Congratulations to Gamma Sigma Delta award winners

The honor society of agriculture, Gamma Sigma Delta, recently held its Initiation and Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, April 19, and presented their awards to the following people. Congratulations to all our award winners!

Undergraduate awards

  • Junior: Samantha Wilson
  • Senior: Woong Sik Shin
  • Agricultural Technology: Junior Beauvais

Graduate Dissertation award: Neelam Redekar

This award is given to an outstanding graduate student completing the Ph.D. requirements in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, College of Natural Resources and Environment, or the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine within the last 18 months.

In August 2015, Redekar successfully defended her Ph.D. dissertation in the Department of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences under the direction of Saghai Maroof. In addition to her dissertation, Redekar has been first author on two refereed journal papers, co-authored a third paper, and has two more under preparation.

Redekar is currently serving as a postdoctoral research associate in the soybean genomics program.

Faculty Extension award: Dave Close

The Faculty Extension award is presented to a faculty member who has developed an outstanding program of work which has culminated in a substantial contribution to agriculture in his or her specialized field over the last five years.

Close was hired as the Virginia Cooperative Extension state Master Gardener coordinator in the Department of Horticulture in 2004 and was promoted to consumer horticulture specialist in 2012. In addition, he is working to improve relationships between the green industry operations and Master Gardener volunteers to provide the best possible educational resources for the gardening public.

Faculty Teacher award: Alex Niemiera

The Faculty Teaching award is presented to an outstanding faculty member who has made a substantial contribution to the undergraduate teaching program in the last five years.

Niemiera is a professor in the Department of Horticulture and also works with Virginia Cooperative Extension. He developed and orchestrates a welcome event for all horticulture students, staff, and faculty that is held in the first week of the fall semester. Coming up on its sixth year, this event “fosters a culture of community among students and is a friendly venue for students to get to meet their peers and horticulture family.” The success of the event has resulted in other CALS departments adopting the welcome event model.

Gamma Sigma Delta is dedicated to encouraging high standards of scholarship and recognizing high achievement and accomplishments of individuals in agriculture and related sciences.

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