Catching Up with CALS — August 23, 2017
Dean's Message — Students Return
CALS welcomes some 250 new students to its classrooms and laboratories this week. It is an exciting time of year for us and a transformative moment in their lives.
We won’t have final numbers for a while, but it looks like CALS will hold its own in terms of recruitment.
Each of our students is a statement of optimism that what we do as a college and as a university matters. Our students will grow in their understanding of the world and mature as citizens during their time here. Our community, state and nation will benefit.
Our new majors in our realigned departments of plant sciences; soil and water systems; and entomology, plant pathology and nematology will help draw more students and train them in disciplines critical to the agriculture enterprise in the state.
We are also considering other promising courses of study that would build on our faculty members’ expertise.
In addition to the increased focus on recruitment within the college, we are supporting a new initiative to build the sense of the CALS community among students. The UI housing office will launch a CALS-associated living group in the Wallace Residence Center next fall.
The college will plan a series of events during this academic year to encourage interest among students, starting with a dinner. We would like to hear from students, staff and faculty their thoughts about how to promote student involvement in the new dorm community, too.
Just as new students go through an orientation on campus, this week we do a new faculty orientation as well. I am pleased to say that we welcomed 20 new faculty to the ranks of CALS’ academics this year. They join 20 new faculty hired last year.
Given the number of searches currently underway, we expect to hire 20 new faculty within the coming year. These new hires are transformational for the college and will inject new enthusiasm and vision into the education, research, outreach and extension programs in CALS.
One sure way to connect with the CALS community is to attend the Welcome Back Picnic Sept. 6 from 4:30-7:30 p.m. at the Parker Plant Science Farm two miles east of Moscow on Highway 8 toward Troy. I hope to see you there.
MICHAEL P. PARRELLA
College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
By the Numbers
698 students who claimed Idaho as home led the college’s enrollment of students from 22 states in CALS last spring. The 110 from Washington State ranked as the 2nd largest group followed by California, 37; Oregon, 23; and Nevada, 10. Colorado and Montana ranked 6th with 4 each and Illinois, Pennsylvania and Virginia ranked 8th with 3 students each to fill out the top 10 states. Among international students, the People’s Republic of China and Nepal topped the list with 5 followed by Mexico with 3 and Saudia Arabia and Taiwan with 2 each to form the top 5 among the 18 countries represented.
Our Stories — Taste Tests Ensure Quality Steaks
A major retailer recently advertised a special on four premium, 12-ounce New York strip steaks: $100 off the regular price of $499.
That is the kind of buyer a major producer of ultra-quality steaks wants to satisfy, and that is one reason why the meat industry calls on University of Idaho meat scientists.
So on a summer day, meat scientist Matt Doumit and his team set out to test strategies for delivering the highest quality steaks to the top level carnivores in the retail environment.
“We are evaluating some different product management strategies to determine what can be done in the processing plant to optimize the quality of steaks,” he said.
The options, Doumit said, included different product handling and freezing protocols that can be used to preserve the best possible characteristics of high quality steaks. The advantage of blast freezing is faster freezing creates smaller ice crystals in the muscle cells. That typically means less cellular damage and less fluid loss as the steak is prepared and served.
The research also included chemical testing about how handling could affect flavor and mechanical tests to monitor tenderness.
Less fluid loss means juicier steaks, one factor in keeping buyers happy. Fluid loss can also affect tenderness and taste.
Doumit’s cooking evaluation took place in Washington State University’s modern sensory testing laboratory.
The UI crew grilled steaks from each of the three handling strategies, then served small cubed samples to volunteer tasters in a controlled setting.
The data will be used to determine the best strategy to deliver the highest quality to customers who want, and pay for, the most toothsome steaks.
The testing and tasting followed protocols similar to those used in recent graduate research by Kacie Salove, who studies with Doumit. She won second place among 19 entries in a master’s student poster competition during the Reciprocal Meats Conference, the American Meat Science Association’s annual conference.
Faces and Places
A student team coached by Helen Joyner, a UI CALS professor in the University of Idaho – Washington State University School of Food Science, took fourth place in the product development competition at the recent Idaho Milk Processing Association Conference in Sun Valley. UI graduates Alex Meldrum, Fariba Zad Bagher Seighalani, Kevin DePalma, Kristin Sparkman, and Maryam Baniasadidehkordi teamed with WSU grad student Elton Li to develop GaBarZos. The gluten-free, dairy-based confectionary made with garbanzo bean flour, skim milk powder, butter and whey protein isolate. The confectionary has a caramel center and is enrobed with a yogurt coating. The center of the bar has a layer of caramel made with sweetened condensed milk, corn syrup, cream and butter. The yogurt coating is comprised of Greek yogurt and sugar. The team won a $2,000 prize and received a $1,000 travel stipend. The students also networked with industry leaders and made connections that contribute to the workforce pipeline to support the dairy industry and businesses that support the Idaho economy.
UI Extension Idaho County chair Jim Church and Grangeville-based KORT radio station received the Idaho State Broadcasters Association 2016-2017 “best sports play-by-play” award during an annual gathering of radio and television broadcasters Aug. 5. The award was based on Church’s call of a basketball state championship game last spring between Prairie High School in Cottonwood and Lapwai High School at the Ford Idaho Center in Nampa.
- Aug. 30 — Book signing with CALS family and consumer sciences professor SeAnne Safaii-Waite and Sue Linja, authors of "The Alzheimer's Prevention Food Guide," Barnes & Noble at 15310 E. Indiana Ave., Spokane, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
- Sept. 6 — CALS Welcome Back Picnic, Parker Plant Science Farm, two miles east of Moscow on Idaho Highway 8, the Troy Highway, 4:30-7:30 p.m.
- Sept. 18 — CALS program about Genetically Modified Organisms, Kenworthy Performing Arts Center, Main Street, Moscow, featuring National Academy of Science GMO committee chair Fred Gould of North Carolina State University and science communicator Cara Santa Maria. Panelists include representatives of the Idaho Wheat Commission, Simplot Plant Sciences and Idaho sugar beet producers, 6 p.m.
- Sept. 19 — Fred Gould, William Neal Reynolds Professor of Agriculture at North Carolina State University, will address "Genetically engineered pests as tools for applied entomology?" Integrated Research and Innovation Center (IRIC) atrium, 3:30 p.m.
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