College of Agriculture and Life Sciences honors students and faculty at the college’s 2023 commencement ceremony
Numerous students and faculty will be honored for their outstanding service, leadership, engagement, personal growth and development, and academics.
During the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences 2023 commencement ceremony on Thursday, May 11, faculty, staff, and students will be honored for their achievements and successes both inside and outside of the classroom. The ceremony begins at 7 p.m. in Lane Stadium on the Blacksburg campus.
Graduating seniors received awards recognizing a range of accomplishments, including undergraduate research, diversity and inclusion, and leadership.
The Madelynn Todd Trailblazer Award went to Sara Gallegos in the Department of Biochemistry. As a biochemistry major, Gallegos had the opportunity to become the new Howard Hughes Medical Institute student fellow and leader. In this role, she represented minorities within the biochemistry department to express how the university can advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion within STEM fields.
Graduating seniors Zack Morris from the Department of Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education and Marley McCartney from the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise received the Outstanding Mentor Award. Upon graduation, McCartney plans to pursue a Master of Arts in biomedical sciences through Bluefield University. She then plans to attend the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine the following year.
Bailey Marshall in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics and Madison Norris in the School of Plant and Environmental Sciences were the recipients of the Outstanding Ambassador Award. During her time at Virginia Tech, Marshall said she appreciated the mentorship she received from dairy science instructor Alexander White as his teaching assistant. White was her biggest cheerleader, inside and outside of the classroom, Marshall said. Norris said she enjoyed the hands-on experiences she gained from field trips taken to wetlands around Virginia, including ones in the local area and some in Virginia Beach.
The Outstanding Undergraduate Research Award went to James Mullet in the Department of Biochemistry and Dana Dougherty in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics and the School of Animal Sciences. Mullet had the opportunity to serve as a peer mentor for two years in the First Year Experience course. “It was very rewarding to watch the freshmen I mentored grow immensely during their first semester,” Mullet said.
The Outstanding Transfer Students are Mia Bostic of the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics and Sara Beth Davidson of the Department of Food Science and Technology. Davidson’s favorite Hokie memory was scooping and tasting the Hokie Tracks ice cream at GobblerFest.
Eric Truong in the Department of Biochemistry was the recipient of the Ut Prosim Award. Truong intends to take a gap year upon graduation before applying to medical school. During the gap year, he aspires to become an EMT and an assistant to a radiologist.
The Comeback Award went to Samantha Soule in the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise. Soule’s favorite Virginia Tech memory was the Hokie football team's defeat of the North Carolina in 2019. During that game, she said she felt “inaugurated” into the Hokie family.
Graduating senior Bernie Frantz in the School of Plant and Environmental Sciences was the recipient of the Outstanding Club Leadership Award. Frantz was influenced by professor Ozzie Abaye. "The energy that Dr. Ozzie gives off is infectious and the exact motivation you need," Frantz said.
- Jordan Long from the School of Plant and Environmental Sciences was the recipient of the Champion Award.
- The Diversity and Inclusion Service Award was given to Khadeejat Lawal in the Department of Human Nutrition, Food, and Exercise.
The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences nominated three faculty for the Academy of Teaching Excellence Awards. The college’s recipients are Herbert Bruce, assistant professor of practice for undergraduate education in the Department of Food Science and Technology; Erica Feuerbacher, associate professor in the School of Animal Sciences; and Sasha Marine, collegiate assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry.
The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences also celebrated outstanding master’s and Ph.D. students:
- Ph.D. student Claire Murphy, Department of Food Science and Technology
- Master's student Diana Schmidt, Department of Biological Systems Engineering