Annual Honors Day April 17 for UVM College of Agriculture & Life Sciences

Scholars, scientists and community servants received recognition. Phi Beta Kappa’s got the handshake. Mortar Board Awardees went to the head of the classroom, and department chairs lauded their best and brightest at UVM’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) two and a half-hour Honors Day ceremony on April 17. Students, families, staff and faculty gathered in Carpenter Auditorium on the University of Vermont campus to applaud 82 undergraduates receiving 40 awards.

Honors Day primarily recognizes students according to their majors, however, the top awards are College- and University-wide accolades.

University Awards

Kylie deGroot and Hailey Grohman were inducted into the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa national honor society.

Samantha Monck, Lisa Novinsky and Lillian Rogers took home the Mortar Board Award for outstanding service, scholarship service, scholarship, and leadership.

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Award

Lauren Donnelly received the Alexander Kende Academic Merit Award, which honors the achievements of a second‑semester junior CALS student for academic excellence and interest in medicine or bio‑medical research, in memory of alumnus Alex Kende.

CALS Undergraduate Research Leaders

Eighteen students received certificates for their distinguished undergraduate research that was performed above and beyond pursuing their regular course of study. They are:

Alexandra Brimlow, “Affinity Seeking in Peer Tutoring Sessions: Enhancing Opportunities to Improve Writing Center Instruction,” under the direction of Sarah Heiss.

Mia Cosentino, “Survey of Calf Management Practices on Vermont Dairy Farms,” led by Julie Smith.

Samantha D’Amico, “Staphylococci Phenotypes and Genotypes are Associated with Different Sources on a Dairy Farm,” in John Barlow’s lab.

Morgan Dewey, “Inclusive Branding Strategies for Domestic Violence Agencies: Embracing Opportunities to Reach and Better Serve Male-Identified Survivors,” mentored by Sarah Heiss.

Korin Eckstrom, “Evaluating the Use of cDNA Amplicon Next-Generation Sequencing in The Identification of Bovine Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) Class I Molecules: A Comparison of Current Platforms” in the John Barlow laboratory.

Emily Egolf, “Delineating The Effects of Pasture Diversity on The Fatty Acid Composition of Bovine Milk,” in Jana Kraft’s lab.

Mandy Erdei, “Diversity of Staphylococci Isolated From Flies on Dairy Farms in Vermont,” also led by John Barlow.

Hailey P. Grohman, “Semi-Firm, Aged Gold:  Rural Economic Effects of AOC Comt É and Their Implications for Vermont Agricultural Policy,” under the guidance of Amy Trubek.

Jonathan Karp, “Phosphorylation of Histones by Ribosomal S6 Kinase (RSK): Implications for The Regulation of Cell Proliferation,” mentored by Bryan Ballif.

Krystina Kattermann, “Characterization of h0GG1 Glycosylase Variants R154H and R197W Associated with Cancer,” under the direction of Susan Wallace.

Yuzo Kevorkian, “Characterization of a DMSP Induced Operon in Pseudomonas Aeruginosa,” led by Matthew Wargo.

Joseph Marchell, “Staphylococcus aureus Strains With Anitbacterial Activity against Coagulase-Negataive Staphylococci Isolated from Vermont Dairy Farms,” (you guessed it: in the John Barlow lab.

Margaret McKendry, “Validation of The ‘My Energy Balance’ iPhone Application against the Body Media FIT Consumer-Based Physical Activity Monitor,” studying under Stephen Pintauro.

Samantha Monck, “Reliability of Whole Blood as a Means for Monitoring LPS Response in Bovines: A Comparison to the Use of Fibroblasts and Blood Monocytes,” led by David Kerr.

Marcus Moreno, “Crystallization and Structural Evaluation of Variants of Human DNA Polymerase ß With Altered Polymerase Activity or Fidelity,” directed by Sylvie Doublie.

Allison Schrenzel, “Knowledge Retention Over a Two-Year Period Following Completion of an Online Course on the Science of Energy Balance,” led by Stephen Pintauro.

Susannah Stephenson, “Duration of Adenovirus and Foot and Mouth Disease Virus Neutralization Following Vaccination in Cattle,” also mentored by John Barlow.

Keri Sullivan, “The Effects of DNA Helicases and Single Stranded DNA Binding Protein Gp32 on The Unwinding and Extension of DNA Displacement Loops During Homology Directed Repair,” mentored by Scott Morrical.

Department Awards                      

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

Animal Science

Ashley Hudson received the Elmer Towne Award, presented by the Vermont Dairy Industry Association.

The faculty chose Ashley Hudson, Sarah Zeger and Rachel Lundsted for this year’s George H. Walker Award for dairy science.

Sean Blouin received Brian Hawley scholarship for the second year.

For greatest contribution to equine or companion animal activities, Donald J. Balch Awards went to Samantha D’Amico and Emily Hurley.

Twenty-one students were tagged as future leaders by the American Society of Animal Science. They are:

Seniors: Benjamin Daggett, Mandy Erdei, Sara Forsythe, Emma Hurley, Samantha Monck, Laurel Saldinger and Sarah Zeger.

Juniors: Muriel Enders, Sara Friedman, Melissa McCole, Lexie Merguerian, Stephanie Morancy, Alice Symington and Ken Wesley.           

Sophomores: Jennifer Dickinson, Delaney Douglas, Nida Janulaitis, Brooke Madnick, Taylor Schoonover, Sarah Scott and Jen Jen Yu.                       

Every year CREAM herd advisors receive Brett Klein Memorial Scholarships. CREAM stands for Cooperative for Real Education in Agricultural Management. Summer advisors were Julia Ballonis, Katherine Boucher, Victoria Gerald and Joe Marchell. Fall advisors were Samantha Cox and Sarah Zeger. Spring advisors were Sarah Lawson and Carolyne Ricardo.

This year’s Animal and Veterinary Science Faculty Award went to Benjamin Daggett.

And Rachel Lundsted received the Triona Wilder Marno-Ferree Memorial Award for enthusiasm for UVM Horse Barn activities.


Hira Haq received the Edward Bresnick Award for academics and research and named after a founder of the Vermont Cancer Center.

Christina Yu received the Louise Nutter Award recognizing a female biochemistry major’s excellent research and academic achievement.

Biological Sciences

Asa Hunt earned the Senior Excellence Award because he demonstrates breadth and depth in coursework, participation in activities and passion for biological sciences.

Scholastic Achievement Awards for outstanding academic records went to: seniors Kyle Edwards, Asa Hunt and Collin Kwasnik; junior Brooke Moore and sophomore Laurel Haines.

Community Development and Applied Economics

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

Justin Barton in Community Entrepreneurship.

Morgan Dewey in Community And International Development.

Danielle Mishkit in Public Communication.

Seniors with the top 10 percent cumulative grade point average are: Alexandra Brimlow, Madison Dell, Marina Demas, Morgan Dewey, Sydney Durand, Jaclyn Ferland, Danielle Mishkit, Alana Robinson, Natalie Rowe, Benjamin Ryan, Deniz Sehovic, Zerrin Sehovic, Cal Spinelli and Madeleine Tierney.

Christopher Damiani won the department’s Teaching Assistant


Sydney Durand earned the Community Service Scholar Award.

Environmental Program

Madeline Cotter was honored as the top graduating senior in the Environmental Program.

Microbiology and Molecular Genetics

Krystina Kattermann and Reed Hausser received Undergraduate Teaching Assistant Awards.

Lauren Donnelly received the Nicole J Ferland Award for upcoming summer research.

Krystina Katterman also earned the Lucille P. Markey Outstanding Senior in Molecular Genetics Award.

Nikolas Moring took home the Warren R. Steinbring Outstanding Senior in Microbiology Award.

Michael Barnum was honored with the Microbiology and Molecular Genetics Distinguished Undergraduate Summer Research Award.

Nutrition and Food Sciences

Anne Hutchinson and Lisa Novinsky earned Agnes T. Powell Awards.

Kylie deGroot received the Bertha Terrill Award.

Chelsea Howland and Stephen Pierson took home Blair Williams Awards.

Emilie Riddle received the Nutrition And Food Sciences Faculty Award.

Rebecca Cochran and Molly McKendry received Nutrition and Food Sciences Research Awards.

Molly McKendry was also named Outstanding Dietetics Student.

This year’s Cornelia Wheeler Irish Memorial Scholarship Awards went to Kayla Fay.

Finally, Alexander Racine earned the Reuben and Rose Mattus Scholarship (founders of Haagen-Dazs Ice Cream Company) for his interest in food science product development.

Plant Biology

Morgan Southgate earned the Al Gershoy Memorial Scholarship for excellence in cell biology or genetics.

Plant and Soil Science

Katherine Brewer, Amalia Smith-Hale and Jacob Suissa shared the American Society for Horticultural Science Collegiate Scholars Awards for being in the top 15 percent in their class.

Jacob Suissa also received the American Society for Horticultural Science Outstanding Horticulture Student Award, Ralph Lewis Jones Award and Seymour Horticultural Prize.

Suissa shared with Julija Cubins the W. H. Darrow Horticulture Prize.

And Cubins didn’t share with anyone the Agronomy, Soils and Sustainable Agriculture Senior Recognition.

Donald Keith III took the James E. Ludlow Endowed Scholarship all by himself.

Rosalie Gluck, Donald Keith III and, yes, Jacob Suissa were recognized as teaching assistants.


In addition, 49 new students were inducted into the Green Mountain Chapter of Alpha Zeta, the professional service and honorary agricultural society.

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Dean Tom Vogelmann led the event. Associate Dean Josie Davis presided over the award ceremonies.


Cheryl Dorschner
Among the recipients of UVM's 2015 Mortar Board Award, from CALS are Samantha Monck, left, Lisa Novinsky, and, not pictured, Lillian Rogers.
Taking home the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences top award, the Alexander Kende Academic Merit Award, is Lauren Donnelly.