UT Institute of Agriculture Presents Top Faculty and Staff Awards for 2020
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture recognized extraordinary service from members of the faculty and staff across the state at its annual awards and promotions event, held this year on August 21, 2020. Honorees were recognized virtually during a Zoom presentation rather than a fun, in-person luncheon. This change in venue did not minimize the amazing accomplishments for 2020. Many of the awards are gifts made possible by past faculty, alumni and friends of the Institute.
Jennifer DeBruyn, associate professor in the Department of Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science, is the winner of a brand-new honor, the AgResearch Mid-Career Faculty Research Excellence Award. This award recognizes demonstrated commitment and meritorious achievement in research by UTIA faculty, with an emphasis on the impacts such research has on AgResearch stakeholders or the science community at large.
“I’m delighted to be recognized as the first recipient of the new mid-career research excellence award. I’m especially grateful to the collaborators and mentors I’ve had the privilege to work with over the last decade who’ve inspired new ideas and given me new perspectives,” DeBruyn says.
After graduating from Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada, DeBruyn joined UTIA as a graduate student. DeBruyn is a microbial ecologist and studies how microbes interact with each other and the environment, including research in biodegradable plastics and soil health. DeBruyn has also worked with UT Extension in developing a backyard STEM program for 4-H agents to share with students.
UT Institute of Agriculture Senior Vice President Tim Cross hosted the Zoom session for the award winners and praised them for their work. “Now more than ever, it’s critical that we take time to acknowledge the award-winning work that our faculty and staff carry out, even in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic,” Cross says. “Tennesseans can count on the real-life solutions that the UT Institute of Agriculture provides to students and stakeholders from communities throughout Tennessee and beyond to enhance the economy, conserve the environment, and develop leaders for the future.”
Through its mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions. utia.tennessee.edu.