Alumni Story: Andrea Cochran’s Journey from Art to ‘Artist of the Land’

Andrea Cochran

Andrea Cochran

Editor’s Note: In this series of alumni accounts prepared by the Office of Alumni and Community Engagement, a thread that binds them is the recurring reference to the enormous transformational impact our students have experienced during their days at Rutgers. This is one of those stories.

It is June 2014. The year is just half over, and Andrea Cochran (CC ’76) already has received two very important honors for her work as a landscape architect: a 2014 National Design Award, conferred by the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, and a 2014 Design Medal from the American Society of Landscape Architects. [Read more...]

Alumni Story: For Amanda Szucsik (Cook ’01), Working with Lab Animals Ignites a Dream

Amanda Szucsik with a Savannah Monitor Lizard, the main experimental model she studied in grad school.

Amanda Szucsik with a Savannah Monitor Lizard, the main experimental model she studied in grad school.

The Department of Animal Sciences invites alumni to share their stories as they pursue their work or interests after graduation. The following is adapted from a story written by Amanda Szucsik, Class of 2001.

My name is Amanda Szucsik.  I am 34 years old and was recently admitted (Class of 2018) to North Carolina State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. NCSU is the only veterinary school in the U.S. to offer a focused, tracking curriculum in laboratory animal medicine. I am very, very excited to begin this next chapter in my life and can hardly believe that this dream is finally coming true!

I am firmly committed to the pursuit of a specialty in laboratory animal medicine post-graduation. I never would have arrived at this juncture in my life had it not been for the Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences’ Department of Animal Sciences. [Read more...]

Rutgers Cooperative Extension Welcomes Back Retirees to Celebrate 100th Anniversary

Former and current Rutgers Cooperative Extension directors, John Gerwig (left) and Larry Katz cut the cake commemorating the 100th anniversary of Extension.

Former and current Rutgers Cooperative Extension directors John Gerwig (left) and Larry Katz cut the cake at the retiree event commemorating the 100th anniversary of Extension.

This year, as Rutgers Cooperative Extension (RCE) celebrates the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Smith-Lever Act of 1914 that created the Cooperative Extension Service, what better way to commemorate its history than to invite back those who were part of its past? To this end, a luncheon for RCE retirees was held at Neilson Dining Hall on the Cook/Douglass campus on June 20. Fifty retirees and their guests attended the event, reuniting with former and current RCE colleagues.

The retirees were former faculty and staff that represented all facets of RCE administration, its extension specialists and the ARMA, FCHS and 4-H departments. Current RCE department heads were on hand to provide updates on institutional activities while Executive Dean Bob Goodman and RCE Director Larry Katz discussed extension’s anniversary and the current state of affairs.

While the retirees appeared to enjoy active and fulfilling retirements, a few never strayed far from Rutgers, continuing work in their respective fields. Retired Extension Specialist in Vegetable Crops Mel Henninger coordinates the educational program for the annual New Jersey Vegetable Meeting (Atlantic Coast Ag Convention and Trade Show) in Atlantic City and is also working with Agricultural Agent Dave Lee on corn and soybean trials at Rutgers Snyder Farm. Recently retired Agricultural Agent Rich Obal (GSNB ’77) teaches courses for the Rutgers Office of Continuing Professional Education and continues his involvement with the Rutgers Master Gardener program. [Read more...]

Alumni Story: Two Recent Grads Take ‘Growing Up’ to New Heights

Michael A. Coraggio (Left) and Ryan M. Burrows (right)

Michael A. Coraggio (Left) and Ryan M. Burrows (right)

The concept of living walls – also called vertical gardens – isn’t entirely new, but Michael Coraggio (Cook ’06) and Ryan Burrows (GSNB ’13) have turned it into an innovative business that promotes beauty and sustainability with practical and environmentally sound applications.

First “invented” in the 1930s, a living wall turns an impervious vertical surface into an attractive and ecologically beneficial space. This architectural approach has surged in popularity in recent years, especially in urban settings with scarce green areas, office buildings and other structures that beg for aesthetic improvement.

Their business, EcoWalls®, takes a soil-less, hydroponic approach to growing and maintaining a vertical garden, rather than using soil or other media. The advantage is that a non-soil medium allows for more consistent results and, unlike soil, does not break down or decay. This reduces maintenance and replacement costs. [Read more...]

Rutgers Alumnus (GSNB ’12) Named Executive Director of U.S. Botanic Garden

Ari Novy, GSNB '12, is a plant biologist.

Ari Novy, GSNB ’12, is a plant biologist.

The Architect of the Capitol, the unit that administers the United States Botanic Garden, announced last week the appointment of Ari Novy, Ph.D., as executive director of the Garden.

Novy’s connection with Rutgers goes back to 2006 when he began working as a graduate research fellow. He received his doctorate in 2012 from the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences’ Department of Plant Biology and Pathology. His dissertation director was Jean Marie Hartman of the Department of Landscape Architecture, where he also served as a teaching assistant.

In his new position, Novy is responsible for leading and planning day-to-day operations and major programs at the U.S. Botanic Gardens. [Read more...]