Recent CALS Spotlights

  • Arizona Project WET is challenging families and student groups to make new discoveries about nature with the help of smartphone technology.

    The project's Discovery Program, recently installed at Phoenix's Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area, encourages visitors to embark on one of four color-coded QR code journeys intended to spark questions about their local natural environment.

    "We want people to explore and think through a question that starts with 'I wonder …' and then hopefully learn something new about the nature in their own community," said Kerry Schwartz, Arizona Project WET director. "The Discovery Program presents a unique opportunity for students, teachers and families to think through questions about their surroundings in a systematic, scientific way by taking advantage of a new technology."

  • Professor James Knight is a big believer in the maxim that little things mean a lot.

    That’s what students say they’ll miss most now that he’s retiring as one of the University of Arizona’s most popular educators.

    Balloons, bouquets and best wishes greeted the professor’s last lecture Wednesday at the campus where he spent much of his career.

    "I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who cares more about his students," said sophomore Ethan Reiter, 20, a Texan majoring in biomedical science.

  • A University of Arizona professor is headed to Spain this fall to focus on developing a model for collaboration between researchers, stakeholders and citizens – an undeveloped concept in areas of Europe. At the UA, and in the U.S., the idea has been institutionalized through Cooperative Extension. 

    Barron Orr, professor and geospatial extension specialist in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment, within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, has won a  Marie Curie Actions International Incoming Fellowship, a prestigious fellowship that allows scholars from outside Europe to contribute unique and novel ideas to European nations, encouraging multidisciplinary collaborations.

    “2014 is the hundred-year-anniversary of the act of Congress that created Cooperative Extension,” said Orr. “We’ve institutionalized the connection between science and stakeholders over the past one hundred years.”

  • Because they are considered to be among the nation's top students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics – the STEM fields – 22 University of Arizona students and alumni have been selected to receive funding through a highly competitive National Science Foundation fellowship program.

    Nationwide, 2,000 students earned awards under the NSF's Graduate Research Fellowship Program, the largest graduate fellowship program of its kind in the nation. Currently, the UA has 50 fellows, the largest number in its history.

    The fellowship is an important, highly competitive grant program for advanced students in STEM fields, providing an annual stipend of $32,000 and a $12,000 allowance to fund tuition and fees for graduate education and research over a three-year period. The UA Graduate College provides additional funding to cover the balance of tuition, fees, student health insurance and a UA travel grant.

  • While working toward advanced degrees, UA graduate students are producing new knowledge and products and forming companies that address significant challenges facing our state, nation and world.

    These dedicated students engage in groundbreaking research, scholarship and outreach that often begins to have a real impact before they've even left the UA. When they graduate with their advanced degrees in hand, they are poised to continue making a difference in the way we think about everything from science to business and more.

    After graduating, some of these students will continue to work in academia, while others will go into industry or choose to serve their communities in different ways, like joining the Peace Corps. The UA is consistently among the nation's top producers of Peace Corps volunteers.

  • University of Arizona Cooperative Extension is celebrating 100 years of serving Arizonans through programs designed to support agriculture, business, community health, the local economy and more.

    On May 8, 1914, Congress signed the Smith-Lever Act, establishing the Cooperative Extension Service as a national priority. The act created a unique educational partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the nation's land-grant universities to extend research-based knowledge through a state-by-state network of extension educators.

  • In the past, shopping almost always involved loading up the car, heading to the store and scouring racks and shelves for hours.

    Today's shopping experience, however, often looks quite different. Many consumers do research online and know exactly what they want before ever setting foot in a store. Others forgo brick-and-mortar locations altogether, preferring to make their purchase with the click of a mouse instead.

    The changing face of retail – and the growing convergence of the digital and physical shopping experience – was among the major topics of discussion at the University of Arizona's 18th annual Global Retailing Conference, held Thursday and Friday at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort in Tucson.

  • More than three-hundred Willcox High School students interviewed, got a “job” and then moved from table to table spending their newly earned money, after deducting taxes, on housing, transportation, groceries and, if there was anything left, optional expenses such as clothing and entertainment.

    Just the first step post-job was a rude awakening for many of the students, who did not realize just how much money is taken out of their paychecks for taxes.

    “Their mouths hung open. I think I ruined a lot of dreams,” said Darcy Tessman, Extension and 4-H Youth Development agent for the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

  • A half-acre farm has sprouted up on a vacant lot across from the light-rail station in the heart of the nation’s sixth largest city, Phoenix.

    The Phoenix Urban Research Farm is where urbanites – a generation or two removed from agrarian life – go to learn how to garden or even how to start a small farm business.

    The farm, which is helping to meet the increasing demand for locally grown food, is managed by faculty at the Maricopa County Cooperative Extension, part of the UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

    "You can't just plant on a vacant lot and expect it to grow," said Haley Paul, an urban agricultural assistant. "We're educating people on how to grow food in the low desert."

  • Master Gardener Steve McIntyre had an engineering puzzle to solve: Can you take a parking lot that’s bathed in shade for much of the day and turn it into a garden to feed those in need?

    Yes, you can.

    McIntyre and a small army of UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners, turned a parking lot at the Prescott, Ariz. YMCA into a community garden that provided nearly three-quarters of a ton of produce to the needy in 2012.