Seminar: Nurturing Human Wellness and Thriving Communities

February 2022

At Colorado State University, we are driven by our land-grant commitment to solve challenges to environmental, plant, animal and human health and well-being on a local and global scale. We foster resilient communities across Colorado by nurturing the health and wellbeing of humans, animals, plants and the environment through the experience of agriculture, landscape and natural resources. We improve the societal well-being of people and communities by creating and sharing tools and information aimed to solve economic, managerial, educational and policy-related problems within agri-food and resource systems.

aerial view of winding river farmland mountain community


During the February research seminar, faculty from the college’s five academic departments shared five-minute “lightning talks” on research that advances work to nurture human wellness and thriving communities in Colorado, and beyond.

Panel of people at a table with someone projected on the screen speaking behind them

Jessica Prenni

Associate Professor, Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture 

Presentation: The Periodic Table of Food Project

Jessica Prenni received her Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Colorado, Boulder followed by post-doctoral training at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, CA. She has over 20 years of experience in biological mass spectrometry and served for over ten years at the Director of the Proteomics and Metabolomics Core Facility at Colorado State University. Presently, Dr. Prenni is a Professor in the Department of Horticulture at CSU where the overall theme of her research is the application of mass spectrometry to address important issues in food quality, safety, and sustainability. She is also a core team member of the Periodic Table of Food Initiative which is developing standardized analytical tools to catalog the biomolecular composition of the world’s food supply.

Contact Dr. Prenni via email to learn more about her research.

Jane Stewart

Associate Professor, Agricultural Biology

Presentation: Saving the Palisade Peach

Jane E. Stewart is an Associate Professor of Plant Pathology in the Department of Agricultural Biology at Colorado State University working on fungal diseases of forest, shade and fruit trees, and soil health. Dr. Stewart has more than 20 years of extensive experience in fungal biology, molecular diagnostics, molecular biology, population genomics of tree pathogens. Her research program at Colorado State University is focused on tree pathogens locally and abroad to better understand the biology, ecology and genetics, and management of emerging pathogenic fungi.

Contact Dr. Stewart via email to learn more about her research

Lori Catalano

Associate Professor, Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture 

Presentation: Why Beige Matters in a Green World 

Lori Catalano is an Associate Professor in the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture at Colorado State University. As a teacher and licensed landscape architect, she fosters an environment that inspires students to think critically and creatively about the world around them by making difficult concepts relevant to the individual experience of the student. To date, her research activities have focused on developing expertise in areas specifically related to teaching design and the challenges of creating water conserving landscapes in the semi-arid West. She has been recognized by her peers for teaching excellence and received awards for her design work. Her career is guided by the desire to create a more sustainable and ethical world that is beautiful. 

Contact Lori via email to learn more about her research.

Joshua Berning

Associate Professor, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics 

Presentation: Food and Nutrition Security in the US 

Joshua Berning is an associate professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at Colorado State University. His research to date has focused on how food marketing and food marketing policy impacts consumer demand, consumer nutrition, and related health outcomes. His current research efforts examine food access and food insecurity for at risk households. He received his PhD in Economics from Washington State University. 

Contact Dr. Berning via email to learn more about his research. 

Amanda McQuade

Community Food Systems Program Coordinator, Western Colorado Research Center 

Presentation: Nurturing Life by increasing Access to Nutritious Foods 

Amanda McQuade works at Colorado State University’s Western Campus to increase consumption of healthy fruits and vegetables. By connecting CSU resources of knowledge generation, applied scholarship and service, Amanda works to increase people’s access to healthy foods and provide the support and tools to help people consume those foods. Amanda co-creates solutions with community partners and with Extension and her favorite place to be at work is in an orchard filled with kids. 

Contact Dr. McQuade via email to learn more about her research. 

Caiti Peters

Assistant Professor, Department of Animal Sciences 
Director of Research, Temple Grandin Equine Center 

Presentation: Equine-Assisted Services 

Caiti Peters directs the research at Temple Grandin Equine Center, whose mission is to advance research and education in equine-assisted services. Peters earned her MS in Occupational Therapy and Ph.D. in Occupation and Rehabilitation Science at CSU. She was a graduate research assistant and postdoctoral fellow at Temple Grandin Equine Center before joining TGEC as an assistant professor and director of research in 2021. Her research focuses on the development and evaluation of equine-assisted services for people with disabilities, with particular emphasis on occupational therapy integrating horses for youth with autism spectrum disorder. 

Contact Dr. Peters via email to learn more about her research. 

Meagan Schipanski

Associate Professor, Department of Soil and Crop Sciences 

Presentation: Building resilient cropping systems and communities in the Central Great Plains 

Meagan Schipanski is an Associate Professor in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences at Colorado State University. Her research group applies systems-based approaches to improving the resilience of cropping systems, including topics of crop diversity, soil health, nutrient and water management, and climate adaptation strategies. While most of her research is conducted on working farm fields, she also collaborates on food systems and groundwater governance projects at broader regional and landscape scales.

Contact Dr. Schipanski via email to learn more about her research.