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WSU Ag & Home Ec College Honors Faculty & Staff

PULLMAN, Wash. — Staff and faculty were honored for individual and group achievements Saturday (April 17) at the 40th annual awards banquet of the College of Agriculture and Home Economics at Washington State University.

William J. Turner, associate professor of entomology and zoology, received the R. M. Wade Excellence in Teaching Award. Turner, a member of the faculty for 22 years, instructs seven courses in entomology and zoology at WSU, lectures in other departments on campus and exchanges lectures with a faculty member at the University of Idaho. He also directs graduate students enrolled in several classes.

Former students supporting his nomination for the college’s most prestigious teaching award praised his ability to inspire students to learn and his willingness to help them. “I believe he is genuinely concerned with the success and happiness of his students,” one wrote.

Darcel Swanson, an instructor in the food science and human nutrition department, received the College of Agriculture and Home Economics Alumni Association Undergraduate Advising Award.

Swanson advised 45 students in the 1997-98 academic year, including 17 through the Student Advising and Learning Center and 28 certified nutrition majors. She also serves as a reinstatement counselor and has been active in the Peer Advisor Mentoring Program, Summer Alive and the SALC Transfer Day.

Swanson also serves as faculty advisor of the Student Nutrition Awareness Club and under her leadership the club has doubled in membership in the last two years.

In letters of support of her award nomination, students and colleagues praised her dedication, enthusiasm, energy and willingness to get involved. One student wrote: “Without her encouragement from the very beginning, I would not have had the opportunity to see the many possibilities that my intended career provides. She has not only been an excellent advisor and instructor, she has become a friend and mentor that I will never forget.”

Gustavo V. Barbosa-Cánovas, associate professor of biological systems engineering, received the annual Faculty Excellence in Research Award.

Barbosa-Cánovas has helped establish WSU as the foremost research university in the world for the study of non-thermal food processing methods, according to his nomination. He has received four patents, all which are in the process of being commercialized.

The researcher has given 93 invited presentations all over the world and since 1991 has published more than 140 articles in peer-reviewed publications and has been the author or co-author of 15 books.

He also serves on the editorial boards of seven journals in the area of food science and technology.

The college’s Faculty Excellence In Extension Award was presented to Dick Dougherty, extension food science specialist. Dougherty joined the WSU faculty in 1990 with a mission to help small-scale food processors in the state. Since then his clientele has grown to include food processors of all sizes and all segments of the food processing industry and his work has expanded beyond the state’s borders.

He has organized 56 workshops, seminars, symposia and short courses and responded to more than 2,500 individual requests for assistance.

When the FDA proposed strong regulatory requirements on the juice industry following E. coli infections from commercial apple juice and cider in 1996, Dougherty was invited to testify at an FDA public hearing in Washington, D.C.

He has served as technical advisor to the American Fresh Juice Council and is coordinating the development of model Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point plans, good manufacturing practices and standard operating procedures for the fresh juice industry.

In 1998 he became formally affiliated with Washington Manufacturing Services, a branch of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Manufacturing Extension partnership.

Karen Jordan, administrative services manager of the agricultural economics department, received the college Administrative Professional Excellence Award.

Jordan is involved in every aspect of the fiscal management of her department, including budgeting, accounting, preparation of grants and contracts, personnel and payroll processing, purchasing, travel procedures, and document preparation. She also has helped manage a 360 acre farm donated to WSU, including handling farm expenses, depositing and accounting for farm receipts and disbursement of grant funds.

She has served on a WSU Travel Office Advisory Committee that is implementing electronic processing of travel vouchers. Her office has served as a pilot site for testing the electronic procedures.

Jordan served on the search committee for the department chair and serves on both the Hulbert Hall and College of Agriculture and Home Economics Safety committees.

Sandra Lilligren, a research technician in the crop and soil sciences department, received the college Staff Excellence Award for 1999.

She is responsible for the daily supervision of the Pedology and Quaternary Studies Laboratory in the crop and soil sciences department and the Thin Section Laboratory housed in the geology department. She designed and set up the second laboratory, where thin sections of undisturbed soil materials are manufactured for research. It is one of only 25 such labs in the world.

As an ad hoc member of her department’s safety committee, Lilligren, helped re-write and restructure the department’s safety program to bring it into state and federal compliance. She also played a vital role in planning, organizing and hosting the international multi-discipline Dust Aerosol, Loess Soils and Global Change field tour and conference in Washington state in 1998.

The college’s Team Excellence Award went to the Abuela Project. The project was a community based food safety project jointly conducted by the food science and human nutrition department and WSU Yakima County Cooperative Extension.

The original team included three people at the Yakima County extension office, four in the WSU food science and human nutrition department and 15 volunteer Abuela Educators in Yakima County. In 1998 the team added one more person in the food science and human nutrition department, three county extension faculty who are responsible for programming in Grant, Adams, Chelan, Douglas, Benton and Franklin counties, and 30 more Abuela Educators.

The project was organized in 1997 in response to more than 90 salmonella food poisonings in the Yakima Valley linked to consumption of a homemade cheese made with unpasteurized milk. The cheese, called queso fresco, is traditional food in the Hispanic community.

The team, working with the Washington State Department of Agriculture and the Yakima Health District, educated the community about the health risks associated with consuming raw-milk queso fresco and provided a safe alternative to the traditional recipe. The recipe, provided by a Yakima County resident, was modified and tested on the WSU campus.

Older women from the Hispanic community were sought to teach the recipe to others. Within the Hispanic culture, older women have traditionally held positions of respect and authority. These volunteers are called Abuelas, the Spanish word for grandmother.

The incidence of salmonella food poisonings in Yakima County dropped rapidly after the intervention began. None of the 11 cases reported from January through October 1998 were associated with queso fresco.

Turner and Swanson each received a plaque and check for $1,000. Barbosa-Cánovas, Dougherty, Jordan and Lilligren each received a plaque and $1,000 for professional development. The Abluela team received $1,000 for professional development and one plaque each for the food science and human nutrition department and the Yakima County Cooperative Extension office.

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