Edible Jersey Profiles the ‘Rutgers Scarlet’ Strawberry: The Jersey Berry

Bill Hlubik, Middlesex County agricultural agent

Bill Hlubik, Middlesex County agricultural agent

If Bill Hlubik has his way, there will be strawberry fields forever— or at least a little longer each year— in the Garden State. Hlubik and his team at the Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station hope to someday introduce new varieties that will extend the growing season beyond the traditional four weeks for June-bearing strawberries. For now, however, it’s all about the flavor. Read more at Edible Jersey.


Alumni Story: Peggy Policastro (GSNB’93,’15) – Food with Thought

Peggy Policastro

Fortunate is the person who can parlay a childhood fascination into an academic and professional career. Peggy Policastro is a fortunate person.

Peggy, a registered dietician, is the nutritionist for Rutgers Dining Services, and the director of behavioral nutrition with the Institute for Food, Nutrition, and Health (IFNH). She also holds a master’s degree in nutritional science from Rutgers and what she describes as a first-of-its-kind Ph.D. in interdisciplinary studies-nutritional science and psychology.

The interdisciplinary doctorate is a relatively new concept for the Graduate School-New Brunswick that requires the aspiring doctoral candidate to devise a course of studies and to get approval from the authorities of each academic program or department involved in the curriculum.

Why go through all the effort? In Peggy’s case it was because of her intense curiosity about not only what people eat, but also why they eat what they eat.

As part of her work, she directs the Rutgers Healthy Dining Team and the IFNH Student Ambassadors, teams of undergraduates studying nutritional sciences who are selected for their ability to reach out to students, stakeholders, the community, and others to encourage healthful eating. [Read more…]

Recalling the Life of Karl Maramorosch: 1915-2016

Karl MaramososchKarl Maramorosch, professor emeritus and renowned scholar, died on May 9, 2016, at the age of 101. Well known to the Rutgers community and active in teaching and research up until recently, he was known throughout the world as an eminent virologist, entomologist, and plant pathologist. His Rutgers “home” for the past several years was the Department of Entomology. He’s won multiple awards and accolades but his proudest moment came in 1980 when he was awarded the Wolf Prize, widely considered agriculture’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize, “for his pioneering and wide-ranging studies on interactions between insects and disease agents in plants.” His fascinating life was profiled here on the eve of the celebration last year of his 100th birthday.

Below is a tribute and obituary prepared by his colleague and friend Randy Gaugler, distinguished professor in the Department of Entomology.

Professor emeritus and renowned scholar Karl Maramorosch was born January 16, 1915, and died of natural causes on May 9, 2016, at the age of 101 while visiting friends in Poland. He was born in Vienna where his family had fled at the outbreak of World War I to evade the advancing Tsarist Army. After the war the family returned to their farm in eastern Poland where Karl attended primary and secondary schools, graduating from the Moniuszko Conservatory of Music in 1934. He considered becoming a concert pianist but followed his father’s footsteps in agriculture and entered Warsaw University, graduating magna cum laude in agricultural engineering in 1938. The same year he married his college sweetheart, Irene Ludwinowska, who was his steadfast companion for the next 70 years until her death. His childhood dream of becoming a virologist was interrupted the following year when the Nazis, and subsequently the Soviets, invaded Poland. Karl and his young bride escaped across a heavily guarded bridge into Romania disguised as a Polish officer and his wife. In Romania, they were interred in refugee camps for the remainder of the war and where Karl became a skilled shoemaker. His parents, brother and 127 close relatives perished in the Holocaust.

[Read more…]

Paul Orbe (CC’94) Receives National Science Educator Award

Paul Orbe, (Cook College Class of 1994) receiving the 2016 Urban Science Educator Development Award from the National Science Teaching Association (NSTA) and Shell in Nashville, TN, May 2016

Paul Orbe, (Cook College Class of 1994) receiving the 2016 Urban Science Educator Development Award from the National Science Teaching Association (NSTA) and Shell in Nashville, TN, May 2016

Alumnus Paul Orbe (CC’94) was recently awarded the 2016 Urban Science Educator Development Award from the National Science Teaching Association (NSTA) and Shell Oil Company. Orbe received his award at the Teacher Awards Gala during the NSTA’s national conference on science education in Nashville, TN. The Shell Urban Science Educator Development Award was created specifically for K–12 classroom science teachers in urban settings and is designed to help strengthen quality science teaching and enhance teacher content knowledge.

Orbe previously won the NSTA-Bayer Fellowship and, since 2013, has conducted cutting-edge biopharmaceutical research and has participated in the Research Experience for Teachers program at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

Orbe teaches biology, chemistry and scientific research at the Academy for Enrichment and Advancement in Union City, NJ. Prior to becoming a teacher, he was an accomplished professional in health administration. Paul’s teaching philosophy centers around making students life-long learners.

NSTA, founded in 1944, is considered the largest organization of its kind committed to promoting excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all. Its current membership of 55,000 includes science teachers, science supervisors, administrators, scientists, business and industry representatives, and others involved in and committed to science education.


Dr. Jennifer Small Griswold (CC’02): Showing Us the Sky’s the Limit

Jennifer Small GriswoldWith ‘weather in her bones,’ a passion for teaching, and a flair for the Argentine tango, this multifaceted alumnus has faced adversity in her life and come out on top to inspire young scientists and earn the title #HeroProf!  She has worked at NASA studying cloud microphysics and precipitation processes, determining the contribution pollution makes to drought conditions, and is a faculty member of the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology in the Department of Meteorology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Originally appeared in the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly #HeroProf. Profiles

Rutgers WeatherWatcher Program: Sunny Skies in the Forecast

Tyler Case (SEBS'15) delivering a weather report from the Rutgers campus. Photo: Courtesy of Tyler Case.

Tyler Case (SEBS’15) delivering a weather report from the Rutgers campus. Photo: Courtesy of Tyler Case.

Since 2002, budding meteorologists who enroll at Rutgers get a head start on their careers thanks to a one-of-a-kind WeatherWatcher program where meteorology majors rub shoulders with non-meteorology undergrads who “live and learn” as peers tied together by their interest in weather broadcasting. One of several living-learning communities at Rutgers, the WeatherWatcher program is a partnership between the meteorology undergraduate program and the Rutgers University Television Network (RU-tv).

These “weather watchers” learn how to deliver daily pre-recorded weather broadcasts using the green screen in a professional television studio located on the first floor of Perry Hall, one of the residential dorms on the G. H. Cook Campus. Broadcasts are shared across the New Brunswick campus on RU-tv and streamed online.

Although open to non-meteorology students, the WeatherWatcher program has created a definite benefit for meteorology major Tyler Case (SEBS ’15). Case knew coming into Rutgers that he wanted to major in meteorology and work in the field, so he enrolled in the WeatherWathcher program in his first year. He valued the close-knit feeling of both the living-learning community and the meteorology program. “It’s not every day that you walk down the hall and your professors all know you by name.” [Read more…]

Six Alumni Honored in Annual Awards Ceremony

L-R: Elizabeth Ryan, Chris Dorko and Peter Tabbot, winners of the 2016 George Hammell Cook Distinguished Alumni award.

L-R: Elizabeth Ryan, Chris Dorko and Peter Tabbot, winners of the 2016 George Hammell Cook Distinguished Alumni award.

Six alumni who have demonstrated outstanding leadership, community service, academic acumen, and campus involvement were honored recently as George Hammell Cook Distinguished Alumni and Dennis M. Fenton Distinguished Graduate Alumni.

In an annual event hosted by the Cook Community Alumni Association, those with undergraduate degrees who were recognized include the following:

Christopher Dorko CC’94 – Chris is vice president and risk management resources officer with Berkeley Life Sciences in Ewing, NJ, and a professional firefighter in Summit, NJ. He also is an active volunteer in the Where Angels Play Foundation, building playgrounds in storm-ravaged communities as a result of Superstorm Sandy, as well as other locations.

After receiving his bachelor’s degree in environmental science, Chris went to work in the pharmaceutical industry, with responsibilities including site engineering, workplace safety, facility protection, loss prevention, and compliance. At Berkeley Life Sciences, he leads a team of highly sophisticated life sciences risk management professionals nationally who have specializations in such areas as industrial hygiene, infectious disease/biosafety, and fire protection. He has been a firefighter with the city of Summit for more than 15 years.

He was nominated for his alumni award by Heather O’Rourke CC’94, traffic reporter with WABC-TV Eyewitness News and a 2012 winner of the George Hammell Cook Distinguished Alumni Award. In accepting his award, Chris noted, “I can’t say enough about how much this school means to me and how much it helped me. It set me on my life sciences path, and I continue to be so proud of this school and what it contributes.” [Read more…]

Alumni Notes and Musings – Spring 2016

[Editor’s Note: These updates appeared in the Spring 2016 issue of Explorations, the magazine for alumni, donors, and friends.]

David Scarr AG’42 reports that he is widowed and lives in West Virginia near one of his sons. Following graduation and a stint in the Army, David obtained is doctor of veterinary medicine degree, practiced for some time and then joined the FDA, retiring as its chief of the food animal branch in the division of surveillance. This information comes from Class of 1942 correspondent Berne Rolston RC’42 of Los Angeles.

Bill Suter AG’43 was looking forward to attending the 2016 Alumni Reunion Weekend when he wrote last winter to Class of 1943 correspondent J. Domer Zerbe Jr. RC’43. The two were roommates in their freshman year.

John Brockett AG’52, GSNB’54 offers farm management consultation to fewer farmers these days at his farm in Lewistown, PA. He began the practice after retiring from the Penn State faculty in 1986. “I lost my wonderful wife to Alzheimer’s dementia three years ago,” he writes. “Due to aides and our eight children, I was able to keep her with me until the last three months. My children and grandchildren do their best to help me cope.” His wife, the former Mary Allen, was a Douglass student when they met at a campus dance. She dropped out but went on to graduate from Penn State “25 years and seven kids later.” This report comes from Class of 1952 correspondent Bob Comstock RC’52, of Redding, CT.

Fred Quick AG’53, GSNB’63 attended the annual Theta Chi reunion this past September in Hellerstown, PA. He has given up flying and has sold his airplane, but he is still working, according to Class of 1953 correspondent Jim Van Vliet ENG’53 of Center Valley, PA.

Jay Kowalski AG’62 spent time with classmates at a meeting of the Varsity R Letterwinners Association prior to the 2015 football homecoming game against Kansas, according to Class of 1962 correspondent Geoffrey Gould, RC’62, GSE’66 ’74 of Vestal, NY.

Sam Schlesinger AG’67 meets regularly in Bordentown, NJ, with fellow members of the Lamda Chi Alpha fraternity to reminisce about their time living in the Heights and share news of their latest activities, according to Class of 1966 correspondent Larry Benjamin RC’66 of Freehold, NJ.

After a career with Johnson & Johnson, Ted Graboski AG’67, GSNB’70 returned to school in 1985 for a degree in theology and ordination as a minister in the Assembly of God Church. He has served churches in New Jersey and Delaware and does a prayer and education ministry with the Victory Christian Fellowship in New Castle, DE. Rev. Graboski’s eldest daughter has retired from the Air Force; his middle daughter is an early childhood teacher; and his youngest is in the IT field, installing network printing systems. His wife died in 2009. This report comes from Class of 1967 correspondent Mike Moran RC’67.

Seth Goldsmith CC’74 is retired from Dole Fresh and lives in Monterey, CA. He reports that he has refurbished his home and recently attended a Grateful Dead concert in Santa Clara, CA. Rick Stier AG’74, class correspondent, reported that he and his family were honored this past September by the Rutgers University Alumni Association with a Legacy Award, which recognizes families with multiple generations of Rutgers graduates. His family history goes back to his grandfather, Wilhelm Rudolph Fuerchtgott Stier RC 1913, and continues with his niece, Charlotte Whitehead, who is in the Class of 2017. She followed her brother Edward Whitehead CC’11 to the university.

John “Rusty” Gilbert Jr. CC’77 is general manager of technology deployment and adoption for Chevron’s technology venture company. Daniel Van Abs CC’77 joined the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences’ Department of Human Ecology, having retired in 2012 from New Jersey state government.

Don Knezick CC’79, GSNB’84, president of Pinelands Nursery in Columbus, NJ, was honored with the Farmer-Rancher Pollinator Award by the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign of the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD). Don was presented the award by NACD President Lee McDaniel and Victoria Wojcik, Ph.D., at an evening reception during the pollinator protection campaign’s annual conference at the Department of the Interior in Washington, DC. This annual award recognizes individuals who have contributed significantly to pollinator protection, conservation, and issue outreach resulting in increased awareness of the importance of pollinators and pollination within the agricultural community.

Fernando De Aragon CC’80, GSNB’84 is the author of Dos Santos, a historical novel set in the first year of the Spanish colonization of Puerto Rico. The author lives in Ithaca, NY. To learn more about the novel, visit dossantosnovel.weebly.com.

Laura Bishop CC’81 was appointed to the Rowan University College of Communication and Creative Arts advisory board. The board supports the college and its missions by offering counsel and assistance and advocating on the college’s behalf. She also was appointed to the American Red Cross Board of Directors, Southwestern Chapter, in Pennsauken, NJ.

Vivian Baker CC’83 reports that she underwent a kidney transplant in February 2015 at New York Presbyterian University Hospital in New York City. She writes: “I was lucky to receive a living kidney donated by a coworker! Both he and I are doing very well. I urge all alums to consider becoming organ, eye and/or tissue donors. It is very easy to do; simply sign up the next time you need to renew your driver’s license. The greatest gift you will ever give is the gift of life!”

Joseph Pennucci CC’84 has been appointed chief probation officer of the Lynn, MA, District Court by Massachusetts Commissioner of Probation Edward J. Dolan. In his new role, he will manage the operations of the Lynn District Court Probation Department and a staff of 24, including two assistant chief probation officers, 14 probation officers, and support staff. His Rutgers degree is in business economics.

Scott Ruhren CC’87, GSNB’98 has been director of conservation at the Audubon Society of Rhode Island for 11 years. In 2014 he received the Professional Conservationist of the Year award from the Southern Rhode Island Conservation District for work on projects in coastal marsh conservation and New England Cottontail habitat management.

Matthew Adams CC’04 is a partner in Fox Rothschild’s litigation practice group in the firm’s Roseland, NJ, office.

Greg Dahle GSNB’09 is a co-recipient of the International Society of Arboriculture’s Early-Career Scientist Award given to professionals showing exceptional promise in arboriculture research. Greg received his doctorate in ecology.

Alumni Notes and Musings – Fall 2015

[Editor’s note: These updates appeared in the Fall 2015 issue of Explorations, the magazine for alumni, donors, and friends.]

Bill Suter AG’43 has traveled much of the globe and enjoys gardening, birding, and volunteering at a local library. As to his gardening, tomatoes and strawberries top the list, according to class correspondent J. Domer Zerbe Jr. RC’43.

Sam Freiberg AG’48, GSNB’51 has celebrated both his 90th birthday and his 65th wedding anniversary. He has moved to an assisted living facility in Maryland and still stays active, reports Class of 1948 correspondent Bart Klion RC ’48.

Hank Hohenstein AG’53 and wife, Susan, have packed up and moved to Oregon as they grew “tired of the congestion and politics in California.” They are both healthy and stay active in mission work, both here and in Central Asia. Hank invites any fellow classmates en route to Crater Lake National Park to stop by his home in Shady Cove.  Norbert Pendergast AG’53, his wife, Pat, and their son, Glenn, have closed down and sold Willow Run Nursery and Garden Center. The business, located in Cresskill, NJ, was in the Pendergast family for three generations.

Lester Brown AG’55 announced that he has decided to step down as president of the Earth Policy Institute (EPI), the think tank he founded, and end its work as of July 1, 2015.  The Lester R. Brown Reading Room has been established in Martin Hall on the G.H. Cook Campus, housing the original English-language editions of his books as well as some 600 foreign language editions. Rutgers will also take over the hosting of EPI’s website, earth-policy.org, and maintain it as an archive.

Ray Dull AG’58, GSNB’60, is currently writing poetry, singing and enjoying regular get-togethers with friend and former classmate Bob Langford RC’58, says Bob Max, RC’58, GSE’78 class correspondent.

Many alumni from the Class of 1964 went to the Quick Lane bowl game in Detroit last December, including John Petronko AG’64. They watched the Scarlet Knights easily defeat the University of North Carolina and agreed that Rutgers exceeded expectations in our first year in the Big Ten, reports Class of 1964 correspondent Mark N. Busch RC’64. The Class of 1964 also supported with donations the new Honors College, which opened this fall on the College Avenue Campus. In response to the class’ generosity, the coffee shop in the Honors College will be named the Class of 1964 Coffee Bar.

Doug Campbell AG’65 retired as a colonel after 28 years of active service in the U.S. Army.  He is now spending his free time on his 1790 Pennsylvania farm house and property. This news comes to us from Class of 1965 correspondent Chuck Hennings RC’65.

 Rick Stier AG’74 and Class of 1974 correspondent is sad to report the passing of his father, Ted Stier ED’49, GSE’50. After his dad’s passing, Rick discovered a file documenting the history of how the Class of 1946 bought the cannon to Rutgers and the football stadium. The cannon, manned by students in Revolutionary War-style uniforms, is fired whenever Rutgers scores.

Heather Hoyns CC’77 celebrated 10 years of ownership of Evergreen Equine of Vermont in West Windsor, Vermont.  Michael Schiffer CC’77 lives in Dana Point, California, where he is vice president and deputy general counsel for Beckman Coulter Inc. The news of Heather and Michael comes to us from Class of 1977 Correspondent Marcia Smith Fleres RC’77, RBS’93.

Currently, Phil Scarpa CC’83, RWJMS’88, is president of the Aerospace Medical Association. It is the premier organization in the world dedicated to promoting the health, safety and performance of those involved in air, space and undersea travel. Gail Seigel CC’83 is author of Academania: My Life in the Trenches of Biomedical Research, a memoir of her time as an undergraduate researcher at Rutgers.

Lynn Luczkowski CC’84 is celebrating the 10-year anniversary of L2 Communications, a public relations and marketing consulting group..

Jill Nappi CC’87 is director of business development at Rizco Design, a branding and interactive agency in Manasquan, New Jersey.

The votes are in and Frank Newman CC’89 is one of Springfield, Missouri’s Top Doctors of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.

 Denise Mattes CC’90 is a landscape architect in the parks department in New York City. She is working with a few other Rutgers alumni on the mayor’s community initiative program.

As a coordinating producer in studio production at ESPN, Francine Rotella CC’92 works on shows such as NFL Primetime, NFL Live, NFL Insiders, and SportsCenter.

 Christopher Norton CC’95, ’96 joined the executive team of Defense Mobile Corporation, a new 4G wireless service provider available only to members of the military and veteran community. He is still serving in the U.S. Army Reserve and is active in veterans’ advocacy efforts.

 Joselyn Mormile CC’08 will be attending the University of Cape Town in South Africa to begin her Ph.D. She completed her master of science degree in primate conservation at Oxford Brookes University in Oxford, England, and is a licensed veterinary technician.

Be sure to hold April 29 to May 1, 2016, for Alumni Weekend. The annual event will coincide with Rutgers Day/Ag Field Day on April 30, 2016, and promises to be the best ever as Rutgers celebrates its 250th anniversary, featuring the best work of our students, faculty and staff. It will mark the 50th anniversary of the Class of 1966, so plan to visit then.

Kenneth Possenriede CC’82 – Opening Doors

Ken and Jennifer Possenriede.

Ken and Jennifer Possenriede.

Donors who support scholarships for higher education consistently designate their gifts for second-year students and above, subscribing to the theory that these students have demonstrated an academic track record that makes them deserving of scholarship support.

In the case of Ken Possenriede (CC’82) and his wife Jennifer (DC’83), however, their longtime and generous scholarship assistance is deliberately focused on incoming, first-year students as an incentive to excellence.

The Kenneth and Jennifer Possenriede Recruitment Scholarship for students in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences is designed “to open doors for the best and brightest students” to the kind of rigorous academic program offered by the School, says Ken Possenriede.

An intensely loyal alumnus, Ken envisions Rutgers University being recognized as a “public ivy”— in the same category as the University of Michigan. He knows both institutions well, having received his bachelor’s degree in business economics from Rutgers and his MBA from Michigan. [Read more…]