Department of Animal Science Recognizes Students, Staff and Faculty at Awards Banquet
May 3rd, 2023
On Friday, April 28, in College Station, Texas, the Department of Animal Science honored the accomplishments of graduate students, staff and faculty at the annual awards banquet.
Read more here about the distinguished award winners who were also recognized. A special presentation was made for Dr. Jim Sanders who is retiring from the department this year. Read about his legacy and impact here.
The following departmental awards were presented:
- Z.L. Carpenter Outstanding Graduate Student Award in Meat Science
- Dr. A.M. Tony Sorensen, Jr. Achievement Award
- Outstanding Master’s Student Award
- Outstanding Doctoral Student Award
- Ronnie L. Edwards Teaching Award
- ASGSA Outstanding Faculty Award
- Outstanding Staff Award-Administrative
- Outstanding Staff Award-Technical
Z.L. Carpenter Outstanding Graduate Student Award in Meat Science
The Z.L. Carpenter Outstanding Graduate Student Award in Meat Science is presented to a graduate student who demonstrates outstanding leadership skills and is given in recognition of their accomplishments in teaching, research, and extension activities in meat science. This year’s Z.L. Carpenter Outstanding Graduate Student award is presented to Kaylee Greiner.
Kaylee Greiner is a Master’s student in Meat Science under the direction of Dr. Jeff Savell and Dr. Kerri Gehring. Kaylee completed her Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science at Texas A&M where she was heavily involved in the department. As a graduate student Kaylee’s primary research interests include carcass quality, carcass composition, and food safety. Her thesis project is titled the “suitability of beef × dairy crosses as moderate-sized subprimal alternatives for the foodservice industry.” In addition to research, Kaylee has served as a teaching assistant in several undergraduate courses including ANSC 307, ANSC 437, ANSC 447, and ANSC 317. While pursuing her degree, Kaylee coached the Meat Science Quiz Bowl Team and the National Champion Meats Judging Team. This spring, Kaylee also received the American Meat Science Association Student Teaching “Cleaver” Award. After graduation in May, Kaylee plans to pursue a career in education and promotion of United States meat products. Kaylee has always have had a love for education and looks forward to putting to work the skills and passion that she has obtained through her years at Texas A&M.
Dr. A.M. Tony Sorensen, Jr. Achievement Award
The “Tony” Sorenson, Jr. Achievement Award is given in recognition of the important contributions of doctoral students majoring in Physiology of Reproduction in the Department of Animal Science. This award is given in memory of Dr. A.M. “Tony” Sorensen through a generous endowment by Mr. Hal Goggan. This year’s Dr. A.M. Tony Sorensen, Jr. Achievement Award is presented to Gabriela Dalmaso de Melo.
Gabriela is a Ph.D. candidate studying Physiology of Reproduction, under the mentorship of Drs. Ky Pohler and Cliff Lamb. She holds a veterinary degree from São Paulo State University in Brazil and completed her master’s in animal Reproduction at the University of São Paulo. Her research is primarily focused on characterizing the mechanisms of late embryonic mortality in cattle using Pregnancy Associated Glycoprotein measurement as a predictive tool. As an accomplished instructor, Gabriela has directed laboratory sections for Animal Science 333 and 434, and currently assists with teaching Artificial Insemination classes for Bovine Elite. Gabriela has also made significant contributions to the Pohler lab by coordinating and assisting with the processing of more than 5000 samples from across the world. Her hard work and dedication has enabled her to serve as the author or co-author of 22 peer-reviewed publications and 44 abstracts. Additionally, she has presented her work at 14 scientific meetings. In addition to her research and teaching accomplishments, Gabriela has demonstrated a commitment to service through her actions as both the secretary and chair of the professional development committee for the Animal Science Graduate Student Association.
Outstanding Master’s Student Award
The Outstanding Master’s Student Award is given in recognition of excellence in academics, teaching, research, and service among Department of Animal Science Master’s Graduate students. This year’s Outstanding Master’s Student Award is presented to Sara Gurule.
Sara Gurule is a master’s student in Physiology of Reproduction, under the guidance of Dr. Rodolfo Cardoso. She earned her B.S. in Animal Science from New Mexico State University, where she worked as an undergraduate research assistant for the entirety of her undergraduate program. There she developed a strong interest in reproductive endocrinology research. Currently, Sara’s research investigates neuroendocrine feedback system alterations seen in prenatally testosterone treated female sheep, using them as a model for polycystic ovary syndrome. Her research has important translational relevance for both animal agriculture and valuable insight for the biomedical field. Sara was invited to give oral presentations at the 2022 American Society of Animal Science Annual Meeting and the 2022 Interdisciplinary Faculty of Reproductive Biology (IFRB) annual retreat. Sara was elected this past year to serve on the Animal Science Graduate Student Association executive committee as the Public Relations Officer. She has also served as a Teaching Assistant in the Department of Animal Science, teaching the Reproduction in Farm Animals Laboratory course for multiple semesters. Sara has earned a certificate from the Texas A&M University Center for Teaching Excellence: Academy for Future Faculty. She is a member of the American Society of Animal Science and the Society for the Study of Reproduction. Sara’s future goals are to earn a Ph.D. in Physiology of Reproduction and pursue a career in research, where she hopes to inspire young scientists, especially those from minority backgrounds of Hispanic and Native American heritage. Sara has authored or co-authored 19 abstracts and has published 4 articles in peer reviewed journals.
Outstanding Doctoral Student Award
he Outstanding Doctoral Student Award is given in recognition of excellence in academics, teaching, research, and service among Department of Animal Science Doctoral Graduate students. This year’s Outstanding Doctoral Student Award is presented to Viviana Garza.
Viviana Garza is a Ph.D. student studying Physiology of Reproduction under the co-mentorship of Dr. Gary Williams and Dr. Rodolfo Cardoso. She graduated with both her Bachelor and Master of Science in Animal Science from Texas A&M University – Kingsville. After completion of her master’s degree, Viviana worked as a secondary education teacher in the Freer public-school district and taught a University Dual Credit Course as an adjunct faculty member of Coastal Bend College in Beeville, TX. Viviana has a strong interest in reproductive physiology and endocrinology of livestock species. Her research focuses on evaluating the effects of prenatal and early postnatal nutrition on reproductive neuroendocrine function in sexually mature beef heifers. Viviana also has a great interest in teaching and has served as a Teaching Assistant for multiple undergraduate courses in the Department of Animal Science, including ANSC 108, ANSC 333, and ANSC 434. In 2020, Viviana was awarded a Texas A&M Pathways to the Doctorate Fellowship from the Office of Graduate Studies. Viviana has presented at the American Society of Animal Science Annual meeting as well as the Interdisciplinary Faculty of Reproductive Biology (IFRB) annual retreat. Viviana was elected by her peers to serve the Animal Science Graduate Student Association (ASGSA) executive committee as an at-large member in 2021 and President in 2022. Viviana’s long-term goals are to complete her Ph.D. degree in Physiology of Reproduction and to be able to pursue her strong passion for science as a researcher, teacher and mentor at the university level.
Ronnie L. Edwards Teaching Award
The Ronnie L. Edwards Teaching Award is given in recognition of the important contributions of graduate students in the Department of Animal Science to the undergraduate student experience. This award is in remembrance of Dr. Edwards’ commitment to excellence in graduate teaching. This year’s recipient of the Ronnie L. Edwards Teaching Award is presented to Keara O’Reilly.
Keara O’Reilly is a Ph.D. student in the department of animal science, focusing on ruminant nutrition under the direction of Dr. Gordon Carstens. Keara was born in South Africa where she completed both her bachelor’s degree in Animal Science and master’s degree in Animal Nutrition at the University of Pretoria. Following the completion of these degrees, she moved to Texas to pursue her PhD degree in Animal Science at Texas A&M University. During her time at Texas A&M University she has been involved in both teaching and research. Keara has played an active role in teaching since starting her degree in the Fall of 2019, and has recently received the Vice Chancellor’s Award for Graduate Student Teaching. She has served as a teaching assistant for Animal Feeds and Feeding, Sheep and Goat Production, and General Animal Science. She has also played a key role in developing supplemental materials for ANSC 318and assisting with the organization of Energetics of Metabolism and Growth during the Spring of 2022. Keara is committed to professional development in teaching, and has completed her training as a member of the Center for Teaching Excellence’s Academy for Future Faculty. Keara’s student’s appreciate her williningess to go above and beyond to help them master difficult concepts. During her PhD, she has presented abstracts at Animal Science meetings and has been involved in several collaborative research projects. Keara’s research focuses on investigating the biological mechanisms that influence feed efficiency in beef cattle and incorporating technologies in beef cattle production systems for precision livestock management. She would like to remain in academia where she can continue teaching and mentoring both undergraduate and graduate students and conduct research that will contribute to sustainable livestock production.
ASGSA Outstanding Faculty Award
The Animal Science Graduate Student Association honors a faculty member each year to recognize the continued support and mentorship of the graduate students in the department. ASGSA is honored to present the Outstanding Faculty Award to Dr. Kathrin Dunlap. Dr. Dunlap has been a constant presence and advocate for the graduate students throughout her time in the department. She has always made it a point to get to know us and talk to the students about our accomplishments and listen to concerns by attending meetings and many of our events. The graduate students thank Dr. Dunlap for all that she’s done for the students and ASGSA.
Outstanding Staff Award-Administrative
We are pleased to present this year’s outstanding administrative staff award to Amy Carwile. Amy was hired as the departmental administrative coordinator in 2018. Amy has helped in overhauling all administrative procedures to more effectively electronically manage departmental communications and processes. As a result, ANSC was in a position to more effectively pivot during the COVID pandemic to virtual communications within the department. It did not take long for Amy to become recognized as a leading administrative coordinator among all departments in COALS. In fact, Amy has become to the go to person for other administrators in COALS, as they value her advice on navigating administrative processes.
Amy is the heart and soul of the department. She is the first point of contact that many who visit the department get to interact with. She always treats faculty, students, staff, and visitors as if they are the most important person she is visiting with that day. She is well organized, thoughtful, and totally committed to the success of the department and the people within it.
Outstanding Staff Award-Technical
It is an honor to present the 2023 Outstanding Technical Staff Award to Mr. Barton Johnson. Selfless, passionate, dedicated and humble are the core values that Mr. Johnson displays every day at work as Farm Manager at the McGregor Research Center. Barton’s efforts in making sure that research is conducted accurately and efficiently is commendable and speaks to his core values. In Barton’s more than 24 years of service at the McGregor Research Center, he has worked in every capacity of the center, taken on every responsibility given, and now serves as the Farm Manager of one of the largest beef cow/calf research facilities in the country.
Johnson’s experience is invaluable to the McGregor Research Center. His vast knowledge in the areas of beef cattle management, particularly record keeping, cow/calf health, selection and culling, personnel and animal safety, and marketing is a huge benefit to the management of the McGregor cow herd. Barton is constantly working on facility improvement to improve work efficiency, personnel and animal safety, and to maintain the integrity of the McGregor Research Center. When the center is shorthanded or the weather is undesirable, he takes it upon himself to make sure that everything has been done that day. The research center staff and the community of McGregor are strengthened by Barton’s contributions.