The achievements of students, faculty and staff, past and present, were honored at the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture Awards Banquet March 28 at the Hillcrest Country Club in Lincoln.
The evening included a buffet meal, club and award presentations, prize drawings and a silent auction.
Kolby Grint, a senior horticulture major, was awarded the Martin Massengale Outstanding Senior Award. The award honors Massengale, the president and chancellor emeritus and founding director of the Center for Grassland Studies and Foundation Distinguished Professor.
Zhengxiong (Mike) Li, a graduate student specializing in plant nutrition, was honored with the Agronomy and Horticulture Graduate Student Association Outstanding Member Award for his enthusiastic attitude and significant involvement and contributions to the success of AHGSA and the department.
“He was always involved and willing to volunteer to help with the fundraising events. He is a very kind person and his energy and enthusiasm helped the association to engage new students,” said Thais Egreja, doctoral student and AHGSA past president.
Chlorosis or yellowing of leaf tissue is a common symptom of nutrient deficiency in plants. Li’s research focus is determining how to identify chlorosis in a purple leafed basil plant that is deficient in iron, manganese and zinc nutrient solutions where leaf yellowing is difficult to determine. Li is advised by Ellen Paparozzi, professor of horticulture.
Alex Baumert, a freshman agronomy major, and Katie Steffen, a junior agronomy major, received the Agronomy Club Outstanding Student Member awards.
Mike Hillis, owner of Hillis and Company, was awarded the President’s Citation by the Horticulture Club and Pi Alpha Xi, the National Honor Society for Horticulture, in recognition of outstanding service in the field of horticulture.
Hillis is an alumnus of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln graduating with a horticulture degree. He also served as Horticulture Club president.
Nominators said Hillis continues to offer to sponsor the Horticulture Club and Pi Alpha Xi in any way he can. His generosity and willingness to give back has positively affected all our horticulture students.
Ben Searl, a senior horticulture major, received the Pi Alpha Xi Scholarship. Searl served as president for University of Nebraska–Lincoln chapter, Alpha-Gamma, for 2018-2019.
Jessica Walnut received the Plant Pathology Graduate Student Association Outstanding Member Award for her work scheduling the monthly Plant Pathology Department's faculty-student engagement lunches and helping to coordinate the Elevator Speech Contest.
Walnut is a master’s student in agronomy with a specialization in Plant Pathology. She is advised by Gary Yuen, professor of plant pathology.
Walnut’s current research is examining the potential use of Lysobacter Enzymogenes strain C3 as a biocontrol agent in soybean and rice systems. Biological control is a sustainable method of controlling pathogens that damage food and feed supply.
AHGSA presented Staff Appreciation Awards to Annie Vance, retired office associate, Joshua Reznicek, research technician, and T.J. McAndrew, research facility coordinator.
“We would not have been able to have a successful year without them. They went above and beyond their usual job duties to help us and their support greatly benefited AHGSA,” Egreja said.
Sam Wortman, assistant professor of agronomy, and Brian Waters, associate professor of agronomy, received AHGSA Faculty Appreciation awards.
Wortman was recognized for donating his entire sweet corn experiment to AHGSA for a fundraising event.
Waters was recognized for his commitment and dedication to AHGSA as faculty advisor for the past three years.