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CFAES Monthly : November 2020
Kathy Lechman returns to CFAES as head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Kathy Lechman, who was CFAES’ assistant dean of equity and inclusion before joining Ohio State’s Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, has returned to the college to serve as assistant dean and director of diversity, equity, and inclusion, effective Oct. 13. As our former assistant dean, Lechman was successful in laying the groundwork to improve our DEI structure, and now brings new experiences and insights from her two years at the Kirwan Institute.
“In her appointment, we have someone familiar with our college and many of our people as well as someone aware of both the challenges and opportunities in making CFAES a more inclusive and equitable place,” CFAES Dean Cathann A. Kress and Senior Associate Dean Tracy Kitchel said in an Oct. 5 announcement.
“Dr. Lechman’s return will minimize any loss of momentum and provide quick stability to our CFAES DEI efforts. Dr. Lechman’s immediate charges will be to update her understanding of our college, assemble a diversity advisory council of faculty, staff and students, and outline and implement an internal audit of the college. Over her first year, she will be charged with coordinating the efforts in developing a blueprint for our DEI work.”
A big day, a lifetime of impact
The video, presented as a side event to the World Food Prize award ceremony that day, also included the announcement that Lal’s name is being added to the center he founded at CFAES—what will now be called the Rattan Lal Carbon Management and Sequestration Center.
Lal is Distinguished University Professor of Soil Science in the School of Environment and Natural Resources. Most recently, he has also received the 2019 Japan Prize, 2018 Glinka World Soil Prize, and 2018 World Agriculture Prize.
‘We put together a small feast’
Eric Tiu and Jameel Watson came together by chance as roommates, found they shared a common experience as former members of 4-H—Tiu in Ohio, Watson in Jamaica—and used that experience to dive into raising backyard chickens in New York City. The result: fresh local meat and eggs for themselves as well as for people in need.
“We were sitting at the kitchen table, just talking and getting to know one another,” Tiu recalled. “We discovered we were both in 4-H and we both had raised chickens. It was great to share the memories and so fascinating. We grew up in two different worlds, but we were doing the same things.
“We thought, let’s do it again and raise chickens!”
Photo courtesy of Eric Tiu.
Awards and recognition
“There are heroes among us,” a recent MediFind article says, and one of them, we’re proud to note, is CFAES scientist Linda Saif. Saif, who is Distinguished University Professor in the Food Animal Health Research Program, was honored in “Beyond Fauci: Meet the Science Superheroes Leading the U.S. COVID-19 Response,” which MedFind published on Oct. 21.
“The real unsung Superheroes of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Saif said in the article, “are the frontline health care workers and first responders, some of whom have given their own lives in trying to save the lives of COVID-19 patients. We owe them our deepest and enduring gratitude. Masks on to them!”
Best early-career teaching
Suzanne Gray, associate professor of aquatic physiological ecology in the School of Environment and Natural Resources, earned best early-career teacher honors in an annual awards program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU).
“We applaud this year’s winners of the Excellence in College and University Teaching Awards for Food and Agricultural Sciences,” Doug Steele, APLU’s vice president of food, agriculture, and natural resources, said in a Nov. 4 announcement. “The high bar they’ve set stands as a powerful example not only to their students, but to other faculty striving to better serve their students.”
Rafael Quijada Landaverde, graduate associate and doctoral student in the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership (ACEL), has been named one of seven recipients of the Kirchner Food Fellowship. The Kirchner Food Fellowship is a pioneer in the lean investment movement, harnessing the power of highly committed millennial talent to find, fund, and assist promising socially responsible, for-profit agricultural businesses.
“We are excited for Rafael to be selected as recipient of this highly regarded fellowship,” said Shannon Washburn, ACEL professor and chair. “His knowledge, talents, and experience will be an asset to his cohort and participating partners.”
First place in interview contest
Nicole McMullen, a junior studying agriscience education in ACEL, earned the top award in the interview contest during the virtual Region V Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences (MANRRS) Cluster. She will represent Ohio State and Region V at the National MANRRS Conference this spring.
MANRRS is a national society of people of all racial and ethnic groups in agricultural and related science careers, with a focus on promoting these fields in a positive manner among ethnic minorities. Region V includes MANRRS chapters from Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.
“We are proud of Nicole for the growth and effort she put forward to lead to success in this contest,” Washburn said. “Participation in organizations like MANRRS and the opportunities they provide to students are valuable in the development of their careers. Nicole will benefit greatly from this experience as she enters the agricultural education profession.”