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After filling up on BBQ and the fixings, first-year Forestry and Environmental Resources undergraduate students, friends and family joined current students, staff and faculty in conversation and cake!

Faculty and staff in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources were anxious to start the Fall 2012 Semester with a little learning and light-hearted fun.

First-year undergraduate students, together with their friends and family joined FER and CNR faculty, staff and current students for the FER Welcome Picnic at Schenck Forest on Saturday, August 11.

Just in case the cake wasn’t enough, children at the picnic were ready and willing to create mud pies. The rain shower helped create the right conditions!

Incoming freshmen and transfer students had the opportunity to introduce themselves and learn a little about each other, student clubs, and all of the extra-curricular activities awaiting their participation.  A brief rain shower did not interfere with the delicious meal or dampen the spirits of the more than one hundred gathered there. “This is the first time since 1999 that it has rained during the Welcome Picnic,” observed Sydna Willis, FER student services specialist and organizer of the picnic, “Lucky 13, I guess!”  But if anything, showers only added to the fun had by the youngest of the group.

Professor and head of the department, Barry Goldfarb, joked with the group, welcomed the new students, and led the introductions, which included Dean Robert Brown and many faculty and current students.

Faculty, professionals, and students judged posters. Student-judges were to use the 3×3 rule: can the poster be understood in 3 minutes from 3 feet away.

On Monday, August 16, the Graduate Associations of both Forestry and Environmental Resources and Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences jointly held the 2012 Graduate Student Symposium. This event provided new and returning graduate students of both departments the opportunity to present their own research, while learning from oral and poster presentations about the interdisciplinary and cutting-edge research being conducted by NC State University masters and doctoral students.  The symposium fosters inter- and intra-departmental interaction and awareness of research across disciplines.

Betsy Bennett, Director of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, was the keynote speaker, providing a truly engaging talk about the importance of science education and public outreach.  Dr. Bennett invited the full house audience to become involved with the Museum through its many programs, workshops, science talks, and volunteer opportunities.  “Many of our past and currents students have become involved with the Museum,” stated FER graduate program coordinator Sarah Slover, “and I think many more will, after learning the different ways that they can contribute their time and knowledge.”

There were many opportunities for faculty and students to catch up with each other after summer and meet new friends and colleagues.

In addition to learning about the great people and opportunities that are all part of the department, college, university, and local communities, events such as the Undergraduate Welcome Picnic and Graduate Research Symposium, create the chance to meet and network with fellow students, staff and faculty.  They offer the base from which community engagement and lifelong friendships will be built.

MEAS/FER Graduate Research Symposium organizers created fun awards for the top winners in the categories of oral and poster presentations. Here, Sarah Fritts, doctoral student in FER holds the impressive “Pinecone Award” for Best PhD Oral Presentation.




Top presenters from the 2012 MEAS and FER Graduate Research Symposium:

Best PhD poster:

  • Winner: Praju Kiliyanpilakkil  (MEAS)
  • 2nd: Nathon Lyons (MEAS)
  • 3rd: Tim Wright (MEAS)
Best PhD talk:

  • Winner: Sarah Fritts (Fish & Wildlife)
  • 2nd place: Steve Grodsky (Fish & Wildlife)
  • 3rd place: Yizhen Li (MEAS)
Best MS poster:

  • Winner: Lindsay Garner (Fish & Wildlife)
  • 2nd place: Sander Denham (Forestry)
  • 3rd place: Margret Frey (MEAS)
Best MS talk:

  • Winner: Keith Sherburn (MEAS)
  • 2nd place: Hilary Cole (Natural Resources)
  • 3rd place: Matt Wilbanks (MEAS)