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March-April 2020


Iowa State University is monitoring the outbreak of COVID-19, a disease caused by the new coronavirus. At this time, there are no reported cases on Iowa State’s campus.  Statewide updates, including testing and reported cases, are available on the Iowa Department of Public Health website.

At the direction of the Board of Regents, all university-sponsored international travel is suspended as of March 5 for at least 30 days. While this decision was made with the health and safety of the university community as the top priority, we understand it is causing disruptions not only for study abroad students, but also faculty, staff, and research programs. During the moratorium, faculty, staff, and students may not conduct university business (such as delivering a lecture at an institution or conference, or conducting research) while traveling internationally for personal purposes. Incidental business-related activities such as telephone calls and email are allowed during personal international travel. The university encourages faculty, staff, and students to reconsider personal international travel in light of both potential exposure to coronavirus and travel disruptions.

Henan Agricultural University Exchange Visit

Attendees of the Henan Agricultural University visitThe College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and College of Human Sciences at Iowa State University hosted five delegates from Henan Agricultural University (HAU) in Henan, China on January 13, 2020. HAU originated from the first higher education institution and is the first agricultural academy of Henan Province, offering 9 breaches of learning in agronomy, medicine, science, engineering, arts, economics, management, law and education.

Attendees of the Henan Agricultural University visitThe visiting faculty had the opportunity to meet with senior leadership and other representatives from Iowa State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and College of Human Sciences to discuss the potential of a faculty and student exchange. The Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition is planning to host students from Henan Agricultural University in the fall 2020.

2019 CSRL Annual Report

The 2019 Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods annual report Improving Lives, Sustaining Lives is now available. The report features a message from Dean Dan Robison; a donor profile of Roger Winterhof; and stories on current efforts in the Kamuli District of Uganda on crop management, livestock integration, nutrition education, the school lunch and gardens program, education and entrepreneurship, water and sanitation, and community income-generating innovations.

Graphic from the CSRL annual report about CALS faculty and staff international travel.

CALS Study Abroad Program Director Q & A

Emily Zimmerman, Assistant Professor in the Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management and Global Resource Systems in the Department of Horticulture, has been co-leading study abroad programs to Peru, U.S. Virgin Islands, The Netherlands and Uganda since 2018.

Emily Zimmerman and students hanging out on a tripWhy do you lead programs?

  • I value providing students with experiential learning opportunities that broaden our understanding of our world and the people that we share it with. Study abroad programs provide opportunities to learn about and experience the value of diverse ecosystems, cultures, and ways of seeing the world. Those experiences can help to inform students’ experiences back on campus, in their communities, and in their future professions.

What would you say to faculty that are considering leading a program? How would you encourage faculty to lead a program?

  • I would encourage faculty to lead programs. Some of my most enriching experiences with students and student learning has been on study abroad programs, where students are able to experience and reflect about life in a different place with a different environment and culture.
  • I would encourage faculty members who are considering leading a program to reach out to CALS Study Abroad staff for resources, talk with faculty members in their department who have offered study abroad courses, and to identify potential opportunities to shadow faculty members who are leading programs.

What have you learned by leading programs?

  • I have learned an immense amount about student learning and interests, and I, alongside students, have grown in my understanding of our global community. Study abroad experiences have also informed the content and way in which I teach courses on campus, and have allowed me to develop professional partnerships in other parts of the world.

What do you like to do in your free time?

  • In my free time, I like to be outside, especially with my partner Nick and our two golden retrievers. I am avid runner, and I enjoy baking, refurbishing old furniture, and traveling.

Emily Zimmerman and students on a bridgeWhy should students study abroad?

  • I would highly encourage students to participate in study abroad programs. Study abroad programs are designed to facilitate student learning, and allow students to expand and apply their on-campus learning in diverse locations around the world. Studying abroad helps students to understand the value of other resources and cultures, and increases cross-cultural communication, cultural competency, and empathy. Now, more than ever, food and agricultural careers necessitate a global understanding – and CALS study abroad provides opportunities to gain tangible experience in this context.

How would you encourage students to study abroad?

  • I would encourage students to stop in CALS Study Abroad (0018 Curtiss) to find a program that will work with their academic and professional goals, and to talk about scholarship and funding opportunities. I would also encourage students to talk to faculty members in their departments to identify programs, and to chat with their peers who have participated in study abroad programs.

Marketing Your Study Abroad Workshop banner

Reflect on the professional benefits of studying abroad. We will discuss how to format international experience on a resume and how to incorporate study abroad into behavioral based interview questions. This workshop is applicable to those that have participated in a faculty-led travel course or a semester-long/exchange program (or any student interested in studying abroad)

Student Spotlight

Kaleb Baber

• Major • Agronomy • Experience • Soils, Crops and Water of Costa Rica, A Semester in Australia - University of Tasmania

In high school, Kaleb Baber wouldn’t have pictured himself studying abroad. But, after discovering his love of travel as an undergrad at Iowa State, he’s serving as an officer for an international student organization.

Baber, a senior in agronomy from Weston, Missouri, maximizes his experiences at Iowa State through extracurriculars on campus as well as serving as the vice president of the International Agriculture Club at Iowa State.

“Once I came to Iowa State I realized how affordable studying abroad is and how we have such great opportunities to travel. Various scholarships were also offered, so it was kind of a no-brainer for me to go,” says Baber.

Kaleb BaberHe is the recipient of the Elinor L. Fehr and Walter R. Fehr Endowed Scholarship, the Agronomy Academic Fellowship and the Dean’s Study Abroad Leadership Scholars Scholarship. Baber studied abroad in Australia, where he gained hands-on experience in animal science. He learned about the history of Australia and gained a broad knowledge of the agricultural commodities produced in different regions of the country. He visited cultural sites like Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, the Port Arthur Historic Site and the Sydney Opera House. Baber also had the opportunity to travel to New Zealand.

“Coming from the Midwest, my experiences with agriculture before college were with corn and soybeans. It was really exciting to experience agriculture first-hand somewhere different,” says Baber. “I took a pasture and animal science class abroad where I worked sheep one day with a farmer. That was really interesting to me because I had never even touched a sheep before.”

Marshall McDaniel, Baber’s academic advisor and assistant professor of agronomy, emphasizes the importance of traveling abroad to all of his students. He teaches an annual study abroad course during spring break rotating among Australia, Argentina and Spain.

“I think studying abroad is critical. It gives students a different perspective on agriculture and also allows them to see a different culture,” says McDaniel. “I recommend my advisees take advantage of studying abroad while they are here because in the future they might not have the same opportunities.”

In addition to traveling and serving the International Agriculture Club at Iowa State, Baber is the fundraising chair for the Agronomy Club. He also has worked as a research assistant collecting and processing soil and water samples for the Agricultural Water Management Research Group.

And, he was a peer mentor for the Department of Agronomy guiding incoming freshmen to successful first-year experiences. Studying abroad helped Baber develop soft skills like independence and confidence.

“It used to be that I couldn’t imagine even traveling abroad, but now I’d live abroad if the right opportunity arises,” he says.

Original story posted by CALS STORIES Online,

Elizabeth Oys

• Major • Agronomy • Experience • American Farm School, Perrotis College in Thessaloniki, Greece

Elizabeth Oys, senior in agronomy, has had many opportunities in her time at Iowa State, including traveling to Greece as well as being nominated as the student speaker for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Family Weekend.

Elizabeth Oys in the woodsShe spent May through July at Perrotis College in Thessaloniki, Greece for her Global Resource Systems International internship where she worked as a Precision Agriculture Research Intern.

“My internship project involved investigating the efficacy of spraying drones in super-high density olive groves. We ran trials with drones that had electrostatic nozzles and conventional nozzles and compared then to terrestrial spraying practices (i.e. backpack spraying),” said Elizabeth.

Elizabeth enjoyed experiencing a research project from start to finish as well as completing a formal research paper with original data on behalf of the university.

“It was an amazing experience and I got to learn about Greece's staple crop, the olive, and its production. I got to learn about olive oil production as well and participated in olive oil tasting many times,” said Elizabeth.

Elizabeth noted that her favorite part of being abroad was having the chance to immerse herself in the daily Greek culture while exploring the historical city of Thessaloniki as well as learning some of the Greek language.

“Greece is incredibly picturesque and the Mediterranean diet was to die for. My favorite memory is hiking Mount Olympus with the other interns and learning about the mythology of the mountain,” said Elizabeth. “I also participated in a Greek culture class and a Greek language class while I worked at the university.”

This internship allowed Elizabeth to understand differences in Midwest agriculture and Mediterranean agriculture, as well as the influences of precision technologies in each.

“I now have a new perspective and also a new-found sense of independence in regards to international travel. During my time abroad, I was also able to visit Athens in Greece and a few small islands, and also made trips to Switzerland, Germany, and Serbia, where I got to learn about apple, strawberry, pear, and lettuce production thanks to a family friend,” said Elizabeth

Regarding the CALS family weekend, Elizabeth was selected as the student speaker and was responsible for preparing a ten-minute speech to freshman and transfer students as well as their families. The speech was aimed towards inspiring them to dive deeper into their adventures at Iowa State.

“I spoke about keeping an open mind when it comes to internships, seizing opportunities to learn new things in new places, as well as the importance of valuing your support system and remembering to call your mom and dad,” said Elizabeth.

At the breakfast, Elizabeth had the opportunity to interact with families in agronomy as well as chat with faculty in CALS and the Department of Agronomy. 

Original story posted by Department of Agronomy,

Cambrie Lane

Cambrie Lane presenting a posterCambrie Lane is a junior studying Agricultural Education and Studies at Iowa State University. Cambrie will be spending spring semester 2020 taking 12 credits at the American Farm School-Perrotis College, Greece. Follow Cambrie's blog here


Where are CALS Faculty/Staff Traveling?

Department Traveler Destination
ABE Nir Keren Spain
Agronomy Elizabeth Bovenmyer Chile
  Robert Hartzler France
  Mark Licht Ukraine
Animal Science Laura Greiner Germany
Entomology Russell Jurenka Sweden
FSHN Amy Vorst Portugal
  Kieth Vorst Portugal
GDCB Erik Vollbrecht Mexico
Global Programs Shelley Taylor U.S. Virgin Islands
Horticulture Jeff Iles U.S. Virgin Islands
Seed Science Susanna Goggi New Zealand


March 2020

Sunday, March 15, 2020 Application Deadline: Waltz Study Abroad Affordability Scholarship

Sunday, March 15, 2020 Application Deadline: Phi Kappa Phi Study Abroad Scholarship

Wednesday, March 25, 2020 12:10 - 1:00 p.m. Workshop: Marketing Your Study Abroad

Wednesday, March 25, 2020 5:10 - 6:00 p.m. Workshop: Marketing Your Study Abroad

Thursday, March 26, 2020 5:00 - 6:00 p.m. Informational Meeting: Tropical Agriculture Production, International Business and Trade in Panama

Sunday, March 29, 2020 4:30 - 10:00 p.m. Malaysian Cultural Night 2020

Monday, March 30 2020 Application Deadline: Semester Along the Nile: Learning in Uganda (Fall 2020 Semester)

April 2020

Friday, April 3, 2020 Application Deadline: Agricultural Systems of New Zealand

Wednesday, April 8 2020 4:00 - 5:00 p.m. Informational Meeting: Tropical Agriculture Production, International Business and Trade in Panama

Friday, April 17, 2020 Application Deadline: Tropical Agriculture Production, International Business and Trade in Panama

Global Update, a newsletter to keep Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences faculty and staff informed of international activities and initiatives, is prepared bi-monthly. To subscribe, send your name, e-mail address and the message "Global Update subscribe" to  To unsubscribe, send "Global Update unsubscribe."