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September 2021 Edition of the Official Newsletter of the
School of Agricultural and Natural Sciences
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Register now for UMES' Small Farm Conference
Message from UMES President Heidi M. Anderson
SANS welcomes new faculty members this fall
UMES and Ross University partner to help diversify veterinary field
WMDT video:  UMES partnership helps pre-veterinary students
SANS students conduct research through STARS program
Message from the SANS Dean
Seminar room named for esteemed poultry science professor

Geoscience Bridge Program provides a leg-up for high school seniors
Researchers and UMES Extension specialist harvest aronia
Physics professor shares the art of rangoli at Ntl. Folk Festival
LSAMP summer interns prepare for STEM careers
UMES Extension 4-H STEM to host Maryland STEM Festival
Agricultural & Environmental Law Conference
Ag communications video:  Inaugural Ag Showcase
UMES Land-grant Scholarship Program
COVID-19-UMES Updates & CDC Fact Sheet

Subscribe to Extension's Connections newsletter
Summer 2021-The Living Sea-LMRCSC newsletter
Register now for UMES' Small Farm Conference

Dear SANS Stakeholders;

Founders' Week at UMES was an amazing success. It was also wonderful for me to travel across the state and see our alums during this very special week. 

As part of the on-going conversation about the work of our Founders, I’ve been asked about the connection between 1890, land-grant and HBCUs. In fact, they all are connected. However, only 19 institutions are unique enough to be labeled as all three… and UMES is one of those 19

Let me explain by briefly describing: our journey, our mission, and our uniqueness:

Our Journey: Not only was September the 135th anniversary of the founding of UMES, but also, August 30, marked the 131st anniversary of the Morrill Act of 1890. Why is that so special?

A land-grant university is one that has been designated by a State or Federal legislature to receive the benefits of the Morrill Acts of 1862, 1890, and in 1994. Those institutions that were designated as 1862s are the PWIs, those designated as 1890s are the 19 HBCUs, and within this century, in 1994, 29 tribal colleges and universities became land-grant institutions. 

The 1890 Morrill Act established land-grant institutions for African Americans to attend a university and for the research and activities to serve the extension needs of our communities. Our universities advance social mobility for graduates and for those in our communities. 

Specifically, the 1890 HBCUs are listed here.

Our Mission. Furthermore, the original mission as set forth in the Morrill Act, was “teaching, research and service” with an emphasis on agriculture, military science, and engineering.  In the 21st century the three-part mission has advanced over the years to “learning, discovery and engagement” and most recently as “talent, innovation, and place."

Over the years, land-grant status has included the agricultural experiment station program and evolved to focus on solving the problems that exist in each of the institution’s surrounding communities (e.g., farming, health care, education, climate change, and cutting-edge research). Most land-grant universities today have expanded to become modern public research institutions, now supporting not only agriculture, but also science, engineering, health care, education, liberal arts, and a full spectrum of educational offerings.

We were honored that on August 30, 2021, U.S. Congresswoman Alma Adams introduced a Concurrent Resolution to honor and recognize the nineteen, 1890 HBCUs. Congresswoman Adams, in the 117th Congress, is Chair of the Congressional Historically Black Colleges and Universities Caucus. She remains the #1 champion of the 1890 HBCUs.

Moreover, today, many land-grant institutions have placed land acknowledgment statements on their websites in recognition of the fact that their institutions occupy lands that were once traditional territories of Native American peoples. At UMES we recognize that "We are on the land of the Nanticoke."

Our Uniqueness. HBCUs in general have a special and glorious role in higher education. No doubt you’ve heard the narratives of those who were denied access to a university education because of their race and others who sacrificed greatly or endured true hardships just to graduate from an HBCU. You also know that the landscape of higher education has changed greatly in the last 135 years, and even the last two years. Like other universities, UMES has to compete for students and work collaboratively to retain and graduate these Hawks. Increasing scholarships, advancing research and innovation and adding new academic programs, as we have historically done (aerospace, pharmacy, aviation sciences, and more) keeps us competitive. New degree programs and partnerships with businesses, industries, and government (such as our recent opportunities with Perdue and NASA) increase our reputation and draw new students to our campus.

I’m looking forward to what we will discover about how we can provide more attractive learning experiences for our students through the upcoming retention conversations. Key to our sustainability and to our identity as an HBCU are our strong enrollment, retention efforts, and successful placement of our graduates as researchers, teachers, artists, scientists, business and healthcare professionals and much more. 

UMES Hawks soar to greatness on the wings of our uniqueness as the 1890 land-grant HBCU in Maryland. We truly follow the flight path of our Founders and honor them as we live, learn, and lead UMES into our future together.


With Hawk Pride!

Dr. Heidi M. Anderson
UMES President

SANS welcomes new faculty members this fall
Pictured top to bottom, left to right:

Jeffrey Fears
, lecturer in the Department of Natural Sciences
Prasun Ray, visiting associate research professor in the Department of Natural Sciences
Preeti Sharma, visiting lecturer in the Department of Natural Sciences
Stephanie Stotts, associate professor in the Department of Agriculture, Food and Resource Sciences, Department of Natural Sciences and UMES Extension
UMES and Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine partner to help diversify profession
In an effort to increase diversity in the veterinary profession, Ross University of Veterinary Medicine (St. Kitts, West Indies) has expanded its Ross Vet Articulation Partner Scholarship initiative for Hispanic Serving Institutions and Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The initiative, which is offered through a growing number of partnerships, now includes UMES. Scholarships are available to students who intend to begin the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree program during the 2021-22 academic year.

UMES veterinarian and alumna, Dr. Kimberly Braxton, was instrumental in the formation of the partnership as a way to provide options to students following the path she took as a pre-vet graduate - a path to a veterinary medical school.
VIDEO:  Click on the image above to watch 47 abc's interview with UMES pre-vet students and veterinarian and assistant professor Dr. Kimberly Braxton about a new partnership agreement.
SANS students conduct research
through STARS program
Two SANS students had the unique opportunity to work with top researchers, UMES’ Dr. Sadanand Dhekney (plant breeding and biotechnology) and University of California, San Diego’s Dr. Yunde Zhao (biochemistry and plant genetics), this summer. Joshua Claiborne, a junior majoring in agriculture, and Destiny Parker, a second semester junior majoring in biology (pre-med), were selected for a competitive, paid eight-week internship through UC, San Diego’s Summer Training Academy for Research Success program.  Normally held in-person in San Diego, COVID protocol mandated that students attend virtual classroom sessions instead and do their hands-on research at their home institution.


Dear SANS Stakeholders,

Fall is finally here, and I am delighted to see that activities in all three mission areas of teaching, extension and research are continuing apace.

We often speak of the difference one person can make. One event over the past month strongly reminded me of this. First, let me acknowledge with deep gratitude the tremendous support of our alumni and friends and what it means to our students. An event to commemorate the donation of Dr. Roger Estep, Class of 51, and his acknowledgment of the impact of one of his professors here at UMES, Dr. John Strickland, was such a powerful reminder (S
ee story below).

Additionally, UMES turned 135 years old in September; and we are so grateful to have President Anderson’s message in this month’s digest as it speaks so powerfully about our land-grant heritage.

I wish you all a very productive and enjoyable October.
Moses T. Kairo
SANS Professor and Dean

Seminar room named for esteemed SANS alumnus' late poultry science professor 
Graduate students and faculty in the Food and Agricultural Sciences program took part in the dedication ceremony.  Pictured from left are:  Dr. Byungrok Min, Euyeon Noh, Barbara Tutu, Dr. Jurgen Schwarz, Tahira Johnson, Dr. Caleb Nindo, Samata Bhetwal, Anuradha Punchihewage and Dr. Salina Parveen.  Photo by Jim Glovier.

Seminar room 1106 in the Food Sciences & Technology Center was dedicated to the late John V. Strickland during an informal ceremony as part of Founders' Week activities, Sept. 12-18. Strickland was a respected poultry science professor and researcher at UMES for nearly three decades.  The recognition was made possible by a generous gift from his protégé and trailblazing SANS alumnus, Dr. Roger D. Estep (1951), one of the first Black graduates of a doctorate in veterinary medicine program and a continued supporter or his alma mater.
Geoscience Bridge Program provides
a leg-up for high school seniors
UMES hosted eight high school seniors from across the country, including Puerto Rico, this past summer for the 2021 Geosciences Bridge Program.  Funded by the National Science Foundation and the NOAA Living Marine Resources Cooperative Science Center at UMES, the program offers students interested in pursuing a career in the geosciences field a leg-up by introducing them to ocean sciences, atmospheric sciences, and geographic information systems and Remote Sensing technologies before their freshman year of college.

The six-week (June 28-August 6) paid internship program was able to resume as an in-person experience this year after going to a virtual format last year due to COVID-19.  The program includes lectures, field trips, hands-on activities, one for-credit college course, weekly seminars on college-prep topics, housing, meals, travel to and from campus and a stipend.
Researchers and UMES Extension specialists harvest aronia berries on farm
UMES chemistry professor, Dr. Victoria Volkis, has conducted aronia research slightly over a decade in partnership with Dr. Andrew Ristvey, an extension specialist for commercial horticulture at Wye Research and Education Center in Queenstown, Md.  Four years ago, they enlisted the help of extension specialists with UMES’ Small Farm Program to grow aronia on the UMES Research and Education Farm on Stewart Neck Road in Princess Anne.

“We planted some bushes with wider distances between rows so that it would be convenient for demonstrations to farmers and students and in anticipation of future machine harvesting,” Volkis said.

Volkis, as principal investigator for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Research and Extension Experience for Undergraduates summer internship at UMES, uses the farm’s aronia plot as a demonstration and study site for student projects.  Aronia from UMES plants are also used by Volkis’ research group for antifouling research for a U.S. Navy project she leads as the Navy’s Minority Serving Institution Distinguished Faculty Fellow (2021-24) and in developing power drinks.  In collaboration with Dr. Simon Zebelo, an entomologist at UMES, Volkis is studying the use of aronia pulp for pest control.

On a recent trip to the farm, Volkis and students Keith Bratley, Teemer Barry and Riham Alhad along with UMES Extension specialists, Henriette den Ouden (specialty herbs consultant) and Dr. Nadine Burton (alternative crop specialist) picked 53 pounds of berries.

On a personal note, Volkis, who was born in Russia before immigrating to Israel, makes wine from aronia berries with a recipe she inherited from her father.
Teemer Barry, a senior and NOAA Scholar, is involved in research activities with aronia in Volkis' research lab and helped with the recent harvesting.
Physics professor shares the art of rangoli at National Folk Festival
You may already know that Dr. Kausik Das is a physics professor in the UMES' Department of Natural Sciences, but did you know he is an artist as well?  Das and his family were invited artists to the 80th National Folk Festival in Downtown Salisbury September 10-12 to demonstrate a Hindu art form passed from generation to generation for thousands of years.  The event, scaled back this year due to COVID-19, drew an estimated 150,000 people in 2019.

Das, his wife, Archita, and children, Arya and Oishani, are keeping their West Bengal, India heritage alive by practicing the freehand art rangoli.  Derived from the Sanskrit word meaning “rows of colors,” intricate, colorful designs are created on the floor using colored rice, flowers, powders, paints or colored sand.  Typically, he said, the art adorns entrances to temples, altars or houses during religious festivals and as decoration for weddings, births and other important family events.  Rangoli is a symbol of prosperity or good luck.
LSAMP summer interns prepare for STEM careers
Students in the 2021 summer Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation research program spent eight weeks (June 14-August 6) conducting in-person research in areas including biology, engineering, and agriculture and food sciences.  Pictured above, from left, are:  Sokyra Ward, Fabiola Beauvoir, Bethany Ngere, Destiny Parker, Autumn Smith and Isaac Omodia.

The LSAMP interns worked on research projects supervised by UMES faculty members Drs. Sadanand Dhekney, Behnam Khatabi, Kausiksankar Das and Tracy Bell, coordinator for the program at UMES.  They presented their findings at a joint Research Experiences for Undergraduate and LSAMP symposium at the close of the summer programs.  Research activities were supplemented with professional and career development sessions and virtual experiences with the University System of Maryland LSAMP alliance partners, University of Baltimore County and University of Maryland College Park.
UMES Extension 4-H STEM to host
Maryland STEM Festival

UMES Extension 4-H STEM hosts the Maryland STEM Festival

Saturday, November 13, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
UMES Engineering and Aviation Science Complex

Free activities for youth K-12
For more information, contact Brad Hartle,
Check out this YouTube video!  UMES Extension in partnership with Atlantic Tractor LLC in Queen Anne, Maryland, hosted the inaugural Ag Showcase in August at the UMES Research and Education Farm on Stewart Neck Road in Princess Anne.
The health and well-being of our campus and the community is our highest priority. The University's Task Force is working diligently to stay informed of changing dynamics in the coronavirus outbreak. 
UMES Updates
CDC Guidelines

UMES Extension launched its e-newsletter Connections in November last year! 

Subscribers will be privy to opportunities available to the public as well as those only available to our subscribers.

To get your copy, subscribe today!
The NOAA Living Marine Resources Cooperative Science Center (LMRCSC) trains and graduates students from underrepresented communities in marine science for careers in research, management, and public policy that support the sustainable harvest and conservation of our nation's living marine resources. With its partner institutions, the LMRCSC conducts research on marine and estuarine systems congruent with the interests of NOAA Fisheries. The Center is supported by the NOAA Education Partnership Program with Minority-Serving Institutions (EPP/MSI). Click on the image to read its latest newsletter.
Upcoming Events
UMES Small Farm Conference
"Positioning Small Farms for Success"
Friday, November 5 & Saturday, November 6

UMES field demonstrations, off-site mini farm tours, interactive workshops, afternoon training clinics and more!  Registration now open!

UMES Extension hosts 4-H STEM Festival-FREE!
Saturday, November 13, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
UMES Engineering and Aviation Science Complex

STEM activities for youth K-12.

Agricultural & Environmental Law Conference
Wednesday, November 17, 1-4 pm.
Thursday, November 18, 9 a.m.-noon

The virtual 2021 conference features six sessions for $35.

SANS in the News

Demand growing for Maryland grapes
The Delmarva Farmer, September 24, 2021

Gardening classes to start for ages 8-11
Crisfield-Somerset County Times, September 15, 2021

McCoy Curtis next honoree to receive Citizens Merit Award
Crisfield-Somerset County Times (, September 15, 2021

Federal grant to start renovation of Trigg Hall
Crisfield-Somerset County Times (, September 8, 2021

UMES partnership helps pre-veterinary students, and diversifies the veterinary field 
WMDT, video, August 13, 2021

UMES receives $500K to renovate historic landmark on campus
Daily Times, September 1, 2021 

University of Maryland Eastern Shore Extension offers grape cultivation workshop
Bay to Bay News, Delaware, September 1, 2021

UMES Awarded Federal Grant to Renovate Historic Trigg Hall - WBOC TV
WBOC TV 16, August 30, 2021

Ambrose Jearld, Jr.: Researcher, Educator, Mentor And Advocate For Diversity and Inclusion, August 30, 2021 

New Research Publications

Morales-Núñez, A.G., and Chigbu, P. 2021., Carinacuma umesi, a new genus and species of bodotriid cumacean (Crustacea: Malacostraca: Peracarida) from shallow waters of the Maryland Coastal Bays, Mid-Atlantic region, USA. PeerJ. DOI 10.7717/peerj.11740

Pokoo-Aikins, A., Timmons, J.R., Min, B.R., Lee, W.R., Mwangi, S. N., Chen, C., 2021., Effects of Feeding Varying Levels of DL-Methionine on Live Performance and yield of Broiler Chickens. Animals.  DOI 10.3390/ani11102839

Previous Editions . . .

The SANS Monthly Digest-August 2021
The SANS Monthly Digest-July 2021
The SANS Monthly Digest-June 2021
The SANS Monthly Digest-May 2021
The SANS Monthly Digest-April 2021
The SANS Monthly Digest-March 2021
The SANS Monthly Digest-February 2021
The SANS Monthly Digest-January 2021

The SANS Monthly Digest-December 2020
The SANS Monthly Digest-November 2020
The SANS Monthly Digest-October 2020
The SANS Monthly Digest-September 2020
The SANS Monthly Digest- August 2020
The SANS Monthly Digest - June 2020
The SANS Monthly Digest- May 2020
The SANS Monthly Digest - April 2020
The SANS Monthly Digest- March 2020
The SANS Monthly Digest - February 2020
The SANS Monthly Digest - January 2020

The SANS Monthly Digest - December 2019
The SANS Monthly Digest - November 2019
The SANS Monthly Digest - October 2019
The SANS Monthly Digest - September 2019
The SANS Monthly Digest - August 2019
The SANS Monthly Digest - July 2019
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