Accolades: April 2019
CA&ES students take top honors at collegiate leadership competition
UC Davis made a strong showing in its first appearance in the Collegiate Leadership Competition held April 5–6 at John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio.
The team competed against seven other universities in the Great Lakes region of the competition. UC Davis placed first overall, scoring 903 out of 1,200 points.
The six UC Davis team members, all from CA&ES, included: Jubi Lin, a senior in biotechnology; Mengmeng Luo, a junior in sustainable agriculture and food systems; Neha Rathi, a sophomore in managerial economics and statistics; Matt Licina, a senior in sustainable agriculture and food systems; Vanessa Holmes, a sophomore in animal biology; and Sonal Patel, a senior in managerial economics.
“We brought together six individuals willing to develop a working understanding of leadership concepts and engage diligently in weekly practice sessions,” said Corrine Hawes, CA&ES student leadership coordinator. “That’s impressive and not an easy task when you consider they’re balancing the competing responsibilities of being a college student.”
“Training for CLC was truly a valuable, impactful, and rewarding experience for me,” said biotechnology senior Lin. “It helped bring out the leadership potential in me and made me view leadership from a completely different lens throughout the training sessions and the competition.”
CA&ES sponsored the team in partnership with the Center for Leadership Learning (CLL), a program in the Office of Undergraduate Education. CLL Director Christie Navarro and Hawes served as the leadership coaches for the 2019 team. The weekly training and practice sessions began in January.
“I am impressed with the students’ commitment and motivation to learn,” Navarro said. “It has been exciting to watch them come together as a team.”
“We are so proud of our team,” Hawes added. “We received a lot of feedback from the many referees and reviewers about how composed and professional our team was and how well they worked together.”
The Collegiate Leadership Competition is a nonprofit college leadership program that encourages students with a passion for leadership to cultivate skills in preparation for the workplace. The competition gives young leaders a chance to display their leadership knowledge, skills, and abilities in experiential activities.
Randall Robinson receives award for doctoral research on health-promoting molecules in milk
Randall Robinson, who recently completed graduate studies in food science, has been awarded the John E. Kinsella Memorial Prize for outstanding research on his doctoral dissertation studying the chemical properties of bioactive bovine milk compounds.
“Randall possesses the rare ability to make high-impact discoveries and to translate them to important applications in agriculture and human health,” said food science professor Daniela Barile, Robinson’s thesis adviser. “His work provides innovative solutions to the dairy industry, as it describes the potential for a more readily available supply of emerging functional ingredients.”
During the course of his graduate work, Robinson developed new methods to identify and characterize health-promoting compounds found in cow’s milk, including peptides and oligosaccharides, using mass spectrometry and novel quantification techniques.
“I hope that by improving our understanding of milk and its functional properties, we will be able to better utilize those attributes to improve human health,” he said.
Specifically, his research examined the biological factors affecting the production of milk components so that they can be isolated and used in human health applications. Robinson also examined the potential for increasing these milk components through selective breeding.
One of his most important contributions was leading an international research effort to analyze oligosaccharides from milk samples using Holstein and Jersey cows, the two most common dairy breeds. This work revealed that Jersey milk contains higher amounts of most oligosaccharides than Holstein milk, information that could guide breeding strategies to produce milk with a higher diversity and concentration of healthful milk components.
Robinson’s research could eventually assist in the development of more efficient probiotic and prebiotic therapies aimed at improving gut health—not only for infants but also for the growing number of adults suffering from inflammatory, metabolic and auto-immune diseases.
The Kinsella Memorial Prize was established in 1994 in CA&ES to honor the late John Kinsella, former dean of the college and a professor of food science and technology. Graduate groups nominate one dissertation each year for the quality and originality of an individual’s work, multidisciplinary impact and importance to the college’s mission. The prize recipient is awarded $3,500.
Robinson plans to pursue a career in industry that allows him to apply his analysis skills to human health-related research.
CA&ES makes a strong showing at national conference for multicultural students
CA&ES students represented UC Davis well at the 34th national MANRRS conference held recently in Overland Park, Kansas. MANRRS is Multiculturalism in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences, a national society that fosters the inclusion of underrepresented minorities in these disciplines.
Animal biology graduate group student Carmen Banks, from the lab of animal science professor Russ Hovey, won first place in the elevator speech contest and second in the graduate oral research contest. "In just two years, MANRRS has fostered my academic and professional development by giving me the opportunity to share my contributions to agriculture with students and professionals across the country,” she said.
Juliana Candelaria, an animal biology graduate group student from the lab of animal science assistant professor Anna Denicol, won first place in the graduate poster research contest. “My first national conference attendance in Kansas allowed me to successfully share my graduate research, broaden my knowledge in current advancements in agricultural sciences, meet other students and professionals in my field and proudly represent UC Davis,” she said.
In addition, Shannon Chee (Huaijun Zhou lab, animal science) gave an invited talk about her experience in agriculture and technology. Guadalupe Peña (Annie King lab, animal science) presented her research on broccoli byproducts in chicken feed.
“We are so proud of the accomplishments of our MANRRS students,” said Sue Ebeler, CA&ES associate dean for undergraduate academic programs. “The students learn valuable leadership and communication skills through their participation in MANRRS and they are creating a supportive community with students in our college and across the campus.”
MANRRS establishes partnerships among its student and professional members and individuals from private industry, government, academia and nonprofit organizations that promote scholarly excellence in a nurturing environment, professional development, networking and career placement. To learn more about the UC Davis chapter, email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stephen Vosti among the recipients of the Chancellor’s Awards for International Engagement
Stephen Vosti, an adjunct professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, is among the recipients of the Chancellor’s Awards for International Engagement. His work in Africa, Asia and the Americas has changed the way researchers, policymakers and donors think about poverty, malnutrition and human interactions with the environment.