Category: Sherman Lewis School of Agriculture and Applied Science

Langston University group photo at 2024 K-INBRE Symposium

Two Langston University students earn awards at annual K-INBRE Symposium

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by Ellie Melero, Media Relations Specialist

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Two Langston University students took home awards at the annual Kansas IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (K-INBRE) Symposium Jan. 12-14.

Senior crop and soil sciences major Kayla Smith earned a 2nd place Award of Excellence in Oral Presentations for her research on “Impairments in Cerebral Autoregulation and Cerebral Reactivity in Cancer Survivorship.” Junior biology major Daysha Isaac earned an Award of Excellence in Poster Presentations for her research on “Stalk Cell Movement in Drosophila: A model to understanding how migrating cells shape tissues and organs.”

“My experience was fun and also interesting,” Smith said. “It was my first time presenting oral presentations.”

Kayla Smith presenting at the 2024 K-INBRE Symposium
Senior crop and soil sciences major Kayla Smith earned a 2nd place Award of Excellence in Oral Presentations at the 2024 K-INBRE Symposium. Photo provided by Kayla Smith.

K-INBRE is a collaborative effort of medical and academic institutions in Kansas and Oklahoma to “promote multidisciplinary research networks with a focus on Cell and Developmental Biology,” according to the K-INBRE website. Langston University is the only Oklahoma-based institution partnered with K-INBRE.

The program offers LU students mentored research opportunities as well as opportunities to present their research at events like the annual Symposium. For example, Smith, a second-year K-INBRE participant, worked with researchers at Kansas State University.

This is Isaac’s first year participating in K-INBRE. She was introduced to the program by one of her biology professors, Dr. Kj Abraham, who helped mentor her in presenting her research. She also received advice on the structure and presentation of her research from Dr. Lindsay Davis.

Isaac has enjoyed her time in K-INBRE so far, and she was excited to present her research at the Symposium. She studied the ovarioles present in female fruit flies’ ovaries and tracked mutations and their effects on the stalk cells.

Daysha Isaac presents at the 2024 K-INBRE Symposium
Junior biology major Daysha Isaac earned an Award of Excellence in Poster Presentations at the 2024 K-INBRE Symposium. Photo provided by Daysha Isaac.

“This information allowed us to apply it to birth defects in infants,” Isaac said. “No way are we trying to cure it but gather more information about cell movement to make a connection. Such birth defects we compared it to were spina bifida and microcephaly.”

Smith is likewise passionate about the research she has helped conduct in K-INBRE, and she is confident her experiences in the program will aid her as she prepares to pursue medical school after graduation.

“I realize that my career goal is actually attainable,” Smith said, “and practice does make perfect.”

Sherman Lewis School of Agriculture and Applied Sciences graphic

LANGSTON UNIVERSITY ANNOUNCES FIRST NAMED SCHOOL IN UNIVERSITY HISTORY

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Langston University Office of Public Relations

LANGSTON, Okla. – Langston University alumnus Sherman Lewis, along with wife Berniece, announced a transformational gift to the School of Agriculture and Applied Sciences. The gift will bring new opportunities and resources to Langston University students interested in pursuing careers in Agriculture and related fields. The school will be renamed the Sherman Lewis School of Agriculture and Applied Sciences in recognition of the gift, the first named school in Langston University history. The renaming was approved by the Oklahoma A&M Board of Regents at their meeting on Friday, October 21, 2022.

This announcement follows the largest individual donation in university history by Lewis. The funds will create the Sherman and Berniece Lewis Endowment, earmarked for the school and to support the achievements of our talented students. The Lewis family, stalwart supporters of Langston University, credit the School of Agriculture and Applied Sciences with creating the foundation for their success.

“I’ve always felt a very strong sense of obligation to give back to Langston University for giving me so much when I needed it most to start my life’s journey,” said Lewis. “Langston University made an investment in me when I needed help and now, I want to make an investment in Langston University for the students its helping today and future ones to start their journey of life.”

Lewis has spent a lifetime championing the importance of agriculture in Oklahoma and beyond. Born and raised on a farm near Beggs, Oklahoma, Sherman Lewis enrolled in Langston University and earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics with a minor in mathematics in 1964. After two years in the military, Lewis joined the USDA Soil Conservation Service, now the Natural Resources Conservation Service. He would go on to obtain his master’s degree in public administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Lewis would soon return to Langston University to direct the Center for Outreach Programs, where he focused on recruiting students, providing technical assistance to producers and minority-owned businesses, and developing partnerships with federal and state agencies to secure scholarships, internships, and career opportunities for students. He was in this role for eight years.

Upon his departure from Langston University as Director of Outreach Programs, Lewis decided to venture into the private sector. He and his family started several different lines of businesses in Houston, Texas. Including, quick service restaurants, construction project management, real estate, wholesale and retail gas distribution and a Mexican restaurant in downtown Houston.

“Langston University is indebted to the Lewis family for their stewardship and support over many years,” said Dr. Kent J. Smith, Jr., President of Langston University. “The Sherman Lewis School of Agriculture and Applied Sciences will be a place for our students to learn and grow with opportunities for cutting-edge research and instruction from our incredible faculty. We are proud to rename the school to honor this great alumnus.”

Lewis was awarded the Heart of the Lion Award in 2014 and received the 1890 Career Exemplar Award from the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities in 2015. Prior to this announcement, the Lewis family had already given the largest donation of any living alumnus. Their generosity continues through the established Sherman Lewis Fund, which provides scholarships that fully fund tuition and school supplies for gifted LU-SAAS students.

LU RECEIVES SCHOLARSHIP GRANT FROM THE USDA’S NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURE

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Written by Christina Gray

The Langston University School of Agriculture and Applied Sciences (SAAS) recently received federal funding to offer additional scholarship opportunities to students through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) in partnership with 1890 Land Grant Universities. Langston University was awarded $752,632 in funding.

The scholarships created by this funding will support students pursuing degrees in food and agriculture sciences and other closely related areas as defined by the USDA. This program offers mentorship and opportunities to the Langston University undergraduate students within the SAAS. The scholarship program will begin in Fall 2020. Students can apply for this scholarship here.

“Langston University produces highly trained agricultural graduates in Oklahoma,” said Dr. Wesley Whittaker, Dean of the School of Agriculture and Applied Sciences. “Through this program, we are able to better develop students through mentorship and training opportunities. Furthermore, this opportunity will increase the number of qualified graduates that are placed in our state’s industries and graduate schools.”

About the 1890 Scholarship Program

The 1890 Scholarship Program provides scholarships to support recruiting, engaging, retaining, mentoring, and training undergraduate students. The scholarships are intended to encourage outstanding students at 1890 institutions to pursue and complete baccalaureate degrees in the food and agricultural sciences and related fields. By developing a highly-skilled workforce, the 1890 Scholarship Program helps facilitate rural prosperity and economic development aligning with USDA’s strategic goals. For full details, please refer to the official National Institute of Food and Agriculture press release.

LU-SAAS STUDENT RECEIVES JUSTIN MORRILL SCHOLARSHIP

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Written by Kendra Oregon

Langston University’s recipient of the 2018 prestigious Justin Morrill Smith Scholarship is Monica Mascarenas, a senior animal science major. The Justin Morrill Smith Scholarship is awarded by the 1890 Land-Grant Universities Foundation to 19 graduating seniors; one at each of the 1890-member universities.

The $2,500 scholarship is a commemoration to Justin Smith Morrill who advocated dedicating public lands to create higher education institutions that taught agriculture and other subjects to all. In 1862, President Abe Lincoln signed the Morrill Land Grant Act, a law that ultimately funded 1862 Land-Grant institutions, and later established 1890 Land-Grant Universities dedicated to educating African Americans and other minority groups.

Mascarenas is an outstanding student as she carries a 4.0 GPA. Apart from excelling in the classroom, she has participated in research projects both at the small ruminant research campus as well as in research laboratories. Mascarenas is also active on campus. She serves as the president and co-founder of the Animal Science Club; she is a member of the Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS), student representative on the LU-SAAS Publication Committee, and a faithful volunteer in many other groups. With regards to her research endeavors, Mascarenas has participated in a U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funded research project, the USDA Food Safety Symposium, the Oklahoma State University (OSU) Research Symposium, and American Dairy Goat Association (ADGA) annual conference.

Mascarenas is known around the School as someone who is reliable and enthusiastic to share her Langston experience. One of her most outstanding characteristics is her positive attitude toward work that has not gone unnoticed by her peers, professors, and the University administration. The scholarship is a blessing to Mascarenas as she says, “Receiving this scholarship means a great deal to me. I am the second oldest of six, and my parents are not able to pay for my college. This scholarship allows me to focus more on classes without having to worry about how I am going to pay for school. It is truly an honor to be selected for my hard work and achievements.”

Department Chair for Agriculture and Natural Resources as well as her mentor, Steve Zeng, Ph.D., expressed high praise saying, “Ms. Mascarenas has exceeded all expectations and has been one of the brightest students to have matriculated into our program.” In presenting the award, Wesley Whittaker, Dean of LU-SAAS, lauded Mascarenas for her outstanding academic performance as well as her dedication to community service and social issues.

Junior natural resources major William C. Moore III teaches kids about wildlife during his internship with the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.

LANGSTON UNIVERSITY STUDENT WILD ABOUT SUMMER INTERNSHIP

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By Christina Gray, Media Relations Specialist

Langston University student, William C. Moore III, a junior Natural Resources Major was selected out of three applicants to work as a student intern for the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. The Student Conservation Association (SCA) aims to help students find internship opportunities through different environmental government agencies.

During Moore’s freshman year, his Associate Professor in the School of Agriculture and Research, Raymond F. Faucette, Jr., Ph.D. introduced him to a representative of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It was this contact that led Moore to apply for the internships.

Moore is currently working with the Environmental Education Specialist to facilitate two environmental camps for local kids in Soldotna, Alaska. ‘Critter Camp’ was geared toward outdoor learning about plants and animals, their habitats, life cycles, and adaptations.

Each day included trail exploration and arts and crafts activities. ‘Get Out and Get Dirty’ camp is a chance for kids to spend time outdoors participating in skill-based exploration of orienteering, plants, birds, fish, and other animals.

During the camp, he taught the kids a nature-related curriculum provided by the program about the salmon life cycle, parts of an insect and salmon migration. He also assists with tasks such as recycling and cleaning trailheads. Moore said the internship has given him the opportunity to receive valuable training and work experience. “I’ve been here for two and a half months and I can truly say that this internship has been a life-changing experience,” said Moore.

“This internship taught me how to work independently. I was able to interact with the employees, try new things, and step outside of my comfort zone.”

Moore is a McCabe Scholar and also a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc.

The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge serves as an anchor for biodiversity on the Kenai Peninsula. Using the best technology available, they ensure that biological health is maximized and human impacts minimize the Refuge staff and partners work together to ensure that biological health is maximized and human impacts. To find more information, visit the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge webpage.

Langston offers more than 38 degree programs, including 5 masters degrees and one doctoral program. Langston University is located 12 miles east of Guthrie, Oklahoma. To learn more about Langston University, please visit the Langston University webpage.

USDA, TUSKEGEE UNIVERSITY AWARD LU SCHOOL OF AGRICULTURE AND APPLIED SCIENCE WITH RESEARCH GRANT

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By Christina Gray, Media Relations Specialist

LANGSTON, Okla. – United States Department of Agricultural and Tuskegee University awarded $22,000 to George Luker, Ph.D. and the School of Agriculture and Applied Science for “Swine Outreach Activity”. United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is implementing a national response to reduce, and in some areas eliminate, the risks and damages inflicted by feral swine to property, agriculture, natural resources and human health.

APHIS is serving as the lead federal agency in a cooperative effort with other entities that share a common interest in reducing or eliminating problems caused by feral swine. The overall objective of the program is to minimize damage inflicted by feral swine.

“This funding will help to increase the understanding of how federal swine impacts farmers and ranchers,” said Luker. “It will also provide outreach materials to fanners and ranchers on how to resolve problems generally associated with feral swine.”

The Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources aims to familiarize students with modern agriculture, encourage personal development and prepare them to successfully address environmental, rural, urban and general community needs. Langston offers more than 38 degree programs, including 5 masters degrees and one doctoral program. Langston University is located 12 miles east of Guthrie, Oklahoma. To learn more about the School of Agriculture & Applied Sciences, visit https://langston.edu/academics/school/agriculture-and-applied-sciences/.

LANGSTON UNIVERSITY HOSTS AQUACULTURE WORKSHOP

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By Courtney Jordan, Communications Specialist

LANGSTON, Okla. – The Langston University Aquaculture Program canceled the Feb. 28 workshop due to inclement weather. The workshop has been rescheduled for Saturday, April 4, 2015. The presentations for aquaculture hobbyists and commercial producers will take place at the E.L. Holloway Research, Education and Extension Center located on the main campus. Registration begins at 8:00 a.m. and the workshop starts at 9:00 a.m. The workshop will focus on the increasing interest in aquaponic production, processing and marketing.

Langston University is located 12 miles east of Guthrie on OK Highway 33. Attendees will be directed to the meeting site with Aquaculture workshop signs. Registration and attendance is free. A catfish lunch ($10) will be available with advanced registration or you may bring your lunch. The deadline for advanced registration is Feb. 23, 2015. Persons may register by telephone or e-mail. For additional information contact: Mr. George Luker, Aquaculture Specialist, gluker@langston.edu, office (405) 466-3077.

KENYAN GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS LOOK TO LANGSTON’S GOAT EXPERTS TO HELP BOOST ECONOMY IN EAST AFRICA

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by Christina Gray, Media Relations Specialist

LANGSTON, Okla. – Elected officials from East Kenya visited the E (Kika) de la Garza American Institute for Goat Research at Langston University on Oct. 31, 2014.

The E (Kika) de la Garza American Institute for Goat Research plays an important role in improving the lives of people in developing countries. International institutions continue to benefit from the training and resources made available by the Institute for Research and Extension. The officials toured the research facilities and goat farm in hopes that the University will consider investing in various projects in East Kenya.

The Kenyan government officials sent members of Mombasa County’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries to the U.S. to cultivate relationships to further the mission to enhance food security, plant and animal health, and reduce poverty through the creation of agribusiness opportunities that result in improved livelihoods.

“Our governor sent us specifically to come back with something,” said Anthony Njaramba, the Mombasa County Minister of Agriculture.

The E (Kika) de la Garza American Institute for Goat Research has been involved in research, training, and development projects in West Africa for two years.

“We have not come to beg for help; we have come to request a partnership because we understand what Langston University can do for us,” Njaramba said. “These areas have been neglected because of the harsh climate. We believe that goat farming can turn our economy around, and Langston University can help us do that.”

Also proposed was the development of a student exchange program for students from the Agriculture Training College in Kenya to attend Langston University.

“We have never had an exchange student in East Africa, only in the West, ” said Marvin Burns, Ph. D., Dean of the School of Agriculture and Applied Sciences. “I am happy to know that you have interest and we certainly want to see Mombasa come to the forefront of Tanzania. We have people in place to help us get what we need.”

Langston offers more than 38 degree programs, including 5 master’s degrees and one doctoral program. E (Kika) de la Garza American Institute provides cutting-edge research that focuses on providing new information relevant and usable by producers and researchers alike. Langston University is located 12 miles east of Guthrie, Oklahoma. Click here to learn more about the E (Kika) de la Garza American Institute for Goat Research.

Langston University (LU) was founded as a land grant college through the Morrill Act of 1890 and officially established when House Bill 151 passed on March 12, 1897, as the Colored Agricultural and Normal University. The bill mandated the University to receive federal funds matched by state funds for the support of agricultural research and cooperative extension and community engagement.

LU has both a rural and urban-mandated mission with campuses in Langston, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and one extension in Ardmore. Langston University produces top academic scholars within the six schools that house the degree programs. LU boasts a total of 30 undergraduate and 5 graduate degree programs are offered within Agriculture and Applied Sciences, Arts and Sciences, Business, Education and Behavioral Science, Nursing and Health Professions, and Physical Therapy. Currently, the top majors are nursing, health physical education and recreation, liberal education, and psychology. Learn more by visiting us online.

A baby goat, otherwise known as a kid, is bottlefed by a Langston University student.

LANGSTON UNIVERSITY RECEIVES $1.5 MILLION IN GRANTS FOR AGRICULTURE RESEARCH

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By Christina Gray, Media Relations Specialist

LANGSTON, Okla. – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) partners with Langston University to monitor trends in agriculture education and the future of agriculture-related careers.

“We are ideally positioned to provide new insight into the rapidly developing field of agriculture,” said Marvin Burns, Ph. D., Dean of Agriculture and Applied Sciences at Langston University. “We are grateful for the financial support of this important research and look forward to sharing the results next year.”

The research conducted by grantees will provide important data relating to the sustainable control of greenhouse gas emission by ruminant livestock; students with disabilities; food and agricultural science career pathway awareness and opportunities; the establishment of a state-of-the-art centralized laboratory to reinforce agriculture classes; enhancing health and productivity of dairy goats using smart technology, and the comparison of biological control of red cedar with goats to conventional methods of control.

Grants were awarded to the following individuals:

Project Director: Arthur Louis Goetsch, Ph. D.; The School of Agriculture

Project Director: Steve Zeng, Ph. D.; The School of Agriculture

Project Director: Terry Gipson, Ph. D.; The School of Agriculture

Project Director: Steve Hart, Ph. D.; The School of Agriculture

Project Director: Phillip D. Lewis, Ph. D.; The School of Education

Langston University is located 12 miles east of Guthrie, OK. Langston offers more than 38 degree programs, including 5 masters degrees and one doctoral program. The Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources aims to familiarize students with modern agriculture, encourage personal development and prepare them to successfully address environmental, rural, urban and general community needs. Langston University is located 12 miles east of Guthrie, Oklahoma. For more information on the School of Agriculture at Langston University, visit http://www.langston.edu/academics/school/agriculture-and-applied-sciences/.