Oct. 2, 2019
Michigan State, the mitten state and wine. People who know me well know that I love these three things. It’s no shock to anyone how much I adore MSU. I consider myself extremely lucky to be an alumna and to work here for so many years. This place changes lives — including mine.
I’ve lived in Michigan most of my life and I still find cool places and things to explore all the time. And, I’m a firm believer that a lovely wine with dinner can complete a meal and make it special.
What’s really exciting about loving these three things is how truly special they are when they come together.
Many people know that Traverse City has become a wine destination. But did you know that MSU research and outreach played a major role in its growth? When MSU viticulturists began working with the grape and wine industry, there were seven vineyards in the state — now there are more than 150. Many of those are owned by Spartans.
Check out the MSUTODAY FEATURE: From vine to wine, to watch a short video and learn more about MSU’s role in our state’s grape and wine industry.
I really appreciate how much my university does for the state of Michigan. As the pioneer land-grant university, it’s in our bones to give back and do work that improves the lives of our residents. The wine story was covered by talented colleagues who have been doing a series of day trips around Michigan highlighting partnerships and research. They’ve covered a beekeeping and veterans story, bridge sensors, a youth music program, brain health and maple syrup research.
These spun out of our project a couple of years ago, the Great State Road Trip, where they took a bigger trip to highlight MSU’s work in Michigan. If you’re interested in more ways Spartans are working side by side with partners across the state, check out MI Spartan Impact for more examples.
Growing the wine industry wasn’t about simply opening a winery and marketing. It was all about the science behind growing the grapes. Agribusiness has so much science and research behind it, and we have some of the best researchers in the world to solve challenges with growing and producing crops.
We’re also teaching the next generation of agriculture experts. Jacqline Njeri is a senior majoring in biochemistry and molecular biology/biotechnology who is currently doing undergraduate research in plant survival during the early stages. She’s hoping to use her field to find ways to increase crop yields to combat food insecurity. Read her STUDENT VIEW: Our studies can change the world, to learn more about her work, advice for younger generations, her favorite food and what’s on her bucket list.
Helping students like Jacqline reach their potential is a key part of MSU’s mission. Our future discoverers, world-changers and leaders are very important to the work we all do. Dante Dixson, an associate professor of counseling, educational psychology and special education, says that he is “a researcher that wants to change the world by getting students to realize and live up to their full potential.” Watch the video in the FACULTY VOICE: Increasing achievement, to learn more about his philosophy and work.
Here’s one more thing I love — learning about smart, talented and motivated Spartans every day and how they’re making an impact in our world.
Tonight, after driving home from the university I adore and settling in at my home in my favorite state, I think I’ll raise a glass to all the Spartans who make life around us better. Cheers to a world with Spartans in it. May the breakthroughs of today become the solutions for tomorrow. #SpartansWill.
Photo by Kurt Stepnitz