students walk on University of Idaho campus

Visit UI

Learn about the many reasons the University of Idaho could be a perfect fit for you. Schedule Your Visit

Parents on campus during orientation

Homecoming Sept. 25-Oct. 1

Join other Vandal families for a week of celebration and Vandal traditions. View Calendar

campus full of students

UI Retirees Association

UIRA has a membership of nearly 500 from every part of the University. Learn More


College of Agricultural & Life Sciences

Physical Address:
E. J. Iddings Agricultural Science Laboratory, Room 52
606 S Rayburn St

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Drive MS 2331
Moscow, ID 83844-2331

Phone: 208-885-6681

Fax: 208-885-6654



College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Awards

Monday, April 24, 2017

  • Reception from 5-6 p.m. in the Bruce M. Pitman Center Vandal Ballroom
  • Dinner and awards ceremony begins at 6-8 p.m. in the Bruce M. Pitman Center International Ballroom with dinner served at 6 p.m.

  • $8 student
  • $18 non-student

Award Recipients

  • Outstanding Academic Advisor, Nancy Deringer
  • Outstanding Club, Dairy Club
  • Outstanding Club Member, Olivia Zurcher
  • Outstanding Staff: Administrative Support, Tracie Hutchison
  • Outstanding Staff: Program Support, Jen Root
  • Outstanding Student: Freshman, Cole Lickley
  • Outstanding Student: Junior, Trevor Kauer
  • Outstanding Student: Senior, Kimberly Davenport
  • Outstanding Student: Sophomore, Brooke Luzzi
  • R.M. Wade Excellence in Teaching, Edward Bechinski
  • Gamma Sigma Delta Outstanding Graduate Student, Sara Galbraith
  • Gamma Sigma Delta Outstanding Graduate Student, Michael Colle

About the winners:

Jen Root

Supporters say: As a colleague in advancement, I especially value Jen’s collegiality and professionalism, and her respectful and caring approach to donors. Jen reaches out to colleagues and partners and is always willing to share her expertise and resources. I recently worked with Jen on several projects including finalized endowment agreements for a couple who made a bequest to the university of over $1 million. Jen’s attention to detail and to the quality of her work made this an enjoyable experience for me and most importantly for our shared donors.

Tracie Hutchison

Supporters say: Tracie is the glue that holds our fast paced office together. She effectively supports multiple individuals by being very organized, efficient and maintaining a clear grasp of the “big picture” and how all parts are interconnected. When I need Tracie’s assistance with accomplishing a task, I know it will be completed quickly and of the highest quality. This has occurred in the midst of constant interruption and with zero notice to prepare. I’m grateful for her sense of humor and value her judgement in being able to prioritize, gather information, as well as train the work study students and interns she supervises to fill the gaps.

Ed Bechinski

Supporters say: Bechinski EASILY makes my top ten college professors ever list. I LOVE his lecture style… We learn without realizing we are even learning. Ed, you have made me look forward to MWF again. I just wish class was longer, I’m never ready to leave.

Nancy Deringer

Supporters say: Deringer demonstrates a unique ease in talking with her advisees about their academic goals while also getting to know their personal and family situations that can greatly influence their progress toward earning a degree. Nancy is very approachable and her knowledge of institutional policies and procedures helps anxious, unsure students feel confident and secure in developing their course plans, finding internships and exploring scholarship opportunities. Her commitment to helping students complete their degrees in a timely and fiscally-sound fashion is obvious; she keeps abreast of financial aid policies and student loan resources, and she can gently encourage students to efficiently plan course loads in light of balancing their other responsibilities.

Sara Galbraith

Supporters say: The research of Sara is novel and impactful at several levels. Her faunal surveys answer the first time questions about the ecological roles of native tropical bees and so will be widely read and highly cited by other scientists. The quantitative survey methods she developed for tropical bees will be adopted by future researchers in both tropical and temperate ecosystems. Her research importantly provides the scientific basis to inform governmental decisions about student entomology — conducted social science research in which she characterized the knowledge and perceptions of local bee keepers through extensive survey questionnaires and follow-up on-site personal interviews. This deliberate inclusion of citizen viewpoints and perspectives represents the best at the land grant tradition and is an exemplary model for extending research knowledge for practical implementation.

Michael Colle

Supporters say: Michael has demonstrated extraordinary commitment to excellence in all aspects of his graduate program. He was named Outstanding AVS graduate students in 2013, won a national research poster competition, and was selected as one of six students nationwide as a Farm Foundation Cultivator. He is academically stellar, and is among the brightest, most highly-motivated and professional graduate student that I have had the pleasure to interact with in the past 20 years. As a developing meat scientist, Michael in inquisitive, resourceful and conscientious. He also has a tremendous work ethic, and volunteered to assist at Vandal Brand Meats to gain more practical meat processing experience. He is definitely both an excellent leader and team player.

Cole Lickley

Supporters say: Most first-year student’s struggle to balance their schedules between academics and extracurricular activities. Cole never experienced such a conflict. His attention to time management is exemplary, as evidenced by the 4.0 GPA he earned in the Fall 2015 semester. In fact, his brothers of the Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity recognized his achievements and appointed him to the scholarship committee, where he assists his classmates by teaching them effective study habits and proctoring the study hours of those struggling scholastically — a true testament to his reliability and respect within the house.

Brooke Luzzi

Supporters say: Brooke has demonstrated an amazing capacity and drive to learn, an excellent work ethic and a continually positive attitude. Although she is in her first year of studies at the University of Idaho, Brooke already has over a semester of undergraduate research experience in my lab. In fact, she approached me about the possibility of conducting undergraduate research during her very first week of classes at the university. Since then, she has been quick to learn the hypothesis-driven research process and necessary testing methodologies for research in my lab.

Trevor Kauer

Supporters say: In the three years Trevor has been a student at the University of Idaho he has risen to become an outstanding leader in the college. He serves as an ambassador and has developed activities and lessons for his team to use while recruiting students to UI CALS. His skills in organizing and implementing teaching materials has been productive and accurately describe our majors to new students.

Kimberly Davenport

Supporters say: Kim values hands on experience and engages herself in many real world situations. The testimony to this attribute is her involvement in internships and research. She has participated in study abroad as well as an intense dairy internship in New Mexico. Kim is conducting a directed study under Brenda Murdoch and assisting with her research in the laboratory setting. She studies the use of genomics in dairy cows for selection improvement.

Olivia Zurcher

Supporters say: Olivia is constantly engaged with the activities surrounding CALS and does an exemplary job of notifying members of all the opportunities surrounding them in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, helping them develop themselves professionally. She involves herself in countless activities within the college and never hesitates to greet you with a smile. Members who may have skipped workshops, luncheons or other CALS activities out of fear of not knowing anyone present, choose to engage in these events because they know Olivia will be there.

Dairy Club

Supporters say: The Dairy Club has provided many positive contributions to the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences over the past year. Members of the club are dedicated to the promotion of the dairy industry and animal agriculture as a whole, and take the initiative to fundraise to earn travel funds. As president, I have met many students in the club who have blown me away with enthusiasm and personal motivation for success. In the future, I believe the Dairy Club will continue to promote student excellence.

Top Achievements

Academic Programs

  • Record visiting high school student numbers at the 2015 Ag Days.
  • A more streamlined and strategic scholarship awarding process.
  • Implementation of new innovative labs for high school students during CALS Ambassador high school visits.
  • Exciting new possibilities through the efforts of the Deerkop Student Success Internships.


  • Completed the redesign of 43 root websites totaling approximately 1,300 individual CALS and UI Extension webpages.
  • Produced several new recruitment videos.
  • Implemented Snapchat channel with over 500 high school students following as of April 2016.
  • Second year of experiential learning opportunities through the Deerkop Advancement Internship Program.
  • Facilitated a CALS Alumni and Friends Agritourism trip in conjunction with the UI Vandal football game against Auburn. CALS advancement worked in collaboration with our counterparts at Auburn University’s College of Agriculture to plan a day of Alabama agriculture-related tours and a collaborative tailgate prior to the football game giving our attendees a true taste of the South.

Agricultural and Extension Education

  • Kattlyn Wolf, associate professor of agricultural education, was recognized with the University Mid-Career Faculty Award.
  • Jeremy Falk, assistant professor of agricultural education, recently completed the Leadership Idaho Agriculture class for 2015-2016. 
  • This year we have the largest teacher candidates in over 20 years with 17 candidates placed in secondary agricultural education programs in Idaho, Washington and Alaska to complete their student-teaching field experience.
  • James Connors, professor and department head, was recognized with the VIP Award by the National FFA Organization and the Idaho Vandal Excellence Award by the University of Idaho last fall.
  • We offer leadership and educational programming for approximately 1,000 high school agricultural education students and FFA members each year. We also host the North Idaho FFA District Career Development Events and the annual Idaho FFA State Career Development Events.

Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology

  • Katie Vandenberg, Heidi Jamison and Yousef Bayomy won Alumni Awards for Excellence. Matt Sturzen took second place at the Barker Trading Competition.
  • Cody Cook, Laura Griffing, Travis Chase, Brett Wilder and Logan Zepp received third place at the FDRS Food Marketing Challenge in Philadelphia, PA.
  • Heidi Jamison, Abby Biedenbach, Brett Wilder and Travis Chase received third place at AAEA Academic Bowl in San Francisco, CA. and Mahalingham Dhamodharan was awarded the M.S. outstanding thesis award from the Western Association of Agricultural Economics.
  • Paul Lewin received University Excellence in Outreach and Engagement Award, second place, for his exemplary research–based Extension programming in regional economic development in Idaho and beyond.
  • Lorie Higgins with her colleagues, a national team of Extension educators, received the Excellence in Extension Evaluation Team Training Award from the American Evaluation Association for their innovative Ripple Effects Mapping work.

Agricultural Systems Management & Soil and Water Engineering

  • Sanford Eigenbrode, with others from the REACCH project, was lead convener of an international conference entitled: Transitioning Cereal Systems to Adapt to Climate Change. Scientists from 17 countries and all of the continents where cereals are grown attended the conference.
  • Irrigation and Water Management students visited two large irrigation farms in Echo, OR and Umatilla, OR. One farm, Agri-Northwest, had senior water rights that did not have to worry about water shortages. Jake Madison Farm had junior water rights and had very creative management strategies to try to remain profitability with limited water. The students were able to learn more about deficit irrigation and other creative cropping strategies to manage water and crop yield. It showed the similarities and differences in the way both these farms were managed.
  • Remote Sensing of Water Resources (RSWR) group at the Kimberly R&E Center has ported the University of Idaho METRIC Remote Sensing of Evapotranspiration model to the Google Earth Engine. That product, named EEFlux, is a freely accessible application run on the Google cloud and available via the web for production of maps of water consumption. The porting of METRIC to EEFlux has been supported by funding from Google, Inc. University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Desert Research Institute were the development partners.
  • RSWR partnered with the Idaho Water Resources Research Institute, funded by NASA, we hosted a national workshop on Remote Sensing of Evapotranspiration held at the World Bank headquarters in Washington, D.C. Partners included NASA, World Bank, USGS, USDA and the Univ. Nebraska-Lincoln. Tim Petty, the chief staffer of Senator Jim Risch gave a presentation on effective communication of satellite-based remote sensing with Congress.
  • RSWR instructors, Richard Allen and Ricardo Trezza of Kimberly, provided a five-day training course on the University of Idaho METRIC Remote Sensing of Evapotranspiration model in Davis, CA to the California Department of Water Resources and California State Water Control Board to their staff on production of water consumption.
  • The ASM club received industry support by donating toy tractors they can raffle off to help purchase jackets for their club members.
  • Students from the ASM 409: Ag Tractors, Power Units and Machinery Management class made a field trip to the Ag Expo to see current Ag technology that was displayed.

Animal and Veterinary Science

  • We welcomed five new faculty: Gwinyai Chibisa, beef ruminant nutrition; Stacey Doumit, instructor/advisor; Anne Laarman, dairy ruminant nutrition; James Nasados, assistant production manager, Vandal Brand Meats; and James Sprinkle, beef Extension, Nancy M. Cummings Research, Extension and Education Center.
  • Several of our faculty and students received awards: Kim Davenport, American Dairy Science Association undergraduate paper competition national winner; Jennifer Spencer, North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture – Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant; Matthew Colle, third nationally, American Meat Science Association Graduate paper competition; Michael Colle, 2015 Farm Foundation Cultivator; Jennifer Spencer, National Dairy Summit Essay Winner; Gordon Murdoch, Outstanding CALS Teacher; John Hall, Extension Award; Amin Ahmadzadeh, Western Section of American Society of Animal Science, American Dairy Science Assoc-Student Affiliate Div. Outstanding Advisor Award and Outstanding CALS Advisor.
  • Students Kim Davenport, Kayla Nelson, Zack Reynolds and Thomas VanBerkum earned a platinum runner up, second place at the North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge against teams from across the U.S. and Canada at the National Dairy Challenge in Syracuse, NY.
  • Vandal Brand Meats sponsored a Processed Meats workshop, which 47 meat processors from Oregon, Idaho, Washington and Montana attended.
  • Awarded NIH funding for interdisciplinary research collaboration between Tao Xing, Mechanical Engineering, Gordon Murdoch and two Idaho based businesses (Percussionaire and Scanivalve) to utilize ex-vivo animal respiratory tracts for empirical data to optimize development of computational modeling of rescue ventilation methods.
  • Steer-A-Year program received 52 donated steers in 2015 and reached 1,407 donated steers over 27 years. Over $500 K of SAY funds invested in the scholarship endowment, which distributed $23,400 in scholarships this academic year. In 2015, seven students managed the steers to have an average daily gain of 3.98 pound per day and a final average gross value of $1,935 per head.

University of Idaho Extension

  • Extension educators, Ariel Agenbroad and Carlo Moreno were selected to serve on the eXtension i-Three Issues Corp focusing on food systems. This cohort represents Extension professional who have a strong desire to work "hands-on" to create new methods for addressing critical issues.
  • Extension educator Joey Peutz and team members C. Brian Cleveley, K. D. Hatheway-Dial, Lori Wahl and Elyse Vaartstra presented their Wildfire Preparedness Simulation using Oculus Rift at the eXtension Innovators show and tell at USDA-NIFA in Washington DC. This team received one of eight innovation grants and their project was rated in the top three.
  • Extension educator Bill Warren received the USDA Abraham Lincoln Honors Award as a member of the Clearwater Basin Cooperative. Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack conducted an awards ceremony at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Auditorium to present the 2015 Abraham Lincoln Honor Awards for outstanding achievement by projects, programs and individuals of the USDA. The Abraham Lincoln Award for External Partnership was presented to each individual member of the CBC “For your example of thoughtful, deliberative problem solving that resulted in accelerated restoration and ecological, social and economic benefits for the citizens of north central Idaho.”
  • The 4-H Food Smart Families program in partnership with Eat Smart Idaho have reached 6,365 youth with quality healthy living and nutrition programming. 4-H Food Smart Families youth receive ten hours of nutrition basics, healthy snacking, incorporating physical activity into routines, cooking and kitchen skills, and food budget strategies for families. Twenty college interns are trained to co-teach lessons with 11 Eat Smart Idaho nutrition advisors and Extension faculty. Twenty-five teen advocates are trained to promote healthy living and co-teach alongside the interns and advisors.
  • Extension educators Lyle Hansen and Marsha Lockard along with specialist Nancy Porter, partnered with the Idaho Commission for Libraries on the "Stash Your Cash-Smart Investing @ Your Library" program to provide financial literacy training, materials and resources to increase the knowledge of library staff. Funded by a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Investor Education Foundation Grant.

Kimberly Research and Extension Center

  • Michael Thornton, graduate research assistant, directed by Don Morishita, professor of weed science and Extension specialist completed a two-year study in dry bean. The purpose of the study was to evaluate several soil-active herbicide applied as post emergence sequential treatments to obtain season-long weed control in dry bean. He also evaluated these same treatments in dry bean planted in 7.5 inch row spacing compared to the standard 22 inch rows. His results showed that narrow row spacing of dry bean can provide an advantage for competing against weeds.

Twin Falls Research and Extension Center

  • Amanda Moore-Kriwox developed and taught a special topics Leadership in Agriculture course.
  • The program received new video conferencing systems and a new furnished classroom. This resulted in four additional Ag classes being available online or through video conferencing.
  • Increased collaboration with the College of Western Idaho to market and expand the Ag program in the Treasure Valley.
  • Amber Moore was one of five scientists invited by the Environmental Sciences Graduate Program at University of California-Riverside to present her research findings to the winter 2016 seminar course.

Margaret Ritchie School of Family and Consumer Sciences

  • Samantha Ramsay, assistant professor in Foods, Nutrition and Dietetics, was recognized with the University Mid-Career Faculty Award. She also received the 2016 Area 1 Outstanding Dietetic Educator Award for a Coordinated Program in Dietetics as recognized by the Accreditation Council for the Education of Nutrition and Dietetics as part of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
  • Erin Chapman, assistant professor in Child, Family and Consumer Studies, is the 2016 recipient of the University Hoffman Award in Teaching Excellence.
  • Martha Raidl, professor and Extension nutrition specialist was recognized for University Excellence in Outreach and Engagement.
  • Approximately 10% of the Apparel, Textiles and Design students participated in the study abroad programs during 2015/2016 academic year. An additional 8% have participated during the current academic year. 
  • Two Child, Family and Consumer Studies: Family Life students secured case manager positions without a master’s in social work degree. According to their supervisors it was due to the students being well trained and the internship hours they are required to complete.
  • Kelsey Smathers, graduate student, received a National AFCPE Research Symposium Student Scholarship to attend and present her paper “Financial Stress and Its Impact on College Retention.” Major professor is Nancy Deringer, Nancy was selected to participate in UI 2015/2016 Leadership Academy Cohort.

Plant, Soil and Entomological Sciences

  • Our researchers received over $11.5 million in grant funding in Fiscal Year 2015. This represents 18.9% of the total funding awarded to the University of Idaho in FY2015.
  • Saad Hafez, an Extension nematologist at the UI for over 35 years, was elected a Fellow of the Society of Nematologists, an honor bestowed on less than 0.5% of the membership.
  • Dan Strawn published a new version of the textbook Soil Chemistry. This book is used world-wide for teaching undergraduate classes in soil science, agronomy and environmental sciences.
  • Larry Lass and Tim Prather developed susceptibility models that direct field crews to locations where invasive weeds might be found. These models helped the Nez Perce Tribe find new infestations of rush skeletonweed in the Frank Church Wilderness that would have otherwise gone undetected.
  • Sanford Eigenbrode, with others from the REACCH project, was lead convener of an international conference entitled: Transitioning Cereal Systems to Adapt to Climate Change. Scientists from 17 countries and all of the continents where cereals are grown attended the conference.
  • Nilsa Bosque-Perez, professor of entomology, has been recognized as a University of Idaho Distinguished Professor. This prestigious award is given to UI faculty who have brought distinction to the University of Idaho through their scholarly activities. She will be one of only 13 UI faculty who have been awarded University Distinguished Professorships.

UI/WSU School of Food Science

  • The School of Food Science is the recipient of a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Grand Challenges Explorations initiative grant. Haiqing Sheng, a UI research scientist, will pursue an innovative global health and development research project, titled “CRISPR-Cas9 directed bacteriophage treatment of EPEC diarrhea.”
  • Greg Moller's N-E-W Tech™/N-E-W Terra™ that has the potential to solve water quality problems for municipal and agricultural water uses across the world. This water treatment technology destroys organic contaminants; glean phosphorus and nitrogen from wastewater to make it safe and use-able. His project was recently invited to the White House for a summit organized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Helen Joyner led the Build Dairy Initiative — with the Western Dairy Center provided scholarships for Idaho students and opportunities to become engaged with one of the largest food processing industries in the state. New Dairy Management undergraduate option provides an exciting new major that leads to a good career.
  • Gulhan Unlu is leading new programs in microbiology teaching — creating access by offer a distance delivery freshman level microbiology class, upper division and graduate courses in food microbiology, fermentation and industrial microbiology.


College of Agricultural & Life Sciences

Physical Address:
E. J. Iddings Agricultural Science Laboratory, Room 52
606 S Rayburn St

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Drive MS 2331
Moscow, ID 83844-2331

Phone: 208-885-6681

Fax: 208-885-6654