College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Honors Students and Faculty at College Opening Ceremony in 2022 | VTX

During the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences 2022 commencement ceremony, faculty, staff and students will be honored for their achievements and successes both inside and outside the classroom.

Four seniors received awards recognizing Outstanding Transfer Student, Breakthrough Student, Student Who Embodies Diversity and Inclusion, and Student Who Goes Above and Beyond to Help Others.

Damien Rories, a senior graduate of the Department of Food Science and Technology, received the Outstanding Transfer Student Award. Rories is a non-traditional student who started out at community college before taking a break and working for eight years. After returning to community college, he achieved a 4.0 grade point average each semester from spring 2018 to summer 2019. He worked another year and started in food science and technology in fall 2020, graduating a grade of 4.0 each semester.

The Madelynn Todd Trailblazer Award went to Madisyn Dalton from the Department of Human Nutrition, Food and Exercise. Dalton is the founder and president of a nonprofit dental hygiene program called Brush Up. The nonprofit provides dental hygiene gift bags to local elementary schools along with hygiene-related infographics.

Lauren Wildman of the Department of Human Nutrition, Food and Exercise received the Hokie Helpers Award for exceeding expectations in their service.

Wildman had the opportunity to be certified as an immunizer for the COVID-19 vaccine. Her boss texted her one evening that her company would be able to start administering the vaccine and that they needed her the next day. However, Wildman needed CPR training to administer the vaccine. Determined, she drove four hours from Blacksburg to get her CPR certification overnight so she could administer the vaccine the next day, showing her adaptability, initiative and commitment.

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has nominated three professors for the Academy of Teaching Excellence Awards. College recipients are Luciana Bergamoteacher in the Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences, Sean O’Keefeprofessor in the Department of Food Science and Technology, and Angela Andersonassistant college professor in the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise.

Bergamasco received the Certificate of Excellence in Teaching award from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences for excellence in the classroom, in counseling and beyond.

“Lucy is an integral part of a core group of counselors who give tirelessly to counseling activities with our students,” said Dave Gerrard, Head of the Department of Animal and Poultry Science. “Given her teaching schedule and the number of hours she spends in class, advising over 50 students a year is a lot of extra work, but for someone so committed to undergraduates , she finds this type of interaction invigorating and enjoyable.I think it’s fair to say that without Lucy, our department and its undergraduate program would be in a much different place without her in our faculty.

The second recipient of the Certificate of Excellence in Teaching award from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is O’Keefe.

“Throughout my research and education efforts, I have always tried to do what is best for students,” O’Keefe said. “I work many Sundays during the semester to give students the opportunity to learn how to brew beer, when they wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity. The benefit for me is knowing that I did everything I could to help students graduate and succeed. »

The latest recipient of the Certificate of Excellence in Teaching award from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is Anderson.

“Most importantly to me, Dr. Anderson has been an incredible mentor. I always felt like I could talk to her about all the issues I had inside and outside of school,” former student Georgia Brandt said. “She was able to help me and other students deal with difficult situations and always has her student’s best interests in mind. Working in healthcare today, I try to embody Dr. Anderson in every way I can. She inspired me as a woman and a leader in STEM and also continues to inspire others within our college. »

Nine students were recognized for their outstanding service, leadership, commitment, personal growth and development, and academic achievement during their time at Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

The college departments (CALS) also recognized the seniors for their accomplishments. They are:

  • Jacob Baker, Outstanding Senior of the Department of Food Science and Technology. “I hope to pioneer innovative, preventative measures to mitigate foodborne infectious disease and work with regulators to streamline expectations and risk analysis plans,” Baker said.
  • Claire Cunningham, Outstanding Senior of the Dairy Science Department. “Effective leadership fosters a sense of mutual respect and allows for an open and honest line of communication. Strong leaders inspire and encourage others to do their best,” Cunningham said.
  • Kendall Knicely, Outstanding Senior of the Department of Agriculture, Leadership and Community Education. “I have learned, after long hours of reflection, from my previous health problems that our situations find us for a reason. It can be difficult, painful or trying, but it serves a purpose: it shapes and develops us to become the person we are meant to be. Our mountains equip us for our future endeavours,” Knicely said.
  • Marie Piechnik, Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences exceptional senior. “Leadership means achieving an overall goal while supporting others and helping them achieve the best possible success,” Piechnik said.
  • Lauren Provinsal, the excellent senior of the Department of Human Nutrition, Food and Exercise and the excellent undergraduate of the college. “None of these accomplishments could have been achieved without the help of the community members, faculty, fellow students and alumni I met during this four-year journey,” Provinsal said. “I will be forever grateful to call myself Hokie and graduate from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in 2022.”
  • Zachary Schwarz, outstanding senior of the agricultural technology program. “My success throughout my time here at Virginia Tech is a direct result of the open and caring community that CALS and Virginia Tech provide. The network and support system will drive me forward throughout my career. I’m proud to be a Hokie,” Schwarz said.
  • Molly Simeck, Department of Biochemistry exceptional senior. “I learned that leadership is more than having authoritative responsibilities over a group. Rather, it is the use of communication, experiences, and privilege to collectively guide a group toward a specific goal,” Simek said.
  • Macie Snelson, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics (AAEC) outstanding senior. “My department and CALS felt like home,” Snelson said. “I felt welcomed and included and I belonged. My AAEC classes have been informative on a wide range of topics, sparking my interest in things I didn’t even know existed before.
  • caroline vasquez, Outstanding Dean of the School of Plant and Environmental Sciences. “I think that Ut Prosim is something that makes more sense when we incorporate it into our daily lives, so I believe I demonstrate Ut Prosim (That I can serve) by always looking for small ways to improve the lives of people around me, even if it’s something as small as a smile or a batch of cookies,” Vasquez said.

Two graduate students from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences were also recognized for their excellence inside and outside the classroom.

Leah Hamilton, a Ph.D. candidate from the Department of Food Science and Technology, received the Outstanding Ph.D. Student Award. Hamilton’s area of ​​research is food sensory science with Jacob Lahne, Assistant Professor in the Department of Food Science and Technology. Food sensory science is a combination of expertise in math, cooking and food studies as well as food science.

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Recognized Entomologist aryanna james as his outstanding master’s student.

As the current recipient of the Grayson Award for Outstanding Master’s Student in Entomology, James represents the best of an exceptional group of graduate students in the department and epitomizes the service-oriented student of Virginia Tech.

While in the Department of Entomology, she played a leadership role in department outreach, teaching, and research in collaboration with Virginia Tech faculty and a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency biologist. environment. She has distinguished herself by her approach to teaching and scientific questioning.

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences 2022 commencement ceremony will be led by Alan Grant, Dean of the College, and Susan Sumner, Associate Dean and Director of Academic Programs and Director of the Agricultural Technology Program. Elizabeth Galbreath ’17 will conclude the ceremony by welcoming the college’s new alumni to the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences alumni organization.

Since becoming an alumnus, Galbreath has worked in youth programming, marketing, sales, agricultural education, and leader development. She is also involved in various local 4-H, FFA and Farm Bureau activities and is a member of the Chairman’s Club of the American Royal and the Future Agriculture of America Alliance. Currently, Galbreath is the Student Leaders Program Manager for Agriculture Future of America. She is committed to being a trusted and authentic spokesperson for the farming community and developing young people to reach their full potential.

“After graduating, I struggled to figure out how to get involved in things outside of college. Since then, I’ve come to realize that Ut Prosim (That I may serve) is not just about what you do, but how you do it,” she said. “I live our motto now by going above and beyond with my colleagues and the students I serve. I also incorporate volunteering into my life consistently with organizations that are close to my heart like the American Royal or by virtually sharing my experiences with Virginia Tech classes.

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