LSU AgCenter, LSU College of Agriculture announce faculty, staff award winners

Kenneth Gautreaux  |  12/13/2017 7:45:40 PM

(12/13/17) BATON ROUGE, La. — The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture announced the winners of their annual faculty and staff awards during their annual conference ceremony held Dec. 12 at the LSU Student Union Theater.

Thomas Hymel received the Floyd S. Edmiston Award for his work as a fisheries agent for the AgCenter and the Louisiana Sea Grant. Hymel has worked in fisheries and the geographic information system (GIS) mapping area for much of his 32 year career.

Hymel was instrumental in helping establish seafood marketing programs across the state. The programs put consumers directly in contact with seafood harvesters and increased the incomes of harvesters income who participated in the programs by $1.6 million annually.

Terri Crawford, family and consumer sciences and 4-H coordinator for the AgCenter Northeast Region, received the Extension Excellence Award. As part of her 12-parish area, she is involved with training educators, AgCenter agents and 4-H youth.

One of her most recent undertakings is helping develop and implement Healthy Communities, a wellness initiative for her region. The program in West Carroll Parish has proven successful and is serving as a model for the rest of the state.

The recipient of the G & H Seed Company Inc. Research Award was Claudia Husseneder, a professor in the Department of Entomology. This award recognizes a researcher who has conducted exemplary work during the past five years.

Husseneder’s research has focused primarily on termites. Her work has helped provide improved management techniques for this destructive pest. Following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, she began to examine horse flies, which are indicators of marsh health.

Husseneder has received more than $3 million in competitive research grants and authored or co-authored 18 peer-reviewed journal articles.

Mike Salassi received the Doyle Chambers Research Award. Salassi is the head of the AgCenter Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness and has worked at the AgCenter for 23 years.

During his career, Salassi has conducted both research and extension work in economic crop production with his primary focus on rice and sugarcane. He plays an integral role in developing damage assessments for crops in Louisiana following severe weather events such as floods and hurricanes.

Salassi is a prolific writer and has been involved with more than 600 publications and 54 refereed journal articles and has written or edited numerous books and book chapters.

The Denver T. and Ferne Loupe Extension Team Award was given to a group of fisheries and sea grant agents called the Louisiana Fisheries Forward and Louisiana Direct Seafood team.

It is composed of 12 members with a goal to improve the state’s fisheries. To accomplish this task, the team has been instrumental in developing new market strategies and educating seafood harvesters on new value-added processing techniques.

The team includes Julie Anderson-Lively, Thu Bui, Leslie Davis, Anne Dugas, Julie Falgout, Carol Franze, Rusty Gaude, Thomas Hymel, Kevin Savoie, Mark Shirley, Dominique Seibert and Evelyn Watts.

Several years ago, the team created the Louisiana Seafood Summit. This annual event attracts vendors, harvesters, chefs and policy makers. It is common to have more than 500 present at the summit to hear the latest developments and trends in the state’s fisheries.

A collection of researchers who study lignin chemistry, a class of complex polymers found in plants, particularly wood, won the Tipton Team Research Award. Their work has implications in the food, energy and healthcare sectors.

The members of the Lignin “Beads” team are Carlos Astete, Joey Blackburn, Dorin Boldor, Phillip Jung, Lavrent Khachatryan, Youngchan Kwon, Elizabeth Martin, Dorel Moldvan, Pranjali Muley and Cristina Sabliov.

A key component of their research is using lignin beads to help deliver molecules, such as medications, to targeted cells or tissues. This procedure has the potential to improve treatments for diseases such as cancer.

The group has received a National Science Foundation grant of $4 million and has partnered internationally with scientists from Cameroon, Egypt and Romania.

Hope Guidry, a 4-H agent in St. Martin Parish, received the Rosalie Bivin 4-H Youth Development Award. Guidry and her 4-H’ers have placed an emphasis on service-learning projects to improve their community. She has included a healthy communities initiative aimed at educating young people about lifestyle choices and motivates them to make positive health behavior changes.

Darlene Reagan, administrative program specialist at the Southwest Region in Crowley, received the Ganelle Bullock Outstanding Service Award. Manuel “Boo” Persica, a research associate in the School of Animal Sciences, was named the winner of the Outstanding Service Award for Associates.

Edward McGawley, a professor in the Department of Plant Pathology and Crop Physiology who specializes in nematode research, received the Sedberry Award for Outstanding Graduate Teacher.

McGawley has more than 35 years teaching experience, and he makes sure his students get a well-rounded understanding of potential plant pathogens and nematology. He was also instrumental in retrofitting the teaching laboratory to enhance instruction for the entire department.

Reagan Errera, an instructor in the School of Renewable Natural Resources, received the Sedberry Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Teacher. She has taught six courses related to natural resources ecology and the environment. Two of her courses are listed in Communication across the Curriculum, a multifaceted program at LSU, which is designed to improve the writing, speaking, visual and technological communication skills of undergraduates.

The recipient of the National Association of Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Teaching Award was Marlene Janes, a professor in the School of Nutrition and Food Sciences. Janes has taught several core courses for food science graduate students and is willing to share her time with her students. She has also garnered more than $3.4 million for research and holds several officer positions in professional organizations.

Zhijun Liu, Bill Owens, Yixuan Dong and Jian Zhang were the winners of the 2016 Article of the Year for Louisiana Agriculture magazine with their article “Antibacterial Botanical Formulations.”

Service awards were presented to two faculty members for their years of service on the magazine’s editorial board. They were Glen Gentry, associate professor at the Bob R. Jones-Idlewild Research Station in Clinton, and Kurt Guidry, Southwest Region director at the H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station in Crowley.

AgCenter employees who received LSU Foundation Outstanding Staff Awards were Charlotte Guerin, Elaine Henderson, Cassandra Rattle, Gaye Richard and John Sonnier.

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Winners of the LSU AgCenter and College of Agriculture faculty and staff awards were announced during their annual conference held on Dec. 12 at the LSU Student Union. Photo by Olivia McClure/LSUAgCenter

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