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Dr. Kristen Page To Receive Distinguished Ag Alumni Award

Dr. L. Kristen Page, who is in the midst of a 20-year career as professor of biology at Wheaton College, has been named as a recipient of the 2020 Purdue Agricultural Alumni Association’s Distinguished Ag Alumni Award.

Page is the 15th FNR alumnus to receive the award since 1995 and first since 2017. The Distinguished Agriculture Alumni Award was created in 1992 to recognize mid-career alumni of Purdue’s College of Agriculture. Honorees must have a demonstrated record of outstanding accomplishments, have made significant contributions to his/her profession or society in general, and exhibit high potential for future professional growth.

“This honor means so much to me because Purdue is where I learned the value of collegial collaboration,” Page said. “Collaborating with my Purdue mentors, like Dr. Rob Swihart, and my fellow graduate students helped me prepare for a career of collaboration with my students and many scientists all over the world.  For that, I am very grateful!”

Page, who is the Ruth Kraft Strohschein Distinguished Chair at Wheaton, earned her PhD from Purdue in 1998 with her dissertation focusing on the ecology and transmission dynamics of raccoon roundworm. She earned her bachelor’s in biology from Furman and her master’s degree in zoology and wildlife at Auburn before coming to West Lafayette.

After graduating from Purdue, Dr. Page spent two years on campus as a post-doctoral research associate in the Purdue Biology department. She then accepted a faculty position at Wheaton. In 2012, she was promoted to full professor and in 2015, she was named the distinguished chair.

She has taught 12 different courses at Wheaton ranging from General Ecology and Parasitology to Public Health and Nutrition, Global Health and Environmental Stewardship. Dr. Page also has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to and pursuit of discovery, publishing 27 papers including eight with 15 different student co-authors. Her research on the disease transmission dynamics and methods to inhibit the spread of raccoon roundworm, or Baylisascaris procyonis, has brought her media spotlight, including interviews on NPR and an article in the Washington post.

She has mentored nearly 100 undergraduate researchers and prepared 32 of them for international internships. Her work also has had a global impact ranging from conservation of tropical birds in Tanzania and Bolivia to the biodiversity of rare ecosystems in Tanzania, and from agricultural challenges in Thailand to the medical challenges of people living with HIV/AIDS in India.
The 2020 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients were scheduled to be recognized on March 13, but due to the rapidly changing Coronavirus situation nationwide and concerns regarding events on campus, the convocation and related events were cancelled. The 2020 Distinguished Ag Alumni will now be recognized in 2021.

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