Monika Oli

2017 Undergraduate Adviser of the Year

2017 University of Florida Undergraduate Faculty Adviser/Mentor of the Year

A multitude of past experiences as researcher, inventor, author, and entrepreneur have played a role in how senior lecturer Dr. Monika Oli advises and mentors students in the Department of Microbiology and Cell Science. One of Dr. Oli’s colleagues said her “ability to create student interest in the sciences through innovative, hands-on instruction has a powerful mentoring impact on their career decisions.”

Dr. Oli views mentoring as a process of nurturing the personal and professional development of her students to help them achieve their life’s aspirations and goals. Dr. Oli’s door is always open to students. When walking down the hall of the Microbiology and Cell Science building, it is common to encounter a line of students waiting their turn for her assistance.

She has established a peer mentoring system to connect former students with current ones to guide them in their career adventures. As a testament to her success as an adviser, Dr. Oli received 19 letters of recommendation from her former students for this award. Some of the most common words students have used to describe Dr. Oli’s mentorship are “patient,” “understanding,” and “enthusiastic.”

Robin Snyder

2017 Undergraduate Adviser of the Year

Robin Snyder appreciates that there is no “one size fits all” solution while working with students as the academic adviser for the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering (ABE). She follows the advising philosophy that the more she knows her students the easier it is to find what motivates and challenges them.

Snyder was part of the committee assembled to create the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) Advising Council, due to her work on the team who started the College of Engineering Advising Council. This initiative enables dissemination of information among advisers, facilitating collaboration, innovation and improvement.

A former student of Snyder’s who transferred into CALS said, “She was one of the most caring and accepting people I had dealt with while here at UF. Because Robin took the time to build a relationship with me, she made sure I was taking the right combination of courses each semester to keep me motivated in the classroom without putting too much stress on my school-work balance. I can truly credit Robin with refocusing me on school and giving me the tools I needed to succeed and graduate.”

Victor Harris

2017 Undergraduate Teacher of the Year

The quality, passion, and commitment Dr. Victor Harris brings to the classroom is evident in his pedagogical methods, his course evaluations and the testimony of his current and former students. As an assistant professor in the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, Dr. Harris utilizes active learning strategies and practical application of concepts to challenge students and enhance their critical thinking skills.

Committed to the scholarship of teaching and learning, Dr. Harris has developed his own instructional model (Attention, Interact, Apply, Invite – Fact, Think, Feel, Do) used in the classroom and through his Extension work. He has employed several interactive lessons to illustrate interpersonal relationship concepts using this model, such as the “Love Bucket” activity.

Facilitating trust among his students is a key tenant to Dr. Harris’ teaching philosophy. He believes in his students’ abilities to change themselves and by changing themselves, changing the world. “Dr. Harris is one of the few college professors I have encountered who takes time to learn his students’ names and get to know them as people,” said one of Dr. Harris’ students. His patient, caring demeanor and enthusiasm for his subject matter have made a positive impact on students and their career goals.

Anne Mathews

2017 Undergraduate Teacher of the Year

As a registered dietitian, Dr. Anne Mathews believes students, like patients, should be considered and respected as individuals. This philosophy is important to her while teaching nutrition since a person’s diet is closely tied to their health, personal tastes, family, culture, and core values. An assistant professor in the Food Science and Human Nutrition Department, Dr. Mathews has added new methods of making course content relevant in the classroom.

Students reported her inclusion of current scientific literature and case studies have added to their understanding of nutritional science material that prepares them for graduate or medical/dental school. More students outside of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences are taking Dr. Mathews’ courses as her outstanding teaching skills are gaining reputation across campus.

“Dr. Mathews is far more than a teacher,” said one of her former undergraduate students who is now pursuing a Ph.D. “She is a devoted mentor, accomplished researcher, outstanding leader, and an absolute inspiration to all who know her.”

John Driver

2017 Graduate Teacher/Adviser of the Year

One of the main qualities students notice in Dr. John Driver is his devotion to teaching and sharing knowledge with his students. Leading by example is his teaching philosophy. He works alongside his students, giving them the support they need to quickly become independent and act on their own ideas.

Dr. Driver joined the Department of Animal Sciences as an assistant professor five years ago to establish a research program on mitigating infectious diseases in food animals.

As co-director of the Animal Molecular and Cellular Biology (AMCB) graduate program, Dr. Driver is actively engaged in shaping this graduate program and developing future faculty. Currently, Dr. Driver mentors three graduate students and serves on committees of 25 other students, reflecting the value others see in his expertise.

Dr. Driver’s students say he has a genuine, enthusiastic commitment to developing the next generation of emerging scientists. His colleagues say his well-guided, prepared students will go far in large measure due to his mentorship. Dr. Driver makes students his priority, even if they aren’t in his department.

Michael Vickers

2017 Jack L. Fry Award for Teaching Excellence by a Graduate Student

2017 University of Florida Graduate Teaching Award

Entomology and Nematology Ph.D. student Michael Vickers is this year’s recipient of the Jack L. Fry Excellence in Teaching award for a graduate student. The award is named for the former assistant dean for graduate programs in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and honors an outstanding graduate student who has excelled in classroom or laboratory teaching.

As the supervisory teaching assistant for the introductory entomology laboratory sections, Michael has mentored not only his students, but the four other graduate teaching assistants as well. He believes information is best learned through a teacher’s enthusiasm and excitement for course material. Michael’s students often describe him as the “best TA at UF.” Outdoor field trips and “teach me” moments in his course curriculum bring lessons to life for Michael’s students.

In observing Michael’s classes, his research adviser said she “was quite impressed with how he tackled (student) questions and his ability to explain complex concepts to his students in an accessible way. Mike sets very high standards for himself and places a high priority on the quality of his teaching and this clearly pays off for his students.”

John Hargrove

2017 Jimmy G. Cheek Medal of Excellence – Outstanding Graduate Student

Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Ph.D. student John Hargrove is this year’s recipient of the Jimmy G. Cheek Graduate Student Medal of Excellence. Named after a former dean of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and former senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources, the award recognizes an outstanding graduate student who demonstrates high academic potential and achievement, leadership and community involvement, and commitment to and passion for his or her chosen field of study.

According to John’s supervisory committee chair, he has “been one of the most impressive” students the professor has met in the biological sciences at UF. John has published 12 peer-reviewed manuscripts, and has presented his research regionally, nationally and internationally. Throughout the course of his study, John has built a strong research relationship with scientists from Japan and South Africa.

Active in IFAS Extension work, John provided multiple presentations to state government agencies, private organizations and the public. He has developed lesson plans for local area elementary and middle schools on the topics of fish ecology, invasive species and food webs.

Alessandra Della Porta

2017 CALS Alumni and Friends Leadership Award

Alessandra Della Porta is a Microbiology and Cell Science major from Jacksonville Beach. She will receive a certificate in Medical Anthropology and will graduate as a CALS Honors Scholar, completing a thesis on surgical site infections. Alessandra serves as president of Sigma Alpha Professional Agricultural Sorority. She plays a leadership role on the Center for Undergraduate Research Board of students and holds a weekly science club at P.K. Yonge and Abraham Lincoln Middle School.

She was selected for the University Scholars program to do research at the UF College of Medicine and also conducted a research fellowship at the Mayo Clinic. She hopes to attend medical school next year and continue her work as a physician in the armed forces.

Esther Olasoji

2017 Larry J. Connor Medal of Excellence

Esther Olasoji is a Food Science and Human Nutrition and Microbiology and Cell Science double major from Winter Haven. Born in Sokoto, Nigeria, Esther immigrated to the United States as a child. She currently conducts research in the Department of Animal Sciences where she studies the use of spices as an alternative to antibiotics.

Esther was accepted into the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program in 2015 and has since been the president of the McNair Ambassadors. She volunteers at Grace Market Place with one of her mentors, Dr. Anna Khanna, to provide free neurological health services. After graduation, Esther will apply to M.D./Ph.D. programs to focus on microbiology and immunology.

Chase Labiste

2017 Emelie L. Matthews Award of Excellence – Outstanding Graduating Transfer

Chase Labiste is a Microbiology and Cell Science senior from Miami. Chase works in neurology and pathology labs, and was a teaching assistant in the Molecular Genetics course and Human Genome Project. He has worked extensively to create novel curriculum to address the links between gut and brain health for the Gainesville Boys and Girls Club, which he will lead in summer 2017.

Chase earned the UF President’s Volunteer Service Award for the completion of more than 400 service hours at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. He plans to continue to work as a humanitarian with communities in Florida.

Connor Hartzell

2017 E.T. York, Jr. Medal of Excellence Award – Outstanding Junior

Connor Hartzell is a junior Microbiology and Cell Science major and Philosophy minor. Among his many extracurricular activities, Connor is a member of Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, a volunteer with the Climb for Cancer Foundation, a tutor for the Office of Academic Support, and a biochemistry supplemental instructor.

He is an undergraduate researcher completing his honors thesis on metastasis in small cell lung cancer. Connor aspires to become a military physician and eventually pursue a career in biomedical research with an emphasis on cancer biology.

Adriana Della Porta

2017 J. Wayne Reitz Medal of Excellence – Outstanding Senior

Adriana Della Porta is a Microbiology and Cell Science major from Ponte Vedra Beach. She is a CALS Ambassador and a member of the Dean of Students Office Student Conduct Committee. Adriana volunteers as a tutor for the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology through the UF Broward Teaching Center.

In addition to her volunteer work, Adriana conducts research funded by the NSF Plant Genome Research Project for the Department of Horticultural Sciences and is involved with the Challenge 2050 Project. She has been co-first-author on two research presentations, and continues to travel to the Dominican Republic for medical service trips.

Amanda Desormeaux

2017 University of Florida Calvin A. VanderWerf Graduate Student Teaching Award

Kathryn Beaty Ivey

2016 Undergraduate Adviser of the Year

The undergraduate adviser for family, youth and community sciences students since 2012, Kathryn Beaty Ivey strives to be accessible to students. She is dedicated to being accessible to students in the most critical of times, recognizing the uniqueness of each student and adjusting her advising style to best serve that student.

A graduate of the major herself, Ivey truly has a passion for her students, the major and the department as a whole.

One student described Ivey as follows: "She makes students who walk through her door believe that they can achieve whatever they dedicate themselves to."

Andrew C. Thoron

2016 Undergraduate Adviser of the Year

Andrew Thoron, Ph.D. is an assistant professor in agricultural education and communication. As an undergraduate adviser, Thoron is not content with merely advising students on curriculum and instead encourages them to actively engage in their learning and become life-long learners so they will have the tools to excel in their professional careers.

Thoron typically advises 20 to 25 undergraduates each year, and his personal interest in their studies does not end upon graduation. Many students have remarked how he not only helps them find a teaching position that matches their interests and qualifications but also regularly checks in with them after they are employed to see how they are progressing and to offer his continuing mentorship.

One student said, "Dr. Thoron is a remarkable adviser; his personable nature and ability to develop strong and lasting relationships is what puts him head and shoulders above others."

Jennifer C. Drew

2016 Undergraduate Teacher of the Year

Jennifer Drew, Ph.D. is an associate research scientist in microbiology and cell science. She was the first instructor in her department to take on the challenge of teaching a fully online course. Drew was instrumental in developing the microbiology and cell science online undergraduate degree program that now has nearly 100 students.

In all her courses, students are consistently enthusiastic and engaged, and speak glowingly about her teaching and support.

One student said, "Dr. Drew's kindness and genuine interest in my educational goals is evident in her online class and in her emails. She helped me find a passion for genetics, I am now pursuing a master's degree in genetic counseling thanks to her support, feedback and teaching style."

Brantlee Spakes Richter

2016 Undergraduate Teacher of the Year

As a lecturer in the plant pathology, Brantlee Spakes Richter, Ph.D., teaches a multitude of courses including Plants, Plagues and People; Fungus Among Us; and Fundamentals of Plant Pathology. Her goal as a teacher is to tap into the diverse interests of her students and engage as willing participants. She believes inspiration is a tremendously powerful tool that can pave the way for great accomplishments.

It is also her goal to help students become better learners, think critically and reason through material rather than relying on memorization. Some of the innovative assignments she has employed to motivate learners include Misidentified Mushrooms, in which students must discern which of a pair of mushrooms is safe and which is poisonous; and Home Brewing Disasters, in which students analyze scenarios of fermentation gone wrong.

One student shares "Dr. Spakes Ritcher has been an engaging professor, a receptive employer and an incredibly supportive mentor, she has a remarkable ability to enrich the life of any open-minded student that has a desire to learn".

Bertrhude Albert

2016 Jack L. Fry Award for Teaching Excellence by a Graduate Student

Bertrhude Albert is a doctoral student in the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication. Bertrhude's teaching experiences range from teaching conversational English to a group of Haitian students, to teaching Haitian Creole to University of Florida students, to serving as a teaching assistant and now lead instructor for one of the large enrollment courses in the department – Effective Oral Communication.

Bertrhude engages her classes through a student-centered approach to which she contributes content, direction, and the occasional rap performance. Students note Bertrhude's passion for teaching and her naturally enthusiastic approach.

One student said, "Ms. Albert has a genuine enthusiasm and love for the subject and her students. She is inspiring!"

Robert J. Fletcher, Jr.

2016 Graduate Teacher/Adviser of the Year

Bertrhude Albert is a doctoral student in the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication. Bertrhude's teaching experiences range from teaching conversational English to a group of Haitian students, to teaching Haitian Creole to University of Florida students, to serving as a teaching assistant and now lead instructor for one of the large enrollment courses in the department – Effective Oral Communication.

Fletcher strives to motivate students in diverse ways: he exhibits an infectious enthusiasm for the coursework, provides students with context for why the material matters, and challenges them to think broadly and critically and inspire a passion for the natural world and for science. His advising philosophy is to be a facilitator of career growth and to advocate for his students as they pursue their goals.

Current students speak highly of Fletcher, stating "He shows a superlative enthusiasm and knowledge when he is teaching. These aspects contribute to the success of the course without a doubt!"

Clay Hurdle

2016 Alumni and Friends Leadership Award

Clay Hurdle is a senior studying agricultural education and communication. Clay has been an active student during his time at UF by serving as a CALS Ambassador, UF Honors Program Ambassador, Preview staffer and undergraduate representative for the IFAS Faculty Assembly. Clay was recently inducted into the UF Hall of Fame and Florida Blue Key, and was also awarded the UF Presidential Service Award in March. Clay feels better prepared to understand and work with people in the classroom, community and workforce thanks to his experiences in CALS.

Former instructor Dr. Milton Newberry noted: "Clay is the student embodiment of the University of Florida Preeminence Initiative. He may be Georgia-raised, but he is a Gator to the core."

Emily Quintero

2016 Larry J. Connor Medal of Excellence

Emily Quintero is a senior studying nutritional sciences. Her passion for improving patient-physician interactions in healthcare led her to serve as a research assistant for the Pediatric Pulmonary Department at UF Health. Emily is a clinic director at the Equal Access Clinic in Gainesville and is also a supervisor in the Health Outreach Quality Improvement Program. As she moves forward in her medical studies, Emily would like to provide quality healthcare to underserved communities.

Former instructor Dr. Milton Newberry noted: "Clay is the student embodiment of the University of Florida Preeminence Initiative. He may be Georgia-raised, but he is a Gator to the core."

Shavone Taylor

2016 Emelie L. Matthews Award of Excellence – Outstanding Graduating Transfer Student

Shavone Taylor is a senior in animal sciences. An aspiring animal nutritionist, Shavone serves as a research assistant under both Dr. Gbola Adesogan and Dr. Charlie Staples in the Department of Animal Sciences. She credits the college with giving her the knowledge, skills and network to tackle future opportunities. She has volunteered at UF's Small Animal Hospital, House of Hope, Ronald McDonald House and Noah's Endeavor working with special needs children, and she hopes to pursue both master's and doctoral degrees in animal nutrition.

Associate Dean Joel Brendemuhl noted that Shavone "is a gifted young woman academically and possesses the skill set to become an impactful leader." He looks forward to continuing to see her contribute to animal agriculture as she pursues graduate school.

Esteban Rios

2016 Jimmy G. Cheek Medal of Excellence – Outstanding Graduate Student

Esteban Rios, a doctoral student in agronomy, is the winner of the Jimmy G. Cheek Graduate Student Medal of Excellence. The award recognizes an outstanding graduate student who demonstrates high academic potential and achievement, leadership and community involvement, and commitment and passion about his or her chosen field of study.

Esteban earned his Bachelor of Science degree as an agronomy engineer in Argentina in 2010. He then came to UF where he was awarded his Master of Science in agronomy in 2013. His doctoral research focuses on turfgrass and forage breeding and genomics, and he is specifically working to find methods to accelerate the development of ryegrass cultivars for the southern United States.

Esteban's co-adviser Dr. Kevin Kenworthy wrote: "In my time at UF I have helped to mentor several truly outstanding graduate students and observed many others in the Agronomy Department. I can say without hesitation that Esteban is the most productive, competent and dependable student I have interacted with at the University of Florida."

Rebecca Gould

2016 E.T. York, Jr. Medal of Excellence – Outstanding Junior

Rebecca Gould, a dietetics junior, is a volunteer for the Gator Sports Nutrition Department and for the UF Health Shands Hospital's Nutrition Department where she completes patient surveys and assists dietitians in the hospital. Becky also actively serves on campus as a CALS Ambassador and the National Social Marketing Chair for GetFRUVED, a USDA-funded health intervention program targeting freshmen.

Dr. Anne Matthews wrote: "Becky was immediately attracted to the service and educational nature of GetFRUVED and became an ambassador in recruiting like-minded students to drive the project ... She is a primary point person for me and one that other students turn to regularly."

Steven Che

2016 J. Wayne Reitz Medal of Excellence – Outstanding Senior

Steven Che is a senior majoring in Dietetics. Steven is a CALS Ambassador, and he founded and serves as the culinary director of the Culinary Arts Student Union, an organization that educates members about the basic techniques to make soul-satisfying meals. He hopes to complete his dietetic internship in the coming year, combining his passion for cooking, his knowledge of nutrition and his work in social justice to enact meaningful changes in our community.

Dr. Mary Kay Carodine sums Steven up best in her description of him as "a highly intelligent student who has gotten involved on campus in meaningful ways, and he has made significant contributions in all."

Henry P. Davis

CALS Alumni & Friends Award of Distinction

BSA '50 Soil Science

The name Henry Davis is synonymous with service. Henry entered the U.S. Army after graduating from high school. Following two years in post-war Germany, he earned a bachelor's degree in soil science from the University of Florida in 1950. Henry began his 32-year Extension career in Santa Rosa County and also worked in Escambia County before spending his last 28 years in Taylor County.

Henry was instrumental in establishing several local organizations, including Taylor County Farm Bureau in which he held every office throughout the years. He also helped establish the Taylor County Cattlemen's Association, Big Bend Beekeeper's Association, Tobacco Barn Club, County Improvement Council and Vegetable Curb Market.

His most significant accomplishment was undoubtedly the development of thousands of young people through 4-H. Under his tutelage, five state 4-H presidents were elected out of his small, rural county. Henry's influence on the youth of Taylor County is legendary and in 2002, a county-wide "Henry Davis Day" was held in his honor. Additionally, a Henry Davis Scholarship Fund was established in his honor to assist 4-H members in attending Camp Cherry Lake.

Henry is a member of the UF Alumni Association and past president of the UF Taylor County Alumni Club. He resides in Perry and was nominated by Morris G. Steen, Jr.

T. Jesse Godbold

CALS Alumni & Friends Award of Distinction

BSE '63 Agricultural Education

Jesse Godbold grew up on a pioneer family farm in Suwannee County. He was active in 4-H and FFA and attended UF at which he was a member of Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity, Collegiate FFA and Gamma Delta Agriuculture Education Fraternity.

He taught vocational agriculture at Santa Fe High School before beginning his 33-year Extension career. Jesse was an Extension agent in Columbia and Liberty counties before being promoted to county Extension director in Clay County in 1971. He provided leadership to develop and build the county agricultural Extension center and fairgrounds complex which encompasses more than 50 acres. In 2012, the Extension auditorium was named in his honor.

Jesse retired in 1996, but continues to serve on the Clay County 4-H Foundation, which he established in 1972. Jesse is a lifelong member of Clay County Farm Bureau and served as secretary of the county cattlemen's association for more than 30 years. In 2014, his FFA jacket was one of only five selected for display in the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, beside former President Jimmy Carter's FFA jacket.

Jesse resides in Green Cove Springs with his wife Jeanie and was nominated by Kelly Padgett Mosley who wrote "his vision [for Clay County Extension] was far beyond his years and will benefit our community and the agriculture industry for generations.

Keri Milligan Sidle

CALS Alumni & Friends Horizon Award

BSA '10 Agricultural Education and Communication

As many freshmen do, Keri Sidle entered the University of Florida with a plan to attend medical school. While serving as an Ambassador for the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Keri discovered her true passion for agricultural education. After graduation, she returned to her home county to open the Plant Biotechnology Academy at the brand new Oakleaf High School.

Oakleaf is not a traditional agricultural education program, and Keri relished the opportunity to introduce students to the agriculture industry. During her time at Oakleaf, enrollment in the ag program increased by more than 300 percent and in only its third year was recognized by the National Association of Agricultural Educators as an Outstanding Secondary Agriculture Program.

Keri was recognized as the 2011 Florida FFA Agriscience Teacher of the Year, 2013 Florida Nursery Growers and Landscape Association Educator of the Year, and 2013 Florida Association of Career and Technical Educators New Teacher of the Year. She and her husband Dan relocated to Minneapolis in 2014 where she started another new agriculture education program at Rockford Middle School, a STEM magnet school. At Rockford Middle, Keri has the opportunity to have every student in the school come through an agriculture classes each year for one quarter.

Keri considers her greatest achievement to be her former students who are pursuing their dreams and careers in the agriculture industry. She was nominated by Kelly Padgett Mosley.

Amy Alexander

Undergraduate Adviser of the Year

Amy Alexander is the academic programs coordinator for the plant science major. Since the spring of 2011, she has advised undergraduates in all eight plant science specializations. Amy serves as the main point of contact for more than 95 undergraduate students.

Amy's advising philosophy emphasizes meeting students where they are. For example, she maintains offices in both McCarty B and Fifield Hall. In her words, "When I can go, do and learn, I come home with a better understanding of our students, who they are, where they want to go and why."

Students who know her best say, "My academic and career path would not have been a success without the help and encouragement of Amy. I was fortunate enough to have her as my academic adviser, and now I have gained a friend for life."

Andrea Lucky

Undergraduate Teacher of the Year

Andrea Lucky, Ph.D. is an assistant scientist in the Entomology and Nematology Department. She teaches courses on insects and insect classification. Her goal as a teacher is not only to educate the next generation of entomologists and scientists, but also to help the next generation of teachers, politicians, business owners and scholars in any discipline to appreciate how and why science is fundamental to our lives.

She has been able to achieve this goal by teaching a general education course for non-majors along with a higher level course for entomology majors and graduate students. Not only did Lucky teach these courses face to face, but she also took on the responsibility of converting them to online courses while retaining the interaction and engagement necessary for true learning. Particularly innovative is the way she brings her own research into the classroom with Citizen Science programs she has created. These projects give students the perspective of seeing science as a process instead of as a set of facts.

Martha Monroe

Graduate Teacher/Adviser of the Year

Martha Monroe, Ph.D. is a professor in the School of Forest Resources and Conservation, where she teaches three graduate courses focusing on environmental education program development, conservation behavior, and forests and climate. Monroe believes that learning happens when learners are motivated to expand their mental models. Her advising philosophy is to personalize her guidance to students' career interests and strengths.

Current students speak highly of Monroe, stating, "Martha is, above all, a fantastic teacher/adviser/mentor. She always encourages her students to attend conferences and expand their professional development, and she is tenaciously dedicated to securing opportunities and funds to aid these efforts."

Chris Mott

Jack L. Fry Award for Teaching Excellence by a Graduate Student

Chris Mott, Ph.D. earned his doctoral degree in agricultural education and communication this spring. He is a three-time Gator grad, having already earned a bachelor's degree in telecommunications and a master's degree in agricultural education and communication.

Mott's teaching experiences range from teaching conversational English in Hungary, an experience that sparked his love for teaching, to serving as a teaching assistant or co-instructor for two large enrollment courses in the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication —Effective Oral Communication and Leadership Development.

Students, both in evaluations and letters of support for this award, note Mott's passion for the subject of leadership and his relatable approach as an instructor. One student indicated that Mott's enthusiasm for the subject inspired her to minor in Leadership. Another student said he "was very charismatic, energetic and enthusiastic. I feel that his attitude was contagious in the best of ways, and this helped spark my interest in learning the subject material."

Rebecca Baldwin

Undergraduate Adviser of the Year

Rebecca Baldwin began her career at UF in the Department of Entomology and Nematology in 2006 as an assistant extension specialist, and in 2010, she became an assistant professor. For Baldwin, academic advising is an important component in the success of students. Her passion is to provide the resources so students can reach their potential. She recognizes that they not only need information about degree requirements, but they also need guidance as they solve problems, identify research and internship opportunities, and become global citizens.

One student said, "The moment I switched to entomology and nematology, Dr. Baldwin was there to support and help me in every way possible. She would do anything for a student, including help them find a mentor in their dream field, writing glowing letters of recommendation for jobs and graduate school, helping them plan a difficult course schedule, or simply talking about the impossible 'what should I do with my life?' question."

Chris Mortensen

Undergraduate Teacher of the Year

Chris Mortensen, Ph.D. is an assistant professor in animal sciences. Since 2009, he has taught a wide variety of courses in equine sciences in the areas of reproductive physiology, genetics and endocrinology. He developed the Horse Course, which had more than 17,000 students on Coursera.

Mortensen believes we are in the midst of a major paradigm shift in higher education. As technological advancements increase the speed at which society can present and access information, educators need to progress as well. The core of his teaching philosophy embraces change and the discovery of effective methods of information delivery.

One of his students stated, "Dr. Mortensen creates clear objectives for the class and a fair, yet challenging curriculum, while simultaneously striving to create a memorable and fun learning space."

Nathan Carson

Alumni and Friends Leadership Award

Nathan Carson completed his bachelor's degree in food and resource economics this spring. He chose this major because of his interest in food insecurity, economic development and international relations. Nathan has a stellar academic record, has been involved in nearly every student activity his department offers, and was inducted into Alpha Zeta Honors Fraternity in 2013.

Food and resource economics chair Spiro Stefano said, "He is very clear about his commitment to agriculture in the state and his desire to contribute to the industry. Nathan is a young man who is poised to make a difference for agriculture, Florida and beyond."

Alan Chan

Larry J. Connor Medal of Excellence

A food science and human nutrition graduate, Alan Chan describes the college as one that promotes growth and self-discovery. He credits CALS with helping him identify his mission of furthering the field of medicine through mentoring minority students. Alan has extensive experience with mentoring through his roles with both the University Minority Mentor Program and the Pride Mentor Program.

Mitchell Knutson, Ph.D., noted, "…in addition to his intellectual abilities and strong work ethic, Alan has devoted a substantial amount of time and energy in promoting diversity in the student body."

Michelle Nguyen

Larry J. Connor Medal of Excellence

Michelle Nguyen graduated with a degree in biology with a biotechnology specialization and a minor in Health Disparities. She developed a global perspective through activities such as the CALS Leadership Institute, MEDLIFE, and the Rural Women's Health Project. She received a presidential service award from the UF Center for Leadership and Service for her community service efforts.

One of Michelle's references noted, "She has demonstrated excellence in her ability to balance the competing demands of a rigorous academic curriculum, independent research and community service."

Daniel Greenwell

Emelie L. Matthews Award of Excellence Outstanding Graduating Transfer Student

Daniel Greenwell transferred to UF from Tallahassee Community College and graduated with his bachelor's degree in plant science. Daniel immersed himself in the world of environmental horticulture, pursuing a yearlong internship with the premiere public garden in the United States, interning in quality control for ProFlowers around Valentine's Day, and serving as head grower for the largest club poinsettia sale in the country.

Of his experience, Daniel said, "I have become part of a family here because of how close-knit the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences is. I believe I will maintain the relationships that I have built here with my classmates and the professors for the rest of my life."

Amanda Ford

Jimmy G. Cheek Graduate Student Medal of Excellence Winner

Amanda Ford, a doctoral student in nutritional sciences, is the winner of the Jimmy G. Cheek Graduate Student Medal of Excellence. The award recognizes an outstanding graduate student who demonstrates high academic potential and achievement, leadership and community involvement, and commitment and passion about his or her chosen field of study.

Ford earned a Bachelor of Science in Food Science and Human Nutrition and a Master of Science in Management, both from UF. Her doctoral research focuses on the clinical applications of probiotics, and specifically evaluates the role of the diet on microbiota and explores the potential mitigating role of probiotics in older adults. She has already co-authored five revered publications and has four more under review.

Ford's adviser, Wendy Dahl, Ph.D., summed it up best when she wrote, "Amanda exemplifies each of the qualities and characteristics honored by the Jimmy G. Cheek Graduate Medal of Excellence. She has achieved excellence in her academic pursuits, while passionately pursuing research, extension, teaching and community service."

Steven Che

E.T. York, Jr. Medal of Excellence Outstanding Junior Award

Steven Che is a food science and human nutrition major. As a freshman, Steven helped to establish a new student organization at UF, the Culinary Arts Student Union. He went on to serve as president of the group. His enthusiasm for teaching others about food and cooking is obvious to everyone he meets. Steven also serves as a CALS Ambassador and director of Gatorship.

He wrote that the college "has provided me a plethora of opportunities, resources and connections to reach my goals of becoming a registered dietitian focusing on resource disparities."

Clay Hurdle

E.T. York, Jr. Medal of Excellence Outstanding Junior Award

Clay Hurdle is a Spanish and agricultural education and communication major. Clay was selected for the CALS Leadership Institute, and he has served as a Preview Staffer, Honors Ambassador and vice president of Collegiate 4-H.

One of his references said, "Clay has a strong desire to pursue a career in academia, and has selected his campus involvement to lay a solid groundwork for such professional aspirations."

Noah Andone

J. Wayne Reitz Medal of Excellence Outstanding Senior Award

Noah Andone is a food science and human nutrition graduate. He excelled academically, was president of Florida Cicerones, was a research assistant for Anne Mathews, Ph.D. and worked part-time in the Office of the Vice President and Chief Information Officer. Noah credits his coursework in food science and human nutrition with preparing him for dental school.

Mathews sums up Noah best in her description of him as, "a highly competent, hard-working, and thoughtful young man with an outgoing and amiable personality and excellent communication skills that encompasses the spirit of this award."