Robert Sharp, director of the Interdisciplinary Plant Group (IPG) and professor of plant sciences, received the Brady J. Deaton Fellow in International Agriculture Award at CAFNR’s 2019 Celebration of Excellence awards ceremony, held Thursday, April 11.
Sharp has a research/teaching appointment in plant physiology. His research focuses on the regulation of root and shoot growth responses to drought, using maize and soybean as model systems. In particular, he is interested in the roles and mechanism of action of abscisic acid (ABA) and other hormones, and in the regulation of cell wall yielding properties. He teaches a graduate course on Advanced Plant Physiology.
“Dr. Robert Sharp, professor and director of the Interdisciplinary Plant Group (IPG), is a strong advocate for MU plant sciences, both nationally and internationally,” said Felix Fritschi, C. Alice Donaldson Professor in Bioenergy Crop Physiology and Genetics. “He spearheaded several efforts to enhance collaborations between the broader MU plant sciences community with institutions and colleagues in Asia, Africa and South America. His efforts have led to faculty and student exchanges as well as research collaborations between MU and partner institutions. Importantly, as indicated by continued efforts to establish longer-term agreements that are at various stages of development, his efforts will have a lasting impact on CAFNR international activities.”
Patrick Westhoff, director of the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) and Cowden Professor, agricultural and applied economics, received the Roger L. Mitchell Fellow Award at CAFNR’s 2019 Celebration of Excellence awards ceremony, held Thursday, April 11.
Patrick Westhoff’s research includes conducting forward-looking analysis of agricultural markets and policies. He provides analysis to policymakers and the public on the impacts of farm legislation, trade agreements, technology and the macro economy. He worked as a Congressional economist before coming to MU in 1996. Since 2011, Westhoff has served as director of the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI). He is the Cowden Professor in agricultural and applied economics.
“Dr. Pat Westhoff is recognized in Missouri, the U.S. and internationally as one of the leading researchers at applying economics to study the details of agricultural policies in terms of their impacts on market quantities and prices,” said Wyatt Thompson, associate professor of agricultural and applied economics. “As director of the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute, he leads a collaborative team that wins external support for a research program that generated, in recent years, two score journal articles and far more reports for researchers, farmers, and policy makers. His profile in state is pronounced – traveling to all corners to talk with young farmers groups, ag lenders and others – and his duties at MU include graduate and undergraduate teaching, advising and chairing key committees. He plays a critical role to CAFNR as a reliable colleague and excellent scientist, mentor to his staff and students, and key researcher whose work on our team matters to Missouri.”
Shari Freyermuth, associate teaching professor and director of undergraduate advising in biochemistry, and assistant dean for academic programs and director of student services in CAFNR, received the Allan W. Purdy Award for Distinguished Service at CAFNR’s 2019 Celebration of Excellence awards ceremony, held Thursday, April 11.
Freyermuth also received the 2015 MU Excellence in Advising Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award, the 2015 MACADA Faculty Advisor Award (state recipient), and the 2016 NACADA Region 7 Excellence in Advising Award in the faculty category (seven-state region). She has received both Outstanding Teaching and Advising awards in CAFNR. Freyermuth also advises the Biochemistry Club.
“Dr. Freyermuth is a true example of a student advocate,” said Laura Friedrich, CAFNR coordinator of student services. “If a student has questions, wants to explore the opportunities in the College or is just plain lost in their academics, I know we can always forward the questions to Dr. Freyermuth. The student will get their questions answered and have a positive outlook on how to move forward.”
Michelle Brooks, greenhouse coordinator in plant sciences, received the Outstanding Staff Award at CAFNR’s 2019 Celebration of Excellence awards ceremony, held Thursday, April 11.
Brooks is responsible for the upkeep and safe operation of approximately 80,000 square feet of greenhouse space at the University of Missouri. She has spent her 20-plus years in CAFNR keeping the structures functioning at a high level through her mechanical and technical knowledge, and attention to detail. She serves as a consultant for the more than 90 faculty and technicians who use the greenhouses for their research and teaching programs.
“Michelle Brooks is a hardworking, reliable and collegial staff member,” said Mary Ann Gowdy, teaching assistant professor in the Division of Plant Sciences. “She is on call 24/7 and strives to keep the facilities functioning at all times. It is normal for Michelle to spend a few hours at work on holidays so others can enjoy the day off. She has graciously provided guidance to student organizations using the greenhouses and assists Tiger Garden students learning to care for their greenhouse.”
John Lory, extension associate professor of plant sciences, received the J.W. Burch State Specialist Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Award at CAFNR’s 2019 Celebration of Excellence awards ceremony, held Thursday, April 11.
Lory has a commercial agriculture extension/research appointment in environmental nutrient management. His objective is to promote the efficient use of nutrients from manure and other sources for crop production in a manner that protects water and other natural resources of the state. His extension and applied research program is focused on four areas: management of edge-of-field nutrient losses in runoff from manure and fertilizer; developing nutrient management tools and software; evaluating the cost and feasibility of nutrient management changes on animal feeding operations; and phosphorus and nitrogen fertilizer recommendations.
“In short, John’s work represents the best that Extension has to offer – application of university research to solve problems facing the citizens of our state and our country,” said Peter Scharf, professor, plant sciences. “John was also a pioneer in moving manure management plans into the computer age. The plan was presented to the farmer visually on a map of the farm, rather than buried in pages of text, making it much easier for the farmer to understand and carry out the plan. The software that John developed performed many of the tedious tasks (such as finding and importing digital soils maps) that presented a barrier to plan development. These accomplishments helped farmers manage manure in a way that was more beneficial to crops and less harmful to water bodies.”
Scott Peck, professor of biochemistry, received the Distinguished Researcher Award at CAFNR’s 2019 Celebration of Excellence awards ceremony, held Thursday, April 11.
After an outstanding career overseas, Peck joined MU in 2005 as an associate professor of biochemistry. He has served as a professor of biochemistry since 2016. Peck has published 54 peer-reviewed publications and eight book chapters. He has received more than $14 million in external grants and funding since 2005. Peck was recently names a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the American Society of Plant Biologists.
“Scott is also a very committed mentor who has the professional training of his students uppermost in his mind, an essential ingredient of an excellent researcher,” said Walter Gassmann, professor of plant sciences. “Through research seminars, poster presentations at venues such as Life Sciences Week, and joint lab meetings, I’ve been very impressed by the quality of mentoring Scott provides to researchers in his lab.”
Ben Knapp, associate professor of silviculture, received the Early Investigator Researcher Award at CAFNR’s 2019 Celebration of Excellence awards ceremony, held Thursday, April 11.
Knapp joined CAFNR in 2012 after earning his PhD from Clemson University. In addition to his duties as a professor, Knapp was named superintendent of the Baskett Wildlife Research and Education Center in 2015. Knapp has published 27 peer-reviewed journal articles during his time at Mizzou and has received $1.5 million in funding, with another $1 million under review. Knapp’s research interests are largely based on understanding the ecological effects of silviculture and synthesizing that information to better apply forest management practices to meet specific objectives.
“Every year since Dr. Knapp began as an assistant professor in 2012, he has contributed at every level in teaching, research and service,” said Shibu Jose, interim associate dean in the office of research and extension in CAFNR. “He has excelled in all of those areas, but most specifically in building up a nationally recognized research program with measurable outcomes. As an applied forestry scientist, Dr. Knapp’s research program has focused on silviculture and restoration of pine and hardwood ecosystems in the U.S. Specifically, he has worked on the longleaf pine ecosystems of the southeast U.S. and the hardwood forest ecosystems in the central U.S.”
Sonja Wilhelm Stanis, interim associate director and associate professor in the School of Natural Resources, received the Outstanding Graduate Mentor Award at CAFNR’s 2019 Celebration of Excellence awards ceremony, held Thursday, April 11.
Wilhelm Stanis’ research is in the human dimensions of natural resource management with an emphasis in the social psychological as well as environmental factors that influence aspects of outdoor recreation. Specifically, her work examines the role of parks and public lands in promoting physical activity and public health, benefits of and constraints to outdoor recreation, and issues in outdoor recreation relating to diversity and youth. She currently works with numerous graduate students and her previous advisees have went on to great success.
“Dr. Wilhelm Stanis is a true leader with her graduate students and instills in them a sense of contribution and service, advocacy and collaboration and creates an environment of learning that creates and rewards initiative and a positive attitude,” said Shibu Jose, interim associate dean in the office of research and extension in CAFNR. “She is readily available to her students and approaches problems and challenges with an ability to seek creative and innovative solutions – and then refines their problem solving and critical thinking skills.”
Jill Moreland, program director and advisor chair for the Division of Applied Social Sciences, received the Outstanding Undergraduate Advisor Award at CAFNR’s 2019 Celebration of Excellence awards ceremony, held Thursday, April 11.
Moreland advises 70 undergraduate students in the Agribusiness Management (58) and Agriculture (12) degree programs. Since she began advising undergraduate students in 2015, Moreland has been consistently awarded higher marks than the department and college averages for advising. Moreland advises all Agribusiness Management freshmen who she meets during Summer Welcome.
“In addition to guiding students through the program requirements for the two degrees (Agribusiness Management and Agriculture), she provides critically important mentorship to help students set goals, identify career interests, make the most of their experiences and plan for the future,” said Joe Parcell, director, Division of Applied Social Sciences. “CAFNR’s priority is to graduate ‘total students’ – those who are well-rounded and caring and who have a passion for positively impacting agriculture and people’s lives. From shouldering many advisees to outscoring the college on advising evaluations to shepherding advisees from the role of student to colleague, Jill embodies excellence in all facets of undergraduate advising, and she’s committed to aiding her advisees as they develop into ‘total students.’”
Mary Hendrickson, assistant professor of rural sociology, received the Outstanding Senior Teaching Award at CAFNR’s 2019 Celebration of Excellence awards ceremony, held Thursday, April 11.
After earning her master’s degree (1994) and PhD (1997) in rural sociology from MU, Hendrickson provided sustainable food and farming programming through University of Missouri Extension and eventually reached the rank of Extension associate professor. She became an assistant professor in rural sociology in 2012, where she teaches food systems, among many other topics.
“Dr. May Hendrickson is an innovative and passionate teacher whose determination and commitment to continuous improvement set a powerful example for graduate students of what it means to be an engaged scholar and teaching professional,” said Joe Parcell, director, Division of Applied Social Sciences. “Along with Dr. Hendrickson’s international reputation in the scholarship of sustainability, food security and food industry evolution, her personality is contagious, leading to her being a sought-after speaker, lecturer and presenter on many fronts.”