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March 2022 Edition of the Official Newsletter of the
School of Agricultural and Natural Sciences
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Spring has made its official arrival on campus!
Mid-terms and spring break are in the rearview mirror and
campus is speeding toward the semester's finish line!
SANS students represent UMES at
HBCU Battle of the Brains in Austin, Texas
UMES' HBCU Battle of the Brains team, from left, are: T’Naisha McLean Addison (senior, biology), Jasmine Pearson (senior, biology), Dr. Victoria Volkis, (chemistry professor, team advisor), Keith Bratley (grad student, chemistry, team captain), Ezra Cable (junior, biochemistry), Riham Alhag (grad student, agriculture) and Bokary Sylla (senior, chemistry).

The fifth annual HBCU Battle of the Brains proved to be a valuable educational and fun experience for a team of six SANS students and their advisor who traveled to Austin, Texas, March 8-14 to represent UMES at the national academic competition and diversity recruiting event.  Ag Communications was privy to updates on the team’s experiences that were shared via social media.  The posts proved popular and made for some interesting “chatter” that was picked up by not only the university’s platforms, but also that of the event organizers.  Well-wishers followed the team from their flight’s takeoff and landing to the moment (March 10 at 7 a.m.) that they were sequestered for Phase I of the competition.
Russian invasion of Ukraine impacts local farmers
Click on the image above to watch as Dr. Stephan Tubene, an associate professor in the Department of Agriculture, Food and Resource Sciences at UMES, shares insight with 47 abc viewers into rising costs for farmers attributed to the conflict in Ukraine and how farmers might want to look to fertilizer alternatives in light of shortages.   Photo by Todd Dudek, UMES Ag Communications.
Maryland professor with Ukrainian roots
has witnessed war
UMES chemistry professor Dr. Victoria Volkis shares her memories of growing up in Russia, visiting Ukraine and experiencing war in Israel.  Her perspective is interesting, especially for her students from younger generations who have never lived through military conflict.  Click on the image above to read a feature article by Emily Lytle, a reporter with The Daily Times in Salisbury, that was picked up by the Associated Press and shared with news organizations across the U.S., including the Washington Post.  Photo by Todd Dudek, UMES Ag Communications.
Volkis talks to WBOC about the conflict in Ukraine. Click HERE to view video.
Click on the image above as WSDL 90.7 FM's radio host Don Rush talks to Volkis about Ukraine and the military conflict being waged there.  WSDL, along with WESM and WSCL, is a member of Delmarva Public Media-a service of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and Salisubry University.
SANS lectures feature trailblazing chemist next month
UMES’ Department of Natural Sciences will host distinguished chemist Dr. Kimberly Jackson as the speaker for an April 14 scientific lecture for the campus community and a non-scientific talk open to the public the following day, both in the Richard A. Henson Center.  Jackson is chair and professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Spelman College in Atlanta and received recognition as one of the “Twenty-two Trailblazing Black Scientists and Engineers” last year by Chemical and Engineering News.

The events are funded through the School of Agricultural and Natural Sciences lecture series and a 2021 Jean Dreyfus Lectureship for Undergraduate Institutions awarded by the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation.

UMES addresses changing demographics on Delmarva opening new markets for small farmers and products for consumers

Delmarva Now - Salisbury Daily Times Environmental Reporter Kristian Jaime spoke to UMES Extension's Dr. Nadine Burton about changing demographics on Delmarva resulting in new opportunities for small farmers and consumers. Below is an excerpt from the full article that subscribers can read in its entirety HERE

Through a three-year U.S. Department of Agriculture grant awarded to UMES in 2020, $600,000 will be allocated to "expand and strengthen food science research, teaching and extension related to ethnic crops to meet the growing demand on the Delmarva Peninsula," according to a UMES news release on the program.

Nadine Burton, an alternative crop specialist for UMES Extension, says these specialty crops are grown to satisfy a particular group or a specific demand. Aside from not being traditionally grown, they are collected from across the world.

"The demand to grow ethnic crops in the region has increased because of these (demographics) and then you also have tourists who want to try new food," Burton said. "You'll also have those wanting them because it's part of a healthy diet. This creates an economic opportunity for small farmers. But they don't know what to grow, where the market is and how to grow them (correctly)." 

Through outreach, UMES Extension is providing small farmers with: 

  • Research-based production practices.
  • Introduction to potential value-added product markets.
  • Discussions on new ways to produce income through alternative enterprises and improve their productivity.
  • Information on sustainable fertilizers, biostimulants and beneficial microorganisms to improve soil health, yield, and quality.

UMES research notes Mid-Atlantic agriculture is overwhelmingly comprised of small farmers, with more than 6,000 farms having less than 50 acres of land.

A portion of the grant goes to new courses to be developed in food science, food processing and preservation, and value-added product development of ethnic crops. 

Student researchers will also have learning opportunities in agronomic production and food science assisting with fieldwork, plot management and data collection within the university's Agricultural Experiment Station.

Subscribers to The Daily Times can read the full article by Environmental Reporter Kristian Jaime HERE
Biology major recognized by Campus Compact

Krystal Ibeawuchi, a junior majoring in biology with a concentration in pre-allied health, has been named an inaugural Campus Compact Mid-Atlantic Civic Fellow for the 2022-23 academic year. The honor is in recognition of her service to fellow UMES students and to the community. Click on the image above to read more!


High school seniors can learn about ocean and atmospheric sciences this summer at
UMES Geoscience Bridge Program
UMES' Geoscience Bridge Program (June 27-August 5, 2022) introduces high school seniors to ocean and atmospheric sciences while using geographic information systems and remote sensing techniques. Program goals include strengthening the knowledge of mathematics, teaching life skills in preparation for college life and enhancing academic performance through advisement, social support and tutorial services. This collaborative summer program is designed to recruit and train high school students, particularly from underrepresented groups, in various areas of the geosciences field.  Students selected will receive $500 per week in addition to housing and meals and will be reimbursed for travel to and from UMES.  The program is funded by the NOAA Living Marine Resources Cooperative Science Center.
Apply by April 22 for Geoscience Bridge Program
The American Chemical Society is looking for high school students interested in its 2022 Project SEED summer program. It's mission is "to provide sustained STEM research, learning, and growth opportunities for high school students with diverse identities and socioeconomic backgrounds so they can be empowered to advance and enrich the chemical science enterprise."

UMES will be accepting two high school students to work in its research labs for the full-time eight-week in-person summer internship program that includes a $3,200 stipend.  Interested students will need to apply through a centralized process with the ACS and choose UMES as the preferred program site on the application. The deadline to apply has been extended to April 4.
Click HERE to apply by April 4. Select UMES as the site.
Avian Influenza detected on Delmarva-Latest updates
The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has confirmed cases of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in commercial poultry flocks in the U.S. for the first time since 2020 and on the Delmarva Peninsula since 2004. 

The latest updates bring USDA-APHIS confirmed cases to the Delmarva Peninsula, including a March 9 case at a broiler farm in Queen Anne's County, Maryland; a March 5 case in commercial poultry in Cecil County, Maryland;  and a February 23 case in a commercial poultry flock in New Castel County, Delaware. 

Avian influenza was initially detected in a commercial flock of turkeys in Dubois County, Indiana on February 9 after seeing increased mortality.  A week later (February 12), broiler chickens on a Fulton County, Kentucky farm tested positive for HPAI.  On the same day, backyard poultry at a home in Fauquier County, Virginia also tested positive.  All birds have or are in the process of being depopulated.

On March 9, Maryland Secretary of Agriculture Joseph Bartenfelder signed an order restricting the movement of poultry litter generated in certain areas of the state to prevent the possible spread of the disease.  Read more at MDA 

“These announcements are a reminder to anyone who raises poultry to be vigilant and practice biosecurity to protect their flock,” said Dr. Jennifer Timmons, an assistant professor and poultry science researcher at UMES. 

HERE for important biosecurity information, including links to websites and phone numbers for reporting.  For an interactive map of 2022 North American Avian Influenza cases click HERE
Winter 2022 now available!
The NOAA Living Marine Resources Cooperative Science Center 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.  
Click on the image to read the latest newsletter.
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Upcoming Events

Register at

SANS/Jean Dreyfus Lectures-FREE!
Scientific lecture for the STEM community on campus.
Thursday, April 14, 4 p.m., Henson Center Ballroom, UMES. Reception following.
"Securing a Space for Black Women Scientists Through Agency, Empowerment and Cancer Therapeutics"

Non-scientific lecture open to the public 
Friday, April 15, 10 a.m., Henson Center Ballroom, UMES. Reception following.
"Communicating Chemistry Through the Local Cuisine and Beyond"

UMES Extension MyFaRM Program-FREE!
"Production Risks, Specialty and Ethnic Crops"
Thursday, April 7, 9 a.m.-noon, Henson Center, UMES

Covers the management of production risks associated with specialty and ethnic crops.  Instructor: Dr. Nadine Burton. Registration HERE!

"Marketing Risk"
Friday, May 13, 1-3 p.m., Henson Center, UMES

Covers marketing risks farmers may not be aware of when marketing their products to the public.  Instructor: Dr. Theresa Nartea. Registration HERE!

UMES Extension IFARMS Saturday Workshop Series
April 9, 3-6 p.m., UMES Research and Education Farm

"Understanding IPM and How to Make it Work for You."  Presenter: Chuck Schuster.
Register HERE!

May 14, 3-6 p.m., UMES Research and Education Farm

"Using Web Soil Surveys Before Renting or Purchasing a Property." Presenter: Chuck Schuster
Register HERE!

For more information or assistance with above events, call 410-621-5450 or email

SANS in the News

You couldn't find these fruits and vegetables on the Eastern Shore 10 years ago: As Delmarva demographics change, so do the crops grown here (For Subscribers to The Daily Times)
Delmarva Now/The (Salisbury) Daily Times, March 31, 2022 (Dr. Nadine Burton)

Russian Ukrainian Invasion & One Refugee's Story
WSDL 90.7, Delmarva Today, March 25, 2022 (Dr. Victoria Volkis)

A Record $35M Now Available to Support Historically Underserved and Veteran Farmers
Sustainable Agriculture, March 23, 2022

Local community colleges and HBCU's receive grants from Delmarva Power
WMDT video, March 16, 2022

Maryland professor with Ukrainian roots has witnessed war
The Daily Times, March 13, 2022 (Dr. Victoria Volkis)

*This article was shared by the AP and also appeared in the Washington Post; Baltimore Sun; Wilton Bulletin / Danbury, Conn.; Huron (Mich.) Daily Tribune; San Antonio (Tx) Express-News; Midland (Tx) Reporter-Telegram; Seattle Post-Intelligencer; San Francisco Examiner / Chronicle; Torrington (Conn) Register - Citizen; Greenwich (Conn) Times; Middletown (Conn) Press; Alton (Ill.) Telegraph; New Haven (Conn) Register; Beaumont (Tx) Enterprise; Argus-Press / Owosso, Mich' Plainview (Tx) Herald; Katy (Tx) Rancher;  Midland (Mich) Daily News; 
(Danbury, Conn) News-Times and the Titusville (Pa.) Herald.

Russia invading Ukraine impacts the cost of fertilizer prices for farmers
WMDT video, March 8, 2022, (Dr. Stephan Tubene)

Ukrainian-Americans on Delmarva Show Support for Home Country
WBOC video, February 28, 2022, (Dr. Victoria Volkis)

New Research Publications

Arora-Williams, K., Holder, C., Secor, M., Ellis, H., Meng, X., Gnanadesikan, A., Preheim, S. (2022). Abundant and persistent sulfur-oxidizing microbial populations are responsive to hypoxia in the Chesapeake Bay. Environmental Microbiology.
Adebola, T., Hart, D., Chigbu, P. (2022). Bathymetric trends in the body size, and diet of Astropecten americanus in the northwest Atlantic Ocean. Estauriine, Coastal and Shelf Science.
Kang, X., Meng, X. (2022). Stratification variability in a lagoon system in response to a passing storm. Limnology and Oceanography (L&O).

Previous Editions . . .

The SANS Monthly Digest-February 2022
The SANS Monthly Digest-January 2022

The SANS Monthly Digest-December 2021
The SANS Monthly Digest-November 2021
The SANS Monthly Digest-October 2021
The SANS Monthly Digest-September 2021
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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