A lot is happening at the University of Wyoming, from a new manager being hired for the university’s meat lab to information about Extension and alumni honors recently bestowed. What follows is a roundup of recent news from the University.
New meat lab manager. For Kyle Phillips, the meat industry wasn’t a starting point for his career. The Texan caught the “meat bug” while attending Texas A&M University. He moved to Wyoming in August to take over the University of Wyoming Meat Lab. Before that, Phillips worked as the assistant manager of Texas A&M’s Rosenthal Meat Science and Technology Center.
Phillips likes the hands-on application he learned from the meat lab while in school. He is looking forward to mixing teaching and meat cutting, and taking a role that would allow him to shape a program.
“A small group of us really have the chance to take the program and make something really cool and really big out of it. I think we have some really great goals with our meat science group,” he says.
Bledar Bish, interim department head of animal science, notes that Phillips has a good understanding of what the meat lab stands for regarding research, teaching and Extension.
“We are really interested in and talking a lot about some more Extension and outreach opportunities,” Phillips says. “Being a small plant here ourselves, there is some talk about some resources we are wanting to try and put together for other small plants in the state.”
Recognizing a professional. In other news, Suzy Holmes from Uinta County was recently honored as the University of Wyoming Extension Administrative Professional of the Year. Holmes is a 38-year employee of the UW Extension in Uinta County.
A highlight of Holmes’ work in the county was her ability to step up when the county lost its 4-H educator. The 4-H program continues today in large part due to her efforts.
Holmes was a recipient of the Frances Freese Award, which also recognizes administrative support excellence, in 1995.
A ‘Bright Future.’ Rachel Fisk, manager of the UW Extension office in Lander, was recognized for excellence with the organization’s Bright Future Award. Fisk, who joined Extension three years ago, is the first Bright Future recipient. Fisk was honored because she has taken time to learn about and help facilitate county programming efforts, and has enrolled in many programs to gain firsthand perspective.
Outstanding alumni honored. Alumni who take the path of exceptionalism and leverage their opportunities distinguish themselves as College of Agriculture and Natural Resources award recipients at the University of Wyoming.
The awards were presented during Agriculture Appreciation Weekend, Sept. 14-15 at UW. Among those recognized were outstanding alumni Robert Grieve and Jason Fearneyhough; Legacy Award posthumous recipient Stella McKinstry; and Outreach Partner of the Year, the Thunder Basin Grasslands Prairie Ecosystem Association
Grieve, a native of the Fort Laramie area, received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in microbiology at UW, and his doctorate at the University of Florida, Gainesville. His family are fifth-generation Wyomingites, and his great-grandfather was born in Wyoming before it became a state.
Grieve would become tenured at two universities and then change courses to help found a startup company — ultimately becoming its CEO and pulling the business from financial trouble into profit. The Grieves live in the Bighorn Mountains near Buffalo.
Fearneyhough graduated from UW with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications and a master’s degree in business administration. Fearneyhough has served as deputy director and director of the Wyoming Department of Agriculture and now serves as the Texas deputy commissioner of agriculture.
In Texas, Fearneyhough manages a global-scale agency with more than 650 employees and an annual budget surpassing $1 billion.
The Legacy Award goes to Stella McKinstry, who died in 2016. In 1946, she joined what was then the UW Cooperative Extension Service. She would work for every UW Extension director during her 60-year career with the organization. She worked in 11 of the 26 Wyoming counties, though her home was in Sublette County, where she settled in 1952. She would later create the Stella McKinstry Scholarship at the UW College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
The Outreach Partner honor recognizes the Thunder Basin Grasslands Prairie Ecosystem Association, which was formed in 1999 with a focus on black-tailed prairie dogs. Since then, the association works with property owners and other groups to investigate, implement and promote conservation strategies.
The group focuses on two ecotypes — the sagebrush steppe and the short-grass prairie found predominately in northeastern Wyoming.
Working with a variety of groups, the association has invested more than $2.6 million to enhance sage and shortgrass habitats. About 35,000 acres have been treated for cheatgrass and provide 3,900 acres of enhanced nesting cover in sage grouse core areas.