CFAES Monthly: March 2016

Welcome to CFAES Monthly, the newsletter for faculty and staff of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University. Your story submissions are welcome. Send them to

  1. CFAES honors outstanding alumni

    Congratulations to the following people, who were the honorees during the 2016 CFAES Alumni Awards Luncheon on March 5. The event took place in Performance Hall in the Ohio Union in Columbus.

    Meritorious Service to the College

    • Wesley Budke, PhD (1970), Billings, Montana.
    • Ken Cochran, BS (1964), Wooster, Ohio.

    Distinguished Alumni Award

    • James Beard, BS (1957), College Station, Texas.
    • Ian Blount, BS, MS (1994, 1996), Columbus, Ohio.
    • Steve Buckalew, MS (1977), Centerburg, Ohio.
    • John Douglass, BS (1984), Marshallville, Ohio.
    • Jack Elliot, PhD (1988), College Station, Texas.
    • Richard Gast, MS, PhD (1984, 1987), Watkinsville, Georgia.
    • Karl Kisner, BS (1990), Pflugerville, Texas.
    • Larry Lokai, BS, MS (1967, 1973), Urbana, Ohio.
    • John Simpson, BS (1967), Woodside, California.
    • Linda Vance, BS (1971), New York, New York.

    International Professional Award

    • Godfrey Asea, PhD (2005), Kampala, Uganda.
    • Milton Gorocica-Buenfil, MS, PhD (2003, 2006), Wayne, New Jersey.

    Young Professional Award

    • Carolina Azcarate Espinosa, MS (2010), Dublin, Ohio.
    • Chad Endsley, BS (2003), Pickerington, Ohio.
    • John Foltz, BS (2006), Richland, Washington.
    • Andrea Garmyn, BS (2004), Lubbock, Texas.
    • Ryan Saxe, ASC (2003), Charlotte, Florida.

    A PDF of the program from the event is on the CFAES Office of Development’s website here.

  2. Bigham named CFAES’s interim associate dean for research

    As you may know, Jerry Bigham accepted our offer to serve as interim associate dean for research and graduate education following Steve Slack’s transition out of that position on Dec. 31, 2015. Jerry will serve in the position while we conduct a national search for a new associate dean.

    Jerry has had a distinguished career at Ohio State and is uniquely qualified to serve in this important position during this leadership transition. He came to the college in 1977 as an assistant professor in soil science and built an outstanding scholarship agenda throughout his career. Jerry has served in a number of administrative positions in the college since 2002, when he was the research coordinator for the School of Natural Resources (now the School of Environment and Natural Resources). He had a successful tenure as director of SENR from 2005 to 2009 and has since served in a variety of capacities supporting the college research enterprise.

    Please join me in congratulating Jerry on this appointment! As we work through the national search for the new associate dean for research and graduate education, we will be sharing the position description and opportunities for engagement in the process.—Ron Hendrick

  3. Ball is CFAES’s new marketing and communications director

    On March 1, Michelle Ball started as CFAES’s new director of Marketing and Communications. Most recently, Michelle worked for the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services as assistant bureau chief, and prior to that, worked at the LearningWork Connection and Center for Learning Excellence here at Ohio State.

    Michelle brings diverse experience related to strategic planning, marketing, communications, professional development and organizational change to the position. In her role with CFAES, she will provide overall leadership to our marketing and communications initiatives and lead a team of 26 individuals on the Columbus and Wooster campuses.

    Michelle is looking forward to connecting or reconnecting with the outstanding professionals across the university. She will be housed in 267 Kottman Hall in Columbus and may be reached by email at—Ryan Schmiesing

  4. Plant pathology group honors CFAES’s Dorrance, Paul

    Two faculty members in CFAES’s Department of Plant Pathology have been honored by the American Phytopathological Society. APS, according to its website, is the premier scientific society dedicated to high-quality, innovative plant pathology research.

    Anne Dorrance, a professor who specializes in soybean diseases, was elected Fellow of the society. The honor, which recognizes distinguished contributions to plant pathology or to APS, is restricted to 0.25 percent of the group’s membership in any given year.

    Pierce Paul, an associate professor who works with cereal crop diseases, received the Syngenta Award, which Syngenta Crop Protection gives to an APS member for an outstanding recent contribution to teaching, research or Extension in plant pathology. Priority for the award is given to APS members who are in the first decade of their career in plant pathology.

    “We’re very proud of Anne and Pierce,” said Larry Madden, acting chair of the department. “They have made many valuable contributions in research, Extension and classroom teaching. They are both clearly leaders in their field.”

    The awards will be presented at the APS annual meeting on July 31 in Tampa, Florida.

  5. San Antonio spurs ‘a great opportunity to share ideas’

    Six CFAES farm management staff attended the 2016 winter meeting of the Research Center Administrators Society last month in San Antonio, Texas:

    • Mike Sword, superintendent of farm operations, based in Wooster.
    • Gerald Reid, manager of farm operations for the Badger Farms near Wooster.
    • Bob Filbrun, manager of the Muck Crops Agricultural Research Station in Willard.
    • Scott Payne, manager of the Jackson Agricultural Research Station in Jackson.
    • Joe Davlin, manager of the Western Agricultural Research Station in South Charleston.
    • Ken Scaife, assistant to the director for field operations, based in Wooster.

    “The RCAS meetings have allowed our CFAES farm management staff to learn about operations from peer institutions across the country,” said Scaife. “Our college has benefitted greatly from this professional organization, and our managers have had opportunities to share their experiences and expertise with others as well.”  

    “This meeting is a great opportunity for agricultural research center directors and administrators from across the country to get together and share ideas,” said society president Barry Sims, director of the University of Tennessee’s Highland Rim Research and Education Center, in a story in Texas A&M’s AgriLife Today.

    “While we have different challenges in terms of commodities, climate and other factors, we still have a lot of the same issues, such as center management, funding and the type of research we do, as well as what we can do to improve our research methods and properly train our graduate students,” Sims said in the story.

    The meeting was coordinated by the administrators’ society and by Texas A&M’s AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Uvalde, Texas.

    Read more…

  6. Improvements set for Waterman, Don Scott, Wooster

    With 785 locations statewide for instruction, discovery and community outreach, CFAES is making headway on a comprehensive facilities improvements strategy.

    The college is working with Erdy McHenry Architecture on several projects, based on some of the recommendations from a recently completed facility master plan led by Sasaki Associates that involved faculty, staff, students and outside stakeholders. Four major projects have emerged from Erdy McHenry’s work with college faculty and staff:

    • An extensive re-envisioning of Waterman Farm, west of the Columbus campus, to include a new multi-species arena, stalls for temporary housing of livestock for teaching purposes, an undergraduate research lab, a greenhouse for CFAES to partner with Ohio State Dining Services, a Franklin County Extension office, and an institute to study urban agriculture and food security.
    • A new beef center that consolidates livestock and resources at Don Scott Field in northwest Columbus.
    • A new swine research center that unifies swine livestock and resources on the Wooster campus.
    • Enhanced equine facilities in partnership with Ohio State’s College of Veterinary Medicine.     

    Because of Waterman’s mission to achieve global food security by leading research in aquaculture, hydroponics and urbanized farming, the architects are proud to play a role in the project, among others, Erdy McHenry principal Scott Erdy said. “Taking these initiatives now is imperative if we are to ensure a sustainable planet for the future,” Erdy said.

    In addition, various animal species will be relocated statewide in an effort to minimize herd redundancies.

    Focus on impact, ‘greatest benefit to the college’ 

    “We want to have the most impact and bring the greatest benefit to the college,” said Brian Hanna, CFAES director of facilities and capital planning.

    In Wooster, a planned agbiosciences building will encourage collaborative research and will add undergraduate classrooms and wet labs for Ohio State’s Agricultural Technical Institute.

    This facility is expected to serve graduate and undergraduate researchers, encourage partnerships with private organizations, and provide more teaching opportunities.

    Also, visitors to the Wooster campus will see new lights, landscaping and road improvements.

    Throughout the state, many research labs, classrooms and barns need renovation, replacement or infrastructure upgrades, Hanna said.

    “Our buildings are our tools that we use to serve our customers and meet their needs. We can’t just let them fade away or fall into disrepair and be unsafe,” Hanna said. “Students, faculty, staff, any animals who come into our facilities — those are our customers.”

    Fundraising campaign launched

    The college has also launched an aggressive fundraising campaign around its facility plans. Two key gifts have kicked off this initiative: Lee Smith, a friend of the college, has provided a creative real-estate donation in support of the equine facilities.

    Also, the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association made the first gift toward the beef center at Don Scott.

    In an ongoing dialogue with the college, the association has been advocating improvements necessary to bring the beef facilities on par with what should be expected from Ohio State as it educates the next generation of industry leaders, Executive Director Elizabeth Harsh said.

    “Hopefully it signals beyond the monetary gift that the association wants to be a leader to help with the broader fund raising effort to encourage others to step forward, as more resources are needed,” Harsh said.

    “A strong animal science department that is equipped with up-to-date facilities to serve its students, faculty and staff contributes to a strong beef industry in the state of Ohio,” she said.  

    Alumni and friends wishing to support the projects can give here or contact CFAES’s Advancement Office at 614-292-0473.—from the CFAES Connect newsletter

  7. Ohio State again makes Peace Corps’ top 10 list

    For the fourth year in a row, Ohio State ranks in the top 10 on the Peace Corps’ list of the top volunteer-producing large universities. Currently, 42 Ohio State graduates are making a difference around the world as volunteers, putting the university at No. 10 on the agency’s 2016 list.

    Ohio State’s Peace Corps office is housed in CFAES’s International Programs in Agriculture office.

    Since the agency was created in 1961, 1,759 alums have served overseas, making Ohio State the 10th all-time producer of Peace Corps volunteers.

    “The Peace Corps is a unique opportunity for college graduates to put their education into practice and become agents of change in communities around the world,” Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet said. “Today’s graduates understand the importance of intercultural understanding and are raising their hands in record numbers to take on the challenge of international service.”

    ‘I knew it would be a good fit for me’

    One Ohio State alum making a difference as a Peace Corps volunteer is Dara Doss, who has been serving in Ethiopia as an education volunteer since June 2015. Doss, of Aurora, Ohio, teaches English to high school students and has helped create a resource room and permagarden on her school’s campus.

    Joining the Peace Corps was something Doss thought about throughout her undergraduate career. After completing her service, she hopes to pursue a career in the Foreign Service.

    “When I initially heard about the Peace Corps as a senior at Ohio State, I knew it would be a good fit for me. The Ohio State University seeks to prepare students to be well rounded regardless of their field of study,” said the June 2011 graduate. “As I explored different avenues of study, I took a comparative politics class that helped cement what I really wanted to study and eventually what I wanted as a career.”

    Three other Ohio schools also received recognition on the Peace Corps’ volunteer list. Among small schools, Denison University and Oberlin College tied at No. 14 with nine graduates serving worldwide, and the College of Wooster ranks No. 23, with eight alumni volunteers serving worldwide.

    Nationally, the University of Washington in Seattle pulled in the highest number of volunteers with 72 graduates currently serving in the Peace Corps. You can view the entire top 25 rankings for each school size category here.

    40-year high in applications

    This year’s rankings follow a 40-year high in applications for the Peace Corps in 2015. This record-breaking number comes after the first full year that the agency implemented historic reforms allowing applicants to choose the countries and assignments they’d like to be considered for. Graduating college students are encouraged to browse open programs and apply by April 1 for assignments departing fall 2016.

    The Peace Corps works with Ohio State to host an on-campus recruiter who educates students about the application process and shares her personal experience as a returned volunteer to the campus community. Gail Messick, an Ohio State alumna who served in the East Caribbean and Swaziland, can be reached at Anyone interested in learning more can join the Facebook page at, drop in during office hours or attend an event this semester.

    Currently, 238 Ohio residents are serving in the Peace Corps. Overall, 7,257 Ohio residents have served as volunteers since the agency was created in 1961.—Peace Corps Midwest Regional Office