Lana Koepke Johnson | Agronomy and Horticulture
The Fellows Award is the highest honor Pi Alpha Xi bestows on its members in recognition of dedicated service and distinguished leadership to horticulture, students, colleagues in the academy and the public. Paparozzi is the 23rd Fellow to be selected in the 31 years of the award.
Paparozzi has been an active member of Pi Alpha Xi since her initiation into the Zeta Chapter at Rutgers University. She served as national vice-president from 2004-2006 and was in charge of editing the Pi Alpha Xi newsletter, “The Lotus Leaflet.” She served as national president from 2006-2008.
In 1982, Paparozzi established Nebraska’s Alpha Gamma Chapter of Pi Alpha Xi and has served as the chapter’s advisor since the beginning. She established an annual scholarship award for members and a President’s Citation award given in recognition of outstanding service in the field of horticulture. She also worked with the University of Nebraska Commencement and Honor Convocations Committee to allow Pi Alpha Xi members to wear honor cords at graduation to distinguish their academic accomplishments.
“Ellen has shown her dedication and commitment to Pi Alpha Xi throughout her time as a member,” said Liz Conley, Department of Agronomy and Horticulture research technologist. “Her leadership style shows students and associates what it means to try 'Always to Excel.' That and her demonstrated passion for horticulture, exhibited throughout her career, make her deserving of the Pi Alpha Xi Fellows award.”
Paparozzi received her bachelor’s of science in plant science from Rutgers University and a master’s and doctorate in floriculture and ornamental horticulture from Cornell University.
She teaches both graduate and undergraduate courses. Graduate courses include Woody Plant Growth and Plant Nutrition, and Nutrient Management. Undergraduate courses include Nursery Management and Crop Production, Production and Physiology of Horticultural Crops, Perennial, Pot and Bedding Plant Production Laboratory, and Portfolio and Program Assessment. She has also taught Horticulture Crop Physiology, Floriculture Crop Production, Plant Science and Floral Design.
Paparozzi’s current research projects focus on controlled environment agriculture with the aim to provide optimal conditions in enclosed growing structures. She has been involved in the winter greenhouse production of strawberries and medicinal herbs, and plant leaf re-greening. Over the years she has collaborated with many colleagues on plant anatomical/physiological and nutrient/fertilizer projects. She holds a plant patent for the rose ‘Concetta.’
Paparozzi is a Fellow and an active member of ASHS, currently serving as chair for the Endowment Fund. She is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Society of Plant Biologists, Botanical Society of America, Sigma Xi, Gamma Sigma Delta, North America Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture, Graduate Women in Science and the Society of American Florists.
She has also received numerous other awards including an ASHS Outstanding Education Publication Award and is a Teacher Fellow of North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture. At Nebraska, Paparozzi has received the Nebraska Chapter Gamma Sigma Delta Outstanding Teacher Award, the Holling Family Award for Teaching Excellence and the President’s Citation.
Pi Alpha Xi is the national academic honor society for horticulture and was founded at Cornell University in 1923 as an honor society for floriculture. Over time, it expanded to include all horticultural disciplines. It recognizes junior and senior students with high scholastic achievement who demonstrate a strong interest in horticulture. Graduate students and faculty with an emphasis in horticulture are also eligible.
The University of Nebraska–Lincoln chapter, Alpha-Gamma, began in 1982 and since that time 350 horticulturists have been initiated. The purpose of the group is to promote high scholarship, fellowship among students, educators and professional horticulturists, and promote professional leadership and the enrichment of human life through plants.