August 2018 ABeNotes

2018 August ABE Gives Back

Author: Carol Weaver

I took a step out of my comfort zone and spent my first-ever volunteer shift at the Food Finders Food Bank Pantry location on Saturday, July 28. I received notice on Friday that they were going to be extremely short-handed on Saturday and offered to help. This was a longer shift - 3 hours - and working directly with the clients. I got to meet a number of the people who are helped at the Pantry, and I also got to see up-close how important the meat-sorting events that we have been doing are to the smooth operation of the pantry.

The meat that Saturday was from Indiana Packers and was still in the cases in which it had shipped. They were stored in the walk-in freezer and we had to break down the wrap, retrieve the cases, unbox the meat, tag it, restock the in-pantry freezer, then break down all of the boxes. The packages were either 2 or 4 to a box, and I spent way more time in the freezer than was advisable (they keep it at a balmy -7 F). The carts had to come through the pantry to the workroom, where we unboxed and labeled, then carried back into the pantry to  the freezer. The work was frustrating and uncomfortable, and I asked the volunteer coordinator what had happened to all that meat we had sorted and labeled. It would have made our shift so much more pleasant! Turns out, they thought it would be easier this way, so I quickly assured them that the warehouse sort is a better plan! We are up again on Friday, October 5 from 1-3 pm and I would love for you to join us! Just let me know (

Don't forget - our next ABE/IBC Blood Drive is a week from Friday, August 24. Appointments are still available (you can also email Carol)

August 2018 AgrAbility News

The National AgrAbility Project attended and exhibited at the RESNA (Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America) Conference held in Arlington, Virginia on July 12 thru 15, 2018. ;Steve Swain, NAP assistive technology specialist and RESNA liaison, and Dr. Shawn Ehlers, NAP technology outreach coordinator, staffed a display in the exhibit hall and attended sessions throughout the conference.   The display emphasized AgrAbility services, assistive technology for farming, ranching, and ag-related enterprises, and contact information for the state/regional AgrAbility projects.  Steve also presented a workshop entitled “I Don’t Have a Disability.  I’m Just Getting Old.”   The workshop explored the process of aging; the unique culture of farmers; and how the farming culture affects their view of the various conditions related to aging.  It also explored how they view the safety risks and jobs on the farm and ranch.

Chuck Baldwin, National AgrAbility Project (NAP) special populations outreach coordinator, Paul Jones, NAP project manager, and Bill Begley of Life Essentials, in collaboration with the North Carolina AgrAbility Partnership, helped to lead the 1890s AgrAbility Workshop held at North Carolina A & T (NCA&T) University July 27-28. The workshop had 38 people in attendance from six states and Washington D.C. Historically Black (1890) land-grant universities represented included Kentucky State, North Carolina A & T, Prairie View A & M (TX), Virginia State, and West Virginia State.

This was a milestone AgrAbility workshop, as it was the first one primarily planned and led by an 1890 land-grant institution, NCA&T, which is also the first 1890 to be sole grant-holder of a USDA/NIFA AgrAbility grant. The workshop was honored by the presence and participation of Dr. Aida Balsano, AgrAbility's national program leader, Research, Evaluation and Rural Health - USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The NAP congratulates all of the staff of the North Carolina AgrAbility Partnership for a well-organized and productive workshop.

Dr. Shirley Hymon-Parker, Interim Dean, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, NCA&TDr. Aido Balsano, NIFA, and Betty Rodriguez, NCAgrAbility Project Manager




August 2018 Alumni News

Ian Hahus (ENRE '14) has graduated with his PhD from the University of Florida ("The Impact of Spatial Resolution on Predicting Hydrology and Ecological Responses in the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, FL"). He was also honored at the Annual Meeting of the ASABE with the Robert E. Stewart Engineering-Humanities Award.

Ross Cornelissen (BE '14) has accepted a new position as a process engineer at MycoTechnology, a biotech start-up. His new responsibilities include a new fermentation facility coming online by the end of the year. His fiancee, Megan, is a geologist and has also accepted a job in the Denver area.

What is your latest news? Send it to Carol and she will run it in the next edition :-)


August 2018 Faculty News

Last month, the ASABE held their annual international meeting in Detroit, Michigan. Several of our faculty and students were recognized:

Professors Kingsly Ambrose and Klein Ileleji received a 2018 Educational Aids Blue Ribbon for extension publication entitled, "Grain Drying, Handling, and Storage Handbook (MWPS-13)", authored by D. Maier, S. McNeill, K. Hellevang, K. Ambrose, K. Ileleji, C. Jones, M. Purschwitz, K. Walker, J. Moore, and L. Wetterauer.

Professor Kingsly Ambrose was recognized as a 2018 Outstanding Review for Processing Systems.

Professor Kingsly Ambrose advised Michelle Dixon, a junior in the biological engineering program; she placed 3rd in the K.K. Barnes Student Paper Award Competition.

The Ag Safety and AgrAbility Teams received three ASABE Blue Ribbons for products created over the past year:

  • a website that contains a wide range of resources related to the hazards of agricultural confined spaces -
  • a short publication on the impact that the AgrAbility Project is having on the quality of life for farmers and their families impacted by diabetes
  • an Extension publication on modifying agricultural equipment with hand controls for farmers with limited or no use of their feet


August 2018 Graduate Student News

Graduating student with a #1 ABE sign on her backThe Summer commencement took place on August 4, 2018. This commencement was special because with a number of graduate students, the ABE graduate coordinator Nikki Zimmerman also took her graduation walk for her master’s degree. It was a great ceremony where principles from Mother Teresa's teachings were discussed. It was an honor for ABE that nearly eight or more Ph.D. students graduated (Garett, Samaneh, Studie, Antonio, Sushant, Ahmed, Jingqiu, Soo Ha). On this occasion, department head Dr. Bernard Engel, Dr. Indrajeet Chaubey, Dr. Margaret Gitau, Dr. Laura Bowling, and Dr. Melba Crawford were also present. We congratulate all the graduates for their future endeavors and take pride that ABE produces world-class scientists whose work drives the world. Boiler Up!

PhD: Jingqiu Chen, Antonio Freitas dos Santos, Soo Ha, Ahmed Hashem Abdelnaby, Yan Huang, Sushant Mehan, Raymond Red Corn, Garett Pignotti

MS: Alexander Johnson, Paul Lengemann, Amanda Locker, James Marschand, Marisol Pantoja Otero, Libo Zhang

 Student and faculty taking a selfie in a graduate processionWoman smiling in line for graduate procession  graduating students in processionGraduating students in processionStudents holding their diplomas

August 2018 Undergraduate Student News

Author: Mickey Creech

Congratulations to ABE Biological Engineering students Susan Hubbard and Patrick Woodson who completed this year’s ASPIRE (Ag Soy Products Innovation Realization and Entrepreneurship) Internship.

Susan participated on this year's winning team, Soy Tack, a tackifier for hydro-seedling applications. Patrick was on team Just Soy You Know, a timed degradable plastic for medicine containers.

ASPIRE students participated in research and customer delivery activities on campus full-time for 11 weeks during the summer.  The students conducted research, attended professional development seminars, built their research network and advanced their soy-based prototype towards commercialization and/or a student start-up company.

For additional information visit the web page at -

During the months of May and June, eight students (Dan Gentilini, Peter Starr, Anna Berghoff, David Hoglun, Ryan Toth, Adam Hemmelgarn, Skyler Kim, and Levi Bays) traveled to Eldoret, Kenya, to work on Dr. John Lumkes’ Purdue Utility Project (PUP) in partnership with the Tumaini Innovation Center. At Tumaini, at-risk and out-of-school youth are taught the knowledge and skills they need to both leave the streets and to build successful and productive careers within their community. As part of their trip, the PUP team - alongside ABE staff David Wilson and graduate student Margaret Hegwood - worked to complete four mini-PUP vehicles while simultaneously furthering the engineering education of Tumaini students. Purdue students were responsible for developing a basic engineering education curriculum, through which Tumaini students were taught about engine design, combustion, and basic mechanical skills. During their six weeks there, Purdue students completed three of the four vehicles, successfully taught Tumaini students various engineering concepts, and built life-long friendships. The team has plans to return to Eldoret next May to complete the fourth vehicle and conduct field tests with farmers from the surrounding area.

Drainage Installation Field Day at ACRE

Author: Dr. Jane Frankenberger
Event Date: August 15, 2018
A two-day opportunity!

While most agricultural engineers know that much of our cropland in the Midwest is drained by tile (subsurface drains), many  may not have had the opportunity to see this vital component of our agricultural infrastructure, as it is only really visible when it is being installed. Next Wednesday and Thursday, drainage contractors will be installing tile throughout the day at the Agronomy Center for Research and Education, specifically the 70-acre field west of the entrance on US-52. This is a great chance to see the complete installation procedure. All are welcome and it should be educational whether or not your research relates to drainage. The "people movers" will be leaving from the farm shop between 8:30 and 9, and they should be going back and forth throughout the day. Information and registration (free) are at, and  the flyer is shown at right (click to enlarge). Please contact Dr. Frankenberger with any questions.

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