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CAHNR in the news

Students with mobile devicesWestport Now announced that Corey Thomas is the new director of the Westport-owned Wakeman Town Farm. UConn alumnus Thomas has a BS in animal science and is certified in agriculture education. The article described the farm as “a sustainable, family-oriented, farm-to-table working farm.”

The Daily Campus suggested hiking near Horsebarn Hill as a free activity for UConn students.

Hartford Courant mentioned the Windham County Extension Center in an article about a gardening outreach program and other Master Gardener activities.

The Pew Charitable Trust News reported about reactions to the Korey Stringer Institute‘s study of state high school sports safety policies. KSI is housed in the Department of Kinesiology. See also Huffington Post.

By Patsy Evans

Meet alumna Laura Kunces

Laura Kunces

Laura Kunces

With the fast-paced schedule needed to obtain three degrees from UConn in two CAHNR academic departments, Laura Kunces feels prepared for the job of keeping up with the nutritional needs of professional athletes and coaches. Here is what the nutritional sciences and kinesiology graduate told us about UConn and her current career.

What was your major in the College? When did you graduate? With what degree? I graduated in May 2008 with a bachelor’s in nutritional sciences. I minored in nutrition for exercise and sport. In addition, I received two degrees, a MS in 2012 and a PhD in 2014 in kinesiology with a focus on low-carb diets and metabolism.

What class was most useful to you? When I was still a student, some of my favorite classes were Nutrition for Exercise and Sport, Medical Nutrition Therapy and the foods lab course. Now that I have more work experience, I recognize that other classes, such as Human Anatomy and Physiology and organic chemistry, have great relevance to what I do on a daily basis. Almost every class from graduate school has a direct link to my work now.

Tell us some of your fond memories of UConn. When I was an undergraduate, one of the most memorable days was the dietetic internship match day!

Some of my fondest memories of UConn were from things I did outside the classroom, such as walking in the snow from the West Campus Residence Halls all the way to the nutritional sciences buildings and the Dairy Bar. (more…)

CAHNR in the news

newspaper readersAOL posted a video of Ashley Kalinauskas, who founded the company behind a treatment that helps dogs, cats and horses combat cancer. Kalinauskas earned a bachelor’s degree in pathobiology and veterinary sciences.

MySA included an article about summer interns at the Connecticut Audubon Society. One of them, Helena Ives, tracks the populations of threatened coastal birds, such as the piping plover. Ives is a student in natural resources and the environment.

Times Union reported on the implications of research done by Professor Mark Brand for New York state plant sellers.  Brand’s development of four infertile, seedless barberry varieties will allow residents to buy a favorite landscaping plant that is not invasive like the other, older varieties. Brand is part of plant science and landscape architecture. (more…)

Meet alumna Justine Leeper

JustineLeeper/Constance Schiano Photography

Justine Leeper Credit: Constance Schiano Photography

Floral Designs by Justine is a dream come true for CAHNR alumna Justine Leeper. Leeper’s Bethlehem floral shop grew out of a passion that began for her at age 14 and continued in her major and minor. Her abilities are still growing. Here is what she said in an interview.

What was your major in the College? When did you graduate? With what degree? I got a BS in 2014. I majored in horticulture and minored in agribusiness management.

What class was most useful to you? I think the business management and marketing classes are helpful for what I am doing now in my own floral design business. The plant ID course is useful in my garden center job.

Tell us some of your fond memories of UConn. I remember the professors, especially Jim Palmieri, who was the advisor for the Horticulture Club. I was president of the club during my junior and senior years. We participated in the Connecticut Flower and Garden Show in Hartford. It was a lot of work to force plants to bloom out of season and set up the 20-foot display, but the club won awards for it.

In addition, I enjoyed meeting so many people in CAHNR. Because it was a smaller college, it gave us the opportunity to take some classes with people who had other majors in CAHNR. (more…)

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.