Campus news

Department of Soil, Water and Climate welcomes new staff memberStacy Nordstrom

If you see a new person wandering around with a camera on the St. Paul campus, it's probably Stacy Nordstrom, the new staff member at the Department of Soil, Water and Climate. As the new communications associate for the department, Stacy is already busy spreading the word about the great things that are happening in the department. She'll also be working with alumni and friends of Soil, Water and Climate. 

While she received her Masters degree in Visual Communication from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, Stacy spent several years in North Dakota working with farmers markets, CSAs, specialty crop research and then the United Way. But she's a Minnesota girl at heart, having grown up on a small family farm outside of Grand Meadow in southeast Minnesota. As a former, proud member of the Frankford Jolly Youth 4-H club and a former 4-H State Ambassador, she's right at home as part of the CFANS team. 

Feel free to reach out and say hi. You can contact her at or just swing by the Soil, Water and Climate office.

Dennis Becker transitions to position at University of Idaho

Dennis Becker, formerly an Associate Professor in the University of Minnesota Department of Forest Resources, has transitioned into a new role at the University of Idaho in Moscow. He now serves as Director, Policy Analysis Group in the College of Natural Resources, and Associate Professor in the Dept of Natural Resources & Society. The Policy Analysis Group provides policy analysis support for the State of Idaho for a range of natural resource issues related to forest management, endangered species, mining, grazing, and outdoor recreation. Learn more on the Policy Analysis Group website

Department of Food Science and Nutrition Associate Professor Tonya Schoenfuss, Ph.D. interviewed for article in Vanity Fair 

Vanity Fair reached out to CFANS Associate Professor Tonya Schoenfuss to better understand the the world of U.S. cheese competitions.

"As one of the country’s premier dairy judges, Schoenfuss tries more cheese in six to seven hours—a typical day of judging at a national cheese competition—than most of us will try in one year. She grades up to 50 cheeses a day across all categories and classes, and starts by looking at things like well-distributed veining (blue cheese), cracks (surface-ripened cheeses), and curdiness (cheddar cheese, which she mushes into her hand to examine texture)."

That's quite the array of detail to look for in your cheese. Read more about the process that Schoenfuss goes through as she serves as one of the nation's premier dairy judges here!

Global Food Ventures fellowships awarded

Seven graduate students from the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences and the College of Veterinary Medicine have been awarded MnDrive Global Food Ventures fellowships for 2015-16. They are the third such group of Fellows, and during the course of their awards will participate in activities designed to help build their skills in communications and problem solving along with pursuing individual research projects. MnDRIVE is a landmark partnership between the university and the state of Minnesota that aligns areas of university strength with the state’s key and emerging industries to advance new discoveries that address grand challenges. The list of recipients and their research projects can be found here.

Department of Food Science and Nutrition Professor Ted Labuza, Ph.D. elected to FDA Food Advisory Committee Labuza FDA

“It is with great honor that I accept this position, something I have though about since being mentored by my undergraduate advisor at MIT, Dr. Sanford Miller,” Labuza said. 

The FDA Food Advisory Committee consists of 17 standing members including the chair. The Commissioner or designee selects members and the Chair from authorities knowledgeable in the fields of physical sciences, biological and life sciences, food science, risk assessment, nutrition, food technology, molecular biology, and other relevant scientific and technical disciplines.  A complete list of members is available on the FDA website.

More information on Labuza's selection for this position can be found here.

Blake Webster Plant Path

Plant Pathology Graduate student Blake Webster evaluates a reemerging threat to corn

First confirmed in Minnesota in 2009, Goss's wilt is a concern for researchers like Plant Pathology Graduate Student Blake Webster because of its potential to reduce corn yields by as much as 50 percent. While there are currently recommendations for disease control measures, Webster is taking a holistic, three-pronged approach to learn more about this disease and discover additional methods of disease management. Learn more about Webster's research