2013 Alumni Society Award Recipients

Student Leadership Awards

Jennifer CorcoranJennifer Corcoran, '09 M.S. Soil Science

In Jennifer's years as a CFANS Masters and Ph.D. student, she has shown herself to be an exceptional leader who exhibits tremendous potential as a researcher and teacher. Her research shows her commitment to environmental science and technology; she is enhancing the field of wetland science by developing methods that are efficient, affordable, and practical. Jennifer's latest role as President of the Remote Sensing and Geospatial Analysis Chapter of ASPRS highlights her student leadership skills. Both her substantial accomplishments to date and her abilities set her apart as a talented and creative young scientist who will excel in her postdoctoral work and as a future leader in her field.

Katie MironKathleen Miron, '13 B.S. Agricultural Education

Katie is a hardworking and dedicated leader, devoted to academic progress and organizational leadership while balancing her time to maintain relationships with family and friends. She has committed herself to two state agricultural leadership roles as the Minnesota FFA Association State Vice-President and, in 2010, as Princess Kay of the Milky Way. Katie is a member of Beta of Clovia sorority, where she has taken on leadership roles as the house contractor and assistant food manager. She is also a member of Ag Ed Club and the National FFA Organization, which honored her with the American FFA Degree, awarded to less than one half of one percent of the total national membership. Katie always has a smile on her face, is willing to volunteer, leads by example and is a role model for other students.

Kirby SchmidtKirby Schmidt, '14 B.S. Agricultural Education

As a student leader in the university community, Kirby Schmidt demonstrates achievement in independence and interdependence, goal orientation, and appreciation of differences. From the day he first stepped foot on campus, Kirby has held true to his passion for the global food and agricultural community. He is committed to taking full advantage of his time at the university and regularly seeks opportunities to build upon his academic and leadership experiences, which is evident in his double major and active involvement both on- and off-campus. A true example of how Kirby has independently taken responsibility for his future is evident through his selection as a delegate to the international World Food Prize symposium where he represented the University of Minnesota. As the former Minnesota state FFA president, he has stayed actively involved with the National FFA Organization, lending a hand in developing and facilitating leadership programs.

Outstanding Friend Award

Ken ReinersKen Reiners

A graduate of the University of Nebraska, Ken Reiners has spent his entire career in agricultural lending and related activities. He has volunteered numerous hours to guide and mentor the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) student chapter at CFANS. In 2013, with Ken's support, the University of Minnesota Student NAMA team was crowned National Champions, beating out 28 other schools. Ken prepares CFANS students, our future leaders, to be successful in their respective fields.

Distinguished Staff Award

Kay EllingsonKay Ellingson, CFANS Student Services

Kay's work in Student Services touches innumerable facets of the college, whether it's curriculum development meetings, a college-wide event, or student research. Her work with the Minnesota Youth Institute is instrumental in identifying, educating, and encouraging future leaders in world food production. CFANS Student Services runs smoothly thanks to Kay's consistent, efficient work. If there is a college-wide event, odds are that Kay is involved in organizing and executing it. Kay is the kind of staff members who doesn't wait to be asked to help - she just jumps in to make things happen, always with a smile on her face. Her positive attitude and immeasurable contributions ensure the success of CFANS Student Services.

Distinguished Faculty Award

Timothy SmithTimothy Smith, Associate Professor, Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering

Professor Smith consistently goes above and beyond the normal duties of student advising to help students interested in corporate sustainability navigate the ever changing field. He founded the Northstar Initiative for Sustainable Enterprise and was instrumental in creating the Corporate Environmental Management track of the Environmental Sciences, Policy, and Management undergraduate major. Professor Smith used his extensive network of Twin Cities corporate sustainability leaders to develop real-world opportunities for CEM students. These internships were crucial for new graduates to get gainful employment and use the learned concepts of life cycle assessment, pollution prevention, and sustainability strategy development to make a real world impact in area companies and the environment.

Alumni Advocate Award

Frank BezdicekFrank Bezdicek, '70, B.S. Agricultural Education

An alumnus in Agricultural Education, Frank continues to advocats for the college even in his everyday conversations and wants CFANS to be better, bigger and more visible. Frank is out in the community listening, asking questions, and relaying information back to CFANS from community members. He takes time to meet with staff, ask questions and share feedback. Frank has participated in a number of listening sessions on the undergraduate strategic plan. Frank also recently joined the Science Achievement Award Committee and has been active in helping to promote the opportunity to fellow alums. His sound advice and key questions have helped improve the award, which due to his brainstorming now offers a scholarship.

Alumni Service Award

Julie Tesch, '98, B.S. Applied Economics; '01, M.Ed. Agricultural Education

Julie has earned great respect from many in the food and fiber industry – especially in the agricultural education arena. Her passion and determination for the betterment of agriculture and agricultural education are evident to all who meet her. After serving as a 4-H Extension Educator, she served for almost nine years as the Executive Director for the Minnesota Agricultural Education Leadership Council (MAELC). She reached beyond her work with MAELC to actively communicate about and promote agriculture in countless ways. Julie is a strong advocate for student development, and has served as an advisor to the Ag Ed Club and FarmHouse Fraternity, among many other student development roles. Now executive director of the National FFA Alumni Association, she continues to be a leader in the agriculture industry, and many women look to her as a role model. Through her leadership and advocacy, Minnesota is one of the leading states in agricultural education.

Distinguished Alumni Award

Uday SharmaUday Sharma, '82, M.S. Wildlife

Dr. Sharma is a pioneer in developing community-based conservation and promoting it at the policy level. He has introduced buffer zone management to the parks and protected areas of Nepal, which is now a significant grassroots conservation paradigm practiced successfully in Nepal. Dr. Sharma is an innovative and hard working professional who always carries a philosophy of helping the community bring desirable change in climate change adaptation. He is constantly engaged in promoting environmental conservation for the benefit of local and marginalized communities.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Frank Busta, '57, B.S. Bacteriology; '61, M.S. Dairy Science

Dr. Busta is an honored alumnus, former faculty member, and accomplished professional in the field of food science and food protection. Throughout his storied career, he has served as the first director of the National Center for Food Protection and Defense, has held faculty positions at North Carolina State, the University of Florida, and the University of Minnesota, where he has also served as department head and chair, and spent 15 years serving on the International Commission on the Microbiological Specifications for Food. His research in food safety, microbial ecology, and growth and survival of microorganisms after environmental stress in food has resulted in the publication of more than 125 research papers. Dr. Busta's work has made an invaluable impact on food safety world-wide, and his work as a professor has inspired many students to their own accomplished careers in food science. A Professor Emeritus since 1999, Dr. Busta's career continues today – since 2007, he has served as Director Emeritus and Senior Science Advisor to the National Center for Food Protection and Defense.