2019 Year in Review: People


Jeff Dukes
Dr. Jeff Dukes

2019 Year in Review: The People

It all starts with the dedication of our faculty and staff. Here is a look back at the year that was beginning with the amazing people behind it all.

Chosen to Serve/Leading the Charge

In 2019, four members of our Purdue FNR faculty/staff were named to service positions with the federal government or within their respective national organizations.
  • Dr. Jeff Dukes, professor of forestry and natural resources and biological sciences and the director of the Purdue Climate Change Research Center, was named to the Climate-Related Market Risk Subcommittee of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Market Risk Advisory Committee. (CFTC Article)
  • Kara Salazar, Assistant Program Leader and Extension Specialist for Sustainable Communities, was reappointed to the Indiana Land Resources Council through November 2023 by Governor Eric Holcomb. (Holcomb Makes More Board, Commission Appointments)
  • Dr. Eva Haviarova was elected to serve as President for the Society of Wood Science and Technology (SWST). This is the #1 international association of over 500 wood science professionals from 44 countries. Dr. Haviarova will serve as the SWST President from summer 2019 to 2020. (SWST Executive Board)
  • Dr. Liz Flaherty
    Dr. Liz Flaherty
  • Extension wildlife specialist Jarred Brooke was named as the chair for the Wildlife Habitat Education Program. (Wildlife Habitat Education Program)

On the Awards Stage

Purdue FNR aims to breed success in our students, faculty and staff. 2019 saw the fruit of those labors on both the local and national stage.
  • Dr. Linda Prokopy was awarded Fellow of the Soil and Water Conservation Society. The Fellow Award recognizes SWCS members who have performed exceptional service in advocating the conservation of soil, water, and related natural resources. This award is given for professional excellence, first and foremost. (Facebook Post)
  • Dr. Songlin Fei and his lab received the W.S. Cooper Award from the Ecological Society of America for their paper in Science Advances titled “Divergence of species responses to climate change.” Lab members are Fei, Johanna Desprez (former master’s student), Insu Jo (former postdoc), and Jonathan Knott (current PhD student). (Ecological Society of America announces 2019 award recipients)
  • Elliot Sass, agBOT team
    Eliot Sass, agBOT team
  • Dr. Liz Flaherty was a nominee for the USDA National Award for Excellence in College and University Teaching in the Food and Agricultural Sciences Program. She also earned the Teaching Leadership Award from the Purdue University Teaching Academy and the Center for Instructional Excellence, received the College of Agriculture’s Kohls Undergraduate Teacher Award (Much to learn from annual Celebration of Teaching Excellence) and was an Honorable Mention selection for the college’s Unsung Diversity Hero Award.
  • Drs. Zhao Ma and Linda Prokopy received the Seeds for Success Award. On a $7.3 million research award, Prokopy and Ma are Co-PIs for a $1.96 million project and Ma is the PI on a $659K project. The seeds for success award is given in recognition of the accomplishments of investigators for their efforts in obtaining a $1 million or more external sponsored award. (2019 Banquet Recognizes Excellence in Research at Purdue)
  • Dr. Anna Bruniche, a postdoc in Dr. Andrew DeWoody’s lab received a prestigious two-year Carlsberg Foundation Reintegration Fellowship at the University of Copenhagen for her project “Genomics assessment of speciation in African bovids.”


Rebecca Koetz receiving Community Spirit Award.
Rebecca Koetz
  • The Wildlife Society Quiz Bowl team won first place among all wildlife programs in the country at the Wildlife Society annual convention in Reno, Nevada. This marked the team’s fourth straight podium finish after placing third in 2018, second in 2017 and third in 2016. (Facebook Post)
  • Elliott Sass, a double major in forestry and environmental and natural resources engineering, took first place with his team at the Weed & Feed Competition of the agBot Challenge. (Champions Cultivate the Future)
  • Graduate research assistant Soriada Garcia won a community award for outstanding poster at the Science of Team Science Conference in May in Lansing, Michigan. (Science of Team Science 2019 Award Winners)
  • Graduate research assistant Aishwarya Chandrasekaran presented a poster at the Purdue GIS Day and won first prize.
  • Alison Ochs, a PhD student in Dr. Rob Swihart and Dr. Mike Saunders’ labs, won first place honors at the Beijing Forestry University Summer Camp. (Twitter Post)
  • Graduate research assistant Taylor Senegal in Dr. Tomas Hook’s lab was honored as a Best Student Poster Award winner by the International Association for Great Lakes Research. (Twitter Post)
  • Becca Nixon , a PhD student under Zhao Ma, received the 3rd place award in the Doctoral Oral Paper Competition as part of the West Lakes Division of the American Association of Geographers at their 2019 meeting.
Dr. Jason Hoverman
Dr. Jason Hoverman

College/Department Awards

In addition, Purdue, the College of Agriculture and FNR each handed out several honors to faculty, staff and students in 2019.


Joshua Sloan studies seedlings for planting in dry environments.
Joshua Sloan
The FNR faculty added one new member to its ranks and saw four promoted in 2019. 

Standout Alumni

Purdue alumni were in the spotlight in 2019, making an impact on campus, in the state of Indiana and nationally, garnering prestigious appointments and even earning an Emmy award. 
  • Dr. Steve Shifley received the Purdue Agriculture Alumni Association’s Certificate of Distinction and Purdue FNR’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • Dr. Gregory Dahle received FNR’s Distinguished Alumnus Award.
  • Dr. Leslie Holland-Bartels was honored as a Purdue Old Master.
  • Megan Benage holding Emmy for her work on Prairie Sportsman.
    Megan Benage
  • Megan Benage received an Emmy for her work on Prairie Sportsman.
  • Randy Knapik was featured in a Wildlife Society talk about his graduate research on mute swans. 
  • Susan Ulrich was awarded the Chase S. Osborn Award in Wildlife Conservation for her Contribution to the Advancement of Wildlife Conservation in Indiana.
  • Alumna Amanda Wuestefeld was named director of the Indiana DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife.
  • Joshua Sloan, a 2005 alumnus, was featured in a Las Cruces Sun News article about his study involving preparing seedlings for planting in dry environments. 
  • Forestry alum Philip Sneed was featured on the Leadership Nature podcast. 
  • 2009 wildlife biology alumnus Lucas Woody was featured in the Lafayette Journal & Courier as one of 30 to Watch regarding his career pivot to open a business called Human Movement Performance and Prehabilitation. 
  • FNR added 12 master’s degree and 7 doctoral graduates to its alumni ranks. 
  • 47 Undergraduate students became alumni in 2019. Thirty-four graduated in the spring, two more followed in the summer and 11 in the fall.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Forestry and Natural Resources, 715 West State Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2061 USA, (765) 494-3590

© Purdue University | An equal access/equal opportunity university | Integrity Statement | Copyright Complaints | Maintained by Agricultural Communication

Trouble with this page? Disability-related accessibility issue? Please contact us at agweb@purdue.edu so we can help.

Sign In