Farm Progress

Outstanding faculty and staff are recognized.

March 15, 2018

7 Min Read
WINNERS: Iowa State University College of Ag and Life Sciences presented its annual Outstanding Faculty and Staff Awards last week. A total of 20 award recipients were honored.

Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences presented awards to faculty and staff on March 8 in the ISU Memorial Union at Ames. A total of 20 winner were awarded.

Andy VanLoocke received the Early Achievement in Teaching Award. VanLoocke has been an assistant professor in agronomy for the past four years. VanLoocke developed a course that is focused on global agriculture in a changing world to help students understand global challenges and opportunities in agriculture. His teaching methods help students develop critical thinking and a global approach to agriculture. More on VanLooke's story.

Cynthia Haynes received the Outstanding Achievement in Teaching award. Haynes is an associate professor in horticulture who creates an innovative, enthusiastic, engaging teaching environment for students. She encourages, challenges and supports each student, and students have consistently given her high evaluation scores. More on Haynes' story.

The Excellence in Teaching by Lecturers and Adjunct Faculty Award went to Sherry Olsen. She is a lecturer in animal science who also serves as the coach for the Iowa State Meat Judging Team. Olsen consistently receives high scores on student evaluations and is known for creating a positive classroom atmosphere that is conducive to learning. More on Olsen's story.

Ken Moore received the Distance Education Teaching Award. Moore, a Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor in Agriculture and Life Sciences and Pioneer Hi-Bred professor in agronomy, has grown the agronomy master's distance education program from an idea in 1995 to a program that is relevant and accessible to agronomy professionals. The program serves 240 students and has 170 graduates. More on Moore's story.

Tamara Kerns, an academic adviser in ag and biosystems engineering received an Early Adviser Award. Kerns has been an adviser for industrial technology majors for the past five years and has more than 330 advisees. As an adviser she believes it's important to communicate, encourage, support and challenge students. More on Kerns' story.

Amy Brandau, an academic adviser in economics, received the Outstanding Adviser Award. Brandau advises more than 200 students and her goal is to help students navigate their college experience, grow professionally and network with employers and alums. Her efforts and others in the department help maintain the agricultural business program's ranking as one of the top in the nation. More on Brandau's story.

Amber Kargol received the Outstanding Service in Student Recruitment and Retention Award. Kargol is an academic adviser in the food science and human nutrition department. The key to Kargol's success is her personal approach. She believes it's important to empower students to make important life decisions, which has been a positive tool in recruiting prospective students. More on Kargol's story.

Jen Bundy received the Learning Community Coordinator Award. Bundy, an assistant professor in animal science, coordinates the largest learning community at Iowa State. She conducts training, facilitates activities, coordinates industry trips and develops the budget for more than 40 peer mentors and 340 incoming students each year. More on Bundy's story.

Hui Wang received the Professional and Scientific Research Award. Wang, a pilot plant manager in the Center for Crops Utilization Research, is an integral part of the center's success as a researcher, service provider and trainer for faculty and industry clients. The 35,000-square-foot facility provides research space and more than 255 unique pieces of food and bioprocessing equipment for industry participants to demonstrate food manufacturing processes. More on Wang's story.

Sotirios Archontoulis, an assistant professor in agronomy, received the Early Achievement in Research Award. In less than four years, Archontoulis generated more than $5 million in grant funding from commodity groups, industry and the federal government. This research has led to 34 publications and has developed dynamic web-based cropping system decision support tools. His short courses on cropping systems modeling has attracted professionals from industry and academic organizations. More on Archontoulis' story.

David Grewell, a professor in agricultural and biosystems engineering, received the Mid-career Achievement in Research Award. Grewell is a leading researcher in the plastics industry with groundbreaking research in the welding and joining of plastics. He is a dedicated teacher and researcher who has earned 15 patents, attracted more than $7.7 million in external funding and led the development of the Center for Bioplastics and Biocomposites. His research has helped Iowa State become a leader in the field of biopolymers. More on Grewell's story.

John Patience received the Outstanding Achievement in Research Award. Patience, a professor in animal science, has provided leadership in animal nutrition through Extension, research and as an administrator. He's received international awards, published numerous times and secured $8.6 million in funding. He's received international awards for his research and shared results with both the scientific and farming community. More on Patience's story.

Ken Pecinovsky received the Professional and Scientific Excellence Award. Pecinovsky has served as the superintendent of the Iowa State Northeast Research and Demonstration Farm in Nashua for 24 years. His management leadership has helped maintain quality research projects at the farm. His attention to detail has helped researchers obtain results about corn, soybean, water quality, tillage and pest management studies. He also was a leader in the development of the Norman Borlaug Learning Center, which opened in 2009. More on Pecinovsky's story.

Angela Shaw received the Faculty Award for Diversity Enhancement. Shaw, an associate professor in food science and human nutrition, has helped growers and food manufacturers throughout Iowa address food safety issues. She recruits underrepresented students to work in her laboratory and has conducted workshops for more than 1,000 underserved youth. She also partnered with the Ames Middle School to start the Passion Academy, which helps underrepresented students learn professional skills and career options. More on Shaw's story.

Manjit Misra received the Outstanding Achievement in International Agriculture. Misra is the director of the Iowa State Seed Science Center. His team has led 700 workshops and trained more than 15,000 seed professionals on scientific, biosafety, ethics and policy issues. Misra led the development of a global graduate level course that attracted industry leaders from 21 states and 11 countries. International organizations, such as the World Bank, often call him for advice. More on Misra's story.

Matt Helmers received the Outstanding Achievement in Extension and Outreach Award. Helmers, a professor in agricultural and Biosystems engineering, works to protect water quality while maintaining a robust agricultural economy, an important issue facing Iowa. Helmers led the development of the nitrogen component of Iowa's Nutrient Reduction Strategy. He uses science to educate landowners and stakeholder groups about water resources and soil conservation practices and provides advice about drainage and water management issues. More on Helmer's story.

Yijing Ding received the Professional and Scientific Outstanding New Professional Award. Ding is the program coordinator for the Center on Bioplastics and Biocomposites, which is a National Science Foundation center focused on sustainable materials. Ding is the only staff person supporting the center and her duties encompass everything from managing daily operations to organizing progress reports to developing and maintaining a website. More on Ding's story.

Marce Bruhn received the Merit Award for Achievement and Service. Bruhn has worked for the Iowa State animal science department for 31 years. Bruhn helps maintain the Dairy Records Management Systems, which works with 13,000 dairy producers to process records for 2 million cows. The records are used heavily for research purposes by Iowa State as well as other research organizations. More on Bruhn's story.

The Team Award went to the Science-based Trials of Rowcrops Integrated with Prairie Strips (STRIPS) Team. Since 2007, the science-based team has planted prairie strips as a conservation practice with benefits for farmers, landowners and society. The team includes six partner organizations, 16 researchers and 32 graduate students from eight departments and Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension. More on STRIPS story.

The Raymond and Mary Baker Agronomic Excellence Award goes to Jianming Yu, an agronomy professor and Pioneer Distinguished Chair in Maize Breeding. Yu is considered one of the leading scientists in the world for his use of cutting-edge genomic technologies and quantitative genetic theory to address important questions in plant improvement. More on Yu's story.

The Dean's Citation for Extraordinary Contributions went to Mark Rasmussen, director of the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University. His scientific expertise includes areas of microbiology, food safety, animal health, ruminant nutrition, veterinary medicine and antibiotic resistance. He continues the Leopold Center's work, even though the Iowa Legislature stopped funding the 30-year-old center July 1. The center's revenues come from an endowment established by private donors.

Source: Iowa State University

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