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Awards of the College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences

Awards of the College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences

CAAS takes great pride in the standard of excellence it has established for over 100 years.  Each year the college recognizes several members who have gone above and beyond the norm to continue to make the college a place of increased quality and merit.

Nominations for the 2017 CAAS Alumni Hall of Honor are open until May 23, 2017. For more information, Click Here.

Current Award Recipients

CAAS Student Awards

Rose Judd-Murray is a nearly twenty-year veteran of agricultural, environmental, and outdoor educationprograms. Her specialties include online course development, institute and workshop presentation, Pre-service educational programs (K-6), and all aspects of curriculum review and development. For the pasttwo years, she has been a lecturer for Utah State University’s College of Agriculture. Her depth-sciencecourse, Science, Technology & Modern Society, specializes in teaching non-science majors about currentscientific issues and helping students to discover their role in a global society.

She received both a Bachelor and Masters of Science from Utah State University and is currentlyenrolled as a doctoral student at Utah State University (again). She is seeking a Ph.D. in Curriculum andInstruction from the College of Teaching, Education, and Leadership (TEAL), with a concentration inInstructional Leadership and Instructional Technology. Her dissertation work will focus on building anassessment instrument to determine if university students are agriculturally and environmentallyliterate.

Rose has a passion for all aspects of higher education and seeks for ways to build relationships with herstudents. She feels that student mentoring is one of the most important ways we can accelerate andsecure student success at the university level. She is the mother of three children and proud to be an Aggie. 
 Tanya Rice is a Masters of Landscape Architecture candidate. Prior to graduate school, she earned a bachelor degree inHealth and Environmental Science at California State University, Long Beach, and worked in the environmental consultingindustry for 10 years. She also taught health and science at the high school level. Her passion for creating aestheticallypleasing spaces and interest in the health and welfare of people and the environment lead her to landscape architecture.Her graduate studies and research revealed the diversity and complexity of the profession and the breadth of knowledgestudents need to enter the workforce. This sparked interest to explore how Landscape Architecture programs in the UnitedStates compare in coverage of educational needs.

Following completion of coursework and a successful thesis defense in July 2016, Tanya began working for USU’s Landscape Architecture Department. Outside of work and school, Tanya is an avid traveler, gardener, and outdoorenthusiast. From trail running and kayaking with family and friends, to sketching and painting local landscapes in solitude,she is known to take advantage of her surroundings. She also enjoys freelance residential design projects providing clientswith a personalized sanctuary of their own.
 Min (Mia) Yang received her B.S. in 2012 in Animal Science from SichuanAgricultural University, Chengdu, China. She is a Ph.D. candidate in the Departmentof Animal, Dairy & Veterinary Sciences of Utah State University and a researchassistant under Dr. Irina Polejaeva focusing on animal reproduction.  Mia’s researchinterest is in the development of transgenic livestock for biomedical and agriculturalapplications, epigenetic reprogramming in SCNT and understanding the molecularmechanism of oocyte competence and its effect on the outcomes of assistedreproductive technologies. She continuously gains knowledge on moleculartechniques and stays on top of current literature related to novel molecularmethods. Mia is an active member of the International Embryo Transfer Society(IETS). She presented her research at four different IETS annual conferences inJanuary 2014-2017. She published three manuscripts in the last three years and isthe first author on two of these papers published in Theriogenology and SmallRuminant Research. Mia was also awarded the Peter Farin trainee scholarship fromIETS in January 2016. Additionally, Mia gave two invited oral presentations and 8poster presentations at the international conferences during the last 3 years.
 In 2011, Lea (pronounced “Lee”) Palmer began her studies at the University of Arizonawith ambition, hope, and dedication to her college career. After getting married the followingyear, she discovered she had become part of a very manipulative and mentally abusive family.Rather than gaining a healthy support system, the marriage led to a loss of self-efficacy becauseshe was told she would not go anywhere in life, that she was incompetent, and that she wasthe reason her husband made the bad choices that he did. Her focus in school becamedesperate in attempts to please her in-laws and husband, and her grades suffered because of it.That only increased the verbal attacks. At one point her husband said he wanted to make achange and agreed to move to Logan, Utah, where Lea had researched an impressivecoordinated dietetic program at USU. After moving to Logan, the husband couldn’t handle being away from his parents and the girls he was having affairs with, so he left her feelingworthless and hopeless. 

When the divorce was finalized, Lea decided to become the woman she knew she had 
the potential to be, and take advantage of every opportunity she could. She fought mild PTSDand damaged self-efficacy to chase those dreams. She worked for a year to get back on her feetfinancially and then began studying at USU. She started off by going to as many office hours,dietetic club events, and extra seminars as she could to build connections and gain experience.A professor became a mentor and introduced her to Food $ense, where she was able to startworking as an intern and be more involved in nutrition related work. Every experience, andevery good grade she receives is considered a success to her. She went from being told to justdrop out and work because she was worthless, to becoming an experienced student with goodgrades who will one day be a successful Registered Dietitian who impacts many lives.  
Growing up in northern California I spent a large portion of my childhoodcatching crawdads and fishing for salmon; a patch of poison oak rash could almostalways be found somewhere on my body.  I also spent many hours at my grandpa’sveterinary hospital.  My experiences there are what inspired me to pursue a career inveterinary medicine.  I have been involved in the Boy Scouts of America from a youngage and achieved the rank of Eagle Scout.  In high school I participated in Skills USAComputer Automated Design Competitions, Science Olympiad, and led a team of “StormDrain Detectives” that periodically sampled water from a local river and published thefindings in the local newspaper.  My dad works for a fruit production/canning co-op, thushave been exposed to production agriculture my whole life.  When I turned 18 I took onthe job of sanitation manager in one of the co-op’s canneries and reported directly to the

 Following high school, I decided to serve as a missionary in Malaysia for twoyears.  I learned the Malay language and used it to help me serve the people there,resulting in lasting friendships with some of the most inspiring people I have ever met.After serving my mission, I returned to the states with a renewed ambition to succeed.The success I am after is not monetary based, but centered on my ability to inspire andserve Thank you for taking the time to consider me for the 2017 Scholar of the YearAward.
I grew up in Logan, UT and graduated from Logan High School. I am majoring inNutrition Science at Utah State University. From my freshman year in college I havebeen an Undergraduate Research Fellow and active in the USU Honors program. Ihave been involved in several areas of research working on projects with the USUHuman Nutrition Studies Center and with the faculty in the USU Nutrition, Dieteticsand Food Science Department. In addition to my schooling and undergraduateresearch, I work part time as an Undergraduate Teaching Fellow and enjoy traveling.After graduation, I plan to seek further opportunities in the medical field and pursuea Masters of Physician Assistant studies in order to help make quality medical careavailable to underserved, immigrant, and refugee populations in the U.S. andinternationally. 

CAAS Staff Awards

CAAS Faculty Awards

Dr. Silvana Martini obtained her BSc in Biochemistry in 1997 from the University of La Plata, BuenosAires, Argentina.  She obtained her PhD in Chemistry from the same institution in 2003. She spent 2years in the Department of Food Science at the University of Guelph as a Postdoctoral Researcher andjoined the Department of Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Sciences in Utah State University in November2005 as an Assistant Professor.  Dr. Martini was promoted to Associate Professor in 2011 and to FullProfessor in 2016.

Dr. Martini’s research interests are related to the physicochemical and sensorial characterization of food materials, lipids in particular. She studies how the quality of food materials is affected by their nano-,micro- and macroscopic characteristics.  Over the years Dr. Martini published over 70 papers in peer-reviewed journals, participated in more than 120 conferences, published 11 book chapters, and 1 book.Dr. Martini serves as Senior Associate Editor for the Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society. 

 Dr. Heidi Wengreen is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Associate Professor in the Department ofNutrition, Dietetics, and Food Sciences at Utah State University. She joined the faculty at USU in 2004after completing her PhD in the area of nutritional epidemiology in the same department. Dr. Wengreenteaches a wide range of undergraduate and graduate classes in the department’s Nutrition Science andDietetics programs. She has an active research program exploring strategies to help promote healthyeating among people across the life-span and has been awarded more than $1,000,000 in federalfunding including awards from both USDA and NIH. She has authored 38 peer-reviewed publications andmentored 26 graduate students along the way.  In 2015 Dr. Wengreen was acknowledged for herleadership in dietetics education by being recognized as the Outstanding Dietetics Educator of the yearby the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Dr. Wengreen has three children and together her familyenjoys being active in many ways including canyoneering, skiing, and mountain biking.  

 Dr. S. Clay Isom’s success as a teacher can be accredited to his sincere desire to seehis students learn the material and perform well in his difficult courses. Sincejoining Utah State University’s Animal, Dairy and Veterinary Sciences’ faculty, he hasre-designed and re-structured multiple classes. While doing so, he has expanded thecurriculum in animal sciences in many ways.

Students in Dr. Isom’s classes find that, although the curriculum is demanding, hisvariety of teaching methods and contagious enthusiasm relieve some of the stress oflearning complex material. He continually works to find new and innovativemethods of presenting information so that students of all backgrounds and skill setscan learn the material. Many students note that although Dr. Isom’s classes arechallenging, they are often their favorite classes because of his passion for teaching.

Dr. Isom gained practical experience with animals growing up in Lyman, Wyoming,and working alongside his siblings and cousins on a cattle ranch. His academicspecialty is reproductive physiology. His research focuses on characterizing andmitigating the causes of early embryo failure, and on improving reproductivetechnology efficiency in livestock. His teaching extends to the laboratory, as heinvolves many undergraduate and graduate students in his research. He receivedthe 2014 Graduate Research Mentor of the Year Award from the College ofAgriculture and Applied Sciences.

An alumnus of Utah State University, Dr. Isom earned a bachelor of science degree inanimal science in 2000 and then a Ph.D. in animal sciences from the University ofMissouri in 2006. He worked as a post-doctoral research fellow at University ofMissouri, and joined the faculty at Utah State as an assistant professor in 2010.

 As a student, I came to believe that the most successful landscape architects were generalists.  Although welive in an age of specialization, my career is a reflection of this belief.  Early in my career, I founded adesign/build business in the Midwest.  After eight years, I sold that business and joined a former professor inhis real estate development planning practice in New England.  As the Vice-president of his company, Imanaged a satellite office in southern New Hampshire during an intense period of development growth. Thisexperience was a profound shift in scale for me, and added significantly to my generalist skills.

As the development market in New England changed, I moved west to California.  In the San Francisco BayArea, I joined an established landscape architecture firm that focused on parks, trails, playgrounds and sportsfacility design.  After three years, I became a partner in the firm.  Seven years into this professional chapter, Ireturned to school and received a Master of Urban Design from UC Berkeley. After graduation, I re-joined myformer partners and added urban design to our practice profile, which provided access to a growing urbandesign market.   In 2012, my business partner retired, and I applied for teaching positions, believing that mygeneralist journey would be a valuable asset to students.  Now in my fifth year at USU, this professionalbreadth allows me to mentor students on an array of interests from first-hand experience.

 I received my Ph.D. in Animal Science from the University of Delaware, with specialization inexperimental pathology (pathogenesis of infectious disease).  My M.S. degree in Microbiologyand Immunology was completed at the Louisiana State University Medical Center, and myundergraduate work in Microbiology was done at Weber State University.  I joined the Institutefor Antiviral Research at Utah State University (USU) in 2008.  Prior to joining USU, I wasemployed in Research and Development at Intervet Inc. (now Merck Animal Health), a globalleader in the discovery, development, and manufacture of veterinary medicines.  During thetwelve years that I worked at Intervet, I completed research in the area of vaccine development.

My current research includes evaluation of experimental therapies and vaccines againstinfluenza virus and enterovirus infections in animal models.  In addition, I teach Ethical Issues inGenetic Engineering and Biotechnology in the Department of Animal, Dairy and VeterinaryScience, and am a faculty member in the USU School of Veterinary Medicine, where I teachcourses in Microbiology and Infectious Disease and a course in Leadership.

I also serve on the editorial boards of Antiviral Chemistry & ChemotherapyAntiviral Research,and Therapeutic Advances in Vaccines.

Other Notable Awards

Past Award Winners

Many of our awards have decades of history; take a look at our past award winners.

View Past Award Recipients

Nominate a Candidate

Do you know somebody who is deserving of one of the awards listed above?  Nominate them!  Contact Brian Warnick with any questions.Nominate a Candidate