2014 CALS Awards Honor Outstanding Students, Faculty, Alumni and Friends

Thursday, May 8


MOSCOW, Idaho – May 8, 2014 – The University of Idaho College of Agricultural and Life Sciences honored outstanding students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends during its recent spring banquet.

Student award winners included:
Travis Chase, an agribusiness major from New Plymouth, was named the college’s outstanding senior. Chase served as president of CALS Ambassadors and in February 2013 attended the Agricultural Outlook Forum as a student diversity winner. He is a former Idaho FFA State President.
Michelle Ball, an agricultural education major from Kuna, was named the college’s outstanding junior. She served as the college’s Student Affairs Council president, Sigma Alpha agriculture sorority president, and as Idaho FFA state reporter last year.
Zachary Reynolds, an animal and veterinary science major from Kuna, was named the college’s outstanding sophomore. He works as a laboratory research assistant, participates in the dairy, livestock judging, agribusiness and plant & soil science clubs. He volunteers with Paint the Palouse and the Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute.
Cassidy Berry, a sustainable crop and landscape systems major from Kimberly, was named the college’s outstanding freshman. She worked as a USDA Agricultural Research Service and as a student laboratory aide in the college.

Faculty award winners included:
Allison Touchstone, agricultural education and 4-H youth development senior instructor, won the R.M. Wade Excellence in Teaching Award. A native of Filer, she teaches agricultural communications. She is a third generation Vandal.
Matt Doumit, a professor of animal science, won the college’s outstanding advising award. A meat scientist, he joined the UI faculty in 2008 after 12 years on the faculty at Michigan State University.

Outstanding staff award winners:
Dayna Willis of the Plant, Soils and Entomological Sciences Department won the outstanding office support staff award. She is a UI alumna, 28-year staff member and 23-year CALS staff member.
Joan Campbell of the Plant, Soils and Entomological Sciences Department, won the Outstanding Program Management/General College Management Support Staff award. She teaches weed science and serves as a research scientist.
Haiqing Sheng of the School of Food Science, a research support scientist for 12 years, won the outstanding technical/lab support staff award.

Alumni achievement award recipients included:
Phillip Kaufman of Lewiston, who earned a bachelor’s in agricultural systems management in 2006, went to work for Monsanto’s DeKalb Seed Corn after graduation, then returned to Lewiston to farm. A volunteer for several organizations, he was a principle in the Clearwater Corn Maze for several years.
Justin Patten of Blackfoot, who earned a master’s in agricultural education in 2005, taught secondary ag education and served as the FFA Advisor for 11 years at Snake River High School. In 2011, he went to work for the Idaho Farm Bureau as regional manager.
Robert Hale of Rigby, who earned a master’s in agricultural economics in 2007, teaches agricultural education at Rigby High School and serves as an adjunct professor in ag education at BYU Idaho and an affiliate instructor of agriculture economics at the University of Idaho.

Distinguished alumni award recipients included:

Dr. Bill Barton of Boise, who earned a bachelor’s degree in animal and veterinary science in 1985, and serves as Idaho State Veterinarian. A member of the CALS Animal and Veterinary Sciences Advisory Board, he serves the American Veterinary Medical Association, Idaho Veterinary Medical Association, U.S. Animal Health Association, and National Assembly of State Animal Health Officials.
Marc Beitia of American Falls, who earned a bachelor’s in agricultural education in 1983 and a master’s in agricultural education in 1987, he serves the Idaho dual credit program, Idaho Vocational Agriculture Teachers’ Association and the National Association of Agriculture Teachers.
Dennie Byram of Spokane, who earned his bachelor’s in dairy science in 1958, served as a volunteer for Ag Days, Spokane Ag Expo, CALS Mom’s Weekend Gala, UI Staff Appreciation Fair, and the Washington State Grange.
George Beck of Fort Collins, Colo., who earned a bachelor’s and master’s in animal science in 1975 and 1978, and a doctorate in plant science in 1985. He served the Colorado Department of Ag Advisory Committee, International Weed Science Society, Weed Science Society of America, Western Society of Weed Science and the Colorado Weed Management Association.

Distinguished associate alumni award recipients included:

Ron Luedeman of Blackfoot, who serves on the UI and Washington State University School of Food Science advisory boards, Institute of Food Technologists, Eastern Idaho Engineering Council, Idaho Society of Professional Engineers and American Institute of Chemical Engineers.
Bob Naerebout of Twin Falls, who serves the Idaho Dairymen’s Association, Dairy Farmers of America, Western Dairy Business and the colleges Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology Department advisory board, and on department and college advisory boards.
William Nelson of Inver Grove Heights, Minn., who serves on the National Council on Farmer Cooperatives, National Cooperative Business Association, Ralph K. Morris Foundation, Farm Foundation and Agricultural Safety and Health Council of America.

CALS Dean’s Award recipient :

The Treasure Valley Ag Coalition was honored for its assistance in maintaining a quality research program at the Parma Research and Extension Center. The coalition formed after college officials announced in 2009 at the height of recession-based budget challenges that the center would curtail field operations if additional financial support was not found.
Community members, businesses and organizations rallied to the center’s support, raising $140,000 in pledges. The J.R. Simplot Co. signed a five-year research pact with the college to contribute $1.5 million to the center’s operations.
Accepting the award on behalf of the Treasure Valley Ag Coalition were board members Dennis Searle, Sid Freeman and Jerry Henggeler.





About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho helps students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals, and competes in the Western Athletic Conference. For information, visit www.uidaho.edu.