Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Chef Herb Holden Wins Cooking Award

by Marshelle Hailstock
Herbert Holden, Chef/Nutrition Educator with the Center for Nutrition, Diet and Health, won third place in the main dish category at the 10th Annual “Distinguished Men Cookin’ with the Deltas,” which was held Saturday, March 22, 2014, at Howard University’s Blackburn Center.  

Over 80 men competed in the event, which supports academic scholarships and community programs in Washington, DC, and is sponsored by the DC Alumnae Chapter and Alumnae Foundation of Delta Sigma Theta, Inc.  Celebrity Chef Carla Hall of ABC-TV’s “The Chew” presented Chef Holden’s award.

Congratulations, Chef Herb!

Monday, March 24, 2014


Honors Speaker Series with Dean O'Hara

Dean O'Hara serves as the March speaker for UDC's Honors Speaker Series at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 27, presenting The Five Pillars of Economic Development: Building Sustainable Communities. This event is free and open to the public so please join us at the Van Ness Campus, Building 44, A-03. For more information, please contact Dr. Alexander Howe, Honors Program Director, at or (202) 274-5658.

High-School Students Tend to UDC's Garden 
A group of 9th grade students from Edmund Burke School, a progressive, urban, co-ed college prep school for grades 6-12, are learning about climate change science in their earth science class. To fulfill a service-learning project, their teacher has coordinated a community garden project with the University, where they will be working on our Garden of the Senses over several weeks. The project will be documented on Just CAUSES, so stay tuned! For more information, contact Coy McKinney.

HBCU Forum Visits UDC
UDC was pleased to last month host a delegation of architecture students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The HBCU Forum included Morgan State, Prairie View and Howard Universities. Students toured one of CAUSES' aquaponics facilities and participated in the Post-Oil City panel on food and water security, as environmental considerations are essential in design.    

Friday, March 21, 2014

What's New in 4-H?

McKinley Tech "3-peat" Winner of the DC LifeSmarts Competition

UDC recently hosted the 4-H LifeSmarts Competition, a program that creates savvy consumers and develops marketplace skills among teens in a fun and engaging format. LifeSmarts Consumer Education for Teenagers, a program of the National Consumers League and is run locally through the division of the Center for 4-H and Youth Development, a land-grant program under CAUSES. For the third year in a row, McKinley Technical High School was named the winning team. 

Complementing high school curricula, Lifesmarts is run as a game-show style competition for 9th through 12th grade students every March. Teams from DC area high schools competed in the areas of personal finance, health and safety, the environment, technology and consumer law. 

Other participating high schools were: Calvin Coolidge High School, Columbia Heights Educational Campus, The Preparatory School of D.C. and the United Planning Powerhouse team. Each team included five youth and an adult coach.

As the D.C. champions, the McKinley Tech team will travel to Orlando, Florida, to vie for the National Championship April 26-29. Congratulations, McKinley Tech!

Jaime Brown introduces the competition.
CAUSES is committed to building strong, vibrant communities of active and engaged citizens. The Center for 4-H and Youth Development develops innovative programs that emphasize experiential learning opportunities for young people and their families. Through "hands-on" interactive programming, participants develop life skills, leadership abilities and an ethic of civic stewardship.

For more information or if you would like to volunteer for the event, contact LifeSmarts Extension Agent, Jaime Brown, at (202) 274-7136 or For more information on LifeSmarts, visit Learn more about the District’s 4-H program here.

Continue reading for upcoming 4-H events! 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

CAUSES in the News

You may have read about the University of the District of Columbia in the news recently. CAUSES  is honored to have received such positive press for our endeavors as of late!

For starters, our Professional Science Masters degree program was just featured in the Washington Post's Guide to Graduate Education

In the first feature, we take a look at the Professional Science Masters degree at the University of the District of Columbia. We also learn just how important it is to bridge the gap between scientific know-how and business savvy to take students to the next level of their careers.

How can this be accomplished? Read "New Academic Program Pairs Scientific Know-How with Business Savvy" for thoughts from Dean O'Hara, Dr. Deksissa and PSM alum, Toni Davidson.  

Then there was the popular Post Oil City exhibition, hosted with our friends at the Goethe Institut-Washington. We were grateful to be reviewed by the Washington City Paper and for Penn State, a fellow land-grant university, helping us to spread the word

And of course, being awarded three Sustainable DC grants has made several headlines, such as the Northwest Current and appearances in the Examiner, Office of the State Superintendent of Education's blog and Economic Development HQ

Keep reading for additional 
publications featuring CAUSES!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Water Resources Research Institute and Environmental Labs

Established in 1973, the mission of Water Resources Research Institute (WRRI) is to provide the District of Columbia with interdisciplinary research support to identify DC water resources problems and contribute to their solution. What's it all about? It's about conducting state-of-the-art research on the utility, viability and sustainability of water and water systems in the mid Atlantic region and especially for the residents of the District of Columbia. Particular attention is given to water consumption and utilization for recreation and environmental concerns.

Areas of focus include drinking water source protection, stormwater management and planning, water safety, and watershed stewardship. The Institute coordinates, facilitates, and disseminates water resources-related research projects through seed grants to faculty members from the consortium of universities in the greater DC Metro. The Institute supports collaborative training and research that engages not only faculty members and students, but also a broad array of stakeholders to address regional water issues in a holistic way.

Professional Science Masters in Water Resource Management

The PSM program in Water Resources Management is a unique professional degree that combines graduate studies in water quality, hydrology and environmental sciences with coursework in business, management communications, project management and sustainability entrepreneurship. It is a multidisciplinary graduate program that includes an internship in an employer workplace. This hands-on oriented program prepares graduates for effective science communication and problem solving skills, entrepreneurship and technical innovation in order to meet the global environmental challenges related to water availability, quality and sustainability. Upon successful completion of the program, students will be prepared for competitive and innovative water resources management positions. 

This degree is strongly focused on students finding gainful employment after graduation. Through the required internship, students gain experience in the field while still in school. Students also have access to WRRI’s state-of-the-art lab to conduct environmental quality analysis and modeling and simulations. Due to the technical nature of this degree, students graduate with applicable skills needed for the workplace including data collection, analysis, water-resource planning, natural resources management, water quality investigations, ground water students, project management, consulting, sustainability entrepreneurship as well as research and teaching.

Continue reading for the PSM course description.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Rooting DC Recap

Catherine Nourse discusses nutrition with a
Rooting DC attendee.
On Sat., March 1st, 2014, over 1000 community members participated in the annual Rooting DC event. This free, all-day gardening forum hosted by DC Greens provided education about urban food production and consumption. With over 70 workshops that included but were not limited to: seed starting, soil remediation, irrigation, beekeeping, mushroom cultivation, and container gardening, the event provided something for everyone from the beginner gardeners to seasoned horticulturists to citizens concerned about the greater food justice landscape. 

As one of the 50 organizations who facilitated the information fair, Center for Nutrition Diet and Health (CNDH) Project Specialist, Catherine Nourse actively engaged with DC residents on topics ranging from spring harvest vegetables to affordable, healthy snacking ideas to academic programs within CAUSES. 

Profile: Sebhat Tefera, Chemist

by Sebhat Tefera

I joined the Water Resources Research Institute (WRRI) at the University of the District of Columbia as a chemist. Prior to my affiliation with WRRI, I was employed as Adjunct Professor Mathematics and Science at the Community College of the District of Columbia for four years.

I work in WRRI’s Environmental Quality Testing Lab where supporting the Associate Dean of Programs, William Hare, and WRRI Director Tolessa Deksissa, who are working tirelessly for the National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program’s accreditation of the Environmental Quality Testing Lab. I am in the process of reviewing the requirements for the Environmental Protection Agency's Manual for the Certification of Laboratories for Analyzing Drinking Water.

I am also helping various faculty members teach students in the lab, by providing technical support for the undergraduate and graduate departmental courses and by conducting research for faculty members. This includes helping graduate students who are majoring in Water Resources Management and also undergraduate students who are measuring Nutrition and Dietetics.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

CAUSES TV: The Post Oil City

Although the Post-Oil City exhibit has ended its tour on UDC's campus, you can still learn about the city of the future. Whether or not you attended the visiting exhibit and dialogue workshops and panels, revisit the feasibility and functionality of the future city with this special Post-Oil episode of CAUSES TV.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Sandy Farber Talks Deer Proofing Gardening Tips on the Radio

As the weather turns warmer, learn how to protect your flowers and plants. Sandy Farber Bandier of UDC's Cooperative Extension Service recently discussed plants that deer are less likely to eat and strategies for keeping deer out of your garden for Federal News Radio 1500 AM. The interview was led by Shirley Rooker for the weeklyprogram Of Consuming Interest.  Listen as Sandy gives Shirley tips about how to protect her garden--and one of those tips include using pantyhose!

A horticulturalist, Sandy Farber is the Environmental and Natural Resources Extension Agent and Master and Junior Master Gardener Coordinator in the CAUSES Center of Urban Agriculture. She has 226 active Master Gardeners in D.C., where she trains participants to go out in the field and teach plant clinics. Sandy also has beautification projects in all eight Wards of D.C. including schools, places of worship, nursing homes and parks. Her Master Gardeners give back 9,000 hours back to the city annually.

Upcoming Events

4-H LifeSmarts Competition (March 14)
UDC will host to the 4-H LifeSmarts Competition on March 14, 2014, in room 515 of the David A. Clarke School of Law, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The LifeSmarts Consumer Education for Teenagers Program creates savvy consumers and develops marketplace skills among teens in a fun and engaging format. Complementing high school curricula, LifeSmarts is run as a game-show style competition for 9th through 12th grade students. For more info contact Jaime Brown, 4-H Extension Agent, at

March Invasive Removal with Rock Creek Conservancy (March 29)
For our March invasive plant removal, we will be joining forces with Rock Creek Conservancy and John Shorb Landscaping for a short but sweet event removing English ivy from the trees along Rock Creek Parkway. This will be on Saturday, March 29th from 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. Contact Mary Farrah if you are interested in participating.  

National Capital Region Water Resources Symposium (April 4)
The Water Resources Research Institute and the AWRA-National Capital Region Section will host the Water Resources Symposium, Water Resources and Water Infrastructures: Emerging Problems and Solutions, bringing together professionals from across the region to discuss sustainable management of water resources and infrastructure in the region and beyond. The one-day symposium will be held Friday, April 4, 2014, from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. at the UDC David A. Clarke School of Law. The keynote will be delivered by George Hawkins, General Manager, District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water). Read an earlier blog. Contact Dr. Tolessa Deksissa at for more information.

Sustainability and Social Enterprise Summit (April 18)
CAUSES will co-host the first DC Sustainability and Social Enterprise Summit from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Friday, April 18, at UDC’s David A. Clarke School of Law. Co-headlining the Summit will be Seth Goldman, President and “TeaEO” of Honest Tea, and Aaron Hurst, author of The Purpose Economy. This year’s theme, Accelerating Impact through Cross-Industry and Cross-Sector Collaboration, will bring together entrepreneurs, activists, educators, and innovators who are driving change in Washington, D.C. Breakout sessions on urban sustainability, innovation and social enterprise, and more will be held throughout the day. Read more here. Online registration is available here. For more information, contact Dr. Wayne Curtis at

Meet the Expert: Tolessa Deksissa, Water Resources Research Institute

Dr. Tolessa Deksissa is UDC’s resident water expert, serving as director of the Water Resources Research Institute (WRRI) since 2012. The Institute and UDC’s other water-related programs and courses were developed to train both students and faculty in the new high-end analytical technologies.

During his time in CAUSES, Dr. Deksissa spearheaded the establishment of the Environ­mental Quality Testing and Modeling and Simulation Laboratory, a state of the art research facilities. He also helped to establish UDC’s bachelor’s of science program in water quality and environmental sciences as well as the Professional Science Master degree program in Water Resources Management, serving as director.

“As we work with stakeholders to address DC area water issues, including managing storm water and protecting drinking sources, we improve the quality of life for all the citizens of the District of Columbia,” stated Dr. Deksissa.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Prof. Kathy Dixon attends White House STEM Workshop

This year's Minorities in STEM Workshop held at the White House was attended by over 60 organizations spearheading efforts to increase the number of minorities in technical professions. For the second year in a row, Assistant Professor in the Department of Urban Architecture and Community Planning as well as the Principal of K. Dixon Architecture and President of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) was invited to the event.

This year's workshop included a brainstorming and strategy session with the goal of establishing programs to promote STEM fields among African-American, Latino, Native American, and Asian youth. Dr. John Holdren, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, spoke to the participants about the importance of these efforts. The participants also heard from a number of other White House representatives.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Post Oil City Closing Workshop: Water & Food Security

By Arielle Gerstein

On Friday, Feb. 28, CAUSES held the closing panel discussion accompanying the Post-Oil City exhibit on water and food security. Featured panelists included: George S. Hawkins, General Manager, DC Water and Sewer Authority; Brendan Shane, Director of the Office of Policy and Sustainability at the District Department of the Environment, District Department of the Environment; Dr. Jill Auburn, National Program Leader, Division of Agricultural Systems, Institute of Food Production & Sustainability, USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA); and Dr. Thomas Schmidt, Minister Counselor, Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany.
Each panelist presented on topics including the DC Sustainability Plan, the importance of clean and accessible water, farming in urban areas, hydroponics and aquaponics. According to Shane and Hawkins, preparing for extreme weather events such as extreme cold or heat significantly affects urban planning because negative occurrences such as freezing pipes and flooding must be mitigated.  

Hawkins also described the challenges in delivering clean water to the District where most of the water pipe infrastructure is outdated and the need for regional effort to minimize pollution. The District must work with regional partners to reduce pollution runoff into DC's water supply. 

 “Water is the most significant thing in any place,” stated Hawkins. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Don't Miss the 4-H LifeSmarts Competition March 14

2013's winning team from McKinley Tech 
UDC will again play host to the 4-H LifeSmarts Competition on March 14, 2014  in room 515 of the David A. Clarke School of Law from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The LifeSmarts Consumer Education for Teenagers program creates savvy consumers and develops marketplace skills among teens in a fun and engaging format. Complementing high school curricula, Lifesmarts is run as a game-show style competition for 9th through 12th grade students. Eight teams from DC area high schools are set to compete in the areas of: personal finance, health and safety, the environment, technology and consumer law. 

Over the past two years, McKinley Technology students have been crowned champions of DC LifeSmarts competition and will be returning to defend their crown.  The champions of this year’s DC competition will travel to Orlando, Florida, to vie for the National Championship April 26-29.