OCIO Hires Customer Experience Managers to Support CFAES

On May 25, all CFAES employees received an update on the implementation of the workforce plan of the IT Transformation Project. That update include the organizational charts of both OCIO and CFAES, and highlighted where employees transitioned as part of the project.

The organizational charts also showed three senior managers of customer experience to oversee CFAES’s three campuses: Columbus, Wooster, and Statewide. Those three positions were posted and have been filled. Below are the three new managers overseeing customer experience.

Columbus Campus
Caitlin Baer joined the team on July 9 as senior manager of customer experience, working with the OCIO IT Service Desk team onsite in Columbus on the Midwest campus.

Having started her career as a student employee at 8Help several years ago, Caitlin is excited to make her return to OCIO.  Since she left, she’s worked full time for the College of Veterinary Medicine and, most recently, has been managing the IT Service Desk for the College of Arts and Sciences for the past two years.  While at ASC, Caitlin has been strongly invested in knowledge management and ASCTech’s Culture Team. She has a BS in Biology from The Ohio State University.

Wooster Campus
Cort Sutherland joined the team on July 2 as senior manager of customer experience, working with the OCIO IT Service Desk team onsite at the Wooster and Mansfield campuses.

Cort comes to us from Kent State University at Stark, where he has spent the last six years supervising Helpdesk operations for its campus of 5,000 students. Prior to that, Cort worked for Forbes Rehab Services in Mansfield, Ohio, where he fulfilled system administration duties, while also performing product development and technical support. Cort comes to us with 10 years of professional experience and a master’s of Technology degree obtained from Kent State University.

Statewide Campus – County Extension
Steve Lichtensteiger accepted the role of senior manager of customer experience and began in his new position on June 18. Steve manages the District Technicians – IT staff supporting the Ohio State University Extension staff in all the county extension offices, and to use his words, has a player-coach role – he supports a number of county Extension offices in the NW portion of the state himself. He also manages the support techs for the Marion and Lima campuses.

Steve’s been with the university supporting the county Extension offices for some time now, and managing the District Techs.

Continue to check out the IT Transformation Project website for updates and to submit questions.

State Fair Happy Hour

The CFAES Alumni Society Board is hosting an Ohio State Fair Happy Hour at Fourth Street Bar & Grill (1810 N 4th St, Columbus, Ohio, 43215) from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 2.  Take a break from the fair food, show ring, barn or display booth to join your fellow CFAES Buckeyes for a drink! The more the merrier, so bring along other alums from our college you see on the fair grounds.

Light appetizers will be provided by the CFAES Alumni Society, but drinks will be on your own. RSVP via the Facebook event or by emailing CFAESAlumni@osu.edu.

Tick Safety Webinar

Lyme disease? Meat allergy? You’ve likely heard that the tick population is high this year and that you need to be vigilant to avoid tick-borne disease.  But how exactly do you do so?

Dr. Nicky Gallagher will present on ticks via a webinar for fellow CFAES alumni and friends on Thursday, Aug. 9 from 7 – 7:30 p.m. Dr. Gallagher is an entomologist working for Syngenta. She also serves on the CFAES Alumni Society Board.

The webinar is free, but requires pre-registration. Email CFAESAlumni@osu.edu to reserve your space to learn about tick safety and ask your questions directly to an expert.

Click here for more information about this CFAES Alumni Society event.

SEEDS RFP for FY19 Issued

The new FY 19 Request for Proposals for SEEDS: The Research Competitive Grants Program is now available online. Click here to access the RFP.

Faculty proposals will be due Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018, at 5 p.m.
Undergraduate proposals will be due Friday, Dec. 14, 2018, at 5 p.m.
Graduate proposals will be due Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018, at 5 p.m.

Everyone is invited to attend informational sessions on the SEEDS faculty RFP. The dates and times of these sessions are:

Tuesday, Sept. 11
250A Ag. Admin (Columbus)
10-11 a.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 12
250A Ag. Admin (Columbus)
2:30-3:30 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 13
130 Research Services (Wooster)
10:30-11:30 a.m. AND 1-2 p.m.

Informational sessions on the student RFP will be announced at a later date. Please be on the lookout for a future announcement.

Based on comments and recommendations in the panel meetings over the course of the past year, the Request for Proposal (RFP) FY 2019 was updated. Significant changes include:


Partnership Grant Competition (pg. 2)
No in-kind contributions or purchases by outside parties can be used to satisfy the Partnership matching funds component.

Eligibility and Service as an Investigator (pg. 4)
Active projects and final reports must be completed by the proposal application due date (Oct. 10, 2018), in order to be eligible for new funding. Additionally, any P.I. serving as a faculty advisor to a student with an overdue SEEDS report will be ineligible for new SEEDS funding for themselves or for other student projects until the overdue report is filed.

Submission Process (pg. 5)
Due to the high volume of submissions, no technical or administrative questions will be answered by the SEEDS Coordinator on the day of submission unless they are related to website submission errors.


Graduate Student Proposal Deadlines (pg. 3)
In order to have graduate projects start earlier in the spring, the graduate proposal deadline has been moved up to Dec. 19, 2018.

Submission Process (pg. 3)
Due to the high volume of submissions, no technical or administrative questions will be answered by the SEEDS Coordinator on the day of submission unless they are related to website submission errors.

Current Funding (pg. 5)
We are now asking students to include a list of current funding.

Gary Pierzynski, Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education, will be encouraging the selection panels to place greater emphasis on using SEEDS funding to make faculty members or teams more competitive for external funding. Therefore, presenting a clear plan for how this will be accomplished should the grant be funded will strengthen the proposal.

In FY 2018, 49 SEEDS applications were submitted requesting $2,412,158 in funding. Overall, 19 faculty awards were made, an investment of $894,745. In addition to the faculty awards, 51 student proposals were submitted this year. Three undergraduate and 20 graduate awards were made for an investment of $107,579.

Pelotonia – A Personal Journey

Below is a testimonial from Benjamin Wenner, visiting assistant professor, Animal Sciences. He highlights his nine-year journey with Pelotonia. After his story, learn how to support Buckeye Team-CFAES Sustains Life as well as incentives for being a virtual rider.

My first year in Pelotonia started a bit differently than many of the people that I ride with every year now. Shooting the breeze with a couple friends, one of them asked me out of the blue if I wanted to do a 180-mile bike ride. Keeping in mind that I hadn’t biked more than 15 miles at a time in the past few years, the obvious answer was, “Sure, why not?” He proceeded to explain that there was a grassroots biking organization that rode to Athens and back to raise money for cancer research. As one of the worst kinds of ill-conceived bets, we goaded each other on to see who would crack first on this crazy endeavor. Little did I know we’d just signed up for one of my most life-changing experiences.

Neither one of us even owned a bike. He borrowed a 1980’s version from a friend, but I went all out and scoured Craigslist for weeks to settle on a 1970’s teal LeJeune Normandie in Newark, OH, for $125. My first real road bike was secured, just a couple months before I took the longest ride of my life through the Hocking Hills. I learned to ride on the road and signal to drivers, to change flat tires (old bikes seem to find those quickly), and to make friends with bike shops because something will always go wrong. Sure, we trained some, but ultimately it would prove not to be enough. Through the summer, I shared my story about riding for cancer research and learned just how many people around me had been affected by some sort of the disease. Stories about friends who had survived childhood cancer, colleagues who has lost family members, and even the cancer remission story for someone without whom I would never have followed my career path.

The first day of Pelotonia finally arrived, and I was nervous. I didn’t know what to expect, there were hundreds more people than I expected at the starting line, and I was struck with the realization of how much bigger Pelotonia was than a couple of guys beating a personal challenge and raising money for a “good cause”. What struck me more than anything else was the buzz all around us; these people were so excited to be here and to be a part of something bigger. The ride that year started through campus, went down near the medical center, and South out of Columbus on High Street. Growing up a Buckeye, I was used to seeing a lot of people lining the roads for events on campus; I didn’t think anything of it. But when we turned the corner and started seeing cancer patients and their families, I felt this rush of adrenaline I hadn’t known before. Here were these people cheering us on who didn’t know us but they knew (even better than I) what this event meant.  And the lines of people didn’t stop. Miles down the road there were still people camped out, holding signs or ringing bells. All of these people weren’t just cheering on one person, but a movement. Pelotonia provides funding for novel research, education, and clinical trials that would never be possible without that startup funding. More importantly, the event provides hope to the patients and their families, and the knowledge that a community is aware of their struggles against a faceless monster. And we care. The human element of compassion between people alone is so uplifting.

The ride was full of bumps for us. My crank fell off at mile 12 and we ran out of water a time or two. I remember when we passed the 40-mile mark and I commented that I’d never ridden farther than that. A woman nearby laughed and said, “Well, the rest of today will be interesting for you then.” We walked Starner Hill (and maybe a couple others) and a nasty thunderstorm left us drenched and nearly lost in Logan. Then we chanced upon another rider, out alone by herself. She was on the verge of quitting but we rode with her and shared our stories for what motivated us to keep riding. Completion of the ride was our only goal and the end felt like such a victory. At the end of a second hot and humid Ohio day, I had come to an important conclusion. Pelotonia isn’t just about fundraising but about the emotional experience of feeling like you can make a difference against something invisible but yet so horrible. As riders and fundraisers, we’re providing feedback to patients and their families that they’re not alone. We are all in this together, just like a peloton of riders shields each other from wind on the road and saves everyone a little energy along the way.

This year marks nine years for me riding in Pelotonia, and over $10,000 raised for cancer research. It seemed like a small effort when I started, but those $5 and $10 donations have added up to something amazing – over $160 million by over 8,300 riders! I am not a professional cyclist, but the wonderful thing about Pelotonia is that you don’t have to be good at biking or even enjoy biking to join this unique fundraising effort. In fact, you don’t even have to own a bike – you can be a volunteer or a virtual rider (fundraising but without the time commitment of riding) and your contributions are equally as important! You can donate to riders like myself who get daily encouragement on our training rides from the notifications when someone supports our efforts. Through Pelotonia, I’ve grown to love biking but what keeps me coming back every year are the new stories of survival, the fresh grief from the losses of friends, and the wonderful memories of the people around me. My friends know me as the one who’s not afraid to take on a crazy bet, because you never know where something as simple as a 180-mile challenge can take you.

Support Team Buckeye-CFAES Sustains Life

There are multiple ways to get involved and help fundraise for this important initiative. You can learn more about joining as a rider, a virtual rider, or as an event volunteer by visiting https://pelotonia.org/register/.

To be a virtual rider, all you need to do is raise $100. Or, you can pay the $100 yourself. Registration instructions are below. You also can help support Team Buckeye–CFAES Sustains Life by making a donation to the team. Click here to donate to the team or an individual member of the team.

Pelotonia Registration Instructions

Incentives for Virtual Riders

Did you know that if you can’t ride in Pelotonia 18, you can be a virtual rider or volunteer with Team Buckeye? Virtual riders participate by raising funds ($100 or more) without boarding a bike. All Team Buckeye virtual riders, which includes Team Buckeye-CFAES Sustains Life, will receive a T-shirt, and those who raise $250+ by Friday, Aug. 3 will be entered to win two tickets to a Big Ten Ohio State football game (game announced at a later date), including admission to the President’s Pregame Huddle.

Leadership Update

Dr. Jeff LeJeune, professor and FAHRP program head, has accepted a new position with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome, and will be leaving Ohio State in early September. Jeff has been a member of the Veterinary Preventive Medicine (VPM) faculty for over 17 years, building a highly successful research program and serving as food safety Extension specialist within the FAHRP group based on the CFAES Wooster campus. He has served as FAHRP program head for the past five years.

Jeff views the new position as an important career opportunity and the next step in his career progression. His intention is to continue to maintain a relationship with Ohio State and use this as an opportunity to help us identify new international collaborations and opportunities.

Dr. Gireesh Rajashekara, VPM professor, has agreed to serve as interim FAHRP program head while plans are made for Jeff’s permanent replacement. Gireesh has previously served as acting FAHRP program head, and his experience should ensure a smooth transition in FAHRP leadership.

Faculty and Staff Appreciation Buckeye Football Game

President Drake announced the fifth year of the Faculty and Staff Appreciation Buckeye Football Game. A large number of faculty and staff have an opportunity to be randomly selected to each receive four complimentary tickets to the Ohio State vs. Tulane University football game on Saturday, Sept. 22.

Everyone is required to “opt-in” at https://hr.osu.edu/appreciationevent/ by July 31, 2018, at 11:59 p.m. for the opportunity to receive football tickets. Tickets will be distributed via a randomized selection process. For more information and details about the game and related activities, visit the FAQs.

The Opt-in webpage will close on July 31, 2018, and faculty and staff will be notified of their selection status around Aug. 10.  If recipients are not able to use their tickets, they are being asked to return the tickets to their Human Resources Professional by Sept. 5.

Advanced Biobased Systems Workshop

Pipeline to Commercialization
Monday, Sept. 10, 2018
8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Nationwide & Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Building
Ohio State University, Columbus Campus

Join us to hear what’s happening in this growing industry, from investment to feedstock production to scale up. Case studies will highlight the “how to” of biobased product development and commercialization.

Plus, registered attendees are invited to a free pre-workshop networking event:
Farm Tour and Barbeque
Sunday, Sept. 9 from 5-8 p.m.
Sponsored by the Ohio Soybean Council

Register by July 30 for early-bird and student rates.

Click here for program and online registration details.

Staff Appreciation Week

In celebration of Ohio State staff members’ contributions to the university, Staff Appreciation Week activities are planned, beginning with the annual Ice Cream Social on the Oval Monday, July 23 from 1-4 p.m., with a brief program around 1:40 p.m.

Additional activities include a Columbus Crew SC game, Ohio State Fair discount admission, Ohio Stadium tours, Ohio State Planetarium shows, Wexner Center for the Arts tours, and local restaurant and retail discounts.

Share your Staff Appreciation photos using #OSUStaffWeek.

Click here for more information about Staff Appreciate Week activities.

Flowering Plant with the Largest Unbranched Inflorescence is Blooming

The Biological Sciences Greenhouse has reported that an Amorphophallus titanium is blooming! This plant, which is also known as a titan arum or corpse flower, is a flowering plant with the largest unbranched inflorescence in the world, and it rarely blooms.

Usually, public viewings are scheduled, but construction is preventing access to the site. However, you can view a live feed, Watch Titan Arum Bloom. This might be a blessing in disguise because the bloom has a very putrid smell—hence, corpse flower.