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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.

Food safety website provides answers for consumers and producers

Diane Hirsch

Diane Hirsch

Storms like hurricanes Harvey and Irma can create a public health nightmare, leading to safety issues of all kinds, including food safety concerns. How long will food remain safe to eat if your refrigerator fails? How do you disinfect your kitchen? Is produce safe to eat? Find the answers to most food safety questions for consumers, home cooks, farmers, growers, and processors, at the UConn College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources’ food safety website,

For more than twenty years, Diane Wright Hirsch of UConn Extension has served as the College’s food safety extension specialist, working with producers and consumers alike.

“It can be difficult for the various food industries in Connecticut to find the resources they need,” says Hirsch. “Oftentimes they would call me and say they don’t know where to begin. I wanted the website to provide a one-stop shop for them.”

In addition, she says, “Consumers may try to address a food safety question using their favorite search engine, and discover inaccurate information,” she says. “Everything on our website is science based.”


Image of the week: Physical therapy students’ seminar highlights prevention of musculoskeletal disorders for future dentists


On September 19, 2017, students in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program presented a lunch & learn on injury prevention and ergonomics for students in UConn’s School of Dental Medicine. The dental students had requested the presentation due to the prevalence of musculoskeletal injuries in dentists. Almost 30 percent of early retirement among dentists is due to a musculoskeletal disorder, and one in three dentists will be disabled during their career.

Sarah Deacon, Marissa St. Louis and Allison Wagner, second-year physical therapy students, spoke about the most common musculoskeletal injuries in dental professionals; ergonomics and body mechanics to minimize risk of injury; key stretching, strength, and endurance exercises to support the sustained postures required for dental work; and recommendations for risk reduction strategies outside the workplace.



Announcement from the UConn Compost Facility

We’d like to thank those who have purchased compost in past seasons for their support of the UConn Compost Facility.

We have received inquiries about sales for fall 2017. At this time, our ongoing land mitigation project is well underway, and we plan to use the compost that’s ready now as amendments to our newly cleared farmland.

College Walktober events offers visitors the great outdoors in Storrs

Walktober2017This October, the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources will host three Walktober events, offering visitors the opportunity to explore the great outdoors on and near the UConn Storrs Campus.

Each year, The Last Green Valley, Inc., a federally designated National Heritage Corridor comprising 35 towns in eastern Connecticut and south-central Massachusetts, organizes Walktober, a month-plus-long opportunity to explore the region with expert guides. Late September though early November, Walktober offers more than 220 walks, hikes, paddles, bike rides and more. This year, the College will sponsor three of these activities.

A view of Horsebarn Hill from July 2012.

A view of Horsebarn Hill from July 2012.

Two of the College’s Walktober offerings will take place during UConn’s Family Weekend. On Saturday, October 7, the UConn Chapter of the Student American Physical Therapy Association will offer its annual 5K run on the Storrs Campus. Participants may register online or at the event. Tshirts will be given to the first 50 people to register online, and prizes will be given for the top three male and top three female finishers. Registration is $10 for UConn students with ID and $25 for others. Check-in and onsite registration opens at 11:00, and the run starts at noon. For more information and to register, go to

At 1:30 that day, the Horsebarn Hill Walk will take in the fall foliage and visit the animal barns. The walk, which is free and open to all, is an easy 1.5-mile amble, but does include an uphill stretch over rough pavement. Registration is voluntary but will allow notification in case of postponement to the following day due to weather. For more information and to register, go to

Tom Worthley leads Natural Resources Conservation Academy participants in the UConn Forest.

Tom Worthley leads Natural Resources Conservation Academy participants in the UConn Forest.

On Saturday, October 14, Tom Worthley, extension educator in forest sustainability, will lead a hike in the Chaffeeville Tract of the UConn Forest. Hikers will learn about forest succession, forest management, the history of the UConn Forest and current forestry research at UConn. The hike is of moderate difficulty, with some hills. Hikers must be 12 or over. The event is free, but registration is required (maximum of 25). For information and to register, go to

Meet graduate student Leticia Riva

Leticia Riva

Leticia Riva

Leticia Riva was born in Uruguay and moved to Spain at eighteen. She received her master’s degree in resource economics from the College’s Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, where she is currently a Ph.D. candidate. Riva has studied in Spain, Germany, England and the United States. These experiences opened her eyes to the circumstances of people in various parts of the world, inspiring Riva to study economics as a way to understand and improve the lives of others. Her research focuses on topics related to trust, poverty and communities. Here is what she said in an interview.

Where did you study as an undergraduate? What was your major? I studied as an undergraduate in Málaga, Spain. My major was economics.

Why did you decide to go to graduate school? I decided to go to graduate school because I liked (and I like) economics and I wanted to acquire more knowledge. I also think that nowadays it is one of the paths to follow if we want to work in positions where we can have more freedom to develop ideas and study them.

Who is your advisor? What is your field of research? My advisor is Nathan Fiala, and my field of research is economic development.

Name one aspect of your work that you like. What I like is the possibility of developing ideas and trying to implement them. This work allows me to research topics that I am interested in and study them deeper while I am in an environment with people who give me feedback and have experience in related topics. This is great. (more…)