RCE Agent Jenny Carleo Wins National Award for Creative Excellence

Stacey McCullough, president of the National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals (NACDEP) presents Jenny Carleo with the 2016 JCEP Award for Creative Excellence at the NACAA Conference in Little Rock, Arkansas.

At left, Stacey McCullough, president of the National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals (NACDEP), presents Jenny Carleo with the 2016 JCEP Award for Creative Excellence at the NACAA Conference in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Jenny Carleo, Rutgers Cooperative Extension (RCE) agricultural and resource management agent for Cape May County, received a 2016 Joint Council of Extension Professionals (JCEP) Award for Creative Excellence at the National Association of County Agricultural Agents (NACAA) conference in Little Rock, Arkansas.

JCEP, a partnership of Extension Professional Associations, presents its award for Creative Excellence to recognize individuals or small teams and their unique contributions to Extension programing by being innovative in their approach to addressing emerging issues or existing issues in exceptionally creative or novel ways to obtain desirable results and outcomes. [Read more…]

Alumni Story: Jessie Davis (SEBS’16) – Taking the Leap

Class Representative Jessie Davis addressing the Class of 2016 at the SEBS Convocation. Photo credit: John O'Boyle

Class Representative Jessie Davis addressing the Class of 2016 at the SEBS Convocation. Photo credit: John O’Boyle

Jessie Davis challenged fellow members of  the Class of 2016 at the school convocation this past spring. Standing at the lectern on the VIP platform, she said, “Today we stand at the edge of the cliff. The cliff called yesterday. However, there is only one sign at the edge of the cliff: JUMP!”

Taking the great leap from the cliff to the “ledge of tomorrow” is what Jessie Davis is all about and has been since she was in eighth grade. It was then that she knew she would be going to Rutgers, would be following a course of studies related to the medical field, and would be in control of her future. She calls it being “intentional,” taking life by the horns.

Early on Jessie demonstrated her commitment to acting on her belief in “intentional” living. She enrolled in Passaic County Technical Institute, a highly regarded high school in northern New Jersey, in its Academy of Medical Arts. While considering which college to attend, someone suggested that she look into public health as a field of study, which led her to Rutgers.

Jessie’s role at convocation was as the Class Representative, the graduating student chosen to inspire classmates, parents, family, friends, faculty and staff with a short send-off during convocation ceremonies. Her energetic remarks were met with cheers and applause as she created a new definition for “GPA.”

“Bear with me as we re-define GPA. In our reimagined world, GPA doesn’t stand for grade point average; it stands for genius, passion, and achievement.” [Read more…]

Rutgers Gardens Farmers Market – A Fresh Place to Spend Summer Fridays

Rutgers Gardens Farm Market.

Rutgers Gardens Farmers Market.

By Tim Gleeson, summer intern in the Office of Communications and Marketing

On a Friday afternoon in the typical summer months, producers from around New Jersey emerge to showcase their products at the Rutgers Gardens Farmers Market, which actually has an expanded season starting in May and extending into November.

Established in 2008, the market commenced operations with 12 vendors that included Fruitwood Farms, pickle distributor Picklelicious, and cheese connoisseurs Valley Sheppard Creamery. Today, Rutgers Gardens Farmers Market has expanded to 35 merchants, including newcomer Hot Sauce 4 Good, based out of East Millstone, NJ, and which is dedicated to ‘changing the world one bottle at a time’ by donating a portion of its proceeds to charitable organizations fighting food insecurity.

[Read more…]

Rutgers Gardens Celebrates Centennial With Ambitious Growth Plan

Rutgers Gardens.

Rutgers Gardens.

Rutgers Gardens, a treasured oasis that draws thousands for classes, weddings and walks in the woods, will be designated a Horticultural Landmark by the American Society for Horticulture Science, joining the prestigious ranks of the New York Botanical Garden, the United States Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C., and Monticello in Virginia. Managers of the gardens are also working on a long-term plan that envisions roughly $70 million in upgrades, funded mostly by donors and revenue generated by events at the gardens, and featuring a 1.5-mile educational path dedicated to explaining the evolution of plants, trees, grasses, insects and animals over 400 million years and an improved entrance for welcoming visitors.

Read more at Rutgers Today.




Rutgers Scientists Breeding Turfgrass That Can be Irrigated with Treated Wastewater

William A. Meyer and Stacy Bonos are researchers at the University who are developing an ideal form of turf grass.

William A. Meyer and Stacy Bonos (GSNB’97) are Rutgers researchers who are working to develop an ideal form of turfgrass.

Clean water is a valuable limited resource and water conservation is a priority in arid and drought-stricken regions. While people require clean water for survival, some plants are able to grow without perfectly clean water, leaving more potable water for drinking. One water conservation strategy is to use treated wastewater, which contains salt left over from the cleaning process, to irrigate large areas of turfgrass, which include athletic fields and golf courses. In arid regions, golf courses alone use approximately 750 billion gallons of water annually.

As most plants cannot tolerate high levels of salt, plant breeders are trying to breed plants that are more salt-tolerant. This would conserve clean water while maintaining healthy turf.

Associate professor Stacy Bonos (GSNB’97) in the Department of Plant Biology and Pathology and members of her lab are conducting a series of experiments to study salt tolerance in perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.). Perennial ryegrass is a popular wear-tolerant turfgrass used in mixtures and as a popular seed to repair disturbed and weak turf areas. Bonos’ team has found that tolerance is strongly controlled by additive genetic effects rather than environmental effects. This knowledge is good news for breeders, making it easier to breed for salt tolerance. [Read more…]

New York City’s Chief Zika Hunter, Dr. Jennifer Rakeman (CC’94)

Dr. Jennifer Rakeman, director for the New York City Public Health Laboratory,

Dr. Jennifer Rakeman, director for the New York City Public Health Laboratory,

When the Zika virus emerged in the U.S. this year, Dr. Rakeman faced different demands than she did with the Ebola crisis in 2014.  She had to quickly training staff to probe for signs of a little-understood virus that lurks for only a short time in urine samples and even more briefly in blood. Public health laboratories and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are among the only facilities equipped to test for the Zika virus, which is spread by a certain species of infected mosquito and it is Rakeman’s job to make sure every test result is 100% correct. “We’ve gone from getting zero Zika specimens to getting hundreds a day,” she said.

Originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal, August 6, 2016

Alumni Story: Jonathan Kolby (CC’03) – Friend of the Frogs

Jonathan Kolby with frog.

Jonathan Kolby with frog.

When he was a young boy, Jonathan Kolby spent most of his free hours outdoors “running around in the woods, catching frogs and turtles.” Not much has changed since then, although now he spends his time in the wetlands of such places as Honduras, Nicaragua, Australia and Kenya, studying the diseases that are threatening the very existence of amphibians worldwide.

Growing up in Union, New Jersey, Jonathan got an early start on his work with amphibians. At age 15, he had the opportunity to join James Lazell of The Conservation Agency, a Rhode Island-based 501(c)(3), on an expedition to survey reptile and amphibian biodiversity in Hong Kong and China. That experience cemented his interest and directed his future career in research.

He chose Rutgers and the George H. Cook Campus for college because “it is in a really green spot in New Jersey and offered the courses in biological sciences that would advance my personal interest in amphibians,” he says.

After graduating in 2003 with a degree in biological sciences, he went to work for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and came across the National Geographic Young Explorers program, which awards scientists between the ages of 18 and 25 grants of up to $5,000 for field research around the globe. Successful in his grant application, Jonathan used the funds to travel to Honduras to determine whether endangered frogs were infected by the pathogenic chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis or Bd), a scourge that is wiping out amphibian populations around the globe. [Read more…]

Prof. Emeritus Tom Montville (CC’75) Wins International Lifetime Food Industry Award

Tom Montville.

Tom Montville.

Thomas Montville, distinguished professor emeritus in the Department of Food Science, is the recipient of the 2016 President’s Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Association for Food Protection. He is best known for his pioneering mechanistic work on the antimicrobial peptides (bacteriocins) of lactic acid bacteria and their applications to the safety of food systems.

In recognition of this body of work, he was also awarded the Institute of Food Technologist’s Bernard L. Oser Award for Food Ingredient Safety.

Tom has spent more than half of his life on the Cook/Douglass campus, first as an undergraduate (CC’75) and then as a faculty member. After graduating from Rutgers, he earned his doctoral degree from M.I.T. after which he served as a senior research microbiologist at the USDA. In 1984, Tom returned to Rutgers where he served as director of the graduate program and chair of the Department of Food Science. [Read more…]

Female Golf Course Superintendents: New Jersey Leads the Way With Several Rutgers Grads

Tammy Stephens, head super at Warrenbrook Golf Course in Warren, NJ.

Tammy Stephens, head superintendent at Warren Brook Golf Course in Warren, NJ.

When Jo-Ann Eberle became head superintendent in 1984 at Sunset Valley Golf Course in Pequannock, she was a rarity—first female head super in New Jersey and the Northeastern United States.

More than 30 years later, New Jersey boasts all of three female head supers in Rebecca Hawkins at Darlington Golf Course in Mahwah, Diane Elwood at Bel-Aire Golf Course in Wall and Tammy Stephens at Warren Brook, but three more ladies are serving as assistant superintendents and are members of the New Jersey section of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America.

They are Jessica Hall at Rockaway River Country Club n Denville, Valerie Lawrence of Spring Brook Country Club in Morristown and Jennifer Torres, who works for New Jersey’s Spirit Golf Management at Makefield Highlands in Yardley, Pa.

[Read more…]

Balancing Passions, a Rutgers-trained Scientist Heads for the Future

Talia Young, on a research trip to Mongolia. Photo: Talia Young.

Talia Young, on a research trip to Mongolia. Photo: Talia Young.

Acquiring new knowledge and sharing it with high school students have marked Talia Young’s journey

Talia Young (GSNB’16), a newly minted Rutgers Ph.D. in ecology, studies fish and their relationship to the people and communities that depend on them.

She’s also passionate about acquiring new knowledge and sharing it with young people, which is what has led her to move between research and teaching since her undergraduate days at Swarthmore College. Now preparing for postdoctoral work at Princeton University, Young spent her last several weeks as a Rutgers graduate student co-teaching, with help from Kristin Hunter-Thomson in 4-H Youth Development, a mini-course on mathematics applications in fisheries science in a Philadelphia high school – the same one she taught biology in before going to graduate school. The course was partly funded by the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Natural Resources and the Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences.

[Read more…]