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Twitter data has potential for expanding social science research because it includes a large amount of individual information that is both longitudinal and georeferenced. IMAGE: KALAWIN/ISTOCK.COM
March 8, 2019

Penn State’s Social Science Research Institute (SSRI), in collaboration with the Institute for CyberScience (ICS) and the College of Information Sciences and Technology, has awarded over $100,000 in funding to support six new interdisciplinary teams of Penn State researchers whose work is aimed at developing innovative research programs using Twitter data. “Twitter data provides significant opportunities to study social problems that cannot be easily addressed by traditional data, advancing the social and behavioral sciences,” said Guangqing Chi, associate professor of rural sociology and demography and public health sciences and director of the SSRI and PRI’s Computational and Spatial Analysis (CSA) Core.

https://news.psu.edu/story/561594/2019/03/01/earth-and-environment/harper-take-reins-penn-states-fruit-research-and
March 5, 2019

Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences has named Jayson Harper, professor of agricultural economics, as interim director of the Fruit Research and Extension Center, effective March 1.

Rush hour traffic along US 101 near downtown Los Angeles. Credit Credit Richard Vogel/Associated Press
February 21, 2019

Sometimes the seemingly small things in life can be major stressors. Nobody likes sitting in traffic, for example. According to one study, commuting is one of the least pleasant things we do. But it’s not just an annoying time waster — there’s a case that it’s a public health issue. According to analysis by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, the average American commuter spends 42 hours per year stuck in rush-hour traffic. In the Los Angeles area, the figure is nearly twice that, equivalent to more than three days. A 2015 Los Angeles Times poll found that among residents of that city, traffic concerns exceed those pertaining to personal safety, finances or housing costs.

In a four-year study, shallow-disk injection of manure was found to result in less phosphorus loss in runoff from farm fields compared to broadcasting or spreading manure. The research findings have implications for Chesapeake Bay water quality. Image: Me
February 11, 2019

Widespread adoption by dairy farmers of injecting manure into the soil instead of spreading it on the surface could be crucial to restoring Chesapeake Bay water quality, according to researchers who compared phosphorus runoff from fields treated by both methods. However, they predict it will be difficult to persuade farmers to change practices. In a four-year study, overland and subsurface flows from 12 hydrologically isolated research plots at Penn State's Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center were measured and sampled for all phosphorus constituents and total solids during and after precipitation events. During that period, from January 2013 to May 2017, the plots were planted with summer crops of corn and winter cover crops of cereal rye. Half the plots received broadcast manure applications, while the others had manure injected into the soil.

A community service-learning course at Penn State provides undergraduate students with the opportunity to teach English to Latino immigrant dairy-farm workers. Here, sophomore Sophia Noel conducts a tutoring session. Image: Penn State
February 11, 2019

A new, innovative community service-learning course — "Service-Learning with Pennsylvania Farmworkers" — offered by Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences is aimed at breaking down those barriers. "This course is an example of how our faculty and students use their knowledge and talents to make a difference in the lives of others, and I applaud their dedication and enthusiasm," said Deanna Behring, assistant dean and director of international programs in the College of Agricultural Sciences, when referring to the inaugural course, which took place in the fall 2018 semester and was supported by the Harbaugh Faculty Scholars program.

The majority of veterans do not have negative experiences as they adjust to civilian life, however, a significant number of veterans report they have difficulty with reintegration challenges, according to researchers at Penn State's Clearinghouse for Mili
February 11, 2019

According to lead author Daniel Perkins, founder and principal scientist at the Clearinghouse, the good news about veterans that is often overlooked is that “the majority of veterans do not have negative experiences as they adjust to civilian life, rather they make a successful transition back to their communities.” However, a significant number of veterans report they have difficulty with reintegration challenges.

The Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness at Penn State was recently awarded a $1.5 million grant from the Military Suicide Research Consortium (MSRC) to enhance suicide prevention efforts in the U.S. Air Force. The two-year grant will enable the Cl
January 14, 2019

The Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness at Penn State was recently awarded a $1.5 million grant from the Military Suicide Research Consortium (MSRC) to enhance suicide prevention efforts in the U.S. Air Force. The two-year grant will enable the Clearinghouse to bolster the pilot implementation of the Zero Suicide Systems Approach (ZSSA) at five Air Force bases. ZSSA is an evidence-informed, framework designed to assist healthcare organizations implement, improve, and sustain system-wide suicide prevention efforts. Components of ZSSA include: universal screening for suicide risk, full suicide risk assessments for those who screen positive, providing a clear pathway to the most appropriate and least restrictive care, safety planning, and counseling on how to prevent access to lethal means such as firearms and medications. Within civilian settings, ZSSA has had promising results in reducing suicides in several large healthcare systems.

 It is important for community leaders to create a civil environment to explore the issues at the heart of polarizing conversations, whether those difficult discussions focus on community planning, resource development or other "hot button" topics. Image:
January 14, 2019

To help community leaders, municipal officials and others who work in the public and nonprofit sectors, Penn State Extension is offering a video series titled, "Community Conflict: Finding Middle Ground." The free series offers practical strategies to facilitate and build trust in a community. The short videos are designed to be watched individually or as a series. Each video focuses on an individual topic important in productive community conversations. It is important for community leaders to create a civil environment to explore the issues at the heart of polarizing conversations, whether those difficult discussions focus on community planning, resource development or other "hot button" topics, according to Walt Whitmer, senior extension educator with Penn State's Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education. He and other Penn State Extension educators are sensitive to the importance of effective engagement and earning the trust of stakeholders for optimal open conversation.

Sasha Pershanina representing her group at the 2018 Fall Campus & Community Expo
December 13, 2018

"CED 309 students Alec Bottari, Catherine Martinez, and Sasha Pershanina won first place in the Poster Competition at the 2018 Fall Campus & Community Expo. Their poster was entitled "Preservation of Spring Creek Watershed Trails." In the poster, the students argue that by making hiking trails more widely known and accessible, people will visit them more often and develop an appreciation for the benefits they bring to communities and families by being a low-cost form of enjoyment. Some representative trails were mapped and analyzed. The poster and related GIS story map were part of the Engaged Scholarship component of CED 309 and will be published on the Spring Creek Watershed Atlas."

Stephan Goetz, professor of agricultural and regional economics and director of the Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development, in January will begin a one-year term as president of the North American Regional Science Council. IMAGE: Penn State
December 13, 2018

Stephan Goetz, professor of agricultural and regional economics in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences and director of the Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development, recently was appointed president-elect of the North American Regional Science Council (NARSC).

December 12, 2018

Juliet Lana Mejias, a Community, Environment, and Development Major (CED)/(INTED) student was selected to receive a $1,000 award from our College of Agricultural Sciences Alumni Society in recognition of her internship experience.

Lemongrass project  Shown working on a project using lemongrass, a perennial grass that grows in tropical climates, are AgEd2Malaysia participants, from left, Thomas Gabel, Penn State teacher agricultural candidate; Ain Zulkifli, Universiti Teknologi Mala
December 7, 2018

As a youngster growing up on a dairy farm in Perry County, Thomas Gabel's world didn't extend beyond the borders of Pennsylvania. "It was hard for me to imagine making a road trip a couple states over, let alone boarding a plane and traveling to another country," said Gabel, now a freshman majoring in agricultural and extension education in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.

Dave Abler, professor of agricultural, environmental/regional economics and demographics, and Walt Whitmer, economic and community development senior extension associate, are quoted.
December 4, 2018

To comply with nutrient-reduction goals in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, Pennsylvania may want to consider the establishment of animal agriculture operations in the western part of the state, according to a team of Penn State researchers.

Bill and Catherine Achor recently established the J. Richard and Deborah S. Roenigk Family Scholarship in Agricultural and Extension Education in the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences. IMAGE: Courtesy Bill and Catherine Achor
November 28, 2018

Describing himself as a “Virginia Tech duck in a lion country pond,” William “Bill” Achor, vice president of York Ag Products in York, Pennsylvania, said creating a scholarship at Penn State was an easy decision. York Ag Products has a history of being generous to Penn State, and Achor wanted to honor a past president —and Penn State alumnus — who was instrumental in his career. Together with his wife, Catherine, also a Virginia Tech graduate, Achor recently established the J. Richard and Deborah S. Roenigk Family Scholarship in Agricultural and Extension Education in the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences.

Cathy Bowen, professor of agricultural and extension education and consumer issues, left, assists VITA student volunteer Jacob Jillson as he prepares a return for a client. IMAGE: Penn State
November 28, 2018

November ushers in the holiday season, a time for making lists and checking them twice. Cathy Bowen is preparing too, but the season she is planning for does not evoke visions of sugar plum fairies, eggnog by the fire, or sleigh rides. Quite the opposite, in fact. "Tax season is a time nearly everyone dreads," said the professor of agricultural and extension education and consumer issues in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences. "But, it is especially worrisome for those who don't have the resources to seek professional guidance." To help those individuals and families, Bowen established Penn State's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, an Internal Revenue Service-sponsored initiative. Approaching its 15th year, the initiative, which is currently housed in the college's Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology and Education at the University Park campus, provides free tax preparation and electronic filing services to income-eligible taxpayers, including Penn State students, staff and retirees.

Tony Rice, a senior in agribusiness management in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, was an intern at the White House and in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.   IMAGE: Courtesy Tony Rice
November 26, 2018

\Tony Rice, a senior in agribusiness management in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, was one of a select group of students who was given the opportunity to develop leadership skills and gain experience in the public-service sector as an intern at the White House and in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

October event focused on the economic stability, health and general well-being of rural families
November 26, 2018

'According to Penn State researcher Ann Tickamyer, professor of rural psychology, many rural families suffering from poverty have been left behind because of the focus shifting to urban poverty. “Contrary to popular belief, rural families are very diverse and experience extreme poverty. Currently, rural poverty has experienced some improvements on par with urban poverty, however many families are still experiencing joblessness," said Tickamyer.'

November 20, 2018

With a total economic impact of nearly $136 billion annually, the agricultural industry is essential to Pennsylvania's future. Yet, the farming population is aging, and with 16,000 Pennsylvania farmers projected to retire in the next 10 years, many are wondering who will fill their shoes. Those concerns prompted the creation of a Penn State Extension project aimed at supporting the next generation of farmers -- "Supporting Pennsylvania Farmers in the Start-Up, Re-strategizing and Establishing Years" -- an initiative that recently received an award for excellence from the National Association of County Agricultural Agents during its annual conference in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

This research is a first step in exploring opportunities and challenges to developing animal agriculture in western Pennsylvania in a way that is both economically and environmentally sustainable.
November 5, 2018

To comply with nutrient-reduction goals in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, Pennsylvania may want to consider the establishment of animal agriculture operations in the western part of the state, according to a team of Penn State researchers.