Share

News Briefs

Posted: October 7, 2017

Summer/Fall 2017, Issue No. 101

Effective July 1, 2017, Bill Elmendorf was promoted to professor, and Beth Brantley at Penn State Mont Alto was promoted to senior instructor in forestry.

Jon Duncan joined us as assistant professor of hydrology on July 1, 2017. Jon was hired from a post-doctoral position at the University of North Carolina.  

James Finley, Ibberson Chair of Forest Resources and Director of the Center for Private Forests at Penn State retired on June 30, 2017, after nearly 43 years of service at Penn State.

In May 2017, Mike Powell received a College Staff Laureate Award – specifically the Ambassador Award, which honors a staff member who “serves as a proactive liaison to external audiences by building relationships, sharing knowledge, and promoting the unit and the College of Agricultural Sciences.”

Bill Elmendorf became the first holder of the Joseph E. Ibberson Endowed Chair in Urban and Community Forestry on May 1, 2017.

Andrew Morris, master’s student in Soil Science, was one of three Penn State graduate students who were awarded the Distinguished Master’s Thesis Award in April 2017. Morris is conducting research that evaluates the impact of cover crop interseeding, specifically as it relates to nitrogen losses. Morris’ adviser is Jason Kaye.

Dave Eissenstat was named a Fellow of the Ecological Society of America in February 2017.  He was elected for “major contributions towards understanding belowground processes and interactions among plants, microbes, environmental factors, and agricultural practices.”

Lillie Langlois received the 2017 Harold K. Shilling Dean’s Graduate Scholarship, the purpose of which is “to provide funding and recognition to outstanding graduate students who course of study is relevant to science, religion, and ethics, or who studies involve critical societal benefits such as improvement of health, environment, or energy.” Langlois is a Ph.D. candidate in Wildlife and Fisheries Science working with Margaret Brittingham.

Weile Chen, an Ecology Ph.D. student working with Dave Eissenstat, received an Alumni Association Distinguished Doctoral Dissertation Award in spring 2017.

In January 2017, Bill Elmendorf and extension urban foresters Vinnie Cotrone and Julianne Schieffer were among the College of Ag Sciences employees honored for 25 years of service.

In January 2017, Michael Sheriff received the Bartholomew Award from the Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology (one of the oldest and most prestigious biological societies in the United States) in recognition of distinguished contributions by a young investigator. Sheriff’s research integrates physiology, behavior, and ecology to understand the mechanisms that regulate and limit animal populations.

Beth Boyer had a 2016 paper cited among “Top 60 Papers from the First 60 Years of Limnology and Oceanography.”  

In spring 2016 FOREM senior Tim Ackerman received the Allegheny SAF Student Leadership Award. Tim was also selected to participate in the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences Emerging Leaders Endowment Program.

Forest Resources graduate student Brian Redder was a selected participant in the prestigious São Paulo School of Advanced Science on Nitrogen Cycling, Environmental Sustainability and Climate Change sponsored by the International Nitrogen Initiative, University of São Paulo, Brazil in July/August 2016. Redder is advised by Beth Boyer.

Lidiia Iavorivska received the Outstanding Student Paper Award at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco, CA, in December 2016. This meeting is the “largest Earth and space science meeting in the world,” with approximately 24,000 attendees in 2016. Iavorivska completed her Ph.D. in Forest Resources in December; Beth Boyer was her adviser.

In November 2016, at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center Annual Symposium, Sara Mueller, Ph.D. candidate in Wildlife and Fisheries Science won “Best Paper” and Josh Wisor, M.S. candidate in Wildlife and Fisheries Science won “Second Best Paper.” Both are advised by Jay Stauffer.

In November 2016, Jim Finley, Allyson Muth, Leslie Horner, and associates won a national award at the Society of American Foresters’ Convention presented by the National Association of University Forest Resources Programs for their Extension work in forest education. Finley was also one of the plenary speakers at SAF’s general assembly.

In September 2016, WFS senior Maggie Rash was selected as a recipient of the Shikar Safari Club Scholarship in recognition of her accomplishments and abilities, and a pro-hunting viewpoint on wildlife management and land management. Rash graduated in August 2017.

Li Guo, a post doc working with Henry Lin, won the Best Poster Paper award at the Third International Conference on Hydropedology held at Beijing Normal University in August 2016.

Jason Kaye was promoted to professor of soil biogeochemistry effective July 1, 2016.

Financial assistant Lori Stasko left the department in May 2016 to accept the position of administrative coordinator for the Department of Plant Science. In July 2016 we hired Deb Heaster to fill the vacant position.

In April 2016, The Penn State Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society was awarded the Professional Development / Leadership Award by the Ag Student Council.

Victoria Braithwaite was elected to Fellow of the Linnean Society of London in 2016.

Forty-two graduate students received awards for their research and creative scholarship in the 31st Annual Graduate Exhibition, held March 18 and 20, 2016, at Penn State University Park.  Award winners included Alison Franklin, Ph.D. student in soil science and biogeochemistry, who tied for 3rd place in Physical Sciences and Mathematics category for her research poster, "Presence of three antibiotics in wheat plants and groundwater at The Living Filter: a wastewater reuse site." Franklin’s adviser is Jack Watson.

In April 2016 graduate student Abigail Barenblitt won Best Student Presentation Award at the Pennsylvania Chapter of the Wildlife Society Meeting for her talk, “Influence of forest stand complexity on forest songbird diversity within large tracts of forest in Pennsylvania.” Barenblitt is an M.S. student in Wildlife and Fisheries Science and advised by Margaret Brittingham.

Patrick Drohan received the USEPA 2015 Scientific and Technological Achievement Award, Honorable Mention, for research on understanding the nature of urban soils and their role in stormwater and sewer management. The award is presented a year after the research it is recognizing.

Bill Elmendorf‘s 2015 Pennsylvania State Comprehensive State Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) received the 2016 National SCORP Award from the National Park Service and Society of Outdoor Recreation Professionals. Elmendorf was one of the three Penn State principal investigators on the study.

Carol Leitzell died on October 9, 2015 after a brief battle with cancer. She was the administrative assistant in the Renewable Natural Resources Extension Office and Center for Private Forests, and had been employed in the department and former School of Forest Resources since July 2002.

Lidiia Iavorivska, Ph.D. student in Forest Resources advised by Beth Boyer received a second-place award for best presentation, “Quantifying Rates of Atmospheric Dissolved Organic Carbon Deposition in the Northeastern United States,” at the 9th international conference on acid rain, Rochester, NY, October 2015.

Di Wu, Ph.D. student in integrative biosciences (John Carlson, adviser), was awarded a Chateaubriand scholarship from the Embassy of France (Washington, DC) to study high throughput DNA marker techniques with the INRA Forest Genetics group, Bordeaux, France, January 1 - May 31, 2015.

Bryan Swistock, senior extension associate, received a Leadership and Service - Education and Outreach Award, North American Lake Management Society, presented at the 2015 North American Lake Management Society Annual Conference, Saratoga Springs, NY.

Duane Diefenbach, adjunct professor of wildlife ecology and leader, PA Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit, received the Natural Resource Education Champion Award awarded by Pennsylvania Chapter of Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals in November 2015.

Tyler Wagner, adjunct professor of fisheries ecology and assistant unit leader, PA Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit received, along with his Ph.D. student Tyrell DeWeber (now a postdoctoral scholar at Oregon State University) the 2015 National Fish Habitat Award for Scientific Achievement in support of Fish Habitat Conservation for work on eastern brook trout. This award recognizes outstanding achievement in the use of science to improve fish habitat conservation.

Forest Ecosystem Management undergraduate student Jake Kriner, from DuBois, was awarded the Claude Schickling Memorial Scholarship and the W.G. Turk Jones Scholarship at the 2016 Annual Awards Banquet of the Clearfield County Conservation District.

Eight Penn State faculty members received Fulbright grants for the 2015-16 awards cycle including Jason Kaye, associate professor of soil biogeochemistry. His grant addresses “Using Cover Crops to Increase Agroecosystem Resilience to Climate Change” and he will be hosted by the Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, Madrid Spain.

Recent awards from the Association of Natural Resources Extension Professionals (ANREP) include award a 2016 Gold Award to Jennifer Fetter, Sanford S. Smith, Kristen Kyler, Deborah Dietrich, Vincent Cotrone, Bradley Kunsman, Bryan Swistock, Charles Andrew Cole, and Stuart Echols for their publication, Rain to Drain – Slow the Flow. A 2016 Silver Award to Dave Jackson and Jim Finley for their publication on herbicides and forest vegetation management .A 2015 Silver Award for Promotional Materials was awarded to Allyson Muth, Peter Smallidge, Jim Finley, Gary Goff, and Shorna Allred for Love the Land? Make a Plan. And a 2015 Outstanding Team Award went to Nicole Strong, Allyson Muth, Tamara Walkingstick, Eli Sagor, and Amanda Subjin for their Women Owning Woodlands Peer Learning.

Sandy Smith, extension education natural resources and youth extension specialist, was awarded First Place in Pennsylvania from the Pennsylvania Association of Extension 4-H Agents PAE4-H Excellence in Camping Award Team category. He also received the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents Excellence in Natural Resources – Excellence in Camping Award Team category, 1st Place in the Northeast USA Region.

Henry Lin, professor of hydropedology/soil hydrology, received an Outstanding Research Award from the Northeastern Branch of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America in 2015.