CFANS Connections - April 2017

This year's Borealis Night of Excellence will be held on Wednesday, April 19th. This special event co-hosted by the CFANS Alumni Society and CFANS Student Board honors and recognizes alumni, friends, and students in CFANS who have contributed their time and talent to the college or to their profession. 


BNE 2016

Get Involved

Connect and learn. Events include:

  • April 7 - 113th University of Minnesota Alumni Association Annual Celebration
  • April 11 - 8th Annual Ag Awareness Day
  • April 11 - Connecting With U - Animal Science Showcase
  • April 19 - 11th Annual Borealis Night of Excellence
  • April 19 - SciSpark 2017: Women in Science
  • April 20 - Alumni Webinar: Creating a Meaningful Career
  • April 21 - 81st Annual Foresters Day Celebration & Pancake Breakfast
  • More events here.

Thirty-one students have benefited from the Markhart Organics Scholarship since Beth Markhart and her family started the fund in 2013 in memory of their husband and father, Albert “Bud” Markhart III, a distinguished faculty member in the Department of Horticultural Science. The funds give horticultural science students the chance to work in and learn about organic and sustainable food systems, particularly those in traditionally underserved neighborhoods in the Twin Cities metro area.



Registration is now open to become an Aquatic Invasive Species Detector, a new volunteer network and science-based training program launched by the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center in partnership with University of Minnesota Extension.


AIS Detector

The Minnesota Phenology Network is a statewide community of citizen scientists, educators, naturalists, and researchers who are working to understand how the recurring events in the life cycle of plants and animals are impacted by patterns of climate and seasonality. Since the network was founded in 2010, Minnesotans have been encouraged to become citizen scientists and help monitor phenology through standardized yet simple observation methods. The Network is looking to connect with University alumni, faculty, staff, and community members who are interested in participating and deepening their connection with the natural world.


MN Phenology Network

CFANS Updates

CFANS freshman Hannah Ebersole spends much of her time studying migratory birds, water, and food safety. "I hope to accomplish a greater understanding of migratory bird studies as well as an even better understanding of legislative and policy processes regarding federally protected birds. I will create connections by talking to state and federal legislators, as well as by working with the MNDNR and MNPCA in order to develop a greater understanding of the law and policy currently out there about the issue." Hannah hopes to attend law school and work towards her masters in environmental science upon graduation. 


Hannah Ebersole

Launching autumn 2017 and piloted by CFANS, the Land-Grant Legacy Scholarship will admit 25 more students from Greater Minnesota. During the next four years, scholarships will provide students $5,000 each year for four years. When fully implemented, the effort will support 100 students annually.


Student groups

On Saturday, April 1, the 16th annual Classes Without Quizzes event was held at the Continuing Education & Conference Center on the St. Paul Campus. Michael Boland of the Department of Applied Economics delivered the keynote, “The Geography of Food.” Following the keynote, attendees participated in other “classes” about backyard chickens, hydroponics, invasive species, food security, and more!



CFANS' Cloquet Forestry Center (CFC) was honored to host the Board of Regents and President Eric Kaler on March 22 as part of their monthly meeting. Regent David McMillan of Duluth made a visit to the CFC last fall and was instrumental in encouraging the Board to make a visit to the Center. Faculty from the Department of Forest Resources and CFC staff fielded their questions about CFANS students, particularly those in majors like Forest and Natural Resource Management who complete up to seven weeks of field instruction at the Center.



On Thursday, March 23 and Friday, March 24, students in the Applied Plant Sciences (APS) graduate program hosted the 2017 University of Minnesota Pioneer Plant Sciences Symposium and Workshop. This two-day event brought a record of 250 scientists, students, and alumni from across the college, the university, and the United States to share and discuss research in the plant sciences.


Pioneer Plant Science Symposium

On March 17, 2017, the Minnesota Livestock Breeders Inducted new members into the Hall of Fame in a ceremony on the St. Paul campus. The new inductees included: John Reed, David and Donna Anderson, and Herb Filk.


Hall of Fame - Livestock Breeders

In 1916, a tradition began on the St. Paul Campus; 101 years later the tradition continues during the annual community-building, campus-wide event known as Minnesota Royal. The week of April 16 will be full of events that unite students, faculty, community members, and alumni in celebration of fun and agriculture at the University of Minnesota. Alumni are invited to attend and participate in Showmanship, and the Alumni BBQ  on April 22.


MN Royal

Many of the sororities and fraternities on the St. Paul Campus offer scholarship opportunities for incoming and transfer students at the University of Minnesota. Do you know someone coming to the U next fall? Feel free to send them this information.


St. Paul Bulls

The best botanical garden in the country? Right here in Minnesota. The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum won the top spot in the "Best Botanical Garden in the United States" contest by USA Today. Voting was open for four weeks, after a panel of experts narrowed the country's best to a top 20.

Visitors to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, a part of the University of Minnesota, enjoy more than 1,200 acres of manicured gardens, woods and prairies, accessible via 12.5 miles of walkable trails and garden paths. The vast space, divided into 28 named gardens and 45 plant collections, showcases more than 5,000 plant species and varieties. Highlights include a Japanese Garden, Daylily and Chrysanthemum Walk, Kitchen Herb Garden, Maze Garden and Peony Walk.


MN Landscape Arboretum

Did you know as a CFANS student you  can learn what it is like to train a service dog? Well here's your chance!

Open to a limited number of students within the Pre-Vet LLC, the FETCH program provides residents with the opportunity to assist with the training of a service dog for 2-5 months. As part of the experience, you and three other students will be responsible for around-the-clock care of one service dog. Your primary responsibility is to help socialize the dog before they go on to their final stage of training. When the service dog arrives for their training with you, they are fully “vested” and are legally required to be treated like any other service animal, which means you can take them anywhere you go.

paws and students

Class Notes

The University of Minnesota’s central location and diverse landscape of forests, waters, agriculture, mining, and urban developments made an “invaluable outdoor classroom” for Brian Huberty. Huberty’s education at the University of Minnesota has prepared him for a fascinating career that has led him across the country facilitating resource assessment for the agricultural, forestry and environmental sectors. Huberty says he had never imagined his career would remain focused on resource assessment, but credits the U for having the best forestry inventory and remote sensing program in the world that was was able to lay the groundwork for how best to quantify forest resources.


brian huberty

A current Ph.D. student in the Department of Plant Pathology, Garrett Beier  (B.S. Environmental Horticulture '08, M.S. Applied Plant Sciences '13) was recently offered an Assistant Professor position in the Department of Urban Horticulture and Design at Farmingdale State College, which is located on Long Island, New York.


garret beier

Rylee Ahnen (B.S. Nutrition '14) is excited to share that he has accepted a consulting position with New Partners, a political and private-sector consulting firm that works to bring the cutting edge communications, grassroots, grasstops, and fundraising strategies employed by political campaigns to the corporate world. 


Rylee Ahnen

Margaret Krause (B.S. Applied Plant Science '14) was named a recipient of the 2017 Jeanie Borlaug Laube Women in Triticum Early Career Award. The award, which was named after the daughter of Nobel laureate and University of Minnesota alumnus Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, aims to create development opportunities for female scientists working in wheat research in the early stages of their career.


Margaret Krause Laube Award

Post-doctoral associate Lei Wang (Ph.D. Nutrition '16 ) was named a finalist in the American Society for Nutrition (ASN) Emerging Leader Competition and will present his research at Experimental Biology 2017. Wang, who received his Ph.D. in 2016 under the tutelage of Dr. Chi Chen, was selected from hundreds of applicants to present his research as part of ASN's Scientific Sessions at Experimental Biology April 22-26 in Chicago.


lei wang

The 127th annual meeting of University of Minnesota School of Agriculture will take place on the St. Paul campus on Saturday, April 22. The school, which closed in 1960, was established on March 6, 1888, thirty years after Minnesota achieved statehood. The Board of Regents approved the school and its first term took place on October 18, 1888. The Board of the School of Agriculture still meets on an annual basis, led by its president, Marvin Johnson  (B.S. Animal Science '73, M.S. & Ph.D. Veterinary Medicine '80, '82).


SAUM Annual Dinner

Plant Pathology alumnus Dave Rizzo (Ph.D. Plant Pathology '92) was awarded the 2017 UC Davis Prize for Undergraduate Teaching and Scholarly Achievement. This university-wide award is funded through philanthropic gifts managed by the UC Davis Foundation and, at $45,000, is believed to be the largest recognition of its kind in the nation.


David Rizzo

Alumni Trivia

The monthly alumni trivia question gives alumni and friends an opportunity to test their U of M knowledge. Are you up for the challenge?

April alumni trivia question:

Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering Assistant Professor Abdennour Abbas and his lab team created a sponge that can absorb mercury from a polluted water source within less than 5 seconds for tap and lake water, and around 5 minutes for industrial wastewater. This could be an extremely important advancement for the state of Minnesota.

According to Minnesota's 2004 Impaired Waters List, what percentage of the waters in Minnesota are impaired due to mercury contamination (ranging from 0.27 to 12.43 ng/L )?


Super Sponge