College of Ag News

Linda Benedict, Blanchard, Tobie M.  |  5/12/2015 8:58:49 PM

Dorothy Howell, of Baton Rouge, pictured with her granddaughter, Shannon Hannaman, received the outstanding alumni award from the LSU College of Agriculture Alumni Association. Howell, a 1942 and 1944 graduate, has degrees in home economics.

Jamie Meeks prepared for a career in sports nutrition through studies in the LSU College of Agriculture’s food and nutrition sciences program.

A group of agriculture students visited Volcano Masaya in Nicaragua during spring break. The students included, left to right, Shelli Danjean, Cristina Serrano, Bradley Coleman, Chelsea Sutherland, Myra Boudreaux, Emily Klaus and Peyton Beattie. IvanaTregenza, far right, is the director of international relations for the LSU College of Agriculture and program coordinator for LSU AgCenter International Programs.

Lina Bernaoli, center, a graduate student in the LSU Department of Entomology, received the Ray and Dorothy Young Endowed Assistantship in Louisiana Row Crop Integrated Pest Management. Ray and Dorothy Young have been active in Louisiana’s cotton industry for more than 50 years.

Elizabeth Fudge, freshman, and Andrea Rubio, a visiting scholar from Zamorano University in Honduras, help band birdsfor a research project that Theresa Lavergne, LSU AgCenter poultry specialist, is conducting on poultry nutrition. (Photos by Tobie Blanchard)

LSU College of Agriculture students Morgan Ducote and William Budnick seine for fish at a boat launch on Lake Maurepas while their classmates electro fish on the lake. Associate professor Mike Kaller (left) looks on with other students.

7 students spend spring break in Nicaragua
Many college students like to spend spring break somewhere tropical. That is what a group of seven LSU College of Agriculture students did on their spring break, April 4-11. But this group wasn’t lounging on beaches. The students were visiting coffee, tobacco and rice farms, learning about the entire production process for each crop.

Ivana Tregenza, director of international relations for the LSU College of Agriculture and program coordinator for the LSU AgCenter International Programs office, said a student’s career preparation is not complete without international experience and some knowledge of global issues.

Bradley Coleman, a senior in agricultural education, from Ponchatoula, Louisiana, has traveled abroad. Coleman plans to teach after graduation and said his experiences will help make him a more valuable teacher.

“I can share these experiences with my students and maybe encourage or arrange for students to travel abroad,” Coleman said.

On their last day in Nicaragua the students visited a market and purchased and delivered food to underprivileged families. They also worked in an aftercare program with young children.

All of the students expressed how their time in Nicaragua gave them a new perspective on agriculture and the world. “You can’t get these experiences any other way than going abroad,” said Myra Boudreaux, a junior studying agricultural education from Belle Rose, Louisiana.

Alumni Association presents annual awards
The LSU College of Agriculture Alumni Association recognized outstanding alumni, faculty and students at a ceremony on April 24.

Two people received the outstanding alumni award. They are Dorothy Howell, of Baton Rouge, who is a 1942 and 1944 graduate with degrees in home economics, and Milton Reese, of Gueydan, Louisiana, a 1969 graduate with a degree in agribusiness.

Howell was instrumental in the publication of the “Tiger Bait Cookbook,” proceeds from which contributed to more than 125 scholarships for College of Ag students.

Reese is president of Milton Reese and Associates, LLC, which engages in railroad and transportation consulting, property management and farm production management.

The early career outstanding alumni award went to Mike Kaller, who received his doctorate in fisheries and wildlife management from the College of Ag in 2005. He joined the college’s School of Renewable Natural Resources as an assistant professor in 2007.

Kayanush Aryana, professor in dairy foods technology, received the Alumni Association excellence in teaching award. Aryana was recognized for mentoring undergraduates with research projects and advising graduate students.

Jamie Boudreaux, a senior with a double major in animal, dairy and poultry sciences and in agricultural education, from Donaldsonville, Louisiana, received the Gerald and Norma Dill Outstanding Senior Award.

Anna Claire Ferchaud, a senior majoring in natural resources ecology and management, from West Monroe, Louisiana, received the K.C. Toups Memorial Les Voyageurs Award.

LSU sports dietitian heads to big leagues
After four years of helping college athletes stay healthy, Jamie Meeks is going pro. The registered dietitian and alumna of the LSU College of Agriculture’s School of Nutrition and Food Sciences has been named the director of sports nutrition for the New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Pelicans. Meeks directed LSU’s athletic nutrition program before joining the Saints and Pelicans.

“I think the role will be similar, but now that these athletes have made it to the big league, my job is to help them stay there,” Meeks said. “I’ll be doing a lot of education on how to keep their bodies healthy and also prevent injury.” Meeks became interested in pursuing a career in nutrition after visiting a dietitian in high school.

Meeks was preparing to try out for the LSU cheerleading squad and said she had some misconceptions about how to eat healthfully. Meeks made the team and cheered for LSU for four years. During that time she knew her passion was in sports nutrition.

“I wanted to help athletes become the best athletes they can be,” she said. “The way they eat is just as important as practice on the field, workouts in the weight room, rehab and treatment in the training room.”

Meeks said the LSU College of Agriculture’s food and nutrition sciences program prepared her for her profession.

“Everything I learned in my dietetics program as an undergrad I do now with my job as a sports dietitian,” Meeks said.


Students look at fish diversity by ‘electrofishing’
With Lake Maurepas standing in for their classroom, LSU College of Agriculture students in the School of Renewable Natural Resources boarded a boat equipped with a generator and anodes. The anodes send electrical currents through the water to temporarily stun fish.

The students were “electrofishing,” which is used to sample fish populations.

Matthew Repp, a senior from Vermilion Parish studying natural resource ecology and management, was in the first group of students to go out on the water.

“We did a type of method where we would continually shock and move through an area so we could get a variety of fish,” Repp said.

The students netted fish that came to the surface and brought their catches to shore to be identified and counted.

Associate professor Mike Kaller teaches the course, which covers quantitative techniques in habitat, water quality and fish population assessment in freshwater ecosystems. The class features hands-on activities that help the students learn the skills of their professions.

Electrofishing is a common scientific survey method and does not permanently harm the fish. 

Faculty, students awarded professorships, assistantships 
Three faculty members and two graduate students in the LSU AgCenter and College of Agriculture have received financial awards to carry out research.

Faculty members Jeanna Kuttruff, Dan Fromme and Brenda Tubaña were named to endowed professorships. Graduate students Lina Bernaoli and Ben McInnes received assistantships.

Bill Richardson, LSU vice president for agriculture and dean of the College of Agriculture, said it is through the generosity, loyalty and oftentimes an opportunity to pay it forward that alumni and friends choose to create a professorship.

“A professorship provides perpetual support for outstanding faculty members and enables them to pursue research and innovative teaching methods,” Richardson said.

Head of the Department of Textiles, Apparel Design and Merchandising, Kuttruff was named the Beverly Griffin Shea Alumni Association Departmental Professor. Kuttruff’s research has focused on historical textiles such as Acadian dress and 19th century burial garments.

Fromme, an associate professor with the LSU AgCenter, was named the Tom and Martha Burch and Delta & Pine Land Company Professor. Fromme is the state cotton and corn specialist.

Tubaña, an associate professor in the School of Plant, Environmental and Soil Sciences, was named the Jack E. and Henrietta Jones Professor. Tubaña’s area of specialization is soil fertility and nutrient management for major row crops grown in Louisiana.

Lina Bernaoli, a graduate student in the Department of Entomology, received the Ray and Dorothy Young Endowed Assistantship in Louisiana Row Crop Integrated Pest Management. Bernaoli studies the effects of mycorrhizal fungi, a symbiotic, soil-borne organism, on rice resistance to insect herbivores and pathogens.

Ben McInnes, a graduate student in the Department of Plant Pathology, received the DuPont Crop Protection assistantship. McInnes’ research focuses on nematology, and his longterm goal is to work for an agricultural chemical company.

Students get hands-on training in poultry program
The chirping of baby chicks rang through a poultry lab on LSU’s campus. LSU AgCenter poultry specialist Theresia Lavergne had a research associate and graduate and undergraduate students helping her sort, weigh and band the birds for a research project.

The poultry science program is a small but valuable part of the LSU College of Agriculture’s School of Animal Sciences. Students in the program can get hands-on experiences with birds in their classes and as student workers or volunteers in labs.

“They learn how to feed it, how to make sure it has water at all times, to collect data, so they actually get experience raising birds,” Lavergne said.

LSU’s poultry science curriculum includes poultry grading and evaluation, incubating and hatching, poultry biology and management classes.

Students can get experience working with birds in research projects on campus like the one Lavergne was conducting on nutrition. Students also can lead their own research projects.

Tobie Blanchard Communications/LSU College of Agriculture.

(These articles was published in the spring 2015 issue of Louisiana Agriculture Magazine.)

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