University of Vermont


Honors Day & Banquets Celebrate Best ‘n’ Brightest of 2013

Six of the students who earned top UVM & CALS awards
Among CALS students earning top UVM and College awards for the 2013 academic year are, clockwise from top left, Midori Eckenstein, Robert Rudy, Danielle Leahy, Sam Resnicow, John Bruce and Thomas Hilzinger. Not pictured are Rachel Rogoff and Sophie Quest.

Seventy-nine undergraduates of UVM’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) received 34 different awards at Honors Day ceremonies to a nearly full house in Benedict Auditorium on the University of Vermont campus on April 19.

CALS’ enrollment and achievements are at an all-time high, said Tom Vogelmann, Dean of the College in his opening remarks.

UVM leaders will present selected students additional awards at banquets and ceremonies in the weeks leading up to commencement on May 19. 

University Awards

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

John R. Bruce, Sam Resnicow and Rachel Rogoff took home the Mortar Board Award for outstanding service, scholarship service, scholarship, and leadership.

Sophie Quest and Robert Rudy were inducted into the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa national honor society.

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Awards

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

Alumna Emma Wall, ’01, G’04 PhD ’08 was presented the College’s New Achiever Award at this event, because she is unable to attend the Alumni and Friends Dinner on May 11.  At that event Danielle Leahy will receive CALS Outstanding Senior Award.

CALS Undergraduate Research Leaders

Eleven 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:

Maria Carabello, “Starting with a Clean Plate: Re-envisioning the Dietary Guidelines through an Ethnographic Review of Domestic Cooking Practices” under the direction of Amy Trubek.

Midori Eckenstein, “Threonly tRNA Synthetase (TARS) Promotes Angiogenesis Through Effects on Cancer Cells and Vascular Endothelial Cells” in Douglas Johnson’s lab.

Kayla Gatos, “Exploring Perceptions of Health, Risk and Trust Pertaining to Raw Milk Consumption in Vermont” mentored by Linda Berlin.

Lyndsey Hayden, “The Link between Innate and Acquired Immune Responses to Intramammary Staphlococcus Aureus Infections” in the David Kerr lab.

Hannah Lachance, “Bacterial Diversity in the Rumen of Impala from Pongola South Africa” in the Andre-Denis Wright laboratory.

Benjamin Lane, “The Role of Glutaredoxin-1 in IKKa and IKKb-Induced NF-kB Activation” under Yvonne Janssen-Heininger and Stephanie Phelps.

Danielle T. Leahy, “Branched Chain Amino Acid Plus Glucose Supplement Results in Slight Reduction of Exercise-Induced Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness in Young Adults” in the Stephen Pintauro lab.

Sean O’Neill, “Examining the Gut Microbiota of the American Black Bear (Ursus americanas) in the lab of Andre-Denis Wright.

Cody Paiva, “The Role of c-FLIP Cleavage during Innate Immune Response to Viral Infection” under the guidance of Iwona Buskiewicz and Stephanie Phelps.

Robert Rudy, “Suppression of Voltage-Gated Potassium Channels in Brain Parenchymal Arterioles: A Potential Role for Protein Kinase C Activation” in Douglas Johnson’s lab.

Andrew Tranmer, “Targeting Ryanadine Receptors for Relief from Increased Myogenic Tone Following Subarachnoid Hemorrhage” also mentored Douglas Johnson.

Department Awards                      

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

Animal Science

Melissa Woolpert received the Elmer Towne Award, presented by the Vermont Dairy Industry Association.

The faculty chose Noelle Schariest for this year’s George H. Walker Award for dairy science.

Marking the greatest contribution to equine or companion animal activities, Donald J. Balch Awards went to Shannon Emmons and Kirsten Weberg.

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

  • Seniors: Ashley Ackert, Christopher Alling, Kalii LaRochelle, Kaitlin Lee, Rebecca McBride, Noelle Schariest, Gabrielle Tetschner and Kirsten Weberg.           
  • Juniors: Kaitlin Benoit, Evelyn Bulkeley, Brittany Colbath, Shannon Heath, Roberta Hemmer, Jillian Minuto, Samuel Scheu and Sarina Selleck.
  • Sophomores: Sarah Colando, Benjamin Daggett, Mandy Erdei, Ashley McCoy, Samantha Monck, Lillian Rogers and Laurel Saldinger.

Every year CREAM herd advisors receive Brett Klein Memorial Scholarships. CREAM stands for Cooperative for Real Education in Agricultural Management. Fall advisors were Rebecca McBride, Eric Pratt and Andrea Rusilowicz. Spring advisors were Dylan Devino and Danielle Semick.

This year’s Animal Science Faculty Awards went to Christopher Alling and Rebecca McBride.

And Kelsey Bentz received the Triona Wilder Marno-Ferree Memorial Award for her 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 Andrew Tranmer, junior Kirsten Meisterling and sophomores Kyle Edwards and Collin Kwasnik.

Community Development and Applied Economics

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

  • Eliza Goddard and Cody Renaud in Community Entrepreneurship
  • Grace Hawkins and Sam Resnicow in Community And International Development
  • Justin Adelman and Sarah Cushman in Public Communication

Seniors with the top 10 percent cumulative grade point average are: Justin Adelman, Nicolas Alonso-Harper, Antoine Aube, Travis Beauchamp, Alexandra Colkitt, Sarah Cushman, Lindsey Fuller, Eliza Goddard, Seth Keighley, Deborah Isen, Brooke McCallion, Julia Prince, Sam Resnicow, Megan Rosen and Alexander Runnels.

Aimee Coburn and Judah Griffin won the department’s Teaching Assistant Awards.

Amanda Neubelt earned the Community Service Scholar Award.

Environmental Program

David Manago was honored the top graduating senior in the Environmental Program, who demonstrated academic excellence, environmental leadership, and campus and community activism and service.

Microbiology and Molecular Genetics

Evan Semiao received the Undergraduate Teaching Assistant Award.

Thomas Hilzinger received the Nicole J Ferland Award.

Midori Eckenstein was awarded the Lucille P. Markey Outstanding Senior in Molecular Genetics Award. And at the ALANA banquet later that day Eckenstein received an Outstanding Academic Achievement Award.

Robert Rudy took home the Warren R. Steinbring Outstanding Senior in Microbiology Award.

Nutrition and Food Sciences

Adam Paronto and Heather Twible earned the Agnes T. Powell Award.

Harley Eriksen received the Bertha Terrill Award.

Maria Carabello took home the Blair Williams Award.

Leah Conchieri and Danielle Leahy received the Nutrition And Food Sciences Faculty Award.

Maria Carabello and Danielle Leahy received Nutrition And Food Sciences Research Awards.

Meri Louko was named Outstanding Dietetics Student.

This year’s Cornelia Wheeler Irish Memorial Scholarship Awards went to Adam Paronto and Heather Twible.

Plant Biology

Brendan Lyons received the Sproston Award for undergraduate research projects of high academic

Alexandra Miller and Beck Powers received the department’s Superior Performance Award for research and teaching activities of the department.

Plant and Soil Science

In an unprecedented quirk of academia, John R. Bruce and Zachary Noel took home all of the department awards.

Bruce and Noel shared the American Society for Horticultural Science Collegiate Scholars Awards for the top 15 percent in their class,

Bruce was named the American Society for Horticultural Science Outstanding Horticulture Student, benefits from the James E. Ludlow Endowed Scholarship Fund and recognized with the department’s Teaching Assistant Award.

Noel earned the W. H. Darrow Horticulture Prize and the Seymour Horticultural Prize.

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: Brittney Beigel, Elise Bettendorf, Dana Bielinski, Devon Brownlee, Erick Crockenberg, Emma Crowley, Samantha D’Amico, Shelby Doggett, Hagan Dooley, Mandy Erdi, Tara Fisher, Benjamin Gelb, Chantal Girard, Danielle Goglia, Emily Goldberg, Nicole Gruszcynski, Phoebe Hanson, Grace Hawkins, Stephanie Haynes, William Hersey, Shoshana Hitchcock, Robert Howe, Chelsea Howland, Hannah Lees, Nicholas Loeb, Stephanie Maulding, Ashley McCoy, Robert McGarry, Devon Meadowcroft, Tracey B. Miller, Jillian Minuto, Megan N. Morris, Pauline P. Morris, Sean K. O’Neill, Zachary Noel, Jack O’Day, Kerry Oster, Jessica Pearlman, Olivia Powell, Theresa Rooney, Sarah E. Ross, Samantha Russo, Kelsey Scarborough, Samuel Scheu, Allison Schrenzel, Shannon A. Smith, Brittany Spezzano, Erin Treseler and Matthew S. White.

Previously initiated current members: Ashley Ackert, Nicolas Alonso-Harper, Frederick Broda III, Maria Carabello, Alexandra Cerretani, Heidi Considine, Christina Economou, Dylan Estabrooks, Katherine Ettman, Laura Friedland, Lindsey Fuller, Danielle Geller, Jonathan Gonzalez, Lyndsey Hayden, Sean Hennessy, Erin Henry, Zoe Herwitz, Anne Kaufman, Douglas Klein, Victoria Kulwicki, Hannah Lachance, Aliya Lapp, Anna Lidofsky, Meri Louko, Jennifer Moltz, Sean O’Neill, Marina Oriel, Mark Paulsen, Emily Piche, Alexander Prolman, Janine Provenzano, Sam Resnicow, Abigail Rings, Megan Rosen, Joseph Romano, Melissa Rosen, Molly Sanborn, Michaella Scott, Andrea Smith, Julia Stratton, Brent Summers, Gabrielle Tetschner, Victoria Wellington, Natalie Wilson and Melissa Woolpert.

Also, Anne Marie Resnik was named 2013 Outstanding Staff, and Daniel Baker received the Joseph E. Carrigan Teaching Award For Excellence In Undergraduate Teaching. Related stories to be posted soon.

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.