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AES recognizes top researchers

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Laramie – During a Feb. 18 banquet, University of Wyoming’s Agricultural Experiment Station (AES) held it’s 2015 Research Awards and Appreciation Banquet in Laramie and hosted a full room of Extension personnel, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources faculty and staff, University of Wyoming officials and community members. 

The event recognized the winners of the Early Career Research Award and the Outstanding Research Award, as well as those researchers with papers to be published in the College’s Reflections magazine. 

“The Agricultural Experiment Station has been doing what it does for a century and a quarter,” said UW President Richard McGinity in his opening remarks. “That is really something.”

McGinity noted that AES was established in 1891 to conduct scientific research to advance agriculture and the state’s rural communities. 

“AES continues to conduct ag and applied research on agriculture, natural and community issues related to the needs of Wyoming, the region and the world,” he said.

College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Dean Frank Galey continued that the mission of a land-grant university is three-fold, including teaching, research and Extension. 

“Research is so critical for everything we do at a land-grant university,” Galey mentioned, noting that the researchers recognized during the banquet, as well as many others throughout the college, are producing a high standard of research.

Outstanding research

The Outstanding Research Award is presented to an established researcher in the College of Agriculture. The winner is recognized on a plaque in the AES Hall of Fame and receives a $1,000 award. 

This year, Scott Miller was recognized for his work.

John Tanaka, head of the Department of Ecosystems Science and Management, noted, “Dr. Scott Miller came to UW in 2002 as an assistant professor in the Department of Renewable Resources, which is now Ecosystems Science and Management. His research focus is special hydrology.”

Miller pursues research in innovative field and modeling techniques to better understand the transport of water and how humans change the hydrologic response. 

Early career 

The Early Career Research Award also received a $1,000 prize and recognition. Dan Levy of the Department of Molecular Biology received the award for his work on nuclear sizing. 

“Dan has a remarkable background in science,” said Department of Molecular Biology Head Mark Stayton. “He joined us in August 2011 as a new assistant professor.”

Prior to joining the University of Wyoming, Levy worked at the University of California – Berkeley on questions of nuclear size and its relation to health, which inspired the research he conducts today. 

In his three years at UW, Levy has published nine papers and secured over $2 million in direct research funding.

“The competition was extremely tough in this category, and all of our nominees were extremely deserving,” said Bret Hess, associate dean and AES director. 

Research papers

Each year, UW College of Ag faculty and students submit papers to be published in the research magazine Reflections. Each department elects a representative to draft a paper on behalf of their department for the magazine. 

The top paper is recognized with a $1,000 award. In addition, the department from which the research originated from also receives $1,000. 

With their paper titled, “Collaboration across continents: Predator compensation policies in the U.S. and France,” Ben Rashford, Tom Foulke, Jordan Steele and Tex Taylor won the honor in the Department of Agriculture and Applied Economics.

UW College of Agriculture student Anna Scofield was also recognized as being the only student to have a paper published in the magazine. 

Other recognition

Also during the banquet, AES recognized the work of one employee who went above and beyond in working at UW AES. 

Jeremiah Vardiman signed on as the research associate at the Sheridan Research and Extension Center in 2009. As the center expanded and developed due to generous donations, Vardiman continued to accept the challenges associated with the facility. 

Vardiman recently moved to Powell to serve as an area Extension educator.

Bright future

McGinity said, “We have more opportunities than we can take advantage of. The College of Ag and AES is the role model for the outreach that the university really needs to make all across the state.” 

“The work going on here is world class, and the people here are world class,” he commented. “The future of the College of Agriculture – and the rest of the university – is bright.”

Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at


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