CFANS Connections - July 2017

For University of Minnesota researchers, scum is a word packed with profitable promise. CFANS professor and Center for Biorefining Director R. Roger Ruan and doctoral candidate Erik Anderson are converting scum into high-quality biodiesel.



From inspiring bosses who've taken the time to guide us through workplace challenges to friendly coworkers who’ve pointed out the best spot to sit in the lunchroom, we’ve all been influenced by professional mentors. For current college students, thoughtful mentorship can make a huge difference in their professional lives.

Every year, the CFANS Mentor Program matches over 200 undergraduate students with professionals in their chosen field. Beyond equipping students with practical experience and career insights, the program creates lasting bonds between mentors and mentees. Mentors who participate span from recent college grads to seasoned professionals, and hold degrees from all across CFANS.


Paige Hilderbrandt and her mentor, Robert Johnson.


Food Science and Nutrition Department Head Kumar Malikarjunan was recently recognized at the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Annual Meeting and Food Expo with an outstanding service award. 



It's no secret that the horticultural industry has been struggling to find the next generation of plant professionals. To address the problem, the University of Minnesota curriculum was restructured to combine two majors (applied plant sciences and horticulture) into the single plant science major, and add an additional food systems major. The result? Increased enrollment, higher degree satisfaction, and more students graduating from CFANS prepared for an industry in need of highly skilled employees.


plant students

After years of fundraising, plan drafting, temporary housing and detailing, the new FarmHouse Fraternity is ready to begin a new chapter of being home to CFANS men on the St. Paul campus.


Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering (BBE) Professor Gary Sands has accepted the position of BBE Department Head. He has devoted more than 30 years to teaching, research and Extension in agricultural engineering throughout the United States and abroad in the areas of irrigation, drainage, hydrology, water quality and sustainable agriculture.


Gary Sands

Get Involved

CFANS is planning a dynamic, engaging, and educational exhibit in the Agriculture/Horticulture Building at the Minnesota State Fair. We are looking for enthusiastic volunteers to engage with the public and help people get to know CFANS. Interested? Sign up here.

Students at the State Fair

Frank Bezdicek ‘70 explains the importance of volunteering for the Norman Borlaug Science Achievement Award.

I often hear CFANS alumni wonder why they don’t see more representatives from the U of M visiting their high school to tell the CFANS story. My response, “That U of M representative in your community is you.”


High school junior, Tristan Johnston, receives NBSAA.

If you're concerned about the presence of Emerald Ash Borer in Minnesota, become a Wasp Watcher.  The Wasp Watchers program engages citizen science volunteers in the biosurveillance of Emerald Ash Borer (EAB).  A native, stingless, ground-nesting wasp called the smoky winged beetle bandit (Cerceris fumipennis) hunts for wood boring beetles including EAB.



Volunteers catch smoky winged beetle bandit wasps.

Class Notes

Following her older sister’s footsteps to the University of Minnesota, Agricultural Education, Communication and Marketing (AECM) alum Kelsey Gunderson '13 explored the options of the AECM program. “The agriculture industry was enticing, and AECM allowed for different opportunities to pursue after graduation,” she said.



Pat Duncanson '81 still lives in the house he grew up in and farms the same land his parents did. Now he’s preparing the next generation to take over the family farm.



On June 20th the Department of Plant Pathology welcomed alumni and friends to celebrate Richard Frederiksen '55 '57 '61. During the event, Dr. Frederiksen donated his 1998 Jakob Eriksson Prize to Plant Pathology.


Richard Frederiksen CFANS

Michael Wingfield ‘83 is a worldwide leader in tree disease biology whose thirty-year career has been dedicated to researching tree pests and pathogens. Before accepting the 2016 University of Minnesota Distinguished Leadership Award for Internationals last month, Wingfield gave a presentation emphasizing that future biosecurity depends upon engaging and collaborating with politicians and social scientists more than ever.



July 12 - Organic Field Days, Southwest Research and Outreach Center
July 13 - Barley U 2017, St. Paul Campus
July 25 - University on the Prairie, Southwest Research and Outreach Center
July 27 - Horticulture Night, West Central Research and Outreach Center
July 29 - Summer Solar Picnic, St. Paul soccer fields
August 13 - Pre-Eclipse Block Party, East Bank
August 14 - CFANS Sneak Preview, St. Paul Campus


CFANS 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? More...


Pilot Plant.