7-'~T 7 9 T 7
Vol. 16, No. 2
UF/IFAS International Programs Office of the Vice President for Agriculture & Natural Resources Gainesville, Florida 32611
International students play role in globalizing UF/IFAS
International students and short-
term scholars are bringing the
world to the University of Florida,
enhancing the educational environ-
ment and helping U.S. students pre-
pare for a global workplace.
Through cooperative agreements
and exchange programs, top students
and short-term scholars bring their
cultures and talents to campus, provid-
ing a multicultural environment for
College of Agricultural and Life Sci-
ences students. As CALS seeks to in-
ternationalize its curriculum, these
students are instrumental in preparing
students for careers in a global work-
place, said Mickie Swisher, coordina-
tor for the college's Global Gators.
These exchanges also serve as re-
cruiting tools for graduate programs
by showcasing UF/IFAS opportunities
and strengths to the world's top stu-
dents, she said.
This semester, exchange students
from Purpan Agricultural College,
France, transfer students from ESPOL,
Ecuador, and short-term scholars from
From the direct(
IPAT reviews the f
By Roger Natzke J.
1 Programs adviso-
ry committee met re-
cently to re\ iew our
ongoing programs and
to discuss how to ao-
Zamorano University, Honduras, are
among those on campus.
The exchange with Purpan Agricul-
now in its third
year, is among g >
the 17 study- ,
abroad exchange .
programs attract- -
ing international I
CALS. Four Pur-
pan students are Tania Torudo is
studying at among the interna-
CALS this tional scholars and
students on cam-
sp mentine pus this semester.
Assier de Pompignan is taking a vari-
ety of classes including ecotourism
and alternative agriculture. She has
frequent interactions with U.S. stu-
dents about agricultural systems in
France and is giving presentations on
related topics in her classes.
Through ESPOL'S two-plus-two
program, eight students are studying
on campus. Luis Martinez is taking
r proach the challenges that lie ahead.
r of UF/IFAS has had a policy of pro-
ocus of iding Spanish language training for
..rams our faculty, staff and graduate
students. Three different classes are
( provided to accommodate the differ-
ences in language proficiency. While
S"/ the program has been useful to our
campus-based faculty, no equivalent
-.. service is available for faculty in the
.-A See Tropical agriculture. p. 2
classes in food science this semester.
He is a member of Alpha Gamma Rho
fraternity and the Food Science and
Human Nutrition Club, and a CALS
ambassador. He has given presenta-
tions to his fraternity about Ecuador's
culture and agriculture.
Zamorano University, a long-time
partner with UF/IFAS through a coop-
erative agreement, has nine short-term
scholars on campus and at research
and education centers this semester.
These scholars are handpicked by the
Zamorano University, and screened
by UF/IFAS before they are matched
with a faculty member working on a
project related to their specialties.
Tania Toruino of Nicaragua is
working in UF/IFAS agronomy re-
searcher Fredy Altpeter's molecular
plant physiology laboratory.
Torufio is excited about this ad-
vanced research experience and has
mastered a range of molecular tech-
niques. She is working on genetic en-
gineering of grasses for improved en-
vironmental stress tolerance and
would d like to continue this type of re-
search after completing her bachelor's
degree at Zamorano.
CALS Associate Dean E. Jane
Luzar said the program provides %alu-
able experience for talented. research-
See International students, p. 2
-. L. .IVF l-'IT COF
Telephone: 352 392-1965 FAX: 352 392-7127 Website: http://international.ifas.ufl.edu
Tropical agriculture, from p. 1
counties and at the centers.
Chairman Ken Boote appointed a
committee to re\ ie,. the impact of the
program and to examine the need to
continue a program and/or provide op-
tions for a similar opportunity for non-
campus employees. The committee
will examine the cost effectiveness of
the program and make a recommenda-
tion regarding its continuation.
Both our current vice president and
the former vice president have chal-
lenged us to focus our efforts in LUF/
IFAS International Programs. It is
readily accepted that \we simply can't
be all things to all people. While on
the surface that sounds like a tery
simple request. depending on the ex-
periences of the person hearing it. the
directive creates ery different
pictures. To some. it means restncting
the number of countries for major em-
phasis to a relatively few,. Others
might assume that it means restricting
the emphasis to just a few regions. Or
one could assume it means that we
should direct our attention to several
of our broad array of expertise. Thus
w\e could work on \water, community
development, sustaining the environ-
ment, agricultural and food systems,
managing pests, and/or any of a whole
host of topic areas.
Members of the advisory commit-
tee %%ill be meeting soon for a brain-
storming session to explore hot\ UF/
IFAS can maximize its most effective
international programs b)
focusing. Please forward any ideas or
suggestions to be included in the dis-
We look forward to having your
input. It is too easy for this office to
get so focused on follow ing funding
opportunities while missing the cen-
tral focus of the UF/IFAS mission.
Roger Natzke is senior associate dean
and director of International Programs
Global, community issues h
Jack Putz. botanist in the School of Forest Resources and Conservation, leads
participants in the conference on a tour of forestry sites around Gainesville.
A authorities from throughout the
'world presented their research
on tropical forest conservation and
management at the UF/IFAS confer-
ence Working Forest in the Tropics:
Policy and Market Impacts on Con-
sernation and Management.
The conference Feb. 14-15 fo-
cused on the impacts of the global
marketplace on tropical forests. the
influence public policy and tropical
forest conservation. community de-
velopment and forest conservation.
and ,working forests in indigenous
TUF/IFAS associate professor
Daniel Zarin. School of Forest Re-
sources and Consertation. was chair
of the conference. \which \ as orga-
nized b\ faculty from throughout the
UF campus and other institutions.
The conference was de' eloped as
a forum to examine impacts of public
policies and markets on tropical for-
ests and the people who live in them.
and to identify policy initiatives and
market-based incentives that may be
useful for promoting forest conserva-
tion and management.
Da\ id Kaimotw itz. director general
International students, from p. 1
oriented Zamorano students looking
for focused research rather than
classroom experience. These scholars.
make important contributions to LIF/
IFAS research projects. Also. the
program is an opportunity to show-
case UF/IFAS research capabilities to
potential graduate students.
In general the programs that bring
of the Center for International Forest-
rn Research in Indonesia and a key-
note speaker, said the conference %%as
an important gathering of internation-
al authorities vho discussed tropical
forests and deforestation from per-
spectites that ranged from global to
local. In its entirety, the conference
showed how% diverse forces are linked
in global system that impacts a wide
range of populations. Kaimo%' itz said.
The conference concluded w ith a
keynote address by Kaimow itz. %%ho
presented a bleak picture of the future
of tropical forest conservation. He
blamed much of tropical deforestation
on weak governments and the eco-
nomic policies of international finan-
cial institutions. Weak go ernments
that could pla. a role in forest conser-
\ation are caving in to strong market
forces. eten though there is recogni-
tion that forest conservation is crucial.
"For the past 20 years. people hate
talked about prefer\ ing our forests."
Kaimow\ itz said. "But the forests keep
DanielZarin. Zarin @ ufl.edu
international students and scholars to
campus prot ide some exposure to the
cultural ditersity CALS students \ ill
need to in their careers. These ex-
changes are especially valuable to
those domestic students w ho cannot
( Mickie Swisher,
UF/IFAS, Slovak University of Agriculture seek student exchange
Th e Gulf Coast Research and
Education Center is planning to
host students from the Slovak Republic
under a new cooperative agreement
with the Slovak University of Agricul-
ture in Nitra.
The planned student exchange is the
first element of cooperation under the
cooperative agreement that was for-
malized following the visit of three
university officials in February.
Jack Rechcigl, director of the Gulf
Coast Research and Education Center
and program manager of the coopera-
tive agreement, showed the Slovak vis-
itors the facilities and opportunities for
undergraduate and graduate students.
The newly constructed Gulf Coast
Research and Education Center in
Balm offers housing for visiting scien-
tists and students. Faculty at the center
and at the Mid Florida Research and
Education Center were enthusiastic
about the exchange, and a faculty
member could visit the Slovak univer-
sity this summer to interview stu-
dents for the exchange.
Exchange students also could
take advantage of internships
with the Hermann Engelmann
Greenhouses in Apopka in horti-
cultural production. The compa-
ny hosts students from through-
out the world and provides them
free housing on site. These in-
ternships could be performed un-
der the direction of faculty at the Ja
centers, Rechcigl said. La
In February, Vice Rector for La
University Development Dusan
Huska, Faculty of Horticulture and
Landscape Engineering Dean Miku-
las Latecka, and department of bio-
technology head Anna Jakabova visit-
ed the Gulf Coast Research and Edu-
cation Center and the UF campus to
formalize the agreement and seek stu-
dent exchange and faculty support.
One potential opportunity is
through the UF/IFAS international
ck Rechcigl, left, and Horticulture &
ndscape Engineering Dean Mikulas
tecka sign the cooperative agreement.
distance education program, which
offers master's programs in soil and
water science and entomology.
More information is available about
the Slovak University of Agriculture
in Nitra at www.uniag.sk.
rechcigl @ ifas.ufl.edu
lizabeth Losos, Ph.D., was named
resident and CEO of the Organi-
zation for Tropical Studies March 1. In
her new position, Losos will lead an
international consortium of 63 univer-
sities and research institutions, includ-
ing the University of Florida, and a
staff of about 160 in training graduate
students in tropical research at OTS'
three field stations in Costa Rica and
partner sites in other countries.
"We're going to continue to take
tropical biology to the tropics," Losos
said. "By that I mean training biolo-
gists from tropical countries alongside
North American biologists in the trop-
OTS' current partnerships with Lat-
in American research institutions will
be the foundation of that effort.
UF/IFAS and OTS have been close
partners for more than 30 years. UF/
IFAS associate professor Mickie
Swisher serves on the OTS executive
committee, and UF/IFAS students
visit OTS for study tours and research
projects. Professor Hugh Popenoe
was honored by OTS for his role in
founding the organization in 1963.
While making fiscal stability a pri-
ority, Losos also plans to explore ex-
pansion of the organization's gradu-
ate courses, research partnerships,
undergraduate study abroad program
and environmental policy initiatives.
Losos comes to OTS from the
Smithsonian Institution's Center for
Tropical Forestry Science, where she
directs an international forest re-
search network working in 14 coun-
tries on four continents.
Revised strengths document
A revised document that outlines
he international strengths of UF/
IFAS is available on the International
Programs Website. This document
outlines the key areas of expertise of
UF/IFAS faculty and departments in
conducting international work on spe-
cific international topics. The docu-
ment will be used in developing mar-
keting efforts as well as program
building. In addition, a database with
specific faculty topical and regions
expertise has been developed and is
useful to International Programs staff
and other faculty for networking with
other faculty in preparing grant pro-
posals on international topics.
The document is available at http://
Losos is named new head of OTS
Office of International Programs
University of Florida
Office of the Vice President for Agriculture
and Natural Resources
P.O. Box 110282
Gainesville, FL 32611-0282
MS DALE B CANELAS
UNI LIBRA & DIR
PO BOX 117001
GAINESVILLE FL 32611-7001
Program with Thai
h'hai graduate students are conduct-
1 ing research on peanut quality
through their exchange with UF/IFAS
assistant scientist Keith Ingram in ag-
ricultural and biological engineering.
Ingram spent four days in Thailand
in February with three graduate stu-
dents working on different aspects of
aflatoxin contamination in peanut. The
ongoing exchange takes place through
a memorandum of understanding be-
tween UF/IFAS and Chiang Mai Uni-
versity and is supported by Thailand's
Royal Golden Jubilee Program, which
pairs a graduate student researcher
with an international scientist and sup-
ports the exchange.
During his trip in February, Ingram
met with the three students, one who
successfully defended her dissertation,
another who is analyzing results and
writing her dissertation, and a third
who is outlining a plan of research.
The students' research is valuable
university supports research on peanuts
to UF/IFAS, which also works to pre-
vent aflatoxin contamination of pea-
Aflatoxins are carcinogens pro-
duced by a fungus that attacks peanut
and some other crops, especially dur-
ing drought. In developing countries,
these naturally occurring compounds
pose significant health risks. In the
United States, peanuts are carefully
screened to keep the toxins out of pea-
nuts we eat, but the effort costs about
$1 billion per year nationwide.
One of the Thai students is re-
searching plant traits related to infec-
tion, the second is evaluating path-
ways of infection, and the third is as-
sessing the impact of calcium nutri-
tion on the production of aflatoxins.
These research projects could help
Florida develop cost-effective control
methods for aflatoxin, said Ingram.
Ingram has been working with
Chiang Mai University students since
Keith Ingram meets with two Thai
graduate students at Chiang Mai
2000 and has made five trips to Thai-
land under this program. One graduate
student and Ingram's faculty counter-
part from Chiang Mai University are
scheduled to visit UF/IFAS in the
spring and summer.
| Keith Ingram, email@example.com)