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WSU CAHNRS Employees Honored

PULLMAN, Wash. — Faculty and staff of Washington State University’s College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences were honored for their achievements at the 46th annual college awards banquet on Saturday, (April 9).

John P. McNamara, professor and animal scientist, received the CAHNRS Excellence in Advising Award.

McNamara, who has been on the faculty for 22 years, advises between 15 and 20 undergraduate and graduate students annually. He also advises the Cooperative University Dairy Students (CUDS) and the Animal Sciences Veterinary Medicine Program.

“Dr. McNamara has helped the students in the group (CUDS) not only succeed in school and with group activities, but also has helped them map out a plan to succeed in life,” wrote CUDS President Aaron J. DeHaan in a letter supporting McNamara’s nomination for the award. McNamara received a plaque and $1,000 for professional development.

Kim K. Kidwell, associate professor of crop and soil sciences, received the R.M. Wade Foundation Award for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. Kidwell has taught crops courses at WSU since 1995. In 2004, the accomplished wheat breeder took on the added responsibility of teaching Human Development 205, a life-skills enhancement class. The class is so successful, that plans are being made to expand its capacity to meet student demand.

“She combines a mixture of respect, responsibility, caring, awareness and an overall understanding of what is meaningful to her students,” wrote Brandon Wilhelm, a former student, in a letter supporting Kidwell’s nomination for the award. Kidwell received a plaque and a check for $1,200.

B.W. (Joe) Poovaiah, professor of horticulture and landscape architecture, received the Faculty Excellence in Research Award. Poovaiah, a member of the WSU faculty for 30 years, has an international reputation for his pioneering research, which established that calcium delivers many messages and signals involved in plant growth and development.

“It was Joe’s perception of calcium as a regulator of a whole series of plant functions that led to the big surge of interest in calcium,” wrote Carl Leopold, emeritus scientist of the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research at Cornell University.

Poovaiah has published more than 300 scientific papers and his work has led to five patents for WSU’s Research Foundation. He received a plaque and $1,000 for professional development.

Annabel R. Kirschner, a demographer in the department of community and rural sociology, received the Excellence in Extension Award. In her extension role, she has been responsible for analyzing state census data for changing social and economic trends and their impact on the state in rural and urban areas.

“Dr. Annabel Kirschner has provided national leadership among social scientists on issues pertaining to changing populations in the West,” said John C. Allen, director of the Western Rural Development Center in a letter supporting her nomination Kirschner received a plaque and $1,000 for professional development. She has been with WSU for 26 years.

Frank L. Younce, who is the manager of the Food Process Pilot Plant, received the college Excellence Award for Administrative Professionals. The small-scale food processing plant is run jointly by the food science and human nutrition and the biological systems engineering departments.

“His development of the Pilot Plant has been so successful that an expansion is now under active consideration as the use has expanded,” wrote Ray Wright in a nomination letter. Wright is interim chair of the food science and human nutrition department.

Younce received a plaque and $1,000 for professional development. He has been with WSU for 20 years.

Gary Shelton, a research technician in the crop and soil sciences department, received the college’s Classified Technical Staff Award.

Each year, Shelton plans, organizes and executes seed preparation, planting, pot maintenance, harvest, grain cleaning and data collection for the spring wheat breeding program. More than 35,000 varieties and experimental breeding lines are evaluated at one to 16 locations in eastern Washington.

“Although I am officially responsible for facilitating spring wheat variety development at WSU, I have come to refer to Gary as the heartbeat of the program,” wrote Kim Kidwell, in her nomination letter. Shelton received a plaque and $1,000 for professional development. He has been with WSU for 15 years.

The “Thermometer Team” — four faculty from WSU, one from the University of Idaho and three graduate students — received the college’s Team Excellence Award.

The project’s goal was to reduce the incidence of food-bourne illness due to undercooked meats by increasing use of food thermometers.

The team determined the availability of food thermometers in Washington and Idaho, tested available thermometers to see if they met U.S. Department of Agriculture standards, identified barriers to thermometer use among consumers, developed measures for consumer attitudes about thermometer use, developed and pilot tested educational interventions, determined the response to educational activities and disseminated the results.

Members of the team at WSU were Val Hillers, extension food specialist; Miriam Edlefsen and Dong-Hyun Kang, both assistant professors of food science and human nutrition; Sun-Young Lee, a graduate student, and Zena Edwards and Masami Takeuchi, both former graduate students. Elaine Mayes, state coordinator for Extension’s Food $ense program, also participated in the project, as did Sandra McCurdy, extension food safety specialist at the University of Idaho.

Members of the team received a plaque. WSU’s food science and human nutrition department received $1,000 for team members to use for professional development or scholarly activities.

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