Lana Koepke Johnson | Agronomy and Horticulture
The University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Alpha Gamma Chapter of Pi Alpha Xi, the National Honor Society for Horticulture, inducted new members and elected officers for next year April 2 in the Dinsdale Family Learning Commons on the University of Nebraska–Lincoln East Campus.
New inductees this year are Tori Boden, Sage Eckard, Cole Hammett, Jacob Hillis, Benjamin Knudsen, Eric Kovarik, Deanna Montanez Mendoza, Jacob Nichols, Nathan Starr, Sidney Thimgan, Drew Wessel and Macey Wooldrik.
The chapter also honored Ellen Paparozzi, professor of agronomy and horticulture, and celebrated its 40th anniversary. Paparozzi founded the chapter in 1982 and has served as advisor since the beginning. She also served as national vice president of Pi Alpha Xi from 2004 to 2006 and as national president from 2006 to 2008. She was awarded Phi Alpha Xi fellow in 2019.
“Dr. Paparozzi has been instrumental in not only forming the Nebraska’s Alpha Gamma Chapter together with students but advising the organization for 40 years,” said David Lambe, agronomy and horticulture professor of practice. “The reason we have successfully initiated 383 members into this organization is because of the professional approach Dr. Paparozzi uses to encourage students to make the most of their collegiate career.”
Paparozzi was honored because of her commitment to horticulture and to science with a permanent bench dedicated to her and located in the Yeutter Garden on Nebraska’s East Campus.
“Ellen is a gifted educator who is always, always teaching,” said Liz Conley, research technologist for Paparozzi since 1990. “Her teaching style can be characterized by her creativity, leadership, professionalism and devoted mentoring. Further, she works constantly to update class content to keep it relevant.”
Paparozzi recently retired and leaves a legacy of horticulture industry innovation and creative teaching.
Pi Alpha Xi was founded at Cornell University in 1923. Nationally, there are 40 chapters with over 14,000 members. Chapters are located in the United States at four-year institutions with programs in horticulture. The purpose of the group is to promote high scholarship, fellowship among students, educators and professional horticulturists, professional leadership and the enrichment of human life through plants.
Junior and senior horticulture majors with a 3.0 GPA overall and at least 15 hours in horticulture classes are invited to join. Graduate students and faculty with an emphasis in horticulture are also eligible. Notification of nominations are sent out in the fall and spring semesters by advisers. Initiation ceremony is traditionally held in the spring.
“This organization represents the brightest students among horticulture in our department. It is expressly designed to celebrate their accomplishments and acknowledge their hard work in academics,” Lambe said.
New officers elected for 2022–2023 are Jacob Hillis, president; Jacob Nichols, vice president, Macey Wooldrik, secretary, and Nathan Starr, treasurer. Advisers to the club are Lambe and Luqi Li, agronomy and horticulture lecturer.
Elizabeth Cunningham, past president, Jamie Dasenbrock, past vice president and Brandon Mars, past secretary/treasurer, planned and presented the celebration.
Go to the Pi Alpha Xi Alpha Gamma chapter webpage for more information about the organization.