Rutgers Wraps Up Annual STEM Enrichment Program for Underserved Youth

Participants enjoy the closing luncheon of the sixth annual Rutgers Summer Science Program.

Participants gather before the start of the closing luncheon for this year’s Rutgers Summer Science Program.

The sixth annual Rutgers Summer Science Program, sponsored by Samsung, held its closing luncheon on July 11 at the Neilson Dining Hall on the George H. Cook Campus in New Brunswick, wrapping up a weeklong campus enrichment experience for over 60 high school students, grades 9 to 12, from across New Jersey. This year’s cohort was drawn from Essex, Mercer, Middlesex, Passaic and Union counties.

It’s hard to imagine when you experience this smoothly-run luncheon for the teens and their families, complete with student poster presentation lining the walls of the dining hall that this pre-college residential program for teens from underserved communities across New Jersey did not exist six years ago.

Chad Ripberger, Rutgers 4-H agent from Mercer County, co-founded this program with his colleague Janice McDonnell, 4-H SET agent, creating an active, hands-on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) environment for youth in a campus setting. Following a week of activities, taught by Rutgers faculty and graduate students on a range of topics, the teens return to their local communities as newly-minted Ambassadors, armed with a number of skills that they will pass on to other youths in their home communities. [Read more...]

Annual Rutgers Turfgrass Research Field Days Draws Record Attendance

Participants in "Rutgers Turfgrass Research Field Days" listen to a Rutgers research discuss new varieties of turfgrass durign the annual program held at Hort Farm II.

Participants in “Rutgers Turfgrass Research Field Days” listen to a Rutgers researcher discuss new varieties of turfgrass during the annual program held at Hort Farm II.

On July 29-30, Rutgers held its annual Turfgrass Research Field Days at the Turf Research Farm – Hort Farm II, off Ryders Lane in North Brunswick, NJ. Over 800 industry professionals attended this record-breaking, two-day event, which has its roots in the 1920s, although regular turf field days in New Jersey did not occur annually until after World War II.

In what may well be the largest “outdoor classroom” event at the university, the latest field research was passed on to industry practitioners in highly-interactive sessions in which the researchers summarized their research and the attendees listened and asked questions. Attendees also qualified for Golf Course Superintendents Association of America education points as well as pesticide applicator re-certification credits from New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. [Read more...]

Ph.D. Candidate in Ecology and Evolution Earns Competitive EPA STAR Fellowship

Molly MacLeod presenting her research at the Pollinator Conservation Planning Short Course at the Snyder Farm, in Pittstown, NJ, in 2012.

Molly MacLeod presenting her research at the Pollinator Conservation Planning Short Course at the Snyder Farm, in Pittstown, NJ, in 2012.

Molly MacLeod, Ph.D. candidate in ecology and evolution in Prof. Rachael Winfree’s pollination ecology lab, has been awarded a two-year U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Science to Achieve Results (STAR) graduate fellowship.

MacLeod’s research is focused on a four-year field experiment to explore questions about plant-pollinator networks and the restoration of both crop-pollinating and rare bee species.

Approximately 1,500 STAR fellowships have been awarded to students in every state and most territories since the program began in 1995. The EPA STAR graduate fellowship is a highly competitive program that supports master’s and doctoral candidates in environmental studies.

According to its website, “students can pursue degrees in traditionally recognized environmental disciplines as well as other fields such as social anthropology, urban and regional planning, and decision sciences.”  The fellowships have helped to “educate new academic researchers, government scientists, science teachers and environmental engineers.”

New Jersey 4-Hers Boost Leadership and Civic Skills in Washington, D.C.

New Jersey 4-H delegates to the 2014 Citizenship Washington Focus on the steps of the Capitol.

New Jersey 4-H delegates to the 2014 Citizenship Washington Focus on the steps of the Capitol.

New Jersey 4-H members learned about government processes in the vibrant, living classroom of the nation’s capital as part of Citizenship Washington Focus (CWF), an intensive 4-H civic engagement program for high-school youth held at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland. The New Jersey 4-H delegation of 30 youth and three adult chaperones attended week 6 of the conference from July 6-12. [Read more...]

Rutgers Plant Biologist Jim Simon Recognized by International Agriculture Association

L-R: Mike McGirr, AIARD President, Jim Simon and Albert Ayeni, AIARD Awards Committee Chair. Photo: Susan Schram.

L-R: Mike McGirr, AIARD President, Jim Simon and Albert Ayeni, AIARD Awards Committee Chair. Photo: Susan Schram.

Rutgers Professor James (Jim) Simon, Department of Plant Biology and Pathology, has won the 2014 AIARD Special Service Award in recognition of his collaborative research in sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere for over 20 years and his ability to use innovative and transformative approaches that lift people out of poverty. This recognition was bestowed upon him at the 50th anniversary meeting of the Association for International Agriculture and Rural Development in Washington, D.C. on June 2.

Simon is internationally known as a leading global researcher for his work in horticulture, medicinal and aromatic plants in which he specializes in plant natural products and new crops. [Read more...]