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UWRF professor awarded Fulbright Scholarship

March 25, 2015

Gary Onan, professor of animal science at UW-River Falls, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholars grant to Banat University of Agricultural Science and Veterinary Medicine in Timisoara, Romania.

He will spend the 2016 spring semester at Banat teaching two courses in animal production, collaborating with their faculty on redesigning courses and curriculum to make more effective use of hands-on laboratory exercises, and conducting a series of seminars for graduate students that focus on how to develop effective extension and outreach programming.

The Banat region of Romania has extensive agricultural resources, essentially equivalent to that of Central Illinois which is some of the most productive farmland in the world. Much of that potential has been unrealized to date because of social, political, cultural and informational barriers.

Onan’s goal is to shrink those informational barriers by helping develop classroom and outreach strategies for delivery of current scientific and practical knowledge to farmers, and students who will one day become professionals in agricultural fields.

“Romanian agriculturists are great people with a heartfelt connection to their land and livestock,” Onan said. “They have tremendous potential, given the opportunity and knowledge to best utilize the resources available to them.”

Onan has a long-standing connection with Ioan Hutu, a faculty member in the Animal Production and Public Veterinary Health Department at Banat University. They first met in 2004 when Hutu visited UWRF as part of a USDA-sponsored program for international young animal scientists.

Onan subsequently traveled to Romania to present at a scientific symposium in 2005, and met with Banat University faculty and producers in the surrounding region. Onan and Hutu have remained in contact over the years, including collaborating on the publication of an English language animal science text for Romanian students.

In addition to Romania, Onan has traveled to Latin America. He already incorporates international experiences and examples into his courses to illustrate the global nature of the production and marketing of animal-derived foods. This project will allow him to do that to a much greater degree. He also hopes to identify some meaningful service-learning study abroad opportunities for UWRF students.