CALS and MAFES personnel recognized for outstanding contributions in teaching, research, and service at Mississippi State University

STARKVILLE, MISS.—The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) and the Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station at Mississippi State University (MSU) recently recognized faculty and staff members for their exceptional contributions to teaching, research, and service.

Scott Willard, the dean of CALS and director of MAFES, highlighted the achievements and progress of both divisions at MSU.

“CALS has maintained a consistent enrollment with over 2,400 students, and we have consistently graduated a record number of students each year, with 2023 seeing over 600 graduates from our college,” Willard remarked. “In the fiscal year of 2023, MAFES researchers secured more than 420 external awards totaling over $47 million, comprising nearly 20% of all MSU awards. I want to express my gratitude to our researchers for their efforts in securing funding for our research and for the substantial impact their work has on our stakeholders, students, and Mississippi State’s status as an R1 institution.”

This year’s awardees are as follows:

Photo caption: CALS Dean and MAFES Director Scott Willard presenting CALS teaching awards. (Photo by David Ammon)

Teaching, Advising, and Diversity:

—Recognizing Assistant Professor Kelsey Harvey from the Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences for CALS Excellence in Teaching at the Graduate Level. Harvey, who serves as the departmental graduate coordinator, leads multiple graduate committees and contributed to enhancing the Master of Agriculture online curriculum. Harvey is situated at the MAFES Prairie Research Unit in Clay County.

—Instructor II Angel Fason from the School of Human Sciences awarded both CALS Teacher of the Year and CALS Undergraduate Teaching Award at the Upper Level for her dedication and extensive teaching experience.

—Instructor Cappe Hallberg from the School of Human Sciences received the CALS Undergraduate Teaching Award at the Lower Level for her outstanding teaching performance in foundational courses.

—Honoring Assistant Professor Ben Burke from the School of Human Sciences with the CALS New Faculty Teaching Award for his commitment to student engagement and inclusivity in teaching.

CALS Dean and MAFES Director Scott Willard with Associate Professor Caroline Kobia, recipient of the CALS Excellence in Advising Award. (Photo by David Ammon)
Photo caption: CALS Dean and MAFES Director Scott Willard with Associate Professor Caroline Kobia, recipient of the CALS Excellence in Advising Award. (Photo by David Ammon)

—Associate Professor Caroline Kobia from the School of Human Sciences recognized with the CALS Excellence in Advising Award for her advisory role and support to fashion design and merchandising students.

—Kenisha Gordon, a doctoral student in animal and dairy sciences, received the CALS/NACTA Graduate Student Teaching Award of Merit and the CALS/MAFES Individual Diversity Award for her outstanding contributions as a teaching assistant and involvement in various agricultural organizations.

MSU Pipetting Team members with awards. (Photo by David Ammon)
Photo caption: MSU Pipetting Team members with awards. (Photo by David Ammon)

—The Pipetting Club was awarded the CALS/MAFES Team Diversity Award for their efforts in promoting STEM knowledge and skills to a diverse community.

Service and Safety:

CALS Dean and MAFES Director Scott Willard with Assistant Professor Lorin Harvey, recipient of the CALS/MAFES Faculty Service Award. (Photo by David Ammon)
Photo caption: CALS Dean and MAFES Director Scott Willard with Assistant Professor Lorin Harvey, recipient of the CALS/MAFES Faculty Service Award. (Photo by David Ammon)

—Assistant Professor Lorin Harvey from the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences received the CALS/MAFES Faculty Service Award for his significant contributions to national agricultural committees and councils.

—Cathy Aultman, lab coordinator in the Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences, was awarded the MAFES Safety Award for her ongoing commitment to maintaining lab safety and efficiency.

Research:

MSU researchers receiving research awards. (Photo by David Ammon)
Photo caption: MSU researchers receiving research awards. (Photo by David Ammon)

—Recognizing Research Professor David Wise from the Thad Cochran National Warmwater Aquaculture Center with the MAFES Excellence in Research Faculty Award for his groundbreaking work in catfish disease management.

—Assistant Professor Vitor Martins from the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering earned the MAFES Grantsmanship Award for securing significant external funding for various research projects.

—Assistant Professor Jagmandeep Dhillon from the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences was acknowledged for both MAFES Outstanding Publication Award and MAFES Most Impactful Publication Award for his research in climate trends and soybean production.

—Recognizing plant and soil sciences doctoral student Ramandeep Kumar Sharma with the MAFES Excellence in Research Award for his exemplary publications and contributions.

—Acknowledging Madeline McKnight, a former undergraduate student and current master’s student, with the MAFES Excellence in Research Award – Undergraduate Student for her research contributions.

Staff:

CALS Dean and MAFES Director Scott Willard with Sonya Baird and Terri Shaw, recipients of staff awards. (Photo by David Ammon)
Photo caption: CALS Dean and MAFES Director Scott Willard with Sonya Baird and Terri Shaw, recipients of staff awards. (Photo by David Ammon)

—Sonya Baird, manager of facilities and research in the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology, and Plant Pathology, was awarded the CALS/MAFES Professional Staff Award.

—Terri Shaw, administrative assistant I at MAFES Truck Crops Branch Experiment Station, received the CALS/MAFES Support Staff Award for her outstanding support and dedication.

For more information on CALS and MAFES, please visit www.cals.msstate.edu and www.mafes.msstate.edu.

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