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Branching Out

imageJon Roy prepares a tree for the chipper.

Just three years after Jon Roy ’95 graduated from the University of New Hampshire’s (UNH) Forest Technology program at the Thompson School of Applied Science, he started his own business. Now a thriving company, Orion Tree Service provides the communities of Barrington, Durham, Lee, Madbury, Newmarket, Stratham, and surrounding areas with highly skilled tree removal, tree pruning, stump grinding, and storm damage emergency services.

Some of Roy’s employees are also Thompson School Forest Technology graduates, including Aaron Brooks ’06. Brooks notes that courses in Dendrology, which enabled him to quickly identify various plants and trees, and Forest Harvesting Systems have been most useful in his career. “Don Quigley taught me how to properly use a chainsaw, fell trees, and sharpen saws,” says Brooks of the Thompson School’s esteemed Professor of Forest Technology.

imageAaron Brooks clears brush from a felled tree.

As a business owner, Roy appreciates the level of proficiency Thompson School graduates have upon entering the workforce. “I know that my own education was crucial to my business in assessing plant health and managing the unmanicured forest at the edge of suburban properties,” says Roy, who worked for arborist Bruce Anderson as part of his summer Work Experience program in college. After graduation Roy continued to learn from other foresters in the industry and has developed his leadership skills while managing the Orion team for safety and success.

A unit within UNH’s College of Life Sciences and Agriculture, the Thompson School’s Forest Technology program enables students to integrate all aspects of forest management as they complete projects on more than 3,000 acres of University land. Forest Technology majors contribute to the sustainable management of UNH lands while using the school’s sawmill and harvesting equipment. Like Roy, Forest Technology students have ample opportunity in the classroom and in the forest to develop their skills and techniques that are critical to the future ecological and economic health and management of the natural resources in the state and region.

- Victoria Forester Courtland

Peer Educator

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Undergraduate Bria Frehner (on right) teaches Tess Bergeron how to passage cells under the hood in UNH’s Walker Lab.

Bria Frehner ’17 carries a handful of vials through the Walker Lab at the University of New Hampshire (UNH). Inside each container, a line of SKBR3 breast cancer cells is suspended in pink liquid. Today, Frehner is preparing those cells for future treatments, and gaining valuable skills as a Biomedical Science major in the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture (COLSA) that will support her goal of attending medical school.

“My dream is to be a neonatal surgeon, but I can imagine being an oncologist as well,” says Frehner, who finds the cancer work she does in the Walker Lab to be truly fascinating. When Frehner was a first year student, she took an honors biology course taught by Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Biomedical Sciences Chuck Walker. Given her skills and ambition, Frehner was among a couple of students chosen to learn cell culture in the Walker Lab. “Chuck gives guidance, but also encourages me to grow independently,” says Frehner.

Frehner is both continuing and expanding her work in the lab this summer through the Research Experience Apprenticeship Program (REAP) of the Hamel Center for Undergraduate Research at UNH. One of her roles is to mentor students new to the Walker Lab, including Biological Medicine major Tess Bergeron ’15. Together they sit at the hood where Frehner shows Bergeron how to passage cells. “Once the cells fill up a flask, you need to split them up and seed them at lower densities so they can continue to grow,” says Frehner as she demonstrates both the knowledge and skills she’s obtained in her hands-on education at COLSA, renowned for providing opportunities for undergraduate research and innovative experiential learning.

- Victoria Forester Courtland

Lucky Horse Shoes

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Equine Studies major Karlee Burmaster ‘14

With less than a month into the season, it’s been a great spring for the equestrian teams at the University of New Hampshire (UNH). Last weekend, Equine Studies major in UNH’s College of Life Sciences and Agriculture (COLSA) Karlee Burmaster ’16 won the Zone 1 Championship in Advanced Walk, Trot, Canter equitation. As a member of UNH’s Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) hunt seat equitation team, coached by Christina Keim, Burmaster will now advance to the IHSA Nationals, held in Harrisburg, PA, on May 1st through 4th.

This weekend UNH students Jocelyn Kraenzle ‘14 and Julia Grella ’15, equestrians with the University’s Intercollegiate Dressage Association (IDA) team coached by Michelle McGillicuddy, will travel to Averett University in Danville, VA, to compete in the IDA National Championships.

Good luck, athletes!

Designing a Future

The students in Professor of Horticultural Technology Rene Gingras’s Flower Show Design and Construction class plan and execute an exhibit at the Macfarlane Greenhouse Open House each year. The class takes place in the fall and spring semesters at the Thompson School of Applied Science during which students conceptualize their long-term strategies for the final display. “They come up with a concept, decide on the plants they’ll use, overwinter them, and force them to grow in the spring,” says Gingras. “A week before the show, it’s crazy.”

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Students Mike Boyden, Josh Jones, and Mitch Andrea all share an entrepreneurial spirit in common. Boyden, a dual major in Horticultural Technology and Applied Business Management at the Thompson School, plans to eventually carry on his family’s Pelham-based business, Boyden’s Landscaping. Through the two-semester Flower Show Design and Construction course, Boyden has learned to be creative and flexible in response to unexpected change. “Even if you have a plan, you have to be able to think on the spot,” says Boyden.

Like Boyden, Josh Jones is also a Horticultural Technology and Applied Business Management major. When not in class, he works as a landscaping foreman contractor in Massachusetts and has plans to start his own company after graduation. Boyden and Jones, along with fellow Horticultural Technology major Mitch Andrea, enjoyed the challenges and results of developing the display at the Macfarlane Greenhouse Open House. Andrea, who has lined up a job with the Northeastern University grounds crew and is considering starting his own landscaping business in the future, says the Open House is a great venue in which to showcase students’ hands-on education in horticulture.

The trio was part of a larger team that created the display, which included a footpath around a garden of annuals, a fountain, walls of flowers, stone work, and a set of child-sized table and chairs that were hand hewn by students in the Thompson School’s Forestry program.

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For more information about the Horticultural Technology, Applied Business Management, and Forestry programs at the Thompson School of Applied Science at UNH, please see http://thompsonschool.unh.edu.

Little Royal, Big Dreams

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With electric clippers in hand, Ashley Woods ’16 buzzes the winter coat from Tacoma—the eight-month old Holstein calf she’s been caring for at the Fairchild Dairy Teaching and Research Center. An Animal Science major in the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture at the University of New Hampshire, Woods is preparing Tacoma for the Little Royal Livestock Show this weekend.

Woods runs her hand over Tacoma’s clipped hair, which feels like velvet, to check for uniformity. No stranger to handling cows, Woods grew up in West Berkshire, VT, helping her grandparents with the family farm. When she was only eight-years-old, Woods purchased her own calf, and raised it to breed. She kept on breeding until she had a herd of six milking cows.

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Even though tomorrow will be Woods’ first time showing a calf in the Little Royal Livestock Show, she feels prepared through her childhood experience showing cows with the 4-H program. Tacoma’s newly cropped coat gleams in the sunshine as Woods pats her down admiringly. “I’d like to own my own dairy farm,” she says, “and produce cheese and ice cream.”

Wood’s friend, Jacqueline Keef ‘17, also showed cows through the 4-H program. The Massachusetts-native is training her ten-month-old Holstein calf, Topper, to be lead by a halter. This is the first time Topper’s worn the leather strapping and she tries to throw it off, sidestepping around Keef. But Keef is unruffled and calms the calf, effectively reassuring her with a firm grasp on the leather and a hand on her withers. A Dairy Management major at the Thompson School within the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture, Keef has been enjoying the hands-on experiences in the Dairy Selection course. “Drew Conroy has been a great teacher and mentor through this process,” she says of the Professor of Applied Animal Science at the Thompson School.

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Each spring, students in the two- and four-year Animal Science programs at the University of New Hampshire compete in the Little Royal Livestock Show. Every competitor is assigned to a division based on his or her previous experience, and works with his or her own calf for several months before the event to grow a healthy and beautiful animal ready for show. The Little Royal Livestock Show, held at the University’s equine facility, is free and open to the public. The dairy event takes place in the afternoon, following the equine segment.

- Victoria Forester Courtland

Spread the Sunshine

Winter blues got you down? Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Biomedical Sciences Chuck Walker knows all about it. Every fall, he starts wearing Hawaiian shirts to discourage snow, he says.

Does it work? Well, maybe not for the forecast, but his students sure love it. “They always mention it in the course evaluations,” says Walker. “It definitely cheers them up.”

Walker began donning the Aloha state garb around 15 years ago. “Now I have 50 Hawaiian shirts,” he says about his signature style, which he adds, “Just seemed like a good thing to do.”

Teaching is a lot of fun for Walker, and he likes his students to feel comfortable in class. “I want to immerse them in a new way of looking at the world,” he says. And whether they are in the classroom or in the lab this winter, their outlook is guaranteed to be sunny.

At Home with Science

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At just 14-years-old, Arusha Anupindi was one of the youngest students to take part in the University of New Hampshire’s Project SMART program this past July. An acronym for Science and Mathematics Achievement through Research Training, Project SMART is a four-week summer intensive designed to challenge high school students with both an aptitude and passion for the STEM fields.

Anupindi, a sophomore at the Academy for Science and Design in Nashua, NH, had never been away from home before and experienced her first taste of college life at the Hubbard dormitory on the University’s campus. “It was amazing. I met a lot of people from different cultures all over the world,” said Anupindi. “We went stargazing, played games, even took a trip to the New England Bio Labs.”

At the beginning of the program, Anupindi’s mother, Rama, said, “I’m hoping Arusha will learn as much as she can so her dreams can be fulfilled.” And now, after a month of intensive study, lectures, field trips, research, and networking with like-minded students from around the globe, Anupindi is even more determined to meet her goals of developing a career in medical research. “I am focused on current cancer treatments and how they can be improved,” said Anupindi.

Anupindi’s father, Sharma, knew that she’d enjoy the immersion experience in bio- and nanotechnology research, but wasn’t sure how she’d feel about being away from home for so long. “She’s gained a lot of confidence through this experience,” he said after watching his daughter explain her research on gene therapy, radiation, and chemotherapy to the participants that gathered at the Project SMART poster session held in Morse Hall on the last day of the program. 

- Victoria Forester Courtland

"Pray. Tom Pray."

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This mission-oriented COLSA alumnus is the James Bond of pest control. As the owner of Ecotech Pest Control, Pray’s nemeses are destructive bugs. He has a truck full of bait, traps, and foggers, and he wields a pressure hose nozzle just like a .38 colt Detective Special.

In spite of his life’s work knocking off the bad guys, Pray ‘91 – who majored in entomology at UNH – genuinely likes insects of all kinds. “I use ecologically friendly products as often as possible,” says Pray who employs the techniques of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) he learned as a student with Professor Emeritus Garrett Crow. “At that time, IPM was used mostly in crops,” says Pray, “not with structural pest control for home owners.”

Whether he’s uncovering a colony of carpenter ants hollowing out a structural beam or flushing a nest of yellow jacket wasps from under the eaves in an attic, Pray enjoys the daily surprises and challenges in a career that helps people protect their homes and themselves. “Pest control is a cornerstone of our society,” says Pray. “From the moment a seed is planted to when a meal is placed on the table, pest control is needed all along the way to protect that food source.”

- Victoria Forester Courtland

The Roots of Good Health

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Growing up in Islip, NY, Julia Credendino ‘14 had never been in a high tunnel before. “It’s so warm in here, you can wear your tee shirt in the middle of winter,” she says, looking out over rows of beet tops and lettuces. Even though the ground outside is covered by snow, inside the twin greenhouse-like structures it’s an ideal environment for plant growth.

As a nutrition major, Credendino benefits from being able to take classes in the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems (SAFS) program where she’s learning to cultivate vegetables through all the phases of crop planning, growing, harvesting, and marketing. “I’ll be counseling people in nutrition,” says Credendino who also wants to have a large garden some day. “I plan to be involved in farmer’s markets, and to teach cooking classes and workshops on canning.”

Not only is Credendino honing the skills she needs to grow food for herself and others, she’s gaining a clear understanding of why it’s best to undertake certain practices. On this winter’s day, she’s learning about the use of drip lines with solanaceous crops, such as tomatoes and peppers, which lowers disease pressure by keeping the plants’ leaves dry during wet, humid summers. Credendino listens closely to SAFS Lecturer Andrew Ogden and Horticultural Production Coordinator Jake Uretsky as they team up in the high tunnels to provide students with a hands-on, dirt-beneath-the-nails experience in how to grow food. “They’re giving me the tools I need to do this on my own,” says Credendino.

- Victoria Forester Courtland

Harnessing Academia

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Jackie Marinoff always liked horses but never had much experience beyond watching them ferry tourists in carriages throughout Central Park in her native New York City. Plus, her mother was always afraid of them. Then when she was twelve, Marinoff’s parents moved the family to New Hampshire and opened a world of new possibilities for her.

Marinoff transferred into the University of New Hampshire after beginning her education in biology at another institution and found her true home with horses as an Equine Science major. And, with no previous experience, Marinoff competes as a member of the highly accomplished Intercollegiate Hunter Seat Association team at UNH, one of the top sixteen in the nation. “Even my mom has become comfortable with horses,” says Marinoff. “She’ll come to my shows and give my horse a pat.”

With a 4.0 GPA, Marinoff is also one of the top students in the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture at UNH. Along with the rest of the seniors in her Capstone class, Marinoff recently gave a demonstration to visiting high school students interested in an equine education. “Participating in the Equine Educational Day has been a way for me to give back all the knowledge I’ve gained,” says Marinoff who spoke to the students about her senior thesis research - conducted with equine heart rate monitors - on how the level of a horse’s stress may fluctuate while it’s ridden by equestrians with different levels of proficiency.

- Victoria Forester Courtland