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WSU Ag And Home Ec Employees Honored

PULLMAN, Wash. — Faculty and staff of Washington State University’s College of Agriculture and Home Economics were honored for their achievements Saturday (April 12) at the 44th annual college awards banquet.

Kristen A. Johnson, associate professor of animal sciences, received the R.M. Wade Award for Excellence in Instruction.

“She always goes the extra mile to help students excel,” one student wrote in a letter supporting Johnson’s nomination. Another added, “She has been a top-quality professor and friend to many students at WSU. It is rare to find a professor who takes it upon herself to become available to all students, whether it is for academic advice or simple conversation.”

A member of the faculty since 1989, Johnson teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in ruminant nutrition and animal energetics as well as conducting a research program.

Since 2002, she also has served as interim associate dean of the WSU Graduate School on a part-time basis.

Mark L. Nelson, associate professor of animal sciences, received the college Excellence in Advising Award.

Nelson has advised 147 undergraduate and graduate students over the past six academic years.

Current and former students writing in support of his nomination praised him for taking time to listen to them and develop a rapport. “I truly appreciated the time he took to help me through a tough decision making process,” one wrote.

Nelson joined the WSU faculty in 1984.

The annual Faculty Excellence in Research Award went to Boon P. Chew, professor of animal sciences.

Chew, who came to WSU in 1979, is a recognized world leader in the field of nutritional immunology. His research takes a multi-disciplinary approach to the study of the role played by carotenoids in immunity, cancer and reproductive physiology.

Carotenoids are naturally occurring plant pigments. They constitute a significant component in the diets of both herbivorous animals and humans.

It was previously believed that carotenoids merely served as a Vitamin A precursor. Chew has demonstrated that carotenoids possess specific functions that enhance immunity, inhibiting mammary cancer growth.

The college’s Excellence in Extension Award went to Robert G. Stevens, extension soil scientist. In a letter nominating Stevens for the award, a colleague wrote: “Over the past 18 years, he has made a very significant contribution to WSU, to farmers and other client groups throughout the state and soil management on a national level as well.”

Stevens, who is stationed at the WSU Prosser Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center, has conducted field research on five of Washington’s top 10 agricultural commodities. Over the past 17 years, he has made 567 presentations to various groups covering a broad spectrum of topics, including contamination of heavy metals in fertilizers, an issue that received widespread attention in the media in the late 1990’s.

In response to that issue, Stevens and fellow soil scientists in Pullman and Puyallup developed concurrent research in key crops to determine the response of the crops to uptake of heavy metals. Stevens played an integral role in the design of the research and was responsible for implementing the project on irrigated crops.

Carolee N. Armfield, administrative manager in the food science and human nutrition department, received the college Administrative Professional Staff Excellence Award.

In a letter nominating her, Ray Wright, interim department chair, wrote, “She is one of the most effective staff members I have worked with during my 20-year tenure at WSU.”

Armfield supervises the office and clerical staff, oversees budgets for the department’s 60 to 80 accounts and helps faculty prepare grant proposals. Outside of work, she has been active in the Pullman Delta Gamma sorority Alumnae, serving as both an officer in the alumnae association and on the House Corporation Board. She recently received the national Cable Award for service from Delta Gamma.

Armfield has been with WSU for 23 years.

Debra Marsh received the college Classified Staff Excellence Award.

Marsh, a senior secretary in the crop and soil sciences department, facilitates programs, budgets and interaction with clientele of Pullman- based crop and soil sciences extension faculty and their research and technical staff. In addition, she supports the department’s teaching faculty on electronic Web page design, media support and departmental seminars. She also coordinates three major departmental field days.

“Debbie is an outstanding employee who emulates excellence through her enthusiasm, technical ability and productivity,” a nominator wrote.

Marsh has been with WSU 21 years.

Jerry E. Weber, maintenance mechanic lead in the animal sciences department for 19 years, received the Classified Staff Technical Excellence Award.

He is responsible for the repair and maintenance of more than 70 vehicles, including composting and agricultural equipment. He also is organizing the farm services shop and yards to improve efficiency.

“Through innovative procurement and skillful fabrication of needed equipment at minimal costs, Weber has saved the university thousands of dollars during his career,” Weber’s supervisor wrote.

Outside of work, Weber is a member of the Colton City Council, is active in the Knights of Columbus and has coached softball and baseball.

WSU faculty and Pullman-based U.S. Department of Agriculture scientists participating in the regional PM-10 Wind Erosion Air Quality Project received the college Team Excellence Award.

Since 1993, the multi-agency, multi-disciplinary team of faculty and staff from WSU, the University of Idaho, Oregon State University and the USDA Agricultural Research Service, has been conducting research that has led to a greater understanding of the physics of soil erosion in the Columbia Basin Plateau.

Research has linked high levels of particulate mater of 2.5 microns to 10 microns in size to strokes and heart disease.

“This team project is one of the first where the environmental, agriculture, research and agency communities have successfully worked together in addressing an environmental, agricultural and health-related issue,” wrote, David Bezdiceck, professor of soils.

Johnson and Nelson each received a plaque and a check for $1,000. Chew, Stevens, Armfield, Weber and Marsh each received a plaque and $1,000 for professional development. Each member of the 20-member PM-10- team received a plaque. WSU’s crop and soil sciences department received $1,000 for team members to use for professional development.

rds were handed out to the top students in each class. In addition, the names of 78 students were added to the Dean’s Honor Roll and more than $447,000 in scholarships were awarded to 352 students.

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