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UF/IFAS CALS professor recognized by USDA for teaching excellence

Headshot of Dr. Jamie Loizzo

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — UF/IFAS College of Agricultural and Life Sciences assistant professor Jamie Loizzo was selected as one of two winners of the National Early Career Teaching Award by the USDA.

The National Awards for Excellence in College and University Teaching in the Food and Agricultural Sciences Program recognizes outstanding faculty in agricultural and life sciences at colleges across the nation. Loizzo was selected to receive this honor based on her instructional ability, educational innovation, service to students, professionalism and scholarship.

“Dr. Loizzo helps equip students with the knowledge and skills needed to be successful and confident communicators in agriculture and natural resources,” said Elaine Turner, dean of the college. “Her innovative teaching inspires students to excel, and we are excited that Dr. Loizzo is receiving this well-earned recognition.”

Loizzo joined the UF/IFAS department of agricultural education and communication faculty in 2018, teaching undergraduate and graduate courses related to agricultural and natural resource science communication, using a project-based learning (PBL) instructional design. Through her courses, Loizzo’s students also take part in Streaming Science, a student-driven program Loizzo created that connects public audiences to scientists through videos, podcasts and live electronic fieldtrips. Students’ PBL science communication products are used for Streaming Science, which has published 67 photo essays, 29 videos, 50 podcasts, 31 virtual reality photo tours and seven electronic field trips from student work.

Loizzo holding equipment for electronic field trip

Dr. Jamie Loizzo in the field recording electronic field trip.

“Jamie has a passion for connecting middle and high school students with scientists in their element,” said Whitney Stone, agricultural education and communication doctoral student and former teaching assistant for Loizzo’s classes. “Through Streaming Science, her students get practical communication experiences while they learn more about natural resources and the environment through the scientists’ perspectives.”

Beyond her classroom teaching, Loizzo also conducts research on new learning technologies. She co-created MOOCocracy, an online, learner-centered, social democracy for engaging in global social issues, where learners can join a massive open online course about food insecurity that implements and researches three learning technologies. Loizzo also facilitates SciLit Digital, guiding graduate students through the research process. In the past two years, the group has developed ten manuscripts and six poster abstracts.

“Not only does Dr. Loizzo mentor us through research projects,” said Christine Krebs, who completed her master’s degree in agricultural education and communication advised by Loizzo. “She also trusts us to follow the data to see how we can be more effective communicators. In our collaborative research group, we learn from each other to apply what Dr. Loizzo taught us.”

Loizzo’s student-focused teaching continues to make an impact on her students. Through her courses and research, she ensures students are learning the skills needed to be excellent communicators and how to apply those skills to future careers in agriculture and natural resources.

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The College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) administers the degree programs of the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS). The mission of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences is to deliver unsurpassed educational programs that prepare students to address the world’s critical challenges related to agriculture, food systems, human wellbeing, natural resources and sustainable communities. The college has received more total (national and regional combined) USDA teaching awards than any other institution.

cals.ufl.edu  @UFCALS