A Cross Pollinating Forum for Sharing Research, Education, and Extension across CALS


This is a grass-roots initiative which has led to a pattern of 2 monthly Cells to Society Seminars punctuated with a quarterly Out of the Box Workshop.

The goals are to:

  1. Catalyze cross-CALS pollination, collaboration, and problem solving.
  2. Weave a stronger network of relationships and professional connection throughout CALS.
  3. Yield larger, innovative, integrated and multi-disciplined grant proposals.

The seminars are a forum to share what we’ve done and what we are currently doing, while the workshops are a forum for collaborative exploration of what we might do next. The intent of the initiative is to foster sharing of research, education, and extension initiatives across the College of Agriculture, Life Sciences and Extension and across UVM to promote connections, transfer of knowledge, transdisciplinary collaboration, effective leverage of research findings, identification of new research questions, and collective impact in alignment with our land-grant mission.

What we are doing and what we have done.

Seminars are organized around themes which covering the range of CALS work (from youth to plants to dairy to behavioral science). Two speakers are invited to each speak on a topic that fits into the theme with 20 minutes each followed by 20 minutes of joint Q&A and discussion. You can always find the seminar schedule, webinar link, and recordings of past seminars below. Also, we are always looking for more ideas for themes and topics at http://go.uvm.edu/cells2societyideas.

What we could be doing next to address community need.

These workshops provide time and semi-structured space to cultivate, through chance and intention, creative and innovative project ideas and solutions needed to address real and complex problems facing our times. Example topic areas from the last year include, Optimizing High Tunnel Management, Sustainable Ag Materials, Soil Bio-Diversity, and Expanding CALS Work through Public Communication and Improved Scientific Literacy. Please take a moment to complete this short form to help us create OOB small group topics areas. 

Want to be more involved in organizing or steering this work?  We would love more voices and perspectives in the planning group. Email chris.callahan@uvm.edu.


Upcoming Events

January 19, 2-3pm – Out of the Box Workshop


2023 Schedule

All events take place 2pm-3pm unless otherwise noted

January 19 – Out of the Box Workshop

February 9 – Cells to Society Seminar: Food Safety

March 9 11am-12pm – Cells to Society Seminar: Microbiology and Molecular Genetics (MMG)

April 13 – Out of the Box Workshop

May 11 – Cells to Society Seminar: Maple

June 8 – Cells to Society Seminar: Growing Stuff

July 13 – Out of the Box Workshop

August 10 – Cells to Society Seminar: Agroecology and Landscape Design

September 14 – Cells to Society Seminar: Forestry

October 12 – Out of the Box Workshop: Out of the Box Workshop

November 9 – Cells to Society Seminar: Communications

December 14 – Cells to Society Seminar: Consumer Science and Behavior


Past Events

February 10, 2021 - 12 – 1 PM: Plants

  1. "Plant reproduction - New Answers to an Old Question" – Philip Lintilhac, PhD, Research Associate Professor, Department of Plant Biology.
  2. "Is The Climate Challenging Vermont’s Pastures of Plenty" – Heather Darby, PhD, Extension Professor, Gund Fellow, and Department of Plant and Soil Science.

Watch the recording from February 10 on YouTube


March 10, 2021 - 12 – 1 PM: Maple

  1. What Lies Beneath: Compartmentalization, Non Conductive Wood and Impacts on Sugar Maple Sap Flow and Sustainability Mark Isselhardt, MS, Extension Maple Specialist.
  2. Modern Maple Management and EconomicsMark Cannella, MS, Extension Associate Professor: Farm and Forest Business Management.

Watch the recording from March 10 on YouTube


April – Out of the Box Workshop


May 12, 2021 - 12 – 1 PM: Youth

  1. The 4-H of TodaySarah Kleinman, MPA,  Director, 4-H, Family and Farmworker Education Programs and Lauren Traister, 4-H Teen & Leadership Coordinator both of UVM Extension, College of Agriculture, Life Sciences and Extension.
  2. Reducing Vaping in Young People Andrea Villanti, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology, Vermont Center on Behavioral Health, Department of Psychological Science, College of Arts and Sciences.

Watch the recording from May 12 on YouTube


December 2, 2021 - 3 – 4 PM: Biosecurity

  1. The complexity of saving your bacon: policy and practical challenges of protecting food animal healthJulie Smith, Research Associate Professor, Animal and Veterinary Sciences
  2. A modeler’s dilemma: should we include irrationality and human vagaries in model predictions?Scott Merrill, Research Assistant Professor, Plant and Soil Science

Watch the recording from December 2 on YouTube


January 11, 2022 - 10:30 AM – 12 PM: Out of the Box Workshop


February 10, 2022 -12 – 1 PM: Dairy

  1. “The Dairy Situation: Past, Present and Future” -- Tony Kitsos, UVM Extension Dairy Business Program Specialist
  2. “CREAM: Rising to the Top" -- Steve Wadsworth, DVM, Faculty Advisor for CREAM, Lecturer in Department of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, featuring Audrey King

Watch the recording from February 10 on YouTube


March 17, 2022 - 11am – 12 PM: New Crops, New Markets

  1. "Saffron: A High Value Crop to Boost Revenues for Small Diversified Farms”Margaret Skinner, Research Professor and Extension Entomologist, Department of Plant & Soil Science, Entomology Research Laboratory
  2. “Current Prospects for Hemp: Consumers and Markets”Jane Kolodinsky, Professor and Chair, Community Development and Applied Economics; Director, Center for Rural Studies

Watch the recording from March 17 on YouTube


April 14, 2022 - 2 – 3PM: Out of the Box Workshop


May 12, 2022 -11am – 12 PM: Water

  1. "Highlands to Oceans (H2O): Anticipatory Governance of Hydroclimatic Regime Shifts in Transboundary River Basins”—Asim Zia, Professor of Public Policy and Computer Science, Community Development and Applied Economics
  2. “Public contributions to water quality protection in the Lake Champlain Basin”— Kris Stepenuck, Extension Associate Professor, Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources

Watch the recording from May 12 on YouTube


June 9, 2022 - – 3PM: Human Behavior 

  1. "All Together Now: The Transdisciplinary Approach to Creating Effective Health Communication”Matthew Dugan, Lecturer, Community Development and Applied Economics AND Finlay Pilcher, Medical Student, The Robert Larner College of Medicine at UVM

Watching the recording from June 9 on YouTube


July 21, 2022 -2 – 3PM: Out of the Box Workshop


August 11, 2022 - 2 – 3PM: Agritourism and Recreation

  1. "Agritourism – Scourge or Savior?”— Lisa Chase, Extension Professor, Natural Resources Specialist and Director of the Vermont Tourism Research Center
  2. “Imaginaries of Recreation, Tourism and Rural Places”— Patricia Stokowski, Professor, RSENR, Director of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Program

Watch the recording from August 11 on YouTube


September 15, 2022 - 2 – 3PM: Collaborative Research on Food Systems

  1. "Towards a 5-year Plan for the USDA-ARS Food Systems Research Unit”Dr. Christian Peters, Research Leader, USDA-ARS Food Systems Research Unit
  2. “What’s Happened, Happening, and Ideas for the Future of the UVM Food Systems Research Center”Dr. Meredith Niles, Associate Director of the Food Systems Research Center and Associate Professor in the Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences and the Food Systems Program at UVM

Watching the recording from September 15 on YouTube


November 17, 2022 -  10 11am: Economics, Business and Sustainability:

  1. "The Progress Illusion: Reclaiming Our Future from the Fairytale of Economics” Jon D. Erickson, David Blittersdorf Professor of Sustainability Science and Policy in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources
  2. “Intersections of Sustainability Innovation and Business”Charles R. Schnitzlein, Professor, Academic Director, Sustainable Innovation MBA Program, Steven Grossman Endowed Chair in Finance, UVM Grossman School of Business

Watch the recording from November 17 on YouTube


December 8, 2022 - 2pm – 3pm: Nutrition:

  1. "What is EFNEP anyway?”Maire Folan, Vermont State EFNEP Coordinator
  2. “Dairy Fat—Not So Bad After All”Dr. Jana Kraft, Associate Professor, Department of Animal and Veterinary Sciences UVM

Watch the recording from December 8 on YouTube