10 Penn State students and alumni receive Fulbright awards

May 21, 2019

Penn State students and alumni will travel to all corners of the globe for the 2019-2020 school year through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Including: Tessa Sontheimer, undergraduate; Community, Environment, and Development, College of Agricultural Sciences, and Global and International Studies, College of the Liberal Arts; Indonesia

Penn State Extension marks milestone in outreach to Spanish-speaking growers

May 6, 2019

Penn State Extension recently celebrated 10 years of providing bilingual agricultural education at the Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention, held annually in Hershey.

Intergenerational fair designed to strengthen families, enhance communities

May 1, 2019

The State College Friends School and Penn State's Intergenerational Leadership Institute are partnering to host the area's first community-wide intergenerational gathering, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 1, at the State College Friends School, 1900 University Drive.

Interdisciplinary research project on water and agriculture launches website

April 22, 2019

Water for Agriculture, a Penn State-led interdisciplinary research project funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute on Food and Agriculture, has announced the launching of its website. The project aims to address the water and agriculture issues that matter most to communities through effective stakeholder engagement. “Our purpose is to transform the way scientists, the cooperative extension system, technical services providers, agency officials, engagement practitioners, and communities can collaboratively approach critical water and agricultural issues,” said Kathy Brasier, professor of rural sociology in the College of Agricultural Sciences and the project’s principal investigator. “The website is one tool that we plan to use to share information and build our network of collaborators.” The website provides information and background on the project as well as an events calendar for each of the communities. It also houses a library of webinars, a news and update section and a community engagement toolbox, which provides a practical guide to the major concepts, tools and strategies for implementing effective community engagement processes. Water for Agriculture brings together social and biophysical researchers and practitioners. These interdisciplinary teams are working in five communities in Nebraska, Pennsylvania and Arizona. “The purpose of Water for Agriculture is to better understand the processes by which a broad range of stakeholders can come together to improve how water and agricultural issues are addressed in differing agricultural contexts,” said Walt Whitmer, a Penn State senior extension associate and project facilitator.

Researchers to compare Twitter opinions on climate change with real-world views Team hopes to create a transparent environment for social media hot topic debates

April 18, 2019

How do regional opinions on Twitter represent real-world attitudes toward climate change? A team of researchers will work to find out, thanks to a recent seed grant from the Social Science Research Institute at Penn State. Ting-Hao (Kenneth) Huang, principal investigator on the project is collaborating with Guangqing Chi, associate professor of rural sociology and demography and public health sciences in the College of Agricultural Sciences, and John Yen, professor of information sciences and technology, on the project. The seed grant funding was awarded by SSRI, in collaboration with the College of Information Sciences and Technology and the Institute for CyberScience. This is one of six University projects this spring to receive SSRI funding for developing innovative research programs using Twitter data. The team is pursuing external funding to further advance the project.

GreeBriq student venture wints top $7,500 prize in Ag Springboard pitch contest

April 15, 2019

"GreenBriq, a student venture aimed at turning the biomass of invasive water hyacinth plants into affordable fuel briquettes for Kenyan families, recently won the $7,500 first-place prize in the Ag Springboard pitch contest... One of the other finalist teams, Team Nuglys developed fruit and vegetable-based cookies made with ugly fruits and vegetables — meaning misshapen and discolored — sourced locally. The team's vision is to provide local farmers with a fair price for difficult-to-sell produce and make a profit on a unique cookie. Team members are Laura Greaves and Jon Colwell, agribusiness management majors, and Navjit Singh, a finance major..."

Brennan, Kara receive Eisenhower Award for Distinguished Teaching

April 2, 2019

Mark Brennan, professor and UNESCO Chair in Community, Leadership, and Youth Development in the College of Agricultural Sciences, and Ali Kara, professor of business administration at Penn State York, are the recipients of Penn State's 2019 Milton S. Eisenhower Award for Distinguished Teaching. The award recognizes excellence in teaching and student support among tenured faculty who have been employed full time for at least five years with undergraduate teaching as a major portion of their duties. Milton S. Eisenhower, brother of former U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, served as president of Penn State from 1950 to 1956.

Hall, Brent to receive Roy C. Buck awards during annual celebration

March 27, 2019

Two faculty members in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences have been named the recipients of the 2018 Roy C. Buck Faculty Award, which recognizes exceptional articles accepted or published by refereed scholarly journals in the social and human sciences within the past two years. Molly Hall, assistant professor of veterinary and biomedical sciences, will be recognized for her work in human sciences, while Daniel Brent, assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education, will be recognized for his work in social sciences.

Promoting economic resilience in Appalachia: Lessons from successful communities

March 27, 2019

The Appalachian communities that enjoyed persistent economic growth following the 2008 Great Recession have a number of factors in common, according to researchers who analyzed all 420 counties in the Appalachian region. Their findings will help guide future economic development strategies across Appalachia. “Economically resilient communities, such as Pennsylvania’s McKean County, can teach us about strategies for promoting resilience elsewhere in the region,” said Stephan J. 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. “By identifying the resilience-promoting factors these communities share, our findings will help other communities select strategies and policies to enhance their own future economic prospects.” The results of the analysis recently were published by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) in a report titled “Strengthening Economic Resilience in Appalachia.”

Seed grants awarded to projects using Twitter data

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.

Harper to take the reins at Penn State's Fruit Research and Extension Center

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.

International academic exchange program at Penn State promotes peace, research

March 5, 2019

Agribusiness student talks lab-grown meat with industry leaders

March 4, 2019

Tony Rice, a senior agribusiness management student in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, studied “meat” made in the lab and not from animals, and grew increasingly committed to understanding its potential to enhance agricultural production.

Penn State World Campus helps University stay true to founding mission

February 22, 2019

Penn State remains committed 164 years after its founding to providing an agricultural education — no matter where its students live.

Stuck and Stressed: The Health Costs of Traffic The physical and psychological toll of brutal commutes can be considerable.

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.

Manure injection offers hope, challenge for restoring Chesapeake water quality

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.

Clearinghouse evaluates veterans’ use of transition programs

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.

Undergraduate students engage with Latino farmworker community through course

February 7, 2019

Because of significant labor shortages, Pennsylvania's dairy farms rely on Spanish-speaking immigrants as a key source of labor. However, cultural differences and language barriers can leave employers and workers lost in translation. 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.

Report: Pennsylvania population trends mirror employment changes since 2000

January 17, 2019

Changes in the distribution of Pennsylvania's population — largely toward the state's southeastern quadrant — reflect challenges that policymakers need to address to promote and maintain statewide prosperity, suggests a new report compiled by economists in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.

Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness obtains $1.5 million grant on suicide prevention

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.

Penn State Extension offers free videos with tools to aid community meetings

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.

Unique graduate student cohort will explore gender and agriculture

December 19, 2018

Faculty in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences are spearheading an initiative that will provide selected doctoral students with the opportunity for extensive study on gender and its relationship to agricultural production.

CED 309 Students win First Place in the Poster Competition

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."

Goetz named president-elect of North American Regional Science Council

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).

Community engagement internship leads to student award

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.

Project brings together agriscience educators from U.S., Malaysia

December 7, 2018

Preservice teacher candidates and current teachers from Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan learned about agriculture and agricultural education in July as part of the AgEd2Malaysia Human Development Project, a collaborative effort among Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, and the Global Agriculture Learning Center at Hawkeye Community College in Waterloo, Iowa.

Go West (in Pa.) to build animal ag

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.

Many happy (tax) returns: Penn State assistance program prepping for season

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.

A Hokie heart with Lion pride: Virginia Tech alums create ag sci scholarship

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.

Penn State agribusiness major lands White House internship

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.