From the Chair

In celebration of Women’s History Month, I want to spotlight a significant positive trend over the history of our department, and our aspirations for continued improvement and growth.  
The first women graduated from our department in 1977, and when I joined the faculty 22 years ago, we regretfully had exactly zero tenure-stream women faculty. Today, our biosystems engineering undergraduate program enrollment is now greater than 50% women, which is a point of pride relative to the overall national enrollment in undergraduate engineering programs (only about 21%). Our tenure-stream faculty is now 31% women, better than the national average of  approximately 20% across all engineering programs. However, we are committed to a future that continues to advance a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community in our department – a community that aspires to promote the success of all our students, staff, and faculty. 
In addition to the regular highlights of our exciting work in food, energy, environment, and health, this newsletter features a story on three of our women faculty members who are making a difference in global health through their research in rapid diagnostics for global diseases, diet and chronic disease, and water and public health risks. These are just a few examples of the incredibly impactful research, education, and outreach efforts that our faculty members are leading to advance our mission of improving quality of life. Our students are doing the same, and some of their amazing work and aspirations are also highlighted in this newsletter.   
I can’t help but be optimistic about our future and confident in the positive impact that our students will have on our world as they venture into their professional lives. Our role in helping prepare them for that success is both a serious responsibility and a profound privilege, and we remain dedicated to continuously improving and growing our programs to maximize our collective success and impact. 
Please feel free to drop me a note anytime if you want to connect or discuss ideas or opportunities to engage. 
Go Green! 
Bradley Marks, Ph.D., P.E.
Professor and Department Chair
MSU Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering
BAE women making a difference in global health
BAE faculty members Evangelyn Alocilja, Jade Mitchell and Ilce Medina Meza prepare the next generation of biosystems engineers while advancing human health through disease detection and prevention.

Monitoring MSU's campus for the novel coronavirus
Jade Mitchell, BAE associate professor, and doctoral student Ryan Julien play a critical role in analyzing public health implications and informing decision-making by monitoring the presence of the novel coronavirus in campus wastewater.

BAE professors receive grants to bring agricultural innovations to developing countries

Ajit Srivastava, Timothy Harrigan and Pouyan Nejadhashemi are part of USAID projects to improve agricultural practices in West Africa and South Asia.

Powering campus using food waste
MSU's anaerobic digester turns wasted food into renewable energy.

BAE associate professor Dana Kirk is the manager of the MSU Anaerobic Digestion Education and Research Center (ADREC).

Using plants and microorganisms to create sustainable ecosystems

Dawn Reinhold, BAE associate professor, researches how duckweed inoculated with microorganisms can remove pollutants from an ecosystem.

Join us April 21 for virtual Showcase Day
(Photo from Showcase Day 2019, pre-pandemic)

Our annual Showcase Day will take place online April 21. Join us to learn about the awesome work our students are doing to solve real-world problems in food, energy, environment and health.
MSU biosystems engineering prepares student for career in combating climate change

For junior Lindsey Hassel, a biosystems engineering degree offers the flexibility to pursue a variety of interests related to environmental and ecosystems engineering.

Hassel is a professorial assistant under BAE Associate Professor Steven Safferman.

Biosystems engineering student hopes to open free clinic in Africa

Yassah Bah-Deh, a biosystems engineering junior, aspires to create a global foundation to help minority women and children.

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