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FNR Celebrates 2021-22 Award Winners at Annual Banquet

Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources recognized the department's student award and scholarship recipients and alumni award winners at a banquet at the Beck Agricultural Center on April 18, 2022. A full photo gallery from the evening's festivities, including all scholarship recipients, is available online. 

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 Isabelle Staph - 2021-22 Stanley Coulter Leadership Award winnerForestry 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 2021-22 Stanley Coulter Leadership Award winner is Isabelle Staph. A wildlife major, Staph is graduating in May, but will be returning to Purdue in the fall to complete her master's degree in the Ecological Sciences and Engineering (ESE) program.

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.

The 2021-22 honorees of the Distinguished Undergraduate Research Award are seniors Kevin Kinser-McBee and Rylee Tomey.

Kinser-McBee is graduating in May and will be working as a technician for the U.S. Forest Service in Baldwin, Michigan, this summer. Tomey is graduating in May and will be pursuing a master's degree at Auburn University. Her research will focus on oral vaccination for rabies in raccoons.

Alexis Proudman, Kevin Kinser-McBee, Rylee TomeyThe Undergraduate Engagement Award recognizes a senior who has demonstrated excellence in engagement. The student receiving this honor have shown the greatest potential for fulfilling the Extension and research components of the Land Grant Mission.

The 2021-22 recipient of the Undergraduate Engagement Award also was awarded to Rylee Tomey.

The Undergraduate Research Award, which was 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.

The 2021-22 recipient of the Undergraduate Research Award is Alexis Proudman. Proudman is a sophomore in wildlife, who is working on two research projects under the guidance of Dr. Elizabeth Flaherty. She plans to continue to do research on mammals and eventually earn a PhD.

The recipients of the Outstanding Freshman, Sophomore, Junior and Senior awards also were recognized. 

  • FNR Outstanding Freshman: Leah Griffin - Leah is a freshman in wildlife and enjoys all things outdoors. She intends to return to the Indiana DNR Cikana State Fish Hatchery this summer working as a seasonal technician for a second year.
  • FNR Outstanding Students - Lina Bernabe, Madison Kresse, Ruby Sanders, Leah GriffinFNR Outstanding Sophomore: Ruby Sanders. Ruby is a wildlife major with a minor in environmental policy and politics and forest ecosystems. She is an active member of the Student Chapter of Environmental Education and is helping plan the Environmental Education Association of Indiana 2022 conference. She also works in University Residential life as a student office staff. In the future, she hopes to work as a wildlife conservationist.
  • FNR Outstanding Junior: Madison Kresse. Madison is a junior studying forestry and wildlife. She will be working as a forestry technician with the U.S. Forest Service this summer in Walker, Minnesota. She will be helping in the timber sales preparation of Chippewa National Forest.
  • FNR Outstanding Senior: Lina Bernabe. Lina is graduating in May with a major in forestry and minor in urban forestry. She currently works as a Field Assistant for the Hardwood Tree Improvement Regeneration Center and serves as Treasurer for the Purdue Student Society of Arboriculture.

Forestry Awards

Leadership Award: Madison Kresse.

Sophomore Academic Merit Award: Jonathan Shimizu.

Junior Academic Merit Award: Joseph Dreiman

Senior Academic Merit Award: Lina Bernabe


Sustainable Biomaterials

Leadership Award: Jamille St. Hilaire

Senior Academic Merit Award: Jamille St. Hilaire

 

Aquatic Sciences AwardsAquatic sciences academic merit award winners Emilie Washer, Daniel Borrousch

Senior Leadership Award: Emilie Washer

Sophomore Academic Merit: Emily Troisi

Junior Academic Merit Award: Daniel Borrousch

Senior Academic Merit Award: Emilie Washer

 

Wildlife Awards:

Wildlife award winners: Samantha Blackwell, Isabelle Staph, Alex Dudley, Julia GodseySenior Leadership Award: Isabelle Staph

Sophomore Academic Merit Award: Alex Dudley, Tom Eyrich, Kiera Mann

Junior Academic Merit Award: Julia Godsey

Senior Academic Merit Award: Samantha Blackwell

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 2021-22 honoree of the Durward Allen Memorial Award is Madison Kresse.

Kirkpatrick Memorial Graduate Student Award

This award was established by the widow and two daughters of Charles Kirkpatrick, with money donated for that purpose and supplemented as needed by the daughters. The wildlife faculty nominates and evaluates possible candidates. The recipient must be a wildlife graduate student within one year of graduation (either before or after).

The 2021-22 honoree of the Kirkpatrick Memorial Graduate Student Award is Jessie Elliott. Jessie isMadison Kresse, Jessie Elliott, Cole Wzientek currently finishing her M.S., and is co-advised by Drs. Flaherty and Fei. Her research focuses on exploring the ties between forest structure and wildlife using aerial LiDAR data. After she graduates, she will be working in the forest primates exhibit at the Indianapolis Zoo. In the future, she hopes to use her background in digital forestry to map habitat of endangered species.

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. He bequeathed a sum of money to the college to be used at its "uncontrolled discretion." 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 2021-22 recipient of the William A. Rafferty Award is Cole Wzientek. 

L. 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 2021-22 recipients of the L. David Mech Distinguished Undergraduate Research Award are Rylee Tomey and Kevin Kinser-McBee.

Alumni Awards

Awards were also presented for Outstanding Young Alumnus, Distinguished Alumnus and Lifetime Achievement. The Chase S. Osborn Wildlife Awards for Early Career and Lifetime Achievement also were named.

Alumni award recipients: Patrick Ruhl, Glenn Juday, Seth Harden2022 Outstanding Young Alumnus: Seth Harden 

2022 Distinguished Alumna/Alumnus: Dr. Petra Bohall Wood

2022 Lifetime Achievement Award: Glenn Juday 

2021 Chase S. Osborn Early Career: Dr. Patrick Ruhl

2021 Chase S. Osborn Lifetime Achievement: Scott Johnson 

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