University of Vermont


Dean Calls Them "Best of the Best"

Three Portraits
UVM Mortar Board Award winners from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences are, from left, Erika Hesterberg, Pamela Rooney, Liam Donnelly and (not pictured) Brandon Vanasse.

More than 85 College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) students received some 40 different awards at Honors Day ceremonies in Bennett Auditorium on the University of Vermont campus on April 20.

“The students in our College are among the most academically talented of the University, so this is truly a celebration of the best of the best,” said Tom Vogelmann, Dean of the College in his opening remarks. “Not everyone can receive an award; I want to acknowledge the outstanding performances of our many excellent students, talented staff and gifted faculty members. They serve us well and we are proud of them, their achievements and their commitment to our academic community. They contribute so much to making CALS such a special place to study, teach and work.”

University Awards

Six graduating seniors from the College received top university-wide recognition.

Liam Donnelly, Erika Hesterberg, Pamela Rooney and Brandon Vanasse took home the Mortar Board Award for outstanding service, scholarship service, scholarship, and leadership.

Samantha Case and Julie L. Williams were named Mc Nair Scholars, a Congressional program aimed to increase the number of first generation and minority students admitted to graduate programs.

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Awards 

Robert Rudy received the Alexander Kende Academic Merit Award. This award honors the memory of the late Alex Kende and achievements of a 2012 second‑semester junior CALS student for academic excellence and interest in medicine or bio‑medical research.

Notably, Rebecca Calder received the most awards: three animal science department awards, College-wide recognition for her research, induction into the Alpha Zeta Honorary Society and she will receive the College’s Outstanding Senior Award at the alumni and friends dinner on May 12. Sara Ziegler won four awards from the department of plant and soil science and CALS recognition for her undergraduate research.

CALS Undergraduate Research Leaders

Nineteen students received certificates from their mentors for their distinguished undergraduate research that was performed in addition to pursuing their regular course of study. They are:

Emily Andersen: “The Impact of Social Isolation on the Anxiolytic Effects of Voluntary Exercise in C57 Mice,” in the Andre-Denis Wright lab.

Kira Benson: “Dose Dependent Effects of Mitochondrial Targeted Nitroxides on Malignant Mesothelioma Cells,” in the Nicholas Heintz lab.

Rebecca Calder: “Expression and Biological Activity of Recombinant Bovine IL-22:  A Key Cytokine in Mucosal Defenses,” in John Barlow’s lab.

Meagan DiVito: “Evaluating the Physical Activity Levels of Head Start Children Using the CATCH Curriculum,” under the guidance of Jean Harvey-Berino.

Liam Donnelly: Molecular Genetics Program – “107 Genes found to be Up-regulated in a Phagocytic Entamoeba Histolytica Fraction may be Induced in Response to Phyagocytic Stimuli,” in the Chris Huston lab.

Kelsey Haist: “Strand-Specific Quantitative Reverse-Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction Assay for Measurement of Arenavirus Genomic and Antigenomic RNA Species,” mentored by Jason Botten.

Keven Juaire: “Myo51:  A Player in Assembly of the Actomyosin Contractile Ring of Fission Yeast S. Pombe,” in Matthew Lord’s lab.

Alyssa Kropp: “Evaluating Service-Learning Relationships: A Case Study on Community Partnerships in St. Lucia,” mentored by Jane Kolodinsky.

Michele Langone: “Multifunctional Gardens to Bring Sustainability and Beauty to UVM’s Campus,” working with Mark Starrett.

Samantha Ogilvie: “Analysis of in vitro mRNA Processing Provides Insight into the Integration of mRNA Splicing and Poly (A) Site Cleavage” in Gregory Gilmartin’s lab.

Peter Oswald: “Exploring Social Media and Their Effectiveness for Vermont Wine and Cheese Farmers,” studying under Kathleen Liang.

Clara Pedley: “Analyzing Participant Satisfaction with the Vermont Institute for Artisan Cheese,” mentored by Catherine Donnelly.

Kyriel Pineault: “Cell Surface Events Modulating Factor V Endocytosis by Megakaryocytes: A Possible Role for Receptor Phosphorylation and the Ganglioside GM3 in Acquisition of the Critical Platelet-Derived Cofactor Pool,” in Beth Bouchard’s lab.

Kelsey Preston: “Is FOXM1 the Therapeutic Target of Thiostreption in Malignant Mesothelioma?” in the Nicholas Heintz lab.

Todd Stanley: “Evaluating the Nutritional Status of the Thru-Hiking Community,” mentored by Jean Harvey-Berino.

Gianna Vannelli: “The Correlation Between Breath-Methane Levels and the Quantity and Structure of the Methanogens in the Human Gastrointestinal Tract,” in Andre-Denis Wright’s lab.

Kalyn Weber: “The Relationship Between Twitter and Student Engagement and Exam Scores in an Advanced Nutrition Course,” studying under Stephen Pintauro.

Dylan White: “The Effects of the Pseudomonas Aeruginosa Quorum-Sensing Molecule 3-oxo-C12-homoserine Lactone on Clincial Candida Albicans Biofilm Development,” in the Douglas Johnson lab.

Sara Ziegler: “Efficacy and Ecological Impact of Neem Oil and Bacillus Thuringiensis var. Kurstaki as Control Agents for the Invasive Earthworm Amynthas Agrestis in Vermont Hardwood Forests,” in Josef Gorres’ lab.


Chairs from CALS’ nine departments and programs presented scholarships and honors in their areas.

Animal Science

Sarah Morrison received the Elmer Towne Award, presented by the Vermont Dairy Industry Association.

The faculty chose Rebecca Standish for this year’s George H. Walker Award for dairy science.

Stephanie Simpson took home the upperclassman animal science scholarship award in memory of Brian D. Hawley.

Marking the greatest contribution to equine or companion animal activities, the Donald J. Balch Award went to Mallory O’Neil and Pamela Rooney.

Twenty students were tagged as future leaders in the field, with the American Society of Animal Science Award. They are:

·      Seniors: Rebecca Calder, Sarah Moylan, Jean Drolet, Pamela Rooney, Juliann Kattermann, Gabrielle Tetschner and Laurie Lesage.

·      Juniors: Ashley Ackert, Kaitlin Lee, Christopher Alling, Rebecca McBride, Douglas Klein, Noelle Schariest and Hannah Lachance.

·      Sophomores: Alexandra Cerretani, Ashley McCoy, Brittany Colbath, Sarina Selleck, Roberta Hemmer and Kirsten Weberg.

Every year CREAM herd advisors receive Brett Klein Memorial Scholarships. CREAM stands for Cooperative for Real Education in Agricultural Management. Fall advisors were Rebecca Calder and Mehgan Patterson. Spring advisors were Henry Cammack and Samantha Soltau.

This year’s Animal Science Faculty Award went to Rebecca Calder.

And Clarice Brewer and Rebecca Reusch received the Triona Wilder Marno-Ferree Memorial Award for their enthusiasm for UVM Horse Barn activities.


Brittany Carroll received the John Thanassi Award for superior academic performance by a senior biochemistry major.

Biological Sciences

Scholastic Achievement Awards for outstanding academic records are senior Kyriel Pineault, junior Andrew Tranmer and sophomore Kirsten Meisterling.

Community Development and Applied Economics

Graduating seniors with the highest scholastic grade point average each major are:

·      Trisha Hlastawa and Arielle Kleinman in Community Entrepreneurship

·      Brian Hamel and Jarrod Szydlowski in Community And International Development

·      Hannah Kammerer and Benjamin Mervis in Public Communication

Seniors with the top 10 percent cumulative grade point average are: Aimee Bailey, Travis Gervais, Hannah Hinsley, Hannah Kammerer, Jennifer M. Kaulius, Allison Keller, Arielle Kleinman, Julia Megson, Loren Scott and Jarrod Szydlowski.

Jennifer Kaulius and Galen Mooney won the department’s Teaching Assistant Award.

Environmental Program

Emily Bird and Christina Economou were recognized as the top graduating seniors who demonstrated academic excellence, environmental leadership, and campus and community activism and service.

Microbiology and Molecular Genetics

Amara J. Forgues received the Undergraduate Teaching Assistant Award.

Keyan Pishdadian received the Nicole J Ferland Award.

Liam Donnelly and Samantha Ogilvie shared the Lucille P. Markey Outstanding Senior in Molecular Genetics Award.

Kelsey Haist took home the Warren R. Steinbring Outstanding Senior In Microbiology Award.

Nutrition and Food Sciences

Jillian Nyman earned the Agnes T. Powell Award.

Kayla Gatos received the Bertha Terrill Award.

Meagan DiVito took home the Blair Williams Award.

Todd Stanley received the Nutrition And Food Sciences Faculty Award.

Clara Pedley and Kalyn Weber received Nutrition And Food Sciences Research Awards.

Lucille Glaize was named Outstanding Dietetics Student.

This year’s Cornelia Wheeler Irish Memorial Scholarship Awards went to Erika Hesterberg and Sarah McMahon.

Plant Biology

Beck Powers received the Sproston Award for undergraduate research projects of high academic merit.

Amanda Bousquet received the department’s Superior Performance Award for research and teaching activities in Plant Biology.

Plant and Soil Science

Sara Ziegler earned the Agronomy, Soils And Sustainable Agriculture Senior Recognition Award.

American Society For Horticultural Science Collegiate Scholars Awards for the top 15 percent of the senior and junior classes went to: seniors Samuel Hoadley, Michele Langone and Sara Ziegler and junior John Bruce.

The W. H. Darrow Horticulture Prize recipients are Graham Glauber and Michele Langone.

Sara Ziegler also won the Lewis Ralph Jones Award.

Marielle Fisher and Sarah Kresock benefit from the James E. Ludlow Endowed Scholarship Fund.

The Seymour Horticultural Prize went to, you guessed it, Sara Ziegler.

And finally, Graham Glauber and Samuel Hoadley were recognized with the department’s Teaching Assistant Awards.

Alpha Zeta Society Members                                                               

Several new students were recognized for their recent induction into the Green Mountain Chapter of Alpha Zeta Society. They join others in this professional, service and honorary agricultural organization listed below. Newly initiated are:

Nicolas Alonso-Harper, Frederick Broda III, Alexandra Cerretani, Heidi Considine, Dylan Estabrooks, Katherine Ettman, Laura Friedland, Danielle Geller, Hillary Gilson Sean Hennessy, Zoe Herwitz, Carlyn Levy, Anna Lidofsky, Sarah McMahon and Galen Mooney.

Also new to Alpha Zeta are: Marina Oriel, Emily Piche, Alexander Prolman, Janine Provenzano, Sam Resnicow, Rachel Rogoff, Joseph Romano, Melissa Rosen, Molly Sanborn, Michaella Scott, Andrea Smith, Julia Stratton, Pia Tomasello, Victoria Wellington, Natalie Wilson and Melissa Woolpert.

Previously initiated Alpha Zeta members: Ashley Ackert, Kira Benson, Molly Bortin, Matthew Buder-Shapiro, Rebecca Calder, Erica Campbell, Maria Carabello, Brittany Carroll, Kayla Clark, Jeffrey Deacon, Meagan DiVito, Christina Economou, Kendra Fleming, Lindsey Fuller, Graham Glauber, Jonathan Gonzalez, Lyndsey Hayden, Kristina Harpin, Erin Henry, Samuel Hoadley and Brittany Jean.

Also: Anne Kaufman, Douglas Klein, Erika Kline, Alyssa Kropp, Victoria Kulwicki, Hannah Lachance, Michele Langone, Aliya Lapp, Meredith Louko, Catherine Meredith, Jennifer Moltz, Ethan Morehouse, Sarah Morrison, Sean O’Neill, Mark Paulsen, Jackson Renshaw, Rebecca Reusch, Megan Rosen, Caroline Schwer, Julia Simpson, Daniel Smith, Brent Summers and Gabrielle Tetschner.                                                                                   

Finally, one faculty member and one staff person from the College’s departments and programs received top awards. Brian Stowe was named 2012 Outstanding Staff. Patricia Fobare Erickson received the Joseph E. Carrigan Teaching Award For Excellence In Undergraduate Teaching. See related stories.

Josie Davis, associate dean for academic programs, Rose Laba and Ja Yung Lee of student services organized this event. Flowers were on loan from UVM Greenhouses.