Tomorrow: Soybeans and Construction

Just a reminder that tomorrow we will be meeting in DLRC 104 from 2:30 to 5:30. The Discovery Learning and Research Center is located at 207 South Martin Jischke Drive. 104 is on the first floor at the far west end of the building.

Screen shot 2013-01-31 at 5.36.44 PM

The agenda tomorrow includes: safety training, work table building, research updates on plywood and soybeans, design sessions (solar and low tunnel covers), scheduling, music, fun, etc.




Robyn Wilson

R, X and W

My name is Robyn Wilson and I am a freshman here at Purdue University. I started in the Undergraduate Studies Program and have explored majors from architectural engineering to movement and sports sciences. I am finally this semester settling in on biology and I plan to switch into that major this coming fall! I actually grew up in West Lafayette, so I have seen many soybeans and there will be no surprise to me to see a couple more!
Even though I grew up in a neighborhood across from a corn field, I don’t have an immense amount of expertise in agriculture. That being said, learning is what we’re in college to do, so I’m excited to get started! I have worked in team settings many times, from being the coordinator to just a collaborator. If I have learned anything from spending time with my two nephews, it is to love and nurture the young, to not be afraid of dirt, and, of course, be ready for the unexpected. Young boys may not be synonymous with soybeans but I would love to make a difference in any small way I can in this world, and sprouting soybeans seems to be the place to start!

Jien Nee Tai









Hello, NSG @ Purdue! I’m Jien Nee (pronounced kind of like ‘Jenny’, but not really, but close enough), a freshman in Chemistry. I grew up in Singapore where the only agriculture is small-scale high-tech farming, so you can imagine my shock (and just a bit of horror) upon coming to the corn state of Indiana. However, this past semester of learning about the local and global food crises has opened my eyes to the huge issues surrounding food, agriculture, and hunger. This semester, through NSG, I am so excited to be able to take concrete action with regard to these issues.

I have to admit, I don’t know much at all about agriculture, farming, art, construction, or aesthetics. I’m not sure I even fully understand the whole workings of this project yet. But that’s the fun in undertaking a project such as this – you laugh at how much you don’t know, learn new things completely unrelated to your field, do things you never thought you would have the chance to do, meet people you would never have met otherwise, and ultimately hope to share this newfound knowledge with others.

Solar Energy Presentation

Yesterday, Dan Newkirk, a graduate student in the interdisciplinary program in Ecological Sciences and Engineering at Purdue gave a presentation about solar energy introducing strategies and tools for the sizing of our solar system for the National Security Garden.

Here are the slides of his presentation (which were prepared by Prof. Bill Hutzel): solarenergy.pptx

Dan and his adviser Prof. Bill Hutzel from Mechanical Engineering Technology (MET) are available for any questions you might have about the solar energy aspect of this project. Dan can be reached at dnewkirk [at sign] purdue [dot] edu.

This web resource from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory is a very good starting point for your energy calculations:

Please use the following specifications from our LEDs strips as starting point for the sizing of the solar system:

  • 7 strips, each at 12VDC/2A, connected in parallel (approx. 170W).
  • We are flexible with the on-time every night, it can be between 3-5 hours.
  • This is not directly related to the sizing of the solar system but something to take into consideration – we will need the flexibility of a timer with which we can program 2 on/off times (one for evening/night, one for the night morning hours).

Plywood Follow-Up (and additional ideas)

Hey everyone,

So I called my dad who does a fair amount of woodworking and talked with him for quite some time about plywood, varnishes, and other topics. When I described our situation to him, he suggested using cedar wood instead of the phenolic-plywood, if we really did not want to go with the already black color. The cedar looks really nice as is in a natural sense, but we can still apply paint to it if necessary. This is just an example I found online at Home Depot’s site to get specifications on using cedar and how it reacts.

cedar board

My dad also brought up the idea, like Sarah did at the Monday meeting, that the exterior grade plywood is known to not be good with growing foods. It tends to leak the chemicals into the soil. Also with the time constraint that we have, my dad said not to go with unfinished plywood because typical varnishes tend to take 24 hours to dry per coat, and we would need a fair amount of coats to get it to work. Thus, he mentioned the cedar or just sticking with the phenolic-plywood if we can find enough of it. The rest comes down to how much we have to spend on these supplies, of which I have no information.

Michael John Brannigan, the One and Only

Bill Book Photo Michael Brannigan

As I put my head down last night after a few hours of studying (and by studying, I mean doing a little bit of homework and then having theological discussions with my best friend, which later turned to a round of Star Wars: Battlefront), I remembered I had to register for our lovely little blog. As I thought, I came up with a brilliant bit to post; it was clever, funny, wise, witty, the works. Of course, as soon as I finish it, I pass out and forget it all.

Basically, so goes the story of my life.

Here at Purdue University, I’m studying Political Science (International Relations) and History (Cold War era), along with seeking a minor in Naval Science. I work at the Shreve Hall front office, so if anyone’s in the area, come say hi! I’ll hopefully be writing and editing for the Purdue Review, the campus conservative-libertarian student publication.

Anywho, here I am. I like to think I’m all the things my original post was going to be (yes, that sums up as a tad narcissistic, but hey, aren’t we all?), as well as obviously forgetful. But I’m here to do work, change the world; you know the drill. Let’s see how this goes, shall we?

Marissa Berns


Hey Boilermakers!

My name is Marissa Berns.  I am a freshman in First Year Engineering, and am so excited about being a part of the National Security Garden!  While learning about the complex issue of world hunger last semester, I became so inspired to make a difference in this fight.  I hope this semester we can plant this same seed in more people’s hearts (pun intended.)

Growing up in Iowa, I have seen more soybeans than I would ever care to count.  However I have very little knowledge about this important crop. I am curious to see how much my soybean knowledge will grow.   I am also interested to see how soybeans and art can come together to create a major statement on campus.  Let’s make something that moves the world forward!

Sarah Correll


Hi everyone!
I am Sarah Correll, and I am a student in the HONR 199 course.  I am a freshman in the College of Agriculture.

SAM_0320My background with soybeans is limited to a summer communications internship with the Indiana Soybean Alliance (and some time dressed as their mascot); however, I have completed several woodworking projects, taken a couple horticulture classes, and operated a small greenhouse.  I am looking forward to working on this project, getting to know everyone, and learning more as we connect art, hunger, engineering, and agriculture!




Jake Brosius


Hey everyone!

My name is Jake Brosius. I am a freshman here at Purdue University, majoring in Law and Society. In this major, I am learning about crime around the world, and I’ve noticed that there are many other issues that require deep thought. One of these problems is world hunger. I look forward to putting in my effort and ideas into this project.

I have no background with growing crops, although I did work at a farm stand for a local farm for around 4 seasons. My father also has a hobby in wood working, some of which he has shared with me. I hope to bring the skills I learned from these experiences into effect during the time spent on this project.

Boiler Up!

Allyson Mercer







Well hello there!  My name is Allyson Mercer and I am a non-graduating senior in Food Science with a minor in Dance.  I am one of the mentors this semester and am heading up one of the “middle of the semester” projects.  My team will be working culinary magic to feed hungry people here in Lafayette.  One of my biggest passions in life is food in general and teaching others about it specifically.  I think that great food should be accessible to everyone and that they should then know what to do with it!  I get super excited talking about the interaction of food components within a food matrix or just how delicious something is when prepared properly.  If it has to do with food, I am definitely on board.  I also really want to meet everyone and get to know you because learning about and knowing people is one of the best things in life.  So if you ever see the girl with the crazy red hair walking around on campus south of state street, just holler!