Nesheim legacy lives on through nutrition fellowships

Oct 25

One generation plants the trees under whose shade future generations rest. ~Chinese Proverb

One of the most rewarding things about my job is introducing donors to their student recipients. Yesterday, October 24th, didn’t let me down.

Sandra Nesheim Rankin (BS ‘ 74 College of Engineering) and her sister Barbara Nesheim Mowry were on campus to meet  the graduate students supported by an endowment created by their father, the late Dr. Robert O. Nesheim (PhD ’51, MS ’50, BS ’43 College of ACES). Also in attendance was Sandra’s husband, John Rankin (BS ‘72 College of LAS).

Dr. Nesheim served as head of the Department of Animal Sciences (1964-67). He was a successful executive for corporations such as The Quaker Oats Company and a 16-year consultant for the Office of the Army Surgeon General on research to improve the nutrition for soldiers under extreme environmental conditions.
Before his death in July 2008, he established the “Dr. Robert O. Nesheim Fellowships in Nutrition” to support scholarly work and innovation in the field of nutrition in the Department of Animal Sciences in the College of ACES. He credited his professional success to the outstanding education from the University of Illinois and wanted to leave a legacy for future leaders in nutrition.

His endowment has supported five fellows (Michael Iakiviak, Kelly Kappen, Josh McCann, Lindsay Shoup, and Kelly Sotak) who have and or are currently tackling critical issues in nutrition.

It was wonderful to listen to the graduate students share their gratitude, academic backgrounds, and career aspirations with the donor family. Sandra summed it up, “Dad would have been so proud. And so are we.”

(Front row, left to right) Barbara Nesheim Mowry; Dr. Dan Shike, Associate Professor of Animal Sciences; Dr. Hans Stein, Professor of Animal Sciences; Lindsay Shoup, Nesheim Fellow; Dr. Doug Parrett, Professor and Interim Department Head of Animal Sciences. (Back row, left to right) John Rankin; Sandra Nesheim Rankin; Josh McCann, Nesheim Fellow; Dr. Kelly Swanson, Associate Professor of Animal Sciences.


Dr. Doug Parrett shows the Nesheim family portraits of faculty that were on staff during Dr. Robert Nesheim’s tenure (1964-67) in the Department of Animal Sciences.

Dr. Doug Parrett shows the Nesheim family portraits of faculty that were on staff during Dr. Robert Nesheim’s tenure (1964-67) in the Department of Animal Sciences.


Helping children achieve healthy lifestyles

Oct 24
Barbara Fiese, Director of the Family Resiliency Center

One of my research interests is family mealtimes and how important they are to children’s health and well being. After conducting many research studies, my students and I have found that children who eat five or more meals with their family each week are 25 percent less likely to develop nutritional health issues, and will consume more fruits and vegetables and less junk food. Children who eat with their families even just three times per week are less likely to have eating disorders or be overweight. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends regular family meals as a way to protect against childhood obesity.

While the benefits of family mealtimes are fairly well understood, there’s a lack of research on how children are fed in preschool and day care centers, where more than 12 million young children eat up to five meals and snacks each day. University of Illinois Human & Community Development Professor Brent McBride and his graduate student Dipti Dev recently published a groundbreaking study that indicated the way care givers feed these children is just as important as what they feed them, particularly as it helps the children develop skills they’ll need to maintain a healthy weight as they grow up.

You can read more about Dr. McBride’s work here.

This study exemplifies the work occurring at the Family Resiliency Center, where our transdisciplinary team of researchers advance knowledge and practices that strengthen families' abilities to meet life's challenges and thrive.

Happy Illinois Homecoming!

Oct 23
Tina Veal, Director of Alumni Relations

Happy Illinois Homecoming! This is the one of the many times of year I love – the fall leaves are changing colors (despite the few snow flurries I saw this week), football season and tailgating are in full swing (despite the wins and losses)….and the University of Illinois is gearing up for Homecoming on campus this weekend!  

Campus is beginning to buzz, banners are being hung to welcome alumni to campus, fraternities and sororities are sprucing up their houses to welcome alumni home and Orange and Blue attire is the “in” thing to wear! The ACES Student Advancement committee helped to decorate the atrium of the ACES Library and decorated Campus Florist windows on Green Street…so if you are on campus this weekend stop by and take a look!

The College of ACES is also represented in the 2013 Illinois Homecoming Court – ACES students include:  Caroline Cavallo from Staunton, IL; Jacob Ekstrand from Yates City, IL; Kyle Granger from East St. Louis, IL; and Kurt Hansen from Lake Zurich, IL – be sure to watch for them at the Illinois Homecoming Parade and Pep Rally on Friday night beginning at 6:00 p.m. and on the field during the Illinois vs. Michigan State game. For more Illinois homecoming activities, visit

I hope you find fond memories of your time at Illinois, whether you are back on campus or at celebrating from afar. We would love to see your photos showing your Illini spirit, so we can post them on social media to celebrate our ties that bind us all to the University of Illinois. Send your photos to Tina Veal, ACES Alumni Director at

Best Wishes and GO ILLINI!


And the winner is...

Oct 21
Kendra Courson, Director for Special Events

Saturday night was a very special night as the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics invited the College of ACES to participate in an on-field promotion at the Illinois/Wisconsin game. ACES' very own Damani Bolden (UIUC Student Body President) and Lucas Frye (ACES Council President) are exceptional role models for our college and proved it by competing against each other in an on-field contest between the first and second quarter. 

Damani and Lucas illustrated through the race how the College of ACES prepares our students to make a difference when they graduate. But, not only did the two students race to the goal line, they had to complete a few tasks along the way that represented each of the seven departments in ACES. Starting at the 25-yard line, they sprinted to the 20-yard line where they put on a lab coat to represent Animal Sciences. They then zig-zagged to put on a hair net and goggles to represent Food Science and Human Nutrition. After that, the guys made their way to the 10-yard line  to pick up a clipboard to illustrate Human Development and Family Studies. After donning those items, they put the clipboard in a briefcase that represented Agricultural and Consumer Economics. Finally, they ran to put on a construction hat at the 5-yard line to illustrate Agricultural and Biological Engineering before racing towards the goal line to receive a diploma from Bob Hauser, Dean of College of ACED to get the diploma. After a bit of a scuffle at the 10-yard line, Damani pushed ahead of Lucas to win the diploma! Thanks to Lucas and Damani for representing ACES in such a fun, yet competitive, light! Great job!

ACES in the spotlight

Oct 17
Lucas Frye, Senior in Agricultural and Consumer Economics

In every college football season, there is something special about the night game. The combination of the fall chill in the air, a full day of tailgating, and the stadium lights illuminating the orange and blue on the grass makes for one exciting sports experience.  

At this Saturday’s football showdown against our BigTen neighbor to the North—Wisconsin, the spotlight will also be on the College of ACES. Over the course of a three minute timeout, we will attempt to highlight all of the areas that make up the diverse concentrations that fall under the umbrella of agriculture, consumer, and environmental sciences. This marketing effort will be in the form a friendly, competitive relay race between  myself and Student Body President/fellow ACES student—Damani Bolden. We will race to ‘put on’ the many job uniforms of ACES graduates, from hairnets and hardhats to binoculars and briefcases. Making our way from the 25-yard line to the North endzone finish line, Dean Hauser will be waiting for the winner with a diploma.  

Regardless of who wins, both current students and alumni in attendance should keep an eye out for ACES on Saturday, but also do a little marketing yourself by spotlighting the wide array of opportunities in ACES to prospective high school students in your home area.  

Go Illini, and Go ACES.


Welcoming Dr. George Czapar to U of I Extension

Oct 16
Robert Hauser, Dean of the College of ACES

I am pleased to welcome Dr. George Czapar as the Associate Dean and Director of University of Illinois Extension and Outreach.  He received his B.S. (1980) and M.S. (1982) in Agronomy at the University of Illinois, and his Ph.D. in Agronomy in 1990 at Iowa State University.  During the 1980’s George was in the Extension Service of Iowa and Illinois, working in the areas of integrated pest management and weed science.  From 1991-2010, he was an Extension Educator in Springfield, and during the past three years George has served as Director, Center for Watershed Science, Illinois State Water Survey, Prairie Research Institute, U of I. 

George’s research and extension program has been defined by collaborative interdisciplinary projects that address the environmental impacts of agriculture.  He has published widely on best management practices to reduce pesticide, sediment, and nutrient losses from agriculture.  While serving at the University of Illinois in Extension positions, George has also sought out opportunities to develop and teach classes in the Campus Honors Program, in NRES, and in the off-campus graduate program.

George brings to this position a deep understanding of Extension’s mission and value, along with an exceptional research and teaching record.  The College and the University are pleased and fortunate that Dr. Czapar will be using his creativity, academic breadth, administrative experience, and industriousness to guide Extension as our new Associate Dean.   

Please join me in welcoming George.

George Czapar

New leadership in OIP

Oct 15
Leslie Sweet Myrick, Office of International Programs Media Communications Specialist

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to interview Dr. Alex Winter-Nelson, professor in agricultural and consumer sciences, about his sabbatical leave at the University of Pretoria in South Africa and his work to reduce poverty in developing countries. Our discussion topics included livestock systems’ effects in Zambia, the Zambian sugar market, the Zimbabwean fertilizer market, farming technologies in Ethiopia, and the case studies related to agricultural pricing distortions he has provided for the World Bank.

Fast forward several months, when I learned he had been appointed as the new director of our office, I remembered these previous conversations and thought: Yes, that seems appropriate!

Dr. Winter-Nelson joined the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Sciences in 1992 where he will continue teaching courses on international economic development and food policy in addition to his new 50% appointment in the Office of International Programs. He previously served as the Director for UI’s Center for African Studies. 

Through my job, I enjoy many conversations similar to that one with Dr. Winter-Nelson about the amazing things ACES faculty and staff are doing all over the world. With each interview, I am more impressed with the scope of ACES global impact. I’ve interviewed several people who have benefited firsthand from our office’s initiatives like the ACES Academy for Global Engagement and the semi-annual Seed Grant funding programs. 

Under Dr. Winter-Nelson’s leadership, OIP plans to further encourage this participation and maximize its impact as we focus on providing even more support and resources to ACES faculty and staff and also facilitating collaboration across departments as they engage in international activities.

So, stay tuned for even more great international stories coming out of ACES.  


Alex Winter-Nelson in northern Zambia
Alex Winter-Nelson with villagers in northern Zambia, where he has studied the effects of livestock systems.

Newcomer as kindred spirit

Oct 10
James Evans, Professor Emeritus of Agricultural Communications

Professor Lulu Rodriguez may be a newcomer on campus this fall as new head of the Agricultural Communications Program. However, in my mind she has long been a kindred spirit in the fundamentals of this unique dual program of the College of ACES and College of Media.

How can that be?  In part, maybe it’s because for decades I have known and respected her skills and contributions as a communications teacher and scholar. Maybe it traces back to the 1980s when my international work permitted me to get acquainted with her first academic home, the development communication program of the University of the Philippines at Los Baños.   Maybe it’s because, from her childhood, she understands the work, challenges and aspirations of people on the land, those who feed and support us all in so many ways. Maybe it’s because she cares about students and learning, likes to think and act creatively, and enjoys relating to others. Maybe it’s because she brings perspectives that are both domestic and global. Maybe it’s because the spirit of the land grant mission – teaching, research and service – means much to her, through her experiences with three respected land grant universities. 

Whatever the possible explanations, I am delighted to help welcome Professor Rodriguez to the University of Illinois as a kindred spirit. I know she will add much to students and others through her leadership of the Agricultural Communications Program.   


Lulu Rodriguez and Ellen Reeder
Dr. Rodriguez and Ellen Reeder prepare for their upcoming trip to Kansas City with the Ag Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT) chapter.

Coming to a kitchen table near you

Oct 9
Marla Todd, Associate Director of Advancement Communications

Students in the Food Science and Foods Industry and Business options in FSHN are bringing together the information gathered in many of their previous classes to work on a senior capstone project that requires principles of food product development including development and presentation, formulation, manufacturing, packaging, product costs, pricing, safety, and marketing. Students in FSHN 466 are split up into groups comprised of 3 to 5 individuals to propose and create a new product from its beginning until it reaches the consumer’s kitchen table. Their finished proposal along with actual food samples will be displayed near the end of the fall semester. Be sure to check for more information from the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition to sample these products and give feedback!


FSHN Kitchen

Just ask our students

Oct 8
Walt Hurley, Professor of Animal Sciences

The Undergraduate Seminar course in Animal Sciences (ANSC 298) is a type of career development course aimed at our sophomore and transfer students. We encourage them to explore their interests in animals. We help them begin the process of understanding the breadth of the field of animal sciences and recognize that this field extends well beyond the realm of veterinary medicine. We challenge them to consider alternative job and career goals. All this is done in the context of them discovering their own role as an animal scientist.

We are fortunate in the fall to have the annual ACES Career Fair that allows them to further this self-discovery process. Students who attend the Career Fair find it a valuable experience, even if they are not currently looking for internships or jobs. One ANSC sophomore who attended the ACES Career Fair last week said, “It was a really great experience, even though it was a little overwhelming at first. Being in 298 really helped though because I knew what to have with me and how to present myself. I thought that there was a great variety of companies there and I was able to figure out which ones I was interested in.  … I talked to a few companies that we talked about in class and I found it really interesting and helpful for future reference.” 

Another student said, “I attended the ACES Career Fair yesterday for about two hours, and I had a great time. I learned more about the opportunities that are available within the animal sciences industry that may or may not pertain to veterinary medicine…. I highly encourage all ACES students to attend this career fair. Even if you don't think that there is anything for your major or concentration, it is a great way to network and see all the opportunities within the agriculture industry. I know that I personally will feel much more comfortable introducing myself to prospective employers and animal science industry leaders.” 

I believe their comments say it well. The ACES Career Fair is a high-impact, out-of-the-classroom experience for our students.


Career Fair 2013