By Olivia Norton ’16
COLLEGE STATION – The Department of Animal Science held its annual Christmas Luncheon and Awards Ceremony on Dec. 4 at the Thomas G. Hildebrand, DVM ’56 Equine Complex.
Faculty, staff, retirees, graduate students and student workers gathered for a prime rib and pork tenderloin meal, gift basket giveaways and departmental awards.
The 2014 Outstanding Support Staff Award was presented to Ray Riley and Amber Skinner.
Riley is the manager of the Rosenthal Meat Science and Technology Center. In this position, he is responsible for and oversees all operations of the Rosenthal Center which includes preparing the facility to meet the teaching, research and extension needs of those in the department. Each semester, hundreds of students come through the center for various classes, research projects and workshops. Riley works with them to help accomplish their goals and makes a point to get to know them personally. He also has a number of student workers each semester, and the training that they receive during the time they work at the Rosenthal Center has created numerous young leaders in the marketplace. He also has taught ANSC 337, Meat Merchandising, served as a substitute lecturer and lab coordinator for ANSC 307 Meats, and has co-taught Texas Barbecue class for six years.
In addition, Riley ensures the Rosenthal Center is well equipped and ready to go to meet the research and extension needs of the faculty. The Rosenthal Center welcomes thousands of visitors each year for Beef 101, Beef 706 and Pork 101 as well as other hands-on workshops and seminars. At each event Riley and his team play a supporting role to the Extension faculty.
One nominator wrote, “Ray’s influence is so widespread because of his many different teaching, research and extension activities, and our department, college, and university are well served because of his devotion to everything he does.”
Skinner has served as an academic advisor since August 2012. She possesses a sincere desire to help students in their course selection to generate a balanced schedule each semester, according to her nominator. Skinner plays a significant role in student recruitment for the department. Many times she is the first impression students receive of Texas A&M as she is responsible for all transfer and freshmen New Student Conferences each year. Skinner serves as advisor for the animal science Aggie REPS, Recruiting Exceptional Prospective Students. She currently serves on the University Advisors and Counselors Executive Board as Treasurer along with many other university committees.
One nominator wrote, “Academic advisors impact student lives and we are so fortunate to have Amber Skinner as an academic advisor in our department. She is consistently making a difference in the lives of the Animal Science students she advises. Amber is the epitome of what an academic advisor should be. Amber takes her job seriously and gets true joy from helping students in their academic advising and career planning.”
In addition the staff awards, the Ronnie L. Edwards Graduate Teaching Award was presented to Lance Bauer, Clay Eastwood, Crystal Waters and Amanda Bradbery.
The Z.L. Carpenter Outstanding Graduate Student Award was presented to Lindsey Mehall and Clay Eastwood.
Olivia Norton ’16 is a junior animal science major from Texarkana, Texas.
For more information regarding news from the Department of Animal Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Texas A&M University, please contact Courtney Coufal at email@example.com or (979) 845-1542.