LSU College of Agriculture News for Fall 2020

Pandemic makes fish class even better

Man sitting at computer screen

Christopher Green

When School of Renewable Natural Resources professor Christopher Green’s ichthyology course was transitioned to an online format, he decided to get creative with how the course would be taught. Handling of boney fish would no longer be feasible for students, so he decided to bring the specimens to them virtually.

Armed with a tripod and high-resolution camera, he rigged his camera so that he can now stream high-resolution images and video to his students remotely. He also created what he calls the “Jar-O-Fishes” for each student in class. Each student has checked out a jar containing 15 species of freshwater and saltwater fishes to use during interactive fish identification labs throughout the semester.

Green took it a step further by taking high-resolution 3-D scans of his specimen, which are logged into an online study guide and database for his students. “One of the things we’re doing here to make an online experience more immersive and participatory is integrating digital photography and digital videography to allow us to stream to an outside audience the identification of fishes,” Green said. Annabelle Stokes

LSU and Southern jointly host ag career prep week

For the first time this year, the Louisiana Land-Grant Agriculture Career Prep Week was hosted in partnership with the LSU College of Agriculture and Southern University College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences. The virtual event, which was Oct. 12-16, featured a career fair, networking opportunities with alumni, and roundtable discussions with industry professionals, including one with representatives from the California fashion industry.

“Career Prep Week events are all about helping students hone their professional communication skills and making career-related connections outside the classroom. The support and participation from alumni and industry partners is what makes this week-long event truly special,” said Ashley Grant, LSU College of Agriculture manager of internships and student engagement. “By providing insight into their respective industries, sharing personal stories and career advice, these alumni and industry partners help students develop their networking skills, and explore the various pathways a degree in agriculture can take you on.” Annabelle Stokes

Hampton completes a virtual internship with BASF

Young woman wearing purple shirt

Brooklyn Hampton

Brooklyn Hampton, a junior in the School of Plant, Environmental and Soil Sciences, did a summer internship BASF originally planned to take place at Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, but instead ended up being virtual from Baton Rouge because of the pandemic. BASF, a Germany-based multinational chemical company, is the largest chemical producer globally and the second-largest agrichemical company in the United States. Hampton spent her internship working in the agricultural solutions segment in the communications department and was responsible for editing videos, helping to run events, updating and revamping materials, along with many other duties. She was also able to attend conferences and participate in third-party meetings, which allowed her to have a well-rounded internship experience. Her favorite part of her internship was the opportunity to meet the communications team at BASF and have intentional, honest conversations with them. “I received great career advice and authentic life advice. I enjoyed these meetings so much. My coworkers made being over 1,000 miles away seem very insignificant.” Malorey Uzee

New ag economics course sharpens students’ competitive skills

The Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness has introduced a new course, borrowing techniques from quiz bowl competitions, to help students learn core concepts of economics and business. Designed as an introductory course, AGEC 2700 is open to all levels, and many seniors are interested, said Jarrod Penn, assistant professor and quiz bowl coach for the LSU Agribusiness Club. "This course helps serve as a refresher for their memory and helps them brush up on concepts they have learned and will use after they graduate."

Penn adapted the distinctive buzzer system used in traditional quiz bowl competitions for the classroom. Students divide into groups and battle through rounds of quiz questions. Students can select questions from a range of fundamental economic and business topics, including microeconomics, macroeconomics, finance and marketing.

Under Penn’s guidance, the LSU Agribusiness Club was the national champion in the 2019 Agricultural and Applied Economics Association academic quiz bowl. Annabelle Stokes

Sak receives 2020 LSU Discover Grant to study birds

Young woman standing in field

Ashlyn Sak

Ashlyn Sak, a junior majoring in natural resource ecology and management, is using an LSU Discover grant to study birds and their nesting habits in the flooded forests of Gross Tete, Louisiana. The LSU Discover Undergraduate Research Project Grant program supports student participation in faculty-mentored research and professional-level activities, and each semester LSU Discover funds at least 10 students. “There are so many professors that are willing to do assist in undergraduate research. All you have to do is ask,” said Sak, who plans to graduate in December 2020 and pursue a career as a field technician. William Gaspard

New assistantships available for African American Ph.D. students

The LSU College of Agriculture has established several initiatives to promote diversity within the college. One is the Vice President’s Diversity Graduate Assistantship for African American students will be available in the fall of 2021.

This program’s goal is to increase and enhance diversity, equity and inclusivity into the college’s graduate programs and will include four $25,000 assistantships to support funding for Ph.D. students.

These funds will be provided through the office of the Vice President for Agriculture/Dean of the College of Agriculture. The assistantship will include a waiver of both in-state and out-of-state tuition. Students who receive the assistantship can hold it for up to three years. Go to for more information. Annabelle Stokes

1/6/2021 5:10:42 PM
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