About our College

A founding college of the University, we have a long tradition of excellence in teaching, research and engagement programs that benefit the health and economic vitality of Nevada. We offer programs in:

  • agriculture, horticulture, rangeland & veterinary sciences
  • biochemistry & molecular biology
  • children, youth & families
  • community & economic development
  • health & nutrition
  • natural resources & environmental science
 

To our University community

You matter. We see you, stand with you and support you.

William A. Payne, Dean of the College

Bill Payne

Earlier this month I emailed our students and employees, condemning racial hatred; injustice; violence directed at persons of color; and tragic, senseless murders of persons of color, including that of George Floyd. In that message, I also condemned those who take advantage of the situation to commit acts of violence, often in neighborhoods where diverse communities live.

I wrote I was asked to join the University's Presidential Diversity and Inclusion Taskforce, and how my experience on that taskforce led me to create a Diversity & Inclusion Committee for our College. I'd like you to meet our Committee's initial members. They're featured below.

Joining them will be academic and Extension faculty, classified staff, and graduate and undergraduate students. Together, they'll develop a new mission statement for our College, one that explicitly includes inclusion and diversity, and they'll develop and implement a strategic plan to improve diversity and inclusion within our College.

Meet the initial members of our College's Diversity & Inclusion Committee

Claus Tittiger

Claus Tittiger 
Associate Dean of Academic Affairs

Coretta Patterson

Coretta Patterson
Teaching Assistant Professor & Student Advisor

Damion Greaves

Damion Greaves 
Human Resources Specialist

Jamie Benedict

Jamie Benedict
Professor & Department Chair

Juana Reynoza Gomez

Juana B. Reynoza-Gomez 
Director of Advising, Recruitment & Retention

Paul Lessick

Paul Lessick 
Civil Rights and Compliance Coordinator

Verla Jackson

Verla Jackson 
Human Resources Manager

We are committed to taking actions necessary to ensure that all feel welcome and able to safely live, learn, work, and freely engage in the exchange of ideas and information. To our University community, please know you matter. We see you, stand with you and support you.

Bill Payne's signature

William A. Payne, Dean & Professor
College of Agriculture, Biotechnology & Natural Resources

Together we can change the world

We are committed to fostering a community where all are safe, welcome, respected and valued. Our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion contributes to social change, scientific discovery and advancement— together we can change the world.

 

University beekeeping programs buzzing

Extension creates new club in Douglas County, and Experiment Station helps veterans with PTSD

Hannah Alfaro

Beekeeper tending to beehiveThe Douglas County beekeeping site houses 30,000 bees of two varieties. Photo by Kim Steed Photography.

Beekeeping in Nevada’s Douglas and Washoe Counties is on the rise, thanks to the efforts of our College.

Bee & Pollinator Club

In Douglas County, Lindsay Chichester, Extension educator with the College's Extension unit, began the process of creating the Douglas County Bee & Pollinator Club after a needs assessment survey showed community members had a high interest in learning beekeeping.

Chichester worked with the Great Basin Beekeepers of Nevada and Wild Harmony Ranch to set up five  hives for community members to have a location where hands-on learning and demonstration can occur. To help promote the new program, Chichester also worked with the  Carson Valley Arts Council to host a beekeeping-themed art contest. Other program partners include Pinenut Livestock Supply and Kim Steed Photography.

Chichester said, “You have to focus on the well-being of the bees and learn proper care, read their temperament and understand weather cues and nutrition.”

Bees4Vets

Another program, called Bees4Vets, is hosted at the College’s Experiment Station unit at the Main Station Field Lab in Reno. Bees4Vets is a nonprofit organization that aims to help military veterans and first responders recover from post-traumatic stress disorder and/or traumatic brain injury. The program, created and run by Daniel and Ginger Fenwick, trains up to 10 veterans and first responders a year to manage the hives at the Main Station Field Lab at no cost to the participants.

Ginger said, “We’ve seen our participants take great strides in their personal recovery journeys by being in our program. A lot of people with PTSD have trouble with their focus and staying in the moment, but with bees you have to stay present.”

Join the club

Experience hands-on learning and demonstrations with experts on several aspects of beekeeping, such as the lifecycle of a bee, how to harvest honey, how to render wax and how to continue with beekeeping at home.

 

Options growing for Nevada’s fruit and vegetable crops

University researchers investigating new varieties that grow well in desert climates

Tiffany Kozsan

butternut squashThis spring, Maninder Walia, assistant professor and Extension field crop specialist, began a three-year butternut squash crop trial based on consumer demand.

June is National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month, and researchers in our College and its Experiment Station and Extension units are hard at work finding fruit and vegetable varieties best for growing in Nevada.

The scientists are actively studying varieties requested by consumers and small-scale agricultural producers. Their goal is to help producers improve yield to meet demand while diversifying which produce can be grown commercially in the harsh climates of both the Great Basin and the Mojave Desert.

“I think now, maybe more than ever, people are beginning to realize the importance of having a safe, secure food supply, grown locally, to nourish our residents,” said Bill Payne, dean of the College.

Squashing out high demand This spring, Maninder Walia (pictured), assistant professor and Extension field crop specialist, began a three-year specialty crop trial in Fallon, Nevada, based on consumer demand. Her focus is on butternut squash.
Maninder Walia
Prickly (pear) eaters John Cushman (pictured), biochemistry and molecular biology professor, and Carol Bishop, Extension educator for Northeast Clark County, recently concluded a study on using spineless prickly pear cactus for human consumption, livestock feed and biofuel.
John Cushman
A pomegranate parade The least successful performing prickly pear variety was replaced with 19 varieties of pomegranates. Bishop (pictured) said these varieties have never been grown in southern Nevada before and have the potential to expand the economics of the area.
Carol Bishop
Hopping around Extension’s M.L. Robinson (pictured), associate professor and horticulture specialist, is conducting research on the best hops varieties for the region at the collaborative Center for Urban Water Conservation in North Las Vegas.
M.L. Robinson
The center of flavor Robinson, fellow Associate Professor and Extension Horticulture Specialist Angela O’Callaghan, and Extension Master Gardener volunteers (pictured) are studying more desert-adapted fruits and vegetables at the Center and the Extension, Clark County Las Vegas office.
Master Gardener at the Center, writing on a clipboard
Wine state Robinson and Biochemistry Professor Grant Cramer (pictured) concluded a study in southern Nevada on hybrid grape varieties. Many grew exceptionally well without needing fertilizer, and some have been provided to local winemakers.
Grant Cramer
Seeing red Another project that recently concluded in southern Nevada was a study on how to increase the growing season for tomatoes by using shade. O’Callaghan (pictured) found that a 30% shade cover can improve tomato production by protecting plants and fruit.
Angela O'Callaghan
Red & wine Robinson, Cramer and Assistant Professor Felipe Barrios-Masias (pictured), received a new grant to expand their grape research, and Barrios-Masias recently concluded research into how different tomato rootstocks may help improve tomato crop yields.
Felipe Barrios-Masias
A medley of melons Taking what he learned from studying tomato rootstocks, Barrios-Masias is beginning another rootstock study, this time focusing on melons with Extension’s Associate Professor and Horticulture Specialist Heidi Kratsch (pictured).
Heidi Kratsch
Many mulched melons Barrios-Masias’s project is one of two melon projects beginning this year. The second, led by Desert Farming Initiative Project Manager Charles Schembre (pictured), aims to improve melon production in northern Nevada through variety trials and mulch tests.
Charles Schembre

In addition to finding new fruit and vegetable crops for Nevada producers to grow, some researchers are looking for ways to preserve the shelf life of existing crops. Dylan Kosma and Patricia Santos are searching for ways to reduce potato crop losses during storage. As the number one vegetable crop in the United States and a top-five crop for the state, potato crop losses can be economically devastating.

Don't squash demand

“When we help our agricultural producers discover new crops and techniques, we not only help provide a local food supply, but we also help sustain our agriculture and restaurant industries, boosting our state’s economy.” - Bill Payne

 

Don't box them in

Novel use of music and technology is helping kids learn complicated science concepts

Sarah Monique Somma

Sarah Monique Somma

4-H STEAM Coordinator Sarah Monique Somma creates curriculum to educate youth on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) topics and help them develop workforce skills. Her “Got Bars?” lesson incorporates skill development in music and technology.

"For many, music is a way to relax, energize and express themselves, and most importantly, to learn," Somma said. "Combining these elements in the classroom helps students make meaningful connections between content and the real world."

In “Got Bars?,” students work together to research the properties of matter, then compose original songs to teach the concepts to others. The lesson is an opportunity for young minds to think outside the box.

Somma said, "Don’t box them in. Let them explore the boundaries of the universe."

4-H is a community of young people across America learning leadership, citizenship and life skills

Members learn life skills, make new friends, enhance self-esteem, achieve personal goals, develop positive relationships with peers and volunteers, and have fun learning and sharing as a family and a club

 

Biochemistry professor retires after decades of outstanding dedication

Gary Blomquist retires after 43 years with the University

Hannah Alfaro

Gary Blomquist

Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Professor Gary Blomquist is set to retire at the end of June, leaving behind a legacy of significant research and major impacts on the University.

Blomquist joined the College in 1977 as an assistant professor. In his more than 40 years at the University, he held the position of department chair and mentored 21 doctoral and 20 post-doctoral students, many of whom went on to have outstanding careers in the field. Along with mentoring and teaching, he’s made substantial strides in research on the biochemical and physiological processes of insects.

His research is internationally recognized and he’s won numerous prestigious awards.

Although he’s retiring, Blomquist plans to keep an office and lab to complete ongoing research and finish editing the second edition of his book, “Insect Pheromone Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.”

Unlock the secrets within cells

“Gary instilled confidence in his students and peers and was intrinsically excited about research. He was a go-getter. He wanted to change the world and make the research in biochemistry a number-one thing.” - Robert Ryan

Growing a stronger Nevada

Our programs work together to make an impact

Our teaching, research and engagement programs are intertwined and complement one another. Faculty who teach on campus also conduct research as part of our Experiment Station, allowing students to learn about and participate in research. Extension faculty engaging with communities identify research needs, as well as join Experiment Station faculty to conduct research. Faculty on campus help to develop Extension programs in communities.

Researching critical issues Experiment Station faculty conduct research at experiment stations, labs and research facilities across the state, as well as teach classes and share and conduct research with students. The state-federal partnersip tackles issues affecting Nevada's citizens, communities and economy.
student researcher with plants in greenhouse
Teaching University students We offer 17 undergraduate and graduate degrees to prepare students for high-paying, in-demand careers in agriculture, rangeland & veterinary sciences; biochemistry & molecular biology; natural resources & environmental science; and nutrition.
students taking notes in the field
Engaging Nevada communities Extension is engaged in Nevada communities, presenting research-based knowledge to address critical community needs. The county-state-federal partnership provides practical education to people, businesses and communities, fulfilling the University's land-grant mission.
parents with children

Want to help grow Nevada?

Consider making a contribution in support of classroom, lab or office space; graduate assistantships; student scholarships; or upgrades to the Nevada 4-H Camp. To learn more, please contact Mitch Klaich '02, director of development, at 775-682-6490.