CABNR awards ceremony honors outstanding undergraduate and graduate students

"I want to express my gratitude to each of you for your dedication, support and commitment to excellence."

CABNR professors and students with Outstanding Senior Sandy Lee

Outstanding Senior Sandy Lee (third from left) was honored May 2, 2019, at the College's awards ceremony. Photo by Ashley Andrews.

CABNR awards ceremony honors outstanding undergraduate and graduate students

"I want to express my gratitude to each of you for your dedication, support and commitment to excellence."

Outstanding Senior Sandy Lee (third from left) was honored May 2, 2019, at the College's awards ceremony. Photo by Ashley Andrews.

CABNR professors and students with Outstanding Senior Sandy Lee

Outstanding Senior Sandy Lee (third from left) was honored May 2, 2019, at the College's awards ceremony. Photo by Ashley Andrews.

Bill Payne, Dean of University of Nevada, Reno's College of Agriculture, Biotechnology & Natural Resources, opened the College's 2019 "Awards Night" ceremony, held Thursday, May 2 at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa in Reno.

More than 270 people attended the awards dinner and ceremony.

"This is always a special event," Payne said, "because it provides the opportunity to celebrate the amazing accomplishments of our College's students."

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.

The undergraduate students honored this year are:

  • Mackenzie Kohler
  • Abel Edossa
  • Alexandria Cavender
  • Amanda Reaves
  • Andrew Dobrowski
  • Anna Miller
  • Christoph Littrel
  • Erica Gallegos
  • Kelsey O'Neill
  • Madeleine Lohman
  • Sandy Lee
  • Trevor Carter

The graduate students honored this year are:

  • Cody Ernst-Brock
  • Hailey Fox
  • Lucas Phipps
  • Thomas Riecke

Payne said, "I want to express my gratitude to each of you for your dedication, support and commitment to excellence."

Graduating Ambassador

Mackenzie Kohler

Mackenzie, a Nevada NASA Space Grant Consortium Scholarship recipient, is graduating with a degree in Ecohydrology. Mackenzie received a National Science Foundation Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) scholarship and fellowship. She recently presented at the Western Snow Conference. She worked as a teaching assistant, student mentor and tutor. She was a field educator for Sierra Nevada Journeys and a student researcher in the Nevada Mountain Ecohydrology Lab. And, she was a CABNR ambassador. She was also president of the Ecohydro Club.

Mackenzie Kohler

CABNR Ambassador Mackenzie Kohler (right) with Director of Advising, Recruitment & Retention Juana Reynoza-Gomez (left). Photo by Robert Moore.


Outstanding Seniors

Abel Edossa

Abel, a University Honors Program student, is graduating with a degree in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology. He is in the top 5 percent of students in his College. He was accepted into the Summer Health Professions Education Program. He also received a three-month German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Research Internship in Science and Engineering (RISE), during which he produced a large amount of high-quality data. Abel worked as an admissions specialist, student ambassador, NevadaFIT mentor and biochemistry discussion leader. He volunteered in a research lab and at the Student Outreach Clinic. He is a member of the international medical fraternity Phi Delta Epsilon. And, he has mentored many Reno and Las Vegas K-12 students through the Boys and Girls Club.

Abel Edossa

Outstanding Biochemistry & Molecular Biology senior Abel Edossa (right) with Professor and Department Chair Robert Ryan (left). Photo by Robert Moore.


Alexandria Cavender

Alexandria is graduating cum laude with a degree in Agriculture Science with an emphasis in Animal Science. She helped to update for the U.S. Department of Agriculture documentation on the University's Wolf Pack Meats, and she volunteered as a research assistant in the Amilton de Mello Nevada Meat Science Lab. In the lab, she ran research projects and helped others with their research. Alexandria's research included comparing the qualities of wet-aged versus dry-aged beef. She is a contributing author of two manuscripts and a primary author on a University of Nevada Cooperative Extension factsheet. She has also written three abstracts for national and international meat science conferences. Alexandria will go on to earn her master's degree in Animal & Rangeland Science, focusing on food safety and the meat industry.

Alexandria Cavender

Outstanding Agriculture, Veterinary & Rangeland Sciences senior Alexandria Cavender (right) with Assistant Professor Amilton de Mello (left). Photo by Robert Moore.


Amanda Reaves

Amanda, who is graduating with a degree in Nutrition, is the University's 2019 Nevada Alumni Association Senior Scholar award recipient for her College. She is in the top 5 percent of students in her College. Her research focused on community nutrition, specifically nutrition education for low-income households. As part of a needs assessment for Nevada's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed), she helped to develop a survey used to evaluate the food security, nutrition and physical activity needs of Nevadans enrolled in SNAP. She plans to submit a manuscript of the assessment's findings to a peer-reviewed nutrition journal. She will pursue a dietetic internship to become a Registered Dietitian practicing in Nevada.

Amanda Reaves

Outstanding Nutrition senior Amada Reaves (right) with Assistant Professor Brad Ferguson (left). Photo by Robert Moore.


Andrew Dobrowski

Andrew is graduating summa cum laude with a degree in Nutrition. During his studies, he worked as a dissection assistant in an anatomy lab. He researched the use of remote access monitoring devices in healthcare. And, through Project Upstream at the University's School of Medicine Student Outreach Clinic, he worked to discover social determinants of health. Andrew volunteered on humanitarian missions in Haiti and Jamaica and medical missions in Turks and Caicos. He also volunteered as assistant coach for Special Olympics Track and Field. He was involved in the University's Triathalon and Running Clubs as well as the Ultimate Frisbee Team. He will continue in the School of Medicine's accelerated B.S.-M.D. program, attending medical school this fall.

Andrew Dobrowski

Outstanding Nutrition senior Andrew Dobrowski (center) with Lecturer and Advisor Jolyn Wirshing (left), and Assistant Professor Brad Ferguson (right). Photo by Robert Moore.


Anna Miller

Anna, a National Merit Scholar and Nevada NASA Space Grant Consortium Scholarship recipient, is graduating with degrees in Ecohydrology and Spanish. She is in the top 5 percent of students in her College. She worked in the Smilanich, Aquatic Ecosystems Analysis and Nevada Mountain Ecohydrology Labs. She also worked as a hydrologic technician with the U.S. Forest Service's Pathways Internship Program. And, she volunteered with Nevada Agricultural Experiment Station's Desert Farming Initative. Anna is involved in the Student Association for International Water Issues and the Northern Nevada International Center. She studied abroad in Costa Rica and Spain.

Anna Miller

Outstanding Natural Resources & Environmental Science senior Anna Miller is studying abroad this semester. Pictured are her parents (center) with Assistant Professor Kevin Shoemaker (left) and Professor Peter Weisberg (right). Photo by Robert Moore.


Christoph Littrel

Christoph is graduating with a degree in Veterinary Science. He worked with the University's Research & Innovation organization's Animal Resources. He volunteered with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) of Northern Nevada, Reno Riding and Rescue, Shakespeare Animal Fund's Halloween Howl, Future Farmers of America (FFA), CockadoodleMoo Farm Animal Sanctuary and DogFest Reno. He was a moderator for the Wild West Veterinary Conference. And, he was involved with and became president of the Pre-Vet Club.

Christoph Littrel

Outstanding Agriculture, Veterinary & Rangeland Sciences senior Christoph Littrel (right) with Lecturer Tracy Shane (left). Photo by Robert Moore.


Erica Gallegos

Erica is graduating with a degree in Environmental Science. She is in the top 5 percent of students in her College. During her studies, she developed her skills in both technical and creative applications such as GIS mapping, video editing and digital art software. She interned with City of Reno's Climate and Sustainability Office where her work focused on green building and urban forestry. She also worked as an environmental education program camp counselor with Sierra Nevada Journeys. She volunteered with Washoe County Regional Parks and Open Space, replacing driwater tubes for sagebrush seedlings as part of a restoration effort. Erica is studying abroad in Costa Rica this semester.


Kelsey O'Neill

Kelsey is graduating with a degree in Rangeland Ecology Management. She worked as a research technician in the Rangeland Ecology Lab. There, she co-authored a major Nevada Agricultural Experiment Station publication for the Bureau of Land Management. She is a member of the Range Club, a Society for Range Management Student Chapter. She competed on the Society for Range Management's Undergraduate Range Management Examination and Plant ID Contest teams. The range management team placed 11th out of 50 in a national competition, the best finish ever for the University. She has had multiple and high-paying career offers. She accepted a vegetation ecologist position in Wyoming.

Kelsey O'Neill

Outstanding Agriculture, Rangeland & Veterinary Sciences senior Kelsey O'Neill (right) with Professor and Department Chair Tamzen Stringham (left). Photo by Robert Moore.


Madeleine Lohman

Madeleine Lohman is a University Honors Program student graduating with a degree in Wildlife Ecology & Conservation. She is first author on a 2019 paper in Ecology and Evolution, with two more papers in preparation. She worked as a research assistant in the Sedinger and Matocq Labs. She is involved in the Museum of Natural History, Nevada Bugs and Butterflies as well as several student clubs and organizations. Madeleine will continue her education as an Ecology, Evolution & Conservation Biology graduate student here at the University studying with Natural Resources & Environmental Science assistant professor Perry Williams.

Madeleine Lohman

Outstanding Natural Resources & Environmental Science senior Madeleine Lohman (center) with Assistant Professor Kevin Shoemaker (left) and Professor Peter Weisberg (right). Photo by Robert Moore.


Sandy Lee

Sandy is graduating with a bachelor's degree in Biotechnology. She is in the top 5 percent of students in her College. She worked as a teaching assistant and as a research assistant in the Howard, Diagnostics Discovery and Yan Labs. In the Yan Lab, she was a part of two publications. Sandy also interned with DxDiscovery, an on-campus biotechnology corporation, and Tu Biomics. She worked on white rot mold, on developing and improving a way to measure Ebola and Melioidosisa antibodies, and on developing a test to rapidly detect citrus greening disease. She will continue in Biotechnology's accelerated B.S./M.S. program to earn her master's degree. She plans to earn a Ph.D. as well and to work in industry on diagnostics or medicine.

Sandy Lee

Outstanding Biotechnology senior Sandy Lee (center) with Associate Professor Christie Howard (left) and Professor and Department Chair Robert Ryan (right).


Trevor Carter

Trevor is graduating with degrees in Environmental Science and Forest Management & Ecology and minors in Ecohydrology and Rangeland Ecology & Management. He received a Mary DeDecker Botanical Grant and Nevada Undergraduate Research Award for his research on whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis). He worked as an ecological monitoring field technician for The Great Basin Institute. He also was a plant restoration ecology lab assistant and a lab assistant working on the Museum of Natural History's amphibian, reptile and fish collections. Trevor is involved in the Silver State Climate Team, Student Arboretum Board, CABNR Student Advisory Board, and student chapters of The Wildlife Society, the Society of American Foresters and the Soil and Water Conservation Society. He was also a student ambassador. Trevor will continue his education as a Botany graduate student at University of Wyoming.

Trevor Carter

Outstanding Natural Resources & Environmental Science senior Trevor Carter (center) with Assistant Professor Kevin Shoemaker (left) and Professor Peter Weisberg (right). Photo by Robert Moore.


Outstanding Graduate Students

Cody Ernst-Brock

Cody graduated in December with a degree in Natural Resources & Environmental Science. Her undergraduate degree was in Biology. Cody spoke at the international Society for Ecological Restoration meeting in Iceland this past fall. And, her first manuscript on her master's work was accepted for publication in the Journal of Environmental Management before her defense. She worked her way up from Nevada Department of Wildlife habitat assessment program crew member to program lead. She is currently working as a botanical projects consultant and working for the Nevada Department of Wildlife on a project to describe plant community change over time across the state.

Cody Ernst-Brock

Outstanding Natural Resources & Environmental Science master's student Cody Ernst-Brock (center) with Assistant Professor Kevin Shoemaker (left) and Professor Peter Weisberg (right). Photo by Robert Moore.


Hailey Fox

Hailey is graduating with a master's degree in Nutrition. For her thesis, she worked with Professor and Department Chair Jamie Benedict to conduct a statewide needs assessment for Nevada's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed). The survey identified the most pressing needs of SNAP participants and opportunities to improve Nevada's SNAPEd program.

Hailey Fox

Outstanding Nutrition master's student Hailey Fox (center) with Assistant Professor Brad Ferguson (left) and Lecturer and Advisor Jolyn Wirshing (right). Photo by Robert Moore.


Lucas Phipps

Lucas worked as an ecologist and GIS specialist for Ecosphere Consulting and the Alaska Department of Natural Resources' Division of Mining, Land and Water. His undergraduate degree is in Environmental Biology, and he is graduating with a graduate degree in Animal & Rangeland Science. He was recruited into the Animal & Rangeland Science program by Tamzen Stringham, who needed a highly skilled graduate student to work on a large and complex research project. Lucas presented his master's project at the Society for Range Management's national conference. It caught the attention of the national office of the Bureau of Land Management. As a result, the national office and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service partnered to fund a project that will fund Lucas' Ph.D. research. He'll focus on spatially explicit state-and-transition model mapping of the Great Basin.

Lucas Phipps

Outstanding Agriculture, Veterinary & Rangeland Sciences master's student Lucas Phipps (right) with Professor and Department Chair Tamzen Stringham (left).


Thomas Riecke

Thomas, a Dennis Raveling Scholarship recipient, is graduating with his Ph.D. in Ecology, Evolution & Conservation Biology. One of the leading quantitative ecologists of his generation, he was awarded the Bonnycastle Fellowship in Wetland and Waterfowl Biology for $53,000. He wrote a successful $353,000 grant proposal to work on harvest management of North American waterfowl. He also received funding from four agencies for five travel grants. He was responsible for logistics, crew safety and research during three, three-month field seasons on the Bering Sea coast of Alaska. He is first-author on five publications and a co-author on six more that are either published or in-press. He mentored and authored papers with two undergraduate students in the department. And, he taught two senior-level wildlife courses.

Thomas Riecke

Outstanding Natural Resources & Environmental Science Ph.D. student Thomas Riecke (center) with Assistant Professor Kevin Shoemaker (left) and Professor Peter Weisberg (right). Photo by Robert Moore.

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