March 2009 Archives


Mr. Nicholas Gialloreto (Senior Turfgrass Science) was presented with the prestigious Watson undergraduate scholarship at the Sports Turf Manager's Conference in San Jose, CA.  Nick has extensive experience in the turfgrass industry. He started out in Golf Turf but has since made the switch to athletic field management and has worked for both the single A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates and interned at PNC Park home of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Nick is currently Penn State's turf club president and will be interning with the Pittsburgh Steelers this season.


The Watson Scholarship is the highest undergraduate scholarship offered by the Sports Turf Manager's Association and is named for the first Ph.D. in Turfgrass Science, Dr. James Watson who received his Ph.D. from Penn State in 1950.

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Three PSU turfgrass faculty members traveled to Meadville, PA on March 17, to speak at the 15th annual NW PA Athletic Field, Turf, Golf, and Ornamentals Conference. This year the NW PA Golf Association joined with Penn State Cooperative Extension and had one joint meeting addressing issues of concern to the green industry.


This event is the premier green industry educational seminar in North Western PA and is the brainchild of Venango County's Extension Director Jeff Fowler (pictured working registration). "Jeff is the heart and soul of this event, he does everything from speaking, to arranging lunch, and managing the trade show" says Andy McNitt, associate professor or turfgrass science, "it's a great event."


McNitt spoke in the athletic field management session on two topics: Field Drainage, and Synthetic Turf. Joining Andy McNitt from Penn State's main campus were: Dr. Peter Landschoot who presented a program entitled: " Hot Topics in Lawn and Grounds Management" and 'Fine Tuning Your Disease Control Program; and Jeff Borger who presented in the Golf Course management session on Turfgrass Problems encountered in 2008.


If you would like to be notified of this meeting next year, contact Jeff Fowler at:

brotherton.jpgMark Brotherton won the 2008 Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) Student Essay Contest. Mark is from Oak Ridge, N.J. and was a fourth-year undergraduate student at Penn State University when the award was granted. Mark won the first place scholarship of $2,000 for his essay: "How Well Do You Know Your Topdressing Sand?"

Jing.jpgJing Dai, Penn State, received the NACTA Graduate Student Teacher Award at the Annual Conference of the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture held at Utah State University, June 2008. The theme for the Conference was "Retaining the Best." The purpose of the annual conference is to provide for professional advancement of faculty engaged in classroom teaching. Participants have the opportunity to share teaching methods, philosophies, and styles of instruction.

Jing Dai was born on Jan 7, 1982, in Leshan City, Sichuan Province, China. Situated at the confluence of three branches of the Yangtze River, Leshan City is famous for the largest stone Buddha sculpture in the world. It was among those waters and hills her deep love for nature originated. As she grew up, she became especially interested in agriculture-related sciences.

In 2004, Jing earned her BS degree in Agronomy from China Agricultural University (the former Beijing Agricultural University), where she was exposed to advanced corn/wheat breeding research and studied genes encoding wheat DNA methyltransferase for her bachelor's thesis. Jing then moved to the Penn State to characterize the salinity tolerance of annual bluegrass and earned her MS degree in Agronomy in 2006. Currently, Jing is a Ph.D. candidate in Agronomy (minor in Statistics) at Penn State, working on improving creeping bentgrass nitrogen fertility regimes for optimized turfgrass quality and reduced environmental impact. Her advisor is Dr. Al Turgeon, professor of Turfgrass Management.

As a graduate assistant, Jing takes great joy in teaching turfgrass and soil sciences. She has assisted in the instruction of four courses and

four lab sections in three years. Not only is she intensively involved in classroom teaching, she also gives review sessions and constructs teaching Web sites to better help students. She also co-developed an annual bluegrass module for Penn State turfgrass online education. Jing continues to contribute to quality teaching and research at Penn State.


On February 28th 2009 Samuel R. Snyder VII was honored with the David Rafferty Distinguished Service and Leadership Award. This award is given to a member of the Central Pennsylvania Golf Course Association (CPGCSA) that has provided leadership, dedication and service to the Association.  This award exemplifies the spirit of the life and achievement of Mr. David Rafferty, a past president of CPGCSA.  Dave was a beloved friend of all who labor in the profession of the Golf Course Superintendent.  Dave and Sam were also close personal friends. 

Sam has exemplified the criteria of the award with his many years of support and contributions to the Association members and the Turf Industry. Sam has served on local, state, and national boards; he has also worked with the state government on regulatory issues including water restrictions.  Sam has mentored several young men into becoming current Golf Course Superintendents.

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First place 4-year team from left to right: Matt Elmore, Nick Gialolreto, Tanner Devalle, and Nick Leviere.

At this year's National Sports Turf Manager's Associations National Conference in San Jose, CA all three of Penn State's Competitive Student Teams placed in their divisions. One four-year turfgrass science team placed first and a second placed third out about 30 competing teams from Universities across the country in a written exam covering sports turf management topics as well as plant, insect, and disease ID.

In the Two-Year division out Penn State team placed second out of 15 teams competing. All team participants were in their second year of Penn State's Two Year Turfgrass Certificate Program. The awards are currently on display in The Hamilton Turf Club Room in ASI.

STMA-0834.jpgAll three teams and awards: Front Row (left to right) Josh Kravik, Matthew Elmore, Drew Barnett, Brandon Crim, Nicholas Gialloreto, Back row: Kyle Hivner, Dina Avvakumova, Dustin LeVan, Ryan Golay, Jasmine Steinke, Nicholas LeViere, Tanner DelValle.

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Penn State Students site seeing in San Francisco.

Faculty advisor Andy McNitt points out that "Matt Naedel should be commended for his hard work and focus on the quality training these students received. Matt sets the tone and the students have obviously responded." This is the first time in the history of the competition that a University has successfully defended their title. Last year Penn State took first in both the four-year and two-year divisions and the only University to place each year of the competition. The Students would like to thank Keystone Athletic Field Manager's Association and TORO for their financial assistance in attending the conference. The students would also like to thank those who took the time to help with evening training sessions including: Dr. Andrew McNitt (faculty advisor), Dr. Peter Landschoot, Dr. Max Schlossberg, Dr. Al Jarret, Ms. Dianne Petrunak, Mr. Steve LeGros, Mr. Jeff Borger, Mr. Dave Livingston, and Mr. Jeff Fowler.

For the STMA newsrelease click here.

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By Kendra Confer, PSU Ag Science News
-- Joseph M. Duich, professor emeritus of turfgrass science in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, was recently selected by the university's board of trustees to receive the 2008 Distinguished Alumni Award, the university's highest award for an individual.

As a faculty member in agronomy at Penn State from 1955 to 1991, Duich developed turfgrass species for use on golf courses and athletic fields. While in graduate school, he worked with his advisor, H.B. Musser, on the development of Penncross bentgrass, which was released in 1954. Today Penncross is the most widely used bentgrass on golf courses around the world.

Among other Penn turf varieties that Duich developed are Pennfine perennial ryegrass, Pennstar Kentucky bluegrass, Pennlinks, Penneagle, six Penn A and G series bentgrasses, and Seaside II.

Duich donated his patent royalties from the sale of these turfgrass varieties to Penn State, which established an endowment in his name. Today, the Joseph M. Duich Turfgrass Endowment stands at nearly $2.5 million, interest income from which is the major source of support for Penn State's Joseph Valentine Turfgrass Research Center, which Duich helped establish.

Throughout his 36 years teaching at Penn State, Duich taught eight turf courses, mentored 21 master's and doctoral students, and formed the Musser International Turfgrass Foundation in honor of his mentor. This foundation annually presents its Award of Excellence and $20,000 to a qualified doctoral candidate to help pay for the student's continued study in turfgrass science.

In addition to breeding turfgrass, Duich is credited with writing more than 100 technical publications on topics such as turfgrass weed and disease control, nitrogen fertilization, putting-green speed management, species competition, renovation, soil modification and seed priming.

Duich has been honored with 15 awards for his dedication to the science and business of agronomy. In recognition of his lifelong devotion to improving the game of golf by breeding new turfgrasses, the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America selected Duich to receive the 2006 Old Tom Morris Award - its most prestigious honor.

Duich grew up in Farrell and Hickory Township, Pa. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1946 to 1948 before earning a bachelor's degree in agronomy in 1952 and a doctorate in agronomy in 1957, both from Penn State. He retired from teaching at Penn State in 1991 but continues his work as a turfgrass consultant and scientist. Duich and his wife, Patricia, who live in State College, Pa., have three children.

John E. Kaminski, Ph.D., has been hired as the newest member of the Pennsylvania State University's turfgrass faculty. He will assume the role of Assistant Professor of Turfgrass Science and Director of the Penn State Certificate Program in Golf Course Turfgrass Management.

Dr. Kaminski received his undergraduate degrees in Turfgrass Science and Landscape Contracting from Penn State in 1998. Following graduation, he attended the University of Maryland and received his MS and PhD under the direction of Dr. Peter H. Dernoeden. While at Maryland, Dr. Kaminski's USGA-funded graduate research involved an in-depth investigation into bentgrass dead spot, a relatively new disease of golf course putting greens. Following graduation, he was hired as Assistant Professor of Turfgrass Pathology by the University of Connecticut. Dr. Kaminski's research efforts are focused on various agronomic, disease and weed related issues pertaining to the management of fine turf. He has authored over 180 publications including scientific, trade and extension articles, and has presented numerous talks in the United States and abroad.

Established in 1957, the Certificate Program in Golf Course Turfgrass Management provides education for those interested in the agronomics and business of golf course management. Students enrolled in this two-year program attend classes on the University Park campus for two eight-week terms per year and must complete six months of on-the-job training. According to the program's Interim Director, Dr. Thomas Watschke, "John brings a strong background in golf course management and applied research and I envision that he will play a large role in the future direction of turfgrass at Penn State".

John is the recipient of the Musser International Turfgrass Foundation's 2005 Award of Excellence. The annual award was created in honor of Professor H. B. Musser, whose career in turfgrass at Penn State spanned four decades. The Musser Award of Excellence acknowledges the most outstanding of these scholars seeking a Ph.D. in the turfgrass sciences and encourages their continued pursuit of excellence. "I am excited to have the opportunity to work with and train future golf course superintendents and continue my applied research program at one of the most respected turfgrass programs in the country," said Kaminski.

For older Penn State Turf News click here!


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This page is an archive of entries from March 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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