Foreword – Fall 2016

“I’ll bet you learn a lot in your job!”

Professor Curt Youngs wrote this to me in an e-mail as we traded drafts of a story describing the impact of new ultrasound technology on his undergraduate teaching and research (see page 27).

He’s right. I get to work with some of the brightest minds tackling major issues in our state, nation and world. And, I get to see some really cool stuff.

Take this photo as proof, taken with the drone featured on the cover. Iowa State University photographer Christopher Gannon literally went to new heights to capture our cover photo. That’s him on the top of the telehandler.

This issue is full of cool stuff—robots, sensors, drones, innovations, processes and programs at the cutting edge of agriculture technology. Most importantly, you’ll meet the people that bring it to life, put it in the hands of our students and put it to work for farmers, agribusiness and industry.

Those people include Matt Darr (page 16) working to uncover new applications and impacts of precision agriculture; David Grewell, who puts industry experience to work creating a cutting-edge teaching program in manufacturing (page 10); and Rachel Lenz (page 7), who’s creating a land management plan for the Des Moines International Airport as an undergraduate capstone project. The list goes on.

It’s faculty, staff and students like these who helped the agricultural and biosystems engineering undergraduate program climb to the top in the nation. The program was recently ranked number one by U.S. News and World Report (learn more about the ranking on page 20).

You’ll also find several young CALS grads launching their own high tech businesses thanks to a boost from the college’s Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative (pages 28 and 36). And we honor the memory of young alum Ryan Hrubes, whose friends and family helped achieve a bucket-list goal by creating a memorial scholarship (page 38).

I hope you’ll be inspired by these stories of collaboration, innovation and heart. I hope you learn a lot, too.

In closing, I invite you to mark your calendar for Jan. 21 and make plans to join us for a CALS pre-game party before the ISU Cyclone Women’s Basketball team takes on Kansas State. We’ll enjoy some food and fellowship in Scheman —families are welcome! Stay tuned to STORIES Online and watch your inbox for details on this event and other ways you can continue to connect, engage and share with CALS.

Kind regards,

Melea Reicks Licht