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FNR Celebrates 2022-23 Award Winners, Scholarship Recipients

Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources recognized the department’s student award and scholarship recipients at a ceremony on April 17, 2023.

A full photo gallery of all of the scholarship and award winners is available on the FNR Facebook page. 

Academic merit awards are given to a sophomore, junior, and senior within each major who has the highest academic achievement (cumulative GPA). Each major also selects one individual for its leadership award, typically a senior who has been exemplary within their major or the department as a whole.

Each major also puts forth a nominee for the Stanley Coulter Leadership Award, which recognizes the department’s outstanding student leader. It carries the name of Stanley Coulter, former Dean of Science, who initiated Purdue’s forestry program in 1914. Mr. John Sample and other early forestry graduates established the Coulter Fund in honor of Dean Coulter, and to recognize the achievements of students in Forestry and Natural Resources. The winner of this award has demonstrated strong leadership and responsible citizenship in activities at the department, school, university, and community level.

The 2022-23 Stanley Coulter Leadership Award winner is Gretchen Weliever. A wildlife major, Weliever isGretchen Weliever poses with her certificate for the Stanley Coulter Leadership Award graduating in May with goals of becoming an environmental educator. She has been a teaching assistant for the past two years and is the current president of the Student Chapter of Environmental Education. After graduation, she will be working in Colorado at Wild Bear Nature Center.

In addition to the Stanley Coulter Leadership Award, Weliever also received the William A. Rafferty Award, which recognizes the potential for citizenship and leadership in a senior wildlife student, and the Undergraduate Engagement Award, which recognizes a senior who has demonstrated excellence in engagement and has shown the greatest potential for fulfilling the extension and research components of the Land Grant Mission.

The FNR faculty also presents a trio of research and engagement awards.

The L. David Mech Distinguished Undergraduate Research Award, named in honor of Dr. L. David Mech, a research biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the world’s foremost authority on wolf ecology, who earned his PhD in wildlife ecology in 1962. The award recognizes a senior, who has, by virtue of contributions made independently or in conjunction with ongoing studies, shows the greatest potential for future success as a research scientist.Amanda Herbert and Summer Brown pose with their certificates for the L. David Mech Distinguished Undergraduate Research Award

The 2022-23 honorees of the Distinguished Undergraduate Research Award are senior wildlife majors Summer Brown and Amanda Herbert. Brown will be graduating in May and hopes to pursue a career in habitat management and outreach. Herbert will be working for the U.S. Geological Survey in Alaska as a Pacific Walrus research technician after graduation.

Brown also received the Undergraduate Research Award, which recognizes an undergraduate who, by virtue of contributions made independently or in conjunction with ongoing studies, shows the great potential for future success as a research scientist.

FNR recognizes a freshman, sophomore, junior and senior outstanding student, an award which is given to the most outstanding student in each class as demonstrated by educational accomplishment, research, community service, student organization involvement and leadership, and involvement at the department, college, or university level.

  • FNR Outstanding Freshman: Alex Early – Alex is a freshman wildlife major who hopes to eventually pursue a doctorate in veterinary medicine for exotic animals. This summer she will be working as a veterinary assistant for the St. Louis Humane Society and studying abroad in the Galapagos Islands. Alex is a freshman representative on the FNR Student Council and a member of the Purdue Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society.FNR Outstanding Students Madison Kresse, Alex Dudley, Allie Johnson and Alex Early pose with their awards certificates
  • FNR Outstanding Sophomore: Allie Johnson – Allie is a sophomore wildlife major, who is doing undergraduate research studying the effects of contaminants on aquatic communities. She is currently working on an independent project investigating the impact of PFAS on parasite loads in grey tree frogs. Allie also is the FNR Student Council vice president and the herps working group leader for the Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society.
  • FNR Outstanding Junior: Alex Dudley – Alex is a double major in forestry and wildlife who is currently conducting research on black vulture home ranges in the Midwest with Dr. Pat Zollner and Marian Wahl. She is also a resident assistant on campus, the vice president for the Purdue Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society and the undergraduate representative for the North Central Section of TWS.
  • FNR Outstanding Senior: Madison Kresse. Madison has been a part of the Purdue chapter of the Society of American Foresters, the Purdue Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society and is current treasurer of the Purdue Student Society of Arboriculture (PSSA). Madison is graduating in May and has accepted a position with the Bureau of Indian Affairs within the United States Department of the Interior as a forester on a timber strike team.

 

Forestry Awards
Leadership Award: Eric McDonald. Eric is graduating in May with a degree in forestry and will be pursuing a career in forest management. He has participated in multiple teaching assistant roles within FNR and is the acting president of the Society of American Foresters student chapter.Forestry Leadership Award winner Eric McDonald with sophomore, junior and senior academic merit honorees Maggie Oliver, Alex Dudley and Joseph Drieman

Sophomore Academic Merit Award: Maggie Oliver. Maggie is a sophomore forestry major who works as a field technician for the Hardwood Tree Improvement and Regeneration Center. This summer she plans to work as a consulting forestry intern with Multi-Resource Management in southern Indiana. Maggie also was awarded the Claude M. Gladden Memorial Scholarship and Glenn R. Allison Scholarship.

Junior Academic Merit Award: Alex Dudley

Senior Academic Merit Award: Joseph Drieman. After graduation in May, Joe will begin a permanent position as a procurement forester for Pike Lumber Company in Carbon, Indiana. He is looking forward to building further connections with the people of the company and its territories.

 Aquatic Science Senior Leadership Award honoree Kirsten Adams

Aquatic Science Awards
Senior Leadership Award: Kirsten Adams – Kirsten is a senior aquatic sciences major who is the current president of the Purdue Student Chapter of the American Fisheries Society and led the group to receive the Most Active Student Subunit Award for the North Central Division of the American Fisheries Society.

Sophomore Academic Merit Award: Alexis Snook. Alexis has a concentration in marine and freshwater biology. She is a member of Zeta Tau Alpha, where she serves on the programming council as the Go-Green chairman. Additionally, she is a member of the Marine Biology Club. Alexis also was awarded the Ewbank-Bishop Scholarship.Aquatic sciences academic merit honorees Phoebe Soldi and Alexis Snook

Junior Academic Merit Award: Emily Troisi. 

Senior Academic Merit Award: Phoebe Soldi. Phoebe is graduating in May with a double major in wildlife and aquatic sciences with a concentration in marine and freshwater biology. After graduation, she will work for the U.S. Forest Service in Springfield, Oregon, where she will be deploying bioacoustics monitors.


Wildlife Awards
Senior Leadership Award: Ashlanna Murray. Ashlanna will be graduating in May with a major in wildlife and minor in sustainable environments. She is currently the President of the Purdue Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society and also served as treasurer during her junior year. She is currently serving as an FNR Ambassador and has been a teaching assistant for multiple FNR courses. Following graduation, she will be working with Eco Logic as a seasonal ecological restoration technician as she pursues a career in invasive species management and ecological restoration.

Sophomore Academic Merit Award: Allie Johnson. Allie also was awarded the Roy C. Brundage Scholarship and the Outstanding Sophomore Award.Wildlife leadership award honoree Ashlanna Murray is pictured with senior academic merit honoree Julia Godsey, junior academic merit awardee Anne Talbot and sophomore academic merit award winner Allie Johnson

Junior Academic Merit Award: Anne Talbot. Anne is majoring in wildlife and minoring in aquatic sciences and natural resources and environmental science. She is a member of the Dunning bird banding lab and one of the co-leaders for the Northern Saw-Whet Owl banding station at Purdue. This summer she will be working in a lab doing research on avian eyesight.

Senior Academic Merit Award: Julia Godsey. Julia will graduate in May with a major in wildlife and a minor in environmental politics and policy. She has accepted a biological science technician position with the U.S. Forest Service in Fredonia, Arizona. She will be conducting Northern Goshawk and Mexican Spotted Owl surveys in the North Kaibab Forest.

 

An Outstanding Camper Award is presented to students in aquatic sciences, forestry and wildlife and are determined by student vote at Summer Practicum. Selection is based on leadership, scholarship, and the ability to get along with others in the camp setting and field work.  

Outstanding Forestry Camper Award: Levi Ralston. Levi is a junior majoring in forestry/forest management who intends to work as a consulting forester after graduation. This summer he will be trainingOutstanding campers 2023: Levi Ralston (forestry), Evan Kinnevan (wildlife) with the Army at Fort Knox and then in Germany.

Outstanding Aquatic Sciences Camper Award: Chase Spaw.

Outstanding Wildlife Camper Award: Evan Kinnevan. Evan is involved with two research projects, one working to understand Artic Fox population dynamics and the other focused on the niche overlap among Burying Beetles. Evan enjoys bird banding with Dr. Dunning’s lab and helping out with prescribed fires. Evan also was awarded the Don Bickel Memorial Scholarship.

 

In addition to the academic merit, outstanding camper and leadership awards, the Wildlife major also gives out four other awards: the Durward Allen Memorial Award, the Kirkpatrick Memorial Graduate Student Award, the L. David Mech Distinguished Undergraduate Research Award and the William A. Rafferty Award.

Durward Allen Memorial Award

Durward Allen was a distinguished member of the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources and internationally recognized as one of the nation’s leading wildlife authorities. In honor of Dr. Allen, this award is presented to an outstanding junior majoring in Wildlife.

The 2022-23 honoree of the Durward Allen Memorial Award is Alex Dudley.

 

Kirkpatrick Memorial Graduate Student Award

This award was established by the widow and two daughters of Charles Kirkpatrick, The recipient must be a wildlife graduate student within one year of graduation (either before or after).

The 2022-23 honoree of the Kirkpatrick Memorial Graduate Student Award is Zackary Delisle. Zack recently finished his PhD in FNR under Dr. Rob Swihart and now works for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources as a deer research biologist.  

 

David Mech Distinguished Undergraduate Research Award

This award is named in honor of Dr. L. David Mech, recipient of a PhD in wildlife ecology from Purdue in 1962. Dr. Mech, a research biologist with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, is the world’s foremost authority on wolf ecology. In 1995, Dr. Mech was named a Distinguished Alumni of the Purdue University College of Agriculture. He was also a recipient of the Aldo Leopold Award, the highest honor bestowed by The Wildlife Society.

This award was established by the faculty in wildlife to recognize a senior who has, by virtue of contributions made independently or in conjunction with ongoing studies, shown the greatest potential for future success as a research scientist. Selection is based on the student’s curiosity, intellect, perseverance, problem solving, and communication skills.

The 2022-23 recipients of the L. David Mech Distinguished Undergraduate Research Award are Summer Brown and Amanda Herbert.

 

William A. Rafferty Award

William A. Rafferty was a friend of Purdue University’s College of Agriculture who operated a large farm near Morocco, Indiana. Rafferty believed in the ideals of honor, integrity, and patriotism. To commemorate William A. Rafferty, this award was established to recognize the potential for citizenship and leadership in a senior Wildlife student.

The 2022-23 recipient of the William A. Rafferty Award is Gretchen Weliever.

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