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

The scent of October

Oct 7
Kathryn Martensen, Assistant Dean and Director of Advising

Remember that episode of Seinfeld when Kramer wanted to create a cologne that smelled like the beach? I think there should be one for October. It would smell like a combination of crisp leaves and grass (minus the mold allergens, natch) with a hint of bonfire and pumpkin spice cider undertones. A definite best-seller, because people love October! There’s even an RSO on campus called “October Lovers.” October is the host month to all kinds of good things: Cool fall weather with brilliant sunshine, the ACES Career Fair, Homecoming, and my favorite holiday, Halloween.

Here are pics from a couple years ago of my sons on Halloween a couple years ago and from our family’s annual football game. Classic fall good times!

Martenson family Halloween

Martenson Thanksgiving


ACES is a Family

Oct 3
Ellen Reeder, Senior in ACES

A lot of people say that the College of ACES is like a family. It’s a common answer when students are asked what they love most about the college, but it’s amazing how true that statement really is.

This morning, I took a little tumble on my way to class before the career fair. I fell down a flight of stairs, cracked my computer’s screen, and ripped the hem of my dress. The best part was my flying spring-loaded umbrella. I was a wreck.

I was on my way to math class and only had a 10-minute break between class and an interview at the career fair, but on top of that it was pouring down rain. Time was not on my side, and at that point neither were fashion or the weather.

I headed over the ARC for my interview and I was still a little shook up. The reality of a broken computer screen was just starting to sink in. When I walked into the ARC, the first people I saw were three ACES faculty/staff members. Clearly by the look on my face they could tell that I was not doing too swell. After hearing my sob story, one began digging for Advil, another tried to fix my dress, and the third tried to rebuild my confidence before the interview.

As a college student, I still have some moments when I just wish my mom was there to fix my problems, to sew up my dress, and to give me hug. It’s a great feeling to know that my College of ACES family will always be there, too. 

“Luck” of the draw

Oct 3
Jason Emmert, Assistant Dean, Academic Programs

Did you ever notice how some students seem to be so lucky, and good things just happen to them? Great jobs, awesome internships, exciting study abroad opportunities, bountiful scholarship support, and on and on. What’s the deal with that?

Well, the truth is, I’ve never met a lucky student. I have met many students, however, who create their own luck through hard work, perseverance, and the basic skill of paying attention! Today, hopefully all of our students in ACES have paid attention to the opportunity they have to attend the ACES and Sciences Career Fair, which will be held at the ARC this afternoon from 1:00-5:30 p.m. For freshmen, it’s a great chance to network with representatives from more than 100 organizations; for sophomores and juniors, it’s an opportunity to look for an internship; for seniors, the time has come to take action toward that first step after graduation.

The ACES and Sciences Career fair draws so many organizations to campus because of the quality of our students; our students are drawn to the event because of the outstanding internship and job opportunities. Together, students and organizations are drawn together to find matches that to some people look like pure luck. But we know the truth; you make your own luck!

Have a great day, and good “luck”!

Mike Carter (left) and Luke Rincker (right) are experiencing a reunion of sorts today in Suite 115 of the ACES Library. Luke is working this morning before heading over to the career fair, and Mike is back on campus to represent Hormel Foods at the fair. Mike and Luke worked together as interns in Suite 115. Networking at its finest!



Kraft Foods Day at the University of Illinois

Sep 30
Marla Todd, Associate Director of Advancement Communications

What is one way to ensure that students know that Kraft Foods is visiting campus? Other than flyers and various promotional items, students across campus posted pictures of the 27-foot Oscar Mayer Weinermobile promoting #BornToBun and #Kraft on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook as it drove around the University. They were also able to sit in the Weinermobile, receive some promotional items, and a few even got to ride in the vehicle. Weinermobile travel team members, Stephen and Alex, take this vehicle on the road for months at a time where they have been seen at air shows and 4th of July parades.

Earlier this month, Kraft Foods began their tour of campus by bringing some recent Food Science and Human Nutrition graduates to meet with several students in Bevier Hall to talk about their future internship and career opportunities with the company. They took their visit to the next level by bringing food samples and worked with Bevier Café to showcase some of their products for lunch that day. Additionally, Kraft Foods spent time with the College of Business and College of Engineering to promote their brand and opportunities for students in those Colleges.

We appreciate all that Kraft Foods provides to our classroom experiences as well as the quality internships in which some of our students participate!


Kraft Foods Day

Dad's Weekend

Sep 24
Ellen Reeder, Senior in ACES

During harvest on our farm, the combine doesn’t stop for very many reasons. There’s the occasional break-down, Sundays of course, and rain. That’s about it. This year, the combine stops for Dad’s Weekend!  I didn’t even have to do any arm twisting— my parents must really love me, or they must really love visiting U of I. I hope it’s both.

This will be the last Dad’s Weekend that my family attends, and it will be a pretty special one I’m sure. In the past years we’ve attended football games, Sigma Alpha breakfasts, and we’ve participated in our share of tailgating with friends and family. This year, the schedule looks a little different. My step-dad, Dick, is a finalist for the U of I Parent’s Association King Dad award.

I nominated him because I thought it would be a nice thing to do, but never in a million years did I think he would be a finalist. On Friday night, my family will attend the Dad’s Association reception and the King Dad will be crowned. I’m just a little bit excited!

I always love it when my parents have the opportunity to visit campus. It’s so fun to introduce them to my friends and to my ACES family. It’s almost like they get to experience college again, especially sitting in the student section and learning the football cheers. The weekend can’t come soon enough!

Young alumni give back

Sep 16
Marla Todd, Associate Director of Advancement Communications

Although the classroom and laboratory experiences that ACES students obtain is top-notch, and instructors are some of the best globally, there is still value to be added by interacting with some of the top professionals in the field. Each year, graduate students in Food Science and Human Nutrition have the opportunity to be matched with an external mentor. This diversifies the points-of-view they are exposed to and instantly deepens their professional network. Alumni and other professionals are encouraged to share their knowledge and experiences as mentors, guest speakers or internship supervisors.

We recently had the opportunity to recognize a few young alumni who have shared their knowledge and skills with ACES students. Susan Zaripheh and Nate Matusheski are both very accomplished alumni, who have taken the time to give back to this institution, specifically in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, making it a richer place for others. Congratulations to both Nate and Susan on receiving the 2013 College of ACES Alumni Association Young Alumni Award.

Nate Matusheski
Nate Matusheski

Susan Zaripheh
Susan Zaripheh