MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources celebrates faculty and staff during awards picnic

Several members of the Michigan State University (MSU) College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) faculty and staff were recognized April 15 during the CANR Annual Faculty and Staff Awards Picnic at the MSU Pavilion.

flowers at the CANR Faculty & Staff Picnic

Several members of the Michigan State University (MSU) College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) faculty and staff were recognized April 15 during the CANR Annual Faculty and Staff Awards Picnic at the MSU Pavilion. (To see photos of this event, visit

Several faculty and staff members will be recognized during the picnic for honors at the university level. Those CANR faculty and staff members earning university honors are:


William J. Beal Outstanding Faculty Award

Rebecca Grumet, professor in the Department of Horticulture

Scott Swinton, professor in the Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics

Edward Walker, professor in the Department of Entomology

Distinguished Academic Staff Award

Lisa Bottomley, senior MSU Extension specialist

Jack Breslin Distinguished Staff Award

            Lynn Vecziedins, administrative assistant for MSU Extension

Ruth Jameyson Above and Beyond Award

Sarah Carroll, development officer, Kellogg Biological Station (2014 recipient)

Kevin Turner, manager, Swine Teaching and Research Center (2015 recipient)


Several CANR awards were given during the picnic:


The H. Paul Roberts Award for Distinguished Service in Study Abroad given to recognize CANR faculty and staff who give their time, energy and creativity to the development and implementation of study abroad programs that provide students with high-quality international education opportunities.


Kyungsik (“Irene”) Shim received the H. Paul Roberts Award for Distinguished Service in Study Abroad. Shim is director of global programs for the School of Planning, Design and Construction. She has more than 20 years of experience in developing and managing global programs for faculty and students at MSU, as well as programs for students abroad to visit MSU.


Shim has focused on programs for majors in construction management and interior design that take students to Asia and Europe, since the formation of the School of Planning, Design and Construction. In addition to developing programs, she also teaches and leads programs in Asia and seeks to combine professional interaction within a cultural context. Her work on study abroad programs combines innovative programming with immersive experiential learning and blends self-discovery by students with presentations by leading academics and local practitioners.


The CANR Outstanding Staff Member Award is given annually to CANR staff and team members to recognize and reward excellence and outstanding service in the past year. Each award recipient receives a cash award and an inscribed award plaque. Also, his/her name is engraved on a plaque displayed in the Justin S. Morrill Hall of Agriculture at MSU.


The following people received Outstanding Staff Member Awards:

Sue Chatterly, office supervisor in the Department of Community Sustainability. She supervises the staff, acts as the central person for logistical procedures and performs many other tasks that keep the unit functioning.


“Her calm, open and personable nature provides a listening ear for students, staff and faculty. She has the ability to juggle the careful, detailed, timely handling of daily tasks and the coordination of extra major projects all while maintaining her composed and pleasant demeanor,” said Gail Vander Stoep, associate professor in the Department of Community Sustainability.


Gail Hebert, office assistant in the MSU Extension Children and Youth Institute, is the main support person for two large precollege programs: 4-H Exploration Days and 4-H Great Lakes and Natural Resources Camp. During 4-H Exploration Days, she acts as liaison to other departments, prepares contracts with outside vendors and summarizes evaluation data after the event.


“Her upbeat attitude and sense of humor help to reduce tension and stress during this busy time,” said Judy Ratkos, senior program leader for MSU Extension


As Kellogg Biological Station (KBS) events coordinator, Nicole Kokx is the principal point of contact for nonacademic-related events at the W. K. Kellogg Manor House and on the KBS grounds. She excels in personalizing the client’s experience, making each visit a memorable one. Her current projects include creating a constituent relations management database, increasing visibility of activities, raising awareness of KBS efforts and keeping people involved. She is rebuilding a standard operating procedures manual to provide for continuity as well as remaking internal control systems.


“Even with all of these projects, she will stop what she’s doing to assist someone else,” said Jim Allen, conference manager at KBS. “She is dedicated, hardworking and conscientious.”


Priscilla Martin, editor, brings many talents to her position in the MSU Extension Children and Youth Institute. Whether it’s updating and disseminating bimonthly newsletters, collecting data for national 4-H, assisting with the coordination of some of the events at 4-H Exploration Days and Michigan’s delegation to National 4-H Congress, or responding to inquiries about Michigan 4-H’s participation fees, she gives 100 percent effort.


Janice Sheffey is a secretary in the Department of Community Sustainability. She plays a vital role in the Center for Regional Food Systems Racial Equity Committee and models the principles of the organization in the way she treats others. She is a charter member of the committee and works to secure the services of two local consultants to lay the foundation for the center’s continued work on racial equality.


“She always looks for ways to improve the work that she does, pitches in when something comes up last minute and aids her colleagues to lighten their workloads,” said Richard Pirog, senior outreach specialist in the Department of Community Sustainability. “Even during difficult times, she has a can-do attitude, doing her work in a way that improves the social capital of the center and that rubs off on others.”


MSU Extension secretary Rosa Soliz was instrumental in helping the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development to obtain new grant awards totaling more than $4 million in the past year. She took on the additional work of the grant process and also trains new presenters to use Adobe Connect to ensure the center’s success and visibility. Her job responsibilities also include managing travel and communication for three units.


“One of her biggest contributions is to flag budget problems or looming report deadlines early on so that everything is taken care of on time. This often means she takes it on herself. She consistently works to smooth over any difficulty faculty may have and keeps everyone on track,” said Scott Loveridge, director of the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development.


The CANR also gives a team award annually. This year’s team of office professionals in the Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences were recognized during the picnic. Members of that team are:

  • Calvin Bricker, information technology professional.
  • Regina Centeno, office assistant.
  • Linda Colon, secretary.
  • Lee Duynslager, information technology professional.
  • Brian Graff, farm manager.
  • Laura Hones, accountant.
  • Theresa Iadipaolo, secretary.
  • Darlene Johnson, office supervisor.
  • Debbie Williams, administrative associate.
  • Gary Zehr, farm manager.

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