UF Students Recognized for Achievements at 13th Annual CALS Banquet

With experiences ranging from teaching sea life curricula to children and working at the Florida Museum of Natural History, to conducting strawberry genetics research and interning with Unilever, the achievements of students in the University of Florida College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) were on full display at its annual Scholarship and Leadership Awards Banquet held April 18.

Graduating seniors, outstanding juniors, college scholarship recipients, CALS Leadership Institute graduates, CALS honors scholars, club of the year and outstanding teaching and advising award recipients were honored at the event.

“It’s a pleasure to recognize our students for their hard work and involvement promoting the college, university and agricultural and life sciences,” said CALS Dean Elaine Turner. “I’m always amazed at the variety of ways our students live out the core values of our college: integrity, diversity, collaboration and service. It is a privilege to teach these students, and we are honored CALS is part of their education journey.”

The following students received college awards:

  • Sophia Galvez, a senior nutritional sciences major from Pembroke Pines, Florida, received the Larry J. Connor Medal of Excellence. The award is named after a former CALS dean and recognizes a senior student who has achieved a distinguished scholarship record, demonstrated a high degree of leadership and fosters diversity. Galvez leads the UF Pre-Pharmacy Society as president, and works at both the UF Student Health Care Center Pharmacy and Wise’s Pharmacy.
  • Krystal Glasford, a senior microbiology and cell science major from St. Kitts, received the Emelie L. Matthews Award of Excellence. The award is named in honor of the contributions made by Emelie Matthews, a CALS employee of 35 years. The award recognizes an outstanding graduating transfer student. Glasford is an undergraduate research assistant in the division of nephrology, hypertension & renal transplantation with the UF Health department of medicine. She holds leadership roles in several campus activities including U Matter, We Care.
  • Kirsten Hecht, an interdisciplinary ecology Ph.D. candidate originally from Sandusky, Ohio, received the Jimmy G. Cheek Graduate Student Medal of Excellence. The award is named after a former CALS dean and former UF/IFAS senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources. Award recipients are outstanding graduate students who demonstrate high academic potential and achievement, leadership and community involvement, and commitment to his or her chosen field of study. Kirsten’s interest in herpetology has led her to develop science programs for minority children through the Natural Resources Diversity Initiative. She has held several leadership roles in the UF Ph.D. Moms organization, and manages several social media accounts promoting herpetology awareness in the community.
  • Kevin Kent, an agricultural education and communication Ph.D. student from Cottondale, Florida, received the Jack L. Fry Award for Teaching Excellence by a Graduate Student. The award is named after the former assistant dean for graduate programs in CALS and honors an outstanding graduate student who has excelled in classroom or laboratory teaching. Kent applies his industry experience to the classroom, bringing the “real world” to his students. He is known for making students feel welcome and at home in his courses, and enhancing class projects with new technology concepts.
  • Kylie Philipps, a senior animal sciences major from Inverness, Florida, received the J. Wayne Reitz Medal of Excellence. The award honors a former UF provost for agriculture and UF president. Award recipients have a distinguished scholarship record and have demonstrated a high degree of leadership. Philipps serves as assistant coach for the UF Intercollegiate Meat Judging Team, and has interned for several cattle and beef companies throughout Florida.
  • Kate Rose, a junior marine sciences major from Basking Ridge, New Jersey, received the E.T. York, Jr. Medal of Excellence. The award is named after a former UF provost of agriculture and recognizes an outstanding junior with a strong academic record and demonstrated leadership. Rose conducts research projects in the Florida Keys and Belize, while working toward her combined master’s degree in fisheries and aquatic sciences. She serves as a member of the CALS Curriculum Committee.
  • Kellie Zambito, a senior food and resource economics major from Lutz, Florida, received the CALS Alumni and Friends Leadership Award. The award recognizes an outstanding senior who exemplifies leadership, scholastic achievement and citizenship. Zambito serves as president of UF’s Sigma Alpha Professional Agricultural Sorority, president of UF Collegiate Farm Bureau, and a CALS Ambassador.

The following students were honored as finalists for the senior and junior awards:

  • Cassidy Dossin, senior animal sciences major – J. Wayne Reitz Medal of Excellence finalist
  • Lindsay Furr, senior soil and water sciences major – Emelie L. Matthews Award of Excellence finalist
  • Caitlyn Goree, junior agricultural education and communication major – E.T. York, Jr. Medal of Excellence finalist
  • Brandon Grady, senior food and resource economics major – CALS Alumni and Friends Leadership Award finalist
  • Savannah Gross, junior biological engineering major – E.T. York, Jr. Medal of Excellence finalist
  • Benjamin Grubbs, senior environmental management in agricultural and natural resources major – Larry J. Connor Medal of Excellence finalist
  • Ling Jin, senior microbiology and cell science major – Emelie L. Matthews Award of Excellence finalist
  • Romae Morgan, senior nutritional sciences major – J. Wayne Reitz Medal of Excellence finalist
  • Anne Schwartz, senior plant science major – CALS Alumni and Friends Leadership Award finalist
  • Joceline Wheelock, senior nutritional sciences and health education and behavior dual major – Larry J. Connor Medal of Excellence finalist

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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. Visit the CALS website at cals.ufl.edu, and follow CALS on social media platforms at @ufcals.

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