27th Annual National Symposium on Family Issues will take place Oct. 21-22

October 9, 2019

The 2019 National Symposium on Family Issues will provide an overview of the many interconnections between families and food on Oct. 21-22 at the Nittany Lion Inn.

AESE Rural Sociology Program Representation at RSS Annual Meeting

August 30, 2019

The rural sociology program had a strong representation at the RSS annual meeting in Richmond. Thomas Mueller and Matt Brooks won both the Olaf Larson Graduate Student Paper Award and the student paper award of the Natural Resources Research Interest Group for their paper “Who Bears the Burden of Renewable Energy: A Multi-scalar Analysis of Distributional Injustice and Wind Energy.” Maria Vivanco Salazar won a doctoral dissertation award for "Neglected and Underutilized by Whom? Neo-colonialism in the Definition of Crops from the Andean Region" and Effie Smith won a master’s thesis award for "Livelihoods in the Balance: Haitians, Haitian-Dominicans, and Precarious Work in Rural Dominican Republic." Katrina Alford won the student paper award of the Population Research Interest Group. Altogether, 14 rural sociology graduate students and 13 faculty were on the program with presentations, and others as panelists. In addition, 13 rural sociology graduate program alumni were on the program, so in total Penn State had a 40-person contingent, the strongest of all universities.

Alumni honor former professor with graduate award endowment

August 28, 2019

For many students, there is a class or subject they are nervous to take. Sometimes, however, it is in those classes that a student finds an inspirational teacher — a teacher who makes learning what may be a difficult subject a joy to learn. For alumni Louis Swanson and Carol Gertsch, that subject was statistics, and the teacher was Fern “Bunny” Willits, professor emerita in the Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education.

College of Agricultural Sciences recognizes outstanding students for 2019

August 20, 2019

Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences recently recognized recipients of the Outstanding Senior Award and Outstanding Student Awards for the 2018-19 academic year.

Location, Location, Location: Where and How do Food Hubs Flourish?

July 19, 2019

For a new food hub to succeed, it should be located in a community with a population sufficient to sustain it, according to a team of economists, who found that a county seeking to establish its first food hub needs roughly 182,000 residents for that food hub to break even.

Penn State professor part of team receiving United Nations Public Service Award

July 10, 2019

Ted Alter, professor of agricultural, environmental and regional economics in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, is among an international group of community, industry, government and academic leaders who are being lauded for their work to help manage an invasive and destructive species in Australia.

Strategic plan seed grant supports green stormwater infrastructure research

June 24, 2019

A proposal that will support the development of a living laboratory for green stormwater infrastructure research, education and innovation at Penn State is among the latest initiatives to receive funding through the University’s Strategic Plan Seed Grant program.

Student finds perfect place for her many interests in College of Ag Sciences

June 18, 2019

Gillian Warner, a rising junior in community, environment, and development, is passionate about animals, food security and learning. She found a place for all these interests -- and more -- in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences.

Report: Pa. employment strong, but job growth leaves regions, industries behind

June 13, 2019

With the U.S. economy on track for potentially the longest expansion on record after the Great Recession of 2008-09, employment in Pennsylvania overall is strong. But the rosy statewide job numbers can mask persistent decline in various industries and regions across the state, according to economists in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.

Students receive 2019 Whiting Indigenous Knowledge Student Research Awards

June 4, 2019

The Interinstitutional Center for Indigenous Knowledge (ICIK) has selected the winners of its 2019 Whiting Indigenous Knowledge Student Research Awards, funded by the M. G. Whiting Endowment for the Advancement of Indigenous Knowledge. Applicants must be Penn State students planning to conduct research related to an approved topic for an undergraduate capstone course, honors thesis topic, master’s or doctoral thesis, or similar. The 2019 Whiting Award winners are: — Richard Caneba, a doctoral candidate in the College of Information Sciences and Technology, for “Power, Knowledge, and Indigenous Ways-of-Knowing in the Information Age: A Postcolonial Perspective on Indigenous IT and STEM Educational Outreach in Canada”; — Christian Kelly Scott, a doctoral candidate studying rural sociology and international agriculture and development, for “The Pasture, the Village, and the People: Food Security Endowments and Abatements in the Southern Kyrgyz Highlands”; and — Ryan Naylor, a master’s degree candidate studying recreation, park and tourism management, for “Tribes, Timber, and Tourism in the Nation's Largest National Forest: Emic Perspectives of Indigenous Alaskans on the Tourism Development unfolding in Tongass National Forest.”

College of Agricultural Sciences students chosen for Fulbright Awards

June 4, 2019

Tessa Sontheimer and Geoff Merz, graduates of Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, have been named recipients of Fulbright Study Awards.

College of Agricultural Sciences students chosen for Fulbright Awards

May 31, 2019

Tessa Sontheimer and Geoff Merz, graduates of Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, have been named recipients of Fulbright Study Awards.

Institutes of Energy and the Environment announces seed grant recipients

May 21, 2019

The 2018–19 Institutes of Energy and the Environment (IEE) seed grant recipients have been awarded to 18 groups of interdisciplinary researchers at Penn State. IEE established a Seed Grant Program in 2013 to foster basic and applied research addressing IEE’s research themes. Over the previous rounds, IEE has awarded over $2.7 million to 104 interdisciplinary projects with investigators from at least 15 Penn State colleges and campuses. This year, seed grants were awarded to proposals focusing on three of IEE’s five strategic research themes — Climate and Ecosystem Change, Future Energy Supply, and Human Health and the Environment — as well as three strategic crosscutting topics -- Food-Energy-Water Systems, High-Performance Building Systems, and Energy and Environmental Resilience.

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.