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Holiday Gratitude

Posted by | December 15, 2010

During these challenging economic times, it is easy to lose sight of many of the things we should be thankful for.

Science SantaI am thankful for the wonderful faculty, staff, and students that comprise the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences. I am truly blessed to have been selected to lead this remarkable organization comprised of so many remarkable people.

An organization this size only functions if each person comes to work each day to do their absolute best in their particular part of the operation. When this happens, the aggregate result is the amazing array of outcomes which make our world a better place.

To illustrate, I would propose that even the holiday season would not be the same without the amazing contributions of our faculty, staff and students.

For example:

  • The Holidays would not be complete without all of the good little girls and boys. So, for over 70 years the Child Development Lab in the Department of Human Development has been providing a variety of cognitive, physical, and social experiences for young children to help them to develop their optimal potential and to enjoy fully the years of early childhood.
  • To keep Santa‚Äôs sleigh powered up, Lisa Shipley and the folks at the Ungulate Facility are conducting a variety of research related to the nutrition, reproduction, and habitat ecology of mule deer and other ungulates.
  • Faculty in Apparel Merchandising, Design, and Textiles are working on various fabrics and clothing to enhance worker safety, such as flame retardant material, to assure that Santa is safe when he slides down the chimney.
  • Our crack horticulture genomics and genetics team is are engaged in genome sequencing and tree fruit and berry breeding to produce the highest quality fruit in the world. With some more work, they might even be able to make the holiday fruit cake (Yuck!) Santa delivers taste good.
  • Once Santa delivers his gifts, he always likes his milk and cookies. New wheat breeders Aaron Carter and Mike Pumphrey are busy breeding wheat to provide the highest quality and most nutritious cookies for Santa.
  • Finally, Santa has to deal with the consequences of eating cookies at every house he stops at. Animal Science faculty member Zhihua Jiang is using various genomic approaches to determine how expressed genes reveal a novel function in the regulation of intramuscular fat deposition. This work has important human health implications, including determining why, and if, Santa has a genetic predisposition to obesity.

These are just a handful of examples of the fine work our faculty and staff do each and every day. There are many more, and I appreciate all of the time and talent that they provide the college and WSU.

Wishing everyone a Happy Holiday Season,