Believe It

Believe It.

Urban agriculture

Community gardens are more than just places to grow vegetables and flowers in the heart of a city. They make urban areas more livable, bring people closer to nature and give them access to fresh, nutritious food  including crops that connect them to their cultures. They take what are often neglected spaces and turn them into something beautiful and thriving. And they promote biodiversity and healthy ecosystems, providing forage and nesting sites for the pollinators we all depend on.

gardener talking to filming staff
Jen Hayes is working on her Ph.D. in horticulture, with research focused on what characteristics of native and cultivated plants are attractive to pollinators.

“When I learned about bumblebees and other pollinators as an undergrad, I was just absorbed in a way that no other topic has really gotten my attention. I'm interested in science communication, a position where I’d get to do outreach and science at the same time.”

Jen Hayes
Graduate Student | Horticulture

Oregon State has had an urban and community horticulture program focused on home and community gardening since 1976. Working in collaboration with OSU Extension Master Gardeners, the program is open to all Oregonians. OSU Professional and Continuing Education offers an urban agriculture program online, and OSU students can earn an undergraduate certificate in urban agriculture online through Ecampus.

gardener showing filming crew tools
Horticulture master’s student Nicole Bell uses a cordless vacuum modified to safely capture pollinating bees so they can be studied and then released.
person holding wooden tray of harvested vegetables
OSU helps gardeners choose plants that will grow well in their spaces and provides guidance on responsible pest management, plant nutrition and fertilization.

Plastics to fuel

In Skip Rochefort’s chemical engineering lab, he and his students are testing a novel use for a well-established chemical process to tackle the challenge of plastic waste. Pyrolysis uses very high temperatures to break down plastic hydrocarbon chains in the absence of oxygen to create an alternative diesel fuel. Their goal is to install a pyrolysis reactor in remote and underserved communities, where it’s difficult and expensive to dispose of plastic waste. Those plastics, converted to fuel, could then be used for boats, tractors and other diesel-powered equipment in those communities.

film crew filiming researcher in lab coat
Associate Professor Skip Rochefort leads a team of students testing the use of pyrolysis to convert plastic waste into alternative fuels.

“It's my job to prepare students to be the workforce of the future. I do this work in plastic recycling processes because it is important for the planet, and I love doing it. And when I introduce students to it, and they get passionate about it, they want to work in this industry.”

Skip Rochefort
Associate Professor | Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering

film crew filming researchers in lab coats surrounded by filled plastic bags
Chemical engineering student Brisa Sabel and mechanical engineering student Mitchell Willhite gather plastic waste for testing the plastics-to-fuel process at Agri-Plas, a recycling company in Brooks, Oregon.
two researcher in lab coat examine experiment equipment with glowing vials of liquid
Chemical engineering students Annika Czeck and Tiffany Trinh prepare to load ground-up plastic waste into the kiln reactor for pyrolysis conversion.

Adventure Leadership Institute

Founded in 1947, Oregon State’s Adventure Leadership Institute offers outdoor recreation experiences and leadership education that are accessible to students of all abilities. ALI applies research and education theories to teach students about group dynamics, managing risk and leadership styles — all skills they can apply in their careers and their lives. Along with offering for-credit and non-credit courses, the ALI takes students on extraordinary outings across Oregon —  all of which build a diverse, welcoming and supportive community.

Avery Ingram at Smith Rock
Biochemistry and biophysics student Avery Ingram has been blind since age 2 and rock climbing for 15 years. He intends to become an endocrinologist to study diseases like the one that caused his blindness.

“My goal after college is to go to medical school and become an endocrinologist. My goal for climbing is to do a 5.13. It’s considered extremely difficult. I feel really accomplished to have pushed myself enough to get to the top.”

Avery Ingram
Student | Biochemistry and Biophysics

3 rock climbers at Smith rock preparing to ascend
The Adventure Leadership Institute takes students on outings to places like Smith Rock in Central Oregon, where students Morgan Thiers, Brandon Enghauser and Dre Santana work together to make a safe and successful climb.
rock climber drinking water at peak overlooking river
Smith Rock is considered one of the finest sites for rock climbing in the U.S., featuring more than 1,500 routes and spectacular views.