CANR profs, MSU Extension specialist to receive University honors
posted on February 6, 2015 4:30pm
Ten Michigan State University faculty members will be honored for their outstanding contributions to education and research with William J. Beal Outstanding Faculty Awards at the annual MSU Awards Convocation Feb. 10.
MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon will congratulate the honorees at the ceremony and salute their contributions to the university’s excellence. Simon also will take a few minutes to acknowledge MSU‘s Founders Day in her 2015 State of the University address.
Each of the 10 William J. Beal Outstanding Faculty Award winners will be honored for a comprehensive and sustained record of scholarly excellence in research and/or creative activities, instruction and outreach. Two of the 10 are from the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
The William J. Beal Outstanding Faculty Awards are supported by the Office of University Development.
Department of Horticulture
Since joining MSU’s faculty in 1987, Rebecca Grumet has established herself as an internationally respected plant scientist, recognized for her contributions to both fundamental plant genomics and applied germplasm improvement, including agricultural biotechnology. She has made important and lasting contributions to the understanding of the genetics, disease resistance, fruit development and flowering in the plant family Cucurbitaceae, which includes melons, squash, pumpkins and cucumbers/pickles. Among her many accomplishments, which are too extensive to list, was the demonstration of genetic transformation of cucurbits; her lab was the first to successfully transform, regenerate and produce stable transgenic progeny of melon. She also established genetically engineered virus resistance in cucurbits using a pathogen-derived resistance approach and elucidated naturally occurring resistance to potyviruses in cucumber.
Grumet’s teaching has been creative and excellent. She developed an innovative course entitled Biotechnology in Agriculture: Applications and Ethical Issues with the philosophy department to explore the ethical ramifications of modern agriculture. She has mentored 18 graduate students and served on more than 60 graduate committees, helping many students develop successful careers in universities, industry and government throughout the world. More than 30 undergraduates completed research projects in her laboratory, and many of these students went on to earn graduate degrees or gain employment in science and agriculture.
Grumet performs outstanding service to her profession and to MSU. Of particular note, she served as the director of Joint Recruiting in the Plant Sciences as part of MSU’s Plant Science Initiative. Under her leadership, more than 120 graduate students were recruited to MSU. She was also the PI or co-PI on four extramural graduate training grants, which provided fellowships for students from 1993 to 2009.
Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics
Scott Swinton is an agricultural and resource economist whose research on linkages between agricultural production and environmental management has been pioneering for several important topics, including the economics of weed control and integrated pest management, spatial information technologies for precision agriculture, ecological services from agriculture, and bioenergy. His 78 articles in these areas have appeared in top disciplinary and general science journals to cultivate a strong international reputation. Swinton’s current research explores how to manage agricultural ecosystems for enhanced ecosystem services, using bioeconomic modeling of optimal behavior to analyze trade-offs between production of marketable products and ecosystem services.
Strong interdisciplinary collaborations with biologist, engineers, and other social scientists are a hallmark of Swinton’s research. He is a PI in two major multidisciplinary projects that explore sustainable agriculture: the long-term Ecological Research in Row Crop Ecosystems at the Kellogg Biological Station and the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center.
Swinton’s service to his profession has been extensive. He has twice been named to expert panels at the National Academies of Science, has been elected to the board of directors of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, and has been elected as U.S. representative to the International Association of Agricultural Economists. An Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow recipient, he is past co-editor of “Review of Agricultural Economics” and past associate editor of the “American Journal of Agricultural Economics,” “Frontiers in Ecology and Environment” and “Journal of Production Agriculture.”
Swinton is an enthusiastic teacher and mentor, particularly of graduate students. To help advance his students’ careers, he has published 31 articles and seven book chapters with graduate students and held annual departmental seminars to coach graduate students on presenting and publishing their research for professional audiences. Ten of his students have won his department’s Best PhD Dissertation or Best MS. Thesis awards, with three going on to win Honorable Mention for Outstanding Thesis/Dissertation from the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association. Four of his students have won research completion fellowships from the National Academy of Science and the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
Also awarded will be the Distinguished Academic Staff Award, which is awarded to academic specialists and MSU Extension academic staff for extraordinary achievement, excellence and exceptional contributions in advising, curriculum development, outreach, extension, research and/or teaching. This award is also supported by the Office of University Development.
Children and Youth Institute
Lisa Bottomley began her career with MSU Extension in 2000 as an extension educator in Ottawa County, Michigan, providing leadership for the 4-H Journey Youth Mentoring Program. She currently serves as a senior extension specialist with responsibilities for 4-H mentoring programs, providing training and support to mentoring professionals within MSU Extension and other partner organizations.
Bottomley’s effective leadership became evident at the beginning of her employment. In the 4-H Journey Youth Mentoring Program, which pairs troubled youth aged 8 to 17 with positive adult role models to reduce the frequency and severity of delinquent behavior, her work has become a model for mentoring programs serving court-involved youth. Under her leadership, the criminal recidivism rate among 85 percent of the participating youth decreased.
As a senior extension specialist, Bottomley assists 4-H program staff in program design, implementation and evaluation and partners with other statewide organizations to support youth mentoring. Her face-to-face and distance training opportunities are sought after by professionals across the state and nationally. Curriculum she has developed has been translated into Spanish for use with mentoring programs in Mexico. Additionally, she provides leadership to statewide mentoring evaluation efforts and served as the coordinator for the development of an evaluation tool being piloted by Mentor Michigan, a unit of the Michigan Community Service Commission.
To support her mentoring work, Bottomley has secured almost $1.1 million in grant funds. Her programming has been recognized as a 4-H Program of Distinction by the National 4-H Council and has received the Annie E. Casey Strengthening Families Award. Bottomley has been an invited speaker at more than 12 national and international mentoring and extension conferences and was the keynote speaker for the 2014 National 4-H Mentoring Conference and the Villahermosa, Mexico, Mentoring Conference.