Spring 2020
From the Chair's Chair
Wow! This has been a different kind of spring around Farrall Hall and MSU. The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has brought on-campus life to a screeching halt! I was just in Farrall Hall this week checking on the building. There was an eerie feeling with no one else around.

The faculty had about a 2-hour notice on March 11 to go from in-class instruction to remote instruction. It was a HUGE adjustment, but ALL of the Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering (BAE) faculty have done an incredible job making that transition. We have learned a lot about how to do this over the last 3+ weeks, despite the high learning curve. Our students have been adjusting, too. Most have moved off campus, in many cases back home, and are trying to keep up with their classes.  
This is an abbreviated BAE Spring Newsletter highlighting our capstone students, their projects, the virtual BE Showcase and our faculty. Our faculty and staff have received several awards this year. Check those out! We are proud of what our students, staff and faculty accomplish each year, and it is great that we have the chance to share these awards.

It has been a tough transition, but everyone is pulling their weight and doing what they can. BE students’ summer plans, education abroad trips, internships and potentially job offers are being all impacted by the novel coronavirus pandemic. All summer 2020 education abroad programs are canceled and all summer classes will be offered in remote and distance learning formats.

As one can imagine some students are struggling and the College of Engineering has established a fund to support engineering students . Alternatively, a gift to the BAE department’s general fund can be earmarked for BE students directly . Once the crisis curve reverses, we will reach out to you our loyal BAE alumni for word-of-mouth assistance locating possible employment and internship opportunities for BE students. 
The MSU response to the coronavirus has aligned with Michigan Governor Whitmer’s emergency response declaration. Our collective mantra has been: “People First, Student Centered.” Our remote teaching is moving forward. Most research and extension activities have been paused for the time being. However, some essential research and extension activities were approved for continuation through a process involving the department, college and provost levels of authorization.

The BE Showcase, something we all look forward to, will be all online this year. As soon as MSU moved in-person classes to remote learning, BAE faculty started figuring out how we could still be able to have some semblance of a BE Showcase Day to culminate and celebrate a year of hard work. Under the expert guidance of Luke Reese, we will be able to offer you a virtual showcase this year.

Later in this issue you will see the schedule and instructions for how to be a part of our Virtual Showcase Day . Join us by Zoom on April 23, 3-5 p.m. Hats off to the BAE Team for getting it done! 

Speaking of BAE Showcase changes, Barb Delong, who many of you have interacted with over the years and who has helped with the Showcase, retired on Feb. 28, 2020, after nearly 30 years with MSU. She seems to be doing well in retirement, and we wish her all the best.

Since this will be the last newsletter before the fall, I wanted to let you know that I will be leaving MSU to assume the role of dean at Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design at West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia. I will become the dean there on July 1, 2020.

I have enjoyed my time and roles at Michigan State. I have felt the warmth of the BAE family and have adopted the mantra of “Spartans Will.” I will miss all of the BAE alumni. I have enjoyed working closely with several of you, and particularly our industrial advisory board, to support our students. If you want to contact me, please do. College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Dean Ron Hendrick has been working with the departmental advisory committee to make the transition to an interim chair as smooth as possible.    

We hope to be back in Farrall Hall soon and all of this coronavirus stuff will be behind us. I am sure that we are moving into a time of a new normal for everyone. Until then, we hope to see and hear from you soon during our BE Virtual Showcase Day on Thursday, April 23, 2020.

Drop us a note and let us know what you have been up to lately, and you will be included in the next BAE family newsletter. 

Thank you for all you do to increase the Brand of BAE. It is YOUR EFFORTS as our wonderful alumni that increases our stock price….so THANK YOU!
Darrell W. Donahue

Professor and Chair

2020 BE Showcase
The BE Showcase is going virtual! Join us online for the BE Showcase on April 23, 2020, when 42 senior design students from BE 487 present their two-semester design projects. Students, as part of 11 teams, will present virtually to industry evaluators in the morning and then public presentations will begin at 3 p.m. Continue your day and join 57 students from BE 230 Engineering Analysis of Biological Systems at 5:15 p.m. for a virtual poster session. ( Read more .)
Select 2020 Faculty & Student Awards
Kudos all around to BAE faculty members and students recognized with prestigious honors, including the 2020-21 BAE Undergraduate and Graduate Scholarship recipients.

  • Dr. Truman Surbrook received the 2020 CANR Distinguished Faculty Award and the 2020 Withrow Teaching Excellence Award.
  • Dr. Wei Liao received the 2020 CANR Howard and Lili Camden Endowed Teacher/Scholar Award.
  • BAE graduate student Kaitlyn Casulli (advisor Dr. Kirk Dolan) received a USDA Education and Workforce Development Fellowship.
  • See the full list of 2020-2021 BAE Undergraduate and Graduate Scholarships.

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Meet the 2019-20 Industry Advisory Board and Industry Evaluators for senior design projects.  ( Read more .)
Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering  
524 S. Shaw Lane 
216 Farrall Hall 
Michigan State University 
East Lansing, MI 48824 
(517) 355-4720 

Meet the BAE faculty and staff…
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