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Quarter Century Club: 25-year, 50-year honors for CAHNRS Cougs

More than 20 CAHNRS faculty, staff and emeriti will be honored as part of the Washington State University Quarter Century Club this month, with more than a dozen gaining recognition for 50 years at WSU.

New 25-year members include:

• Sheila Brooks, CAHNRS Office of Research
• Jamie Dahl, Economic Sciences
• Jim Durfey, Crop and Soil Sciences
• Deborah Handy, Human Development
• Linda Loos, WSU Extension
• Steve Lyon, Crop and Soil Sciences
• Jennifer Michal, Animal Sciences
• Michael Mortimer, Institute of Biological Chemistry
• Diana Roberts, WSU Extension
• Bob Simmons, WSU Extension
• Nial Yager, Food Science.

New 50-year members include:

• Paul Barkley, Economic Sciences
• Darrell Barstow, Entomology/WSU Puyallup
• Leroy Blakeslee, Economic Sciences
• Stanton Brauen, Agronomy
• Ken Casavant, Economic Sciences
• Daniel Coonrad, Animal Sciences
• Arlen Davison, Plant Pathology/Extension
• Kenneth Duft, Economic Sciences
• Thomas Lowringer, Economics
• Nolan Murray, WSU IAREC
• Betty Musick, Horticulture/Landscape Architecture
• LeRoy Rogers, Agricultural Economics
• Robert Thornton, WSU Extension

The Quarter Century Club is WSU’s longest running employee recognition program, having been active since 1934. Each year, the club hosts a special event to honor faculty and staff who reach the impressive 25-year milestone.

This year’s 84th Annual Quarter Century Club Breakfast will be held at 8 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 10, in the M.G. Carey Sr. Ballroom.

Learn more here.

Intensive westside pasture workshops to help Extension faculty in Washington, Oregon

Field measuring stick in a field of grass

Extension faculty, conservation district advisors, natural resource professionals, nutritionists and consultants in western Washington and Oregon can learn the latest ideas in pasture management at upcoming, intensive Westside Pasture Calendar Training sessions in both states.

Developed by agricultural researchers at Washington State University, Oregon State University and the University of Idaho, the Westside Pasture Calendar share key concepts for good decision making.
Researchers at all three universities developed and published the calendar as a Pacific Northwest Extension Bulletin, funded by a grant from the Western Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education Professional Development Program.

The training is free. In Oregon, sessions will be held Nov. 14-17 at Coquille, Roseburg, Corvallis and Tillamook. In Washington, training sessions will be held Dec. 5-8 in Mount Vernon, Port Hadlock, Olympia and Vancouver.

Workshops begin with an overview of westside pastures, followed by an overview and look at the details of the calendar; a discussion of westside pasture grasses and legumes; westside soils and fertility; grazing management and animal performance; and ends with interactive sessions on pasture situations and challenges.

Greenhouse-grown seedlings of adapted grasses and legumes will be viewed during lunch, and there will be multiple evaluations throughout the day.

Food and drinks will be provided throughout the day, including lunch, all at no cost to attendees.

Trainees will be provided with a pasture stick, designed for westside pasture conditions and USB drives containing the calendar, presentations and other resources.

• To attend the free training session, or view the agenda, visit the Pasture Calendar Training Eventbrite site.

• To learn more, contact: In Oregon, Gene Pirelli (971) 612-0027; and in Washington, Steve Fransen (509) 786-9266;

WSU student spends summer at San Diego Zoo

By Maya Wahl, CAHNRS Academic Programs

Claudia Kightlinger spent her summer working with a variety of amazing animals as an animal care intern at the San Diego Zoo in the mammal department for the cheetah breeding program. Students dream of getting to work on a project like this and Claudia has gone above and beyond to have this opportunity.

Claudia Kightlinger with one of the cheetahs at the San Diego Zoo this summer.

The San Diego Zoo is home to many exotic animals and Claudia, a WSU junior majoring in Wildlife Ecology & Conservation Sciences with a minor in Zoology, interacted with just a few. While there are 15 cheetahs, she also worked with 22 dholes (Asian wild dogs), three black footed cats, and a sand cat. Her daily tasks included routine feeding, cleaning, and general care of the animals, as well as monitoring aspects of their breeding program.

She also worked on a project of her choice, a cheetah behavior research project conducted by the Institute of Conservation Research.

This wasn’t Claudia’s first internship, or her first experience at the San Diego Zoo. She has worked hard during her college career to gain experience in preparation for her future career. She was a first generation Ignite Undergraduate Research Program student and worked through the Steffen Center studying pygmy and mountain cottontail rabbit behavior response to predatory stimulus. She has also spent time at the San Diego Zoo shadowing various careers available at the zoo as well as in the zoo’s Safari Park in Guest Services.

“This internship has given me so much knowledge and career preparedness that I never had prior,” she said.

Her job at the zoo is the perfect example of how students build their network and gain skills learned beyond the classroom.

“I got to intern at the best zoo in the world, so every interaction with an animal care professional is influential and my team at the cheetah center all genuinely cared about my future success by making sure I was exposed to as many components of this job as possible,” she said. “I was treated just the same as any other paid keeper there, which means that the job experience I got is basically a preview of what the next 50 years will be like.”

“It’s not about the resume fillers; it’s about the exposure to this field that will shape the type of worker I will be,” she said. “There is zero doubt in my mind after this summer that there could be anything else I would want to do.”

Claudia finds great value in all the internships that she has pursued.

“There is no greater value than the reassurance, from getting the internship I’ve always wanted at my dream job, that I chose the right path and whatever I’m doing must be working,” she said. “But that doesn’t mean I’m just going to stop striving for more opportunities and greater progress.”

Her favorite part of this summer experience was how closely she worked with animals that many people will only ever see on TV. It is a unique opportunity that very few people get to experience. While it required her to put in longer hours and could be unpredictable, she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I know that I’m doing something that I love and it makes a difference in the world so even if some people don’t care about it, it means everything to me,” she said.

CAHNRS Coug Connections: Rylee Suhadolnik

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 Rylee Suhadolnik, a senior from Prosser, Wash.

Rylee Suhadolnik

What are you studying?

I’m majoring in Agricultural Education.

Why did you choose WSU?

I was drawn to the small-town feel that the campus and community have.

What is special about being a CAHNRS Coug?

I think just feeling comfortable reaching out for help in CAHNRS and knowing that there will be so many people who care and can help is really special.

What is your favorite CAHNRS class so far? Why?

My favorite class has been AGTM 201, a metal fabrication class that teaches students several useful shop skills.

Who are influential professors that you’ve had, and how did they impact your life?

JD Baser has put in so much work and heart into the Ag Ed program and really cares about his students.

What extracurricular activities are involved in, besides ambassadors?

AGTM club, Ag Ed club, and intramural sports

What is a fun fact about you?

I can quote movies like it’s my job.

What advice would you give an incoming freshman/high school senior to help them adjust to college?

Try everything and then narrow it down to your favorites. So many freshmen don’t try any clubs/classes and don’t branch out, and then plenty of others join too many things and get overwhelmed. Try things, but don’t be afraid to pick your favorites and dedicate more time to those.

Favorite item/flavor at Ferdinand’s?

Huckleberry ice cream

Lav Khot talks sensing advances at society’s Plenary Session

Khot prepares to fly an UAV.

Lav Khot, assistant professor in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering, spoke at the 2017 annual meeting of the American Phytopathological Society, August 14 in San Antonio, Texas.

His plenary session talk, “Sensing Technologies for Plant Disease Detection,” looked at state-of-the-art advancements in chemical and optical detectors, drones, and “Internet-of-Things”-based technologies that could aid in rapid disease detection. Learn more here.

Khot works in the Agricultural Automation Engineering area of his Department. His research and extension program focuses on sensing and automation technologies for site-specific and precision management of production agriculture.

Read more about his research here.

CAHNRS Coug Connections: Max Mielke

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 Max Mielke, a senior from Davenport, Wash.

Max Mielke

What are you studying?

I’m majoring in Agricultural Economics, with a minor in Business Administration.

Why did you choose WSU?

I chose WSU because of the great atmosphere, community, and agriculture programs. I knew I would learn so much more outside of the classroom than in the classroom.

What is special about being a CAHNRS Coug?

CAHNRS truly is a family with loyalty and care that cannot be easily found. It has a special type of people that provide tremendous support.

What is your favorite CAHNRS class so far and why?

My favorite class so far has been Animal Science 174, Cow-Calf Management, because of the hands-on experience with cattle and being outside. I really enjoyed the practicality and real-life application of the material and saw a direct benefit in my life.

Who are influential professors that you’ve had, and how did they impact your life?

Dr. Vicki McCracken has been very influential in my understanding of economics and my career path. She has always gone above and beyond to support my growth. Dr. Michael Brady has been influential by displaying how to use my degree in the real world. Dr. Patricia Kuzyk has been influential in seeing the value of economics and how I can understand it.

What extracurricular activities are you involved in besides Ambassadors?

Sigma Chi, Agriculture Future of America Student Advisory Team member, Economics Club, To Write Love on Her Arms, Resonate, intramurals, Student Experience Advisory Council.

What is a fun fact about you?

I aspire to travel to third world countries helping out their agricultural systems while spreading the Gospel.

What advice would you give an incoming freshman/high school senior to help them adjust to college?

Get outside of your comfort zone and do not be afraid to ask questions. Meet people that are different from you.

Favorite item/flavor at Ferdinand’s?


Fermentation Science senior brews beer

By Maya Wahl, CAHNRS Academic Programs

From working with bears to working with farmers and everything in between, CAHNRS students fuel their passions through hands-on experiences that you can’t find anywhere else on campus.

Caleb Wiebe pours a pink liquid into a giant stainless steel vat.
Fermentation Science student Caleb Wiebe prepares a new batch of beer during his internship at Hunga Dunga Brewing Co. in Moscow.

Students work hard all year long to secure amazing jobs and internships to continue their learning outside of the classroom. Some have even traveled across the country to find these opportunities. Others are lucky enough to find them right here on the Palouse.

Students pursuing a major within the School of Food Science have the unique ability to find work in all facets of food production ranging from product development to quality control. Caleb Wiebe, a senior studying Food Science with a specialization in Fermentation Science, expanded his classroom knowledge through his internship this summer at Hunga Dunga Brewing Company in Moscow, Idaho.  His responsibilities included cleaning brewing equipment, mixing ingredients, and filling kegs, all of which are vital to the brewing process.

In the last ten years, beer drinkers and beer makers have grown exponentially. Washington State ranks 6th in the nation for breweries per capita, with 334 craft breweries. Caleb hopes to become a brewer or brewmaster after completing his degree. This internship gave him a glimpse of the growing world of brewing. “I think internships can provide useful experience and allow you to connect with people in the industry,” he said. Caleb also built valuable relationships with industry professionals that he will foster for the rest of his career.

Caleb and another man hold tiny glasses with small amounts of beer.
Caleb and co-workers test the quality of one of their new batches of beer during his internship this summer.

This was not Caleb’s first experience working in the food science industry. He has also worked at the WSU Creamery for two years as well as working on a vineyard in Tennessee for a summer.

His diverse work experience gives Caleb a wider perspective on the industry as a whole. These types of jobs give “you insight as to whether or not you would want to pursue that type of career in the future,” he said.

His time at Hunga Dunga, for instance, confirmed his passion for brewing.

“My favorite part about this job is seeing first-hand answers to questions about the process that I have after learning about it briefly in a couple courses,” he said.

These kinds of opportunities are presented in various ways, from career fairs to personal connections. Caleb was introduced to Hunga Dunga through one of his professors. Every CAHNRS Coug can do the same by seeking out opportunities to further their learning. To find more information on internships on and off campus, visit and connect with your academic advisor/internship coordinator.

CAHNRS Coug Connections: Heather Rogers

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 Heather Rogers, a senior from Spokane, Wash.

Portrait photo of Heather Rogers
Heather Rogers

What are you studying?

I’m majoring in Animal Sciences, pre-vet track.

Why did you choose WSU?

I want to go into veterinary medicine, and WSU has a really wonderful College of Veterinary Medicine. I also received enough financial aid to make attending college a feasible plan.

What is special about being a CAHNRS Coug?

The sense of community is wonderful between students, but also between the students and faculty members. There’s also an amazing amount of hands-on opportunities both in and outside of class.

What is your favorite CAHNRS class so far and why?

I have had a lot of wonderful classes during my time here, but one of my favorites was HD 205. It wasn’t in my field of study, but it helped me understand my personality and how I interact with other people, improving my relationship with myself and helping me to communicate more effectively.

Who are influential professors that you’ve had, and how did they impact your life?

  • Dr. Johnson in the Animal Science department was really influential my freshman year. She was one of my advisors for the Ignite Undergraduate Research Program, and helped me explore different paths that I’d never thought of before.
  • Denise Yost in Human Development taught my HD 205 class and really challenged my worldview of how to communicate and how to address my own internal conflicts and anxieties

What extracurricular activities are you involved in besides ambassadors?

I work in the Exotics and Wildlife Department at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, as well as the Writing Center. I also foster animals for Whitman County Humane Society.

What is a fun fact about you?

I absolutely love older technology, and one of my all-time favorite gifts was a typewriter.

What advice would you give an incoming freshman/high school senior to help them adjust to college?

Give yourself one day as a rest day from classes, activities, work and general obligations. This makes scheduling appointments, catching up on homework, or just taking a breath a whole lot easier.

Favorite item/flavor at Ferdinand’s?



WSU research bears mark the changing seasons

The bears at the WSU Bear Research,Education, and Conservation Center spent September gaining weight at a tremendous rate, up to 10 pounds or more each week, preparing for another winter and hibernation. Starting in late October, they’ll slow down their food intake to get ready for hibernation.

Two pictures of the same bear viewed from the top, taken at different times of the year. The picture on the left is the bear much skinnier after waking up from hibernation.
One of our WSU bears, on the left in March and on the right in October.

“Once they reach their hibernation weight, we’ll slowly reduce the amount of food they receive,” said Brandon Evans Hutzenbiler, manager at the WSU Bear Researcher, Conservation, and Education Center. “We try to mimic the decreased number of calories available to a bear in the wild as winter approaches. That along with less sunlight, colder temperatures and the bears’ natural rhythm all signal the bears it’s time to start hibernating.”

The bears will get one last small meal right around November 1, and then the staff will begin monitoring the bears from their computers or smart phones via video cameras.

“After that final meal of the season, we let the bears clean out their digestive systems,” Hutzenbiler said. “Once the cleanse is through, we can go in, clean up the dens, and put down straw bales for them to sleep on.”

Around this time of year, the staff recognizes several behaviors bears exhibit when preparing for hibernation.

“Some bears will start to drag grass, leaves, or small limbs around while others will begin to dig a den in the exercise yard,” Hutzenbiler said. “It’s a good sign that they’re preparing normally for the winter.”

Monitoring the bears on cameras throughout the winter serves at least two purposes: keeping a watchful eye on the bears’ wellbeing as well as recording their subtle changes.

“Their metabolism slows down so much, you can’t really watch them breathing in real time,” he said. “They only breathe eight to 10 times a minute, which is hard to see. But if we speed up the playback, we see the breaths much more clearly.”

The staff have a checklist for each bear and spend at least one hour monitoring them in real-time every day. In addition to their breathing, the staff notes the bears’ motions and movements.

Bears don’t sleep for the entire winter. They do wake up, walk around, re-arrange their straw bedding, get a drink of water, and go back to sleep. But they don’t eat anything at all, all winter.

“It’s really amazing when you think about,” Hutzenbiler said. “And it’s fun to watch the small, slow activity they do have.”

Sometime in March, the staff will notice an uptick in the bears’ activities, which marks their slow climb out of hibernation. Then the annual process begins again, for the bears and the staff at the Bear Center.