College of Agriculture & Natural Resources

Departments News

IAA Alumnus Chosen for Prestigious Program

IAA - 3 hours 9 min ago
Mar 27, 2017

In 2014, when Julia Thomé graduated from the Institute of Applied Agriculture with her Certificate in Ornamental Horticulture, she was named the IAA’s Outstanding Student. Three years later, she continues her outstanding ways.

This spring, Thomé was chosen as one of five Fellows in Longwood Gardens' inaugural Longwood Fellows Program. The Longwood Fellows Program focuses on building the leadership capacity of high-potential public horticulture and cultural professionals, thereby increasing the pipeline of talent available to the industry in the coming years.

Currently Thomé is the Assistant Manager of Gardens and Grounds at the Chevy Chase Club, a private and distinctive social institution in Maryland. She holds a certificate in Ornamental Horticulture from the University of Maryland, a Master of Science in Agricultural and Resource Economics from the University of Maine, and a Bachelor of Science in Geography from the University of Massachusetts where she graduated with honors.

Previously, Thomé served as the Director of Corporate Affairs for Lutheran World Relief and was also a Senior Coordinator at the Community Training and Assistance Center in Boston, Massachusetts. Thomé has extensive national and international travel experience and is fluent in Portuguese.

Thomé was selected by a distinguished panel of seven jurors that included directors of prominent public gardens across the globe. The five Fellows were selected based on their commitment to professional excellence, deep intellectual curiosity, and desire to serve in a leadership capacity within the public horticulture industry while representing diverse perspectives and backgrounds.

During the 13-month, fully funded, cohort-based residency at Longwood, Thomé will delve into topical issues relevant to public horticulture today such as leadership, board relations and governance, communication skills, change management, innovation, and human resources management. A two-month international field placement provides a deeper understanding of these issues, equipping Fellows to lead organizations into a vibrant and sustainable future.

Alumni of the Fellows Program join the prestigious Society of Fellows, a global network of public garden professionals.

Julia ThoméGlori HymanIAA Outstanding StudentLongwood GardensLongwood Gardens Fellows Programornamental horticultureCertificate in Applied AgricultureSociety of FellowsJulia Thomé poses in front of Jull Hall.
Categories: Departments News

University of Maryland Develops Model to Prevent E. coli Outbreaks in Leafy Greens

NFSC - Thu, 2017-03-23 11:53
Contamination of soil with wild pig and cattle feces has direct correlation to E. coli prevalence in California leafy greens Mar 23, 2017Author: Graham Binder

College Park, MD -- It is widely recommended that adults and children eat a variety of fruits and vegetables to round out a healthy and nutritious diet. Leafy vegetable consumption poses a unique problem in that they are generally consumed raw, which increases the risk of transmitting foodborne illness. California is responsible for more than 75% of leafy greens grown in the U.S. and during 1999-2008, it has produced leafy greens with a significant concentration of E. coli outbreaks from July to November. In order to understand the pathway of E. coli in leafy green production, University of Maryland researchers have developed the first dynamic system model which simulates the effects of soil, irrigation, cattle, wild pig and rainfall in a hypothetical farm.

Results of the system model conclude that the peak July to November timeframe is consistent with the prevalence of E. coli in cattle and wild pig feces in the Salinas Valley, a major leafy greens producing region in California. This finding was the most evident after examining results of various scenarios. From this, the research team has concluded that the concentration of E. coli in leafy greens can be significantly reduced if feces contamination is controlled. By measuring the numerous factors associated with leafy green contamination in a farm setting, UMD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources offers a significant contribution to the science-based process of preventing leafy greens outbreaks in the future.  

“Leafy vegetables were associated with over 600 outbreaks in the U.S. from 1973-2012, causing more than 20,000 illnesses and 1,000 hospitalizations. Among the bacterial pathogens, E. coli, which was responsible for about 50 outbreaks, more than 1,600 illnesses, and 450 hospitalizations, is of more concern. Results of our study can help prevent crop contamination at the preharvest stage, reducing the number of leafy green related illnesses in the future,” said Abani K. Pradhan, Ph.D. of UMD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. “We are excited that this research blends our team’s knowledge of food safety and computational microbiology, and allows us to estimate the impact of various sources of contamination which pose threats to our food supply and security.”

This result has implications for future research directions, for the team here at UMD and elsewhere. According to Pradhan, this model can be extended or adopted to examine other crops that are affected by harmful pathogens, aside from E. coli. Pradhan’s team is currently exploring system models for tomatoes and cucumbers in the Mid-Atlantic region.

In collaboration with a researcher from Rutgers University, Pradhan and his team completed a manuscript titled “A System Model for Understanding the Role of Animal Feces as a Route of Contamination of Leafy Greens before Harvest,” which was recently"> published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 



Categories: Departments News

Come to Our Graduate student appreciation party!

NFSC - Mon, 2017-03-20 14:31
Mar 20, 2017

The Graduate Program in Nutrition and Food Science is having a party to thank the graduate students for all the work that they do for the department.

 Come and talk to our students!

Where: Skinner0101

When: Wedesday April 12, 2017 from 1-2:00p

Categories: Departments News

Celebrating Women in Agriculture - Women's History Month

NFSC - Wed, 2017-03-15 12:55
Featuring Several Women Faculty Members Throughout MarchMar 15, 2017Author: Graham Binder

This March, the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources celebrates Women's History Month by paying tribute to several of our women faculty who are making exceptional strides in their research and for their stellar reputation as educators and mentors for our students and state residents.

We will feature four faculty members from now until the end of March, each with a graphic and quote that represents their contributions to the field of agriculture, to our college and the University as a whole. 

To kickstart our "Celebrating Women in Agriculture" campaign, we hope you enjoy getting to know Lisa Taneyhill, an associate professor in our Animal and Avian Sciences department. 

We will follow with Margaret Udahogora, the Dietetics Program Director in our department of Nutrition and Food Science, Manami Brown, Baltimore City Extension Director and 4-H educator and Victoria Chanse, an associate professor in our deparment of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture. 

Categories: Departments News

Food Science Club Welcomes Class of 1999 Alumna Sheila Jones!

NFSC - Tue, 2017-03-14 11:23
Mar 14, 2017Author: Heather DolanRelated Photos:  Food Science Club Welcomes Class of 1999 Alumna Sheila Jones!

On March 9, 2017, Food Science alumna Sheila Jones returned to campus to pay the Food Science Club a visit. Since graduating in 1999, Sheila has worked for Nestle, Campbell’s, and Walmart. Currently, she is the director of research and development at Advanced Food Products.

Sheila first held a product development workshop, delving into the technical aspects of Campbell’s chicken noodle soup. Students learned about the manufacturing processes for four styles of chicken noodle soup: condensed, ready to serve, sippable, and microwavable.

The soup talk left a deep impression on students, such as senior Keqin He.

“I was amazed at how every detail in a product was repeatedly modified to target the market, such as the star shape of noodles in a microwaveable [...] soup product! I've learned a lot and will definitely pay more attention to details in my future interactions with food” said Keqin.

First year graduate student Abby Gao also enjoyed the examples Sheila gave, describing them as “vivid” and “informative.” “I never really got a chance to know how [the] industry applies the concepts [we learn] from books and lectures” she added.

Following the product development workshop, Sheila gave professional development advice. She encouraged students to expand their network, explore IFT, and work with headhunters. She urged students to adapt the mindset of “no one is going to beat me out of this job.”

“I got fantastic professional advice from her, [like] how to network with alumni. Additionally, I learned how to bring up my involvement with Food Science Club in job interviews” said senior Kassa Belay. He added, “I am going to leverage that experience to make myself stand out as a candidate in the future.”

Categories: Departments News

AREC Student Advisory Board Hosts Alumni Career Panel Event

AREC - Fri, 2017-03-10 17:10
Mar 10, 2017Author: Katherine Faulkner

The AREC Student Advisory Board hosted an AREC Alumni Career Panel event on Thursday, March 9th at the University Career Center.

This was a valuable networking opportunity for the AREC undergrads in attendance - they had the opportunity to hear about the professional experiences of several recent alumni.

The alumni panelists were (left to right in the photo above):

  • Dennis Guignet, US Environmental Protection Agency
  • Benjamin Whitfield, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Dan Hauser, United States Department of Justice 
  • Hayley Moss, Creative Financial Staffing

The Department would like to thank everyone involved for making the event a great success.

Categories: Departments News

Women in Agriculture Program Staff Travel to Ethiopia

AREC - Fri, 2017-03-10 15:23
Mar 10, 2017Author: Sarah Fielder

Staff members traveled to Ethiopia in January and evaluated the Women in Agriculture (WIA) projects set up at three universities.

During the trip, Melekte Truneh, the Director of Financial Services for AREC, and Taryn Devereux, Faculty Specialist in AREC, met with partner university administrators and faculty members in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Truneh met with the respective finance directors for the program and worked on strengthening their finance reporting.

“It had been a year since the last time I had been there,” said Devereux. “We set up budget reporting a year ago, now we see new challenges and we are working together to find solutions.”

The University of Maryland works with Wolkite University, Debre Berhan University and Bahir Dar University to implement the WIA program in Ethiopia. The University of Maryland and the three colleges have a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which is a working agreement between the institutions.

Every few months, the universities submit program and financial reports in exchange for the next installment of funds.The Rotary Club International funds the program, with support from the College Park chapter. The chapter featured the progam in the March issue of the newsletter The Cogitator. 

In Ethiopia, WIA focuses on integrating fish farming systems and introducing new chicken breeds to local women who sell the eggs in their communities, among other low-input agricultural activities.

“Women use their own cash to set up their chicken coops, then the project provides the chickens and training,” said Devereux. “It is a cost share.”

During the visit, each university also presented on the progress of their projects. The group visited Debre Berhan University and saw demonstrations and field sites the college had set up in women’s homes in the community.

“I think there have been challenges, funding is small, there’s no in-country project manager so everyone shares responsibilities and the universities are doing their best,” said Devereux.

Women in Agriculture (WIA) is a program within the University of Maryland, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics (AREC), that aims to “...prepare female extension educators and leaders to work with poor or vulnerable women so as to improve family food security,” according to their website.

In Ethiopia, food insecurity is a barrier to development, with low land productivity and subsequently low income. The goal of the program is to strengthen the abilities of higher education institutions in Ethiopia to improve family food security and livelihood through community service outreach programs for women, according to WIA’s website.

It is also a requirement in Ethiopia for faculty members at universities to dedicate 25 percent of their time to community outreach, according to WIA.

The program is set to end in Ethiopia next year. WIA hopes to replicate the program in another developing country, possibly in Zambia or Somaliland. They are currently applying for additional grants and are interested in further collaborations.

Categories: Departments News

Giving Day -- Help support AREC and AGNR

AREC - Wed, 2017-03-08 10:40
Mar 8, 2017Author: Katherine Faulkner

Today, March 8, is Giving Day UMD. Consider making a gift in support of the department and the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources during this annual event to help us toward our Fearless Ideas campaign goal.

You can donate through this link -

The College is focusing on five funds. You are also welcome to select "Other" and write in the title of the fund of your choice. A list of AREC funds is on the Giving to AREC web page.   As an added incentive to faculty and staff, from 11am - 12pm, the unit with the most gifts from faculty and staff will win $3,000.   Thank you for your support!
Categories: Departments News

UMD AREC Alumnus Mark Schnebly Named Senior VP of Loan Operations for MidAtlantic Farm Credit

AREC - Mon, 2017-03-06 16:05
Mar 6, 2017Author: Sarah Fielder

AREC alumnus Mark Schnebly (B.S. 2001) was named the new Senior Vice President of Loan Operations at MidAtlantic Farm Credit on Jan. 1, 2017.

With his promotion, Schnebly now oversees all Underwriting and Processing functions for MidAtlantic.

He first began working for the company in 2002 as a loan officer. Schnebly later transitioned into the role of an Underwriter, which required him to make loan approval decisions by analyzing people’s personal and business finances.  

After growing up on his family’s dairy farm in Clear Spring, Maryland, Schnebly knew he wanted to be involved in local agriculture.

“Farm Credit had a strong reputation of serving the farm community and I saw that as a good role for me,” said Schnebly in an email interview.

Working on the farm was Schnebly’s first job. His family milked 80-head of Guernsey cattle. The farm is run today by his uncle and cousins.

“I feel that I am able to have compassion for the cooperative members that we serve at MidAtlantic, because of how and where I grew up,” said Schnebly. “I didn’t choose to continue working on the farm, but I respect the work ethic that it takes to manage a farm business. By that same token, the work ethic that I learned from my parents and grandparents on the farm, has served me well in my career.”

Schnebly’s experience working on the farm gave him an idea of the field he wanted to work in. After receiving several agricultural scholarships, the University of Maryland was the most economical choice.

“I was always interested in the business-side of Agriculture and the AREC major seemed to fit my interests very well,” said Schnebly. “I really enjoyed my first general Economics courses during my Freshman year, and that solidified for me that I had made the correct decision.”

In choosing the University of Maryland, Schnebly followed in the footsteps of his brother, Brian Schnebly, and mother, Susan Schnebly. His father, William Schnebly, was also a graduate of the university system from Frostburg State University.

Categories: Departments News

IAA Alumni Hits a Career Homerun

IAA - Tue, 2017-02-28 08:59
Feb 28, 2017Author: Michelle Molinaro

When enrolling at the Institute of Applied Agriculture, many sports turf students dream of being offered a job at a well-known stadium: M&T Bank Stadium, Nationals Park, Camden Yards, or FedExField. But few imagine being offered jobs at two professional stadiums at the same time.

That’s what happened to IAA alumni Justin Patenaude, a 2012 Sports Turf Management graduate. Patenaude received an offer as the Grounds Crew Supervisor at Dodger Stadium and another as the Head Sports Turf Manager at the LA Coliseum. Ultimately, he accepted the Dodgers’ position because “baseball is my first love and I love working for this organization. It was a tough decision but I think the correct one.” Plus, Patenaude was well aware that the LA Rams will only be at the Coliseum for two more years.

This season marks Patenaude’s third season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, but his first as the Ground Crew Supervisor. He previously worked as the Assistant Sports Turf Manager at the LA Memorial Coliseum and at UC Irvine. Patenaude accredits his success in being able to be offered both positions to his time at the IAA.

“When I graduated 4 years ago, I never thought I would have the opportunity to manage an MLB or NFL stadium this quickly or ever, he said. “It's a testament to the wonderful job that Doc [Dr. Kevin Mathias] and the IAA faculty do in preparing us to become turfgrass managers. I wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for [the IAA faculty] and the rest of the staff.”

Like so many IAA graduates, Patenaude reminisces about his classes and time spent in Jull Hall. “My favorite course was Diseases of Ornamentals and Turfgrass,” said Patenaude, but he is quick to admit that it has only now become his favorite class. “It probably wasn’t my favorite course at the time. However, it is probably the most important course I took at the IAA. The identification and control of diseases is a very important tool that I have to use far more than I would like.”

When asked about his favorite memory while at the IAA, he spoke of the 2013 Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA) Student Challenge, adding that it was “Doc’s first-ever win!”

^UMD team members pose with their first place trophy after winning the 2013 STMA Student Challenge. From left to right standing: Scott Hosier and Matt Park. From left to right sitting: Ryan Higgins and Justin Patenaude.

Patenaude offered advice to incoming students as well as those who are graduating. “Take the time to get to know the staff. Everyone at the IAA is there to help you succeed. Anyone can grow grass and rake dirt. How you manage your staff will play a huge role in your success. Your crew will be your best asset or your worst.” 

Justin Patenaudeinstitute of applied agricultureiaa alumniAlumni Spotlightgrounds crew supervisorsports turf managerDodger StadiumLA ColiseumMichelle MolinaroDr. Kevin MathiasDiseases of Ornamentals and TurfgrassSTMA Student ChallengeSports Turf Managers AssociationJustin Patenaude with Magic Johnson, part-owner of the LA Dodgers.
Categories: Departments News

University of Maryland Legal Specialist Paul Goeringer Featured in the News

AREC - Mon, 2017-02-27 16:31
Goeringer lauded for estate and transition planning outreachFeb 27, 2017Author: Sarah Fielder

Featured in The Delmarva Farmer, Paul Goeringer, a research associate and extension legal specialist at the University of Maryland, spoke in an article about estate planning.

“The goal is to get producers and families to talk about estate planning and transition planning earlier, before problems develop,” said Goeringer. “Nobody likes to talk about death.”

Approximately 55 percent of the United States population does not have a will, according to LexisNexis.

“It [the article] has good information to get people to start learning about this process,” said Goeringer.

The article,“While often difficult, estate planning crucial to farm, land transition,” was written by Sean Clougherty. It can be read on the website.

Goeringer is also a part of workshops offered throughout the state of Maryland about estate planning. This workshops are hosted by the UMD Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, the Agriculture Law Education Initiative, and University of Maryland Extension. The next workshop will be April 18 in Leonardtown, Maryland.

Categories: Departments News

Living Umbrellas

ENST - Fri, 2017-02-24 08:36
Author: By Ellen TernesFeb 24, 2017

When Nick Cloyd lived in Ocean City before starting grad school, his girlfriend called him the Umbrella Police. “I’d see three or four umbrellas blowing around the beach and there I am, grabbing them, because I don’t want to see anyone get hurt,” Cloyd laughs.

Cloyd is still pursuing umbrellas with the idea of doing good, but his incentive is a far cry from the beach mission. For his master’s thesis in the Department of Environmental Science and Technology (ENST), Cloyd is looking at how umbrellas made of living plants can not only make people more comfortable, but might inspire a connection to the environment and ideas for new waysto grow food.

Called “Living Umbrellas,” ten of these green canopies are already providing shade on patios around campus. But, says Cloyd, “The product is so much more than a shade structure. We hope it will foster the excitement to bring the experience of nature into our urban environments. I think this can excite people to understand they can grow plants in a small space to produce their own food, even in urban areas.”

The idea of a Living Umbrella and its first design had already been hatched when Cloyd arrived on campus in 2015 to study with Dr. Dave Tilley, Associate Professor of Ecological Technology and Design. Tilley, who has worked with green walls and roofs, “pulled me into his office my first day to talk about my thesis,” says Cloyd. “He told me about this idea of a Living Umbrella that popped into his head when he was out west, sitting around a hot pool deck.”

Cloyd jumped onto Tilley’s living umbrella team, along with JoseLuis Izursa, PhD, and another recent graduate of the master’s program, Tim Williamson. They knew they wanted to apply vertical farming techniques using a self-contained irrigation system. They wanted something practical, a producible patio umbrella that people could easily use. And they wanted to use the design to explore possibilities for enhancing green connections and growing food. Read more>>

Nick Cloyd.Image Credit: Edwin Remsberg
Categories: Departments News

Sustainable Ag Tuesdays - Free Lecture Series

IAA - Fri, 2017-02-17 13:42
Feb 17, 2017Author: Randie Hovatter

Are you interested in topics relating to sustainability? Curious about the role of sustainable agriculture in the food you eat or the environment? If so, you are invited to join the Institute of Applied Agriculture (IAA) for Sustainable Agriculture Tuesdays.

The IAA's Sustainable Agriculture Tuesdays series consists of several free lecture events for the University of Maryland community. Join us at 6:00 p.m. in Room 1123 of Jull Hall for open discussion on one or all of the following topics:

February 21, 2017 
Beekeeping 101 Workshop
1123 Jull Hall, 6:00 p.m.

  • Bob Borkowski, B&B Apiaries

February 28, 2017 
Food Access Programming and Urban Empowerment
1123 Jull Hall, 6:00 p.m.

  • Nick Stavely, Community Foodworks
  • Mary Alice Reilly, Dreaming Out Loud

March 7, 2017 
Sustainable Agriculture’s Role in Saving the Chesapeake Bay
1123 Jull Hall, 6:00 p.m.

  • Rob Schnabel, Chesapeake Bay Foundation and Maryland Grazers Network

March 14, 2017 
Cannabis Production as a Local Agricultural Enterprise
1123 Jull Hall, 6:00 p.m.

  • Natalie Carver, Buds Organic

March 28, 2017 
Regulatory Pathways for Genetically Engineered Organisms
1123 Jull Hall, 6:00 p.m.

  • Kate Rappaport, USDA APHIS Biotechnology Regulatory Service
  • Bill Doley, USDA APHIS Biotechnology Regulatory Service

April 4, 2017 
Fermentation Demo and The Local Food Movement
1123 Jull Hall, 6:00 p.m.

  • Meaghan and Shane Carpenter, HEX Ferments

April 18, 2017 
Starting a Sustainable Farm
1123 Jull Hall, 6:00 p.m.

  • Shannon Dill, University of Maryland Extension
  • Sarah Sohn, Future Harvest – Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture

May 2, 2017 
History on the Half Shell: The Decline and Restoration of Maryland Oysters
1123 Jull Hall, 6:00 p.m.

  • Donald Webster, University of Maryland Sea Grant

>> Download schedule of events
>> Get directions to Jull Hall

Sustainable Agriculture Tuesdays are part of the campus-wide Sustainable Tuesdays lecture series co-sponsored by the Institute of Applied Agriculture, the School of Architecture, and the UMD Office of Sustainability.

Sustainable Agriculture TuesdaysFree Lecture SeriesUniversity of MarylandCollege Parkinstitute of applied agricultureMeredith EpsteinUMD School of ArchitectureUMD Office of SustainabilitySustainable Tuesdays
Categories: Departments News

Free Gardening Workshop Series

IAA - Tue, 2017-02-14 10:07
Save money and eat well in 2017!Feb 14, 2017Author: Randie Hovatter UMD Spring Vegetable Gardening Workshop Series

Garden your way through 2017 with this series of free workshops at UMD! All four events are free and open to the public.

>>Download flyer of events

Friday, February 24 at 4:00 PM

UMD Arboretum Outreach Center
3931 Stadium Drive
College Park, MD 20742

Take home a gardening information packet!

Want to garden but not know where to start? Come learn the basics of starting your own garden at home or joining a community garden in your area. We'll cover what plants need to thrive and how you can make the best home for them wherever you are.

Friday, March 10 at 4:00 PM

UMD Arboretum Outreach Center
3931 Stadium Drive
College Park, MD 20742

Take home seeds and seedlings!

Learn the basics of starting your own vegetable garden seeds. We will cover direct seeded and transplanted crops, the best containers and potting mix, watering guidelines, and greenhouse/cold frame use, as well as tips for seed storage. Participants will get to start their own spring seedlings to take home.

Saturday, April 1 at 9:00 AM - 1:30 PM

College Park Community Center
5051 Pierce Ave.
College Park, MD 20740

Take home great feelings!

Good Neighbor Day is a service event that brings the community together to beautify spaces, engage in sustainable practices, and take pride in #GreaterCollegePark. Volunteer in a garden on or off-campus!

Friday, April 14 at 4:00 PM

UMD Arboretum Outreach Center
3931 Stadium Drive
College Park, MD 20742

Take home a compost guide, work gloves and a Leafgro Gold sample!

It is shocking to learn that 40% of all food produced in the US is wasted and 20% of the material in US landfills is food. Wondering what else you can do with your food waste? Join us for an introduction to composting to "talk trash" and learn the composting basics. The workshop will include an overview of compost and composting, share how the UMD campus collects its organic material and PG County composts. We will also include the basics of how you can expand your recycling efforts at home to include your kitchen scraps and yard debris. Become a part of the solution to fight food waste by putting leftovers to work in your garden.

>>Download flyer of events


Spring workshops organized by:

Sponsorship generously provided by:

 free workshopsGardening 101workshops at UMDlearn to gardenPrince George's Countylearn to compostseed savingGood Neighbor Daygarden clean-upUMD Arboretum and Botanical GardenUMD Dining Servicesinstitute of applied agricultureUMD Green DiningUMD Office of Community EngagementPepsi Co.
Categories: Departments News

AREC Welcomes Jing Cai

AREC - Mon, 2017-02-13 13:35
Feb 13, 2017Author: Sarah Fielder

AREC would like to welcome its newest assistant professor, Dr. Jing Cai.

She received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 2012. Previously, Cai worked at the University of Michigan as an assistant professor for the Department of Economics.

“My interest in economics started in college,” said Cai. “I was majoring in computer science at that time. During one summer I did a survey with my uncle, a bank manager, about rural finance.”

The survey Cai did with her uncle resulted in her becoming interested in studying economics and how financial development influences a rural household's behavior and welfare. In graduate school, she switched her major to economics.

Cai’s primary areas of research include development economics, Chinese economics, and household finance.

“My current research focuses on the diffusion and impact of financial innovations, identifying ways to improve the growth of micro, small and medium enterprises, and impacts of industrial policies on firm behavior,” said Cai.

In the future, she hopes that the policy interventions she designed and implemented will improve economic outcomes.

Cai will teach her first class, Chinese economy, at the University of Maryland in spring 2018.

Categories: Departments News

First study abroad AREC program travels to Germany, Italy

AREC - Thu, 2017-02-09 10:15
Feb 9, 2017Author: Sarah Fielder

AREC held its first study abroad program this past winter from Jan. 7 to Jan. 20, 2017, focusing on climate change and traveling through Germany and Italy.

The course was AREC457, Energy Climate Change and Options for a Low-Carbon Economy. Lectures took place at the Ecologic Institut in Berlin, Germany and the Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM)/Euro-Mediterranean Center Climate Change (CMCC) in Venice, Italy.

An array of topics related to climate change were covered by the course, including atmospheric and physical sciences, economics and climate policy, international law, engineering and history/anthropology.  

Content wise, the goal of the program was for students to gain knowledge about climate policy and the technical facts that are linked to it, according to the the staff representative Jeff Cunningham who attended the trip.

“Also to experience going abroad and seeing different countries and cities and see how they are dealing with it [climate change],” said Cunningham.

Ten students participated in the study abroad program, which lasted 13 days. Students were not required to be an AREC major to join the trip.

“Some were engineering majors, and they knew the technical side, but I hope they gained exposure to things that are important for policy purposes and in Europe,” said Professor Anna Alberini who organized the course and the trip. “Germany is going through an energy transition.”

Two field trips were organized as a part of the curriculum.

“The field trips were amazing!” said Meg Tubridy, a junior agricultural economics and German double major. “Each of our field trips gave us the opportunity to get up close and personal with renewable energy such as wind and solar farms or to engage with locals regarding environmental issues. It was a good opportunity to see our daily lectures come to life outside the classroom.”

In Berlin, students toured a lignite coal farm, wind turbine farm and solar farm. They also visited several museums, including the The Neues Museum, Deutsches Historisches Museum, and the Deutsches Technikmuseum.

“The students enjoyed the lectures and enjoyed themselves , and so did I. The only thing that didn’t work out was that it was bitterly cold,” said Alberini. “But that let us plan visits around museums and indoor places.”

In Venice, the group learned about the MOSE Project, and saw portions of it, i.e., the barriers put in place along the barrier islands and inlets of Venice. These gates lift up to protect the city from high tides and flooding.

Alberini organized the program so that each day the students would have a different lecturer who was an expert in their field.

“Especially for the first time, the trip went very well,” said Cunningham. “The content was good, the facilities were great, it was better than we could have hoped for.”

The program will likely occur again next year, according to Alberini.

Categories: Departments News

Prabhakar Tamboli: A Life in International Development

ENST - Mon, 2017-02-06 13:57
Feb 6, 2017

Hunger is not only a food shortage problem, Environmental Science & Technology’s adjunct professor, Dr. Prabhakar Tamboli says. Waste, post-harvest loss, and inefficient production are among the factors contributing to food insecurity. The cost of fertilizers, seeds and energy also effect production and price.

While we think of hunger and food insecurity as the result of shortages, it is not the only cause. Dr. Tamboli designed ENST 100 “International Crop Production - issues and challenges of the 21st century” to teach students how to look not just at food production, but other factors such as population, storage, the role of governments, and International donors like the World Bank and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). “Even if enough food is secured in a country, it is not accessible to people living below the poverty line,” he says.

Dr. Tamboli brings first hand knowledge to the class. He was a World Bank agronomist for nearly 20 years, traveling to the world’s poorest countries. He helped many countries in Africa and Asia improve their agricultural performance by designing and implementing projects. In addition, he was a Soil Fertility specialist at the FAO, the United Nations agency leading hunger and malnutrition relief programs. At the FAO, he conducted agronomic trials on important crops and developed fertilizer recommendations.

Dr. Tamboli has a passion for development agriculture and has traveled to over 30 countries. His experience in developing countries started in India, where he was born 88 years ago. He is from a modest background but his parents valued education. He wanted to become a doctor and help poor people and was admitted to medical college in Gwalior,  India. But his family could not afford to pay the tuition, so instead, Dr. Tamboli worked at a part-time job and majored in chemistry and biology. He worked hard and was awarded a government merit scholarship for a Masters in Soil Science and Rockefeller Foundation Scholarship for Ph.D. in Agronomy at Iowa State University. 

Dr. Tamboli hopes to inspire and motivate his students to learn and he believes a good teacher can ignite an interest in a student who may have been unaware of his talents or direction. His caring attitude and popularity with students has earned Dr. Tamboli the Excellence in Teaching award from the Dept. of Environmental Science and Technology (2010) and from the Maryland Chapter of Gama, Sigma, Delta Honor Society of Agriculture (2008).

So this is Retirement?

Until a few years ago, Dr. Tamboli traveled to India each winter to lecture at universities and study India’s higher education and agricultural extension systems. In a 5 -year period, he visited more than 15 agricultural campuses with the goal of examining the state of agricultural education in India.  The result was a book he co-authored with  Y. L. Nene, “Revitalizing Higher Agricultural Education in  India: Journey Towards Excellence,” (2011) that examines many of the problems plaguing India’s agricultural universities, including low faculty pay, funding, and governance issues. He says that the Indian agricultural universities will not improve without giving full autonomy to the Vice Chancellors and integrating three functions of teaching/research/extension under one umbrella.

Dr. Tamboli also actively participated in developing AGNR’s International Training Proaram and establishing collaboration between University of Maryland and the State Agricultural Universities in India. Dr. Tamboli has not run out of projects. He continues to collaborate on journal articles, mostly about India’s agricultural outlook, and he stays active in the large Indian community in the DC area. 

He has, though, turned his attention to a personal project that is part memoir and part gift to his granddaughter. He is writing about 5 generations of Indian women in his family, from his grandmother, to his granddaughter. His grandmother was widowed and according to the local culture, was looked down on. She raised her children in poverty and was not able to rise out of it because of the constraints of her culture. She was married at age 7 and died at 50. Dr. Tamboli’s mother had 12 children and was illiterate, but because she was a married women, enjoyed the approval of society even though her family struggled financially.  His wife, now deceased, earned a Master’s degree, and his daughter is a medical doctor. His granddaughter is in college and has independence and a bright economic future.

His hopes for the future? Dr. Tamboli says he encourages his students develop skills critical to learning the challenging issues of the 21st century and how they can address the issues.

Categories: Departments News

AREC Student Contributes to Dean's Global Leadership Council Meeting

AREC - Mon, 2017-02-06 11:26
Feb 6, 2017Author: Sarah Fielder

The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources recently convened the first gathering of Dean Beyrouty’s Global Leadership Council, and Benjamin Zimmitti, a junior AREC major, was invited to participate.

“The dean has created the Global Leadership Council to represent and engage key leaders in the state’s agriculture industry and beyond,” said Graham Binder, the director of communications for the college. “The dean convened the group as an advisory body and sound board to talk about ideas for the future and the college’s impact throughout the state on consumers, producers and residents.”

Several students were invited to the meeting during the luncheon to introduce themselves and speak with the council. The students spoke about their involvements and experiences with the college and the university.

“I can say that it would seem that the purpose of having a few undergraduates come in during lunch to mingle with the various distinguished guests, was to bring the student voice into the room a bit, in order to help slightly inform the dean and the council’s process,” said Zimmitti.

Zimmitti is a peer mentor in the AGNR Academic Programming office, and an Ambassador for AGNR.

“At another point while we were there, the Dean asked us for our opinions about things we really enjoyed about the college and maybe things we were critical of,” said Zimmitti. This event also served as a networking opportunity for the students.

Categories: Departments News

AGNR Open House Poster Competition

NFSC - Sat, 2017-02-04 19:11
Feb 4, 2017Author: Dr.Jackson

Ten NFSC graduate students competed with students from other AGNR departments in the annual AGNR Open House Poster Competition held in October 2016. The students presented their research to a large audience of students, faculty and the Maryland public.  Their posters and presentations covered a wide range of topics typical of AGNR research.  On February 1st, the Dean and Associate Dean for Academics announced the poster award winners. Four NFSC students won a certificate and a monetary award. They were:

First place: Rishov Goswami, advised by Dr. Shaik Rahaman 

Second place: Andrea Gilbert, advised by Dr. Rohan Tikekar

Second place: Zhiyuan Lou, advised by Dr. Seong-Ho Lee

Third place: Hao Pang, advised by Dr. Abani Pradhan


Congratulations to all of you!

Categories: Departments News

Spring 2017 Bowman Scholarship Winners

IAA - Mon, 2017-01-30 17:07
Jan 30, 2017Author: Randie Hovatter

Congratulations to the winners of the Edward M. Bowman Family Scholarship for Spring 2017: Cameron Smith, Emily Novak, and Rebecka (Becky) Jones.

The Edward M. Bowman Family Scholarship is awarded to full-time IAA students who possess strong leadership skills and demonstrate enthusiasm for experiential learning. Recipients are innovative self-starters with solid academic standing. Cameron, Emily, and Becky demonstrate these qualities on a daily basis through their outstanding efforts at the IAA.

Cameron Smith
Sustainable Agriculture
Laurel, MD

Emily Novak
Sustainable Agriculture
Germantown, MD

Rebecka (Becky) Jones
Agricultural Business Management
Sunderland, MD

Keep up the strong work, IAA Terps!

To learn more about scholarship opportunities specifically for IAA students, click here.

Edward M. Bowman Family ScholarshipIAA ScholarshipsIAA TerpsRebecka JonesEmily NovakCameron Smith2017 scholarships
Categories: Departments News


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