ISUCollegeofAgricultureandL.cfm ISU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences presents awards to faculty, staff
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ISU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences presents awards to faculty, staff


The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State University presented annual awards to faculty and staff at its spring semester convocation on Feb. 16. Award winners include:

Mike Retallick, assistant professor of agricultural education and studies, received the Outstanding Adviser Award. Retallick has advised students for the past eight years and improved communication among advisers in his department. Retallick contributed to the success of the Science With Practice program, which allows undergraduate students to get paid and earn credits while doing research in their area of interest.

Levon Esters, assistant professor in agricultural education and studies, received the Early Achievement in Teaching Award. Esters joined the Iowa State faculty in 2004 and is evaluating how students in middle school and high school make career choices. He encourages his students to make good career-related decisions, make the most of the college experience and explore a variety of options.

Steve Jungst, associate professor of natural resource ecology and management, received the Outstanding Achievement in Teaching Award. He has served on the faculty since 1978 and believes in a learning-centered atmosphere that engages students. The department's curriculum is often cited as a national model because of his leadership.

Lester Wilson, University Professor of food science and human nutrition, received the Student Recruitment and Retention Award. Since 1975, Wilson has served students and the university community with enthusiasm and dedication. He has been recognized several times for his outstanding service to students. One strong indicator is the fact that he has a 100 percent student retention rate.

Barb Osborn, program coordinator in the horticulture department, received the Learning Community Coordination Award. For the past 11 years she has delivered programs that enhance the student experience. She has enhanced the Horticulture Learning Community group by increasing student-faculty interactions, service-learning projects, peer mentoring and creating linkages with English instructors to strengthen interdisciplinary learning.

Allen Knapp, associate professor of agronomy, received the Distance Education Teaching Award. This award is based on his leadership and involvement in developing the agronomy master's distance education program. He is one of three agronomy faculty who conceived the idea for an online master's program, which is the largest graduate program in the college.

Sergio Lence, professor of economics, received the Outstanding Achievement in International Agriculture Award. Lence is the Marlin Cole Chair of International Agricultural Economics. Along with his international research, he has established study abroad courses and an International Agribusiness School. He also served as a research fellow at the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations in Rome, which enhanced research in international economic issues.

Andrew Manu, associate professor in agronomy, received the Faculty Award for Diversity Enhancement. Manu began teaching soil science courses in 2001. He has chaired the college Diversity Committee, recruited minority students and worked with the Minorities and Natural Resources and Related Sciences club. Manu has helped to recruit underrepresented minorities to Iowa State and provided invaluable suggestions to raise awareness at both the college and university levels.

Joe Cordray, professor of animal science, received the award for Outstanding Achievement in Extension. Cordray has created an Extension program in meat science that is recognized as the best in the United States. During the past six years, Cordray has conducted 150 workshops, short courses and seminars attracting more than 6,500 attendees. His success also benefits students who have access to some of the best meat processing equipment available. In turn, the students are highly sought after when companies are looking for new employees.

Lara Moody, Extension program specialist with the agricultural and biosystems engineering department, received the Professional and Scientific Outstanding New Professional Award. Since October 2004, Moody has coordinated and managed projects for the department's Agricultural Waste Management Team, which includes preparing proposals, coordinating team members, planning projects, managing budgets and analyzing and disseminating results. She also manages and lectures at Extension short course and outreach programs.

Vincent Lawson, superintendent at the Muscatine Island Research and Demonstration Farm, received the Professional and Scientific Award. He began his career with Iowa State in 1979 and his work epitomizes the land grant mission of outreach. He responds to community needs with technical expertise, applied research and Extension programming. He is a key resource in the current trend to produce foods at the local level. He has conducted more than 200 horticultural trials and has employed 47 summer interns and workers since 1982.

Michael Kaiser, research associate in animal science, received the Professional and Scientific Research Award. Kaiser has made outstanding contributions to the research activities in the college since he took the position in 1992. His primary research is in the genetic control of host resistance to Salmonella infections in poultry. This research has contributed to understanding pathogen control in poultry.

Stephanie Jung, assistant professor of food science and human nutrition, received the Early Achievement in Research Award. Jung's research program is focused on soybean processing methods that are innovative and environmentally friendly. Her techniques produce safer, more nutritious foods that use less energy to produce. She came to Iowa State in 2001 as a postdoctoral research associate and became an assistant professor in 2004.

Steven Whitham, associate professor in plant pathology, received the Mid-Career Achievement in Research Award. His contributions have led to a better understanding of how plants respond to viruses, especially Asian soybean rust. He pioneered the application of micro-array or gene-chip technology, which reveals changes in expression of all the genes in the plant genome. He and his collaborators recently developed a tool that enables researchers to identify soybean gene responses to pathogens in weeks instead of years. The tool is revolutionizing soybean genetics, which was evident when he and his collaborators received a $2.1 million grant from the National Science Foundation Plant Genome Research Program.

Hongwei Xin, professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering, received the Outstanding Achievement in Research Award. Xin is internationally recognized for his research in animal and environmental interactions, environmental control and air quality. Along with numerous publications, he has been instrumental in securing more than $10 million in funding since his arrival in 1993. His contributions also have developed international partnerships that strengthen Iowa State's reputation worldwide.

This Team Award was presented to the Aqueous Soybean Processing Research Team in the food science and human nutrition department. The team's director is Larry Johnson, director of the Center for Crops Utilization Research. Members from the food science and human nutrition department include: Charles Glatz, professor; Stephanie Jung, assistant professor; Patricia Murphy, University Professor; Michael Spurlock, professor; Cheryll Reitmeier, professor; and Tong Wang, associate professor. Team member Deland Myers moved from the department to take a position at North Dakota State University. The team partnered with Iowa's enzyme manufacturer Genecor International and soybean processor West Central Cooperative to develop and commercially adopt new processing technologies. These new and environmentally friendly technologies use water and enzymes to extract oil for food or biodiesel uses. The process eliminates petroleum-derived hexane, a highly flammable, expensive and hazardous pollutant. The team's scientific advances will help meet the world's increasing needs for food and fuel while conserving the planet's resources.

Robert Horton, Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor of Agriculture and Life Sciences and professor of agronomy, received the Rossmann Manatt Faculty Development Award. The award was established with a generous gift from Jack and Marilyn Rossmann and Charles and Kathleen Manatt to recognize a tenured faculty member who has demonstrated an exceptional level of creativity and productivity in scholarship, teaching and service. The award includes a $5,000 stipend, which Horton plans to use to travel to three sites in China. The projects will broaden Iowa State's collaboration with China.

The Dean's Citation for Extraordinary Contributions to the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences was presented to Steve Hoff and Jay Harmon, professors in the department of agricultural biosystems and engineering. Hoff and Harmon are leaders in research on animal production systems and specifically livestock odor and air quality research. They address the issue with scientific data and continue to study new and innovate ways to address the issue.

The Dean's Citation for Extraordinary Contributions also was presented to Melea Reicks Licht, a communications specialist with the Agriculture and Life Sciences Communications Service. In 2007, she joined the communications staff and took on the task of coordinating and producing an alumni magazine. Her creativity and skills were critical in development and launching of "STORIES in Agriculture and Life Sciences" in the fall of 2007. The magazine has received numerous awards and praises from alums, staff, faculty and stakeholders.

Jeremy Singer, a research agronomist with the USDA Agricultural Research Service, received the Raymond and Mary Baker Agronomic Excellence Award for his contributions in agronomy. Singer is a collaborator in the department of agronomy. His research quantifies water and radiation interactions on plant ecology in systems using varying tillage intensity, organic amendments and cover crops.


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