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Purdue Animal Sciences Department honors its 2023 Distinguished Alumni

The Purdue Department of Animal Sciences hosted the 2023 Animal Sciences Distinguished Alumni Awards Ceremony on Friday, May 5. The individuals honored during this ceremony were Dr. Jolena Waddell, Dr. Brian Bowker, and Gerald "Jerry" Nickel.

The annual event honors alumni with three different awards: Early Career, Mid-Career, and Lifetime. The Early Career Award is given to alumni who received their first degree from the department between the years 2008 to 2018. The Mid-Career Award is given to alumni who received their first degree from the department between the years 1992 to 2007. The Lifetime Award is given to alumni who received their first degree from the department before 1992.

Dr. Jolena Waddell was awarded the Early Career Award. She received both her BS and MS in Animal Sciences from Texas Tech University, and she received her PhD in Animal Sciences from Purdue University in 2008. She completed her postdoc in muscle biology at Purdue in 2010. Then, she became an instructor and director of meat science here. In 2013, she accepted a faculty position here as the Extension Specialist in Meat Science. Dr. Waddell now resides in Stephenville, Texas where she is the Associate Provost and Vice President for Student Academic Success and Achievement at Tarleton State University.

Dr. Brian Bowker was awarded the Mid-Career Award. He received his BS and PhD from Purdue University. After receiving his PhD, Dr. Bowker was awarded the Federation of Animal Science Societies Congressional Science Fellowship and spent a year working as an advisor on agriculture and science policy in the U.S. House of Representatives. He joined USDA-ARS in 2004 in the Food Technology and Safety Laboratory. In 2011, he accepted a position within the Quality and Safety Assessment Research Unit (QSARU) at the USDA-ARS National Poultry Research Center, Athens, GA. Dr. Bowker now works as a research leader of QSARU where he manages a team that works to develop strategies and technologies to improve the quality and safety of poultry products.

From Connersville, Indiana, Gerald “Jerry” Nickel was awarded the Lifetime Award. He received his BS in Animal Sciences from Purdue in 1975. While studying at Purdue, Nickel participated on the livestock judging team with the 1974 judging class. After graduation, he managed a cow-calf Polled Shorthorn program in Kentucky. In order to move back to Indiana, he accepted a job with the Farm Credit System. He later accepted a job with a community bank. Then, Nickel founded Midwest Ag Finance, which is the 10th largest FSA Guaranteed Lender in the country.

Nominations for the 2024 Animal Sciences Distinguished Alumni Awards will be accepted beginning in October 2023. For more information please click the link below.

Animal Sciences Distinguished Alumni Awards

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