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

March 12th, 2014

AMES, Iowa - The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State University presented annual awards to faculty and staff at its spring awards ceremony on March 12. Award winners include:

Forrest Nutter, Jr. received the Outstanding Achievement in Teaching Award. Nutter, a professor with the plant pathology and microbiology department, has gained a reputation as a world authority on plant disease during the past 23 years. He has developed software for classrooms used at 60 universities in 25 countries.

Nicole Ferwerda received the Excellence in Teaching by a Lecturer Award. She is a lecturer in the Department of Animal Science and a member of the horse-teaching program. Students praise her enthusiasm and passion.

Dan Dobill, an agronomy department lecturer, received the Distance Education Teaching Award. Dobill teaches the Chemistry, Physics and Biology of Soils class and also contributes to the success of the Agronomy Master’s Distance Education Program.

The Early Achievement in Teaching Award was presented to Stephanie Hansen, an assistant professor of animal science. She has introduced students to research and travel opportunities since 2009. Several students stated in their evaluations that she is engaging, challenging and knowledgeable.

Aileen Keating, an assistant professor of animal science, received the Early Adviser Award. For the past four years Keating has been a proactive adviser who seeks opportunities for her students. Her advisees praise her competence, passion and kindness.

Keating also received the Early Achievement in Research Award. Keating established a relevant and productive research program in the area of reproductive biology. She has authored numerous articles and secured more than $1 million in research funding.

John Burnett, a student services specialist in the natural resource ecology and management department, received the Outstanding Adviser Award. For 17 years he’s worked as an advocate and resource for students. He is responsible for the recruitment, orientation and advising activities in the department.

The Outstanding Service in Student Recruitment and Retention Award goes to David Grewell, an associate professor in agricultural and biosystems engineering. He developed a strategic plan to recruit students and increased enrollment by 23 percent in the industrial technology program.

Howard Tyler, a professor of animal science, received the Learning Community Coordination Award. He has served as the coordinator for the animal science, dairy science, pre-vet learning community for the past four years. Every fall he works with 300 freshmen to enhance their learning experiences and develop their sense of community and belonging at Iowa State.

John Beghin received the Outstanding Achievement in International Agriculture Award. Beghin is an economics professor who has focused his research program on international agriculture for more than 25 years. He has authored numerous publications and worked with developing and industrialized nations to develop agricultural trade policy.

Udoyara Sunday Tim received the Faculty Award for Diversity Enhancement. Tim, an associate professor agricultural and biosystems engineering, has worked to enhance diversity since he started in 1990. He has served on committees across campus to work towards that goal. His mentoring helps students succeed at Iowa State and in life.

Erik Vollbrecht, an associate professor of genetics, development and cell biology, received the Mid-career Achievement in Research Award. His hard work and thoughtful approach to scientific research has led to a number of key discoveries and innovations.

Lawrence Johnson, a food science and human nutrition professor, received the Outstanding Achievement in Research Award. Johnson has been a successful researcher in the cereal sciences area since 1985. He has published numerous publications and secured more than $42 million in grants. His work helped Iowa State become a leading biorenewables research university.

Lori Abendroth, a project manager in the sociology department, received the Professional and Scientific Excellence Award. She is the project manager for the Climate and Corn-based Cropping Systems Coordinated Agricultural Project. The $20 million grant requires the coordination of 140 scientists, students and staff from nine states and 10 land grant universities.

The Professional and Scientific New Professional Award goes to Marna Yandeau-Nelson. She is an associate scientist in the Roy J. Carver Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics & Molecular Biology and the Center for Biorenewable Chemicals. Along with mentoring students, she has developed an independent research program to integrate biology and engineering, based on her expertise in maize genetics.

Julie Roberts, a secretary in the animal science department, received the Merit Award for Achievement and Service. Roberts has been a dedicated and committed employee at Iowa State for more than 26 years. Her energy and enthusiasm and her ability to adjust to change have made her a valued member of the animal science team.

Rebecca Christoffel, an assistant professor of natural resource ecology and management, received the Early Achievement in Extension and Outreach Award. Since 2009 she has continued the tradition of wildlife extension at Iowa State through her work with key groups in the state, region and nation.

Jay Harmon, an agricultural and biosystems engineering professor, received the Outstanding Achievement in Extension and Outreach Award. Harmon developed and led a series of ‘hands-on’ ventilation workshops impacting a majority of Iowa’s pork producers. He also developed a Community Assessment Model and has advised producers about on-site building designs, which has impacted more than $89 million in new construction.

The Team Award goes to the Integrated Pest Management Team. The team collaborates with faculty, staff and stakeholders throughout Iowa. More than one million pest-related publications have been distributed to high schools, conservation specialists and the public during the past five years. The team has provided tools to manage pests, reduce costs and protect the environment. Team members include:

  • Members in the department of plant pathology and microbiology include Daren Mueller, assistant professor; Kent Sisson, agricultural specialist; Brandon Kleinke, program assistant; and Laura Jesse and Stuart McCulloh who are both extension program.
  • Erika Salaau-Rojas is an extension specialist and plant diagnostician with the ISU Extension Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic.
  • Nathan Bestor and Adam Sisson are both extension specialists with the Integrated Pest Management Program.

The Dean's Citation for Extraordinary Contributions were awarded to Maynard Hogberg and Ray Klein for their leadership in successfully developing and opening the new Jeff and Deb Hansen Agriculture Student Learning Center just south of the Iowa State University campus. The citation recognizes individuals who have made a significant difference in the college.

Hogberg is the animal science department chair and his vision for the facility began when he came to campus in 2003. The state-of-the-art educational facility allows students to get hands-on experience handling animals. The new classrooms and arena also benefit students from every corner of campus.

Klein, who is the executive director of development for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, worked with stakeholder groups, individual donors and families to ensure that the student learning center would be built.

Brian Hornbuckle, associate professor of agronomy, received the Raymond and Mary Baker Agronomic Excellence Award. Hornbuckle’s research interests include agricultural meteorology, which is the study of the interactions between agricultural ecosystems and the atmosphere.


Barb McBreen, Agricultural and Life Sciences Communications, (515) 294-0707,