College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Alums Honored

October 22nd, 2014

(Editor’s note: Photos of award winners are available by contacting Melea Reicks Licht.)

AMES, Iowa—The Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the Iowa State University Alumni Association presented awards at the annual Alumni Association Honors and Awards Ceremony on October 10.

Sig Cornelius received the Floyd Andre Award. This award recognizes an alumnus who has made outstanding contributions to production agriculture, agricultural business or who have significantly influenced Iowa agriculture.

Cornelius received a bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University in farm operation in 1976. Soon after, he began a 30-year career with ConocoPhillips, an integrated oil and gas company. Cornelius, a native of Maquoketa, Iowa, served many roles for the company, most recently as the senior vice president of finance and chief financial officer.

After retirement from ConocoPhillips in 2010, Cornelius took on the role as president and chief operating officer of Freeport, LNG, an organization operating a world-class liquefied natural gas (LNG) receiving and regasification terminal on the Texas Gulf Coast.

Cornelius also serves in leadership roles on the board of directors for several organizations within the oil and gas industry.

Antoine Alston received the college’s George Washington Carver Distinguished Service Award. The award was established to honor Iowa State alumni and friends for outstanding achievements in agricultural, food, environmental, social and life sciences.

Alston, professor and associate dean for academic studies at North Carolina A&T State University’s School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (A&T), received his Ph.D. in agricultural and life sciences education in 2000. Since that time, he has become a nationally recognized student mentor, agricultural educator and expert in the areas of diversity and inclusion in agriculture.

Alston has revolutionized the agricultural education program at A&T, instituting programs such as their nationally acclaimed online master’s degree program. He has won many awards as an educator, including the USDA Food and Agriculture Sciences Excellence in Teaching Award.

Steven Bradbury, president of Steven P. Bradbury and Associates, received the Henry A. Wallace Award. The award was established to honor an Iowa State alumnus who has made an outstanding contribution to national or international agriculture in writing, teaching, research or leadership.

Bradbury earned his master’s degree in entomology in 1981 and completed his Ph.D. in the same program in 1985.  Following graduation, Bradbury worked in many roles at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In 2014, he retired as director of the EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs.

For many years, Bradbury has been acknowledged as a leader and expert in agricultural research and management. He has published more than 70 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters.

Bradbury continues to demonstrate his support to the agriculture industry as a visiting professor in Iowa State University’s Department of Entomology. He also is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Chemical Society, Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry and the Society of Toxicology.

Laurie Hueneke Martens is the recipient of the Superior Achievement Award for Early or Mid-Career Alumni.  The award honors a distinguished College of Agriculture and Life Sciences alumnus under 40 years old who has excelled in their profession and provides outstanding service, leadership and involvement in their community.

Hueneke Martens was raised on a farm in Bellevue, Iowa, and earned her undergraduate degrees in animal science and international agriculture in 2001.

Pairing her passions for animal science and policy, Hueneke Martens served as the director of international trade policy, sanitary and technical issues for the National Pork Producers Council for several years. She currently serves as the executive director of animal health public policy for Merck Animal Health.

Hueneke Martens also dedicates her time and talents to several organizations including the Women in International Trade organization and her local Farm Bureau in Jackson County, Iowa.

Kevin Drury, owner and president of Hedlin Ag Enterprises, was recognized with the Iowa State University Alumni Association’s Alumni Medal award. Since 1948 this premier award has been presented to alumni who demonstrate loyal service to the university through alumni-related activities.

Drury received his degree in agricultural business in 1983. As a student, he was actively involved in a number of campus organizations including the Student Alumni Association, Block and Bridle and the Cardinal Key society. 

Today, Drury continues his involvement with the university as a board member of the Cyclone Gridiron Club and ISU Memorial Union. He also was a member of the Iowa State University Alumni Association Board of Directors from 2003-2008 and has played a key role in keeping former alumni association board members engaged through the Circle Leadership Guild.

 Matthew Eddy received the Outstanding Young Alumni Award from the Iowa State University Alumni Association. This award recognizes alumni, age 40 and under, who have excelled in their professions and provided service to their communities. 

Eddy (’99 agricultural and life sciences education, ’09 MS) has inspired his students and peers in his role as an educator and pioneer in implementing science curriculum in the classroom. He has served as the agricultural educator at Southeast Polk Community Schools in Pleasant Hill, Iowa, since 2004.

Eddy encourages his students to pursue careers in agriculture and has made great strides as an FFA advisor. His chapter is the largest in Iowa, including more than 230 students.

Outside the classroom, he is involved in the National Association of Agriculture Educators. He has participated on the national and state levels as a blogger, guest speaker, convention delegate and volunteer. Additionally, Eddy serves on the board of directors of the Iowa FFA Association.

Nupur Ghoshal (’95 genetics), also was honored with the Outstanding Young Alumni Award.  Ghoshal is a board-certified neurologist and is currently an assistant professor in neurology at Washington University Medical School.

Ghoshal has distinguished herself as leading physician and researcher in the fields of interdisciplinary education, clinical care, dementia and geriatric neurology. She has received numerous awards for her research efforts and was named the top neurologist in St. Louis. The Consumers’ Research Council of America also has recognized her as one of “America’s Top Physicians”.

Ghoshal’s most recent research projects focus on Alzheimer’s and related dementias. She serves as the first-ever female Fellow of the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at Washington University.

Rachel Hymbaugh is the recipient of the James A. Hopson Volunteer Award. Established in 1999, this award recognizes graduates, age 40 and under, who demonstrate early volunteer leadership in the Iowa State University Alumni Association. 

Hymbaugh earned her degree in horticulture in 1996, and was active in several student organizations including the Residence Hall Week committees, Residence Association Government and Marching Band.

Hymbaugh has continued her involvement with Iowa State by volunteering for leadership positions with the Iowa State University Alumni Association Club of Denver.  Beginning as the club’s gamewatch coordinator, Hymbaugh quickly advanced to the position of club president. 

In her leadership role, Hymbaugh has made great strides in improving club involvement and communication and outreach efforts. She has successfully engaged with other members through social media, personal contact and through the Iowa State University Alumni Association Club of Denver events she has coordinated.

Douglas Nelson (’71 horticulture), and his wife Ellen (’72 zoology) owners of Wallace Garden Center in Bettendorf, Iowa, were honored with the Alumni Service Award from the Iowa State University Alumni Association. The Alumni Service Award recognizes alumni whose self-initiated activities and services support the daily work of the alumni association.

The Nelsons have taken responsibility for maintaining the Iowa State University Alumni Center gardens. In addition to personally tending the gardens, the Nelsons have provided gifts and coordinated volunteer participation in an effort to care for the facility’s gardens.

The Nelsons also serve as university ambassadors in the Quad Cities area, volunteering at Cyclone Central tailgates and hosting alumni events in eastern Iowa.


Melea Reicks Licht, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, 515-294-8892,

Haley Banwart, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, 515-294-4319,