlands. It shows the best little vignettes of south Mississippi and the Gulf Coast landscape. The Crosby Arboretum took damaged land and healed it. It’s about healing a landscape. It’s really symbolic, working with the land even as you’re healing it.” Decades before, that damaged land had been clear-cut, devoid of its vegetation by the 1930s after the timber was cleared. Where longleaf pine forests once had stood, owner L.O. Crosby put in farm crops: strawberries, peaches, grapes, pecans, even tung trees. Overharvesting timber was a common practice at the time, but with the Depression well entrenched, Picayune needed the new crops Crosby planted on the old forest land. The Arboretum’s land, at the time, was known as the Strawberry

Farm. At some point in the 1940s, slash pine replaced the strawberry plants, but before they could mature to harvest, Hurricane Camille scuttled that plan. After Crosby’s death in 1978, his family wanted to establish a memorial. The Crosby Arboretum shows our “ancestral landscape,” he said. “It’s a way for people to be in touch with the place they came from. When people think about Mississippi, they often think about the arts here and how they work with the place, and that’s what captivates other people— our literature, our music, other things. You can’t get it anywhere else. It’s what makes us unique, who we are. As Picayune, Slidell and the Gulf Coast grow, people can get a sense of what the original landscape was like.”

cals.msstate.edu


F aculty N ews

New Maroon Institute for Writing Excellence graduates include (seated from left) Kim Walters, Stephanie Bennett, Amy Crumpton and Renee Clary, (standing from left) Becky Smith, Robert Damm, Elizabeth Payne, Melanie Loehing, Juyoung Lee, institute facilitator Rich Raymond, Jeff Roberson, Peter Allen and Mehrzad Netadj. Photo by Megan Bean.

MSU FACULTY COMPLETE INSTITUTE, PREP SYLLABI FOR ‘WRITING-TOLEARN’ By Leah Barbour AFTER

BECOMING

STUDENTS

ONCE

again at Mississippi State’s recent Maroon Institute for Writing Excellence, the new faculty-member graduates are ready to incorporate what they’ve learned in courses not traditionally associated with writing. Now in its second year, the annual summer institute trains teachers to modify course syllabi to incorporate more writingto-learn strategies in class assignments. Known as “Maroon & Write,” the overall initiative is the university’s quality enhancement plan to improve undergraduate learning at all class levels. The QEP is required to maintain accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

The three-week intensive institute requires free writing and journaling, conversing and debating, and methods to amend syllabi to include writing assignments, many of which qualify as participation grades. The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences summer 2014 institute graduates and the writing-to-learn courses they taught this fall include: • Agricultural economics assistant extension professor Becky Smith, three Honors Forum sections in the Shackouls Honors College. • Human sciences assistant professor Juyoung Lee, Sociological and Psychological Aspects of Clothing.

• Landscape architecture assistant professor Elizabeth Payne, Fundamentals of Planning Design. This group joins the institute’s inaugural class from 2013, many of whom plan to continue teaching Maroon & Write courses. They include, by department: • Animal and dairy science assistant professor Jamie Larson, Physiology of Reproduction. • Human sciences instructor Rick Noffsinger, introduction to Technical Writing in Agricultural Communications.

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CO L LEGE OF AGRI CU LTU R E & L I F E SC I E NC E S

2014

MSU FOOD TECHNOLOGIST NAMED AN INTERNATIONAL FELLOW A MISSISSIPPI STATE UNIVERSITY FOOD

science professor has been named a fellow in an international professional organization. Juan L. Silva, a professor in the MSU Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion, was honored by the Institute of Food Technologists, an international organization that strives to advance food science and technology in more than 100 countries. This designation is an honor bestowed upon institute fellows for exemplary advancement, service, and inspiration in food science and technology. Nominees must be professional members of the food science organization for at least 15 years and have made exceptional contributions to the field for at least 10 of those years. Silva is a food scientist with the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station. An MSU alumnus, he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemical engineering and his doctoral degree in food

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science and technology. He is considered an international expert in food processing and food safety systems. For 75 years, the Institute of Food Technologists, which hosts the world’s largest annual scientific meeting and food expo, has served as a global forum where members collaborate to transform scientific knowledge into innovative solutions that improve the human condition through food science and technology.

cals.msstate.edu


F aculty N ews

FACULTY AWARDS

Assistant professor Cory Gallo of landscape architecture received the MSU Alumni Association Early Career Undergraduate Teaching Excellence Award.

Charles Freeman, an assistant professor in human sciences, received the CALS Excellence in Teaching New Faculty Award.

Associate professor Wes Schilling of food science, nutrition and health promotion received the MSU Alumni Association Outstanding Graduate Student Mentor Award.

Dan Reynolds, a professor in the plant and soil sciences, received the Southern Weed Science Society Distinguished Service Award.

Shien Lu, an associate professor in biochemistry, molecular biology, entomology and plant pathology, received the CALS Teacher of the Year Award and the Excellence in Teaching Upper Division Undergraduate Award.

Assistant extension professor Jay McCurdy received the Southern Weed Science Society Outstanding Ph.D. Student Award for his doctoral work at Auburn University. McCurdy is a newlyhired turf specialist in plant and soil sciences.

Angel Fason, an instructor in human sciences, received the CALS Excellence in Teaching Lower Division Undergraduate Award. Fred Musser, an associate professor in biochemistry, molecular biology, entomology and plant pathology, received the CALS Excellence in Teaching Graduate Instruction Award.

From top to bottom: Cory Gallo, Wes Schilling, Shien Lu, Angel Fason, Fred Musser, Charles Freeman, Dan Reynolds, and Jay McCurdy.

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CO L LEGE OF AGRI CU LTU R E & L I F E SC I E NC E S

2014

➋ ➌

1. CALS alumni enjoyed breakfast prepared by students in the MSU Dietetic Association. 2. A CALS nutrition student sets out muffins as the crowd arrives. 3. MSU alumnus and professor emeritus Marty Fuller (center) receives the Dean’s award from George Hopper and Mark Keenum. Photos by Karen Brasher

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cals.msstate.edu


H omecoming B reakfast

ALUMNI HOMECOMING BREAKFAST November 8, 2014

➍ 4. Delta Council executive vice president Chip Morgan (center) receives the Dean's award from George Hopper and Mark Keenum. 5. Agricultural economics department head Steve Turner and associate dean Scott Willard conversing. 6. CALS Ambassadors serve as host of the event. 7. Congressman Gregg Harper visit with CALS ambassadors.

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CO L LEGE OF AGRI CU LTU R E & L I F E SC I E NC E S

2014

ALUMNI UPDATES ’77 Ron Allen of Brandon has been promoted by BankFirst Financial Services to executive vice president for corporate lending and correspondent banking. Now leading this newly formed division, he joined BankFirst three years ago as president of the Madison County locations. (Agricultural Economics)

A

Maroon & White

lma mater derives from the Latin word alma which means nourishing and kind and mater which is the plural form of mother.

Today we associate the term with the college from which an individual has graduated or attended, where one is considered an alumnus/ alumna. But considering the original derivative, it is well suited that

’81 (Ph.D.) Robert Taylor of Morgantown, West Virginia, has been named director of the Division of Animal and Nutritional Sciences for West Virginia University’s Davis College of Agriculture. Taylor is a former professor of animal science at the University of New Hampshire. (Animal and Dairy Sciences)

the place you likely entered into adulthood, gained knowledge which allowed you to pursue your career, perhaps fell in love, and gained countless friendships should be known as your nourishing mother. And just as Mississippi State University and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences nourished you with knowledge, home, and family; it continues to provide a place for countless students who are following in your footsteps and will one day refer to MSU as their alma mater. The truth is that alumni gain so much more than an education when

’86 Johnny Ray of Jackson has joined BankFirst Financial Services as executive vice president/Jackson regional president. In this role, Ray leads the bank’s metro-area teams that include branches and loan offices in Flowood, Gluckstadt, Madison, and Ridgeland. (Agricultural Economics) ‘86 Joseph Sawyer has joined Barge, Waggoner, Sumner, and Cannon Inc. as senior landscape architect in the land resources business unit. Previously, he served as principal for DC Sawyer Design Group, Inc., a Chattanooga, Tennessee, firm founded by his grandfather in 1936. (Landscape Architecture) ‘11 Robert Lord of Summit has been promoted to inside sales manager at Atlas Manufacturing Co. Inc. in Monticello. (Agricultural and Biological Engineering)

they attend Mississippi State. And so too will the students that come after you. You can make an Infinite Impact in the lives of students today and tomorrow through your monetary gifts and time. Here are some facts you may not know:

• Alumni help determine the future and continued development of your alma mater. • Support for scholarships gives a deserving student a valuable asset: a quality education. • Giving can be used to fund and sustain innovative and essential programs such as the precision agriculture, food security, and study abroad initiatives. • As the popularity and prestige of Mississippi State and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences increases, the value of your degree increases as well. • When alumni contribute, it is easier to procure funds from friends and organizations. Would you consider making a gift today and creating an Infinite Impact in the lives of students today and tomorrow? Contact Jud Skelton at jud.skelton@foundation.msstate.edu or 662-325-0643 or Dees Britt at dbritt@foundation.msstate.edu or 662-325-2837.

Let us hear from you. Send your updates to karen.brasher@msstate.edu. 50

cals.msstate.edu


CONNECT WITH US http://www.cals.msstate.edu http://www.facebook.com/MSUCALS http://twitter.com/MSU_AG http://www.youtube.com/MSUAgandLifeSciences

Senior Agricultural Science major Hunter Estes is cheering the Bulldogs on to victory with his work in this soybean field in West Point. Estes works for Bryanmere Farms Inc., owned by Sonny Jameson. Estes cut out this design with a combine to show his support for the bulldog team. Upon graduation, Estes hopes to work in ag sales. Photo by Hunter Estes.

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College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Box 9760 Mississippi State, MS 39762

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Influence 2014  

Mississippi State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences alumni newsletter

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