Research transitions

One of the more memorable experiences I had as a young boy in Iowa was exploring streams, ponds, lakes and even ditches to find anything that grew in water. I enjoyed fishing, but even more, I enjoyed finding odd looking aquatic creatures and observing their habits.

Those interests influenced my choice of biology as a major in college and led me to some great opportunities to more formally explore my curiosity through scientific research. I was fortunate to have two fantastic research opportunities as an undergraduate at Luther College in northeastern Iowa.

During one summer, a group of us studied streams and agricultural impacts on water quality and fish habitats. The following summer, I worked on the upper Mississippi River, exploring the native populations of fresh water mussels along a roughly 100-mile stretch of the river.

Those experiences obviously had a tremendous impact on my life, and in graduate school, I gained respect for the many areas of research that attracted fellow graduate students and faculty members. Although I’m not as active in research as an administrator, I am still inspired by those who do carry out research and push the envelope of our understanding of the world around us.

Dr. Jonathon Edelson, the former associate director of the Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station and professor of entomology, is one of those colleagues who has provided valuable leadership for research at OSU and in the division. Approximately 37 percent of the university’s expenditures in support of research fall under the statewide OAES system, and more than 100 doctoral-level faculty are funded at least partially by the OAES to conduct research.

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Edelson retired Sept. 10 after 25 years of dedicated service to OSU students, faculty and staff. We were fortunate to have his steady hand guiding the Experiment Station through some challenging budgets. And we fully expect the division’s crucial research initiatives to continue seamlessly under the direction of Keith Owens, interim associate director.

Those of you who are familiar with the land-grant mission know research is a crucial element of the triangle. Here at OSU and, specifically, across the division, there is incredible, ground-breaking, world-changing research occurring every day spearheaded by passionate faculty as well as undergraduate and graduate students studying hard to one day become paradigm-shifting researchers in their own right.

We are certainly grateful and appreciative of both Edelson and Owens for their time and service. Their contributions, in concert with countless other former, current and aspiring researchers, have positively affected the lives of Oklahomans of all ages and will continue to do so into the indefinite future.