WARF hiring grad students and post-docs for its Ambassadors program

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) Ambassador Program enhances the vital connection between research on campus and technology transfer. Engaging students and post-docs to serve as WARF Ambassadors augments WARF’s visibility and presence among researchers on campus.
WARF is seeking graduate students and postdocs for the 2014-15 academic year to:

  • Increase understanding and awareness of WARF’s role across campus by creating opportunities for WARF staff to connect with researchers, including graduate students and postdocs
  • Help set up sessions across campus to discuss WARFs technology commercialization process
  • Encourage students, staff and faculty to contact WARF with new inventions, questions and technology commercialization ideas
  • Present information about WARF’s technology commercialization process at campus poster sessions
  • Participate in developing and planning the annual WARF Discovery Challenge Research Symposium

Qualified applicants will:

  • Be graduate students or postdocs in scientific or technical disciplines
  • Have substantially completed their coursework, ideally having achieved dissertator status or equivalent
  • Obtain approval from their supervisor or major professor to participate in the program
  • Be able to commit 5-10 hours/month to the program

Particularly strong applicants are energetic, effective at networking with students, faculty and staff on campus and have an interest in the process of moving discoveries from early concept to the marketplace.

WARF Ambassadors will receive a monthly stipend for each month of active service as well as semester-end bonuses in the form of travel allowances related to their graduate studies/postdoctoral work.

Apply online at the WARF Career Portal
Once an online profile has been created, you will receive a survey application. This survey application must be completed no later than August 18, 2014 (5 pm). Interviews will be conducted August 25 – September 5, 2014. Ambassadors are expected to participate in the training program Monday, September 8 – Friday, September 12, 2014 (8:30-10:30 a.m. at the Discovery Building).

Summer internship introduces landscape architecture student to Japanese gardens


Lily Mank at Anderson Japanese Gardens.

When first-timers visit a Japanese-style garden during the summer, one thing tends to stick out: it’s primarily green.

“One of the comments we get the most is there aren’t a lot of flowers, that everything is monochromatic green,” says CALS landscape architecture senior Lily Mank, a summer intern at the Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford, Illinois.

Yet people love what they see.

The predominance of green summer foliage, notes Mank, is just one aspect that makes Japanese gardens unique. More broadly, it’s the special way that basic elements – stone, water and plants – are brought together and the emotions these landscapes evoke.

The internship, offered for the first time this year, has given Mank the opportunity to rotate through many aspects of running the garden, including design, management, marketing and event planning, planting and construction.

It also included time with Hoichi Kurisu, who has been the chief designer of the Anderson Japanese Gardens since in 1978. Although Kurisu doesn’t have a formal degree in landscape architecture, he is considered a leader in the field of Japanese garden design. In June, Mank spent a full day with Kurisu on an active garden construction site in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

“It was really interesting to see how Hoichi develops his designs and also to hear the story of how he was inspired to become a landscape architect,” says Mank. “It was an incredible opportunity to spent time with him. He shared his whole life story with me.”

When school starts up this fall, Mank will wrap up her internship by writing a report on therapeutic gardens, a particular interest of hers. It will be informed, in part, by yet another experience afforded by the internship: working with garden staff on the campus of the Rosecrance Griffin Williamson drug rehabilitation center in Rockford. The Rosecrance garden, also designed by Kurisu, is an integral part of the facility’s treatment program.

“Seeing the benefits of the therapeutic garden first-hand was incredible,” she says. “It was probably my favorite experience.”

AJG irises

Photo courtesy of Anderson Japanese Gardens.


Ten Outstanding Sophomores recognized by WALSAA

Outstanding Sophomores 2014.  Winners of the Outstanding Sophomore Award include, from left to right, WALSAA Scholarship Co-Chairman Robb Bender, CALS Dean Kathryn VandenBosch, Abigail Ball, Katherine Griswold, Maria Gruetzmacher, Bethany Dado, Amanda Belltrame, Daniel Fox, Luke Drachenberg, Jayne-Norah Ntambi, Erica Ballmer, Patrick Carney and WALSAA President & Scholarship Co-Chairman Bryan Ren

Outstanding Sophomores 2014. From left to right, WALSAA Scholarship Co-Chairman Robb Bender, CALS Dean Kathryn VandenBosch, Abigail Ball, Katherine Griswold, Maria Gruetzmacher, Bethany Dado, Amanda Beltrame, Daniel Fox, Luke Drachenberg, Jayne-Norah Ntambi, Erica Ballmer, Patrick Carney and WALSAA President & Scholarship Co-Chairman Bryan Renk.

The Wisconsin Agricultural and Life Sciences Alumni Association recently continued its proud tradition of promoting student excellence at UW–Madison. After an unprecedented 86 submitted applications, the WALSAA scholarship committee narrowed down its search for the top 10 Outstanding Sophomores through a rigorous prescreening process that focused equally on academic achievement, campus involvement/leadership, community service, and relevant experience. From these 86 applicants, 24 were selected to interview in front of a panel of three WALSAA board members. Ten final awardees were selected based on interview performance.

“It’s truly amazing what these students can accomplish in less than two years at Madison,” said Robb Bender, cochairman of the scholarship committee. “Although difficult to choose just 10 students, these well-rounded individuals are the cream of the crop.”

Winners of the Outstanding Sophomore Award include: Abigail Ball, Waterford, animal science/dairy science; Erica Ballmer, Janesville, dairy science/life sciences communication; Amanda Beltrame, Brookfield, biochemistry; Patrick Carney, Madison, genetics; Bethany Dado, Amery, dairy science/genetics; Luke Drachenberg, Arena, agricultural business management/economics; Daniel Fox, Deerfield, Ill., biology; Katherine Griswold, Black Earth, life sciences communication; Maria Gruetzmacher, Stillwater, Minn., dietetics; and Jayne-Norah Ntambi, Fitchburg, nutritional sciences.

WALSAA (Wisconsin Agricultural and Life Sciences Alumni Association) is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that supports the connection of CALS students, faculty and alumni.

CALS student Alison Wedig elected state president of Wisconsin FFA


Alison Wedig

For the second year in a row, the Wisconsin FFA will be led by a CALS student. In June, Alison Wedig, a second year Life Sciences Communication major, was elected state president of the organization. Last year, Logan Wells, a CALS forest and wildlife ecology major, held the position

When Alison, who grew up near Darlington, Wisconsin, starts school again this fall, she won’t be taking a full load of courses. That’s because her FFA duties come first, she says.

And there certainly are a lot of them.

Alison shared via email: “This year as Wisconsin FFA state president I will meet thousands of enthusiastic FFA members and travel over 15,000 miles across the state promoting agricultural education and the FFA. In addition to meeting with [FFA] members on the local, state and national level, the state officer team will meet with leaders in government, education, business and agriculture.”

For more information about Alison and her goals for this important leadership position, read this The Country Today article.

Food team’s Walking Wok walks off with 2nd place

Walking_wok_duoCALS students did well in the highly competitive food product development contests at the Institute of Food Technology’s Food Expo and Annual Meeting, June 21-23 in New Orleans. The IFTSA & Mars Team earned 2nd place for its Walking Wok, while the IFTSA/Disney Team’s Pocahontas’ Canoe Cruisers received an honorable mention and the UW-Madison Food Science Club was runner up for Chapter of the Year.

When they weren’t preparing for oral presentations, poster presentations, and tasting sessions with the judges, they wandered through to the food industry’s biggest trade show, where vendors from every corner of the globe showcased new ingredients, equipment and market research. “The experience was both overwhelming and excitingly eye-opening,” says Emily Harbison, incoming president of the Food Science Club. “The experience gave students a peek into their potential futures, an educational experience to say the least.”

New CALS grad Zoey Brooks is also new Alice in Dairyland

ZoeyBrooksIt’s been a big week for Zoey Brooks. The Waupaca native was selected as Wisconsin’s 67th Alice in Dairyland and graduated from the UW-Madison with a degree in animal science. As Alice, Brooks will work as a communications professional for the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP). Her job will be to promote Wisconsin agriculture and to teach the public about the importance of agriculture in Wisconsin.

“I am thrilled to be chosen as Alice in Dairyland,” Brooks said. “As Alice, I will work to promote and protect Wisconsin’s vital agriculture industry and to motivate others to make their own unique connections to Wisconsin agriculture.”

As a member of the sixth generation on her family’s dairy and grain farm, she looks forward to growing the business in the future.

Brooks served as Dane County Farm Bureau’s Ag in the Classroom coordinator and as a director at-large for her Collegiate Farm Bureau. She has held internships with the Food Export Association of the Midwest and with UW-Extension.

Brooks was selected at the culmination of a three-day Finals event in Clark County. The event included agribusiness tours, speeches, a public question-and-answer session and media interviews. The other finalists were Allyson Binversie of Manitowoc, Katie Dogs of Theresa, Kristin Klossner of New Glarus, Melissa Ploeckelman of Stetsonville and Whitney Rathke of Fredonia.

Brooks will start working as Alice on June 2. She will succeed 66th Alice in Dairyland Kristin Olson. Brooks will travel about 40,000 miles during her year as Alice speaking at events and giving media interviews. She will present lessons in more than 100 Wisconsin classrooms in partnership with the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.

A number of Wisconsin organizations contribute to make Alice in Dairyland visible and recognizable to the public. For example, Brooks will wear and keep a custom mink garment to promote Wisconsin’s fur industry courtesy of the Kettle Moraine Mink Breeders Association. She will drive an E-85 flex-fuel Chevrolet Tahoe from the Wisconsin Corn Growers Association to promote the state’s ethanol industry. While working, Brooks will wear a 14-carat gold and platinum brooch or tiara featuring amethysts and citrines, gems indigenous to Wisconsin. The tiara and brooch are courtesy of the Wisconsin Jewelers Association. Many other Wisconsin organizations support the Alice in Dairyland program by funding media campaigns.

New sustainability certificate debuts this fall

A new certificate in sustainability will be available to UW-Madison undergraduates this fall.

The Sustainability Certificate, offered through the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies with support from the Office of Sustainability, will allow students to diversify their major course of study with interdisciplinary coursework in sustainability principles and application to real-world challenges.

“What makes this generation of students revolutionary is their near-universal concern about the future of our world. Business majors, engineers, history students, and people who study music – they’re all interested in sustainability,” says Paul Robbins, director of the Nelson Institute. “This certificate helps unite the campus to train the next generation of leaders in how our decisions today will impact our collective tomorrow.”

Through the certificate program, students will learn about links between natural and human systems, life-cycle thinking, value-generation for energy and other natural resources, and the role of public policy. The curriculum focuses on providing a breadth of intra- and interdisciplinary perspectives with an emphasis on problem-solving and experiential learning. “Some of these pieces existed previously, here and there. But with a cohesive program, students have a community of interest in which they can learn,” says Nelson Institute professor Cathy Middlecamp, who played a central role in creating the certificate program. “Plus, the certificate provides opportunities for some truly innovative approaches. The course I teach, Principles of Environmental Science, is place-based, using examples of energy, food, and waste right here on campus to understand sustainability. It’s new content, it’s timely content, and I think it’s groundbreaking for UW-Madison to integrate campus operations, research, and teaching.”

The program culminates in a “Sustainability in Practice” capstone course that challenges students to work with peers and sustainability professionals to identify and address an existing issue on the UW-Madison campus, such as energy use, waste management, food systems, or transportation.

“Solving society’s complex sustainability problems requires interdisciplinary teams. We will be drawing undergraduates from all across campus to learn together about sustainability principles and how to apply them by engaging in actual projects and activities on our campus,” says Office of Sustainability co-director Craig Benson. “This training will give our students a advantageous position in the job market with the breadth of employers who are looking for employees with unique knowledge and skills in sustainability.”

The 12-credit certificate can be added to any major except the environmental studies joint degree. It also cannot be earned with the Environmental Studies Certificate.

Students from any class year are eligible to apply for the program if they have an overall G.P.A of at least 3.0 and have completed one of the required courses with a grade of B or better. More information, curriculum, and criteria are available on the Nelson Institute website (http://nelson.wisc.edu/undergraduate/sustainability-certificate). Students interested in the certificate should fill out a survey (link: http://go.wisc.edu/sustainabilitycertificatesurvey) to be notified when the application form is available in summer 2014.

Review copies of 2014-2015 Go Big Read book “I am Malala” available

MalalaThe UW-Madison’s Go Big Read book for 2014-2015 is “I Am Malala” by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb. The book, as described in this UW news release, was selected from among 200 nominated titles on the theme of service.

Instructors who would like a copy to review for a course and/or would like to sign up a course for free copies, visit gobigread.wisc.edu.

WARF Discovery Challenge spring research symposium – May 21

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is holding the third annual Discovery Challenge, a research competition for UW-Madison graduate students and postdoctoral researchers from all departments and fields of study.

One of this year’s marquee events, the spring research symposium, will be held Wednesday, May 21, in the Town Center at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, 330 N. Orchard St. The event is free and open to the public.

The symposium features two poster sessions and cash prizes. The noon keynote address, “The National Science Foundation: How? Why? What next?” will be led by Fleming Crim, UW-Madison chemistry professor and assistant director of the National Science Foundation’s Mathematical and Physical Sciences Directorate.

Described as a “primordial soup of ideas,” the Discovery Challenge invites researchers from across campus to present their work and seek new collaborators. Past symposiums have attracted more than 125 graduate students and post-docs from computer science to horticulture, engineering and the humanities. WARF hopes this year’s event will inspire an even larger crop of young researchers to cross-pollinate, learn and compete.

The first phase of the Discovery Challenge kicked off last semester with a series of workshops on developing collaborative research programs and improving communication skills. Activities wrap up in autumn with the research award competition, which is open to original research ideas proposed by interdisciplinary teams.

All spring symposium presenters and participants – not just the prize winners – will be eligible to compete for mini-grants of up to $7,500 at the fall event.

Register for the upcoming symposium by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 14. For more information, visit http://go.wisc.edu/7tk66h or contact Ann Muehl at (608) 890-1491 or amuehl@warf.org.

Congratulations to the 2014 CALS Outstanding Senior Award recipients

CALS Outstanding Senior Awards recognize students for their scholastic performance, leadership, and service. Students who are nominated by their department or have a cumulative grade point average of 3.75 or higher can apply. Applications are reviewed by faculty and staff on the CALS Recruitment and Scholarships Committee.

This year, each CALS Outstanding Senior Award winner maintains at least a 3.8 grade point average. In addition to their outstanding academic performance, these students demonstrate remarkable records of both leadership and service.

2014 Outstanding Senior Award Winners

Rachael Baird (Genetics with Certificate in Global Health) – Rachael is from New Berlin, Wisconsin. During her time on campus, she sought opportunities to mentor others. Rachael served as a CALS Ambassador, a Physics Learning Center Peer Mentor Tutor, and a Student Success Institute STEM team member. She also gave back to the greater Madison community as a volunteer at the American Family Children’s Hospital, Ronald McDonald House Charities, and Goodman Community Center. Following graduation Rachael will be attending the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine at Case Western University.

Lauren Brzozowski (Horticulture) – Lauren is from Brookfield, Wisconsin. Lauren came to CALS after earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. Lauren pursued a Horticulture major to study plant breeding and genetics. While in CALS, she completed an undergraduate research project on seed production in biennial vegetable crops funded by a Hilldale Undergraduate Research Fellowship, and she was actively involved in the community as a math tutor, and garden volunteer. She will begin a Ph.D. program in Plant Breeding and Genetics this Fall.

Caroline Collins (Agricultural Business Management and Environmental Studies) – Caroline is from Plymouth, Minnesota. She participated in many service activities while on campus. Caroline was a cast member in Humorology, a comedic musical show that raises funds for the Boys and Girls Club; she completed an Alternative Break volunteering with the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center adaptive ski program for disabled kids and adults; and served as a chemistry and math tutor for the Center for Academic Excellence. Caroline also competed two internships and a study abroad experience at Oxford.

Natalie Dosch (Nutritional Sciences with Certificates in Global Health and African Studies) – Natalie is from Madison, Wisconsin. She was a leader in student organizations serving as a committee member in UW – Madison Habitat for Humanity and UW – Health Occupations Students of America. She was also very active in health related activities. Natalie conducted mentored research in the Meriter Hospital Neonatology Laboratory; completed an internship with the West Africa AIDS Foundation in Accra, Ghana; served as a Student Health Advocate with University Health Services; and completed a field course in Kathmandu, Nepal where she toured urban and rural health care centers.

Emily Lingeman (Biochemistry with Honors in Research) – Emily is from Brookfield, Wisconsin. Emily’s time on campus was characterized by involvement in student leadership and research activities. Emily held several leadership positions with Circle K International, the Undergraduate Biochemistry Association, and the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. Emily completed four mentored research experiences, two on the UW-Madison campus, one at Cambridge University, and one at Harvard University. Emily also served as a Research Mentoring Intern for the Institute for Biology Education where she co-facilitated Biology 260, a course for students entering research.

Lynzie Miller (Animal Science) – Lynzie is from Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. Lynzie maintained a 4.0 grade point average while engaging in significant leadership for CALS student organizations. She served as the Animal Science Academic Quadrathlon Chair, the Badger Bonanza Lamb Show Chair, and the Association of Women in Agriculture’s Breakfast on the Farm Chair. Lynzie also completed an internship in Sydney, Australia with the Randwick Equine Center and completed a mentored research project in Dr. Tom Crenshaw’s nutrition lab. Lynzie will attend veterinary school in the Fall.

Catherine Turng (Biology and Life Sciences Communication with a Certificate in Environmental Studies) – Catherine is from Madison, Wisconsin. During her undergraduate career, Catherine has maintained a 4.0 GPA and completed undergraduate research projects with professors in Environmental Studies and Medical History and Bioethics. Catherine also served as a group leader for Asian American Intervarsity and was the Event Coordinator for the Chinese Language and Culture Club. Catherine also worked on science education programs while interning with the Taipei Zoo and National Taiwan Science Education Center.