Fall leaves in a variety of colors on a branch.

A Message From the Dean - November 2022

The fall colors are incredibly vibrant this year with their red, orange and yellow leaves glowing against a backdrop of bright blue sky. We have so much to be grateful for this November, and I want to express my gratitude for all of our dedicated faculty, staff and students who remain focused on the mission of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Day in and day out, I see and hear about your commitment to the college and campus—from securing and maintaining our spaces, managing funding, working with communities, and keeping the barns clean and animals cared for, to maintaining crops, educating and advising students, keeping data systems running, and communicating our stories to the world.

What you do is important and contributes to the greater good of our community and larger society.

This month in Highlights, we see multiple ways how science and our researchers give back to communities. For example, The Seed Pile Project has professors from human ecology and entomology and nematology teaming up to better understand which native wildflower seeds thrive in overlooked spaces, such as cracks in asphalt or along transportation corridors. Two landscape architecture students transformed a simple bus stop in Vallejo into an inviting space for a community to enjoy. New research from animal science seeks to interpret the facial expressions and body language of mules in hopes of providing proactive support for these traditionally stoic animals.

I am also grateful for our college advisors who interact with and support students on a daily basis. We recently held our Coffee with the Dean event and met with approximately 35 undergraduates from a variety of majors to answer questions about how to balance school, internships and social life. The students also asked questions about best practices for interacting with industries, how to begin a career path, and how to feel more confident about using Handshake, a tool where current students and alumni can connect with employers. We hosted visitors from the Internship and Career Center and Graduate School of Management to connect with students and talk about easy ways to begin developing career connections.

Coffee with the Dean and similar events like Slice of Advising and the quarterly Study Breaks are other examples of how our community continues to give. These student-focused events are organized by our dedicated Undergraduate Academic Programs (UAP) team and reinforce the importance of holistic support and education to prepare students for the world after they graduate. As a former first-generation student, I appreciate all the ways I was supported and my career path was cultivated by faculty, staff, advisors and mentors like you.

This Thanksgiving break, I hope you take a moment to enjoy the traditions and people that matter to you the most. I will be enjoying the simple beauty of fall, keeping an eye out for the elusive wood ducks swimming in the Arboretum, and eating my favorite sweet potato pie with my family.

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