Register for a DAM Lecture with the College of Agricultural Sciences! "DAM" Lecture stands for "Demonstrative Academic Mock" Lecture. These sessions are designed to give you a sneak peek of what a college lecture is like within the College of Agricultural Sciences. Join us to hear faculty hear about the cool research and projects they're working on!

January 5th – 4-5pm

“How one bad nut impacted the entire food system”

Joy Waite-Cusic – Associate Professor, Food Safety Systems, Food Science and Technology


Presentation Description: How much impact can one company have on the entire food system? We will explore the answer to this question by a presentation of the 2008-2009 Salmonella outbreak linked to the Peanut Butter Corporation of America that caused over 700 illnesses and 9 deaths in the US. We will explore the cause of the contamination, the falsification of records, the dispersion of adulterated product throughout the country, and the eventual precedent-setting trial of the CEO that is currently serving a 28 year prison sentence.

Bio: Joy Waite-Cusic is an Associate Professor in the Department of Food Science and Technology at Oregon State University. Joy runs a comprehensive food safety program to address research, extension, and teaching needs from farm-to-fork that supports producers, processors, and consumers.  She has published over 30 peer-reviewed publications on applied food microbiology topics ranging from survival of E. coli during onion harvest to inactivation of Salmonella during jerky processing.  Joy is an active member of Oregon’s Farm Food Safety team to support farm compliance with the Produce Safety Rule and is key personnel in the Western Regional Center to Enhance Food Safety.  Joy also serves as Oregon’s Statewide Specialist for the Master Food Preserver Program.

January 12th – 4-5pm

Reproductive Strategies of Flowering Plants

Ryan Contreras - Associate Professor of Ornamental Plant Breeding – Horticulture


Presentation Description: You have noticed flowers on plants in the landscape and probably seen pollen floating around from conifers or stuck to a bee. But have you ever considered the almost dizzying array of strategies plants exhibit to ensure reproductive success, while also prioritizing genetic diversity? Have you ever wondered how your local elm, maple, or holly gets pollinated to produce those fruits and seeds that follow flowers? Join this discussion to learn about sex expression, timing, placement, and other strategies flowering plants use to reproduce.

Bio: Ryan’s teaching and research focuses on woody landscape plants.  He teaches core courses including plant propagation, plant growth and development, and landscape plant identification.  He established the Ornamental Plant Breeding Program, which develops new cultivars of woody shrubs and trees to improve traits such as disease resistance, habit, fragrance, reduced fertility, and much more.  He has developed a diverse program including breeding efforts in nearly 50 genera – a number that continues to grow.  The overarching goal is for the research to directly support and enhance the success of nursery producers, landscapers, and consumers while expanding the scientific body of knowledge.

February 25th – 4-5pm

Presentation Title – Learning How to Grow Plants

Alec Kowalewski – Associate Professor, Turfgrass Specialist (Giustina Endowed) - Horticulture


Presentation Description: Are you hoping to learn how to grow plants, or are you looking to take your horticultural knowledge to the expert level? Whether you are budding horticulturalist or a seasoned plant grower the Department of Horticulture at OSU will teach you how to plant, grow and manage a variety of specialty Oregon crops like a boss... hazelnuts, blueberries, landscape ornamentals, grapes and turfgass to name a few. Join me for a quick outline of what opportunities the OSU Department of Horticulture has to offer to propel you into the Northwest Horticultural Industry.

Bio: Dr. Alec Kowalewski has over 10 years of teaching experience, and 17 years of research experience. Alec teaches undergraduate classes in the Department of Horticulture on a variety of subjects including irrigation, plant nutrition, career development in horticulture and turfgrass management. Alec directs the turfgrass research program at Oregon State University. The objectives of this research program are improving the environmental and economic sustainability of turfgrass management.

March 4th – 4-5pm

Are payments for ecosystem services a win-win? Evidence from Mexico’s national program

Jennifer Alix-Garcia, Professor and Department Head, Applied Economics


Presentation Description: Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) are an important policy tool for global efforts to protect biodiversity and reduce deforestation or land-cover change. PES programs change landowner incentives by offering compensation in exchange for conservation of ecosystem services such as watershed protection, biodiversity conservation and carbon sequestration. In this talk Dr. Alix-Garcia will present results from 4 different studies that she has conducted examining the impact of Mexico’s PES program on both deforestation and household economic well-being. Can PES provide win-win outcomes for both the environment and for poverty alleviation? You will have to attend to find out! Visit the Applied Economics Department website to learn more.

Bio: Jennifer Alix-Garcia is a microeconomist with interests in economic development and the environment. Her work includes analysis of land use change and policies to address it, the impacts of forced migration, and the use of satellite data in economic analysis. She has published over 30 peer-reviewed papers in the leading field journals of environmental economics, economic history, public economics, development economics, and economic geography, as well as in general interest economics journals and major science outlets. She is presently an editor of the leading journal in environmental and resource economics – the Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists.