The Alumni Awards program celebrates more than 40 years of excellence by honoring alumni and others who have brought extraordinary recognition to the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
2021 Overall Outstanding Undergraduates: Gabrielle Tedesco & Matthew Brandon
This award honors graduating students, in a 4 year program, who have provided outstanding service and leadership to AGNR, while maintaining high academic and personal standards.
Outstanding Undergraduate AREC- Elizabeth Thilmany
Elizabeth demonstrates high academic and personal standards through her excellence in academics and service to the college. As the chair of the revitalized Dean’s Student Advisory Council, she has hosted a number of successful forums to allow students to share their concerns and experiences. Elizabeth has shown great dedication to her classwork and as a Snider Undergraduate Research Fellow in the Smith School of Business. She developed a research plan and project which turned into an undergraduate poster competition with the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association where she won the competition. In addition to her involvement in AGNR, Elizabeth is a resident assistant on campus and worked hard to engage her residents even during COVID. After graduating, Elizabeth will be pursuing her Master’s degree in Geography and continue her research within the AREC department.
Outstanding Undergraduate ANSC- Gabrielle Tedesco
Gabby meets the merits of this award through her commitment to academic excellence and extracurricular activities and service. Gabby has a 3.8 GPA as an animal science major and general business minor. She has served as an undergraduate teaching assistant for ANSC205 (Anatomy of Domestic Animals Laboratory), ANSC327 (Molecular and Quantitative Animal Genetics) and ANSC435 (Experimental Embryology). She is approachable, creates practice exams for students and always brings a cheerful can-do attitude. She serves on the Dean’s Student Advisory Council as the Animal Science department representative. Gabby fully dedicates herself to the students in hopes that she can help them succeed. After graduating, Gabby will be attending Tufts University to pursue a DVM and plans to open a mixed animal clinic where she can provide affordable health to animals and teach in some capacity.
Outstanding Undergraduate NFSC- Matthew Trause
Matt has made a significant effort to contribute to the UMD community. He has worked tirelessly to maintain a 3.5 GPA while also integrating himself into student life and extracurricular activities. He helped fellow students with coursework, and creating four year plans. Matt worked with Dr. Farcuh in setting up her lab and initiating her research. Matt was the author of an extension article on the development of red apple color which was published by University of Maryland and Penn State Extension programs. Matt was a member of the Food Science Club, participating in and leading many activities. After graduation, Matt will begin his career in the food industry and has accepted a job as Research and Development Scientist with Multi-Flow Industries.
Outstanding Undergraduate PSLA- Matthew Brandon
Matthew is an Integrated Life Sciences Honor Student holding 3.964 GPA double majoring in Plant Science & Bioengineering. He served as a teaching assistant for chemistry lab courses and honors genetics. He is a research intern in The Culver Lab Group, investigating graft-conferred resistance to plant viruses, the Hammond Group at the National Arboretum studying soil transmission of various plant viruses, and the UMD Office of Sustainability. Matthew was instrumental in restarting the UMD Horticulture Club in 2019 with faculty advisor, Dr. Diana Cochran, and he served as its president. He is also a member of the Terrapin Trail Club and a student volunteer at the Terp Farm. He was chosen to receive the 2021 Plant Science Leadership Award. After graduating, Matthew will continue his studies in a graduate program in the Netherlands. He eventually plans to become a lecturer and professor at the collegiate level.
2021 Outstanding Institute of Applied Agriculture student: Lynn Brooks
This award honors graduating students, in a 2 year program, who have provided outstanding service and leadership to AGNR, while maintaining high academic and personal standards.
Lynn returned to the IAA in 2015 as a Golden ID student in the Sustainable Agriculture program. Her maturity and professionalism have made her a stellar student with near-perfect GPA. Lynn represented the IAA in the Ag Enterprise Challenge and as the first intern for the Mona Center Urban Farm. Her internship at the Mona Center built an urban farm from the ground up to serve the Temple Hills, MD community- a Healthy Food Priority Area. She led the project in all respects from construction to planting, harvesting, donating and volunteer leading. She works gracefully with students a third of her age and is mindful in leadership of group projects. There is no doubt she will continue to be involved in ongoing food production projects that support the underserved.
2021 Overall Outstanding Graduate Student: Ian Chambers, Ph.D. Animal and Avian Sciences
This award honors graduate students who have demonstrated excellence in conducting research in pursuit of an advanced degree, excellence in teaching, or leadership and/or service to the department, college, and/or university.
Ian has proven to be an exceptional researcher and scholar since joining the Animal Sciences Department. Ian has an innate ability to master technically challenging procedures, as he is both precise and fearless in learning new techniques, which has led to generating protocols and drafting multiple successful IAUCUC approvals. Ian has presented at multiple conferences, has served as a teaching assistant for five full courses, and guest lecturer in multiple classes. As a result, he has won multiple teaching awards and honors.
Ian is an active member of the Animal Sciences Graduate Student Association and the University Graduate Student Association. As chair of the Graduate Student Association Student Affairs Committee he was instrumental in the process of passing new student policies. He was inducted into the Agriculture Honors Society, Gamma Sigma Delta, for his excellence as an Animal Sciences Graduate Student. Ian also served on the University Senate Executive Committee serving as an advocate for supporting both graduate students and the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
Ian’s dissertation work primarily characterized the first ever knockout mouse in the multidrug resistant protein transporter (MRP9) gene. Ian’s work fills in significant gaps in our understanding of MRPs and has wider implications as male infertility is a significant problem globally. Ian epitomizes the virtues of a true scholar. Upon graduation, Ian will begin his post-doctoral work in New York at Cornell University.
Outstanding Graduate Student PSLA- Lauren Gray
Lauren demonstrates her commitment to landscape architecture scholarship and practice through design excellence, self-motivated advancement of her graphic technology skills, and unique research methodology in the course of her thesis. Having come to the Masters of Landscape Architecture from a background in musical performance, she took the common notion of “rehearsal” and used it to her best advantage in the design and presentation of her ideas. Lauren’s thesis on “Soundscapes in the Urban Landscape” has advanced how we perceive aspects of our environment beyond the visual, teaching faculty and students alike the value of auditory impressions that cities leave with us and how we can manipulate those environments to better accept them or to mitigate their intrusiveness. Lauren served as a teaching assistant for PLSC 253 & 254 Woody Plants of the Mid Atlantic Landscapes where she transformed the effectiveness of the course and propelled the course objectives well beyond the rote memorization that once characterized the teaching and learning process. Lauren received a grant to work with the Greater Baltimore Wilderness Coalition and Greater Baybrook Alliance on a project that will ultimately work to resolve the removal and/or redesign of the noisy roadways that plague Baltimore.
Outstanding Graduate Student NFSC: Anna Vaudin
Anna is a very dedicated, hard working and focused individual that has contributed to excellence in her research, publications and presentations. Anna’s research in nutrition epidemiology has produced eight published papers as an author or co-author and several presentations and national conferences. She developed an algorithm to help the food assistance program, Meals-on-Wheels, identify the most needy and vulnerable older adults and prioritize them for receiving services. This screener is not mandatory for use in Maryland and several other states. The framework is innovative because for the first time, and through qualitative research, she incorporated food access and food quality as components that may impact the quality of life of older adults.
2021 Service to the College of Agriculture & Natural Resources Student Awards
This award is offered to three graduating undergraduate students who have gone above and beyond to contribute to the College in one of the three areas of Academics, Community/Extension and Research.
2021 Service to AGNR through Academics - Elizabeth Thilmany
The recipient of this award has made significant contributions to the College through their service to academics, academic programs, and/or their fellow peers
Elizabeth served as Chair of the Dean’s Student Advisory Council and made it a personal mission to ensure the sustainability and longevity of the group. She is invested in making sure that her peers have a way to communicate their concerns and suggestions directly to the College. Elizabeth will leave a lasting mark on AGNR through her service to Academic Programs.
2021 Service to AGNR through Community and Extension- Meghan Stromberg
The recipient of this award has made significant contributions and represented the College through their service to the campus community, greater College Park community, and/or beyond.
Meghan has provided extensive service and leadership to the College directly through her work with the strategic initiative team- Advance Agriculture Production Systems. For nearly two years she has worked to collect and analyze national and statewide data related to agriculture production and to design & build the AGNR- Agricultural Careers and Entrepreneurship Center. She was instrumental in planning ten webinars and assisted the ACE team with an extensive literature review for a funded NIFA Workforce Development grant. She has made significant contributions to the ACE Center, the ENST department, and through outreach to communities.
2021 Service to AGNR through Research - Emma Weiss
The recipient of this award has made significant contributions to the College through their own research and/or service to one of our research programs.
Emma has pursued an array of research while enrolled at UMD. Emma has worked in Dr. Gary Coleman’s lab assisting in the generation, screening and maintenance of an activation tagged mutant population of poplar and has demonstrated leadership by working independently to keep this research moving forward during COVID-19. Emmahas also worked in Dr. Kate Tully’s Agroecology Laboratory and the molecular biology/genetics lab of Dr. Wendy Peer. She has completed internships with Brookside Gardens and Backbone Food Farm. Emma has developed an understanding of Agriculture/Horticulture that spans scales from fundamental research to production and to education and outreach.
Distinguished Terrapin Award
This award honors an alumnus who has attained extraordinary distinction and success in his/her field of endeavor and whose achievements have brought credit to the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and benefit to his/her fellow citizens.
Outstanding Alumnus Early Career Award
This award honors alumnus making significant contributions to their field of endeavor. The candidate will have developed imaginative methods and programs, displayed leadership and development of leadership in others, and will have established harmonius professional relationships.
This award honors individuals who are not alumni of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and may or may not be alumni of the University of Maryland., yet have rendered outstanding service to the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.