Highlights from Department’s Winterfest Celebration

In December the department hosted its annual Winterfest to celebrate the end of the fall term and highlight the accomplishments of our faculty, students, and staff with departmental awards. Listed below are the awards distributed and their winners.

Leadership Award

This award recognizes an individual who carries out the mission of our department while inspiring others to do the same. Dr. Beth Ventura was presented with the Leadership Award this year.

Beth has served as a true leader in our department over the past year, and has become such a strong advocate for our students the student experience in the Department of Animal Science. She has been actively working to find and create more student friendly studying spaces in our building, has been recognized in the college for innovative online teaching strategies, has created the Animal Welfare Judging Team, and is a champion of creating a diverse and inclusive community for our students.

One individual who nominated Beth said, “Beth has done an excellent job mentoring students on a personal level to achieve their goals. She checks in on her students to make sure they are doing well. She is also wiling to mentor and give advice to other students, making her impact a positive on for the department.”

Team Achievement Award

This award is meant to recognize a group, committee, team, or club that has done outstanding work for the department in the past year. The award was presented to the Animal Systems Biology Team this year, which consists of Drs. Gerald Shurson, Chi Chen, Chris Faulk, Milena Saqui-Salces, Pedro Urriola, and Andres Gomez.

This team focuses on collaborations both within our department, our college, and outside of the university as well bringing together different disciplines and people to approach large-scale issues.

One individual shared this about the team, “This team continues to grow and several research partnerships have been developed with Minnesota based industry groups including Cargill, Land O' Lakes/Purina, Zinpro, Qualitech, Biomatrix, CHS, among others. This team has several collective and integrated publications, grants, and ongoing research projects, and is recognized by CFANS as a distinguished program. Milena and Pedro are leading the teams' journal club which is attended regularly by numerous graduate students, and focuses on cross-training all graduate students in various disciplines.”

Positive Impact Award

This award recognizes an individual whose presence and optimistic attitude positively impacts those around them. The recipient of the Positive Impact Award this year was graduate student Yuan-Tai Hung. Yuan-Tai is advised by Drs. Gerald Shurson, Milena Saqui-Salces, and Pedro Urriola.

When describing him his advisors shared, “Yuan-Tai is a model Ph.D. student who constantly seeks opportunities to learn and ALWAYS supports every student and faculty member that he interacts with. Yuan-Tai is a tireless contributor to our program and can always be found working in his office or lab every day including weekends. He always smiles and sets an excellent example for other by saying “No Problem” when asked to do something. He exceeds all expectations and always completes high quality work sooner than expected. His calm and pleasant personality makes everyone feel at ease and is one of many reasons he is an excellent teaching assistant working with undergraduate students. Yuan-Tai is making many positive impacts in our program and the people he works with and is highly deserving of recognition from the Department of Animal Science.”

Above and Beyond Award

This award is meant to recognize an individual who goes above and beyond in their everyday work to help others and further the work of the department. The award was presented this year to staff member Bonnie Rae.

What stood out in the nominations for Bonnie was her can-do attitude, her caring personality, and her cleaning skills. Here are a few things individuals who nominated Bonnie had to say:

 “She always does more than just her job. Just amazing to see how much she cares.”

“Bonnie is the literal glue of our department. She is always scrubbing, repairing, or patching some part of the building, and then in trued Jane-of-all-trades fashion she hops on the computer and updates our websites for us. She’s always willing to help and does so with a smile and her trademark laugh.“

“Bonnie goes beyond the expectations of her position by helping others in a wide variety of areas. She is the go-to person for every odd job (for which no one is responsible) in our department. She works hard to help others in all aspects of their work.”

Congrats to all our winners! Thank you for all of your contributions to our department.