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WSU College of Ag & Home Ec Faculty & Staff Honored

PULLMAN, Wash. — Faculty and staff of Washington State University’s College of Agriculture and Home Economics were honored for their achievements Saturday (April 15) at the 41st annual college awards banquet.

Mark Mirando, associate professor of physiology in the animal sciences department, received the R. M. Wade Excellence in Teaching Award.

The students and faculty member who nominated him described Mirando as “an excellent classroom and laboratory instructor, a patient and careful advisor and a first-rate mentor of graduate students and undergraduates.”

Mirando, a member of the faculty since 1990, has taught five different courses for his department, including Animal Sciences 101. This introductory course, which has five laboratory sessions a week, attracts 125-185 students, most with no background in food-producing animals.

“Students — regardless of background — emerge from his class with a very strong understanding and appreciation of the role of food-producing animals from historical, global and societal perspectives,” Mirando’s nominators said.

Dorothy Pond-Smith, associate professor of human nutrition and director of the Coordinated Undergraduate Option in General Dietetics, received the college Alumni Association Undergraduate Advising Award.

“I know of no one who exceeds her qualifications and commitment to helping students achieve their goals and become professional in their field,” wrote one supporter of Pond-Smith’s nomination.

Since 1988 Pond-Smith has advised from 33 to 52 students annually in the CUOGD program, which is offered by the food science and human nutrition department. During nearly 13 years at WSU, she also has served as director of the General Dietetic Option and advised the Student Dietetic Club.

The annual Faculty in Research Award went to James Harsh, soil scientist in the crop and soil sciences department.

Harsh has made several significant contributions to research in the field of soil chemistry, including the surface chemistry and thermodynamic stability of soil minerals, the behavior and fate of metals in soils and the use of super-critical fluids to study the interaction of pesticides with soils.

“I can truly say that he is one of the most insightful soil chemists in the field today,” a peer wrote.

Over the years, Harsh’s work has been supported by $2.25 million in competitive grants and he has published 40 refereed articles, technical reports, popular articles and book chapters related to his research.

Carol Ramsay, coordinator of the Pesticide Education Program, received the annual Faculty Excellence in Extension Award.

The self-supported program provides courses for pre-licensing and re-certification of state-licensed pesticide applicators, operators, consultants, dealers and managers. The program has trained nearly 300,000 people in the safe use of pesticides.

Ramsay’s innovations in new program delivery methods were cited in her nomination, including an on-line pesticide re-certification course she instituted in 1999. She also has been involved in a multi-state effort aimed at developing and testing a model for a national technology-enhanced pesticide education system.

In 1998 she was recognized by the governor’s office for work with the Washington State Department of Agriculture in designing courses for non-traditional clientele.

She has published 14 pesticide training manuals for WSU Cooperative Extension. She also has written and produced extension training videos on pesticide storage, recycling, sprayer calibration, worker protection and a variety of other topics.

Terry Miller, insectary manager and quarantine officer of the Northwest Biocontrol Insectary and Quarantine facility, received the college’s Administrative Professional Excellence Award.

Biocontrol is a pest management strategy designed to keep agricultural pests in check with their natural enemies.

When the facility was faced with potential cuts four years ago, Miller wrote proposals that secured more than $200,000 in funding. In 1996, he was responsible for securing certification of the quarantine facility with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

Miller has networked with biological control facilities all around the world and developed a quarantine protocol that has been accepted in other states. In addition, he delivers guest lectures and hosts visiting classes at the facility and teaches a graduate class in the evenings for the entomology department.

Steve Lyon, an agriculture research technologist supervisor in the crop and soil sciences department, received the college Staff Excellence Award. He is responsible for the day-to-day management of the winter wheat breeding program.

In connection with his duties, Lyon supervises 10 or more technicians, graduate students, undergraduate assistants, staff and visiting scientists working in labs and 23 field locations in Eastern Washington.

Lyon also makes presentations to growers and represents the winter wheat breeding program at meetings across the state and nation.

The Team Excellence Award was presented to the “Germ City” Team, a group of Cooperative Extension educators and cooperators in five counties in western Washington.

The members have worked together to educate school children about the importance of washing their hands, an often overlooked behavior important for food safety, personal health and disease prevention.

The team designed an eye-catching, traveling exhibit, which includes a wheelchair and stroller accessible tunnel; wrote a “Germ City” rap song for children, created posters and developed classroom evaluation materials for children.

In 1999, the project reached more than 35,000 children and adults at fairs, festivals, community events and elementary classrooms in Thurston, Mason, Pierce, Lewis and Grays Harbor counties.

Mirando and Pond-Smith each received a plaque and check for $1,000. Harsh, Ramsay, Miller and Lyon each received a plaque and $1,000 for professional development. The Germ Team received $1,000 for professional development and each of the nine members received a plaque.

Members of the team honored at the banquet were B. Susie Craig and Doris Schrift, both from WSU Thurston County Cooperative Extension; and Doris Torkelson, Alice Whittaker, and Debbie Adolphsen, all of WSU Grays Harbor County Cooperative Extension. Also honored were Karen Sell of the Olympia Lions Club; Elizabeth Raferty of the Tumwater School District; Diane Westbrook of the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department and Dan Sharp of The Puyallup Fair.

At the same banquet, the names of 64 students were added to the Dean’s Honor Roll and scholarships worth $546,465 were awarded to 288 students.

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