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SporePrints 2016-09

Content from the Sept 2016 SporePrints e-newsletter.

Welcome from Carolee

Dear PPEM Members, Alumni, Emeriti Faculty, Industry Supporters, and other Friends,

A year ago on Sept. 1 Jean-Philippe and I joined the PPEM family. The year has been filled with highs (recruiting two new faculty members) and lows (the budget crisis), but today I am even more excited to be here. This is primarily because I have come to know the people who make up the extended department that includes you and your families. My thanks to those of you who reached out to me and visited with me this year. Your stories inspire me all the more to help our faculty, students, and postdocs to succeed. For example, my lunch last Thursday with the Tammen sisters, Jan Menoher and Jeannie Arnold, stands out for me as a moment of acceptance and welcome. Their stories helped the legacy of their mother and father come alive for me. I hope that more of you from the extended PPEM family share your tales from the PPEM past with me.

With the help of PPEM faculty, staff, postdocs, students, and the College of Agricultural Sciences we have accomplished a great deal this year. In this issue we introduce you to Dr. Kevin Hockett, the first of two new faculty who will be joining our department on February 1, 2017. We are excited to have Kevin and his talented spouse Tanya Renner join Penn State. In our next SporePrints you will meet Terrence Bell, the second of our two new faculty. In part because of these hires and the work of the current faculty, we took the lead in a campus-wide Microbiome Initiative.

Likewise, we recruited seven gifted graduate students to our department. They will benefit from the new travel and poster policies we put in place for graduate students and postdocs, and our strategic planning should allow us to send them all to the International Congress on Plant Pathology in 2018. They also have the opportunity to profit from our new dual-title degree in Biogeochemistry, which we hope will be as big of a draw as the dual-title degree in International Agriculture and Development. Our continuing graduate students and postdocs were well represented at the award ceremony at this year’s American Phytopathological Society (APS) meeting and in winning awards from around campus.

Importantly, we haven’t forgotten undergraduates. So many talented scientists and APS leaders started as undergraduates associated with our department, and we want to foster more of that success. The plans generated at an undergraduate engagement strategic planning session are becoming reality. The Blooms and Shrooms undergraduate club is taking on a life of its own. The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture-National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA/NIFA)-funded Plant Friends and Foes program brought talented undergraduates from near and far to our department for summer research opportunities. The students Cristina Rosa hosted are going on to great success.

Lastly, I want to thank our industry partners for meeting with me for individual tours or meetings, strategic planning sessions, and the basic education of Carolee. I am grateful for all the ways that the industry supports our mission, but am particularly moved by the donations made by the mushroom industry and our alumni to the Leadership Endowment. They are helping me to put my money where my mouth is.

We have many goals for the coming year, but rather than share our dreams with you, we will share our results in future SporePrints e-newsletters.

Carolee T. Bull
Head | Professor
Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology

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