Soil Judging Team Wins National Competition
by Cynthia Hoffman
For the first time ever, the K-State Soil Judging Team placed first overall at the National Soil Judging Competition in Kingston, Rhode Island. “It was a surprise,” says Paul Hartley, team member and graduate student in agronomy. “We were expecting to do well, but didn’t know we would do that well, especially since we’ve never placed first before.” The team placed second in 2007, but has never won a national competition. K-State defeated 21 other teams to receive the title and a traveling trophy. Hartley says a K-State professor designed the trophy and “it felt good to bring the trophy back home.” Several individuals earned high placings, which contributed to the team’s success. Leah Ferdinand, student in agronomy, placed second overall. Hartley placed sixth overall.
And agronomy students Ryan Cyr and Adam Heitman placed 14th and 20th, respectively. Hartley says he’s proud of the team’s first place finish, but the competition would have been worthwhile even if they didn’t win. “Hands-on experience is the best way to learn about soils, and this competition allows us to do that,” Hartley says. “Plus it’s a good social experience because we get to meet people from all over the country.” Mickey Ransom, professor in agronomy, coached the team with the assistance of Scott Dooley, student in agronomy. Members of the 2008 K-State Soil Judging Team are, from left – front row: Leah Ferdinand, agronomy student; Adam Heitman, agronomy student; Angela Tran, agronomy student; Andrew Newkirk, agronomy student and Paul Hartley, agronomy graduate student. Back row, from left: Coach Mickey Ransom, agronomy professor; Kelsey McGie, milling science and management student; Ryan Cyr, agronomy student; Andrew McGowan, agronomy student and Assistant Coach Scott Dooley, agronomy student.
Ag Students Succeed at Debate Tournaments
by Cynthia Hoffman
Agricultural communications and journalism majors and members of the K-State Debate Team, Chelsea Good and Ryan Bennett, were named reserve champions in the novice division at the 2008 National Junior Division Debate Tournament. Good was the top individual speaker, and Bennett placed fourth individually. Good says their livestock judging experience at Butler County Community College contributed to the debate achievements. “I think the fact that Ryan and I both judged livestock had a lot to do with us being successful early,” she says. “Debate is very similar. We are both very comfortable defending our decisions because of judging.” The duo earned top three placings in all but one tournament in which they competed, and Good was the top speaker at four different tournaments. She says debating has taught her to think outside of the box. “It’s taught me to critically analyze things and question them when I normally wouldn’t.”
Assistant Dean Returns to Teaching
by Jamie Smidt
Kevin Donnelly, assistant dean of academic programs in the College of Agriculture, accepted a teaching position in the Department of Agronomy. Donnelly earned his bachelor and master of science degrees in agronomy from K-State, and then taught at Hutchinson Community College for three years before completing a doctoral degree at Colorado State University. He joined the faculty of Oklahoma State University in 1983, where he taught in the Department of Agronomy until 1998 when he came to work at K-State. As assistant dean, Donnelly works with all disciplines across the college. He says he appreciates the diversity, but is looking forward to returning to a more focused profession. “I’ve been in agronomy all my days,” he says. “It’s getting back to teaching and my discipline.” In fall 2008, he will begin teaching the crop science, grain grading and plant and seed identification classes, as well as serve as advisor for the Agronomy Club and coach for the Crop Judging Team. Donnelly says his new role at K-State will be similar to his work at Hutchinson Community College and Oklahoma State University.
In Other News...
– The KSU Dairy Challenge Team took 2nd place at the Seventh Annual North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge in April.
– Rebecca Tokach, animal sciences and industry student, was named 2007-2008 Agriculture Student of the Year.
– The KSU Poultry Products Evaluation Team competed for the first time at the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association National Poultry Judging Contest, achieveing 5th place overall.
– Cathie Lavis, associate professor of horticulture, foresty and recreation resources and Telmo Amado, adjunct associate professor of agronomy, were selected as Spring 2008 Faculty Members of the Semester. Lavis was also chosen as the 2007- 2008 Adviser of the Year.
– The Landscape Contracting Team placed 14th at the 32nd annual PLANET student career days. 33 students from K-State competed in landscape design, patio installation, team leadership, plant identification, truck and trailer operations and more.
– Forrest Chumley, Associate Dean for Research and Technology Transfer, accepted a new position at Edenspace Biotechnology Company. Dr. Ernie Minton is serving as interim.
– Dirk Maier was named Department Head of Grain Science and Industry, effective April 1, 2008. – A team from the show “Modern Marvels” came to campus in February to interview faculty about making bread. Students and media relations helped with the filming, the episode was aired March 24, 2008, on the History Channel.