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Inside CAFNR
CAFNR Office of Academic Programs Newsletter // December 2020
Message from the Senior Associate Dean and Director of Academic Programs
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One of the most challenging semesters in the 150-year history of the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources is about to come to a close! I’m incredibly proud of the work that our faculty and staff did to adjust and make the semester operate as smoothly as possible, and I appreciate how our students adapted to the many challenges. Next week, we have an excellent opportunity to celebrate some of those students during the 2020 December Virtual Celebration. Mizzou will celebrate all 2020 graduates with an in-person commencement celebration at a later date.

The virtual celebration begins at 10 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 18. CAFNR’s celebration begins at 2:30 p.m. Please help us congratulate these students!

(Photo taken pre-COVID)

Bryan Garton
Senior Associate Dean
Director of Academic Programs

Division of Plant Sciences Learning Lab
Renovations Underway for Learning Lab and Classroom (click to read)
Renovations Underway for Learning Lab and Classroom

The new Division of Plant Sciences Learning Lab is a state-of-the-art facility that will inspire students to engage more deeply in learning about plants, their interactions with pathogens and insects, and impacts on the environment around them. The design of the new Learning Lab facilitates hands-on/experiential learning with clustered seating to promote collaboration, group work and problem-solving projects; video enhancements that enable the projection of material from an instructor’s microscope onto large monitors; and distance education. The overall design and technology of the new Learning Lab will enable CAFNR to better prepare students for the modern plant science workforce, and it will be a centerpiece of undergraduate recruitment for the Division.

In addition to the lab, a classroom in 2-10 Agriculture Building is undergoing renovations to accommodate plant sciences classes. Technology in the classroom will enable virtual lectures from experts outside MU or virtual field trips to world-class facilities like the Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis. Both the Learning Lab and the renovated classroom should be ready in time for the spring 2021 semester.

RISE Initiative
More Than Meats the Eye (click to read)
More Than Meats the Eye »

A small team of Mizzou students runs an on-campus butcher shop. Together, they handle all aspects of the business — from cutlets to customer relations — and they’re ready to supply your socially distanced holiday meal.

Degree Spotlight: Animal Sciences

Animal Sciences focuses on whole-animal biology, applying the latest in genetics, computational biology, physiology, nutrition and meat science to livestock production, animal health and human nutrition through cutting-edge research and direct application of new knowledge.

Q&A With Kaija Caldwell, Animal Sciences (click to read)
Q&A With Kaija Caldwell, Animal Sciences

Why did you decide to come to the University of Missouri and major in animal sciences? What do you enjoy about the program itself? The field of study?

I decided to come to Mizzou because it was far enough from home that I could create a new, unique chapter of my life but close enough that I could get there quickly if something were to arise and I needed to be home. After touring the Animal Science Research Center and hearing how much hands-on experience I would obtain working with animals in my classes, I knew this was the place I needed to be. Coming from the South Side of Chicago, I had never been around livestock animals prior to college. My classes allowed me to explore my curiosities by exposing me to different disciplines within each species handled. In addition to the genuine guidance and care from the faculty and staff, I was able to find my passion in equine science and most of all I enjoyed my learning experience in animal sciences.

How have you used resources in the CAFNR Academic Programs Office (student services, career services, advising, study abroad)? What was your experience like?  

I have utilized CAFNR Career Services to strengthen my resume and enhance my LinkedIn profile to prepare myself for future interviews and networking opportunities. Honestly, the resource I’ve used the most is the magnificent faculty and staff in the CAFNR Office of Academic Programs. They have been so invested in helping me reach my goals during my time at Mizzou, while also creating a welcoming atmosphere where I felt right at home. I didn’t think I would meet staff members in college who would go so far as to check in with me mentally, too; that’s rare. I would not have been able to come this far without their support. I’m grateful for them allowing me to spread my wings and do amazing work for CAFNR.

CAFNR’s RISE Initiative encourages students to have a variety of extracurricular experiences during their time at Mizzou (Research, International, Service Learning, Experiential Learning). What parts of the RISE initiative have you taken advantage of so far, and which do you plan to? What have you enjoyed about these experiences?

I have been fortunate to take part in the Service Learning aspect of CAFNR’S RISE Initiative. I was a member of a CAFNR organization called Tigers for Tigers and we would visit and volunteer at different big cat sanctuaries and zoos throughout Missouri and neighboring states. The animal caretakers were always appreciative of our help with cleaning and fixing enclosures as well as preparing food and enrichment for the animals. It was always fun to get an exclusive, behind-the-scenes view of the big cats that the public doesn’t always get to see. I was also a Deaton Scholar my junior year. The program focuses on developing methods to tackle hunger and food insecurities while working with a group of fellow students. It was nice working with students of all different backgrounds and degree levels in order to find ways to eradicate hunger not just on campus, but around the world.

What has been your favorite activity or experience of being a CAFNR student?

My favorite experience being a CAFNR student is connecting with prospective students. As a CAFNR Ambassador, I’ve been able to share about my CAFNR experience with prospective students, while also giving assurance to their families that CAFNR provides a safe and inclusive environment for their child to learn and develop with people who truly care about their success. Personally, my favorite part of recruitment was being able to go back to my high school alma mater and speak to students about my work as a CAFNR student and ambassador. To be able to see the engagement in their eyes and smiles on their faces as I showed them images of my work in class was so rewarding. I was able to open a new door of opportunities for them they didn’t know existed, but now know are obtainable with the help of representation, which really does matter.

Student Recruitment
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We had a fantastic showing during CAFNR Major Nights, held Nov. 17-19, with almost 300 students and families attending. Faculty and current students were able to showcase their majors to prospective high school students. The CAFNR Office of Academic Programs invited students through email, worked with agriculture teachers across the state and used CAFNR social media to promote the event.

WHEN We Can Travel Again … Let’s Be Prepared! 

ALL group or individual university travel outside of Missouri must be registered in the new Domestic Travel Registry. How do you know if you need to register? It’s easy — if you answer ‘yes’ to any of the following questions, you must register your travel.

  • Is your domestic travel partially or fully funded by MU/CAFNR?
  • Will your domestic travel be related to an MU/CAFNR course or curriculum requirement? This includes internships for credit.
  • Will an MU/CAFNR faculty or staff member be organizing your domestic travel within the scope of their employment?

Group travel leaders will submit one form for the entire group, Domestic Travel Registry Group Information Form, and email it to AND

Graduate and undergraduate students traveling individually will register themselves in the Domestic Travel Registry for Individuals.

Contact Shanon Dickerson at with questions.

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  • Please join Dr. Garton in congratulating two of the many outstanding faculty in CAFNR. Michael Sykuta, associate professor of agricultural and applied economics in the Division of Applied Social Sciences (DASS), received the Outstanding Senior Teaching Award, and Rebecca North, assistant professor of water quality in the School of Natural Resources (SNR), received the Outstanding Early Career Teaching Award during CAFNR’s 2020 Celebration of Excellence.
  • Allie Lock (lower left in above picture), a senior agribusiness management major was selected as the winner of the annual Missouri Farm Bureau Collegiate Discussion Meet out of a group of 11 contestants from seven Collegiate Farm Bureau chapters across Missouri. Lock’s final discussion topic revolved around the use of big data in agriculture. Lock received $300 and will represent Missouri Farm Bureau at the American Farm Bureau Federation Fusion Conference in 2021. Claire Shipp (top left in above picture), a junior agribusiness management major, placed third in the discussion meet and received $100.