College of Agriculture students, faculty earn prestigious awards

Students and faculty in the College of Agriculture at Auburn University were recently recognized for their hard work and achievements through a number of regional and national awards.

In the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology, Assistant Professor Adam Rabinowitz received the Emerging Scholar Award from the Southern Agricultural Economics Association in February.

In the Department of Animal Sciences, Assistant Professor Leanne Dillard received the American Forage and Grassland Council Merit Award in January.

In the School of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences, several Ph.D. candidates earned accolades in the last several months. Kaelyn Fogelman won the Best Student Oral Presentation Award at the recent meeting of the Alabama Chapter of the American Fisheries Society. Her paper was titled “A comparison of unionid feeding ecology between lentic and lotic systems.”

Fellow Ph.D. candidate Sidra Nazeer recently won the Best Presentation Award at Aquaculture America in San Antonio. Her paper was titled “Use of high protein distiller’s dried grain product to replace poultry meal and soybean meal in practical diets for channel catfish.” Nazeer also received the Distillers Grains Technology Council Graduate Student Research Scholarship and travel award.

Darshika Hettiarachchi, also a Ph.D. student, was recognized at the 2021 College Graduate Research Poster Showcase for her poster titled “Producing xenogenic channel catfish with cryopreserved testes and ovarian tissues of blue catfish.” Kayla Boyd was recognized at the same showcase for her poster titled “Energetic costs of PFAS exposure and depuration in the eastern oyster.”

In the Department of Horticulture, six students received the Undergraduate Student Scholarship Awards from the Alabama Nursery and Landscape Association in January at the association’s annual meeting in Mobile.

Johnathan Hampton received the Thomas Graves Scholarship; Landon Erbrick received the James & Libby Harwell Scholarship; Joshua Cabral received the Ben Harwell Scholarship; Tanner Mayo and Summer Parker received the Harold Thornhill Scholarships; and Angelina Rich received the Lee Howell Scholarship.

Also in January, the HORT Club participated in the SRASHS Conference, taking home several team awards including first place in Fruit & Nut Crops; second place in Greenhouse Floral Crops; second place in Vegetable Crops; and third place overall. HORT Club President Jacy Coker tied for first place with teammate Jack Nicholson in Greenhouse Foliage & Floral Crops. Nicholson also won first place in Woody Ornamental Crops and second place overall.

Finally, in the Department of Poultry Science, several students and faculty members received recent accolades.

Undergraduate student Sarah Nardone and graduate student Zoila Chevez received 2021 Southeast Section leadership award at the Institute of Food Technologists Annual Spring Meeting. Nardone is president of the department’s Food Science Club and Chevez is the representative of the club to IFT Southeast section.

At the 2021 International Scientific Forum in Atlanta, several poultry science students were recognized in the Graduate Students Presentation Awards: Susan Bonilla, Metabolism and Nutrition Section Oral Presentation; Kaicie Chasteen, Poster Presentation; and Charles Herron, Poster Presentation.

Three poultry science graduate students also did well at the Graduate Student Research Poster Showcase competition in October 2021. Gerardo Abascal-Ponciano, Justin Dunavant, Jorge Romero, and Jorge Sandoval were M.S. Poster Competition Winners.

Abascal-Ponciano won for his presentation “Textural analysis of pet treats developed from chicken wooden breast meat and carcass frame combinations,” Dunavant for “Quality parameters of pet treats generated from beef processing co-products,” Romero for “Evaluation of color change over time in pet treats produced from chicken paws using sodium alginate and encapsulated lactate as a stabilizer,” and Sandoval for “Effect of inclusions of a forming agent on texture analysis of pet treats developed from cooked chicken paws.”

Josh Flees was the winner of the Departmental Elanco Graduate Seminar Award. The title of his talk was “Effect of Wooden Breast severity on the protein expression of myogenic regulatory factors, cytokines, and autophagy proteins in 25- and 43-day-old broiler chickens.” Undergraduate students Cayce Maggard and Rachel Osborne were the recipients of the Departmental Elanco Leadership Awards.

Four graduate students — Amrit Pal, Susan Bonilla, Montana Riggs and Aftab Siddique — from the department received Student Certificates of Excellence presentations awards at the annual Poultry Science Association meeting.

Finally, the International Poultry Scientific Forum was held in January, where Riggs received the Processing and Products oral presentation award; Leopoldo M. Almeida won Metabolism and Nutrition: General Nutrition poster presentation award; and Brock Herron won Processing and Products poster presentation award, the top overall poster award. Julia Lawrence also received third place as the U.S. Poultry and Egg Student of the Year.

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