UT Institute of Agriculture Presents Top Faculty and Staff Awards for 2022  

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Food Scientist Toni Wang Named Institute Professor, UTIA’s Greatest Honor 

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture recognized some of its top faculty, staff, researchers and Extension experts at UTIA’s annual Awards and Promotions luncheon on the UTIA campus in Knoxville August 16, 2022. Many of the awards are gifts made possible by faculty, alumni and friends of the Institute.  

UT Institute of Agriculture Senior Vice Chancellor and Senior Vice President Carrie Castille hosted the award winners and celebrated their work. “I am so excited to recognize excellence as exemplified by the award-winning members of our UTIA faculty and staff,” Castille says. “Their continuing commitment to our land-grant mission ensures that the Institute develops and delivers real-life solutions to improve the health and economy of our state and beyond while also enhancing our environment.”  

Toni Wang, a professor in the Department of Food Science, was named the Charles E. Wharton Institute Professor, UTIA’s greatest honor.  

The other 2022 winners are:  

Charles and Patricia Goan Excellence in Customer Service Award – Ronnie Barron, UT Extension Cheatham County  

Charles and Julie Wharton Award for Outstanding Extension Achievements –  
Tonya Bain, Tennessee 4-H, Western Region 
Shelly Barnes, UT Extension Wilson County 
Anthony Shelton, UT Extension Washington County 

Ann and Bill Hicks Outstanding New Extension Worker Award – Sreedhar Upendram, UTIA Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics  

Tennessee Association of Agricultural Agents-Hicks Awards of Excellence –  
Ryan Blair, UT Extension, Western Region 
Jason Garrett, UT Extension Overton County 
Bruce Steelman, UT Extension Lincoln County 

Vernon and Ida Darter Award – Sarah Keenan, UT Extension Maury County  

Lloyd and Nettie Downen Endowment Fund Leadership Enhancement Award – 
Tammy McKinley, Information Technology Services 
Heather Sedges, UT Extension Family and Consumer Sciences  

G.L. Carter Jr. Outstanding 4-H Youth Development Agent Award – Meagen Brown, UT Extension Meigs County  

Alice Ann Moore Outstanding 4-H Youth Development Agent Award – Connie Goff-Sharp, UT Extension Washington County  

William D. Bishop Outstanding Service Award – Amy Elizer, UT Extension Family and Consumer Sciences  

Webster Pendergrass Outstanding Service Award – David Lockwood, UTIA Department of Plant Sciences   

Mildred Pendergrass Outstanding Service Award – Joel Clark, UT Extension Family and Consumer Sciences 

E.J. Chapman Outstanding Service Award – Jennifer Stewart, UT Extension Humphreys County 

Cavender Outstanding Awards for Best Publications –  
Alicia Rihn, Kimberly Jensen and David Hughes, UTIA Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics for Tennessee’s Wine Industry: Consumer Perceptions, Quality Assurance Programs, and Marketing Strategies W 1063 
Rebecca Butler, Jennifer Chandler, Rebecca Trout Fryxell and Karen Vail, UTIA Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology for Managing Ticks on School Grounds PB 1895 

J.E. Moss Achievement Awards –   
Chris Graves, UT Herbert College of Agriculture  
Jimmy Hayes, UT College of Veterinary Medicine  
John Sorochan, UT AgResearch  
Lew Strickland, UT Extension    

Williams – E.R. “Prof” Lidvall Outstanding Teaching Award – Cheryl Kojima, UTIA Department of Animal Science 

Miles Award for Community Service – Michael Ross, Department of Plant Sciences 

B. Ray Thompson Sr. Outstanding Faculty Performance Award – Emma Willcox, UTIA Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries 

Professional/Academic Award for Outstanding Service – Jaime Norris, UT College of Veterinary Medicine  

T.J. Whatley Distinguished Young Scientist Award – Hao Gan, UTIA Department of Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science 

AgResearch Impact Award – Qixin Zhong, UTIA Department of Food Science  

AgResearch Mid-Career Faculty Research Excellence Award – Chris Boyer, UTIA Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics  

UT AgResearch Dean’s Award for Outstanding Support Staff – Cassie Halvorsen, UTIA Department of Plant Sciences  

UT AgResearch Dean’s Award for Outstanding Professional Staff –  
Kathy Dalton, UTIA Office of Sponsored Research  
Jason Williams, UT AgResearch and Education Center at Milan  
Mark Young, UTIA Information Technology Services  

In addition to the winners of the sponsored awards, many faculty members received promotions, earned tenure, or both. They are listed on the UTIA Awards and Promotions website

Through its land-grant mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions. utia.tennessee.edu

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