UT Plant Sciences Professor Named National Outstanding Extension Educator

Annette Wszelaki Honored by the American Society for Horticultural Science

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The American Society for Horticultural Science has presented Annette Wszelaki of the University of Tennessee with its 2021 Outstanding Extension Educator Award. Wszelaki is a professor and commercial vegetable Extension specialist with the UT Department of Plant Sciences.

The award recognizes an educator who has made outstanding and valuable contributions to horticultural science Extension education across a period of 10 or more years. Wszelaki received the award at the society’s annual meeting held in Denver, Colorado.

Colleagues and former students who nominated her for the award cited Wszelaki’s technical expertise and her service as a caring and encouraging mentor and peer who gives generously of her time and helped them achieve impacts that they felt would otherwise not be realizable.

Wszelaki has served as UT’s vegetable Extension specialist since 2007 and has contributed substantially to the statewide and regional vegetable industry. Her impacts include the development and delivery of custom-tailored programming, production demonstrations and field days to meet the evolving needs of Tennessee specialty growers. Specific areas of emphasis in Wszelaki’s research and Extension portfolio include organic production, produce safety, high tunnel production, biodegradable mulches and vegetable variety trials.

Importantly, Wszelaki also is helping to create the future leaders of her field. Many of the students under her guidance have gone on to pursue graduate studies in specialty crop research and outreach and careers with nonprofit organizations, in Extension, and with the US Department of Agriculture, among others.

“Dr. Wszelaki has contributed significantly to Tennessee producers, to the education of UT students, and to the advancement of commercial vegetable production,” says Gary Bates, interim head of the Department of Plant Sciences. “The Outstanding Extension Educator Award is a fitting recognition by her peers across the nation. We’re very proud of her and this well-deserved honor.”

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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