Alumni Story: Zaid Abuhouran (SEBS ’12): Eyes on the White House

Zaid Abuhouran

Zaid Abuhouran

Zaid Abuhouran is headed for the White House – but not by way of a political campaign. Starting in July he will be on a six-month rotation with the White House’s Domestic Policy Council in the education office, working with President Obama’s team of close advisors on U.S. educational issues.

This plum assignment is part of Zaid’s internship with the Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) program, a highly competitive two-year training and development opportunity with the federal government. The prestigious program, launched in 1977, seeks “to attract to federal service outstanding citizen-scholars from a variety of academic disciplines and career paths who have a clear interest in, and commitment to, excellence in the leadership and management of public policies and programs,” according to the program’s website. [Read more…]

Former Essex County Agriculture Agent John Kupcho Honored For Distinguished Service to Agriculture

L-R: Richard Norz, President of the NJ State Board of Agriculture, John Kupcho and NJ Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher.

L-R: Richard Norz, President of the NJ State Board of Agriculture, John Kupcho and Douglas Fisher, New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture. Photo courtesy of NJDA.

Douglas H. Fisher

Source: New Jersey Department of Agriculture

John (Jack) Kupcho of West Caldwell, retired Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Essex County Agricultural Agent, was honored February 4 with a Distinguished Service Citation to New Jersey Agriculture at the State Agricultural Convention held in Atlantic City.

“Jack Kupcho changed the way farmers do business in New Jersey, helping to guide the industry toward direct marketing and high value crops,” said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher. “The state agriculture industry owes a lot to Jack. He has been an innovator who has inspired younger agriculture agents as well as farmers.”

Jack Kupcho (GSNB – Soils and Crops ’74) earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ornamental Horticulture from the University of Tennessee. He received his Master of Science in Environmental Science and Urban Planning from Rutgers University. He currently holds the title of Professor Emeritus at Rutgers. [Read more…]

Mark Robson and Karl Matthews Appointed SEBS Department Chairs

Announcement from Robert M. Goodman, Executive Dean of the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences

Mark Robson

Mark Robson

It is with great pleasure that I announce the appointment of two new department chairs in our school, and also extend heartfelt thanks to those stepping down as chairs.

The next chair of the Department of Plant Biology and Pathology is Dr. Mark Robson. Mark is a highly active research and teaching scholar with a strong record also of professional and university service. He sustains a strong and well-funded research program focused on agricultural issues in South and Southeast Asia. He recently stepped down as Dean of Agricultural and Urban Programs; during the time he held that position he played a key leadership role in rebuilding our “new” major in Agriculture and Food Systems. Mark is also highly engaged as an instructor and student (grad and undergrad) advisor. He will continue to play his roles in cooperative extension where he has oversight supporting county mosquito control programs and selected other aspects in the area of public health. Mark’s appointment as department chair is effective January 1, 2015. [Read more…]

Rutgers Research on Nature in Cities Featured in National Magazine

Myla Aronson at an urban field site on the Rahway River, NJ.

Myla Aronson at an urban field site on the Rahway River, NJ.

Myla Aronson (GSNB ‘07 Ph.D.), research scientist in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources, has conducted far-reaching research that shows cities are not concrete jungles but instead harbor a variety of native birds and plants. Her work supports the argument that planning greenspaces in cities with biodiversity in mind benefits both people and nature. Read more about Aronson’s groundbreaking study of biodiversity in cities across the globe in National Wildlife magazine.

Sustainable Farming on the Urban Fringe: A Winter’s Tale of Two Fields

Two fields on opposite sides of one road.

Two fields on opposite sides of the same road.

Jack Rabin (CC ’78), NJAES director of farm programs, shares “Farm Calls” on the Sustainable Farming on the Urban Fringe blog. A picture is worth a thousand words in this post on cover crops.

This fall, a leading Jersey vegetable grower asked, “What’s with all the recent media hype about cover crops? I’m getting ads, USDA NRCS promotions and trade magazine articles about something we already know all about.”

He’s not alone in holding this opinion; ag agents have come to similar conclusions. “We know about cover crops. Farmers know about cover crops. Cover crops have been researched, demonstrated, and their costs and benefits established for over a century. There’s nothing innovative for growers and nothing new to teach.”

The thing is, many growers haven’t adopted cover crops. For example, take the fields I came across while driving down to a recent meeting. Who can resist checking out other farmers’ fields while traveling, whether it’s your neighbor down the road or fields far from home? On this detour, there were hundreds of acres seeded with a cover crop mix of cereal rye and oilseed radish (aka tillage radish). But, something caught my eye so I stopped to take a look. [Read more…]