Newsletter | Vol. 9

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
 

4-H National Youth Science Day is a 'Game Changer'

Students learn computer science concepts through creating games

Karen Best and Carrie Stark

girl coding a cat using the Scratch program languageA student codes a public service announcement using the Scratch programming language as part of 4-H National Youth Science Day 2019. Photo by Karen Best.

On Oct. 18, 122 fourth-grade students and future 4-H members at Judith D. Steele Elementary School in Las Vegas took part in 4-H National Youth Science Day. This year’s challenge, Game Changers, took the students through three sessions devoted to computer science. First, students learned what a public service announcement was before creating their own using Scratch, a programming language that is easy for youth to use. Second, students designed their own game board, Hack Your Harvest, to learn the basics of computer coding. Lastly, students created an active tag game, Program Your Playground, by using the concepts or conditionals, pattern recognition, etc. Students ended their sessions with smiles and some 4-H buttons, pencils and stickers. Many students called the day “the best day ever” and look forward to the upcoming year, during which they will be working on a coding and robotics project.

The 2019 National Youth Science Day challenge was designed by Google and West Virginia University Extension Service to teach youth ages 8-14 how to use computer science to create games, solve problems and engage with topics they’re passionate about. This year’s experiment used physical activity and puzzles to teach kids important computer science concepts and problem-solving skills, creating real-world connections between computer science and civic engagement, healthy living and agriculture.

Connecting computer science, civic engagement, healthy living and agriculture

This year’s experiment uses physical activity and puzzles to teach kids important computer science concepts and problem-solving skills.

 

Extension's Stephanie McAfee shares expertise on communicating about climate

Panel of experts discuss 'Communicating Science in a Divided Society'

Dominique Hall

Peter Laufer, Stephanie McAfee and Vanessa Serrao in chairsPeter Laufer (left), Stephanie McAfee (center) and Vanessa Serrao (right) shared their insights about communicating science on Oct. 21. Photo by University of Nevada, Reno.

The Reynolds School of Journalism launched the new Mick Hitchcock, Ph.D., Project for Visualizing Science with the “Communicating Science in a Divided Society” panel on Oct. 21. The Hitchcock Project was funded in 2018 as an initiative to prepare students, professionals and scientists to present science in visual and creative forms.

Expert panelists Vanessa Serrao, creative director of storytelling for National Geographic; Peter Laufer, author, journalist and professor at the University of Oregon; and Stephanie McAfee, climatologist and associate professor with University of Nevada, Reno Extension and the College of Science, discussed issues that come with communicating scientific findings as part of the launch of the Hitchcock Project.

Preparing students, professionals and scientists to share their science

The Hitchcock Project is an initiative to prepare students, professionals and scientists to present science in visual and creative forms.

 

Featured Faculty

2019 Foundation Professor Marjorie Matocq

University of Nevada, Reno Foundation, Development and Alumni Relations

Marjorie MatocqNatural Resources and Environmental Science Professor Marjorie Matocq was named a 2019 Foundation Professor for her work on population and evolutionary genetics. Photo by Theresa Danna-Douglas.

Marjorie Matocq, professor of natural resources and environmental science, grew up in the Lake Tahoe area and has always been interested in western landscapes and the biodiversity of this region. She accepted the position with the University because she knew this would be a prime location for her research.

Matocq’s work focuses on identifying the ecological and evolutionary processes that generate and maintain biodiversity. She combines intensive fieldwork with cutting-edge genomic analyses to identify how animals are adapted to the range of environmental variation they experience in the wild.

Matocq's research is at the crossroads of evolution, biodiversity and land-use

She works closely with natural resource agencies in the local region to identify how animals such as kangaroo mice, pygmy rabbits, woodrats, bighorn sheep and black bears use and move through the landscape.

 

Registered dietitian uses health care experience to educate students

Jolyn Wirshing helps nutrition students discover their own areas of study

Hannah Alfaro

Jolyn WirshingJolyn Wirshing hopes to continue helping students at the University to get into health care fields. Photo by Robert Moore.

Since 2017, registered dietitian Jolyn Wirshing has worked with students in the Department of Nutrition in the University of Nevada, Reno’s College of Agriculture, Biotechnology & Natural Resources.

Wirshing has studied weight loss and sports nutrition throughout her extensive career. She completed her dietetic internship at Massachusetts General Hospital and became a registered dietitian in 2001. In 2006, she was recognized by the Nevada Dietetic Association as the Young Dietitian of the Year. She has worked as a clinical dietitian at ManorCare Health Services and as a pediatric dietitian.

Wirshing decided to pursue a career in teaching at the University so she could use her experience to help educate students in the nutrition field. As a lecturer, she teaches nutrition courses for nonscience majors, among other courses in the nutrition department.

“I love working with undergraduates,” Wirshing said. “They have so much excitement for their future, and since most of the students I work with want to be dietitians or health care professionals, I can really help them with my experience in the field.”

In addition to teaching, Wirshing wants to help students develop their own research studies. She plans to work with nutrition majors to increase awareness of the importance of the nutrition program for the future of the health care field, and she aims to provide a good stepping stone for future and continuing students for their careers.

“Jolyn Wirshing has been a wonderful addition to the Nutrition faculty,” said Jamie Benedict, chair of the College’s Department of Nutrition. “In addition to her knowledge, students greatly appreciate her energy, enthusiasm and passion for nutrition and dietetics.”

Wirshing helps students develop their own research studies in nutrition

“In addition to her knowledge, students greatly appreciate her energy, enthusiasm and passion for nutrition and dietetics.” - Jamie Benedict, chair of the Department of Nutrition.

 

Photo Gallery | Nevada Field Day 2019

University experts showcase research, activities and programs at fall festival

Photos by Robert Moore

At Nevada Field Day on Oct. 19, visitors were treated to a variety of free activities and giveaways, and even some tasty food samples, courtesy of the University of Nevada, Reno and its College of Agriculture, Biotechnology & Natural Resources.

The event featured hands-on activities and information focusing on the latest advancements in agriculture, horticulture, nutrition, natural resources and the environment. It is a collaborative project of the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology & Natural Resources; and its research and outreach units, the Experiment Station and University of Nevada, Reno Extension.

Animal science students working with kids

Students in the College's Animal Science Program share an activity with children.

Students from the plant genomics lab

Students in the College's Plant Genomics Lab present the research they are doing on mustard.

Nevada Radon Education leader showing visitors a radon brochure

Extension's Nevada Radon Education Program Coordinator Nadia Noel shows visitors an informational brochure about the dangers of radon.

Chef Clint Jolly

Chef Clint Jolly performs a cooking demonstration with produce from the University’s Desert Farming Initiative and meat from the University’s Wolf Pack Meats.

Desert Farming Initiative Booth

The Desert Farming Initiative sells its local produce and gives out some free samples.

girl throwing beanbags at house-shaped target

A girl throws beanbag "embers" at targets representing highly flammable house parts aat the Ember House game, presented by Extension's Living With Fire Program.

Bees4Vets volunteer presenting honeycomb to visitors

A Bees4Vets presenter shows honeycomb to visitors while explaining the research being done at the Experiment Station about the therapeutic benefits of beekeeping.

Jugs of juice from grapes grown by the University

A presenter shows the results from research with grapevines.

students with cactus products

Students present products that can be made using prickly pear cactuses, an alternative crop being researched by the College.

Child getting a 4-H sticker

A child gets a sticker from Extension's Nevada 4-H Youth Development Program.

This year’s Field Day featured over 45 booths and activities

For over 60 years, University students and faculty have used the Main Station Field Lab to provide education and research, not only on raising and processing healthy cattle, but also on a variety of other important issues, including controlling noxious weeds, developing alternative low-water-use crops, and preserving air and water quality.

 

Sale finalized for 104-acre parcel at University's Main Station Farm

Escrow closed on deal for parcel that borders McCarran Boulevard north of Pembroke

Mike Wolterbeek and University of Nevada, Reno

Completing the sale of this property will now allow the University to move forward with projects and staffing initiatives identified as part of the Board of Regents approval item, including:
  • develop research capabilities at the J Dow Experiment Station wetlands,
  • build ADA-compliant classrooms at Main Station Field Lab,
  • construct the Eureka Agriculture Center for Range and Sheep Improvement,
  • develop the International Center of Dryland Agriculture,
  • create an endowed professorship for indoor/urban agriculture in Clark County, and
  • renovate critical laboratory facilities on the University’s main campus for the benefit of all students, research faculty and staff.
In addition, the University and the College agreed to pursue the development, marketing and sale of a permanent conservation easement for teaching, research and Extension on the remaining 700+ acres. As with other property sales, this easement will be contingent on Board of Regents approval and sold at or above appraised value. At the close of escrow of the sale, the proceeds will be divided evenly between College budgets and other University budgets.

The College will pursue developing a permanent conservation easement

The University and the College agreed to pursue the development, marketing and sale of a permanent conservation easement for teaching, research and Extension on the remaining 700+ acres.

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 the 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