College of Ag News Summer 2016

Linda Benedict  |  10/12/2016 2:16:12 PM

Student finds fashion inspiration in China

Sakeenah Ashiru named her mini-clothing collection “Midnight in China.” The name is more than a passing nod to the Asian influence seen in the rich red and black brocade or silky floral fabrics she chose for her garments. Ashiru, a junior in the LSU College of Agriculture majoring in textiles, apparels design and merchandising, spent many late nights working on the dresses, tops and skirts for her collection in the city of Wuxi, Jiangsu Province, China, during a year-long study abroad program at Jiangnan University.

Ashiru, originally from Lagos, Nigeria, wanted to experience fashion design in another culture so she looked into different programs and decided on Asia. Chuanlan Liu, an associate professor in the department, who is originally from Beijing, helped Ashiru navigate the process of picking and applying to a program.

The language barrier did not deter Ashiru. Classes were in Mandarin Chinese, a language she did not speak. She said other students in the class helped translate for her until she began picking it up.

“A global viewpoint is important in the fashion industry. This was a valuable experience for her long-term growth and development as a designer,” Liu said. Read complete story.


Stout named new entomology department head

Michael Stout, a 19-year veteran with the LSU AgCenter and LSU College of Agriculture’s Department of Entomology, is now head of the department. Stout, who received a Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis, came to LSU in 1997 as a rice entomologist. His research focuses on helping rice growers manage pests in their fields. He will continue to conduct research on plant-insect interactions and teach a course on plant resistance. The Entomology Department has 14 faculty members and 35 graduate students. The department also educates undergraduates through general education courses and a minor in entomology. Read the complete story.

Students help with flood clean-up

Members of the Wildlife Society LSU Student Chapter volunteered to help clean and gut a home in Prairieville that had been flooded in August. Luke Laborde, instructor in the School of Renewable Natural Resources, helped organize the effort. Anna West, the chapter's co-president, said the group was eager to help.

"I wanted members who may not be from Louisiana or understand the damage of the floods to see firsthand the damage and have an opportunity to make a difference in a community they've grown to love while attending LSU," West said.

The students worked in Arthur and Catherine Cazes' house. They helped gut the kitchen, removed insulation from under the house and cleaned out a storage unit. The homeowners said they were astonished at the amount of work the students accomplished.

"They performed all tasks with the utmost sincerity," Catherine Cazes said. "They are miracle workers."

The students are in back left to right, Tyler Bivens, Brad Frazier and Tyler Tompkins. In front left to right are Marisa Saladino, Dana Bryant, Colette Pansini, Anna West, Rohit Kalvakaalva and Katie Caldwell.

Scholarship honors first female agronomy graduate

Peggy Laborde, the first woman to graduate from the LSU College of Agriculture with a degree in agronomy, established a scholarship in plant and soil systems, named after her and her late husband Lucien. Peggy Laborde, then Nolin, graduated in 1947, during a time when few women enrolled in traditional production agriculture programs at LSU. She and her husband established Hamburg Mills Farm, where they grew white clover and raised cattle. There they raised their four children: Laura, Luke, Janine and Thomas, all of whom graduated from LSU with degrees in agriculture. In the spring of 2016, 75 percent of the students enrolled in the College of Agriculture were female – quite a shift from when Laborde, who turned 90 on Aug. 10, attended LSU. Read the complete story.


High school students get look at agriculture at first Governor's School

A drone hovers in front of participants in the first Governor’s School for Agricultural Sciences, a residential program for high-achieving high school students held on the LSU campus in Baton Rouge. The students learned how drones are used in agriculture as part of their activities during the school, held July 11-15. Leslie Blanchard, assistant dean of the LSU College of Agriculture, said the school helps students learn about agricultural subject areas such as business, environmental management, plant and soil systems, animal science, and nutrition and food sciences, as well as career options in agricultural sciences. Tours included Tiger Stadium with a discussion on turfgrass management; Bracy’s Nursery, a large wholesale nursery in Amite City; Zen-Noh Grain, a grain elevator in Convent; and the LSU AgCenter Aquaculture Research Station. The program also included a leadership workshop with strategizing and problem-solving activities. View the video.

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