Major MSU ag units announce annual achievement honorees

Major MSU ag units announce annual achievement honorees

Nearly two dozen Mississippi State faculty, staff and students are 2017 selections for major awards in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station.

By: Vanessa Beeson

At the recent campus ceremony recognizing teaching, research and service achievements, George Hopper praised the honorees for "exemplifying the dedication to excellence in all aspects of the university's land-grant mission." Hopper is both dean of the college and director of the university's statewide Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station. "Our researchers are engaged in meaningful work that is significant across the globe and especially right here at home in Mississippi," he added.

Teaching Award winners include:

  • Associate Professor Kalyn Coatney, Department of Agricultural Economics, CALS Excellence in Teaching Award, Graduate Level. His course on game theory was cited for strategic thinking instruction that prepares students to better analyze markets, corporate behavior, anti-competitive law, market-player negotiations and governments, among other areas. Regularly attracting graduate majors in other colleges, the course has resulted in student research articles accepted for several peer-reviewed professional journals.

  • Assistant Professor Peter Summerlin, Department of Landscape Architecture, CALS Teacher of the Year and Excellence in Teaching Award, Lower Division. In addition to leading classes on computers in landscape architecture, construction materials and a regional design studio employing geographic information systems, he serves as the department's technology resource leader.

  • Assistant Professor Jamie Larson, Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences, Excellence in Teaching Award, Upper Division. In addition to a graduate seminar, she leads two of the department's most challenging courses, physiology of reproduction and practices in physiology of reproduction.

  • Assistant Professor Caleb Lemley, Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences, Excellence in Teaching New Faculty Award. Since coming to MSU in 2012, he has taught a specialized graduate course in advanced physiology of reproduction, as well as an anatomy and physiology course required of all undergraduate majors. Previously led by College of Veterinary Medicine faculty members, the latter course under Lemley's direction provides more in-depth training in livestock physiologies.

    Teaching Awards

Research award winners include:

  • Jeff Gore, MAFES entomology researcher and extension and research associate professor at the Delta Research and Extension Center, Mississippi Land Bank-sponsored MAFES Excellence in Research Faculty Award. Over five years at the university, Gore has produced nearly 40 refereed publications, and his additional book chapters, publications, presentations and research papers total nearly 500. His work has drawn some $6 million in extramural funding.

  • Zhenghong Bao, doctoral student in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, MAFES Excellence in Research Award, Graduate Category. Under the direction of Associate Professor Fei Yu, Bao has been principal investigator for two peer-reviewed journal articles and co-author of another. One article was featured in AIChE, premier professional journal in chemical engineering.

  • Senior biochemistry major Lucas Ferguson of Batesville, MAFES Excellence in Research Award, Undergraduate Category. Also pursuing a degree in microbiology in the College of Arts and Sciences and a minor in computer science/bioinformatics, he has worked under the direction of Henry Wan of MSU's College of Veterinary Medicine. Ferguson's research uncovered a previously unknown influenza strain in Mississippi cattle and resulted in two first- and one second-author peer-reviewed articles in Virology magazine and the Journal of Virology. He also has been honored with a prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarship from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

  • Research Associate Jesse I. Morrison, MAFES Outstanding Research Staff Award. In addition to leading the MSU forage breeding program, Morrison is president of the Mississippi Forage and Grassland Council. Also on campus, he is a mentor for the Day-One Leadership Program, coach with the 4-H Therapeutic Riding Center and facilitator for the T.K. Martin Center for Technology and Disability.

    Research awards

  • Service award winner includes:

    • Darrin Dodds, associate extension and research professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences and the state's designated cotton specialist, CALS/MAFES Outstanding Faculty Service Award. Beyond producing 20 refereed journal articles, two book chapters, 50 extension publications, 210 abstracts, 335 popular press articles and 225 newsletters, he has been a featured presenter at more than 100 producer meetings. Earlier this year, a row-crop short course in which he had a major role brought some 600 Mid-South producers to campus.

      Service Award

    Research impact awards include:

    • Federico Hoffmann, MAFES bioinformatics researcher and assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Plant Pathology, MAFES Outstanding Publication Award for an avian natural selection study published in the prestigious Science magazine.

    • Raja Reddy, MAFES scientist and research professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, MAFES Most Impactful Publication Award for a sweet potato research report that was featured in Crop Science and CSA News magazines.

    • Linda Southward, research professor at the Social Science Research Center, MAFES Grantmanship Award. During 2016, she received more than $1 million in extramural funding from competitive awards from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Kellogg Foundation and Mississippi Association of Grantmakers.

      Research Impact

    Staff awards include:

    • LaDonna Bullman, contract and grant specialist for both MAFES and the Forest and Wildlife Research Center, CALS/MAFES Outstanding Professional Staff Award.

    • Tiffney Williams, administrative assistant to the CALS associate dean, CALS/MAFES Outstanding Support Staff Award.

      staff awards

    The ceremony also included recognitions of MAFES personnel for leadership in promoting outstanding grounds maintenance and overall image achievements at MAFES branch stations. This group included:

    • Normie Buehring and Casey Barickman of the Northeast Mississippi Branch Experiment Station in Verona;

    • Peter Hudson, Truck Crops Branch Experiment Station in Crystal Springs; and

    • Mark Shankle and Stephen Meyers, Pontotoc Ridge-Flatwoods Branch Experiment Station in Pontotoc.

    • Sherry Surrette of the Brown Loam Branch Experiment Station in Raymond received the award for most improved facility.

      face and image awards

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