The College of Agricultural Sciences represents a talented, multidisciplinary group of professionals across the entire state of Oregon. During these unpredictable and challenging times, our people continually demonstrate their tenacity, innovation and commitment to our students, our research, and our communities. In recognition of those efforts, we’ve launched the “Stay at Home Hero” award that will honor an individual every week who continually goes above and beyond in serving that commitment. It is open to all College staff and faculty. Nominations are accepted online and reviewed weekly. Recipients will receive a certificate and a gift card.
- Blaine Baker - Department of Botany and Plant Pathology
- Cody Buckman - Oak Creek Center for Urban Agriculture
- Debbie Burroughs - Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center (SOREC)
- Jim Ervin & Lydia Graber - Greenhouse Operations
- Ruth Milston-Clements - Department of Microbiology
- Pami Monnette - Lincoln County Small Farms/Home Horticulture Program Coordinator
- Arthur “Skip” Nyman - Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center in Burns
- Tjodie Richardson - Head advisor for the Applied Economics program
- Nicole Sanchez - Extension Service horticulture professor serving Klamath County
- Daniel Smith - Department of Food Science & Technology
- Debbie Sutor - Columbia Basin Agricultural Research Center
- Ashley Thompson - Assistant Professor of Horticulture and OSU Extension Regional Horticultural faculty for Wasco and Hood River
- Joy Waite-Cusic - Department of Food Science and Technology
- Susan Yeager - Professional and Continuing Education
- Central Oregon Research and Extension Center (COAREC)
- Fisheries and Wildlife COVID-19 Response Team
- Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center (HAREC)
- Olea Team: Javier Fernandez-Salvador, Heather Stoven, Neil Bell, Tessa Barker, Avery Pheil
- OWRI Smoke Exposure Team: Elizabeth Tomasino, Michael Qian, James Osborne, Alec Levin, and Patty Skinkis
- Warm Springs Agriculture & Community Gardening Team
- Statewide Wildfire Heroes
Department of Botany and Plant Pathology
On a regular day, Blaine is one of the main players in making sure that BPP runs smoothly, but this is even more true during the COVID-19 pandemic. While most of us are safely working from home, Blaine is one of the essential workers who is making sure that BPP and Cordley Hall run smoothly.
- He has organized and maintained the sanitation protocol for BPP so that essential workers who have to come to the building are confident that the common touch surfaces are cleaned regularly.
- He is facilitating the critical and essential operations of shipping and receiving for BPP and its many associated services including the OSU Plant Clinic, Nematode Testing Service, and the Sudden Oak Death Testing Service.
- He is regularly monitoring the building for alarms and warnings associated with temperature control facilities that are needed for long-term maintenance of research projects.
- Finally, he is playing an absolutely critical role in the BPP move to RWLB (Research Way Laboratory Building) and the renovation of Cordley Hall. This latter effort includes communicating with the staff in charge of the RWLB renovation, communicating with the staff in charge of the Cordley renovation, and ensuring safety as we schedule the move from Cordley to RWLB during a pandemic.
BPP is in a strong position to handle many of the current challenges because of Blaine.
Thank you, Blaine!
Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center in Burns
Skip is the Ranch Foreman and Herdsman at EOARC Burns. When “Shelter at Home” was announced, EOARC was in the midst of calving season, flood irrigation was occurring, and Skip was (and is) responsible for making sure all of our 300 cows and calves and other livestock are properly cared for. This includes:
- Daily feeding of animals
- Assuring water is accessible to all animals
- Processing calves born within the most recent 24 hours (catching, tagging, etc.)
Also, when spring flooding occurs, it is critical that someone is available to manage the flooding using available infrastructure. If this is not handled properly in a timely manner it can result in extensive water damage to facilities and can also threaten the well-being of livestock. As the shelter order extended into April, Skip's responsibilities and actions continued to expand by necessity. EOARC had to move our cow herd 45 miles from Burns to the 16,000 acre Experimental Range to get them out of the flooded meadows at EOARC Headquarters because there was no longer dry ground for the animals to access and the calves had to be vaccinated.
Skip was able to coordinate with existing staff to accomplish all these tasks in a timely manner while maintaining OSU and state of Oregon social distancing and travel policies. Skip has gone above and beyond and has been instrumental in helping maintain essential projects, services, and facilities at EOARC Burns. This all occurred seamlessly, and similar work continues to occur, and is a testament to Skip's commitment to OSU and EOARC.
Thank you, Skip!
Lincoln County Small Farms/Home Horticulture Program Coordinator
Lincoln County has many diverse needs. The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent sheltering-in-place orders elevated many of those needs. Pami responded immediately and saw the opportunity to both support small farms and food businesses while ensuring regional food systems were secure, sustainable, and inclusive. She knew she could do this by supporting a program for direct-buy locally grown and raised products.
To do this, Pami developed the Lincoln County Local Food Guide, which aims to provide community members with all of the resources they need to eat farm fresh foods from Lincoln County growers, ranchers, and fishers. She has promoted this via a website she built and also through radio publicity. On the Lincoln County Local Food Guide one can find an updated list of all the producers who are doing farm direct sales. Through the direct sales methods, Pami connects the community to farm stands, local food deliveries, U-pick, CSAs, whole/half pastured animals, and on-dock sales. These methods not only offer greater awareness for the consumer regarding where their food comes from, they also have offered accessibility to the community in a restricted travel environment and have promoted economic resiliency for small producers. Longer term, this is proving to be an ideal system to supplement farm sales in the geographically segmented micro-market economies of producers which exist along the coast. Pami’s local food guide covers the entire county and ensures that despite normal supply chain disruptions, Lincoln County residents have safe, reliable food systems and farmers have markets as restaurants have reduced their demand.
Pami’s innovative work has allowed Lincoln County residents and businesses to remain thriving and healthy during this otherwise challenging and unprecedented time.
Thank you, Pami!
Extension Service horticulture professor serving Klamath County
This week, we are proud to recognize Nicole Sanchez, an Extension Service horticulture professor serving Klamath County who has made and distributed more than 1,500 face coverings throughout her community since the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
According to a recent story by OSU’s extension communications writer, Kym Pokorny, she has cut, pressed and sewn face coverings and donated them to recipients like food pantries, a library, schools, senior centers, postal workers, farmers and a rural ambulance crew.
Nicole was quoted in the story saying, “Once the word got out, people came out of the woodwork looking for them. The school district thanked me on the local news and quietly asked for another 50 to 60. I’m also working to fill requests from local businesses and community groups.”
All of the materials for the face coverings are paid for out of Nicole’s own pocket and she is working on her own time as a volunteer to make and distribute them.
As her work in the community making and distributing face coverings has grown, Nicole has also found other opportunities to make connections and make a difference above and beyond her regular work duties.
The same story published by OSU’s Extension office, noted that one connection turned into a partnership. Nicole just started Garden Gab, an in-person event where people can ask questions and try to “stump the garden guru.” She held them at a coffee shop and as she was discussing putting the program online with the owner, she offered face coverings for his crew that matched their T-shirts. In exchange, she was offered a sponsorship to move the program online.
Thank you, Nicole!
Team Award—Fisheries and Wildlife COVID-19 Response Team: Selina Heppell, the head of the department, formed the Fisheries and Wildlife COVID-19 Response Team on March 11 to cover major departmental needs, including:
- HR and front office operations
- Advising undergraduates
- Advising graduates
The team comprised of five members:
Meeting regularly (daily from March 16 to April 3) they provided updates, identified problems to be solved, and formulated plans to keep the department running and informed. The Team also provided a clear pathway for communication for faculty, staff and graduate students, many of whom have sent notes of appreciation for our coordinated response and clarity of procedures, even when rapidly changing and sometimes conflicting information was coming from the University.
Thank you F&W COVID-19 Response Team!
Assistant Professor of Horticulture and OSU Extension Regional Horticultural faculty for Wasco and Hood River.
Over the past several months, Ashley has been instrumental in helping to develop educational webinars, resource materials as well as helping to provide access to critical PPE and cleaning supplies for the cherry and pear growers in the region. She has taken on this critical leadership role in close collaboration with local health departments, county governments, Wasco County Unified COVID-19 Command, Columbia Gorge Fruit Growers and other public and private agencies. Her work has been greatly appreciated by growers preparing for harvest and has had a direct impact on those important industries for our region and our state. The cherry and pear industries alone generate tens of millions of dollars to local economies and provide thousands of jobs.
Ashley is a remarkable example of OSU's mission to serve this state, its people and its communities.
Thank you, Ashley!
This week we recognize a team of heroes from our Federated Tribe of Warm Springs Extension service.
The partnership between the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs and Oregon State University has existed for over 50 years. A formal Memorandum of Understanding between the University and the Tribes provides support for the Extension Program
The Warm Springs Agriculture and Community Gardening team consists of Tracy Wilson, Ellise David, John Brunoe, and Olivia Davis.
Together, this interdisciplinary group has been working in collaboration with the Warm Springs Community Action Team to provide raised garden kits for tribal members. Warm Springs is a known food desert in the best of times. Given the pandemic, community members are even more at risk because of a lack of access to fresh food.
The team conducted a needs assessment to figure out supply, food preference, and technical support needs. They are now working on a safe plan for purchase and dissemination of materials and will be implementing a virtual curriculum around growing, preparing, and preserving food. The interdisciplinary collaboration is an important part of this project and includes both CAS faculty and others across different disciplines.
Thank you for all you do!
Department of Applied Economics
Tjodie is the head advisor for the Applied Economics program and also serves as the assistant to the director of the Applied Economics Graduate Program as well as serving as the department’s E-Campus advisor. According to her nominator, she is “ALWAYS available WHENEVER you need her.”
Her job usually requires a lot of face-to-face interaction with both undergraduate and graduate students, but she has been able to pull it off remotely. That takes a lot of creativity on the fly. Academic advising has many unique needs and is very personal in nature. There are not many existing online resources designed to meet those needs. Far fewer, at least, than for conventional teaching.
Tjodie's job responsibilities serve many broad needs. She is vital to the success of OSU undergraduates and graduate students in Agricultural Business Management (B.S.), Environmental Economics and Policy (B.S.), and Applied Economics (M.S. and Ph.D.) These are very unique degrees, and Tjodie knows all the detailed rules and policies. She knows every student by name and spends huge amounts of time with them (now virtually).
Of her many, many tasks, Tjodie also coordinates reviews of department enterprise budgets (electronically now, of course). She goes above to deliver service for her department and for the College.
We are extremely thankful to her for her incredible, behind the scenes work.
Thank you, Tjodie!
Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center (HAREC)
Tim Weinke, Cory Zita, and Dan Childs have all been nominated collectively TWICE. Located at the Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center (HAREC), the three have worked together to ensure the station remains open for business.
Tim, who serves as the farm manager, has gone above and beyond what anyone would have expected of him. He has continued to conduct all the research trials on station and has been ably assisted by Dan and Cory who have all been practicing social distancing, including not sharing equipment or vehicles. This has taken a coordinated effort and thanks to their commitment, only a few minor trials were abandoned on station this year.
In addition to conducting the trials, Tim and his team have maintained the facilities in pristine condition proving how efficient and effective they all are. Whenever their accomplishments are noted, they modestly respond that they are “just doing their job.” However, they are deserving of much more recognition for their heroic efforts.
According to one of their nominators, “While many of us write and work from the comfort of our home offices, they have been out and about farming, making sure all research plots are going, doing the work of 2, 3, or 4 people while we stay at home.”
Thank you, Tim, Cory and Dan!
This week we recognize Jim Ervin and Lydia Graber who work at the research greenhouses on the Corvallis campus.
When the university first shut down in response to COVID-19, both Jim and Lydia kept coming in to work to take care of the facility and research plants. Heeding safety protocols, they put much of the shade cloth up on the houses without much help to keep the greenhouses from overheating.
Together, they made plans to control and limit access to the greenhouses to keep people safe from unnecessary exposure. For example, they survey all of the user groups to see if greenhouse operations could water and care for their plants to enable users to stay at home. They also researched and developed new sanitation protocols as the greenhouse Worker Protection Safety Program is mandated to be done in person and is site specific.
Together, they have worked to ensure that research in the greenhouse could continue, creating a PowerPoint and Zoom meeting venue to use so that people who work in the greenhouses can stay safe, from both pesticide and potential COVID-19 exposure.
Thank you Jim and Lydia!
Columbia Basin Agricultural Research Center (CBARC)
This week we recognize Debbie (Deb) Sutor, the Office Manager at the Columbia Basin Agricultural Research Center (CBARC).
Deb has spearheaded the editing, promoting and coordinating of the CBARC virtual field day series. In light of the pandemic, traditional in-person field days were made impossible, but Deb’s pioneering approach helped to ensure stakeholders had access to information traditionally presented at these annual events, and became a model for other land grant universities. She not only taught herself video editing, but worked directly with Oregon wheat stakeholders to ensure they were comfortable navigating Zoom.
Since joining CBARC in 2016, Deb has been an invaluable member of the team. She’s helped bring two new programs to CBARC, resulting in seven new faculty and staff members. She swiftly navigates any accounting or administrative challenge we present her with and is widely acknowledged as the “go-to” teammate. Whether you need to order tractor parts or secure server space.
She also serves as the CBARC safety officer. During the COVID-19 pandemic, that role has become increasingly challenging with safety issues never faced before. After beginning the stay-at-home orders, Deb ensured every program had the tools and supplies needed to work at home effectively. She also ensures all CBARC programs have appropriate PPE and that all policies are being followed.
Her nominators describe her as: vigilant, dedicated, tenacious, spirited, intently dependable, capable, neighborly, resolute, powerful, helpful, and essential to the functioning of CBARC.
Thank you, Deb!
Food Science Department
Dan continually provides exceptional service to students and fellow teachers. A senior instructor and head advisor, he manages to run his own writing intensive class while also managing the technology for a food chemistry class as well as conducting half of its remotely delivered recitations, writing its weekly quizzes and editing exams – grading half of all lab reports.
On top of all that, as the head advisor for the Food Science Department, Dan has kept the entire department on track with the minutia of changes and provisions of additional support, care and flexibility for students. The workload has been massive and he has managed it all under trying circumstances. Throughout it all, Dan retains his positivity and good nature.
His attention to detail, ability to manage increasing workloads, and his positive example for all of us makes him a genuine stay at home hero.
As one of his nominators explained: “Dan is the living beating heart of the Food Science Department. His tenacity, good humor, and dedication are second to none.”
Thank you, Dan!
Central Oregon Research and Extension Center (COAREC)
This week’s Stay at Home Heroes are Hoyt Downing, Farm Manager, and Mitchell Alley, Bioscience Research Worker, with the Central Oregon Research and Extension Center (COAREC). Both have done a tremendous job at sustaining operations the center during the pandemic.
When COVID-19 was first becoming an issue of concern, COAREC’s researchers were just beginning our 2020 season of field research and Extension. As the shutdowns began in March, many of us began working as much as possible from home. At the same time, Hoyt and Mitchell were at COAREC ensuring that critical research would continue.
Thanks to their hard work, as the season has progressed, researchers have not had to abandon any field trials and COAREC has enjoyed a very productive year. Hoyt and Mitchell carry many responsibilities, including helping COAREC researchers plant, maintain, and harvest research trials, ensuring the greenhouses and facilities are in working order, and providing regular maintenance of station grounds and equipment. As temperatures in central Oregon reach 100°F, they continue their daily operations and are always willing to help.
As their nominator explained, “Hoyt and Mitchell are critical and valued employees at COAREC. We are lucky to have them.”
Thank you Hoyt and Mitchell!
OSU's Oak Creek Center for Urban Agriculture
Cody is the site manager at OSU's Oak Creek Center for Urban Agriculture. The site is under the direction of Al Shay in the Department of Horticulture.
Dozens of users depend on this Center. Researchers from many disciplines conduct experiments, many classes are taught there, public tours are given, and student farming and research takes place at Oak Creek. So much happens at the site and Cody Buckman works on it all. He helps locate tools and equipment, helps to start or finish projects, provides maintenance and equipment repair service, assists in teaching, leads random tours for citizens, and so much more.
According to his nominator: “Of all the people I have interacted with at OSU in my 20+ years here, Cody Buckman is the most deserving of this honor.”
Thank you, Cody!
Department of Microbiology
This week’s Stay at Home Hero is Ruth Milston-Clements, the faculty manager for the John L. Fryer Aquatic Animal Health Laboratory, a multi-user facility that also houses the Aquatic Toxicology Laboratory.
Since the research restrictions imposed as a result of the pandemic, Ruth has worked with students, faculty and industry users to ensure that critical animal research could continue. This involved developing protocols for fish research that would enable researchers to work safely while also modifying the workflow of the laboratory, including implementing work schedules that minimized any overlap of users in the laboratory. Because use of the facility has become limited, she also assists users with animal care needs.
In addition, one of the major responsibilities of this job is to ensure the health and welfare of the fish, which means being on the job 24-7. Upgrades in the system and alarms now enable Ruth to control systems from a computer at home, but emergencies almost always occur in the middle of the night. This nearly always requires that Ruth go to the lab to make sure the animals are okay and that the alarms are reset and working.
Ruth worked tirelessly in pre-pandemic times, and now we rely on her more than ever.
Thank you, Ruth!
Most Tuesdays, we celebrate a faculty or staff member in the College of Agricultural Sciences for going above and beyond to ensure we continue to serve our land-grant mission during these challenging times. Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve honored 15 Stay at Home Heroes and are still collecting nominations for more.
This week, we thought it appropriate to expand our recognition to the countless heroes across this state who are helping their communities impacted by unprecedented fires and smoke. More than 400,000 Oregonians and countless animals have been displaced by these fires. The property damage is beyond measure.
So, to the firefighters and first responders on the front lines, thank you.
To the agriculture and natural resource communities who have come together to meet real needs right now, thank you. Just a handful of the amazing work we’ve seen through our Extension and experiment station teams across the state and right here on our main campus in Benton County include:
- Partnering with Emergency Response services to find alternate temporary shelter for horses and livestock
- Working with a variety of partners to source hay for farm animals
- Identifying locations for food manufacturers to store and process foods
- Working to understand the effect of smoke, soot and ash on livestock and a variety of agricultural industries, such as fruit and wine
- Providing information to Oregonians about how to protect their gardens
- Looking for ways to mitigate impacts on bees, which are integral to agriculture
Information has been gathered on a number of websites – including our University Alumni website and OSU Extension. We’ve begun to consolidate some of this material on our own website in an effort to make it accessible to as many people as possible.
The College of Agricultural Sciences is humbled to be a part of the great effort taking place across the state. As always, our food, agriculture and natural resource communities have stepped up and sacrificed for the greater good.
For all that you have done, and all that you will do for Oregon – thank you.
Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center (SOREC)
This week’s Stay at Home Hero is Debbie Burroughs.
Debbie is the administrative assistant at the Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center (SOREC) where she provides exceptional service to all 30 employees. According to her nominator, she has gone far beyond the normal expectations during COVID-19.
- She supervises two office specialists who normally handle much of the day-to-day office support tasks for Extension employees, but due to their home computer-related and personal issues during this pandemic, Debbie had to take over many of those fiscal and HR duties.
- She instituted a weekly Zoom call to coordinate with the office support staff and helped trouble-shoot many of the technological issues they were dealing with at home.
- April - June is a busy time for 4-H as they normally prepare for spring fairs and the big summer county fair (July). COVID-19 resulted in cancellations, delays, and many operational changes as faculty have tried to adapt to changing limitations. Debbie instituted a weekly Zoom call with 4-H faculty to help them keep up with the changing guidance and outlook, and this also involved frequent coordination with county fairgrounds staff as we try to salvage a valuable 4-H Fair experience for the youth.
And with the September smoke and nearby wildfires, Debbie navigated additional complexities in notifying and/or supervising various classes of employees, suddenly setting up to manage the office support staff remotely once again, and helping with many reporting and disaster relief assistance projects that sprung up around our local OSU facility and presence in southern Oregon. On top of the added professional stress, Debbie’s home was briefly ordered to evacuate from a local fire. Fortunately, it did not spread to her immediate neighborhood.
Through this time of added COVID and fire-related demands, Debbie has steadfastly moved ahead with ending FY 20 and new FY21 SOREC budgets, HR actions, and office supervision and planning while maintaining an amazingly positive attitude.
Thank you, Debbie!
Shortly after the shut-down began in March, Javier Fernandez-Salvador, Assistant Professor of Practice with Marion County Extension, started a program to continue serving farmers, home-gardeners, and the public from afar. He led virtual classes using Instagram Live and launched webinars that included topics related to his research with the blossoming olive industry in Oregon. These educational opportunities were coordinated by the Olea Project, a collaboration between Community Horticulture (Neil Bell), Small Farms (Heather Stoven and Fernandez-Salvador), and the North Willamette Research and Extension Center (NWREC) research team (grad student Tessa Barker, research technician Avery Pheil, and other undergraduate students).
This innovative system for delivering content during the important spring growing season enabled the team to share information including “Up-Potting Olives in Oregon,” “Pruning Olives in Pots for Establishment,” “Fertigation for Small Acreage Farms,” and “Olive Propagation.” Followers from around the world joined Fernandez-Salvador's local Oregon audience for the livestreams on Instagram, as he introduced them to the projects and olive fields at NWREC.
Essential work with grower-collaborators has continued, even with new requirements for physical distancing and mask-wearing. Fernandez-Salvador and Barker have implemented protocols to collect crucial olive winter damage data from grower fields without growers needing to be present, and they have helped assess growers’ olive orchards to diagnose pest, fertility, and crop management issues.
This July for the first time, the Olea team hosted their annual Olive Grower meeting online! After receiving many concerned inquiries from stakeholders about whether the meeting would be able to occur this year, the Olea Team decided to move forward using video conferencing. Despite holding the event virtually, nearly 50 current and prospective growers from around the state joined to hear updates on the OSU research projects, including best methods for establishment, irrigation, and propagation in Oregon olives.
Thank you Olea Team!
Follow @OSUSmallFarmsMWV for more updates on the team’s efforts.
The OWRI Smoke Exposure Team: Elizabeth Tomasino, Michael Qian, James Osborne, Alec Levin, and Patty Skinkis
This week’s Stay at Home Hero consists of another team of dedicated faculty: The OWRI Smoke Exposure Team, including: Elizabeth Tomasino, Michael Qian, James Osborne, Alec Levin, and Patty Skinkis.
Their enormous efforts to help Oregon’s grape and wine industry following the recent wildfires has been truly heroic. While any actual impact of the smoke exposure is still unknown, the smoke exposure team members have provided critical guidance to growers and wine makers alike.
The two flavor chemists, Michael Qian and Elizabeth Tomasino, immediately halted their research projects and converted their labs to provide industry support by analyzing samples of smoke exposure. They installed new columns, calibrated GCMS units, optimized methods to cut sample analysis time, and developed logistics to receive, measure, analyze, and report results for hundreds of samples.
In addition to industry service work, the entire Smoke Exposure Team collaborated on research that within days went from concept to reality to determine state-wide exposure to smoke. The OWRI Smoke Exposure Team has worked very long hours, 7 days a week, since the fires started. They demonstrate an unmatched dedication to supporting Oregon’s grape and wine industry.
Thank you, OWRI Smoke Exposure Team!
Visit the OWRI website for more updates on the team’s efforts.
Susan is an enrollment specialist at Professional and Continuing Education and is responsible for establishing and managing the online enrollment system for OSU Extension. She acts as a liaison to OSU Extension county and regional offices to open online registration for their workshops and events.
Over the last few months, Susan has been supporting the Master Gardeners' transition to online training, providing support to both Master Gardener trainees and coordinators. Recently Susan helped the Klamath County Master Gardeners transition to online training, working on a tight timeline, and provided exceptional service.
She helped several Master Gardener participants one on one as they struggled with class registration and Canvas platforms. Susan has provided cheerful, quick, and helpful responses to questions, preempted questions with tutorials, and attended a Master Gardener Zoom meeting in which she walked Master Gardeners through the process. Susan's cheerful approach, willingness to help, and detailed explanations have alleviated a lot of stress for both Master Gardener coordinators and participants.
From behind the scenes, she's quietly made the transition to online training a little easier for everyone; especially coordinators that had little experience teaching in this format and needed a little extra coaching.
Thank you, Susan!
This week’s Stay at Home Hero is Dr. Joy Waite-Cusic, Associate Professor of Food Safety in the Department of Food Science and Technology.
Since the University’s initial research resumption plans began, Dr. Waite-Cusic has led the effort to prepare and create a safe work environment in the Department of Food Science and Technology (FST). As the chair of the department safety committee, Dr. Waite-Cusic has taken on a critical leadership role to establish strategies and practices to reduce the risk for students, staff and faculty working in Wiegand Hall and other FST facilities.
She’s developed and communicated plans for sanitation, cleaning supplies, traffic flow, occupancy, signage and provided resource materials. With her assistance the department was ready to begin research activities as soon as OSU allowed it.
As a result, graduate students and faculty have been able to conduct critical research in an environment that is safe and considers the needs of all individuals. During the recent smoke in the Willamette valley, Dr. Waite-Cusic provided daily updates and advice regarding best practices for staying healthy through this time. In addition, she shifted to on-line teaching to deliver a virtual food preservation class during summer term.
Hands-on instruction is integral to this lab class, so moving to a virtual environment presented a unique challenge. Dr. Waite-Cusic used creativity and tenacity to be able to deliver the class remotely.
While working at home Dr. Waite-Cusic has been able to lead her research lab staff and students to remain engaged and productive, keeping graduate students on track and graduating as scheduled, supporting students in industry internships and helping stakeholders dealing with COVID-19 related challenges in the food processing environment.
Her continual efforts to ensure our department can continue to meet its land grant mission of teaching, research and outreach has been exceptional.
Thank you, Joy!