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Three IPG Faculty Listed Among 2020 Highly Cited Researchers

Ron Mittler, professor of plant sciences; Bing Yang, professor of plant sciences; and Shuqun Zhang, professor of biochemistry, all part of the Interdisciplinary Plant Group (IPG) at the University of Missouri have been recognized by the Web of Science list of Highly Cited Researchers for 2020.

This list recognizes world-class researchers selected for their exceptional research performance, demonstrated by production of multiple highly cited papers that rank in the top 1 percent by citations for field and year.

Yanu Prasetyo Received Outstanding Student Contribution Award from MU Council on International Initiatives

Yanu Prasetyo, PhD student in the Division of Applied Social Sciences, recently received an Outstanding Student Contribution Award as part of the 2020 MU International Engagement Awards. These recognize the meaningful and outstanding international work carried out by faculty, staff and students. This work can be carried out on campus or brought back from engagement abroad.

A sampling of his international work includes publishing two research articles in international scientific journals related to his dissertation on the impact of Walmart closures in rural Missouri, leadership involvement with the Deaton Scholars Program and supporting MU African Interdisciplinary Studies Hub (Africa Hub).

Rebecca Mott Appointed to Committee With American Association for Agricultural Education

Rebecca Mott, assistant Extension professor in the Division of Applied Social Sciences, has been appointed to a three-year term on the North Central Region’s Program Improvement Committee with the American Association for Agricultural Education (AAAE). AAAE aims to foster excellence in the discovery and exchange of evidence-based solutions for social science challenges in agriculture and related sciences. Her service term will continue through 2023.

Sarah Low Receives Provost’s Award for Creative Extension Programming by New Faculty

Sarah Low, associate professor of regional economics in the Division of Applied Social Sciences, received the 2020 Provost’s Award for Creative Extension Programming by New Faculty. This award recognizes faculty with a current (at least 25 percent) Extension appointment who have had exceptional extension or continuing education accomplishments in their first four years of their service to the University of Missouri.

Low’s Extension program focuses on economic and entrepreneurial development as a rural and regional economic development strategy and enhancing economic development opportunities by providing high-quality research and insights to partner organizations.

Kevin Bradley Recognized as North Central Weed Science Society Fellow at Annual Meeting

Kevin Bradley, professor in the Division of Plant Sciences, was recognized as a North Central Weed Science Society Fellow at the 2020 NCWSS annual meeting. The virtual meeting was held from Nov. 30 to Dec. 2. Selection as a Fellow is recognition of substantial contributions to weed science endeavors and service in the north central region of the United States.

Bradley’s faculty appointment includes Extension and research responsibilities in the area of weed management in corn, soybean, wheat, pastures and forages. Bradley also teaches a graduate level class in herbicide mechanism of action. In addition to evaluating new herbicides and weed management techniques, his applied Extension and research program focuses on the development of programs for the prevention and management of herbicide-resistant weeds, on the interaction of herbicides and weeds with other agrochemicals and pests in the agroecosystem, and on the effects of common pasture weeds on forage yield, quality, and grazing preference. By far, the largest percentage of Bradley’s research and Extension efforts are directed towards the development of strategies for the management of glyphosate- and multiple herbicide-resistant weed biotypes. Specifically, he has conducted numerous surveys to characterize the prevalence of herbicide resistance in weeds like waterhemp, and to determine the effectiveness of future herbicide-tolerant crop technologies for the management of these troublesome species.

Mandy Bish Earns Distinguished Achievement Research Award

Mandy Bish, Extension specialist in the Division of Plant Sciences, was recognized at the 2020 North Central Weed Science Society annual meeting with a Distinguished Achievement Research award, which recognizes outstanding research achievements in weed science. The virtual meeting was held from Nov. 30 to Dec. 2.

Bish has been with the university since 2014 and is responsible for assisting with direction and focus of research and education programs related to weed management in Missouri. She has experience in both basic and applied science research. Her PhD work at the University of Maryland focused on molecular genetic approaches to study ethylene signal transduction in Arabidopsis. During her postdoctoral research with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Iowa State University, she studied the pathogen-host interaction between Phakopsora pachyrhizi and soybean. She was awarded an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) mass media fellowship to study science communication at Scientific American magazine. Her broad research training, communication fellowship and experience growing up on a farm in north central Missouri contribute to her desire to assist in designing and conducting relevant research and clearly communicating those results to stakeholders.

CAFNR Students Earn Awards During North Central Weed Science Society Annual Meeting

A handful of CAFNR students earned honors during the 2020 North Central Weed Science Society Meeting. The virtual meeting was held from Nov. 30 to Dec. 2.

  • Eric Oseland (PhD candidate; plant, insect and microbial sciences) won first place for his oral presentation and first place for his video presentation in research.
  • Travis Winans (master’s student; plant, insect and microbial sciences) finished in second place for his oral presentation and first place for his video presentation in Extension.
  • Haylee Schreier (master’s student; plant, insect and microbial sciences) took second place for her video presentation on her research project proposal.
  • Sarah Dixon (PhD candidate; plant, insect and microbial sciences) finished second place for her oral presentation.
  • Jacob Vaughn (senior; plant sciences) earned second place for his poster presentation.

Vice Chancellor & Dean Daubert Named to MO-5 Statewide Consortium Task Force

Christopher Daubert, Vice Chancellor and Dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, has been named to the Missouri Food, Feed, Fiber, Fuel and Forest (MO-5) Consortium Leadership Circle by Missouri Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe.

MO-5 is an initiative of the Show-Me-State Food, Beverage and Forest Products Manufacturing Task Force, established in 2019 with a focus on enhancing value-added processing in Missouri. Dean Daubert also serves on the Show-Me-State Food, Beverage and Forest Products Manufacturing Task Force.

The vision for MO-5 is a hybrid public-private-university structure nimble enough to respond quickly to growth opportunities for existing Missouri agribusinesses, or attract new enterprises to the state. The consortium will consist of representatives of agriculture organizations, state agencies, academic institutions, and private companies.

The MO-5 Leadership Circle will identify and develop a plan of action for each recommended area of focus, which includes identifying additional research needs, potential partners, legislative or regulatory hurdles and funding opportunities.

Elizabeth Prentice Receives Distinguished Doctoral Dissertation Award as Part of 2020 Celebration of Excellence

Elizabeth Prentice received the 2020 Distinguished Doctoral Dissertation Award as part of this year’s virtual Celebration of Excellence awards celebration in CAFNR. She defended her dissertation, “Narrating Disturbance: Risk, Power, and Mountain Pine Beetles” and completed her doctoral degree in rural sociology in summer 2020. Her advisor is Hua Qin, associate professor of rural sociology. Both Prentice and Qin were honored as part of Celebration of Excellence.

Her dissertation work explores the competing narratives of attribution surrounding a massive bark beetle outbreak in north central Colorado. This research fills an existing gap in the understanding of the human dimensions of forest insect disturbance by examining the power dynamics and economic nestedness of resource management decisions.

This dissertation project was supported by an NSF-funded project. Prentice also successfully secured research funding from other sources such as the Herbert F. & Vivian S. Lionberger Fellowship and the MU Graduate School Dissertation Travel Award. During her doctoral study she authored and coauthored several research publications, including a book chapter in “Human Dimensions of Forest and Tree Health: Global Perspectives” directly related to her dissertation project. She also presented her research at national professional conferences and incorporated findings into the undergraduate courses she instructed/co-instructed at MU.

“Prentice’s work integrates perspectives from multiple disciplines to make a novel contribution to the literature on the human dimensions of forest insect disturbance and to literature on the political ecology of risk and hazard vulnerability,” said Jere Gilles, assistant director for international partnerships, CAFNR International Programs, and retired associate professor of rural sociology. “She focuses on the political and economic context of the disturbance and the degree to which understandings of environmental change and experiences of environmental vulnerability hinge on positionality in ongoing regional economic change.”

“Elizabeth’s work makes important contributions to understanding the connections between ecological outcomes, social inequalities, and prevailing socio-political structures,” Qin said. “The research well reflects her interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary orientation as it seeks to understand environmental attitudes and behaviors embedded in socioeconomic and ecological community contexts.

“Elizabeth represents the highest scholarship caliber among all graduate students I have worked with at MU. She will surely become an outstanding teacher-scholar in interdisciplinary environmental and sustainability sciences.”

Austin Sanders Receives Distinguished Thesis Award as Part of 2020 Celebration of Excellence

Austin Sanders received the 2020 Distinguished Thesis Award as part of this year’s virtual CAFNR Celebration of Excellence Awards. Sanders graduated with his Master’s in agricultural and applied economics from CAFNR in spring 2020. During the course of his Masters program, his thesis research was guided by his supervisor, Sarah Low, associate professor in the Division of Applied Social Sciences. He received his Bachelor’s in political science from Mizzou in 2015. Both Sanders and Low were honored as part of Celebration of Excellence.

Sanders’s thesis, Rural Agglomeration: How Does the Distribution of People Across Rural America Affect Entrepreneurship, researches how agglomeration can reduce costs and provide a market for businesses. “He devised a measure for rural agglomeration, tested his expectations appropriately and clearly communicated the results. The major contribution of the thesis is to confirm that there are two types of entrepreneurs who respond differently to the same environment,” says Judith Stallman, professor emeritus.

“Austin grew up on a farm in rural central Missouri and was always interested in how his hometown fared in business, education, and quality of life and wondered what might be done to improve those areas in the future,” Low says.

“Austin was scheduled to present his thesis results at the 60th annual meeting of the Southern Regional Science Association (SRSA). SRSA is the premier venue for rural development-related social science research. The conference was cancelled but Austin’s thesis was one of 10 selected SRSA summer webinars.”