WAES recognizes staff
At an annual awards banquet on May 4, the Wyoming Agricultural Experiment Station (WAES) honored faculty and staff for their exemplary performance and research accomplishments.
WAES is the research arm of the University of Wyoming (UW) College of Agriculture, Life Sciences and Natural Resources (CALSNR).
Honorees recognized at the banquet included staff members at research and Extension centers operated by the experiment station, as well as campus-based faculty.
Early Career Research Award
Dr. Cody Gifford, assistant professor of meat science and meat lab supervisor in the UW Department of Animal Science, received the 2022 WAES Early Career Research Award.
This award recognizes outstanding research conducted by scientists with less than six years of experience, who are directing an independent research program.
“Gifford exemplifies the highest quality of faculty at UW,” says WAES Director Dr. Eric Webster.
Gifford’s research focuses on meat quality and flavor, live animal management factors impacting carcass and sensory characteristics and the role of meat products in human dietary programs.
“The research breadth Gifford is involved with speaks to his diverse skillset and success as a collaborator,” comments Dr. Hannah Cunningham-Hollinger, assistant professor of animal genetics.
“He has outstanding expertise in meat science at the basic and applied level, knowledge and experience in production systems of both cattle and sheep and additional expertise in human nutrition,” she continues.
Dr. Dan Wall, a professor of molecular biology, is best known for his study of microbial social interactions. His research focuses on myxobacteria – organisms engaging in complex social interactions and serving as models for understanding the evolution of multicellularity.
In recognition of his world-renowned research contributions, Wall received the 2022 WAES Outstanding Research Award, an honor awarded to established scientists in the CALSNR.
“Wall is one of those scientists who could be working in a high-tech, medical-related business, but chooses to use his talents as a researcher and teacher at UW,” comments Webster. “We are lucky to have him in our college.”
Outstanding Staff Award
Created in honor of Kathleen Bertoncelj, a longtime WAES staff member, the Kathleen Bertoncelj WAES Outstanding Staff Award recognizes employees who excel in their positions. This year, two individuals received the honor.
According to his colleagues, Tyler Jones embodies the spirit of the award.
As assistant manager of research, outreach and production at the Sheridan Research and Extension Center (ShREC), “Jones is the perfect combination of researcher and farmer. He makes us all better with his dedication and can-do attitude,” writes a co-worker and nominator.
“It is hard to find someone who can successfully produce high-quality agricultural products; design, implement, analyze and interpret research studies and do it all with humility and genuine care for others,” adds ShREC Director Dr. Brian Mealor.
Ben Hollinger, assistant farm manager at the Laramie Research and Extension Center (LREC), also received a 2022 WAES Outstanding Staff Award.
Faculty and students agree Hollinger is instrumental to the success of UW’s agricultural research program.
“We are very lucky to have Hollinger on board,” comments LREC Director Dr. Scott Lake.
Hollinger maintains the LREC beef herd, supports graduate and faculty research and manages a team of undergraduate student workers, among other duties. In 2023, he helped launch the inaugural UW High Altitude Bull Test and Sale.
“Hollinger has showcased extensive forward thinking for research, educational and Extension programs,” says Gifford.
Brooke Ortel is a writer and editor for UW Extension. This article was originally published in UW Ag News on May 18.