Fall 2020

Volume XI, Issue 4

From the Dean

Alan Sams

Welcome to the final issue of The Source for 2020. What a year it has been.

Way back in January no one could have guessed what unique challenges lay ahead – and what tremendous opportunities we would uncover.

We’ve learned that even though we cannot meet to celebrate traditions, we can still come together to share experiences and unite under common passions and goals. We’ve learned that some aspects of remote learning have enabled us to expand our reach to more students. Enrollment for Fall 2020 is up nearly 6% from last year as more people from different parts of Oregon and the country look to us as a part of their future success. We’ve learned that in tough times, we roll up our sleeves and help the agricultural community adapt to challenges – from critical research and needs in response to the recent wildfires to ongoing support of efforts to adapt to the continuing challenges of a pandemic. In the midst of it all, our research has never been stronger with more grants and partnerships than in our college’s history aimed at addressing the most pressing issues facing our state, nation, and world.

In a nutshell, we now know with great confidence that just because we can’t do something the way we’ve always done it, doesn’t mean it can’t be done.

While we certainly still miss coming together in person, this fall has underscored what we have been learning all year long – the faculty, staff and students in the College continue to find new ways to do old things and, in the process, find inspiration from each other, often when we need it most.

So, while we cannot know what the future holds, we do know that no matter what it has in store, we will respond with a continued unwavering commitment to make tomorrow better.

Alan Sams
Reub Long Professor and Dean
College of Agricultural Sciences
Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station

Getting together, even when we are apart

Since the start of the pandemic, the College and its faculty, staff and students have worked hard at reimagine how to collaborate remotely. This fall, two iconic events that typically take place in person were held virtually with great success.

For the past several years, the College of Agricultural Sciences and OSU Foundation have teamed up to sponsor a pop-up dinner for friends and alumni of the college. The dinner is typically held at two outdoor locations – downtown Portland and Corvallis. The dinner is an opportunity to celebrate the bounty of Oregon’s diverse agricultural harvest along with the innovation of our food science experts.

We pivoted our in-person pop-up dinner to a three-course meal that participants could prepare in their own homes and share together over a virtual table. Our food science faculty crafted the unique recipes and filmed cooking demonstrations. We boxed up all the ingredients with recipe cards and other information about the College and shipped them to more than 100 households across the state.

Never before have we had such a diverse mix of people come together at the same time across such great distances. Enabling people from distant parts of the state and beyond to participate in a college event together meant a great deal to everyone involved.

The Pop-Up Dinner in a box will likely continue as a new tradition even well-past COVID-19 so that we can share experiences together no matter where we are.

Another twist on a traditional in-person event, was the Annual Harvest Dinner at the North Willamette Research and Experiment Station (NWREC) which has been a hallmark of the fall for nearly a decade. Over the years, this event has brought community stakeholders and OSU faculty together over a shared meal to learn about the work being done at NWREC.

This year, more than 150 people shared a virtual version of that event with OSU-produced cheese and jerky and other traditional Oregon goodies boxed up and sent to participants to enjoy. The event featured remarks from President Alexander, Dean Sams, station director Mike Bondi, and a special guest from Farmers Ending Hunger.

Participants also had the opportunity to watch a newly produced video about NWREC. Look for more videos on all of the College’s experiment stations in the year to come!

College of Agricultural Sciences launches Climate, Diversity and Inclusion Initiative

As the founding college of a land grant university, we have an obligation and mission to serve all Oregonians in addressing complex challenges facing our society. This requires us to not only reflect the society we serve in our composition but also to respect all voices in what we do and how we do it. This seems particularly important as we continue to see such inequality in our society on the basis of race, gender and identities of all types.

This fall, the College launched a new Climate, Diversity and Inclusion Taskforce, led by Executive Associate Dean, Staci Simonich. This group held its first meeting in October with the goal to actively work on developing strategies that promote sustainable programs to improve access and visibility for underrepresented communities in agriculture and natural resources, here in the college and beyond.

Made up of faculty, staff and students across the College, including our Extension and Experiment Stations, the CDI Taskforce will continue to share its efforts and progress toward enhancing a climate of diversity and inclusion in the months and years ahead. While the individual members will change over the years, the focus on its purpose will continue to be a critical strategy for the College.

Get to know Dr. Ricardo Mata Gonzalez

This fall the College’s newly appointed Associate Dean of Academics, Dr. Ricardo Mata Gonzalez, was featured at the president’s dinner in a brief video. Get to learn more about Dr. Gonzalez, and his commitment to academic success for all students from all backgrounds.

Meet Ricardo Mata-González | President's Dinner 2020

Free Thanksgiving meals for students provided by OSU donations

Students who are staying in town for Thanksgiving were able to sign up to receive a FREE Thanksgiving dinner.

In an effort to incentivize Corvallis resident OSU students to remain in Corvallis for the Thanksgiving Holiday, Dr. James Cassidy, along with the student farm, and organizers of the “It’s On Us” campaign are partnering with local restaurants (Bomb’s Away Café – 2527 NW Monroe Ave. & Tarn Tip – 2535 NW Monroe Ave.) to provide a free, to-go, traditional Thanksgiving dinners for this population of at-risk students.

The announcement was made the morning of Friday November 20 and more than 250 students signed up within a few hours. As more donations came in, they were able to expand to offering 450 meals to serve the students.

Plans are already underway to offer a free Christmas dinner next month. Consider donating today to encourage students who are minimizing travel in an effort to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 while also supporting struggling local area restaurants integral to our campus' vibrancy. Thank you for your support!

Participating entities:

  • Corvallis Sustainability Coalition's action It's On Us Corvallis
  • James Cassidy – OSU Crop and Soil Science – Organizer
  • Bombs Away Café (Owner Cloud Davison), a locally owned restaurant and keystone of OSU music & food scene
  • Tarn Tip, a locally owned restaurant
  • OSU Organic Growers Club – OSU’s student farm – donation potatoes & squash
  • College of Agricultural Sciences
  • College of Business
  • College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences
  • College of Engineering
  • College of Forestry
  • College of Pharmacy
  • College of Science
  • The Office of the President
  • The Office of the Provost
  • University Relations and Marketing


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Recent News


Oregon State-led project receives $10M grant to harness biomedical knowledge to aid patients, doctors and researchers

A group of researchers led by a team at Oregon State University have received a $10 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to establish a Center of Excellence in Genomic Science where they will develop tools to modernize how medical knowledge about genetic conditions is captured, stored and exchanged.

Firefighter wearing a personal passive sampler (dog tag)

Firefighters exposed to more potentially harmful chemicals than previously thought

A new Oregon State University study suggests that firefighters are more likely to be exposed to potentially harmful chemicals while on duty compared to off duty. The results are important because previous studies have shown that firefighters have an increased risk of developing cancer and other damaging health effects, said study lead Kim Anderson, an environmental chemist and Extension specialist in OSU's College of Agricultural Sciences.


Wildfire Responses and Resources

Find information to know before, during, and after a wildfire. Learn what the College of Agricultural Sciences has done in response to the wildfires that effected our area this fall.

Invasive species: Can we learn to live with them?

Scientists need a new way to manage the increasing number of invasive species that cannot be stopped. In medicine, prevention is a tried-and-true, common-sense approach. For invasive species, the same logic has guided resource management actions towards a focus of public education and outreach on what people can do to prevent the spread of undesirable invaders.

Native desert bighorn sheep in ecologically intact areas are less vulnerable to climate change

In the American Southwest, native desert bighorn sheep populations found in landscapes with minimal human disturbance, including several national parks, are less likely to be vulnerable to climate change, according to a new study led by Oregon State University.

Beavers appear to help the growth of brown trout in South America, study finds

Ivan Arismendi, an aquatic ecologist at OSU, wondered what impact the introduced beaver in Chile had on the health of the introduced brown trout. Through field work in a remote area of Tierra del Fuego, Chile, Arismendi and his team determined that dam building by the beaver modifies the aquatic environment, providing a wider range of more energy-dense food sources for brown trout. This results in improved growth of the brown trout, they concluded.

Oregon State University scientists shed new light on viruses’ role in coral bleaching

Oregon State Ph.D. candidate Adriana Messyasz and microbiology researcher Rebecca Vega Thurber have shown that viral infection is involved in coral bleaching – the breakdown of the symbiotic relationship between corals and the algae they rely on for energy.

Researchers build app to monitor irrigation water quality

Joy Waite-Cusic, OSU associate professor of food safety systems, and a student team are developing an internet-based application that taps “big data” to help farms document water quality under the Produce Safety Rule.

Regenerative Ranching Could Solve Climate Change

A new study from Oregon State University shows regenerative ranching increases adaptability and socioeconomic status while helping to mitigate climate change.  

Study Offers Fresh Insight to the Fight to Save Earth’s Embattled Coral Reefs

In 2019, researchers in the lab of microbiologist Rebecca Vega Thurber from OSU found out a new genus of parasitic bacteria that prospers while reefs get polluted with nutrients, draining energy from the corals and making them more vulnerable to disease.

Vessel noise present year-round at Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary near San Francisco

 “Noise levels we measured at some frequencies in the sanctuary were higher than those modeled for the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary near the Port of Los Angeles, which is considered the largest port in U.S. waters,” said Samara Haver, a doctoral candidate in the College of Agricultural Sciences and the study’s lead author.

Oregon receives nearly $2 million in Specialty Crop Block Grant funds

OSU received several awards once again this year including:

  • Valtcho Jeliazkov - Development of sprout inhibitors or growth suppressants in potatoes
  • Dani Lightle - Integrated Control of Cabbage Maggot in Vegetable and Seed Crops
  • Claire Phillips - Enhancing turfgrass carbon sequestration to improve sustainability and market access.
  • Silvia Rondon - Seeking Alternatives to Chlorpyrifos: Addressing Needs for Sustainable Insect Management
  • Yanyun Zhao - Converting beverage processing byproducts into high-value sustainable packaging products

Shifts in water temperatures affect eating habits of larval tuna at critical life stage

Small shifts in ocean temperature can have significant effects on the eating habits of blackfin tuna during the larval stage of development, when finding food and growing quickly are critical to long-term survival, a new study from Oregon State University researchers has found.

Certain pesticides shorten honeybee lives

Researchers in the Honey Bee Lab have determine sulfoxaflor and flupyradifurone can shorten lives and cause stress.

Microscopic insect that liquefies slugs may be answer to controlling this invasive pest

Two Oregon State University researchers, Rory Mc Donnell and Dee Denver , have discovered a microscopic soil-dwelling nematode on the Corvallis campus that could be an important tool against invasive slugs that cause billions of dollars a year in agricultural damage worldwide

The SCA Announces Two Big Research Projects From The Coffee Science Foundation

For the first project, the Coffee Science Foundation, in conjunction with the Simonelli Group, awarded a grant to a research group comprised of professors from the University of Oregon, Oregon State University, and the University of Portsmouth in the United Kingdom. The team will undertake a four year long deep dive into espresso extraction.


Our research, teaching and outreach missions are more essential now than ever during a global pandemic that has impacted countless people across the state, the nation, and the world. Below are some examples of the work we’ve done in response to COVID-19, adhering to our enduring land-grant mission.

Virtual Field Day on a laptop

OSU seed, cereal crop meetings go virtual; others canceled

Oregon State University Extension’s fall seed and cereal crop production meetings are going virtual and the Oregon Seed League’s annual meeting has been canceled. Extending into next winter, the Oregon Ryegrass Growers Association meeting, held each January in Albany, also has been canceled.

Students getting COVID tested before moving onto campus

With Fall Term Underway, OSU To Launch Ongoing COVID-19 Testing Of Students, Faculty, Staff

With the fall term now underway at Oregon State University, the school is moving ahead with a plan for weekly random testing of students, faculty and staff.

Canning timer & checklist app

Food preservation resources help save COVID Victory Garden produce

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and stay at home orders, many people found respite, relief and renewed optimism by spending some time in the garden. Oregon State University’s online Vegetable Gardening course was offered for free and over 40,000 people enrolled. As a result of all this gardening, folks are realizing they need more methods to safely and effectively preserve and store their bounty of produce.

Team-based Rapid Assessment of Community-level Coronavirus Epidemics

Scientists at Oregon State University are testing people and wastewater in Oregon communities and within OSU for the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Team-based Rapid Assessment of Community-level coronavirus Epidemics (TRACE) provides timely information that enables public health officials, individuals and the university to curb its spread.

What to know as FDA resumes produce safety inspections

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has announced it will resume produce safety rule inspections in Oregon in August. Because of COVID-19, inspections had been on hold since March."I understand how hard this (rule) is. But farmers are ingenious — the best engineers of problem-solving on earth — and we're here to help, too," said Joy Waite-Cusic, food safety associate professor at Oregon State University.

Hermiston Farm Fair goes virtual during pandemic

Like many events in 2020, the annual Hermiston Farm Fair is going virtual. Now in its 47th year, the farm fair is a signature showcase for Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center (HAREC), which serves nearly 500,000 acres of irrigated agriculture across the Columbia Basin in northeast Oregon and southeast Washington. This year researchers will present their latest findings during a series of webinars scheduled for Dec. 2-4.

OSU-UO partnership for Eugene COVID-19 testing highlights benefits of university collaboration

Teams from Oregon State University and the University of Oregon went into neighborhoods to conduct voluntary community testing for the virus through the TRACE Community program. 

OSU adding to Corvallis COVID-19 prevalence understanding via citywide wastewater analyses

“We are focused on keeping track of COVID-19 infections in the population through time and space, identifying hotspots of cases where public health monitoring should be directed,”  said Taal Levi, associate professor of fisheries and wildlife in the OSU College of Agricultural Sciences.

Oregon State Wants To Test Entire Student Body Before Thanksgiving

Oregon State University says it will attempt to test its entire student body for COVID-19 before they head home for the Thanksgiving holiday.

OSU Update

Memorial Union

Oregon State University ranked in the top 1.4 percent of universities worldwide

Oregon State University has been ranked in the top 1.4 % out of more than 20,000 degree-granting institutions of higher education worldwide this year by the Center for World University Rankings.

Dorian Smith, assistant director of Black Student Access and Success, in the African American Resistance Class taught by Dwaine Plaza held in Black Cultural Center through the College of Liberal Arts sociology department. Photo: Chris Becerra.

Oregon State honored for third straight year with national diversity and inclusion award

For the third consecutive year, Oregon State University has received a national award that honors colleges and universities for having a campus culture committed to diversity and inclusion.

Gray Whales

With awards totaling nearly $450 million, Oregon State sets record for annual research funding

Research funding at Oregon State University increased by more than $10 million in the last fiscal year to almost $450 million, setting a university record and marking the third time in four years that OSU’s research awards have totaled more than $400 million.

Oregon State named best school for veterans in Oregon in 2021 College Factual ranking

Oregon State University has been ranked the best school for veterans in Oregon by College Factual in their latest Best Colleges for Veterans ranking. This is out of 25 colleges in the state that offer four-year degrees.

Oregon State extends remote learning into winter term

This week, Oregon State students learned their mostly online education is going continue into winter term, which means an already quiet campus life is going to stay quiet for the next few months.

Oregon State names Tumer vice president for research

Irem Tumer, who has helped lead Oregon State University’s research enterprise to record-setting funding levels, has been named vice president for research at the university.

Oregon State enrollment sets another record despite COVID-19 pandemic

Oregon State University’s fall 2020 enrollment reached a record level, driven by many factors, including increases in students of color and students enrolled in the university’s online Ecampus program and OSU-Cascades in Bend.

OSU honored for sustainable practices

Oregon State University has received a gold rating in the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) for 2020. 

OSU's new 'inclusive' police force to take over Jan. 1

The new OSU Police Department will take over policing responsibilities from Oregon State Police on Jan. 1. The long-standing agreement with OSP ends Dec. 31.

Leadership Changes

Dr. Jennifer Alix-Garcia named Director of the Sustainability Degree Program for the College of Agricultural Sciences

“Jen is an accomplished economist whose work has been widely recognized as integral in making important policy decisions related to sustainability,” explained Dr. Alan Sams, dean of the college. “Her passion for this important effort along with her strong leadership skills as the head of the Applied Economics department make her an ideal fit for this position.”

Dr. Francisco José Calderón Named Director for the Columbia Basin Agricultural Research Center

The College of Agricultural Sciences at Oregon State University named Dr. Francisco José Calderón as the new director for the Columbia Basin Agricultural Research Center (CBARC). He replaces Dr. Clive Keiser who had served as interim director for the past several months during the nationwide search for a permanent replacement for Mary Corp, who retired on September 30.

Dr. Kelsey Galimba is joining MCAREC and Horticulture

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Kelsey Galimba will be joining OSU as the leader of the Mid-Columbia Agricultural Research and Extension Center horticulture research program and Assistant Professor in the Department of Horticulture. Dr. Galimba will be developing a multifaceted research program focused on integrated production systems for perennial tree fruit crops with an emphasis on sweet cherries and pears, while addressing critical needs of the Mid-Columbia and PNW tree fruit industries.

Awards and Accolades

Congratulations to Ivan Arismendi on being awarded the American Fisheries Society Emmeline Moore Prize

Ivan Arismendi was awarded the American Fisheries Society - Emmeline Moore Prize

Congratulations to Ivan Arismendi on being awarded the American Fisheries Society: Emmeline Moore Prize, a career achievement award named for the first female president of AFS, which recognizes a member's efforts towards building greater demographic diversity in the Society.

Dr. Stephen Machado

Dr. Stephen Machado to join the Soil Health Institute's (SHI) Scientific Advisory Committee

The Department of Crop and Soil Sciences own Dr. Stephen Machado has been tapped to join the Soil Health Institute's (SHI) Scientific Advisory Committee! The committee was established to review, provide recommendations, and engage in helpful problem-solving with SHI in its ongoing mission to safeguard and enhance the vitality and productivity of soils through scientific research and advancement.

Rebecca Vega-Thurber

Pioneering 'coral doctor' named Pernot Distinguished Professor

Congrats to Rebecca Vega-Thurber for being named the next Emile F. Pernot Distinguished Professor in Microbiology!! This joint appointment with College of Science, Oregon State University was established by the Mabel E. Pernot trust for the advancement of microbiology.

Christy Brekken

Excellence for Online Teaching & Student Engagement Award

Christy Brekken, Senior instructor in the Department of Applied Economics Department, is known among her students as a flexible, engaging instructor. They love her so much that she has won student-nominated awards for her online teaching.

Dan Edge, Bob McGorrin and Joyce Loper

19 Years of Service: Bob McGorrin

Bob McGorrin recieved a clock in recognition of his 19 yrs of service as department head for the Department of Food Science and Technology from 2000-2018.

Stay at Home Hero: 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.

Service Announces Winner of National Prize Challenge to Defeat Bat-Killing Fungus

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced that a team of researchers from Oregon State University and the University of California, Santa Cruz are the winners of a national prize challenge to combat white-nose syndrome (WNS), a lethal wildlife disease that has killed millions of bats in North America and pushed some native bat species to the brink of extinction.

Dr. Kate Lajtha elected Fellow of the American Geophysical Union

Dr. Kate Lajtha, a professor of biogeochemistry in the College of Agricultural Sciences, has been elected a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), in the Biogeosciences Section. The AGU is the largest earth systems science organization in the world and only 0.1% of its members are elected Fellow each year.

Stay at Home Heroes: Olea Team - Javier Fernandez-Salvador, Heather Stoven, Neil Bell, Tessa Barker, Avery Pheil

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.

Mitchell Alley and Hoyt Downing

Stay at Home Heroes: Hoyt Downing and Mitchell Alley

Hoyt Downing, Farm Manager, and Mitchell Alley, Bioscience Research Worker, with the Central Oregon Research and Extension Center (COAREC), have both done a tremendous job at sustaining operations the center during the pandemic.

Cody Buckman

Stay at Home Hero: Cody Buckman

Cody is the site manager at OSU's Oak Creek Center for Urban Agriculture. 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.

Ruth Milston-Clements

Stay at Home Hero: Ruth Milston-Clements

Ruth Milston-Clements is 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.

The OWRI Smoke Exposure Team

Stay at Home Heroes: The OWRI Smoke Exposure Team: 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.

Joy Waite-Cusic with hazelnuts

Stay At Home Hero: Joy Waite-Cusic

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.

Susan Yeager

Stay at Home Hero: Susan Yeager

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.

Wildfire help

Statewide Heroes:

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.


Ambassadors Instagram Takeovers

Ambassador Program Highlight

The Agriculture and Natural Resource Ambassadors at Eastern Oregon University serve as student representatives of Oregon State University, Eastern Oregon University, and the OSU College of Agricultural Sciences. The OSU Ag & NR Ambassadors participate in promotional and recruiting activities including on and off campus events, professional conferences, as well as stakeholder and alumni events.  In essence, the OSU Ag & NR Ambassadors are the student ‘face’ of the OSU Agriculture and Natural Resource Program at Eastern Oregon University. 

SACNAS virtual workshop

2020 OSU SACNAS Fall Activities

SACNAS – Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science – is an inclusive organization dedicated to fostering the success of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans, from college students to professionals, in attaining advanced degrees, careers, and positions of leadership in STEM.

To get involved, email SACNAS@oregonstate.edu

MANRRS at OSU Virtual Tuesday Talks

2020 OSU MANRRS Fall Activities

MANRRS promotes academic/professional advancement by empowering minorities in agriculture, natural resources & related sciences.

Kayla Ruth, a biologist working on a sage grouse study in the Big Horn Basin, assembles her antenna at camp.

Looking for answers in the desert: Sage grouse researchers endure summer heat to gauge nest survival

Kayla Ruth, a biologist working on her doctorate at OSU, and field technician Devin Hendricks, attempt to locate a sage grouse hen wearing a transmitter near her nest on the Chapman Bench near Clark last month. Ruth is doing a study on nest survival and predators to grouse in the Big Horn Basin.


Emily Carlson

Emily Carlson has been selected for the ESA Policy Fellows Class of 2020

One of our PhD Entomology students has been selected for the Entomology Society of America Policy Fellows Class of 2020! It is very rare for a non tenure-track applicant to be chosen from the competitive application process. Emily Carlson will spend the next 2 years training to teach entomologists the skills needed to successfully advocate for the discipline of Entomology. The training focuses on federal policy in Washington, D.C.

Penny Diebel with her family

Leadership Academy - Supporter Spotlight: Dr. Penny Diebel

"I don't have a life philosophy that's tied up neatly with a ribbon. It's ever-changing depending on the situation, but it's always been to try and assist others in getting where they want to be."

Diana Esparza

Onward & Upward

Diana Esparza, Animal Sciences Major

Being in CAMP (College Assistance Migrant Program) my freshman year opened up many opportunities for me such as learning about MANRRS (Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences). I was an officer my sophomore and junior year and, throughout my involvement with MANRRS, I created special bonds with the rest of the members, attended both regional and national conferences, and worked on developing myself both professionally and academically.

Joshua Flores

Courting the Future

Joshua Flores, Bioresource Research Major

I chose my major on the basis of it being different and unique. Ever since I was young, being unique was what I strived for. When others would negatively talk about school, I would contradict their thoughts. When some hated the broccoli served at lunch, I would add more to my plate. Although not everything I did as a child was against the societal norm of kids, a lot of it was. So when presented with a major in the sciences that most don’t follow, I was all for it.

Group of students learning to use a drone

Learning to fly drones in La Grande

With grant money Austin Hawks was able to purchase 15 classroom drones so students could; learn about technologies in agriculture, use technologies in agriculture, and develop skills and confidence around various equipment.


Maizy Kesterson is Navigating the Maize

Throughout my childhood, I knew that I was passionate about animals. This led me to have a goal of being a veterinarian one day. As time went on my goals changed but I knew that I still wanted to impact my environment and the animals within it.

Reaching Out

Extension coordinates hay donations to relieve those affected by wildfires

In counties throughout the state, semi-trucks stacked with hay bales pull into Oregon State University Extension Service facilities. They unload much of it by hand for ranchers who lost feed in the devastating wildfires in September.

OSU Extension’s Western Meat School goes hybrid and attracts hundreds

Rebecca Thistlethwaite came away inspired after speaking at the Oregon State University Extension Grass-fed Meat School in Central Point two years ago. She was determined to spread the knowledge throughout the state.

Facing down health and economic concerns, Extension helps deliver successful Oregon cherry harvest in Wasco County

The coronavirus pandemic hit just as Oregon State University Extension Service tree fruit expert Ashley Thompson was preparing for the upcoming cherry harvest.

The Collective Farm Helping Oregon’s Latinx Farmworkers Weather the Pandemic

Raíces also collaborates extensively with other local organizations for educational and economic development purposes. The farm partners with the Master Gardener program through Oregon State University Extension Service, which provides workshops on everything from soil health to plant propagation techniques. Many farmers sell their produce through a community supported agriculture program (CSA) and at local farmers’ markets, including Mercado del Valle.

Free KN95 masks made available for Oregon agricultural workers

The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) and Oregon State University Extension are again partnering to provide free KN95 masks to farmworkers, farmers, ranchers, fishers, food processors, and farm labor contractors to protect Oregon’s food and fiber workers.


Advancing the future of agriculture and natural resources

Pressing Forward: Oregon’s Budding Olive Industry

Just as it took a small-but-enthusiastic group to invest in wine production more than 60 years ago, today a new group is equally determined to start another new Oregon agriculture industry with olives. Find out how these pioneers are growing Oregon's olive industy in the latest Progress story.

Urban Agriculture | Cultivating opportunity

When Gail Langellotto first started building an urban agriculture program at Oregon State University in 2016, it was in response to the College of Agricultural Sciences recognition of the important role urban agriculture played in the development of a strong, viable, vibrant food system. An Urban and Community Horticulture professor with the College of Agricultural Sciences and the Extension Statewide Master Gardener Program Coordinator, Langellotto was eager to design a program that would eventually provide non-credit options for a broad audience as well as eventually a credited program.

Saving the Honey Bee: Inside the OSU Honey Bee Lab

If you’ve seen honey bees in the news recently, it probably wasn’t good news. Terms like “honey bee decline” and “colony collapse disorder” have made global headlines. These terms describe an alarming decline in honey bee populations, which jeopardizes the stability of critical agricultural industries.

New NIFA funding advances understanding of agricultural microbiomes

A USDA NIFA research grant was recently awarded to expand the work of Dr. Posy Busby in the College of Agricultural Sciences at Oregon State University. One of 11 Agricultural Microbiomes in Plant Systems and Natural Resources grants as part of the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, Foundational and Applied Science priority areas, this new funding will help expand Busby’s research in understanding how plant microbiomes form and function. This research is being conducted in partnership with Dr. Devin Leopold, also at OSU, and Dr. Sarah Lebeis at the University of Tennessee.

Undergraduate Research Inspires the Next Wave of Scientists

OSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences held an Undergraduate Research Showcase on Thursday, Oct. 29th. This year, the event was held virtually with students presenting posters and videos of their research online using the collaborative educational tool, Canvas. Most of the students were also available via Zoom, where they were able to answer questions from virtual visitors and further explain their research and unique experiences.

UN International Year of Plant Health

The United Nations General Assembly has designated 2020 as the International Year of Plant Health. With this global spotlight on plant health, we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to raise awareness on the ways that protecting plant health can help end hunger, reduce poverty, protect biodiversity and the environment, and boost economic development. Here in the College of Agricultural Sciences at OSU, we have world class research, teaching, and outreach programs in plant health to feature. In honor of that work, we have launched a spotlight series on our plant health work that will run throughout 2020.

Horse Chestnut Leaf Burn

Ecampus HORT 349: Diagnosing Plant Problems - An Introduction

Dr. Jay Pscheidt and Neil Bell co-teach Ecampus HORT 349: Diagnosing Plant Problems - An Introduction. It is a 3-credit course taught during Spring term which covers a systematic process for diagnosing plant problems as well as exploring both biotic and abiotic causes of plant stress.

The Intelligent Sprayer

The Intelligent Sprayer

The focus of our program is on management of insect and plant disease problems on specialty crops (fruits, nuts, and ornamentals), with an emphasis on improving chemical use efficiency. 

Corinna Holfus, showing the success of seed coatings in cheatgrass stands

Restoring Annual Grass Invaded Landscapes

Much of the western United States and, more specifically, the sagebrush steppe ecosystem has been invaded with annual grasses. These grasses negatively affect the ecosystem by increasing the fire frequency and intensity, changing the fundamental nutrient cycling processes within the soil, and out-competing native vegetation.

Cydia Pomonella

Spatial Pest and Invasive Species Modeling

We develop models to assist in decision-making for integrated pest and invasive species management. These models use weather and climate data to predict the timing of pest behaviors such as flight times of insect pest species. We also develop and host plant disease models that largely predict the risk of disease infection. Over the last 25 years, this system has grown to include over 150 separate models linked to over 29,000 weather stations, supporting pest management and crop modeling in multiple cropping systems nationwide.

Achala KC

Tree fruit and wine grape diseases

Achala KC is a plant pathologist at the Oregon State University Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center (SOREC) in Central Point, OR. She, along with her research team, study the economically important diseases of tree fruits and wine grapes in the region. They seek to understand the plant pathogens involved in causing diseases that increase the economic burden on our tree fruit and wine grape growers.

Art: Inspired by Science

Thanks everyone who came out for the Art About Ag reception on October 1. The 2020 Tension/Harmony exhibit was on display in LaSells Stewart Center through October 30th. The juried selection features artists from the Pacific Northwest.

In Memoriam

James A. Vomacil (September 12, 1926 – September 17, 2020)

Dr. James Vomocil, PhD. passed away of natural causes on September 17, 2020, five days after his 94th birthday. Jim was an Extension Specialist and Professor of Soil Science. He served as a member of the faculty from 1967 until his retirement in July 1992. Jim was well-known for his work on soil water issues and had a very active life post-retirement.

Emeritus Professor Dr. Mel Westwood

With a sad and heavy heart, we announce the passing of Dr. Melvin (Mel) N. Westwood on 31 October 2020. Dr. Westwood transformed the US pear industry with high density plantings and cultural practices appropriate for various close spacing of different cultivar-rootstock systems in apples, pears, and cherries.

Alexa Kownacki 1992 - 2020

The Marine Mammal Institute, OSU Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, OSU Hatfield Marine Science Center, and the College of Agricultural Sciences are reeling from the unexpected passing of Alexa Kownacki, a beloved graduate student in Leigh Torres's GEMM Lab.

Friends & Alumni

E.R. Jackman Continues to Support Student Success

This year, another virtual event included the annual E.R. Jackman meeting featuring students sharing their research.

This year, students provided updates on the ambassador rogram, the internship program, beginning researcher program, scholarship recipients, and student clubs.

You can view those exciting updates and the incredible gratitude our students have for the opportunities provided through financial support from E.R. Jackman in this short video:

The College of Agricultural Sciences at Oregon State University is Oregon's principal source of knowledge relating to agricultural and food systems, and a major source of knowledge regarding environmental quality, natural resources, life sciences, and rural economies and communities worldwide. The College provides undergraduate and graduate education leading to baccalaureate and graduate degrees, and extended education programs throughout Oregon and beyond. Its research programs create knowledge to solve problems and to build a knowledge base for the future. It is a source of information and expertise in integrating and applying knowledge with benefits that are felt in domestic and international settings.