2018 AFRE Undergraduate Student Award Winners

Congratulations to our many outstanding undergraduate students who were honored at the AFRE Student Awards night on April 19, 2018, at the Kellogg Center.

Congratulations to our many outstanding undergraduate students who won awards, scholarships, and recognition for their involvement in the community, excellent academic performances, and meaningful leadership roles.

These students were honored at the Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics Student Awards night on April 19, 2018, at the Kellogg Center at Michigan State University. 125 students, faculty, parents, and friends were in attendance, ten major individual awards were given, and more than $40,000 in scholarships were awarded. 

View photos from the event on the MSUAFRE Facebook album and learn more about our graduate awards.

Agriculture and Natural Resources Outstanding Student Leader: Alondra Alvizo

Alondra Alvizo is an Agribusiness Management senior who was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco Mexico and raised in Detroit. She is a member of Minorities in Agriculture and Natural Resources and Related Sciences and the Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority. Alondra serves as a Justin S. Morrill Leadership Fellow and is co‐founder of Vizo’s Voice, a multimedia company that specializes in connecting communities of color. Alondra will begin graduate school in the fall at Wayne State University in the Urban Planning master’s program.


Outstanding Academic Achievement: Agribusiness Management: Hepsiba Chepngeno

Hepsiba Chepngeno is an ABM senior from Bomet, Kenya with a GPA over 3.9. She is part of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program. Hepsiba has served as Outreach Chair with the Honors College International Scholars Advisory Board, and is a member of Bridges International, MSU Real Life, and MSU Lions Club International. After graduation, Hepsiba will return to Kenya and work with One Acre Fund, a non‐profit enterprise that works with small holder framers in Africa. She also hope to attend graduate school and study Agricultural Economics and International Development.


Outstanding Academic Achievement: Agribusiness Management: Justin Gruden

Justin Gruden is an ABM senior with an additional major in Food Industry Management. He is from Milan, Michigan, and has a GPA over 3.9. Justin is a member and Director of Fundraising for MSU’s chapter of the National Agri‐Marketing Association. He is also on the technical team for this year’s competition in Kansas City. Justin will graduate in December and hopes to find a position in supply chain, logistics, financial management or marketing within the agri‐food system.

Outstanding Senior: Agribusiness Management: Katie Forro

Katie Forro is an ABM senior from Ray, Michigan. She was 2nd Vice‐President, Student Senate Representative and Social Chair for Sigma Alpha, a professional agriculture sorority. Katie has also served as an MSU Campus Ambassador for Agriculture Future of America and two years as a student representative on the AFRE Undergraduate Policy Committee. Following graduation, Katie will work for Monsanto as a District Sales Manager Trainee in Madison, Wisconsin.

Outstanding Academic Achievement: Food Industry Management: Espoir Tuyisenge

Espoir Tuyisenge is a FIM senior from Rwanda, Kigali with a GPA of 3.85. He is part of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars and Residential Initiative on the Study of the Environment programs. Espoir has worked as a vegetable growing intern in the Bailey Greenhouse. He is also a recipient of a University Undergraduate Research Forum scholarship. After graduation, Espoir will pursue a master’s degree in Food and Economic Resources at the University of British Columbia.

Outstanding Senior: Food Industry Management: Kristen Poppe

Kristen Poppe is a senior from St. Clair Michigan. She is President of the Food Marketing Association and past served as Vice‐President of Communications. During her internship with Kroger, Kristen was elected as the Marketing Specialist for her internship team. Kristen is also a teaching assistant for AFRE undergraduate courses. She will graduate in December and plans to pursue a management position with a major food company. In the future, Kristen hopes to earn a master’s degree and is particularly interested in the field of human resources.


Outstanding Academic Achievement: Environmental Economics and Policy: Joshua Knoll

Joshua Knoll is an Environmental Economics and Policy senior from Battle Creek with a GPA of 3.82. He is in the Presidential Initiative on the Study of Environment program and an Intercultural Aide in the Residential Education and Housing Services. He had worked for MSU Extension as an associate program facilitator in Food and Nutrition and as a Los Angeles Research Site Leader in AFRE department. Following graduation, Josh plans to learn about sustainable industries and then pursue a master’s degree in a relevant field.

Outstanding Senior: Environmental Economics and Management: Chris Semrinec

Chris Semrinec is an Environmental Economics and Management senior from Grand Haven. He is the President and Founder of the Sustainable Business Association. Chris has served as President, Service Chair, and Secretary of Kappa Alpha Pi, Pre‐Law Fraternity. He has a student representative to AFRE’s Undergraduate Policy Committee. Chris will attend the EOI Business School in Madrid, Spain for an International master’s degree in Sustainable and Corporate Responsibility. His future goal is to obtain a law degree and practice environmental law.



Agribusiness Management

Redmond and Edna Cotter Agribusiness ScholarshipJulia Chamberlain, Nicole Chase, Justin Gruden, Madison Heath, Lindsay Kozikowski, Elissa Mutschler, Makayla Petter, Elizabeth Venema, and Jacob Warack

Kenneth and Eleanor Coulter ScholarshipDarren Kulicamp, Bret Stermer, and Brooke Vilminot

Harry A. Foster ScholarshipBenjamin Tselis‐Jackson

Glynn McBride Farmers Cooperative ScholarshipJack Collins, Grant Gremel, Jonathon Hubbell, Leta Larsen, Evelyn Okkema, Allison Schafer, Peter VanderHoff, and Lauren Voelker


Environmental Economics and Management

Ralph and Patricia Hepp Undergraduate ScholarshipAudrey Fisher, Keegan Gendron, Joshua Hatfield, Megan Masciopinto, Holly Pummell, Julia Rapaport, Emma Rice, and Annalisa Rocca


Food Industry Management

The Jack Allen/Tom Pierson Endowed Scholarship: Abigail Baker, Jennifer Pendell, Kristen Poppe, Holly Pummell, Deja Rush, Ben Wood, Joshua Wood

James D. Giannestras Memorial ScholarshipKristen Poppe and Sophia Vukasovich


Jake and Maxine Ferris Undergraduate Study Abroad Scholarship

Sarah Lokey and Peter VanderHoff

Committees and Teams

Undergraduate Policy Committee Student Representatives: Katie Forro, Chris Semrinec, and Ben Thompson

2018 National Agri‐Marketing Association Competition Team: Elena Boxey, Kayla Keyser, and Elissa Mutschler, Back row: Justin Gruden, Julia Chamberlain, Madi Heath, and Nick Baessler


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