Giving the Best that You Got

May 15, 2013

4A0F2533Tears shed and cheers rendered as 35 College of Agriculture and Human Sciences graduates, 9 dietetic interns and retiring agronomy professor, Dr. Juanito Reyes, entered the standing room only luncheon.

The University theme “The Best Is Yet to Come” was echoed as Dr. Alton Johnson, dean, addressed the graduates of their full potential. He encouraged each to make an impact to society, the agricultural industry and as alumni through giving so others can reach their best.

This philanthropic inference is how many historically black colleges and universities were established. However in changing times, it is imperative that alumni play a supportive role in the creation of funds for scholarships and obtaining the best and brightest of students, faculty and staff.

Staying true to the mission of the university and its rich legacy in educating generations of minority people to enter a network of strong men and women of purpose, resources of all sorts are needed. Alumni’s giving is important for the university because a philanthropic culture will garner success and sustainability. Not to mention, young ambitious graduates revel in their accomplishments and loyalty to their alma mater.

Conveying diligence in hard work is practical information; however, obtaining knowledge of self-perseverance, encouraging attitudes and behaviors to promote independence and stand in the face of adversity are sound life strategies. Although emphasis is put on financial support, there is nothing more valuable than loyal, dedicated philanthropy.

Dr. Reyes Recognized for 29 years of service

Dr. Juanito Reyes (ctr) is recognized by Dean Alton Johnson (lft) and Department Head, Dr. Stanley (rt) for his 29 years of service to the College of Agriculture and Human Sciences

Loyalty is definitely what has been demonstrated by Dr. Reyes. A native of the Philippines, he gave 29 years educating the young minds in agronomy at the university. Choking on his words, “I have so many wonderful memories and am pleased to have gotten my start at Prairie View.” Adding, “The students are all good and want to learn. Technology has transformed the agricultural industry, but the basic agricultural knowledge transforms the students and I have seen many of PV’s students graduate and grow with both, basic and technological knowledge.”

Transitioning the basic knowledge of agricultural cultivation to modern technology improves the input-output relationship of the industry. Hence, the management of resources becomes more efficient and the knowledge is transferred faster between concept and usage. Therefore, better solutions emerge satisfying demand and sustaining future generations.

Agronomy student, Joshua Allen and Monsanto intern, said, “Dr. Reyes is patient and open to ideas. Not having him here next year is a personal loss for me because I gained so much knowledge from him. His classes prepared me and was instrumental in my knowledge to obtain this internship. I can say he will truly be missed.”

Other student’s had these things to say about Dr. Reyes:

“…fair and holds everyone to high standards, although we think his standards are unachievable, he pushes us beyond the threshold of learning.”

“We may not have labs, but he took his classes to the farm and gave us over 700 acres of lab work and time.”

“I feel confident that I will be able to compete with agricultural students from mainstream universities because Dr. Reyes motivated me to think beyond what our facilities may not have as opposed to others.”

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The graduates announced their acceptance to graduate and professional schools along with their career endeavors in private sector and governmental agencies. Those concentrated in animal science are going to veterinarian schools and doctoral programs. Subsequently, the agricultural economic majors accepted positions with Monsanto, USDA’s Forest Service and Natural Resources Conservation Services as well as tier 1 graduate schools. Many agronomy/soil science graduates will begin careers with USDA, US Army Corps of Engineers and private industry.

Students, give of yourself, time and finances to make a difference in the life of those coming after you, for this is philanthropy. The faculty and staff of the College of Agriculture and Human Sciences salute each of you for a job well done and the positive expectations of your futures. Dr. Reyes, declaring that helping is not the enemy of productivity, but the mother lode to professionalism, creativity and motivation, your 29 years of exemplary service to the students, the university and the agricultural sector is true to the mission of giving back.

By Staff Writer: Kelley A. Redmon

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CAHS Western Soiree

May 13, 2013

On a Thursday afternoon, the College of Agriculture and Human Sciences (CAHS) entertained hundreds of students, faculty, staff and local residents at the university farm. To honor students, guests experienced a modern day twist to the “Western Soiree”.

IMG_9351As the CAHS dean, Dr. Alton Johnson stated, “honoring our students is our intention and encouraging all University students to continue striving for excellence. We have a deep sense of pride, responsibility and commitment to use our talents in the application of knowledge to advance our State in the global economy through agriculture.”

As the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) reaches nearly $1.8 trillion in the agricultural sector, it is crucial that all land grant universities tap into the talented minds of the youth and provide quality education to the non-traditional learner about agricultural career opportunities. The campus farm is the educational laboratory for harnessing literacy of crop and livestock production, and identifies revenue for startup businesses.

The CAHS has more distinct characteristics than any other because it is supported by teaching, research and extension. This three part mission allows multiple disciplines to integrate with a different perspective in the scope of agriculture regarding a multi-ethnic Texas.

Johnson continued, “With creativity, faculty is finding new ways to develop educated and productive citizens. Our researchers are increasing shelf life of milk, protecting fruit against sunlight, removing allergens from peanuts, and developing strategies to enhance watershed functionality while meeting needs and changing the lives of Texans through extension.”

In many communities, agriculture reduces poverty and is poised to reconstruct the socio-economics of a people. This is done through local resources to build entrepreneurship. Success in agriculture stimulates growth with enterprises and attracts a new class of viable agribusiness by promoting leadership and management skills.

It is central that agriculture is viewed as a long term career field in a decreasing economy yet population is steadily increasing, bright, talented and ambitious youth listened intently as alum Carl Taylor, owner of Bonfire Wings, charged them with knowledge and effectiveness of global agricultural awareness and responsiveness.

The university farm was transformed into a chic cowboy venue where guests listened to music that infused country, rhythm & blues, and hip hop into a coveted playlist. Encouraged to wear their best western attire, boots and hats to the modern “Western Soiree”, each generational guest brought their roots and style to the event. IMG_9322

When speaking with guests, each voiced their amazement of what the CAHS offered from academics to careers and how it helped to provide industry strengths. The event was a wonderful opportunity to showcase the academic pride of students, flatter the crowd as the rodeo and livestock teams demonstrated roping techniques, and detailed skills and hands on experiences from veterinarian medicine to farm management in a real world setting. What started as an event to honor students who excelled in academics quickly became the capstone of educating masses of what one small university college can offer the world.

The occasion involved a menu filled with beef, pork and goat products, vegetables and desserts raised, produced and processed from the university farm. Everyone at the event revered over the food selection and the fresh palatable taste of the cuisine. The day did not end with the meal as guests enjoyed activities that included: hayrides, cattle roping, horseback riding, breathtaking landscapes and line dancing.

Having attentive audiences and eager administrators make for memorable moments. As one resident stated, “Prairie View A&M University is the staple of the community and I come to every event that is offered. There is just something about the vibe here that makes the community want to come out. It’s most gratifying.”

The College of Agriculture and Human Sciences is essential to enriching students with fresh perspectives, broad knowledge and leading edge research to the agricultural industry. This soiree was important in illustrating the strength of the program and to support the new direction of the college. Students met scientist ranging from biotechnology to crop management and animal health and reproduction. Agriculture is vital to the economy and addresses issues of profitability, environmental impact and health.

By Staff Writer: Kelley A. Redmon

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Big Oil Exposed!

May 1, 2013

Prairie View, TX—Oil and water may not mix, but winning for Prairie View A&M University and graduate student, Terronica Blackmon, does! As a second year animal science grad, Ms. Blackmon won the excellent poster award on the issue of health and nutrition during the 103rd American Oil Chemical Society (AOCS) annual meeting in Long Beach California. Her poster was titled “The Effects of Dietary Oxidized and Unoxidized Sunflower Oil: the Quality and Content Meat Cuts of Finishing Pigs”.Terri_Blackmon

A Houston, TX native, Ms. Blackmon worked under the guidance of Dr. Velva McWhinney as a graduate assistant. She graduated from PVAMU August 11, 2012 and is pursuing her doctor of philosophy at Texas A&M University.

Well done Ms. Blackmon!

Staff Writer: Kelley A. Redmon


New Hope for Farmers: Fighting Hunger

May 1, 2013

WorldFoodDayPrairie View, TX—Imagine eating one meal a day or worse no meal at all or watching your child/children perish because there is no food to eat or the food is unaffordable. Unimaginable for many in developed countries, especially people in the United States of America, huh? Unfortunately, the grim reality is that there are 925 mil- lion hungry people in the world. And alarming considering the wealthiest nation, USA, has about 14.5 percent of households that go hungry.

The hunger issues of many nations are based on food scarcity, but the USA’s hunger problem is perpetuated by poverty. To directly reduce hunger, nations must come together and confront the issue head on. In accordance to the challenge, Prairie View A&M University’s College of Agriculture and Human Sciences joined the movement to combat hunger during World Food Day (WFD). Taking action in the community and around the world amidst growing concerns of the world’s food supply is the path to resolution.

Many believe that modern agricultural practices and food control are tools to build corporate profits and monopolies rather than feed and nourish the world’s inhabitants. Fortunately, the current administration commit- ted to strengthening agriculture in poor countries and ending world hunger through the Feed the Future pro- gram. When one in seven people are undernourished, it proves that small farmers are underutilized because they offer a breadth of resources to feed the world. This year’s WFD theme “Agricultural Cooperatives: Key to Feeding the World” is critical in curbing the hunger pandemic.

Local farmers provide a sound business environment if the government establishes favorable policies, transparency in laws and regulations because they have grassroots commitment. “There is an environmental need for cooperatives to develop, form, thrive and compete with big businesses. Having cooperatives are better for tracking where our food is produced; hence improving food security. For instance, Sysco Foods flies food from Australia to our neighborhoods making silos a huge issue,” says Jay Crossley of Houston Tomorrow, a non-profit that explores urban issues and growth in the Houston, TX region.

Too many in this world are struggling to find their next meal. However, there are programs in the USA to en- able the vulnerable to find a way out of hunger and poverty. To raise awareness on food, health and nutrition programs, program director, Faye Walker, and third year student, Jordan MaClin from CAHS’ Human Nutrition and Foods, prepared a humble meal. The meal comprised of rice, beans and corn muffins had the audience asking “Where is the meat?” and engaged conversation about food insecurity. Clearly, this meal was a means to understand the situation people face around the world and here in America.

By Staff Writer: Kelley A. Redmon


Research Scientist Seeks to Improve Yield and Quality of Sweet Potatoes

May 1, 2013

Dr.GaoPRAIRIE VIEW, TX – Seeking knowledge-based solutions to improve the yield and quality of sweet potatoes is the major research focus of one of the College of Agriculture and Human Sciences’ newest members, Dr. Ming Gao. Coming on board in August, 2012 as a research scientist, Dr. Gao brings his extensive research experience in sweet potato genomics and biotechnology to expand and enhance Prairie View A&M University’s research in basic and applied plant sciences.

“My research will help us understand how the formation of storage roots, commonly called sweet potatoes, is initiated and regulated genetically in sweet potato plants,” said Gao. “In other words, discovering why some of the plants produce sweet potatoes and why some do not will assist us in devising novel ways to cultivate the plant to have a better yield as well as having a more uniform shape and size.”

Dr. Gao is also working on revealing the genetic mechanism that determines the amount and type of starch produced in sweet potatoes. Gao said that through breeding and genetic engineering, his research could lead to novel value-added cultivars that produce the desired amount of starch or starch with special properties or nutritional values.

Dr. Gao has a Ph.D. in Plant Physiology from Pennsylvania State University, a M.S. in Biology from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and a B.S. in Botany from Zhongsheng University in China. He has had extensive postdoc research training in biotechnology, genetic and genomics research on corn, wheat and green algae in world-class academic and private research laboratories in the United States, Canada, France and Germany before he started sweet potato research.

He was previously a senior research scientist /coordinator at the Center for Biotechnology and Genomics at Alcorn State University and led the research group to attract more than $3 million of external research funding from 2005 to 2012.

Dr. Gao has authored and co-authored numerous publications and is recognized internationally in his research field. He currently serves as a member of the editorial board for the “Journal of Biotech Research”, and has been a panelist for several biotechnology-related grant programs of the United States Department of Agriculture-National Institute of Food and Agriculture and Department of Energy in recent years.

For more information contact Dr. Gao at migao@pvamu.edu.


Director Gloria J. Mosby Retires

May 1, 2013

Gloria_MosbyPRAIRIE VIEW, TX – Gloria J. Mosby, program director – Communications for Prairie View A&M University College of Agriculture and Human Sciences (CAHS), retired effective January 31st after 32 years of service. Mosby started her career at Prairie View A&M in the Cooperative Extension Program (CEP), which is the outreach unit for the CAHS. During her tenure, Mosby served as Program Assistant in Communications, Communications Specialist and Program Director.

Her responsibilities included developing and editing written documents and giving overall direction to the Communications unit to ensure that the CEP and the CAHS were publicized and marketed to the citizens of Texas, clientele, funders and appropriate legislative entities. Under her leadership, the Cooperative Extension Program developed its brand slogan, “Meeting Needs, Changing Lives”.

During her tenure the Communications staff expanded from one person to five in order to solidify and enhance the work that needed to be done for the College. Today the College of Agriculture and Human Sciences, which includes the Department of Agriculture, Nutrition and Human Ecology, the Cooperative Agricultural Research Center and the Cooperative Extension Program, is widely publicized and marketed via print, broadcast, podcasts, online and social media and also includes a viable Information Technology unit.

In addition to her work at the University, Gloria held several key positions in national organizations, serving as chair and co-chair of the Association of Extension Administrators (AEA) Marketing and Communications Team and chair of the Southern Region Program Leadership Network Executive Committee. Gloria also held the positions of secretary, vice-president and president of the Journal of Extension board of directors. She also received Distinguished Service Awards for outstanding leadership from the Cooperative Extension Program and an Outstanding Service Award for impact writing from the Association of Extension Administrators.

One of the highlights of her career was serving as co-principal investigator for a grant to conduct a first of its kind national training called Media Relations Made Easy for all 1890 Land-Grant University communicators. Held in Little Rock, Arkansas in 2008, the training had communicators from twelve 1890
Land-Grant Universities in attendance.

A native of Baltimore, Maryland, Gloria received her Master of Science degree in Rural Sociology from Texas A&M University, was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Yaounde, Cameroon, Central West Africa where she received a post graduate degree in French and African Literature and obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Morgan State College.

Prior to working at Prairie View A&M University she was a Communications Assistant for Opportunities
Industrialization Centers (OIC) International in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Gloria plans to continue writing and editing in retirement and will work in business with her husband, Harry C. Mosby Jr. She and Harry have one son, Lance C. Mosby.


Research Scientist/Biometrician/Joins Cooperative Agricultural Research Center

May 1, 2013

Dr.JungDr. Yoonsung Jung joined the Cooperative Agricultural Research Center (CARC) in the College of Agriculture and Human Sciences as a research scientist/biometrician in August, 2012. Dr. Jung, a native of South Korea, earned his master’s in Statistics from Texas A&M University and his doctorate in Statistics from Kansas State University.

Dr. Jung worked as a statistics consultant for five years at the Kansas State University-Extension Research Service. Prior to coming to Prairie View A&M University, Dr. Jung served at Alcorn State University where he taught statistics in undergraduate and graduate studies for Education, Psychology, and Advanced Technologies.

Having a passion to find new ways to unlock the values of statistics in the minds of students, Dr. Jung is developing an agricultural statistics curriculum. “I think these are exciting times of expansion and growth”, said Dr. Jung. “The key to making each project a success is ensuring that the influx of money is used productively.”

Dr. Jung is collaborating with other research scientists in CARC to develop research design, data sets and analysis for research projects and publications.