College of Agriculture Award Recipients






This annual award recognizes a faculty member in the colleges of Agriculture, Health and Human Sciences, and Veterinary Medicine whose work exemplifies the three pillars of the land-grant mission. Established in 2008, its name honors the late Corinne Alexander, professor of agricultural economics and Extension economist. 

Dr. Eileen Kladivko, Professor of Agronomy and 40-year veteran at Purdue University, received the 2022 Corinne Alexander Spirit of the Land-Grant Mission Award for her accomplishments across discovery, learning, and engagement. Kladivko has conducted research to identify soil management systems that improve environmental quality and promote agricultural sustainability. Her research has focused specifically on tile drainage and water quality; the interactions of earthworms, soil management and soil physical properties; conservation tillage and cover crops for soil health improvement; and preferential flow of chemicals through soils. This work has helped lead to two significant changes in agriculture: the use of cover crops as a technique to reduce farm field nutrient losses and soil erosion; and the use of soil health to improve the understanding of soil systems management. Kladivko was also a founding member of the Midwest Cover Crops Council in 2006 and remains on its executive committee. Her work, independently and in collaboration with the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and Indiana Conservation Partnership, has helped conservation grow in Indiana, which now uses cover crops on over a million acres.  

Past Recipients
Learn more about the Corinne Alexander Spirt of the Land-Grant Mission Award

Kolapo  Ajuwon

Dr. Kolapo Ajuwon

Animal Sciences


Established in 1982, the Ag Research Award recognizes research excellence by a faculty member in the Purdue University College of Agriculture with less than 18 years of experience beyond the Ph.D.

Dr. Ajuwon, Professor of Animal Sciences at Purdue University, received the 2022 Agricultural Research Award for his work in determining factors that mediate the insulin resistant phenotype that occurs in adipose tissue as it transitions from an insulin-sensitive tissue to the insulin resistant state in obesity, and how nutritional manipulation can be used to prevent this transformation. The laboratory employs cell biology, molecular biology techniques and whole animal approaches in the conduct of these investigations and the findings have practical relevance to solving obesity, type 2 diabetes and coronary artery disease problems in humans as well as optimizing animal growth.

Past Recipients
Learn more about the Agricultural Research Award

Paul Ebner

Dr. Paul Ebner

Animal Sciences


Established in the 2019-2020 academic year, this award recognizes significant contributions by College of Agriculture faculty members to international activities and honors the legacy of Prof. Hardin, his contributions to international agriculture, and his many years of service in support of international activities in the Purdue University College of Agriculture.

Dr. Paul Ebner, Professor of Animal Sciences at Purdue University, was awarded the 2022 Lowell S. Hardin Award for demonstrating excellence in international research, international teaching, the development of global programs, and student mentorship. Ebner serves as a technical expert for the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for good Safety, has participated in over 40 international workshops, and has received numerous awards in recognition of his leadership and contributions to society.

Past Recipients
Learn more about the Lowell S. Hardin Award

Mitch Zischke

Dr. Mitch Zischke


This award recognizes clinical faculty and lecturers who have demonstrated commitment to a career in teaching and working with students, the ability to engage and motivate students, and have fostered a culture of instructional continuous improvement in the department, college, and university.

Dr. Mitch Zischke came to Purdue as a postdoctoral research associate in 2014. He transitioned to a fisheries scientist position in 2016 and was named as a clinical assistant professor in 2017. He also is the advisor for the student chapter of the American Fisheries Society and Purdue's Bass Fishing Club and has served on the FNR Curriculum Committee, the College of Agriculture Curriculum and Student Relations Committee, and the University's Undergraduate Curriculum Council. Zischke also is a part of two Purdue and Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant extension programs: Connecting anglers, scientists and managers in Great Lakes fisheries; and assisting private land owners in Indiana with pond management. As part of the latter program, Zischke developed the Purdue Extension Pond and Wildlife Management website with Extension wildlife specialist Jarred Brooke, to help Indiana landowners manage their ponds for fishing and their land for hunting and other wildlife opportunities. He also co-hosts the Pond University podcast with Megan Gunn, recruitment and outreach specialist for FNR and aquatic education associate for Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant. The podcast, which is part of a network called Natural Resources University, covers topics such as pond habitat, fish stocking, vegetation control, and pond construction.

Past Recipients:

Outstanding Teacher Award for Clinical Faculty and Lecturers

  • 2022 Mitch Zischke
  • 2021 Young-Hee Cho
  • 2020 Orla Hart
Nicole Widmar

Dr. Nicole Widmar

Agricultural Economics
Associate Head and Professor


This award recognizes faculty who are exemplars of excellence in mentoring and teaching in the area of graduate education. Nominees must demonstrate sustained and significant contributions to graduate education through activities that demonstrate a record of excellence in teaching, mentoring, coaching, and developing graduate students; a commitment to the long-term professional development of graduate students; and evidence of innovation and creativity that enhances the graduate experience.

Dr. Nicole Widmar is the Associate Head and Professor of Agricultural Economics and director of the MS-MBA in Food and Agribusiness Management program. Her teaching, research, and Extension activities focus on farm business management and production economics. Widmar strives to conduct applied research that informs decision-making on commercial agriculture operations. She is interested in applied work that links farm management with the biological components of on-farm production and her work incorporates both the economic outcomes of a decision and the uncertainties or efficiencies that arise from the biological process underlying the production process. Widmar also conducts interdisciplinary research that provides support for on-farm decision-making regarding technology adoption, analysis of producer costs and benefits associated with alternative production processes, support for management of purchased inputs, and insight into the implications of changing consumer demand and preferences for agricultural producers. 

Past Recipients

Learn more about the Outstanding Graduate Mentor & Teacher Award.

Sarah Larose

Dr. Sarah Larose

Purdue Agricultural Sciences Education and Communication
Agricultural Teacher Educator


Created in 2010, this award recognizes faculty who have demonstrated a commitment to a career in teaching and working with students, but who have no more than seven concurrent years of experience.  

Dr. LaRose is an agricultural teacher educator in the Purdue Agricultural Sciences Education and Communication Department where she holds a joint appointment between the College of Agriculture and College of Education. She began her career in agricultural education with degrees in animal science (BS) and curriculum and instruction (MA) from the University of Connecticut and then served as an agricultural education instructor at Nonnewaug High School in Woodbury, Connecticut for seven years. Dr. LaRose has a long history of involvement with the National FFA Organization, and her teaching is driven by her passion for the transformative benefits that students gain from participating in any of the myriads of opportunities available through agricultural education. After her time in the classroom, Dr. LaRose completed her Ph.D. in Agricultural Education and Communication from the University of Florida. Since her arrival at Purdue, LaRose has contributed to revising the undergraduate Agricultural Education major, adding new coursework, and bringing programming up to date to the needs of today’s teachers.

Past Recipients

Learn more about the Richard L. Kohls Early Career Teaching Award.

Mark Tucker

Dr. Mark Tucker

Agricultural Communication Program
Professor and Coordinator


This award recognizes faculty who have demonstrated teaching excellence and honors the late Richard L. Kohls. Kohls served Purdue University from 1948 to 1986 as a faculty leader, teacher, researcher, and administrator including as Dean of Agriculture from 1968-1980.

Dr. Tucker is a professor and coordinator of the Agricultural Communication Program. In addition to teaching undergraduate and graduate courses, he contributes to the College of Agriculture Transformational Experiences (CATE) and Purdue Agriculture’s Issues Engagement Initiative. His research focuses on risk and science communication, public acceptance of emergent technology, rural sociology, and agricultural journalism education. Tucker is also involved in co-curricular programs aimed at enhancing the communication capacity of Purdue Agriculture students, 4-H youth, etc., and was awarded the David C. Pfendler Outstanding Undergraduate Counselor Award in 2020.

Past Recipients

Learn more about the Richard L. Kohls Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award.

Michael Mickelbart

Dr. Michael Mickelbart

Botany & Horticulture


For more than 50 years, the College of Agriculture has presented an annual Outstanding Undergraduate Counselor Award to recognize a faculty member for their work in providing academic advice and counseling to students. 

Dr. Michael Mickelbart, Professor of Botany & Horticulture at Purdue University, is the 2022 David C. Pfendler Outstanding Counselor Award recipient. Mickelbart instructs students in Botany and Plant Pathology, as well as Horticulture and Landscape Architecture. He is also an active member of the Purdue University Interdisciplinary Life Science Program (PULSe), where he hosts Ph.D. students for laboratory rotations and serves on preliminary exam committees. Mickelbart’s research interests include the genetic basis of plant water use, stomatal development and water use, and the use of stable isotopes to study plant processes.

Past Recipients

Learn more about the David C. Pfendler Outstanding Counselor Award.


Karen  Richey

Karen Richey

Marshall County
Purdue Extension Educator


This award is given annually to a Purdue University faculty or staff member in recognition of outstanding educational contributions to the well-being and progress of rural Indiana and to encourage continued achievement and service. The Hovde Award of Excellence also honors former Purdue president, Frederick L. Hovde (1946-1971).

Karen Richey, Marshall County Purdue Extension Educator, received the 2021 Frederick L. Hovde Award of Excellence for her work over the past 31 years in making an impact on the lives of local, state, and national residents while also mentoring numerous educators throughout Indiana. Richey is renowned for her expertise on food, nutrition and food safety, has provided statewide leadership on numerous boards and task forces, and was instrumental in creating the Purdue Extension food safety team. Richey also received the Health and Human Sciences Team Award from the Indiana Extension Educators Association in 2021, as well as the Distinguished Service Award from the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Services in 2006.

Past Recipients
Learn more about the Frederick L. Hovde Award of Excellence

Download Nomination Form

Amy Cochran

Amy Cochran

Agricultural Economics
Academic and Internship Coordinator


This award recognizes staff or non-tenure track faculty for outstanding, sustained service to students (e.g. advising, placement, registration, counseling, faculty fellow in residence hall, learning community leader, etc.).

Amy Cochran is the Academic and Internship Coordinator for the Agricultural Economics department. Cochran is responsible for managing logistical, physical, and operational aspects of the Sales and Marketing and Advanced Sales and Marketing courses in the College of Agriculture. This includes the direct supervision of ten undergraduate teaching assistants, program development, developing and proposing course operating budgets, and managing the course allocated resources. Cochran also develops and maintains relationships with industry professionals for fundraising and assistance with student projects. In her work with students, she assists advisees with the Sales and Marketing curriculum and maintains contact with program graduates.

Past Recipients

Learn more about the Outstanding Service to Students Award.

2022 TEAM Award
Purdue Landscape Report Team


The Together EveryonAchieves More award (TEAM) was created in 1995 to recognize interdisciplinary team achievements of faculty and staff. Teams must consist of three or more Purdue faculty and administrative/professional staff members. Team projects should include activities in one or more of the College mission areas of teaching, research, and extension, and must have made a demonstrable impact.

The Purdue Landscape Report provides science-based, timely information regarding Midwest landscapes to commercial growers, garden centers, landscapers, arborists, and the general public and is circulated via e-newsletter, blog, social media, and interactive webinars. Led by Nursery and landscape Extension specialist Kyle Daniel, the team behind the Purdue Landscape Report includes Kirby Kalbaugh, Lori Jolly-Brown, and Aaron Patton from the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Todd Abrahamson, Janna Beckerman, John Bonkowski, and Tom Creswell from the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, Elizabeth Barnes and Cliff Sadof from the Department of Entomology, and Lindsey Purcell from the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources. Together, the team has written more than 200 articles covering topics such as diseases, insects, weeds, herbicide use, plant selection, tree care, and landscape maintenance.

Past Recipients
Learn more about the TEAM Award



Founded in 2018, the Unsung Diversity Hero Award is presented annually to a faculty member, staff member, and student(s) for their efforts to create an inclusive environment within their department, and the college as a whole, going out of their way to lead others by setting a positive example. 

Linda  Lee

Dr. Linda Lee

Professor of Agronomy, Program Head for the Ecological Sciences & Engineering Interdisciplinary Graduate Program

Linda Lee
Dr. Linda Lee is a Professor of Agronomy, Program Head for the Ecological Sciences & Engineering Interdisciplinary Graduate Program, and a Faculty Affiliate in the Division of Environmental Ecological Engineering. Lee has an energetic, innovative, stimulating program of research and teaching in environmental soil chemistry grounded in fundamental concepts of chemistry with direct application to known environmental problems. She has served as the primary mentor of almost 30 graduate students to date and also developed and teaches Environmental Soil Chemistry lab/lecture and Environmental Organic Chemistry. In addition, Lee co-developed and co-instructs/facilitates the ESE fall and spring Colloquium course series and co-teaches Introduction to Environmental Sciences.

Josh  Widhalm

Dr. Josh Widhalm

Horticulture & Landscape Architecture
Associate Professor
Josh Widhalm
Dr. Josh Widhalm is an Associate Professor of Horticulture, Horticulture & Landscape Architecture and an active mentor for the Purdue University Interdisciplinary Life Science Ph.D. program (PULSe) where he currently hosts PULSe students for laboratory rotations and recruits PULSe students into the laboratory. Widhalm’s research interests include plant natural product metabolism, synthetic biology, and functional genomics. In the laboratory, Widhalm teaches students to use functional genomics approaches with synthetic biology tools to advance basic knowledge of plant metabolism. This research is used to design metabolic engineering strategies for applications relevant to sustainable agriculture and toward improving human health.

FSGSA (Food Science Graduate Student Association)

Image of group of students and professor posting showing their awards

The FSGSA is a social organization for all graduate students in the Department of Food Science. The group strives to increase social interaction, networking, and a sense of community among food science graduate students, as well as to increase interaction between Food Science graduate students, students in other departments (i.e., Nutrition, Agricultural & Biological Engineering, Chemical Engineering, etc.), and undergraduate students. FSGSA serves as an informational source through which students can gain insight about departmental, college, and university activities, as well as providing additional resources and information to Food Science graduate students about career development and opportunities while serving as a bridge between the Graduate Students in Food Science and the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT).

Download Nomination Form