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Author Archives: Jason M. Sheldon

Meet undergraduate Gabriel DeRosa

Gabriel DeRosa

Gabriel DeRosa.

Gabriel DeRosa recently completed a UConn study abroad experience at the International Studies Institute at Palazzo Rucellai in Florence, Italy. He participated in the College’s Sustainable Food and Environmental Systems Program where students learn about European agriculture, economy and society, gaining additional perspectives to compare and contrast with their American experiences.

The program, which occurs in the fall semester, allows students to spend fourteen weeks earning fourteen credits overseas. It features classroom instruction and study tours and internships. Throughout the immersive experience, they learn how food is produced, transformed, distributed, prepared and consumed in Italy. The particular areas of focus are determined by the three CAHNR faculty members that accompany students, tailoring each excursion into a unique experience based on their expertise. Typically, the cost for Connecticut residents is slightly more than attending UConn for a typical fall semester and in the case of out-of-state students, the cost for the program may be lower than that for a typical fall semester. Financial assistance may be available for qualified students. For more information, please email John.Volin@uconn.edu, Hedley.Freake@uconn.edu or Steven.Rackliffe@uconn.edu or go to abroad.uconn.edu.

What is your major, and why did you choose it?

I’m a horticulture major. Growing up I spent a lot of time near farms. I always had friends that had farms or lots of land, and so I was around a lot of animals and livestock. I found I was interested in farming but realized that I wanted to focus on plants. I started looking around for community agricultural projects and different organic farms in my area to get involved in. Once I started working, I knew I had discovered something I really enjoyed doing. Then I found that UConn has a great program for plant science. (more…)

College alumni create thriving online businesses

Andrew Marcus and Jesse Silkoff

Andrew Marcus (left) and Jesse Silkoff (right).

After meeting their freshman year on the UConn Men’s Tennis team in 2007, Jesse Silkoff and Andrew Marcus are now business partners, running MyTennisLessons and FitnessTrainer.com out of Austin, Texas. Their online companies help match clients searching for a tennis coach or personal trainer in their local area. Silkoff and Marcus both earned degrees in applied and resource economics from the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics. Their path to becoming business owners began before leaving UConn in 2011.

During their senior year, Silkoff and Marcus entered a business plan competition held by the Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CCEI) in the School of Business. The competition was university-wide, open to all students regardless of major or academic level. Seventy-six teams entered the competition with their plans being judged by a panel that included several business executives. Silkoff and Marcus won the top prize of $10,000 for their promising strategy for their proposal entitled Tennis Professionals.

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Evaluation specialist aims to enhance our understanding of extension program impact

Miriah Russo Kelly

Miriah Russo Kelly

Miriah Russo Kelly is a Connecticut native. After living overseas and working and studying on the West Coast, she has returned to her home state as an assistant extension educator and evaluation specialist in the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources to enhance the impact of extension programs through her background in communications and environmental science.

Kelly received her master’s degree from Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) in organizational communication. It was during her time at CCSU, where she also earned her undergraduate degree, that she met Dr. C Benjamin Tyson, a professor who introduced her to the field of environmental communication and the International Environmental Communication Association. She spent the next few years fostering her passion for the environment and ecology.

Traveling to New Zealand, Kelly completed evaluation projects for the New Zealand Landcare Trust. When she returned to the US, she worked as an ecology tour guide in the Colorado mountains. These experiences led her back to graduate school at Oregon State University (OSU), where she earned her Ph.D. in environmental science. At OSU she bridged her interests, studying communications and teaching public speaking, organizational communication and other communications courses while exploring the human dimensions of natural resource management and decision-making. (more…)

College faculty facilitate collaborations with Cuban researchers

Cuba Trip (January 2017) 04

A street in Havana, Cuba. Photo taken by CAHNR students on summer 2016 trip.

Five College faculty members traveled to Cuba last week for a networking event at the Institute of Animal Science (ICA) in furtherance of the Cuba Research Initiative. The three-day event consisted of presentations and discussions of agricultural and animal science issues with a focus on developing new projects and collaborations between researchers in the US and Cuba. Representatives from the National Center for Agricultural Health (CENSA), National Institute for Agricultural Sciences (INCA), Agrarian University of Havana (UNAH) and the ICA greeted the visiting faculty. The meetings provided an opportunity to formulate research partnerships that will benefit both nations.

UConn faculty members and students from the College previously visited Cuba over the summer to participate in an international conference. Prior to the summer conference, Assistant Professor Tania Huedo-Medina of the Department of Allied Health Sciences, had initiated and strengthened relationships with ICA, CENSA and UNAH through a workshop she taught on meta-analysis for the biometrics doctorate program at ICA.

The trip was sponsored by the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources (CAHNR), the individual departments of visiting faculty members and Global Affairs and represents an ongoing effort to secure partnerships in the country.

Associate Professor Guillermo Risatti of the Department of Pathobiology and Veterinary Science led the UConn team. Other faculty members include Professor Steven Zinn, head of the Department of Animal Science; Professor Hedley Freake of the Department of Nutritional Sciences; and Assistant Extension Professor Ana Legrand of the Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture and UConn Extension. Professor John Volin, head of the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment, was to have gone but had to cancel his trip shortly before departure.

Aviana Rosen of the Institute for Collaboration on Health, Intervention and Policy and the project coordinator for the Cuba Research Initiative, conceived by Huedo-Medina, accompanied the group as well. (more…)

Grant awards fund new conservation science initiatives

John Volin and Tom Worthley

John Volin (right) and Tom Worthley (center), an assistant extension professor, with NRCA group in the UConn Forest.

Projects stemming from the Natural Resources Conservation Academy (NRCA) were recently awarded over $3 million in grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The funds will be used to initiate two research projects that will expand the scope and reach of the academy’s conservation science initiatives into communities and schools across Connecticut. The NRCA and the new projects are interdisciplinary collaborations and housed within the College’s Department of Natural Resources and the Environment (NRE) and Department of Extension.

NSF’s Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) program recently awarded a nearly $3 million grant entitled: “Promoting Lifelong STEM Learning Through a Focus on Conservation, Geospatial Technology, and Community Engagement” to John Volin, professor and Head of NRE, and colleagues in NRE, Center for Land Use and Research, extension and the Neag School of Education’s Department of Curriculum and Instruction (EDCI). The program seeks to educate adult learners and high school students across the state in the use of geospatial technology in conservation science with an emphasis on applications for land use. Participants will be familiarized with geospatial technologies such as geographic information systems (GIS), Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and remote sensing (images captured by satellites or aircraft) and taught how these tools can be used to support conservation practices and community planning. The AISL program advances the development and implementation of opportunities that bring STEM learning into informal environments to promote education, research and engagement with the public. (more…)