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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.

Image of the week: The Arethusa Farm Sample Sale is back!

Arethusa shoe sale

Photo by Blaise Pope/Arethusa Farm

Once again this summer, the popular Arethusa Farm Sample Sale will take place in Bantam, Connecticut, to benefit scholarships for UConn students.

Shoe lovers can expect deep discounts at the sale on Saturday, August 19 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Bantam Fire Company, 92 Doyle Road in Bantam. Proceeds go directly to the Arethusa Farm Scholarship Fund, which aids students in UConn’s College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources (CAHNR). Arethusa executives George Malkemus and Anthony Yurgaitis established the fund after they bought Arethusa Farm in Litchfield. With help from CAHNR faculty and staff, they have built an internationally renowned dairy herd and business that includes a line of premium dairy products as well as Arethusa al Tavolo Restaurant and Arethusa a Mano coffee shop and bakery in Bantam.

At the sale, bargain hunters will find a mix of past seasons’ items and samples from fashion shows, movie sets and ad shoots. A wide range of sizes will be available. At the 2015 sale, excited shoppers took home flats, stilettos, pumps and boots, in the process raising nearly $200,000 for the scholarship fund.

“The value of this fund-raising opportunity cannot be overstated,” said Cameron Faustman, interim dean  of the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources. “For students pursuing dairy-related interests at the University of Connecticut, this scholarship program provides a means for accomplishing their academic and career goals while minimizing their need to work long hours outside of their studies or to take on debt. It also will facilitate our ability to attract and retain students committed to the field and ensure a continued supply of fresh and local dairy products for the state.”

Steven Zinn, professor and head of UConn’s Department of Animal Science, agrees: “This scholarship opens doors to a UConn education for the next generation of dairy producers in Connecticut, helping maintain this critical industry in the state.”

UConn students will be on hand to help direct traffic, and entry into the sale is first come, first served. Credit cards and cash will be accepted. The samples are not to be purchased for resale, and all sales are final.

Meet graduate student Roman Shrestha

Roman Shresthra

Roman Shresthra

As a volunteer intern and then research assistant in his native Nepal, Roman Shrestha worked with nonprofit groups on HIV prevention and intervention. After earning his undergraduate degree in biology and chemistry, he decided to pursue a master’s degree in public health at UConn, where he is currently completing his Ph.D. in public health in the Department of Allied Health Sciences. Here’s what he said in an interview.

Where did you study as an undergraduate? Wiley College in Marshall, Texas.

What was your major? I majored in biology and chemistry.

Why did you decide to go to graduate school? As an undergraduate student, I spent two summers as an intern at UConn. I spoke with professors in public health, and they were doing similar types of work that I was doing in Nepal related to HIV prevention. It came to me that I wanted to pursue public health rather than biology.

Who is your advisor and what is your field of research? My advisor is Dr. Michael Copenhaver in the Department of Allied Health Sciences. My primary field of research is HIV prevention. It is interdisciplinary, in that my work involves HIV risk reduction, substance abuse, neurocognitive impairment and mHealth (mobile technology on health management). My dissertation work is mostly related to developing a brief integrative bio-behavioral approach for HIV prevention among drug users.

Name one aspect of your work that you like. It’s research and clinical work at the same time. I mostly work with drug users. I talk to them, do group, and help them in any way possible. At the same time, I mentor students. (more…)

Meet graduate student Virgilio Lopez

Virgilio Lopez

Virgilio Lopez

Virgilio Lopez is drawn to detail-oriented aspects of science. He chose molecular and cell biology as an undergraduate as a way to understand the body at a cellular level and to prepare him to study human physiology as a PhD student in the Department of Kinesiology‘s exercise science program. Lopez hopes to one day become a research professor while mentoring the next generation of scientists. Here is what he said in an interview.

Where did you study as an undergraduate? What was your major? I completed my undergraduate degree in molecular and cell biology here at the University of Connecticut.

Why did you decide to go to graduate school? I decided to go to graduate school for a couple of different reasons. I really love science and having my own research allows me to be at the forefront of scientific inquiry. Additionally, it is my goal to eventually become a professor to teach and serve as a role model to students from underrepresented backgrounds and communities. (more…)

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.