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CAHNRS Talk Tuesday: Fatima Zubedi

Each week, we showcase one of our CAHNRS Ambassadors, a student leadership organization that encourages students to pursue higher education and serves as a liaison between the college and the greater community. This week, we’re featuring Fatima Zubedi, a sophomore from Bakersfield, Calif.Graphic of student's interests with a formal portrait photo.

What are you studying?

I’m majoring in Human Development.

Favorite Show/Movie:

Stand By Me

Favorite Cougar Tradition:

My favorite tradition as a Cougar would have to be rushing the field during victorious football games. I recall last year’s game against USC when the final seconds on the clock began to disappear and as the scoreboard came to a zero. My best friend and I, alongside tons of other Cougs, ran down to the field. Everywhere I turned it was pictures being captured in Coug gear, laughs, handshakes, etc. It was the most treasured memory I have thus far, and the best part was when we came together in harmony to sing Andy Grammar’s classic Back Home.

Favorite CAHNRS Commodity:

Throughout my entire life, I’ve always grown up not necessarily liking ice cream–it was just one of those things I’d never eat or, if I did choose to eat it, indulge in once every few months. Entering freshmen year at WSU, I went through the Alive orientation in which one of the locations we visited was Ferdinand’s ice cream. Let me just say, I fell back in love with ice cream again. The vanilla ice cream was the creamiest and most fresh flavor of vanilla I had ever had in my entire life. I knew from that day on it would always be my go-to on campus. The best part is that it’s a CAHNRS commodity made by students, just one more reason to love it.

Why be a CAHNRS Coug?

During Alive, I fell in love with the opportunities CAHNRS offered. While there wasn’t a Human Development representative, the other CAHNRS members were very inclusive which made it seem like I was going to be joining this family when I joined CAHNRS. When questioning whether to stay in CAHNRS, it was the people that made me stay. My classmates, friends, professors, and more have all become like a family to me. CAHNRS helped to get me involved with extracurriculars, research, and gave me a family away from home.

Best Student Experience:

Coming from California, I knew no one attending WSU. All of my friends were staying in state. I thought the icebreaker into meeting more people would be going through sorority recruitment, so I decided to register for it. I arrived at WSU one week earlier than most students for fall semester, and instantly bonded with the girls within my dorm hall who had come earlier to participate in recruitment. As the week went along, I finally got to run home to the sorority I fell in love with. The days that followed grew to become more enjoyable. Now as a sophomore, I can honestly say I found my home away from home, and strong friendships with sisters that will last me a lifetime.

CAHNRS Taught Me:

My freshmen spring semester I took HD 200, in which various professors from the Human Development field would come in and speak about their professions. One day, Dr. Weaver came in and gave her presentation on Gerontology. I was instantly interested with the field, even though it was the opposite of what I wanted to pursue. After meeting with Dr. Weaver, I became involved with undergraduate research and it has been a constant learning and growing experience. Without CAHNRS, I would have never come across this opportunity so early in my life.

New from Extension: Grow better crops, fight pests and help students learn in the garden

Grapes growing on the vine.Extension scientists work with Northwest growers, educators and industries to create knowledge that improves our fruit, vegetable and grain crops, empowers student learning and develops communities.

Extension faculty are authors who every month share the results of their work through peer-reviewed online publications.

Newly published WSU Extension guides include:

  • The 2019 Pest Management Guide for Grapes in Washington (publication number EB0762), developed by WSU, WSDA and USDA researchers and industry representatives. This guide helps commercial grape growers control diseases, insects, weeds, and other pests.
  • A fact sheet, “Potato Virus Y and Organic Potato Production in Western Washington” (FS312E). This guide was created by WSU Skagit Extension researcher Don McMoran, Extension Specialist Chris Benedict, and WSU Mount Vernon-based Plant Pathologist Debra Ann Inglis. Transmitted by aphids and through seed potatoes, Potato Virus Y is a serious disease of Washington’s industry, affecting yields and quality.
  • A feasibility study, Cover Cropping and Companion Cropping for the Inland Northwest (TB59E) by professor and Regional Extension Specialist Diana Roberts. In this guide, Roberts outlines which cover crop mixes may work best for dryland farming.
  • A guide, Growing Parsnips in Western Washington (FS314E), by Don McMoran, Skagit County Extension Preceptor Kate Seymour, and Skagit Extension Technician Charlie Gundersen. They share basic guidelines for success with parsnips, a long-season crop that thrives in western Washington, as well as common problems that growers face.
  • A curriculum publication for fourth grade teachers, Pulse on Health: Garden-based Pulse Nutrition and Biology (EC009). This guide to garden-based learning helps promote critical thinking and inspire students, and was written by Extension researchers Diane Smith and LeeAnne Riddle, WSU Horticulture researchers Kelly A. Nickerson and Carol Miles, and Susan Kerr, affiliate professor in the WSU Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences.

You can find the latest publications at the WSU Extension Online Bookstore.

Find the newest monthly listings here.

New group aims for quick growth at WSU

By Sarah Appel, CAHNRS Academic Programs

Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) is a non-profit organization that works to “promote academic and professional advancement by empowering minorities in agriculture, natural resources, and related sciences,” according to its website. With over 60 active chapters spanning across six regions, MANRRS is impacting students across the United States.

A group of students holds a WSU Coug logo flag in a brightly lit room.
MANRRS students from WSU’s new chapter at their Regional Conference.

The WSU Chapter of MANRRS strives to do just that. The chapter invites all WSU students to get involved, regardless of major and identity. Members simply need to be passionate about the “inclusion, achievement, and advancement of all people in the agricultural sciences and related fields.” Between chapter meetings, fun events, and a variety of conferences and trips, those involved with MANRRS are taking charge of their futures now.

As a new club for all WSU students, MANRRS-WSU members are working diligently to gain college-wide interest and momentum. The program launched last spring after Dr. Colette Casavant, WSU junior Letty Trejo, and WSU senior (now CAHNRS graduate student) Raul Arroyo, attended the MANRRS National Conference in Greensboro, North Carolina.

“After the conference was over, the answer was clear; we needed a MANRRS chapter at WSU,” said Trejo. “The conference happened early April and during dead week we had our first ‘interest group’ meeting. We quickly started moving forward with establishing a chapter.”

“MANNRS seemed like the perfect opportunity to communicate, encourage, and apply myself regarding future decisions,” Juan Casas, a senior in Agricultural Biotechnology, explained. “Despite being a program that is relatively new as of this Fall of 2018, I continue to believe that as long as my personal involvement and time commitments are consistent, I can apply myself to follow the steps of those before me in order to taken advantage of the resources and experiences regionally offered.”

A few months later, the chapter launched with 15 active members, monthly meetings and trip to a regional conference. The MANRRS Regional Conference took place at Oregon State University in Corvallis and CAHNRS is pleased to report that nine students and Dr. Casavant attended.

At the conference, students were taught a variety of professional skills. Session topics included public speaking, resume building, and graduate school advice with opportunities to network with industry partners in the professional world mixed throughout the two days.

Casas took the opportunity to participate in a graduate school workshop while attending the conference to best prepare himself for his approaching graduation.

“The absolute best takeaways from the workshop,” described Casas, “was with the panelist asking us directly about the current steps that we as a group were doing to benefit our ‘first step’ as potential graduate students and the informative detailing on important due dates to make the ‘first step’ a big one.”

For Karansher Sandhu, a graduate student researching wheat breeding, his involvement with MANRRS-WSU offers him an opportunity to improve his speaking skills, gain audience exposure and obtain career related advice from a variety of professors within CAHNRS. His transformative experience at the Regional Conference left Karan impressed enough to encourage other students to get involved with MANRRS-WSU.

From freshmen to upperclassmen to graduate students, MANRRS-WSU strives to reach every student, regardless of major and identity, and encourage them to pursue their dreams within agriculture, natural resources and related sciences.

Winter Stream Stewards course helps Kitsap residents protect their waters

A man using a new in a Pacific Northwest steamResidents of Kitsap County can learn how to protect and preserve their streams and waterways at an upcoming Stream Stewards training course from Washington State University Extension experts.

Offered annually, the fast-paced, science-based course teaches participants about stream ecology, fish and wildlife, and human interaction with their watersheds.

Kitsap County’s Stream Stewards course begins 9 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22, and runs through Feb. 26, at the Eagles Nest Community Room on the Kitsap Fairgrounds in Bremerton.

During the course, Kitsap-area organizations will share information about local ecological projects, offering participants new ways to make a difference in their communities. Each session includes a morning classroom learning experience paired with an afternoon field excursion.

Cost is $60. Register here.

WSU Kitsap Extension partners with the Washington Sea Grant program for Stream Stewards.

To learn more, contact Amy Brodbeck, Extension Water Stewardship Program Coordinator, at 360-337-7157, ext. 6272, or by email at


CAHNRS Talk Tuesday: Tyler Wildman

Each week, we showcase one of our CAHNRS Ambassadors, a student leadership organization that encourages students to pursue higher education and serves as a liaison between the college and the greater community. This week, we’re featuring Tyler Wildman, a junior from Eugene, Oregon.Graphic of student's interests with a formal portrait photo.

What are you studying?

I’m majoring in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Science.

Favorite Show/Movie:

The Ranch

Favorite Cougar Tradition:

One of my favorite things about Cougar traditions is getting to start new ones. WSU has over 300+ registered student organizations which all cover a range of interests. There are clubs focused on professional development, academic interests, hobbies, sports, recreation, and more. Through CAHNRS, I was able to start my own club during my first year here that allowed my friends and I to explore the world of fields trials and share our appreciation of the American Kennel Club (AKC) sporting dog breed. As a club, we are working on starting our own traditions and working to incorporate current Cougar traditions into our activities. It has been an incredible experience learning not only how to start up an organization, but to lead it as well.

Favorite CAHNRS Commodity:

One of my favorite things about winters in Pullman is that the weather is perfect for hearty comfort dishes. When it starts to snow, I love to stop by the WSU Meat Lab sale and pick up whole oxtail. I make a roasted oxtail stew that I slow cook all day while in class. There is nothing like coming home to a fully prepared, delicious meal when the weather is chilly. Keeps me warm, comfortable, and full while working on my class assignments.

Why be a CAHNRS Coug?

I originally chose CAHNRS as a transfer student from an Oregon community college. They offered the major I was interested in and, after meeting with an ambassador, I was sold on the CAHNRS community. I have come to realize that CAHNRS is the college of hands on learning; the part of CAHNRS that I love the most. Classes and labs are designed to give you the experience of real-world situations, not just in-class simulations that don’t represent careers. Clubs and student organizations are meant to foster student independence and cooperation. Overall, being a CAHNRS Coug isn’t about the grades on homework or tests. It’s not just about showing up for lab. CAHNRS is about really getting your hands dirty and learning first-hand how the real-world works. This is real preparation; this is CAHNRS.

Best Student Experience:

My best student experience has been connecting and working with professors around campus. Meeting with them to discuss real world applications of class material, as well as possible research opportunities, has opened new passions and ideas in my studies. Coming from a community college, I had a general idea of where I wanted to go with my education. It wasn’t until I met with these incredible professors that I really began to find passion within my studies.

CAHNRS Taught Me:

My CAHNRS classes have given me the hands-on experience in utilizing techniques, knowledge and equipment that are all used throughout my industry. These skills are necessary to reach my future career aspirations. The faculty within CAHNRS have shown me how to understand what I am learning in the classroom to apply it to the field. These skills of transferring valuable knowledge from the classroom to the “outside” world is what inspires me to keep pursing my education. I have a long way to go until I am finished with learning, but I know that the additional experience that CAHNRS provided me will make a major difference in my future.

Horticulture researchers sharing online gene resources for healthier forests

Aerial top view of summer green trees in forest in rural Finland. Drone photographySharing data that helps scientists, foresters and foundations improve and protect our forests, Department of Horticulture researchers Dorrie Main, Stephen Ficklin and Sook Jung are co-authors on a recent paper detailing data resources and development of TreeGenes, an electronic database of forest genomes.

Valued as sources of timber, pulp and biofuel, forests help sequester carbon, stabilize our watersheds, and maintain biodiversity in our ecology. To ensure the health and future of forests, assist with reforestation, advance tree-breeding techniques, and protect against diseases, scientists have developed a database of forest tree genomes over the last 24 years.

Today, the TreeGenes database includes genomic resources on 1790 tree species and has more than 1,500 users at academic research labs, commercial breeders, government agencies and a variety of foundations.

Authored by scientists at the University of Connecticut, University of Tennessee, Washington State University, and Clemson University, the paper, “Growing and cultivating the forest genomics database, TreeGenes,” was published this fall in Database, a journal of biological databases and curation.

The new paper describes TreeGenes’ tools and interface, data sources, community standards, as well as the database’s future direction.

WSU researchers support TreeGenes, collaborating on development of a database construction tool called Tripal, and sharing their research data through TreeGenes and other fruit tree databases on the rose and citrus plant families.

This research is supported by a $3 million award from the National Science Foundation’s Plant Genome Research Program.

Main is Professor of Bioinformatics in the Department of Horticulture; Ficklin is Assistant Professor, and Jung is an Assistant Research Professor.

New from Extension Publications: Sheep-shearing biosecurity, poison ivy controls, cultural awareness

Man shearing sheep using shears; Photo shows the sheep partly sheared and man's hands and shears.Extension scientists work with Northwest farmers, families and industries to create knowledge that improves our crops and livestock, powers our economy and develops communities.

Extension faculty are also authors, who every month share the results of their work through peer reviewed online publications.
Newly published WSU Extension guides include:

• A free guide on Biosecurity for the Sheep Shearer (FS311E), by Sarah Smith, Regional Extension Specialist with the Department of Animal Sciences. Learn to mitigate and protect against diseases that affect both sheep and human beings.

• A Notebook (MISC0573) and Cultural Awareness Booklet (MISC0579) for use in WSU’s Navigating Difference Cultural Competency Training, by Extension Diversity Director Mary Katherine Deen, Professor and Family Development Extension Specialist Louise Parker, and Melynda Huskey, Vice President for Enrollment and Student Services at Western Washington University.

• A free Pacific Northwest Extension Pacific Poison-oak and Western Poison-ivy: Identification and Management guide (PNW108). By Oregon State Horticulture researcher Brooke Edmunds and OSU Extension faculty members Alicia Christiansen, Andrew G. Hulting, and Lauren Grand, this guide shows how to identify and control these plants, and prevent exposure to their oily substance, urushiol, which can cause a painful allergic reaction.

You can find the latest publications at the WSU Extension Online Bookstore.

Find the newest monthly listings here.

CAHNRS Talk Tuesday: Maya Wahl

Each week, we showcase one of our CAHNRS Ambassadors, a student leadership organization that encourages students to pursue higher education and serves as a liaison between the college and the greater community. This week, we’re featuring Maya Wahl, a senior from Lind, Wash.Graphic of student's interests with a formal portrait photo.

What are you studying?

I’m majoring in Agricultural Education.

Favorite Show/Movie:

The Big Bang Theory

Favorite Cougar Tradition:

My favorite tradition as a Coug is when they play the iconic “Back Home” video at the beginning of football games and the entire stadium comes together to sing the chorus of the song. It gives me chills every time and it never fails to remind me how lucky I am to be a Coug. There’s a reason Pullman is referred to as the “promised land”: we always manage to find our way back home and come together as a Coug family.

Favorite CAHNRS Commodity:

Wheat! I am part of the fifth-generation on wheat farm here in Washington where we have grown WSU varieties for many years. The researchers and breeders on campus work hard to make sure that farmers have successful crops and high yields to support families like mine. From playing in the wheat as a little kid to working in the field as an adult, I love gluten for more than its delicious breads and beers. I love the connection it has to my livelihood and my future.

Why be a CAHNRS Coug?

CAHNRS is comprised of a beautifully diverse group of individuals who are coming together to create something great. I am lucky to call myself a CAHNRS Coug for many reasons, but one is the simple fact that I have been given the opportunity to work and learn alongside people from all over the world. People who have shared their culture and traditions with me and have taught me more about the world around me than any class could. We all share common passions, but the way we have manifested those passions is different and that is why I love being a CAHNRS Coug.

Best Student Experience:

I am a senior in Agricultural Education and over the last three years at WSU, I have had the immense honor of working with the next generation of Washington’s agriculture teachers. Not only are they my future colleagues, but they have become my close friends. By getting involved with the Agricultural Education Club and CAHNRS Ambassadors, I have built relationships with future agriculture professionals that will last a lifetime. We all love what we do and support one another in our goals. I genuinely look forward to seeing my friends each year and working with them on things like volunteering at FFA events to recruiting new CAHNRS Cougs. Becoming involved in the clubs within CAHNRS was one of the best decisions I ever made in college and I will never regret the time that has spent working with my peers to make CAHNRS and Washington Agricultural Education better.

CAHNRS Taught Me:

Agriculture Future of America’s Leader’s Conference (AFA) has been a driving force in my professional development during my time at WSU. CAHNRS supports AFA members and always seeks out ways to ensure that students are getting the experience they need to excel after graduation. Attending AFA conferences has connected me with mentors, industry representatives, and future colleagues from across the country. I have learned about so many of the different facets of agriculture through AFA and it has sparked my interest in areas that I hadn’t considered before.

For example, I value food science much more now after attending the AFA Food Science Institute in Chicago. Not only did I gain knowledge in the food processing industry, but it also opened my eyes to the many different career paths that are available for my future students. It is important to understand the agriculture industry, from field to fork, so that my students truly see the opportunities that agriculture holds for them.

Ag education student takes on national role

By Sarah Appel, CAHNRS Academic Programs

Megan Whited’s love for agricultural education shows with her service as one of the 11 National Teach Ag Ambassadors for 2018-2019. The National Teach Ag Ambassador program encourages high school and college students to consider teaching agriculture, celebrate the contributions that current Agricultural Educators make in their schools and communities, and increase awareness for the demand for Agricultural Educators.

Formal portrait photo of Megan Whited
Megan Whited

Nine years ago, Megan’s heart and focus belonged to sports. As life happens sometimes, however, she changed course after taking three agricultural education classes at White River High School. A broken ankle took the current WSU senior Agricultural Education major out of sports, and two determined FFA Advisors propelled Megan into agriculture’s infinite world of possibilities.

Four years of FFA competitions, agricultural classes, and a year of serving as the Washington FFA State Treasurer passed, and her love of agriculture grew into the dedication that it is today. As one of the 11 National Teach Ag Ambassadors, her enthusiasm and passion are shared across the United States.

Megan strives to use her ambassadorship to share her passion and encourage others to consider teaching agriculture. She has seen firsthand the impact that an agricultural advisor can carry for a student. While her Father, who served in the United States Army, was deployed in Africa, Mr. and Mrs. Miller – the high school advisors – supported Megan and constantly built her up. They believed in her even when she didn’t. They helped create a strong family-type atmosphere in the FFA program which made everyone feel like they belonged.

Fast forward to now, and Megan wants to return the favor with her own teaching. She believes that Agricultural Educators inspire future generations of Agricultural Educators and without these teachers, many students miss out on opportunities to grow in areas like: leadership positions, competitions that range from animal science to public speaking, and working with future industry partners.

Megan is now in her senior year at Washington State University and will be student teaching at Oakesdale High School next semester. She hopes that she can impact students and encourage them in the same way she was encouraged all those years ago.

Learn more about the National Teach Ag Ambassadors.

Learn more about the National Association of Agricultural Educators.


WSU economist receives variety of professional acclaim

PUYALLUP – WSU economist Karina Gallardo has had a banner year with a prestigious professional organization. She has served as a co-editor of the Journal of the Food Distribution Research Society (FDRS), was elected incoming president of FDRS, and received the Patrick J. Byrne Award for Emerging Leadership.

Formal portrait photo of Dr. Gallardo
Karina Gallardo

“I’m truly honored by the trust my colleagues have put in me, both as an editor and now as the president elect,” said Gallardo, an associate professor and Extension specialist at WSU’s Puyallup Research and Extension Center. “And I was so happy to hear I was even nominated for the Byrne Award. It’s gratifying that people recognized the work I’ve done with FDRS.”

Gallardo’s day job at WSU is to lead an Extension program that helps the Washington agriculture industry remain competitive in products around the world. To do that, she focusses on two things that add value to the state’s ag industry

First, she looks at technology adoption, producing cost/benefit studies of new technologies.

“Not everyone can afford every new advancement,” Gallardo said. “So when there’s a new development, we talk with growers to show them the costs and benefits of adopting something different.”

That can range from purchasing mechanical harvesters for blueberries or using a new form of pest control, she said.

The second focus for her program is understanding consumer demand of food products.

“We anticipate the value of a new variety of apple, for example,” Gallardo said. “We find out if consumers are willing to pay a premium for a new variety with certain characteristics.”

Her team also estimates investment costs in a new variety. With those two pieces of information, each grower can make an informed decision about what would work best for them.

“Every grower is different, every farm is different,” she said. “We provide general results that are as representative as possible for Washington farmers.”

Gallardo has a bachelor’s degree in food science and a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics, giving her a broad knowledge base of the industries she serves.

“Consumers react to produce with different characteristics,” she said. “I can explain those reactions using science. That’s very rewarding.”

She works primarily with the apple industry, but also has worked with blueberry and sweet cherry growers. And recently, she’s added peaches and strawberry industries to her repertoire.

“They aren’t necessarily the largest crops in the state,” Gallardo said. “But advancing industry knowledge can have a big benefit for Washington growers.”

That professional work along with her service to FDRS are what lead her to being voted incoming president and winning the award. She takes over as president of FDRS at their September 2019 conference in Seattle, which she is also organizing.

“It’s a lot of work, but also rewarding,” Gallardo said. “I’m looking forward to growing participation in FDRS and helping get the word out about what we do.”