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Author Archives: Sara Putnam

About Sara Putnam

Sara is director of the College’s Office of Communications. She has a BA and an MA, both in English, from UConn. She is also assistant to the dean for human resources.

Meet graduate student Arielle Halpern

Arielle Halpern

Arielle Halpern

As a four-year-old, Arielle Halpern decided she wanted to be a veterinarian, a ballerina and a mom. She took ballet lessons from the time she was a toddler until her junior year in college. During her middle school summers, Halpern participated in the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth Summer Programs where she studied oceanography, creative writing, zoology, whales and estuary systems, at several university locations from Hawaii to New York. As a graduate student in the Department of Animal Science, Halpern is focused on becoming an extension educator to increase public awareness of animal practices while promoting human production practices that improve the welfare of animals. Here is what she said in an interview.

Where did you study as an undergraduate? What was your major? I studied animal science at the University of Maryland during my undergraduate career.

Why did you decide to go to graduate school? I decided to go to graduate school to further my career goals of becoming an extension agent.

Who is your advisor? What is your field of research? I work with my advisor, Dr. Kristen Govoni, on research into the effect of maternal nutrition on offspring productivity. My thesis focuses on ascertaining patterns in the management practices of New England sheep producers with an aim of improving outreach and welfare.

Name one aspect of your work that you like. I enjoy the opportunities I have to collaborate with other animal scientists who are as passionate about our work as I am.

In your opinion, what is your greatest accomplishment so far? My greatest accomplishment thus far is how I have succeeded in my coursework and lab work, after the struggle I had as an undergraduate.

When do you expect to get your degree? What then? I expect to receive my master’s degree in the spring or summer of 2018. After that, I hope to have an extension agent position lined up.

Is there anything else you would like us to know about you? I love birds and grew up with four cockatiels and a hawk-headed parrot.

By Kim Colavito Markesich

Professor Sandra Bushmich appointed as associate dean for academic programs

Sandra Bushmich with one of the College's foals born in the spring of 2017.

Sandra Bushmich with one of the College’s foals born in the spring of 2017.

Sandra Bushmich has been appointed associate dean for academic programs and director of the Ratcliffe Hicks School of Agriculture. Bushmich started her new position March 17, replacing Cameron Faustman, currently interim dean of the College.

“Sandy is known to students and her colleagues as a committed teacher and advisor,” Faustman says. “Our College’s Office of Academic Programs will benefit tremendously from her commitment to the student experience, both curricular and co-curricular, and her energy and enthusiasm.”

“My vision as associate dean for academic programs directly relates to how this office can best serve the College and the University to achieve the optimal potential of our diverse students by providing them with the knowledge and skills to improve their world, from their daily personal interactions to global impacts,” Bushmich says.


Image of the week

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Jim Palmieri, instructor in floral design and manager of UConn Blooms, is pictured here with former students who joined him and members of the Department Plant Science and Landscape Architecture on June 19 to celebrate his impending retirement. Left to right: Kamil Jablonowski, Dustyn Nelson, Jacob Gardner, Daniel Katz, Justine Leeper, Lorenzo Katin-Grazzini, Jim Palmieri, Antonia Brunetti, Matthew DeBacco, Cora McGehee, Jacob Ricker.

Alumni couple cope with the challenges of cystic fibrosis


Rebecca Martello Poole and Ray Poole

For Rebecca Martello Poole, a 2000 graduate of the Diagnostic Genetic Sciences Program in the Department of Allied Health Sciences, genetic diseases are not just a professional concern. Rebecca was diagnosed at the age of six months with cystic fibrosis (CF) and has suffered from the debilitating effects throughout her life.

Rebecca met her husband Ray Poole, also a 2000 UConn graduate, in mechanical and materials engineering, while at UConn, and the two moved from Connecticut to Wisconsin, then Kentucky, where they currently make their home. Together they’ve traveled a harrowing path between life and death as Rebecca spent almost two years enduring medical procedures. It started in October of 2014 during a weekend visit to Colorado. She fell ill, landing in the hospital, septic and in heart failure, fighting for oxygen. She continued to decline and on New Year’s Eve, she went into respiratory failure and was placed on life support. At that point the doctors told the couple that she was in end stage CF, and time was not on her side.

Rebecca needed a lung transplant but was too sick for the surgery. She was in a chemically-induced coma for six weeks, spent six months on a ventilator and finally grew strong enough to become a lung transplant candidate. After the transplant, she still had to undergo abdominal surgery, then months of recovery that included hours of physical therapy.

Today, Rebecca is almost two years post lung transplant, and while she has her difficult days, she’s feeling better. “It’s amazing to be able to walk or take a small hike and not cough incessantly,” Rebecca says.


Image of the week

Sara Tufts, Animal Science '17, with Leo. Tufts will attend North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Sara Tufts, Animal Science ’17, with Leo. Tufts will attend North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Photo by Alexa LaConche.