CAFLS eNews 2012 Spring #1

Dean Scott refuses Yahoo article on useless degrees in agriculture

Dean Scott refutes Yahoo! article on "useless" degrees in agriculture

A mid-January article posted on the Yahoo! Education website named degrees in Agriculture, Animal Science and Horticulture among the "top 5 most useless college degrees." The article inflamed Deans of Agriculture at land grant universities around the country. Dean Scott joined others in a critique of the article in a recent statement to the College.

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With USDA support, Clemson University research revolutionizes environmental monitoring  

Posted on USDA blog "Science Tuesday" by Jennifer Martin, USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture, January 24, 2012

Intelligent River relay station

When we talk about population growth, often the first question that comes to mind is, “How are we going to feed everyone?”  While an important question that needs to be addressed, rising populations also put increasing and competing demands on our natural resources. And these demands are putting local and state economies at risk. Within the next decade, solutions will be necessary to optimize water use while preserving rivers and streams. Using funding from USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, an interdisciplinary team of scientists led by Gene Eidson, PhD, director of Clemson University’s Institute of Applied Ecology, is developing new technologies to mitigate this risk.

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The CAFLS web team has made it easy for you to send us your ideas and CAFLS news items. Just click on the link below! We want to create a publication with news that is fresh and current — contributed by those who create it, know about it, or help make it happen. You know best what is timely and relevant. 

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Our wish list:

  • Faculty publications including journal articles, books, and conference presentations.
  • Department events and lecture series. Some departments have these on their websites, but with a complete college listing, we could create a calendar.
  • Student awards and conference presentations.
  • More staff news.

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ASPIRE HIGHER! CAFLS Student News


Two microbiology students on winning CU Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl team

CU Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl team

Nikki Powell, a senior microbiology major, and Yancey Appling, a junior microbiology major, are members of the Clemson University Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl team that took first place in the Fifth Annual Mid-Atlantic Regional Ethics Bowl championship.  The Clemson team will advance to the national championship in March 2012.

(Photo: Clemson’s team includes, clockwise from top left, Courtney Dixon, a senior political science and philosophy major from Columbia, SC; Nikki Powell, a senior microbiology major from Aiken, SC; Professor Kelly Smith, team coach; Yancey Appling, a junior microbiology major from Six Mile, SC; Eric Reeves, a senior political science major from Columbia, SC; and Kyle Sporrer, a senior philosophy major from Manning, Iowa. Photo courtesy of the Anderson Independent Mail.)

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Enercon Industries "Bill Zito Packaging Scholarship" goes to William Wooi

Photo of William WooiWilliam Wooi has been selected as one of two winners of the Bill Zito Packaging Scholarship for $1,050. William was awarded the scholarship based on his excellent academic record, a one-page essay, his extra-curricular involvement, and faculty recommendation. Companies in the packaging industry rely on Enercon to provide induction cap and capless sealing solutions providing hermetic seals that stop leaks, enhance shelf life, provide tamper evidence and preserve freshness. William's faculty advisor is Bob Moore in the Department of Food, Nutrition, and Packaging Sciences.

Alpha Gamma Rho (AGR) fraternity brothers move into new home

New AGR fraternity house as of December 2011In May of 2010, a fire in the historic home of the AGR fraternity burned the building beyond repair. The three members who were inside escaped without injury. What was left of the 100-year old landmark in the City of Clemson's Calhoun district was later demolished. "Luckily, we had cost-of-replacement insurance," said Judson Belding, AGR president and a junior majoring in Wildlife & Fisheries Biology. In January, the City of Clemson issued a temporary occupancy permit that allowed members to move into the new fraternity house, which is nearly twice as large as the old one. Eventually, the new fraternity house will be home to up to 40 students. "AGR is more than just a social fraternity. It is a social/professional fraternity in that we all share a common bond through agriculture. Almost every member has a major at Clemson that falls under the umbrella of CAFLS," said Judson.

A Grand Opening is planned for April 14, 2012. Clemson students, faculty, staff and the general public will be invited to tour the new building. (Photo to the left is the new fraternity house as of December 2011.)

Elizabeth Falwell receives poster award at Gordon Research Conference in Rhode Island

Photo of Elizabeth FalwellCongratulations to Elizabeth Falwell for being selected for a poster award at the Gordon Research Conference on Metalloproteinase Research at the Intersection of Basic Science and Applied Medicine which was held at Bryant University, Smithfield, RI the first week of August, 2011. Elizabeth is a PhD student studying the immune aspects of cellular biomineralization and shell formation in oysters. Elizabeth works in the Okeanos Research Laboratory directed by Andrew Mount, PhD. The poster can be seen outside the lab at 317 Jordan Hall.

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Faculty & Staff News


Angela Fraser, associate professor and food safety expert, receives nearly $543,000 grant from USDA to study food safety

Angela Fraser, PhD, leads a multi-university team that will study and analyze conditions for the spread of norovirus, then develop and promote educational materials targeting children, teachers and food-service workers. Working with colleagues at North Carolina State University and Michigan State University, the first phase will have observers in selected elementary schools looking closely at student hygiene habits and at the school environment. Norovirus is the most common form of food-borne illness, responsible for over 5 million cases in the United States every year. 

“Everyone is susceptible to norovirus, but children might be at greater risk,” Fraser said. "Crowded settings, shared objects and poor hygiene practices can all contribute to the transfer of norovirus in the school environment. We can lower the odds if we can identify how they are being spread so we can develop appropriate interventions to prevent episodes of illness.”

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Desmond R. Layne receives Rowland P. Alston, Sr. ’42 Excellence in Public Relations Award

Photo of Desmond LaneDesmond Layne, PhD, Associate Professor of Pomology and State Fruit Specialist, has brought South Carolina peaches to the hearts and minds of Americans with articles in the New York Times and interviews on National Public Radio and CBS News.  Since launching in July 2010, his award-winning website has been visited nearly 50,000 times. He has produced 33 original videos on peach topics (all on YouTube) and a database that evaluates more than 350 cultivars. Dr. Layne is on a mission to help growers produce and market better peaches and to educate the public about the fruit that has been called “the fruit of the Gods.”

 “I am so honored to receive this award, especially considering that Patrick McMillan won it last year,” said Dr. Layne. “I have great respect for his work.”

He enjoys working with reporters and believes that good information for the public about how food is grown and where it comes from is essential to a nutritious diet and healthy eating.

The Rowland P. Alston, Sr. ’42 Excellence in Public Relations Award has been established to recognize outstanding Clemson University faculty or staff who, through programs and activities related to agriculture and/or natural resources, have provided Clemson University with positive visibility throughout South Carolina, the United States and the world.

Read more at the website Everything About Peaches  > > >

Follow Dr. Layne on Facebook > > >

Richard Hassell conducts seminars on greenhouse grafting practices in Erbil, Iraq

Plant propagation expert, Richard Hassell, PhD, and Associate Professor at the Coastal Research and Education Center in Charleston, has been in Iraq giving seminars on vegetable propagation methods for use in greenhouses. The project is sponsored by the USAID-Inma program (Inma means "growth" in Arabic). Participants in the seminars were from the Salah ad Din University's College of Agriculture and officials from the Kurdistan Ministry of Agriculture.

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Katherine Cason is Chair-Elect of USDA-NIFA Nutrition and Health Committee for Planning and Guidance

The United States Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) formed the Nutrition and Health Committee for Planning and Guidance in 2008 to work with NIFA national program leaders to strategically position extension programs for the future. Committee members represent all regions of the country. Professor Katherine Cason, Phd, RD, LD, is the Committee Chair-Elect for 2012-2013.

Two objectives in the 2009 Strategic Opportunities for Cooperative Extension, Executive Summary, published by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, help direct the committee’s efforts to: 1) ensure an abundant and safe food supply for all; and 2) help families, youth, and individuals to become physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy. The committee’s work is focused on five key activities: evaluation indicators; curriculum oversight; nutrition and physical activity policies and programs; professional training; and communication and resource links.

David Guynn advises Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources on wildlife management problem

David Guynn, James Kroll and Gary Alt advise Wisconsin Department of Natural ResourcesWisconsin has a wildlife management problem. Aggressive deer harvest goals set by the state Department of Natural Resources in response to deer over-browsing, as well as elimination of diseased deer herds, are viewed unfavorably by most deer hunters. This controversy has led to breakdowns in communication, respect, and cooperation between the agency and the state's hunters. In response to these problems, Governor Scott Walker has turned to three leading national experts on white-tailed deer management. David Guynn, PhD, is a member of the team along with James Kroll, PhD, a professor at Stephen F. Austin State University in Texas, and Gary Alt, PhD, who worked for the Pennsylvania Game Commission for 27 years. Guynn is Centennial Professor Emeritus of Forestry and Natural Resources at Clemson. He is a certified wildlife biologist (The Wildlife Society), a certified forester (Society of American Foresters) and holds a lifetime appointment on the National Board of Directors of the Quality Deer Management Association.

Guynn said he was optimistic about the project. Among his primary interests are saving the state's hunting heritage and land ethic, which includes sustainable wildlife management. Wisconsin is considered by many to be the birthplace of wildlife management practices in use today.

Click on the links below to read articles from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on the process.

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Alumni News


Angela Rivera Honored with Siebert Award

Photo of Angela RiveraAngela Rivera graduated from Clemson with her PhD in May, 2011. When she was still a Biological Sciences PhD student she won the 2011 Siebert Award from the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles for the best oral presentation in Physiology and Morphology at the Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, an international meeting of three professional societies. Angie's work (with advisor Richard Blob) examines the use of the forelimb muscles of swimming freshwater and sea turtles, testing predictions of the evolutionary conservation of neuromuscular control patterns across ecologically diverse species.

Molly Giles begins new position as Wildlife Biologist with the Pennsylvania Game Commission

Photo of Molly Giles with wood duckMolly Giles received a MS Degree in Wildlife Biology in 2010. Giles began her new position in January. She will be the wind energy biologist for the Pennsylvania Game Commission in the Northeast Region of the state."My work as a graduate student at Clemson prepared me for this position in several ways," said Giles, "by doing my own research, writing a thesis, and interacting with other wildlife biologists." The state of Pennsylvania has seen an increase in wind energy farms, and wind farm owners must sign agreements with the Commission to ensure wildlife protection. As the wind energy biologist, Giles monitors bird and bat populations and helps owners through the agreement process.

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In This Issue

College News

Aspire Higher! CAFLS student news

Faculty & Staff News

Alumni News


Destination Clemson!

For accepted students that have not committed yet. Come and meet with Department Chairs, faculty and student ambassadors.

March 2, 9, 30

April 6, 13, 20

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Study Abroad

Contact Amy Sanders, Bookhart Student Services Center

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Life Sciences building under construction

View construction of the new Life Sciences Center