Outreach ​and Engagement Awards

The College of Agriculture PK-12 Council's Outreach and Engagement Awards were established to recognize, reward, and celebrate faculty and staff involved in successful outreach and engagement activities and to encourage the improvement and expansion of those activities.  In 2020, there were five excellent nominations, exhibiting the tremendous work in the College of Agriculture expanding the pool of students interested in, and prepared for, careers in food, agricultural, life, and natural resource sciences. Annually, three awards are presented to individuals or teams, each receiving $5,000. 


2021 Outreach and Engagement Award Nomination Form

The Excellence Staff & Faculty Emerging/Sustained Impact Award
The purpose of this award is to recognize Faculty and/or Staff in the College of Agriculture who have been engaged in outreach and engagement work with PK-12 audiences.
Outreach and Engagement Award Nomination

The Faculty Ignite Award
The Purpose of this award is to foster more Faculty PK-12 outreach and engagement efforts in the College of Agriculture. This award application is to be submitted as a project proposal. The Faculty Ignite award aims to increase the number of faculty members engaged in PK-12 outreach in the College of Agriculture while also sparking faculty interest in connecting their work to these audiences. This award will fund a proposed project submitted by a faculty member or a faculty lead team. Our goal is to encourage faculty to begin outreach and engagement projects with PK-12 audiences and build upon current engagement activities. Please see our 2021 Award Nomination/Application for more information.
The Faculty Ignite Award Application

Award Recipients

The Purdue College of Agriculture's PK-12 Council selected three winners of the 2020 PK-12 Outreach and Engagement Awards. Megan Gunn received the PK-12 Excellence Staff Award, Yaohua (Betty) Feng received the PK-12 Emerging Faculty Impact Award, and Trevor Stamper received the inaugural Faculty Ignite Award. Each recipient received a reward of $5,000 to expand and improve their PK-12 Engagement activities in order to increase impact.

2020 Excellence Staff Award

Image of Gwen PearsonMegan Gunn has been involved in PK-12 engagement activities for over six years. Since she joined Purdue University’s Department of Forestry and Natural Resources (FNR), Megan has demonstrated a level of excellence and commitment that has inspired many. Beginning her career at Purdue as a full-time FNR lab manager, Megan expressed interest in engaging PK12 students and went beyond the call of duty to secure funding for a pilot program called The Familiar Faces Project (TFFP). As that program’s leader, she has engaged high school students in hands-on activities to increase interest in natural resources careers while also bridging the gap between underrepresented minority youth and professionals in the field that look like them. Megan also has been proactive about reaching PK-12 audiences through social media engagement — streaming field events on Instagram and Snapchat and answering questions from live viewers. In 2017, Megan was selected as the face of the #actuallivingscientist movement, which was a trending topic on Twitter. This past summer, Megan spearheaded a new program with colleagues in FNR and Biological Sciences called Diversity in Faces, Spaces and Places of Natural Resource Science. This program hosted high school students on a pair of three-day experiences during which participants shadowed undergraduate students conducting research or formulating outreach events, toured campus, experienced campus life, and presented their experience through a PowerPoint presentation to their families. Within the past two years, Megan’s outreach and engagement activities have reached over 3,500 PK-12 students and 100 teachers. She also has been intentional about establishing collaborative partnerships throughout Purdue University’s College of Agriculture, with other units at Purdue, and across the community to ensure that PK-12 students are exposed to natural resources.

2020 Emerging Faculty Impact Award

image of Elizabeth KarcherYaohua (Betty) Feng has demonstrated an emerging impact on PK-12 engagement as an assistant professor and food safety specialist in the Purdue University Department of Food Science. Although Dr. Feng has no official appointment for PK-12 engagement and her primary Extension stakeholders are farmers and food handlers, she has shown a passion for engaging PK-12 students in food safety. From her previous research, Dr. Feng has seen the importance of teaching students about food safety early so they can more easily adopt safe food-handling practices. Her PK-12 efforts have focused on developing relevant curriculum focused on food safety education and careers while also creating interactive educational materials. Through her Positive Deviance Food Safety curriculum, Dr. Feng was the first to apply and validate effective positive deviance regarding food safety for high school students. Her other PK-12 efforts have included implementation of her career-ready food science curriculum, a nationwide campaign called The Story of Your Dinner, and a 4-H food safety summer camp. Through her engagement initiatives, Dr. Feng has reached over 10,000 PK-12 students, 64 teachers, 23 undergraduate students and two graduate students. She recently received more than $300,000 as a co-project director on a research project team with other College of Agriculture faculty members. Not only has Dr. Feng shared her work across the college, she also has published or submitted five peer-reviewed journal articles and presented at several regional and national conferences.

2020 Sustained Faculty Ignite Award

image of Tim GibbTrevor Stamper serves as the program director for forensic sciences in Purdue University’s Department of Entomology. Upon the transition of a new curriculum to the forensic sciences minor, Dr. Stamper recognized that a number of high school teachers were interested in using forensic science for their curriculums and sought to productively engage them. As the recipient of this inaugural Faculty Ignite Award, Dr. Stamper has proposed a project in collaboration with William Henry Harrison High School’s (Harrison) forensic science course, which is led by Melissa Keown. The collaboration focuses on enhancing Harrison’s forensic science course by incorporating labs and active learning assignments from the Purdue program into the high school coursework. This project aims to increase the number of underrepresented minorities among STEM careers and practicing forensic entomologists by: 1) assessing how pedagogical practices that promote student learning at Purdue can be transferred to Harrison; 2) modifying existing pedagogical tools developed at Purdue to the high school platform; and 3) assessing the impact of student participation in a modified forensic curriculum and their decisions to attend Purdue University and/or obtain jobs in the field of forensic science. The goal of these activities is to inspire high school students, engage them with STEM concepts and help them envision STEM or forensic entomology as a potential career area.

2019  PK-12 Outreach and Engagement Award Winners​

PK-12 Excellence Staff Award – Gwen Pearson

PK-12 Emerging Faculty Impact Award – Elizabeth Karcher

PK-12 Sustained Faculty Impact Award – Tim Gibb

2018 PK-12 Outreach and Engagement Award Winners​

PK-12 Excellence Staff Award – Kelly Delp

PK-12 Emerging Faculty Impact Award – Hui-Hui Wang

PK-12 Sustained Faculty Impact Award - John Lumkes, Daniel Taylor, and Jose Garcia

2017 PK-12 Outreach and Engagement Award Winners​

PK-12 Excellence Staff Award - Jeff Sanson, JW Fansler, and Shelly Surber

PK-12 Emerging Faculty Impact Award - Bryan Pijanowski

PK-12 Sustained Faculty Impact Award - Roger Tormoehlen​​​​​​

2016 PK-12 Outreach and Engagement Award Winners​

PK-12 Excellence Staff Award - John Cavaletto

PK-12 Emerging Faculty Impact Award - Dr. Rod Williams​

PK-12 Sustained Faculty Impact Award - Dr. Tom Turpin​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

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