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IFAS News

University of Florida

UF CALS courses, majors evolve to meet changing demands

Topic(s): Agriculture, Aquaculture, CALS, Citrus, Crops, Economics, Environment, Families and Consumers, Food Safety, IFAS, Nutrition

Classroom, students, learning, auditorium.  UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones.

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — As the University of Florida prepares to embark on the 2015-16 academic year, the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences offers several courses and majors that reflect how the institution adapts to industry and stakeholder needs.

The courses and majors aren’t brand new for this fall. They evolved during the past few years. But they reflect the growing menu of courses and majors offered to the more than 3,700 undergraduate students expected to enroll at UF CALS this fall.

Just to name a few of the relatively new majors and course offerings, UF CALS offers a major in marine sciences that leads to a bachelor’s degree, a new undergraduate certificate titled “Challenge 2050: Global Leadership and Change” from the Challenge 2050 Project and three new majors offered in the Food Science and Human Nutrition Department that were previously specializations under one major – Food Science and Human Nutrition.

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UF CALS faculty, former students take home NACTA awards

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, CALS, IFAS

NACTA awards 062415 photo

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida College of Agricultural and Life Sciences faculty and former students won numerous awards recently at the 61st Annual Conference of the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA).

“The College of Agricultural and Life Sciences has a long tradition of excellence in teaching. NACTA provides a forum where our outstanding faculty are recognized for their contributions to teaching and student development,” said college Dean Elaine Turner.

NACTA Educator Awards went to:

  • Jane Bachelor, a senior lecturer in food and resource economics at the Indian River Research and Education Center in Fort Pierce.
  • Kate Fletcher, a lecturer in family, youth and community sciences.
  • Muthusami Kumaran, an assistant professor in family, youth and community sciences.
  • Bob McCleery, an associate professor in wildlife ecology and conservation.
  • Karla Shelnutt, an associate professor in family, youth and community sciences.

The NACTA Teaching Scholar Award went to Nicole Stedman, an associate professor of agricultural education and communication.

Recent doctoral graduate Cathy DiBenedetto won the NACTA Graduate Student Teaching Award for her work in agricultural education and communication.

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UF CALS grad to continue helping people through nonprofit work

Topic(s): CALS, Families and Consumers, IFAS
Jackie Nettles working at Girl Scouts of Gateway Council.

Jackie Nettles working at Girl Scouts of Gateway Council.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Jackie Nettles, who graduates this week from the University of Florida College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, is poised to work in a job she’s prepared for her whole life: community engagement manager for the Girl Scouts of Gateway Council.

Nettles grew up in Gainesville, volunteered as a soccer coach and as a youth leader at her church. She worked as a nanny and later interned at the ACORN clinic, a nonprofit medical and dental clinic in Brooker, Florida, where North Florida healthcare professionals volunteer to help rural residents.

“I did a lot of things with helping people,” said the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences (FYCS) senior. “The quote for FYCS is, ‘We’re not a beaker science; we’re a people science.’”

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Five years after oil spill, survey shows Gulf Coast residents are still impacted

Topic(s): Aquaculture, CALS, Disaster Preparedness, Environment, Families and Consumers, Pollution
Families, fishermen and birds enjoying sunset at the beach in Naples, Florida.  Shore, coast, sundown, fishing, leisure and recreation.  UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones.

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Five years after the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig killed 11 men and sent at least 210 million gallons of oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico, people along the coast are gathering for a three-city regional forum Thursday. Participants will discuss the spill’s effects on their communities, its lasting impacts and how to prepare for another major disaster.

The regional forum will include the release of results from a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences survey of Gulf Coast residents from Baldwin County, Ala., to Cedar Key, Fla. The survey looked at coastal residents’ opinions of the status of their recovery five years after the DWH disaster.

Findings indicated that respondents’ levels of satisfaction were lower five years after the spill than before it in several topic areas. This included levels of satisfaction with their community’s economy, community leadership and programs, local media, Gulf coast seafood industry, faith-based organizations and emergency response efforts. (more …)

5 faculty, staff win CALS teaching/advising awards

Topic(s): Agriculture, CALS, Honors and Appointments, IFAS

CALSFACULTY  - Mortensen 041315Amy AlexanderCALSFACULTY - Baldwin 041315CALSFACULTY - Lucky 041315CALSFACULTY - Monroe 041315

Left to right: Chris Mortensen, Amy Alexander, Rebecca Baldwin, Andrea Lucky and Martha Monroe.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Five University of Florida College of Agricultural and Life Sciences faculty and staff members have won the 2014-15 college teaching and advising awards for their contributions to advancing undergraduate and graduate student education.

The five will receive their awards at a banquet April 16, said CALS Dean Elaine Turner.

“These honored faculty and staff carry on a long tradition of excellence in teaching, advising and mentoring in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences,” Turner said. “One of our top priorities is to promote excellence in teaching, and this year’s honorees are passionate about what they do, bringing creativity and a personal touch to their work. I’m grateful for all they do every day on behalf of CALS students.”

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Two CALS doctoral students will participate in Three Minute Thesis Competition

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, CALS

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Chanda Jones Littles and Hannah Allen, two University of Florida College of Agricultural and Life Sciences graduate students, are finalists for the Three Minute Thesis competition, where they will explain what makes their research compelling in, well, three minutes. The competition starts at 2 p.m. April 7 in the Reitz Union Auditorium.

The competition, developed by the University of Queensland in 2008, challenges graduate students to present their research in 180 seconds to an intelligent, non-specialist audience. The competition helps students develop academic, presentation and research communication skills.

“For one, I think that it’s important for people to communicate with a broad audience about what you do and why it’s important,” said Littles, an interdisciplinary ecology major working toward her doctorate. “This competition is great practice for that. Given the time constraints, it has made me focus more on what really is important in my research and how it’s contributing to the bigger picture of conservation.”

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UF/IFAS grad student wins prize for mosquito trap research

Topic(s): Announcements, CALS, Entomology and Nematology, IFAS, Pests, Research

Casey Parker Environmental Portrait Mosquito Housing

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Casey Parker came to the University of Florida aspiring to be a pharmacist. But chemistry wasn’t for her. So, she took a class called “Bugs and People,” and the professor at the time, Carl Barfield, convinced her to study entomology.

“I loved everything about it,” Parker said of studying insects. “It’s something people don’t think about very much. They’re around, but we don’t think, ‘they do so many crazy things in our world.’ They transmit tons of diseases that affect humans and animals.”

Parker did so well academically that she graduated last year and continued her master’s studies at the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Department of Entomology and Nematology. The graduate entomology student recently won the ONE WORLD competition, organized by the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Challenge 2050 Project in conjunction with the Syngenta Good Growth Plan. She was awarded $2,000 for her work.

“I was really honored,” Parker said, adding that she felt humbled to be among the other five student finalists – dubbed “The Solution 6” — all of whom created outstanding innovations.

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UF/IFAS CALS undergraduate to present autoimmune research in D.C.

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, CALS

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Brandon Lam

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Brandon Lam studies protein and pathogens to hopefully find a solution to autoimmune diseases like lupus. His research is so good he has been chosen to present his work at an academic symposium in Washington, D.C., in April.

Lam, a UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences undergraduate student, has been selected to represent UF at the 19th Annual Posters on the Hill event, sponsored by the National Council on Undergraduate Research, April 22-23. His poster will be one of 60 that were selected from close to 500 applications, said Elaine Turner, dean of the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.

“I am thrilled that I have been chosen to represent the sciences, and specifically, immunology,” said Lam, a first-generation American who attended high school in Miami. His family comes from Guyana.

Lam, 21, a senior who will graduate in May, knew he wanted to pursue a science career after he researched microbiology in high school as a student ambassador with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He also participated in research at Florida International University during high school.

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UF/IFAS hosting ONE WORLD summit to address feeding the world’s growing population

Topic(s): Agriculture, CALS, Families and Consumers, IFAS

A man checks fertilizer levels on a tractor on a farm.  Farm equipment, fertilization, agriculture, food crops.  UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. —

— How do you address all of the issues associated with feeding the world’s estimated 9 billion people by the year 2050?  One way is to share great ideas and that’s exactly what more than 700 University of Florida students faculty, community members, industry professionals, and policy makers will be doing Friday at ONE WORLD, an event being held by the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Challenge 2050 Project. (more …)

12 CALS alumni recognized for entrepreneurship

Topic(s): Announcements, CALS, Honors and Appointments

CALS breakfast reception for the Gator 100 alumni.

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A creator of organic fertilizers, an inventor of tasty seasonings and a wealth-management advisor are just three of 12 alumni of the University of Florida’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences honored Feb. 6 for their entrepreneurial efforts.

UF recognized each of them for leading one of the 100 fastest-growing, most innovative and emerging companies at the inaugural Gator100 Awards at UF’s Reitz Union Grand Ballroom in a celebration organized by the Warrington College of Business Administration’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

Ernst & Young calculated each company’s compound annual growth rate over the past three years to generate the ranking.

The honorees, their entrepreneurial efforts and their CALS degrees are listed in alphabetical order, by last name:

 

  • Nate and Sarah Bazinet; founders of Sunshine Plumbing and Gas; Micanopy, Florida. In 2003, Nate earned a bachelor’s degree in microbiology and cell science, and Sarah earned a bachelor’s degree with a double major in wildlife ecology and animal sciences. They founded Sunshine Plumbing and Gas in 2009. Prior to launching Sunshine Plumbing and Gas, Nate worked part-time in the plumbing industry while also working at the UF Cytogenic Lab, and Sarah was working as a veterinary technician and contemplating a career as a veterinarian. Together, they have grown the company to more than 30 employees and a service area reaching across central Florida from multiple regional offices.
  • Chad Buckmaster; CEO of Processing Point; Carlsbad, California. Buckmaster earned a bachelor’s degree in food and resource economics in 2002. Processing Point is a leading provider of innovative solutions for small businesses nationwide. Products range from cutting-edge, cloud-based timekeeping software to the latest in mobile payment processing and point-of-sale solutions. San Diego Business Journal named Buckmaster a 2014 finalist for its “Most Admired CEO” award.
  • William “Bill” Hamm Jr.; founder and CEO of Independent Financial Partners; Tampa, Florida. Hamm earned a bachelor’s degree in food and resource economics in 1979. He founded William E. Hamm and Associates, Inc. in 1995 and formed IFP in 2000. IFP consists of a national network of more than 500 advisors in 38 states, providing comprehensive wealth management services with $35 billion in assets under advisement.
  • Robert “Mike” Lester Jr.; founder and CEO of Talon Wealth Management; The Villages, Florida. Lester earned a bachelor’s degree in food and resource economics in 1996. He founded Epic Financial Group in 1998 and has grown it to a multimillion dollar financial service company. He then partnered with ING Financial Partners to provide independent investment services and in 2012, he rebranded his branch offices as Talon Wealth Management to continue providing independent investment advice and services.

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