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UW ag personnel honored

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Several individuals from the University of Wyoming (UW) College of Agriculture and Natural Resources were recognized this past week for their dedication and hard work. 

Outstanding Staff Awards

Mona Gupton, senior officer associate for the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences and David Hanna, lab technician for the Department of Animal Science, were selected as recipients for the college’s Outstanding Staff Awards.

According to a UW press release dated Jan. 22, Gupton is often sought out by students for advice and is well known by her colleagues for always stepping outside of her assigned duties to get the job done. 

“Gupton is diligent, detail oriented, knowledgeable, caring and always willing to lend a hand wherever it is needed,” reads the press release.

Fellow employee David Hanna also received honors for going above and beyond. 

According to the press release, Hanna is very good at problem solving, communicating, fixing equipment and patiently training students in the lab.

“During the pandemic, Hanna monitored incoming packages to ensure proper storage and was prompt to fix freezers when a June snowstorm caused a massive power outage last year,” reads the release.

WAES Outstanding Research Award

Additionally, two researchers in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources were recognized for their outstanding research by the Wyoming Agricultural Experiment Station (WAES). 

Dr. Anowar Islam, a professor in the Department of Plant Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, was one of these individuals, receiving the WAES Outstanding Research Award. 

Islam became an associate professor at UW in 2014 and was promoted to professor in 2019. He has published 46 peer-reviewed journal articles, mentored 10 graduate students and received over $3.8 million in research funding.

“Islam has evaluated the most critical needs of Wyoming forage producers and has responded to those needs with an aggressive research program, which has had a significant impact on county Extension Educators, producers and certainly the scientific community,” notes Mark Marsalis, a professor and Extension forage specialist at New Mexico State University. 

Marsalis noted Islam’s research has covered diverse crops and economic needs including pasture, hay and silage operations, fertility, planting dates, seeding rates, herbicides, legume-grass mixes and alternative forages. 

“Islam has contributed considerable research efforts toward uses of forages in reclamation and restoration efforts, and his new project is focused on regenerative grazing with the aim of carbon sequestration,” says Dr. Randa Jabbour, an associate professor in UW’s Department of Plant Sciences. “He consistently explores the viability of several alternative crops for Wyoming production.”

WAES Early Career Research Award

Dr. Whit Stewart, UW Extension sheep specialist and assistant professor in the Department of Animal Science, received the WAES Early Career Research Award. 

According to Associate Professor and Interim Head of the Department of Animal Science Dr. Bledar Bisha, in the four short years he has been with UW, Stewart has emerged as a leader in department research, Extension and teaching. 

“Stewart’s research is passionate about affecting positive change in the Wyoming and U.S. sheep industries through quality applied and basic research. He has consequently gained the respect and appreciation of producers and his colleagues alike,” says Bisha. 

Bisha notes Stewart’s research has looked at the effects of trace minerals on immune function, utilization of novel feedstuffs and effects of sire breed on lamb quality. 

Stewart has received over $1.1 million in research funding and has published 30 peer-reviewed journal articles, 23 proceedings, 22 abstracts and over 101 popular press and Extension publications.

“He sets the bar high and serves as an example for new faculty in the department as they take their first steps in building their research programs,” says Bisha. 

            Hannah Bugas is the editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to

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