Bill Payne, Dean of University of Nevada, Reno's College of Agriculture, Biotechnology & Natural Resources, opened the College's 2019 "Awards Night" dinner and ceremony, held Thursday, May 2 at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa in Reno.
More than 270 people were in attendance.
"This evening," Payne said, "I want to honor some of our faculty, staff and supporters whose outstanding performance has brought credit to our College and University."
The ceremony is a yearly tradition for the College. It was expanded last year to include University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. Now, the gathering recognizes the outstanding achievements of faculty, staff, students and supporters from the College's four academic departments and its two outreach and research units, Cooperative Extension and Nevada Agricultural Experiment Station.
"I truly believe," Payne said, "it is only through the connectivity of all of us working together that we can meet tomorrow's challenges with our quality teaching, research and engagement programs."
The supporters, staff and faculty Payne honored Thursday were:
- Adrian Harpold
- Brad Schultz
- Henry Malen
- Kevin Shoemaker
- Lana Caddel
- Millicent Braxton-Calhoun
- Olga Ilchuk
- Sharon Young
Payne said, "I want to express my gratitude to each of you for your dedication, support and commitment to excellence."
Adrian Harpold, Outstanding Researcher
Adrian is an assistant professor in the Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Science. He has been with the College since 2014, and his primary research focus is snow dynamic in western states. Adrian's impact is more typical of a tenured full-professor.
He has made significant contributions to understanding how seasonal snowcover will respond to climate change, how landscape characteristics and vegetation change the partitioning of seasonal snow, how snowmelt translates to soil moisture and plant-available water, and how high-resolution spatial datasets can inform research. He has revealed interrelationships between snowpack change, water availability and ecosystem response that were previously undocumented.
"Dr. Harpold is a highly productive faculty member with a very promising trajectory," J. Hall Cushman, Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Science professor and chair, said. "His work has immense importance for our community."
Brad Schultz, Extension Award of Excellence for Academic Faculty
Brad Schultz is a professor and Extension educator for Cooperative Extension, Humboldt County. He has over 18 years with Cooperative Extension and more than 35 years of experience managing natural resources and conducting research on Great Basin and Mojave Desert rangelands.
His programs, delivered across Nevada, neighboring states and seven countries, focus on rangeland resources, agriculture, community development and youth education. He co-developed the Nevada Range Management School, components of which are used in the U.S. Forest Service's International Rangeland Seminar, where Brad has helped to educate more than 100 people from over 30 countries. He was a University Global Engagement Award recipient.
Brad served as Cooperatie Extension's interim northern area director while continuing to serve the residents of his county as Extension educator. His commitment to the people he led and to Nevada communities was essential to Cooperative Extension's ability to fulfill its promise to Nevadans during a time of transition, challenges and limited resources. It was with letters of support from several dozens of Cooperative Extension professionals that he was honored this year.
Henry Malen, Extension Award of Excellence for Supporters
Henry is a highly trained volunteer with the Cooperative Extension, Clark County Master Gardner Volunteer Program. Over his 10 years as a Master Gardener, Henry has volunteered 2,500 hours.
For the last four years, his main project has been the horticulture education area of Nevada's largest fair: the annual Clark County Fair. As Master Gardener fair committee chair, Henry ensures his fellow volunteers and 75,000 - 80,000 fair-goers annually enjoy and learn from horticulture exhibits.
Cooperative Extension Community Based Instructor Lori Leas said, "He is an absolutely wonderful example of the Master Gardener Program and we appreciate him so much."
Kevin Shoemaker, Outstanding Teacher
Kevin is an assistant professor in the Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Science. He joined the College in 2015. Kevin brings real-world tools into the classroom to make quantitative ecology accessible to students, and he has designed innovative forums for teaching.
His informal campus-wide working group, Stats Chat, is widely known as the go-to forum for learning cutting-edge modeling and statistical analyses methods. And, his two-day bootcamps quickly improve student, faculty and staff skills in quantitative methods.
"He is highly respected by students for his knowledge but also well-liked for the enthusiasm he brings to every educational setting," Julie Stoughton, Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Science lecturer and academic advisor, said. "Dr. Shoemaker's contributions to our students at all levels will have an impact far into the future. He is highly deserving of the award."
Lana Caddel, Extension Award of Excellence for Support Staff
Lana is Cooperative Extension's budget analyst. Her career began in 1987 when she enrolled in University classes while working her way up in the accounting field. She became the director of finance and controller at The Alamo Casino/Travel Center in 2001. In 2005, she joined the University and the College as an accounting tech. From there, she spent nine years as the College's grant administrator before taking on her current role nearly four years ago.
The way Lana represents the University and the College and the great rapport she has built with both internal and external stakeholders has enhanced the College's reputation. It has also earned her one for being approachable, helpful and professional.
"To be blunt," Cooperative Extension Fiscal Officer Dan Brush said, "I would have failed in my position if I didn't have Lana's expertise, initiative and commitment to do things the best way possible. I truly believe that she is hands down the support staff employee of the year."
Millicent Braxton-Calhoun, Extension Award of Excellence for Program Staff
Millicent is a Cooperative Extension, Clark County health and nutrition program officer with nearly 22 years of service.
A published researcher who recently earned her Ph.D. while working fulltime, Millicent collaborated to develop and has played a pivotal role in sustaining the Food for the Health and Soul, Eating to Prevent High Blood Pressure, and Cocenando Delicioso Programs. She has developed countless program materials and an entire Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program curriculum for youth. And, she is involved with the Southern Nevada Food Council.
"We are lucky to have such a knowledgeable employee who exemplifies the true Extension spirit," Cooperative Extension Community Based Instructor Carol Ann Hendrix said.
Olga Ilchuk, Extension Award of Excellence for Administrative Faculty
Olga has been with Cooperative Extension since 2012. She is the project manager of the unit's interdisciplinary outreach programs. Olga supports research and outreach and fiscally manages large, multi-state public grant-funded programs, including Snowpack and Food Security in the Arid West, Native Waters on Arid Lands, Water for the Seasons, and Joint Fire Science Exchange Evaluation.
Her expertise in and insights into data management; program evaluation; and editing, designing, and disseminating science-based information allows program teams to better reach diverse audiences through University high-visibility research. She helps to organize and facilitate participatory collaborative workshops with researchers and community stakeholders.
While providing the workshops can be stressful, Cooperative Extension Assistant Professor Kelley Sterle said, "Olga never demonstrates fatigue and remains focused on preparing a stellar workshop experience."
Sharon Young, Outstanding Staff Employee
Sharon is a research associate for the College's Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology. She has served the department since 2001 and is the backbone of the Tittiger Research Lab.
She supervises daily operations, keeping track of supplies and purchases, making sure records are up-to-date, training students and keeping the lab in working order. Most importantly, she helps the lab to generate useful publishable data.
"Sharon and I have worked together for almost 18 years," Claus Tittiger, associate dean of academic affairs, said. "I rely heavily on her expertise. Her friendly, helpful outlook benefits everyone working in the building. I can think of none who come close to her for this award."