Stephen B. Hooser, head of the Toxicology Section of the Indiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, has become director of the state office, which is located on campus. Hooser succeeds Leon Thacker, who was director for 23 years. The laboratory identifies illness in livestock, poultry, companion animals and wildlife and conducts animal blood tests under federally mandated disease programs such as brucellosis, pseudorabies, bird flu and mad cow disease. Purdue Agriculture manages the ADDL, and the veterinarians on its staff are faculty members of Purdue’s School of Veterinary Medicine.
Tim Kerr has joined the College of Agriculture’s Office of Academic Programs as assistant director for academic excellence. Kerr is responsible for developing, directing and coordinating exceptional opportunities for high-ability undergraduate and pre-professional students. He previously was an academic adviser in Purdue’s Department of Biological Sciences for five years.
Janet Bechman, BS ’73, MS ’77, Purdue Extension plan of work and accountability coordinator since 2004, received the Distinguished Service Award from Epsilon Sigma Phi, the professional organization of Purdue Extension specialists. Bechman also helps with selection, training and coordination of summer interns and works with Extension graduate assistants.
Tom Jordan, PhD ’74, and Peggy Titus, BS ’73, are the 2008 recipients of the Lynn Busse Administrative Leadership Award. Jordan, a botany department faculty member since 1978, is a Purdue Extension weed science specialist. He was assistant director of Purdue Extension from 1999 to 2008. Titus began her Purdue Extension career directly out of college, starting as a youth agent in Shelby County, then consumer and family sciences educator and county Extension director. She moved to administration in 2000. She coordinates the professional development and core competency system for Purdue Extension.
Tammy Kettler is the director of corporate relations for the College of Agriculture. Kettler previously served as the senior regional director for the National FFA Foundation in Indianapolis. A graduate with a degree in agricultural economics from The Ohio State University, Kettler works closely with deans and department staff to support the corporate relations initiatives in the College of Agriculture.
David Umulis has joined the department as an assistant professor. Umulis received his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Michigan and his PhD in chemical engineering from the University of Minnesota. His primary research interests include the mechanisms of early embryonic development and using multi-dimensional models to predict the expression of genes in response to extracellular signaling molecules called morphogens.
Michael Ladisch, director of Purdue’s Laboratory of Renewable Resources Engineering, was named one of the “One Hundred Engineers of the Modern Era” by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. The list honors 100 individuals who contributed to the profession and society in a variety of ways since World War II. The institute is the world’s leading organization for chemical engineering professionals, with more than 40,000 members from 93 countries.
Purdue Agriculture Connections earned a gold award (Best Tabloid/Newsletter for External Audiences) in the 2008 Pride of CASE V Awards Program. Region V of the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education includes colleges and universities in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. The Indiana MarketMaker entry earned a bronze award in the Best Practices in Communications and Marketing category for Julie Douglas, Maria Marshall (agricultural economics), Dan Annarino, Laura Hoelscher, Jamie Loizzo, Beth Forbes, Kevin Smith, Myron Freedman and Rob Snorek.
Steven Wu has joined the department as an associate professor, following a stint at The Ohio State University. His research and teaching interests are in the areas of applied contract theory and incentive systems, applied microeconomics, experimental economics, and regulation and public policy related to agricultural contracting. He earned his PhD in agricultural and resource economics from the University of California-Berkeley in December 2001.
Alan Sutton, a faculty member since 1971, is the first recipient of the $10,000 Spirit of the Land-Grant Mission Award. “Purdue Agriculture created the award to recognize and celebrate the integrated research and Extension approach to address issues,” says Sonny Ramaswamy, director of Agricultural Research Programs. Sutton has conducted research for more than 35 years in livestock nutrition and waste management. He helped create a national curriculum about comprehensive nutrient management planning.
Dairy specialist Mike Schutz, a faculty member since 1996, is the winner of the 2008 Sharvelle Award, given each year in memory of Eric G. Sharvelle, a Purdue professor of botany and plant pathology from 1946 to 1975. “Many of Mike’s programs have been developed to help dairy producers prepare for the economic and management challenges for today and in the future,” says department head Alan Grant, who nominated Schutz.
Kiersten Wise has become an assistant professor after receiving her PhD from North Dakota State University, where she worked on disease control in chickpea. She also conducted Extension programs on chickpea for North Dakota farmers. Her area of specialty is pathology of agronomic crops.
John Foster, PhD ’71, received the 2008 John V. Osmun Alumni Professional Achievement Award for Entomology. The award, named for the man who was department head from 1956 to 1972, is given to an entomology alumnus who has shown excellence in the field of entomology. Foster went to work in 1971 for the USDA Agriculture Research Service’s Insect and Weed Control Research Unit, where he remained until 1990, when he became the head of the entomology department at the University of Nebraska.
Emily Shebish is a recipient of the D. Woods Thomas Memorial Scholarship in International Studies to support her research in Costa Rica. The award for Purdue Agriculture graduate students supports research or study in a developing country.
Fernanda San Martin-Gonzalez has joined the department as an assistant professor with research interests in food processing and technology development, particularly nonthermal food processing and encapsulation of highly hydrophobic compounds. She previously was a research associate in the food science and technology department at the University of Tennessee.
Four professionals received the department’s Outstanding Food Science Award. They are:
Kathleen Berry and Martin Berry, PhD ’88, both of Raynham, Mass. She is a global marketing manager for Pall Corp., a filtration company, and she was a food science instructor from 1983 to 1988. He is a senior principal research engineer for Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc.
Gary Chenoweth, BS ’88, of St. Louis, vice president of food processor sales for Bunge Oils, which provides edible oils to food processors and food service companies.
Mona Baker Wolf, BS ’72, of Cincinnati, founder and president of The Wolf Group, a sensory evaluation consulting and research firm.
Laurie Lambert Swift has rejoined Purdue Agriculture as the department’s administrative director. Her primary responsibilities are alumni relations, to serve as the corporate liaison, and to administer the Industrial Associates Program. She had worked as the events and Ag Ambassador program coordinator for the Office of the Dean from 1989 to 2004.
Jeff Dukes has joined the department as an assistant professor, with a joint appointment with the Department of Biological Sciences as part of an initiative of the Purdue Climate Change Research Center. Formerly an assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts, his research will focus on impacts of climate change on the physiological ecology of terrestrial plant ecosystems.
Tomas Höök has joined the faculty as an assistant professor, specializing in fisheries and aquatic sciences. Höök received his PhD from the University of Michigan, where he had been a research investigator since 2005. His research will focus on applied issues related to the conservation and management of freshwater aquatic resources.
Shannon Amberg is a new assistant professor. Her research will emphasize the roles of communication and information processing in affecting attitudes, beliefs and behaviors of humans toward natural resources. She received her PhD from the University of Idaho.
Mike Jenkins has joined the department after 10 years as an ecologist with the National Park Service. His research will examine ecological processes in temperate forests, with emphasis on the Central Hardwood Region, and human influences on ecological interactions associated with factors such as site disturbance, landscape fragmentation and introduction of invasive species.
Ann Hildner has joined the department as an assistant professor. She had been a senior designer at Rundell Ernstberger Associates, a landscape architecture firm in Indianapolis. Her expertise is in planting design and in developing sustainable practices for landscape and habitat restoration focusing on the stability and diversity of plant species.
Renee McKee, MS ’80, received the Purdue Extension Continued Excellence Award. McKee, a faculty member since 1981, is assistant director of Purdue Extension and the program leader for 4-H. She received the Epsilon Sigma Phi Distinguished Service Award in 2000.
Clint Rusk received the Purdue Extension Mid-Career Award. A faculty member since 1997, Rusk is the chairman of the state Agriculture Judging Committee, coordinates 13 state 4-H/FFA annual judging contests, and directs the 4-H animal exhibits at the Indiana State Fair.