Alumni Story: Ratemo Michieka, Sharing His Education

Editor’s Note: One of the most prestigious honors conferred on alumni of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is induction into the Hall of Distinguished Alumni. The School of Environmental and Biological Sciences is proud of its 16 HDA honorees. This is one of a series of stories about them.

Ratemo Michieka.

Ratemo Michieka.

As an adventurous young man, Ratemo Michieka left his home in Kenya to travel to the United States and to Rutgers to study agronomy, attracted to the university “because of its excellent reputation” even as far away as East Africa.

As the story goes, his parents were peasant farmers who used the income from their farm to educate him. His father told the then 10-year-old Ratemo that the only way out of the village was to get a good education. Ratemo worked briefly for a bank after high school but soon made his way to New Brunswick, where he earned his B.S. in 1974 in agriculture, a master’s degree in agricultural education and vocational technical agriculture, and a Ph.D. in weed science.

He recalls: “The courses I took in agriculture and environmental sciences were – and still are – the most appropriate and applicable in many countries and, especially, in Kenya where natural resources are vital for the world community. That was well known in East Africa. Many faculty here have benefitted from a Rutgers education. [Read more...]

What’s in Season from the Garden State: Making Bucks from Clucks, Not Books

Student Sustainable Farm interns (l-r) Angela Polites, Peter Canavan and David Perotti.

Student Sustainable Farm interns (l-r) Angela Polites, Peter Canavan and David Perotti.

Historically, young people were taught a trade by serving as apprentices or learning the ropes from a relative in a family business. While modern education emphasizes learning through books, classroom and lab experience, academia has increasingly embraced the value of hands-on involvement and commonly provides students opportunities for fieldwork or internships.

Agricultural entrepreneurship offers its own unique set of challenges, since there is a business management component in addition to agricultural production. What better way for modern-day college students to learn both aspects than to run their own agricultural enterprises, right on the college farm? At the Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (SEBS), a number of ag entrepreneurship opportunities have “cropped up” over the years. [Read more...]

Rutgers Turfgrass Breeding Program Director Wins Industry IMPACT Award

L-R: Phil Simon (University of Wisconsin), Bill Meyer with the NAPB IMPACT Award and Rita Mumm (University of Illinois).

L-R: Phil Simon (University of Wisconsin), Bill Meyer with the NAPB IMPACT Award and Rita Mumm (University of Illinois).

William Meyer, professor in the Department of Plant Biology and Pathology and director of the Rutgers Turfgrass Breeding Project, was awarded the 2014 National Association of Plant Breeders (NAPB) Impact Award at the association’s annual meeting held in Minneapolis, MN, on August 8.  According to the NAPB, its Impact Award “recognizes an individual active in the plant breeding field that has shown exceptional accomplishments in their research, teaching and collaborations with others.”

In addition to the NAPB Impact Award, Meyer has received many accolades, including the New Jersey Turfgrass Association Hall of Fame Award in 2009 and the Golf Course Superintendent’s Association John Morley Service Award in 2006. [Read more...]

IFNH Launches Innovative Partnership with ChopChop Kids, Award Winning Children’s Anti-Obesity Organization

The New Jersey Institute for Food, Nutrition, and Health (IFNH) at Rutgers has joined forces with ChopChop Kids, an innovative children’s media organization, to educate young people about health and nutrition in a new partnership that will build on the strengths of both organizations.

Chop Chop magazine logo.

ChopChop Kids magazine logo.

The partnership encompasses quarterly custom editions of ChopChop Magazine, a health communications fellowship program and video communications. ChopChop Magazine features plenty of child friendly recipes, proper cooking practices, fitness instruction and exciting food choices for children to explore. Additional opportunities for symposia, research and collaboration with the institute’s new Center for Childhood Nutrition Education & Research, which is dedicated to educating children about nutrition, are envisioned.

“We are delighted to work with our partners at IFNH,” said Sally Sampson, president and founder of ChopChop Kids. “The alignment in our missions, plus our experience in communities across the U.S. in addressing childhood obesity, can have tremendous impact as the institute focuses on ways to stem the epidemic of obesity and rise in obesity-related disorders such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.”

Peter Gillies, founding director of the IFNH, said “ChopChop brings a fresh and direct approach to educating children and families about health and nutrition through the pages of its magazine and its connection to cooking. We believe distribution of the magazine along with other communications efforts will help us reach out to the community.”

[Read more...]

Rutgers Welcomes the First STRIDE Scholars From the Philippines

L-R: STRIDE scholars Richard Licayan, Arlan Rodeo, Micaela Perlada and  Peter Tenido with Prof. Mark Robson.

L-R: STRIDE scholars Richard Licayan, Arlan Rodeo, Micaela Perlada and Peter Tenido with Prof. Mark Robson.

This week Rutgers welcomes the first three STRIDE scholars from the Philippines. These three students, Micaela Cristina Perlada, Arlan James Rodeo and Peter Immanuel Tenido are part of the Professional Science Master’s (PSM) program here at Rutgers. The university in a partner in a five year, $32 million project though a U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) grant. The grant, USAID Science, Technology, Research and Innovation for Development (STRIDE), focuses on economic development, science and technology investment and training of young scientists in the Philippines.

The Rutgers component is lead by Mark Robson, professor of plant biology and pathology at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (SEBS) and dean of agricultural and urban programs. According to Robson, the Rutgers portion includes the development of 10 Professional Science Master’s program in the Philippines as well as assist in training 55 young Filipino scientists who will come to the U.S. for the Master’s in Business and Science (MBS) degree. [Read more...]