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 and veterinary sciences
  • biochemistry and molecular biology
  • children, youth and families
  • community and economic development
  • health and nutrition
  • natural resources and environmental science

Subscribe to our newsletter  Browse our newsletter catalog


Program that leases high-tech tools to environmental scientists wins new funding

College coordinates program assisting hundreds of scientists around the globe

John Seelmeyer

Ted Scambos and and Gabi Collao Barrios download ocean temperature data from beneath Thwaites Glacier Ice-Shelf in Antarctica.
Scientists from the National Snow and Ice Data Center and the Université Grenoble Alpes download ocean temperature data from beneath an ice shelf in Antarctica that provides clues about the rate of ice loss. The team’s work was supported in the field and remotely by the CTEMPs project. Photo by Chris Kratt.

Think of it as earth-science researchers’ high-tech version of a store that rents specialized and expensive equipment to homeowners for weekend projects – and provides helpful tips.

Hundreds of scientists around the nation have relied on the Centers for Transformative Environmental Monitoring Programs (CTEMPs) for access to state-of-the-art instruments for research that stretches from the ice of Antarctica to a creek flowing through the heart of New York City.

Now the program, coordinated by Associate Professor in the College Adrian Harpold, has landed $3 million. The funds will bring more technology, more training and more sponsoring institutions, including the Desert Research Institute.

CTEMPs provides:

  • Distributed temperature sensing systems that measure tiny differences in temperature every few inches over miles for hydrologists, glaciologists and atmospheric scientists.
  • Distributed geo-acoustic testing that provides highly detailed data about seismic and groundwater processes.
  • Advanced drone-mounted sensors that collect airborne datasets for geophysicists and plant scientists.
  • Workshops, technical support and a maker space to train and empower the next generation of scientists.
  • A good value for taxpayers, public agencies and universities.

Important work for the future of our planet is undertaken by scientists who partner with CTEMPs,” Harpold said. “Their research provides significant understanding of natural processes that range from the health of mountain streams to the large-scale effects of climate change.”

Advancing exciting research

“This program not only advances science, but allows important research funds to be stretched further. With the renewal of funding from the National Science Foundation, we expect to support a growing number of exciting research projects.” – Associate Professor Adrian Harpold


University awarded nearly $1.8M for collaborative research project to study rural perception of climate change

Project is one of only 11 to receive funds from highly competitive U.S. grant program

Natalie Fry and Ashley Andrews

Lahontan Reservoir Dam in 2014.
This 2014 photo of the Lahontan Reservoir illustrates the impact consecutive drought years have on Nevada’s water supply. Photo by Loretta Singletary.

Climate change impacts Nevada’s water use on tribal lands and irrigated agriculture, as well as its water quality and wildlife habitat. Rural areas are critical sources of water, food and habitat. As part of a three-state project to address climate change in underserved rural communities, the University will receive nearly $1.8 million of a $6 million National Science Foundation (NSF) award.

The project, “Where We Live: Local and Place Based Adaptation to Climate Change in Underserved Rural Communities,” will advance research, education, workforce development and partnerships among three states experiencing effects from environmental change, such as drought, heat and wildfires. The project will:

  • Bring together a number of scientists from Nevada, Idaho and South Carolina, and across academic disciplines.
  • Partner with local, state, tribal and federal organizations in rural communities.
  • Explore differences in climate change impact perception and adaptation across the country.

“The funding from the NSF on this highly competitive grant will provide us resources to interact with and learn from our many underserved, rural communities in Nevada,” Professor Loretta Singletary said.

Singletary, the University’s principal investigator on the project, is with the College’s Extension unit and the University’s College of Business. She is joined on the project by other University faculty, including Dilek Uz, an assistant professor with the College’s Experiment Station unit and the University’s College of Business.

The project is one of only 11 funded this August by the NSF’s Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) to support research in underfunded areas.

Enhancing climate resilience

“The goal is to enable better adaptation planning and action by exploring how a variety of small changes can enhance climate resilience in these communities that are central to our nation’s sustainability and security.” – Professor Loretta Singletary


College researcher collaborates to provide students summer science experience

Remarkable research boot camp introduces undergraduates to data and biomedical life science

Stephanie Navarro and Ashley Andrews

Microbiome camp with three students engaged in research.
Students from colleges across Nevada, plus a visiting scholar from Montana, participated in the Summer Boot Camp.

Twenty-two students curious about data and biomedical life science gained hands-on research experience this summer at University of Nevada, Reno at Lake Tahoe.

The three-week Undergraduate Summer Boot Camp on Microbiome Research was supported by the Nevada IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence and Nevada Bioinformatics Center. Offered in collaboration with Assistant Professor in the College Steven Frese, the experience introduced participants to dry- and wet-lab science. Students:

  • Participated in Frese’s gut microbiome study.
  • Prepared samples and extracted DNA for sequencing.
  • Analyzed samples using bioinformatics and data science techniques, such as R coding and high-performance computing.
  • Presented their findings at a research seminar.

One student said, “The most amazing part was being able to collaborate with the Frese Lab and work with human survey data. It was a new experience for me, and it informed me of the possible issues that can arise when working with real people’s responses and data storage.”

Boot camp participants, who were from University of Nevada, Reno; University of Nevada, Las Vegas; Nevada State College; College of Southern Nevada; and Montana, stayed in the dorms; formed research groups; and enjoyed game nights, hiking trips, night swims and more.

Science cannot be done by one,” Center Director Juli Petereit said. “Teamwork is an essential part of the boot camp.”

Teaming up to pay it forward

“When Dr. Petereit approached me about supporting the program, I remembered a summer research experience I participated in as an undergraduate. It was fantastic and solidified my choice of career. I saw this as a great way to ‘pay it forward’ for students in Nevada.” – Assistant Professor Steven Frese


College to expand training programs for meat- and poultry-processing industry

USDA funds to boost hands-on opportunities for meat and poultry industry students and workforce

Mark Earnest

A student being trained while cutting meat into sections at the processing center at Wolf Pack meats with other students in the background holding clipboards.
Hands-on training in processing at Wolf Pack Meats is part of a meat and poultry industry education program at the College that recently earned more funding from the USDA. Photo by Robert Moore.

A new grant awarded to our College will enhance its efforts to bring more sustainability to Nevada’s meat and poultry industry by providing more training to people who want to work in this vital supply chain for the nation.

As part of the $650,000 grant and led by Extension Educator Staci Emm, our College’s Nevada Meat Science Workforce Development Program is partnering with Western Nevada College. Through the partnership, students will be able to earn a certificate and apply credits toward an associate degree.

University students may be able to earn a transcript endorsement for credits earned toward the bachelor’s degree they are pursuing. Eventually, high school students will also be able to take classes in the program, and apply those credits towards a college degree.

Credits for the program include hands-on internship work at the University, through our Experiment Station’s Wolf Pack Meats and our Extension’s Mobile Harvest Unit. The goal is to build a pipeline of highly skilled meat-processing workers, while also supporting fair wages and safe workplaces.

Developing a skilled workforce

“Ensuring our food supply is safe and sustainable is incredibly important to our region. We’re proud to work with the University and play a role in developing a skilled workforce for the meat and poultry industry in Nevada.” – Western Nevada College President Kyle Dalpe


Sagebrushers podcast features Extension Director Jake DeDecker and Associate Professor Sarah Bisbing

Tune in to explore the legacy and future of the University’s outreach arm, and work to ensure the future of forests

Episode 10

President Brian Sandoval sits next to Dr. Jake DeDecker in the podcasting room at the Reynold's School of Journalism. Both smile broadly with podcasting microphones in front of them, using their hands to make the Wolf Pack hand signal.

University President Brian Sandoval (left) and Jake DeDecker, the College’s associate dean for engagement and director of Extension, explore:

  • Their experiences participating in Extension 4-H Youth Development Programs as children, as well as DeDecker’s farm background.
  • The broad-reaching impact of Extension, which is located in all 16 Nevada counties and Carson City, and the unique roles it plays in each community.
  • The evolution of Extension, from its agriculture and mechanical arts roots to the depth and breadth of programming it provides today.

Episode 11

President Brian Sandoval sits next to Dr. Sarah Bisbing in the podcasting room at the Reynold's School of Journalism.

During the episode, Sandoval (left) and Sarah Bisbing, an associate professor in the College’s Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Science, explore her:

  • Research, which focuses on ensuring that there are forests in the future, and the biggest threats facing forests.
  • Role as director of the University’s Whittell Forest & Wildlife Area, what makes the forest unique and what it means to work in a living laboratory.
  • Community partnerships and efforts to recruit and train the next generation of foresters.

Instilling passion in the next generation

“I think one of the greatest impacts and greatest legacies I can have is instilling passion in our next generations, because they have the power to really do some work, more so than I can as a single individual.” - Associate Professor Sarah Bisbing


College hosts summer camps for youth across the state

Programs at Extension’s 4-H Camps in Lake Tahoe and Alamo keep youth engaged and learning, and prepare teens for careers and college

Extension's Northern/Western Area 4-H Camp

  • Following a tradition that goes back 80 years, Extension is offering summer camps at its Nevada State 4-H Camp in Lake Tahoe to keep youth engaged and learning. Here, (left to right) Kayden, Charley and Holly engage in the popular camp craft of making lanyards.
  • During the camp’s painting with chemical reactions activity, campers use baking soda, vinegar and food coloring to create a tie dye effect on their paper.
  • Participants learn about bees and beekeeping by harvesting honey with Extension Educator Lindsay Chichester (far right).
  • The youth explore an observational beehive with a volunteer knowledgeable about beekeeping (far left).
  • Campers Scarlett (left) and Veronika try on beekeeper’s suits.
  • During beach time, campers, including (left to right) Kiser, Arrow and Cason, pose with a very large hole they decided to work together to create.
  • Campers work to make thaumatropes, which create an optical illusion that appears to combine two drawings into one. This activity helps the youth understand visual perception and persistence of vision.
  • To gain a better understanding of buoyancy, participants build their own boats.
  • With Spencer Eusden from Extension’s Living With Fire Program, campers explore the topics of wildfire prevention and defensible space, and enjoy a defensible space scavenger hunt around camp.
  • In the “Up, Up and Away!” camp activity, youth learn about chemical reactions by launching the tops off of film canisters using water and Alka Seltzer tablets, and predicting the best amounts of water and tablets to add.

The College's Discover Your Path Summer Camp

  • The College’s Discover Your Path Summer Camp, offered by the College’s Tribal Students Program and held at Extension’s Nevada State 4-H Camp in Lake Tahoe, is back for its second year.
  • Over 100 American Indian/Alaska Native teens attend the camp on Wá∙šiw lands, to explore career opportunities and college majors, build life skills, engage in cultural activities, and have fun.
  • Campers conduct an interest inventory to discover their path; learn about career- and college-readiness; and explore careers in a variety of fields, including biotechnology, gaming, hospitality, journalism and more.
  • Melanie Benjamin (left) shares indigenous plant knowledge with campers.
  • In addition to learning about indigenous plants from Melanie Benjamin (left), campers also participate in other cultural activities, such as bird singing, tule duck making and round dancing.
  • The camp’s Spending Frenzy Activity helps participants build life skills related to money management during college.
  • As part of the activity, campers set their own budgets for expenses, such as tuition, rent, utilities, food and fun, as well as for building up a savings account.
  • Campers gather around the “Yum Yum Food Bundles” table during the Spending Frenzy Activity, deciding how much of their annual salary they should spend on food.
  • In addition the camp’s educational and cultural activities, participants also have time to enjoy camp games, such as hand games, volleyball, beach time and more.
  • Campers engage in a morning polar bear plunge into Lake Tahoe each day, as well as daily beach time. Beach activities include visiting the lake; listening to, playing and singing cultural music on the beach; paddle boarding; and more.

Extension's Color Quest Jr. 4-H Camp

  • This year, Extension is hosting 4-H Camps for the first time at its new 4-H Camp & Learning Center in Alamo, Nevada, as a result of a partnership among Extension and Lincoln and Clark counties.
  • 4-H faculty Nora Luna leads the fire safety and camp tour walk with youth as they arrive at Camp Alamo.
  • During the color sorting ceremony, Angel runs to find out to which team he will belong while at camp. Each camper became part of one of four teams.
  • The four camp teams were each represented by an element and color: blue Water Team, red Fire Team, purple Air Team and green Earth Team. Here, Elena (left) and Elijah work together to complete the purple Air Team’s shield.
  • Grayson inspects his work painting his team’s shield.
  • Boston launches her team’s boat into the pond to see if it will float during a camp activity to learn about engineering and buoyancy.
  • As part of the Japanese watercolor activity, Ally creates Suminigashi art.
  • Campers (left to right) Boston, Sabrina and Madden pet the neighborhood dog that visits Camp Alamo.
  • Participants Joshua (left) and Angel pose in front of the pond at Camp Alamo.
  • During water activity time, Elijah slides down a slip n’ slide.

Extension's An Oasis in the Desert 4-H Teen Camp

  • The new 4-H Camp & Learning Center provides southern Nevada youth more opportunities to enjoy the outdoors and learn. The need for such opportunities is greater than ever, as mental health and school engagement issues are on the rise among young people.
  • From left to right, campers Alizon, Lara and Payton work with their fellow participants to complete a hula-hoop team building challenge. Challengers must quickly move the hula hoop around the circle without letting go of each other’s hands.
  • 4-H Communications Coordinator Jesus Solis-Leon, emcees the camp’s “Color Ceremony.” During the event, participants are placed into their camp teams, which are represented by the four elements and a color. Here, Jesus is asking for applause for the red Fire Team.
  • Each camp team made a shield that represented their element and color. Here, Cheldon and Camila work together to paint the purple Air Team’s shield.
  • Three members of the blue Water Team (left to right) Anderson, Melina and Suching pose after a team challenge.
  • During water balloon dodgeball, participants Tiarra (left) and Denia quickly fill up water balloons to throw to their teammates.
  • On the purple Air Team, Alizon and Lara participate in water balloon dodgeball against another team.
  • After participating in the camp’s archery activity, Melina poses with her target.
  • During a quiet moment enjoying the camp’s green space and pond, Alejandra writes in her journal.
  • Campers make personal pizzas with assistance from 4-H’s Jesus Solis-Leon (right).

Innovating for 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 partnership tackles issues affecting Nevada's citizens, communities and economy.
student researcher with plants in greenhouse
Teaching University students We offer 24 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