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2021-2022 CFAES Award Recipients

Congratulations to the following 2021-2022 CFAES Award winners! We were thrilled to celebrate their accomplishments at the 2022 Awards and State of the College event on March 24, 2022.

View photos of the winners accepting their awards here.


Distinguished Diversity Enhancement Award

Canas

Luis Cañas
Director CFAES International Programs and Associate
Professor in the Department of Entomology

Dr. Luis Canas is Director of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) International Programs, Associate Professor and Extension Specialist in Entomology at Ohio State University. Dr. Canas is nationally and internationally recognized as an expert in the management of insect pests that attack plants in controlled environments, with more than 25 years of experience. His research provides applied solutions to problems caused by thrips, whiteflies, and mites among others. His areas of expertise include insect management using insecticides and biological control agents, biodemography, and insect‐plant interactions. Dr. Canas has fostered a diverse and inclusive environment in his lab and college. His philosophy to promote a diverse environment emphasizes teamwork and embracing diversity and empathy for others in the lab. He promotes a work environment where each member must understand and help each other to overcome obstacles and achieve objectives. This has resulted in team camaraderie and a great environment to work, and has attracted high caliber students from the US and the World. Dr. Canas strongly supports programs such as the Ohio Research Initiative Program and the Summer Research Opportunities Program.


Distinguished International Research and Engagement Award

Sneller

Clay Sneller
Professor in the Department of Horticulture and Crop Science

Dr. Sneller received his BS from OSU.  He chuckled when it was suggested he take the GRE and go to graduate school as further education was the furthest thing on his mind. But after five years of driving a Terra-Gator for 80+ hours a week, cleaning grain elevator basements and silos, and being a salesman, he decided that graduate school did not sound so bad after all.  He went into plant genetics after seeing that people were making plants glow in the dark.  His advisor though was a pure field breeder and statistician.  This was a perfect fit and became Dr. Sneller’s passion.  He received his PhD, joined the faculty at the University of Arkansas for 10 years working on soybean, and arrived at OSU in wheat in 2001.  He has been a Fulbright Scholar, lead & senior scientist, and a consultant on many international plant breeding projects.  He has spent extended time in Australia, Austria, and East Africa.  He estimates he has spent over 800 days abroad on research since 2001, including a year in Africa, along with countless hours in planes and airports. The international work has been some of the most rewarding of his career.


Distinguished Junior Faculty Research Award

Lindsey

Laura Lindsey
Associate Professor in the Department of Horticulture and Crop Sciences

Dr. Laura Lindsey is an associate professor in the Department of Horticulture and Crop Science and is the extension state specialist for soybean and small grain crop production. She leads research and extension efforts in the area of soybean and small grain crop production with a focus on maximizing yield while maintaining both economic and environmental sustainability. The goals of her field-based program are to identify emerging yield-limiting factors in Ohio crop production, increase crop profitability by developing agronomic best management practices, and understand the effect of abiotic stress on crop productivity. Her research is funded by the Ohio Soybean Council, Ohio Corn and Wheat, USDA, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the seed industry. Laura received a B.S. in Environmental Science and M.S. in Soil Science from The Ohio State University in 2009 and Ph.D. in Crop and Soil Sciences from Michigan State University in 2012. 


Distinguished Senior Faculty Research Award

Rajashekara

Gireesh Rajashekara
Professor in the Department of Animal Sciences and Interim Head of the Center for Food Animal Health

Dr. Gireesh Rajashekara is a Professor and Interim Head of the Center for Food Animal Health (CFAH), Department of Animal Sciences. Dr. Rajashekara’s lab is focused on solving animal health and zoonotic disease problems in food-producing animals using One Health approach. Specifically, his research is focused on the discovery of novel antimicrobials as well as probiotics and antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) to control foodborne and animal pathogens. Further studies are focused on elucidating mechanisms of how malnutrition and associated changes in microbiota contribute to gut integrity and intestinal homeostasis and its impact on pathogenesis of enteric pathogens. Dr. Rajashekara is a highly productive researcher and in the last 5 years he has generated more than $12 million in funding with close to $4.5 million for his research programs, published 47 peer-reviewed articles (total over 120), and holds multiple patents.  As an advisor he has mentored 11 PhD, 3 MS, several undergraduate students, and 6 postdocs.  Dr. Rajashekara actively serves on several department/college committees; notably, CFAES Research Advisory Committee; PAAR (BSL3Ag) Advisory Board. He is extensively involved in providing service to the professional communities, serves as a member of the Conference of Research Workers in Animal Diseases (CRWAD) Program Committee and on the NCAC2 Animal Health Advisory Committee, USDA, which provides advice to the directors and national program leaders on multistate research priorities. 


Innovator of the Year Award

Jimenez Flores

Rafael Jimenez-Flores
Professor in the Department of Food Science and Technology

Born in Mexico City, Rafael Jimenez-Flores eared his BS at La Salle University in  Pharmaceutical Biological Chemistry, his MS at Cornell University in Food Science, and his PhD at UC Davis in Agricultural Chemistry. He was first employed as a professor at the University of Illinois in 1990. In 1995, he became a professor at Cal Poly in 1995, and worked there in the department of Dairy Science for 23 years. He was the Director of the Cal Poly Center for Applied Biotechnology for 3 years. He then transferred to The Ohio State University in the Food Science and Technology department where he is the “JT ‘Stubby’ Parker Endowed Chair in Dairy Foods. He is author of 142 peer-reviewed scientific papers, several book chapters, has an h-index of 31, and has filed 22 patent disclosures during his career. In the past 5 years at OSU, he published 35 peer reviewed papers, gave 38 presentations in congresses and at national and international meetings, and, according to OSP, received $2,710,444 in awards. In these five years he received two patents, with another four patent applications and five disclosures. He has been an advisor to 67 graduate students and has taught dairy and food science courses at the undergraduate and graduate level for all his professional life.


William E. Krauss Director’s Award for Outstanding Publication by a Graduate Student

Guo

Yusheng Guo
Graduate Research Associate in the Department of Animal Sciences and Center for Food Animal Health

Advised by Anastasia Vlasova
Assistant Professor in the Department of Animal Sciences and Center for Food Animal Health

Yusheng Guo was a graduate research associate at the Ohio State University who earned his Ph.D. in December 2021 under the supervision of Dr. Anastasia Vlasova. Yusheng specializes in the field of virology and cell biology, and his specific research emphasis is on the evaluation of the role of cell surface glycans in rotavirus (RV) infection. He has made a lot of effort to pursue his academic goals. During his PhD study, he generated three first-author manuscripts (two published, one in preparation), he also published one manuscript as a co-author. Yusheng presented his work in scientific meetings including the annual meeting of the American Society for Virology, and received travel awards. He will continue his research career as a postdoc at Yale University. When not doing research, playing video games or badminton are Yusheng’s favorite activities. Photography is a new passion that Yusheng has started pursuing just recently, and he keeps practicing to develop his skills as a photographer. 


Distinguished Graduate Student Mentor Award

Giusti

Monica Giusti
Professor and Graduate Studies Chair in the
Department of Food Science and Technology

Dr. Giusti is a Professor and Graduate Studies Chair, in the Department of Food Science and Technology. She joined CFAES as a visiting Assistant Professor in 2004 and then moved to an Assistant Professor appointment in 2006.  Dr. Giusti is a prominent researcher making significant contributions to the fields of plant polyphenol chemistry and natural food colorants. Her polyphenol research led to the discovery of methods for inhibiting cancer cell growth using plant extracts and her research on alternative food colorants enables the food industry to transition from synthetic dyes to the use of health-promoting natural colorants. Giusti’s research has generated 119 peer reviewed articles, 23 book chapters, and 38 papers in proceedings and bulletins and her publications have been cited 15,829 times. Dr. Giusti’s record of innovation has been recognized with many awards including the 2010 OARDC Director’s Innovator of the Year, the 2012 TechColumbus Outstanding Women in Technology Innovation Awards, the 2013 OSU Office of Research Early Career Innovator of the Year, the 2020 OARDC Senior Faculty Researcher of the Year and in 2020, the National Academy of Inventors selected her as a fellow.


Rodney F. Plimpton Distinguished Early Career Teacher Award

Klooster

Wendy Klooster
Assistant Professor of Professional Practice in the Department of Horticulture and Crop Science

Dr. Wendy Klooster is an Assistant Professor of Professional Practice in the Horticulture and Crop Science Department. She is also an alumna of HCS, having completed her doctorate program in this department in 2012. Dr. Klooster currently teaches several Horticulture and Crop Science courses each semester, including Introductory and Advanced Horticulture, Sustainable Vegetable Production, Ecology of Agriculture, Plant Propagation, and Plant Parenting. She has also co-taught courses offered through the Department of Entomology, and teaches a summer field-based course on Forest Management at an environmental institute in her home state of Michigan. In addition to her many teaching responsibilities, she serves as the coordinating advisor for the Horticulture and Agroecology specializations as well as the Sustainable Agriculture major and Horticulture minor. She is also the faculty advisor for the Pi Alpha Xi Horticulture Honorary Society and has been a mentor for the Second-year Transformational Experience Program for the past six years. Dr. Klooster’s current research efforts include a program designed to help K-12 teachers incorporate agricultural concepts into their STEM curricula and a project looking to optimize container blueberry production for urban farmers.


Distinguished Teacher Award

Rodriguez-Saona

Luis Rodriguez-Saona
Professor in the Department of Food Science and Technology

Luis E. Rodriguez-Saona obtained his degree as a Food Engineer from the Universidad Nacional Agraria, La Molina (Lima, Peru). Later he received his Master and Doctorate degrees in Food Science from Oregon State University. After a Post-doc at the Joint Institute of Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (FDA-UM), he joined the department of Food Science and Technology at The Ohio State University and is currently a Professor working on the applications of vibrational spectroscopy for chemical detection. Through the collaboration with leading optical sensing industries, his molecular vibrational Lab is recognized for the integration of pattern recognition analysis to complex spectral information for developing quality control programs, monitoring compositional traits in breeding programs, and screening for potential contamination and adulteration of foods. His research has generated over 100 peer-reviewed articles, 20 book chapters and multiple presentations at national and international meetings.


Distinguished Teaching by a Lecturer Award

Waters

Brian Waters
Lecturer in the Department of Food Science and Technology

Brian was born in Atlanta, GA, and he lived there for 36 years. Brian received his MS degree in microbiology from the University of Georgia in 2002. For five years after, he taught chemistry and biology at a high school in Pike County, GA. Brian earned his PhD in food science and technology from UGA in 2013. His research was on the production and use of electrolyzed oxidized (EO) water, a chlorine-based food contact surface sanitizer. Brian was offered a position doing what he loves best (teaching) at The Ohio State University in 2013. Brian currently teaches one online class (Wine and Beer in Western Culture) as well as three classroom-based classes (Wine and Beer in Western Culture, Brewing Science, and Food Safety and Public Health) in the Dept. of Food Science and Technology. 


Distinguished Undergraduate Advisor/Mentor Award

Lindsey

Alex Lindsey
Associate Professor in the Department of Horticulture and Crop Science

Dr. Alex Lindsey is an Associate Professor of Crop Ecophysiology in the Department of Horticulture and Crop Science. Since joining the faculty in 2015, he has focused on how crops interact with environmental factors to influence growth and yield. He also teaches three courses per year and serves as coordinating advisor for the Agronomy specialization of the Sustainable Plant Systems major. Dr. Lindsey received his PhD in Agronomy from The Ohio State University in 2015 under Dr. Peter Thomison, and has been a Certified Crop Advisor since 2009. Prior to coming to Ohio, he received his BS and MS degrees from Michigan State University.


Distinguished Early Career Extension Faculty Award

Hawkins

Elizabeth Hawkins
Assistant Professor, Extension Field Specialist in the Department of Extension

Elizabeth has been a Field specialist with OSU Extension since 2016. Her research interests include using on-farm research to identify methods to increase farm profits including improved crop yields, better management of resources, and the employment of effective precision agriculture technologies. She co-leads the eFields program that fosters collaboration between OSU faculty, Extension researchers, and the agriculture community to generate knowledge to improve the profitability and sustainability of Ohio agriculture. 


Distinguished Extension Faculty Award

Boyles

Steve Boyles
Professor in the Department of Animal Sciences and OSU Extension

Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) ensures that beef and dairy cattle are maintained in a manner which will result in a safe and wholesome beef product for the consumer. Ohio’s BQA program is a joint effort of OSU Extension, the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association, and the Ohio Department of Agriculture. Dr. Boyles has provided leadership to Ohio’s BQA program since its inception in 1994. Ohio’s program resources have been used by other states and was the certification tool for the 5-State Beef Alliance. Dr. Boyles has presented BQA related topics to over 15,000 people. Most of his efforts have been with in-person programming. However, he was an early adaptor of web-based BQA certification having an Ohio site in 2002. He uses hands-on teaching tools for conducting programs on animal handling and corral design. His corral kits have been used in multiple states and at national cattle producer conferences and veterinarian conventions. Dr. Boyles serves on several national BQA working groups in curriculum development. The Bovine Emergency Response Plan (BERP) team trains first responders how to handle livestock accidents on highways. Dr. Boyles was recently recognized as the BQA Educator of the Year at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Annual Convention.


Distinguished Early Career Extension Professional Award

Raudenbush

Amy Raudenbush
Research Associate in the Department of Entomology and OSU Extension

Amy Raudenbush began her role as a Research Associate working with Kelley Tilmon in the Agronomic Crops lab in the Department of Entomology in 2016. Since starting her role, Amy has authored, designed, and produced numerous extension deliverables distributed throughout Ohio and other universities in the North Central region. These deliverables include field guides, ID cards, magazine bulletins, postcards and videos on common pests or beneficial insects of soybean and corn for growers and extension educators. In addition, Amy leads a trapping and monitoring network for Western bean cutworm, a major pest of corn in Ohio. This network involves collaborating with extension educators throughout the state to collect data and author weekly C.O.R.N. newsletter articles during the peak season to keep growers informed and up to date on the pest’s distribution in Ohio counties. Prior to her work at Ohio State University, Amy worked as a Program Coordinator of the Blueberry Integrated Pest Management Program at Rutgers University. Amy's main interests revolve around applied integrated pest management strategies in field crops, specifically trapping/monitoring and pesticide efficacy. Amy holds a B.S. in Biology from Rutgers University and a M.S. in Entomology from Kansas State University.  


Distinguished Extension Professional Award

Ellsworth

Denise Ellsworth
Program Director for Native Pollinator Education in the Department of Entomology and OSU Extension

Denise directs pollinator education programming through the Department of Entomology, a position she has held since 2012. In her Extension and outreach work, Denise supports and teaches beekeepers, farmers, gardeners and others across the state through a variety of workshops, webinars, written materials and electronic resources. Before coming to Entomology, Denise served for 18 years as agriculture and natural resources county extension educator in the Akron/Canton area with a focus on horticulture, integrated pest management and environmental education. Denise’s first exposure to extension education was through an undergraduate work-study position in Dr. Landon Rhodes’s lab in the Department of Plant Pathology. Time spent in the lab, in alfalfa fields and at Extension meetings and visits piqued her interest and led Denise to pursue a graduate degree in the School of Environment and Natural Resources with a focus on extension and environmental education. Whether teaching in a meadow, Amish barn, community garden plot, apiary, “zoom room” or one of the hundreds of other locations she’s taught in over the years, Denise feels honored to have a career that lets her develop and conduct educational programs for adult learners of all backgrounds from across the state and region. She’s proud to be a lifelong Buckeye!


Distinguished Multi-disciplinary Team Extension Award

CFAES Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Team

The Integrated Pest Management Program has existed at The Ohio State University since the late 1970’s. Although leadership of the IPM Program changes periodically, the goal of teaching practice adoption that reduces pests, reduces impact on the environment and reduces economic costs to the practitioner has not changed. While once a strictly agronomic based program serving primarily the pest management needs of farmers, the current program has diversified over the past 20 years to include stakeholders of specialty crops, pollinator health, communities affected by bed bugs and clients of the plant and pest diagnostic clinic. The IPM team is currently comprised of 16 members including State specialists, program specialists and educators from the Departments of Entomology, Extension, Horticulture and Crop Science and Plant Pathology. All team members focus on delivering outstanding educational outreach programs that meet the needs of a wide array of stakeholders ranging from statewide commodity groups to the citizens of Ohio. Programming efforts of the IPM team annually reaches 5-10,000 participants through in person workshops, webinars, curated websites and a comprehensive video library.

Jasinski
James Jasinski (Coordinator, Extension)
Becker
Frank Becker (Extension)
Bergefurd
Brad Bergefurd (Extension)
Stone
Amy Stone (Extension)
Welty
Celeste Welty (Entomology)
Dorrance
Anne Dorrance (Plant Pathology)
Lindsey
Laura Lindsey (Horticulture ad Crop Science)
Michel
Andy Michel (Entomology)
Paul
Pierce Paul (Plant Pathology)
Tilmon
Kelley Tilmon (Entomology)
Wilson
Aaron Wilson (Extension/Byrd Polar Research)
Ellsworth
Denise Ellsworth (Entomology)
Gardiner
Mary Gardiner (Entomology)
Philip
Benjamin Philip (Entomology)
Pierzynski
Joy Pierzynski (Plant Pathology)
Butler
Brian Butler (Extension)

The Shirley Brooks-Jones Citizenship Award

Nolletti

Kimberly Nolletti
Grants and Contracts Specialist in the Department of Horticulture and Crop Science

Kimberly Nolletti is the Grants and Contracts Specialist in the Department of Horticulture and Crop Science on the CFAES Wooster Campus. She specializes in post-award grant administration for research faculty in her department. Kimberly recalls her first days as a newcomer to The Ohio State University almost 15 years ago. Her first position as an Office Associate included many HR duties. She quickly identified her key strength as the “face” of HCS, greeting everyone with a pleasant and helpful attitude. She adheres to the mantra “If I don’t know, I’ll find out” which has helped create a great rapport with faculty, staff, students, and other campus personnel. She truly enjoys seeing the passion that drives the faculty’s research, the staff’s loyal support, the students’ enthusiasm, and the international visitors’ global perspective. Kimberly was the 2018 recipient of the OARDC Outstanding Staff award and a past Chair of the Wooster Staff Council.  Recently, she served as a CFAES Change Ambassador leading up to the Workday conversion.  She is truly honored to have been selected for the prestigious Shirley Brooks-Jones award and humbled to join a group of other staff who have been recognized for their outstanding citizenship activities within CFAES. Kimberly and her husband reside in Wooster where they raised three children, and now enjoy grandparenting their 18-month-old granddaughter. She enjoys reading, adventuring, camping, and motorcycling. 


Key Values Award

Davis

Molly Davis
Technical Editor in the Department Food Science and Technology

Molly Davis is a scientific editor in the Department of Food Science and Technology. Molly uses her technical editing skills to contribute to many parts of the Food Science and Technology department. She works with faculty on manuscripts, assists in assembling award nominations, and facilitates the submission of grants, among other responsibilities. Beyond her work as an editor, Molly is a member of FST’s IDEA committee, whose mission is to create and sustain a culture of inclusion and affirmation that supports the success of a diverse food science department. Outside of the office, Molly enjoy spending time camping with her family and cooking for friends. 


Innovation Award

Filbrun

Jeni Filbrun
Program Coordinator and Bug Zoo Curator in the Department of Entomology

Early in her career at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s Insectarium, Jeni Filbrun developed an extensive knowledge of over 100 different animal/insect species.  This hands-on experience built the foundation for rearing and maintaining insect cultures for display to thousands of visitors each year.  Further work experience in the retail and wholesale field of horticulture, provided hours of experience in design as well as the culture and production of plant material required for browse material which feeds the wide diversity of insects.  The opening of the United Titanium Bug Zoo has enabled Jeni to put these skills to the test as she designed new glass enclosures and incorporated suitable habitats into each display.  Her goal has been and continues to be to sharing of her love of insects to a new generation of youth. 


Special Recognition

Acosta

Nuris Acosta
Research Assistant in the Department of Entomology

Nuris Acosta is a Research Assistant 2 and has worked at the department of Entomology at The Ohio State University since 2004. She works evaluating the efficacy of new chemical molecules for control of insects impacting specialty crops grown in controlled environments and in the field. She also works developing projects evaluating the use of natural enemies as a tool to control insects, identifying insects, and guiding students with their research projects. Her passion for research and bugs started way back in college where she did an insect collection of natural enemies, the good bugs! She is excited to work with an extraordinary group of scientists doing top notch research, makes her feel part of an amazing journey. She is excited to go to work every day, to learn and to pass forward that knowledge. 


Distinguished Professor of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences

Giusti

Dr. M. Monica Giusti
Professor and Graduate Studies Chair in the
Department of Food Science and Technology

Dr. Giusti is a Professor and Graduate Studies Chair, in the Department of Food Science and Technology. She joined CFAES as a visiting Assistant Professor in 2004 and then moved to an Assistant Professor appointment in 2006.  Dr. Giusti is a prominent researcher making significant contributions to the fields of plant polyphenol chemistry and natural food colorants. Her polyphenol research led to the discovery of methods for inhibiting cancer cell growth using plant extracts and her research on alternative food colorants enables the food industry to transition from synthetic dyes to the use of health-promoting natural colorants. Giusti’s research has generated 119 peer reviewed articles, 23 book chapters, and 38 papers in proceedings and bulletins and her publications have been cited 15,829 times. Dr. Giusti’s record of innovation has been recognized with many awards including the 2010 OARDC Director’s Innovator of the Year, the 2012 TechColumbus Outstanding Women in Technology Innovation Awards, the 2013 OSU Office of Research Early Career Innovator of the Year, the 2020 OARDC Senior Faculty Researcher of the Year and in 2020, the National Academy of Inventors selected her as a fellow.

Martin

Dr. Jay F. Martin
Professor of Ecological Engineering in the
Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering
Faculty Co-lead for Healthy Land and Water Systems in the
OSU Sustainability Institute

Dr. Martin is a Professor of ecological engineering in the Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering and a faculty co-lead for Healthy Land and Water Systems in the OSU Sustainability Institute. He joined CFAES as an Assistant Professor in 2000. Dr. Martin seeks to use natural systems to improve water quality and increase sustainability. His research links field studies, watershed models, and socio-economic analyses with stakeholder groups to investigate connections between downstream water quality and management practices in upstream watersheds. His work represents the best of transdisciplinary research—research that is integrated across disciplines and in partnership with stakeholders— and the hallmark of land grant institutions. Since 2000, Dr. Martin has been awarded more than $35M to support his research program and he has published over 80 peer-reviewed articles in leading journals, and several more are in review or press. Dr. Martin has received several honors and awards – a few highlights include: the 2019 CFAES Multidisciplinary Team Award; the 2012 Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission Sustainability Award; the 2009 International Award of Merit; the 2005 Lumley Research Award; the 2004 Price Department Advising Award; and the 2003 Pomerene Departmental Teaching Award.

Velleman

Dr. Sandra Velleman
Professor in the Department of Animal Sciences

Dr. Velleman is a Professor in the Department of Animal Sciences. She joined CFAES as an Assistant Professor in 1995. Dr. Velleman has developed a nationally and internationally recognized research program in avian skeletal muscle development and growth with an emphasis on extracellular matrix regulation of the adult myoblast, satellite cell, stem cell population. Dr. Velleman has published 200 research articles and book chapters, 2 eBooks on Avian Muscle Growth Mechanisms, 3,898 lifetime citations of her research, and she has given 36 invited presentations on avian skeletal muscle development and growth. She has received numerous honors and awards – a few highlights include: the 2014 OARDC Distinguished Senior Scientist Research Award, the 2009 Ohio Poultry Association Meritorious Service Award, and the 1998 Poultry Science Association Research Award. The high quality of Dr. Velleman’s research and importance to the poultry industry is further exemplified by her receiving the Evonik Degussa Achievement award in 2009 from the Poultry Science Association. This is the highest research award given by the Poultry Science Association for distinctive contributions to poultry science advancement.