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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.

CAHNR in the news

Students with mobile devicesUConn Today announced the release of a survey done by Korey Stringer Institute researchers focused on a nationwide health and safety policy ranking for high school athletics. The study is slated to appear in The Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine. See also Sports Illustrated, New York Times, Hartford Courant, Providence Business News, Associated Press, The Charlotte Observer, Portland (ME) Press-Herald, Hearst Newspapers and Denver Post.

UConn Daily Digest announced that Judy Benson is Connecticut Sea Grant’s new communications coordinator. She earned a MS in natural resources and the environment in 2015 and a BA in journalism in 1983. Both degrees were from UConn. Benson won first place for environmental reporting in the New England Better Newspaper Competition in 2015, 2010, 2009 and 2008.

UConn Today listed student-athletes who made the Big East All-Academic Team for the 2016-17 season. The list included lacrosse teammates Dani Dunn from animal science and Julia Simmons from allied health as well as field hockey player and animal science student Darby Smith. (more…)

New associate dean sees a bigger picture

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Kumar Venkitanarayanan Credit: Peter Morenus

For CAHNR’s newest associate dean, this position is about increasing the scale of his life’s work. Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies Kumar Venkitanarayanan has demonstrated success in obtaining research grants, supervising graduate students through to completion and supporting CAHNR as a team leader and player. “Now, I can use all my skills and experience and do it on a bigger canvas for the College,” he said about the new role he started in May.

Faculty is part of the picture

The portrait that he wants to paint as associate dean will include two main subjects, reflecting the “research” and “graduate studies” in his title. For example, Venkitanarayanan hopes to provide CAHNR’s research faculty members with increased funding opportunities to help them reach their goals in spite of the current economy. “I want to make it easy for them,“ he said.

One of his solutions for budgetary constraints is to “spread our wings wider.” This means he wants to identify previously overlooked programs, to apply for grants offered by different federal agencies and to cooperate with other universities in seeking funds. He thinks that the College has enjoyed much success with USDA grants, but it needs to diversify to improve the probability of receiving funding. (more…)

Image of the week

UConn Extension Bug Week 2017

Kicking off bug week deliciously with cricket fritters and meal worm sprinkles on our ice cream! Uconn Extension facebook

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