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Inside CAFNR
CAFNR Office of Academic Programs Newsletter // April 2024
Feature Stories
Celebration of Excellence 2024 (click to read)
Celebration of Excellence 2024 »

Four CAFNR undergraduate students and one organization were recently honored during the 2024 Celebration of Excellence ceremony, which was held Tuesday, April 16, at Bond Life Sciences Center. Congratulations to:


Agricultural Education and Hospitality Management get hands-on experience behind the scenes of Missouri FFA Convention (click to read)
Agricultural Education and Hospitality Management get hands-on experience behind the scenes of Missouri FFA Convention »

Thousands of high school FFA students gathered on Mizzou’s campus April 17-19 for the Missouri FFA State Convention.

RISE Initiative
MU Block and Bridle hosts National Block and Bridle Convention (click to read)
MU Block and Bridle hosts National Block and Bridle Convention »

More than 200 Block and Bridle students from across the nation gathered in Jefferson City to experience Missouri agriculture.

Industry Involvement
Agricultural Sales in Practice at MFA, Inc. (click to read)
Agricultural Sales in Practice at MFA, Inc. »

Each semester, the capstone project for Linda Sowers’ class, Relationship Selling (ABM 3223) involves students roleplaying a professional business-to-business 15-minute sales call.

This year, MFA Inc. generously hosted the sales calls so that all 88 students could complete them in one day. Talented alumni and industry partners donated their time to evaluate students’ sales calls. Dressed in professional business attire, students came prepared to find customers’ needs, present their products and receive feedback from the evaluators.’

“This one-of-a-kind experiential learning experience sharpens students’ soft skills and allows them to network with professionals that offer advice on selling skills, career planning, future internships and full-time employment opportunities,” said Sowers. “Many thanks to Scott Morfeld and his team at MFA for organizing and facilitating the building logistics. We are so grateful for ABM alumni who make this day possible. I find our alums eager to volunteer and pay it forward to support our next generation of students.”


Young Alumni Feature
Agricultural Systems Technology alumni credit precision agriculture curriculum for career success (click to read)
Agricultural Systems Technology alumni credit precision agriculture curriculum for career success »

Abby Tobben (BS, Agricultural Systems Technology ’23) and Drew Drummond (BS, Agricultural Systems Technology ’23) are in the field and directly applying cutting-edge curriculum from their AST degrees.

  • CAFNR students and mentors earn Show Me Research Week awards: Over 500 MU students and postdoctoral fellows presented their research and creative activity during Show Me Research Week, April 8-12. The week celebrates Mizzou students as creators, innovators, problem solvers and thinkers. Several CAFNR students and faculty were recognized for their work during the Award and Recognition Ceremony held at the Bond Life Sciences Center.
  • The MU Dairy Products Evaluation Team competed in the National Dairy Products Evaluation contest on April 16 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, hosted by the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association. Members of the team are undergraduates Vanessa Holtmeyer (senior, food science and nutrition), Allie Medows (junior, agriculture), Kevin Trieu (senior, food science and nutrition), and Abigail Wagner (senior, food science and nutrition); and doctoral student Jhongyan (Jack) Huang (food and hospitality systems). The team is coached by Rick Linhardt and received several top team and individual placings.
  • MU Agronomy Club attended the SASES (Students of Agronomy, Soil & Environmental Sciences) Spring Meeting hosted by The Ohio State University April 12-15. The crops judging team placed second overall. The team includes plant science majors Jake Sisson, senior; Bryce Himmelberg, senior; Jacob Heitman, freshman; Jaden Kultgen, sophomore; Felicity Guttman, junior; and Kate Kottman, sophomore.
  • “Halophytes and heavy metals: A multi-omics approach to understand the role of gene and genome duplication in the abiotic stress tolerance of Cakile maritima” was published in the American Journal of Botany, a combined effort between CAFNR students and computer sciences students. This paper was initiated by an National Science Foundation funded program called BIPS (bioinformatics in plant sciences) that pairs two undergraduate researchers together, one in biology and one in computation, to tackle large biological problems. The paper was led by a graduate student in plant phylogenomics and computational biology, Shawn Thomas, and two undergraduates: Kathryn Vaden Hoek (senior, biochemistry) and Tasha Ogoti (computer science), and other CAFNR faculty.
  • The National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported STEM disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited U.S. institutions. The five-year fellowship includes three years of financial support including an annual stipend of $34,000 and a cost of education allowance of $12,000 to the institution. CAFNR awardees include:
    • Mason Ward – wildlife and fisheries science (alumnus)
    • Kristen Barwick – biochemistry (pursuing the Honors Certificate)
    • Melissa Draves – plant, insect and microbial sciences (Honorable Mention)