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August 2015

Another busy summer has passed and, from my perspective, they go by more quickly each year. Summer is a productive time for our students, as well. Many CASNR students use the summer to take advantage of the diverse internship opportunities that they have. For most of our students, these internships not only represent an opportunity to make some needed money, but also their first real opportunity to apply what they know and have learned in classes to the real world. We have numerous examples of internships with employers such as Farm Credit, Tennessee Farmer's Coop, Tyson, Cargill, and Monsanto that have led to full-time employment after graduation. Students with a successful internship under their belt also have an easier time overall finding their first positions after they graduate from CASNR.

Summer also offers opportunities for students to gain international experience with faculty-guided trips to different parts of the world. When they return from these, students who participate gain a new appreciation for the ways in which different cultures value many of the same things and how agriculture and natural resources touches lives irrespective of the country they visited.

No matter how the summer was spent, by the end of it, students are invariably excited to be back and this excitement is reflected on the eager faces of our students ready to embrace the CASNR holistic experience this fall!
Caula A. Beyl, Dean

Spotlight: Student Internships

This issue of the CASNR Chronicle explores the wonderful benefits and opportunities that our students have in an array of internships here in the U.S. and around the world. Our students were on the ground at farms, in Congressional offices, and about any other place imaginable this summer learning, doing, and expanding their knowledge, skills, and minds. Read of their experiences on this page and below.

WWOOFing Isn't Just About Puppies Any More

Kristin Moretz, a rising senior majoring in soil science, spent the past three months traveling through Norway by staying and working on locally run farms in different regions of the country.

She was able to go on this trip thanks to an organization called W.W.O.O.F., the World Wide Organization for Organic Farming. This group is dedicated to connecting willing and interested workers to organic farms across the world.

For her, WWOOFing was not only the cheapest, but also the most immersive way to travel. "You get to stay with families from different cultures long enough to form a bond, you can learn the language enough to order a snack without sounding too silly, and best of all, you get firsthand farming experience in whatever setting you want.

"The farms you are accepted to will pay for all your food and accommodation, so your only expense is traveling to the country or state. Many of the farms will not only teach you how their farm is operated, but they will also welcome new and innovative ideas and changes from their workers."

CASNR Believe it or Not

Hannah McDonald, a current senior in animal science with a focus in pre-vet medicine, had the opportunity to work as a scientific diver for Ripley's Aquarium and will continue to work there this fall.

Working as a diver includes maintenance of the life support systems, hands-on experience with the marine animals, capturing sick, injured, or pregnant animals for examination, ultra-sounding pregnant animals in the water, feeding and medicating the animals, and educating the public through dive shows and encounters with the wonderful animals.

"It has been an extremely eye-opening experience where I have learned more in two months about aquatic animals than I have my whole life. I have fallen in love with this experience and watching others fall in love with the ocean makes it so rewarding."

Living With a Desire to Inspire

Cassidy Quistorff had the amazing opportunity to be the senior female camp counselor and ecology specialist at the Green River Outreach for Wilderness, also known as Camp GROW.

The major activities at camp include canoeing, archery, riflery, rafting, blacksmithing, leatherworking, fishing, horseback riding, camping, hiking (including pack trips), and fly tying.

As they engage in these activities, the campers typically see pronghorn, moose, coyote, elk, bald eagles, red-tailed hawks, muskrats, prairie dogs, and rabbits. While they have not seen any mountain lions, bears, or wolves, Cassidy still warns about their habitats, behaviors, and safety if anyone does encounter them.

Be sure to read about other CASNR students spending their summers in Alaska, Belize, Canada, Idaho, and Washington DC and at the Sequoia National Forest. Others learned a great deal by completing internships with Farm Credit Mid America or Altria. More »

Smith Chair Tom Gill Encourages CASNR Family
to Engage in International Exchanges

Even though Knoxville is over 400 miles from the nearest international border, we are all increasingly connected to an ever-globalizing world. Open your fridge. Where did your food come from? Just take a quick look at the stickers on your produce. How many countries are represented?

I joined UTIA on July 1 as the Donald and Terry Smith Chair of International Sustainable Agriculture. I was born and raised in England (yes, my accent has faded but still lingers!), but have lived in East Africa as well as Texas, Florida, and Pennsylvania over the past fourteen years before arriving here in Tennessee.

My role as international programs director is to encourage and facilitate opportunities for everyone in the Institute to engage internationally. I recommend taking the time to think about if and how you can be actively involved internationally within UTIA.

"Plans are underway to further internationalize our curricula, to expand our international research portfolio, and engage our communities with lessons we can take to the world and experiences we can learn from across the globe." More »

2015 Class of China Scholars

CASNR is excited to have four new PhD students join us this fall from the China Scholars program! The China Scholars program is a joint UTK-UTIA program with Nanjing University, China Agricultural University (Beijing), and Institute for Applied Ecology-Chinese Academy of Sciences (Shenyang).

The national China Scholarship Council funds the travel and living expenses of the students, while UT units fund tuition and research expenses. Faculty from both nations are encouraged to work together for student-based research. The program is focused on solving problems related to energy and the environment. We are pleased that, in this first full inaugural year of the program, all three partnering Chinese universities are represented. In CASNR, students will join programs in Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science, Entomology and Plant Pathology, Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries, and Plant Sciences. Other students will be working in the College of Engineering and the College of Arts and Sciences.

Students Thrive in Summer Bridge Program

The Colleges of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Arts and Sciences, and Engineering collaborated to host the Second Intercollegiate Summer Bridge (ISB) program.

The bridge program continues to focus on providing a transitional program of study from high school to the university for underrepresented students majoring in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). Students improved by 47 percent in pre-calculus and 17 percent in chemistry by the end of the 2015 program, compared to 12 percent and 18 percent respectively at the end of the 2014 ISB program.

With the massive success of the program over the past two years, CASNR looks forward to collaborating with other colleges within the University in the near future, as we continue to provide underrepresented STEM students with essential academic and professional development tools for future success. More »

CASNR Hosts 300 4-H Members on the Agricultural Campus

CASNR participated in the 92nd 4-H Round-Up hosted by UT in late July. The annual event helps 4-H members become better acquainted with their state university and career opportunities.

Over the course of a week, over 300 members of 4-H from across Tennessee came together in Knoxville for a week of professional workshops, social activities, and competitive projects. Students met with undergraduate coordinators and graduate students from both CASNR and the College of Veterinary Medicine to discuss majors, minors, concentrations, academic areas of study, potential internships, and academic and career advice.

In addition, participants enjoyed games, free food, T-shirts and Ambassador-led tours throughout the Institute campus. At the end of the program, CASNR Ambassadors provided participants with insightful information regarding the application process, financial aid and scholarships, and student life on the agricultural campus. More »

Our Students Define What It Looks Like to be Leaders

Since its inception in 1986, the LeaderShape Institute has developed a global reputation as one of the premier leadership development programs for students and young adults. In an effort to continuously produce the strongest agricultural leaders in the industry, CASNR sponsored three students to attend the 2015 LeaderShape Institute.

During the intensive six-day program, students participate in workshops, seminars, debates, and teambuilding programs. Together, these activities help students enhance their leadership skills, while developing a deeper understanding of teamwork, conflict resolution, and effective communication.

The program has provided leadership training to over 38,000 young people from colleges, universities, corporations, and organizations across America and throughout the world.

CASNR will continue to partner with campus stakeholders throughout the university as we further our mission to develop new leaders among the professionals, researchers, and practitioners of the agricultural industry.
More »

Future is Bright for Ag and Resource Economics Grads

Students who graduate with a bachelor's degree in agricultural and resource economics will enter their job field with one of the lowest unemployment rates and one of the higher starting salaries among college graduates. In fact, the USDA published findings that indicate there will be more job openings than can be filled by these graduates—they're in demand.

According to USDA, an average of 35,400 new U.S. graduates with expertise in food, agriculture, renewable natural resources, or the environment are available to fill only 61 percent of the expected 57,900 average annual openings. That's 22,500 graduates short of those needed annually to fill the projected jobs available.

Learn more in an article by Tina Johnson of Agricultural and Resource Economics.

John Stier Promoted to Associate Dean of CASNR

On August 1, Dr. John Stier was promoted to associate dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. Dr. Stier, shown here being congratulated by UT Institute of Agriculture Chancellor Larry Arrington, joined CASNR as assistant dean on August 1, 2012, coming from the University of Wisconsin to the stately halls of old UT. Their loss was our gain! Dr. Stier came at a particularly good time for CASNR as the College was preparing for its five-year program review and in the process of developing the CASNR 2020 Strategic Plan. One of the most important aspects of his position is to oversee the student services staff in the dean's office, and under his guidance, CASNR has been able to attract talent into the positions that revolve around recruitment, advising, and student life.

Dr. Stier is committed to recruiting outstanding international students to pursue graduate degrees at UTK. To that end, he has traveled extensively, particularly in China and South America. He is also an advocate for the process of curriculum revision, and, although he is kept busy with all of the many functions of his office, he still finds the time to teach each semester because he truly values students!

At 99 Years, One of Our Oldest Alums Still Farming

Ralph Alexander turns 100 in October and may indeed be CASNR's oldest alum. At 99, he's still busy farming his fields. In fact you can watch a brief movie of him in his tractor cutting hay.

Alexander attended UT during the heart of the Great Depression and faced challenges paying tuition and finding rides to school from his home some thirty miles away in Loudon County. Hitchhiking proved dangerous only once. The agriculture education student discovered halfway into the trip that his ride was moving moonshine.

The near-centenarian graduated 1938, a year before a world war would break out in Europe and three years before it would reach American soil. Read more of his story, researched and written by ALEC major and SGA President Will Freeman, here.

Speaking of haying, catch a glimpse of how CASNR Associate Dean John Stier spent part of his summer vacation in a YouTube music video of harvesting at his wife's family farm in Washington Court House, Ohio. You can watch Dr. Stier driving the smaller tractor baling straw. The YouTube video has exceeded 30,000 hits.

A Really Crappy Day

For Josh Snider Sunday, July 19, was just a normal day on the farm. Just like most Sundays he was spending his afternoon in the blazing 95 degree heat doing what he loved: milking the cows. But as we all know normal can get really funny really fast. Click here to find out what really crappy situation Josh falls in to.

Contact Us

CASNR Office of the Dean
2621 Morgan Circle Drive  ·  126 Morgan Hall  ·  Knoxville, TN 37996
(865) 974-7303
casnr@utk.edu  ·  www.casnr.utk.edu

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