ISU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Recognizes Outstanding Faculty and Staff 2015

Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences presented awards to faculty and staff Feb. 5. The awards included:

The Early Achievement in Teaching Award was presented to Cheryl Morris, an assistant professor in animal science. Morris sums up her teaching philosophy in five words: fun, challenging, dynamic, connected and inspiring. Since her arrival in 2012 she has impressed colleagues with her constant drive to ensure student success.

Andrew Manu, received the Outstanding Achievement in Teaching Award. Manu is an agronomy professor who has taught the fundamentals of soil science since he came to Iowa State in 2001. Each year he teaches more than 300 students about the importance of soil. He is an enthusiastic role model for his students, alums and colleagues.

Lisa Orgler received the Excellence in Teaching by a Lecturer Award. Orgler has taught landscape graphics, garden composition and landscape management in the horticulture department for three years. She believes in learner-centered teaching strategies and encourages her students to become successful horticulturists.

Tom Loynachan received the Distance Education Teaching Award. Loynachan is the director of graduate education in agronomy and has been engaged in the distance education program since its inception. For Loynachan teaching is an opportunity to have a positive influence on future generations.

The Early Advisor Award went to Jenny Macken, who is an adjunct advisor in agricultural and biosystems engineering. Jenny is an advisor and mentor to more than 250 students. One of her students describes her as genuinely supportive and someone who goes out of her way to find solutions.

Gretchen Zdorkowski received the Outstanding Advisor Award. Zdorkowski has served as an advisor in the agronomy department since 2008. Students expressed that their success in agronomy was due to her advising, encouragement and concern. She has been described as someone who encourages students to break out of the box.

Curtis Youngs, a professor of animal science, received the Outstanding Service in Student Recruitment and Retention Award. Youngs has provided extraordinary service in student recruitment and retention during his 26-year career at Iowa State. He distinguishes himself by making a personal connection with students through his presentations, advising and recruitment efforts.

The Learning Community Coordinator Award went to Mary Wiedenhoeft, who has been the coordinator of the agronomy learning community since 2005. She brings a genuine caring attitude to the agronomy learning community, which helps incoming students make a successful transition into college life.

The Early Achievement Research Award was presented to Amy Toth, an assistant professor in ecology, evolution and organismal biology. Since 2011, Toth has published 14 scientific articles, many in top-ranked journals. She also has received four major federal grants totaling $1.6 million.

The Mid-career Achievement in Research Award went to Kurt Rosentrater, an assistant professor in agricultural and biosystems engineering. Rosentrater has established himself as a world-class researcher in bioprocessing. He has published more than 100 peer reviewed journal articles and has secured more than $13 million in funding for 46 research projects. He is an expert in distillers grains utilization and his research is being used in several industries, including biofuels and animal feeds.

The Outstanding Research Award was presented to Fredric Janzen, a professor in ecology, evolution and organismal biology. Janzen is recognized worldwide as an authority in reptile evolutionary ecology and the consequences of environmental change on aspects of reptilian biology. He has obtained more than $2.8 million in funding for his research.

Antonio Mallarino, a professor in agronomy, received the International Award. He is recognized in several South American countries as the Iowa State soil fertility expert. His expertise is focused on phosphorus and potassium management related to crop production and water quality issues.

Joan Aiton, an administrative specialist in animal science, received the Professional and Scientific Excellence Award. Aiton oversees the human resource and financial resources in the department of animal science, a position she has held for 17 years.

The Faculty Award for Diversity Enhancement and Outreach went to Elisabeth Lonergan, a professor in animal science since 1998. Lonergan has been an advocate for diversity enhancement and an excellent role model for women in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields at Iowa State.

The Early Achievement Extension and Outreach Award went to Ajay Nair, an assistant professor in horticulture and an Iowa State extension vegetable crops specialist. Nair conceived, created and delivered new programming that assists commercial growers in sustainable production of vegetables for local markets.

John Sawyer received the Outstanding Achievement in Extension and Outreach Award. Sawyer is a professor of agronomy and a soil fertility extension specialist. He has developed an exceptional and effective outreach program, which focuses on soil fertility management. Sawyer is nationally recognized for his research and extension efforts.

The Professional and Scientific Outstanding New Professional Award went to Dana Schweitzer. Schweitzer, a program coordinator in agricultural and biosystems engineering, uses a suite of communication skills to advance farm energy management. Her outreach includes a published bulletin and web site with energy measurement information that is downloaded by 30,000 individuals annually.

Steven Niebuhr, a laboratory technician in animal science, received the Merit Award for Achievement and Service this year. Niebuhr manages the Food Safety Laboratory in animal science and provides critical on-site supervision of research. He conducts regulatory testing which enables the laboratory to meet the USDA-FSIS requirements.

The Team Award was presented to the Healthy Carbohydrates Team. The team was formed in 2009 and has made several important scientific and technological advances in digestion-resistant starch to control diabetes, understand starch digestion and the role of resistant starch as pre- or pro-biotic. Team members from the food science and human nutrition department include Diane Birt, Terry Boylston, Suzanne Hendrich, Jay-lin Jane, Matthew Rowling and Kevin Schalinske. Members from the agronomy department include Susan Duvick and Paul Scott. Members from biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology include Roger Jones and John McClelland. Members from other departments include: Peng Liu, statistics; Gregory Phillips, veterinary medicine; and Stephen Sapp, sociology.

The 2015 Rossmann Manatt Faculty Development Award went to Bryony Bonning a professor in entomology and director of the Center for Arthropod Management Technologies. Bonning oversees cutting-edge research on insect physiology and pathology. This award will provide seed funding for a new research project to control the Asian citrus psyllid, an insect that has devastated the citrus industry in Florida and threatens California. Data from her research will be used in proposals to investigate the potential for viral-based control of this pest.

The Dean’s Citation for Extraordinary Contributions was presented to Ramesh Kanwar, Steve Mickelson and Jay Harmon who were instrumental and invaluable in moving an entire academic department into a new building. Kanwar was department chair in 2005 when the university began a feasibility study for a new building for the agricultural and biosystems engineering department. Mickelson continued the project when he became chair and Harmon acted as a liaison to help facilitate faculty needs. The department was spread across four locations around campus and is now in state-of-the-art facilities in Sukup and Elings Halls, as part of the Biorenewables Complex.