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The College of Agriculture awards six alumni to the ranks of Distinguished Ag Alumni

The College of Agriculture recognized six alumni at the Distinguished Agricultural Alumni award Ceremony on March 8.

JENNIFER CRANDALL, BS 1998, FOOD SCIENCE

JENNIFER CRANDALL, BS 1998, FOOD SCIENCE

Jennifer Crandall spent 20 years becoming an expert on food safety. As supplier compliance manager she capped a dozen years of steady promotions with industry giant Kroger before striking out on her own in 2018. Safe Food En Route LLC has more than 140 small and midsize clients relying on advice that protects consumers from foodborne illness. Based in northern Kentucky, it’s a Women’s Business Enterprise National Council and Women-Owned Small Business-certified food safety solutions consulting firm that also works directly with distributors, importers and broker/brand owners. Crandall has maintained close ties since her 1998 Purdue graduation as a guest lecturer and membership with the President’s Council and Griffin Society.

JEFFREY HABBEN, PHD 1989, AGRONOMY

JEFFREY HABBEN, PHD 1989, AGRONOMY

Jeffrey Habben’s 27-year career with Corteva Agriscience has yielded more than 30 U.S. patents. As senior research manager, working primarily with corn and soybeans, he leads four research groups – seed composition, hybrid platforms, disease resistance, and agronomy traits. The missions are to create enhanced composition of corn, soybean, and canola seeds; develop a hybrid wheat system; improve the disease resistance of maize and soybean to create a gene-edited "Disease Super Locus" in both crops; and advance both transgenic and genome-edited maize and canola that improve yield and yield stability. Habben has published nearly 50 refereed research publications.

STACY HAVILAND, BS 2002, LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE

STACY HAVILAND, BS 2002, LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE

Stacy Haviland has made herself increasingly useful in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She’s the first landscape architect to work for the city’s utilities engineering department and recently was promoted to Program Manager II for stormwater management and sustainability. As community development manager/administrator, she planned, then oversaw significant urban design projects, including the Urban Trail and the Landing-Columbia Street streetscape design. For 13 years she was a project manager and landscape architect for a Fort Wayne enterprise. Haviland has served on the Purdue Landscape Architecture Professional Advisory Council. 

MATTHEW HOLT, BS 1981, MS 1983, AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS

MATTHEW HOLT, BS 1981, MS 1983, AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS

Since 2017, Matthew Holt has led the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics at Virginia Tech. He is working hand-in-hand with President Timothy Sands, a former Purdue acting president and provost, on a decade-long project called Virginia Tech Advantage. It seeks to dramatically increase need-based financial aid to students. A Pell Grant helped Holt earn bachelor and master’s degrees in agricultural economics – he’s a leading authority on price hedging – at Purdue. Since then, he’s been at Iowa State, Wisconsin, North Carolina State, Arizona, back to Purdue as a professor, and Alabama. In Tuscaloosa, he was an endowed faculty fellow and a department head.

TRENT OSMON, BS 1999, FORESTRY

TRENT OSMON, BS 1999, FORESTRY

Trent Osmon has worked at the U.S Navy’s base in Crane, Indiana, since two years before graduating from Purdue. He was a forester, then the forestry program team leader, and since 2018 the environmental division supervisor, overseeing a staff of nine that includes three full-time foresters. He manages annual timber sale contracts for more than 3 million board feet from 1,500 acres of upland hardwoods. The 63,000-acre base is the Navy’s largest forested installation. The USS Constitution is the world’s oldest commissioned warship, and Crane is the Navy’s sole provider of white oak used to keep it afloat.

JOAO PEDRA, PHD 2004, ENTOMOLOGY

 JOAO PEDRA, PHD 2004, ENTOMOLOGY

Joao Pedra is positioned to be an expert on tick-pathogen transmission. Since 2022 Pedra has been a full professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s Department of Microbiology and Immunology. His internationally recognized program seeks to advance understanding of tick­borne diseases. His research is focused on the role of tick saliva in pathogen transmission, and the development of therapeutic strategies to disrupt tick-borne diseases.

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