2019 UF/IFAS Proudest Moments

We asked our UF/IFAS faculty and staff what their 2019 professional accomplishments were, and here is what they said:

Daniel M Czyz, Ph.D.
Daniel M Czyz
Assistant Professor, Ph.D.
Microbiology and Cell Science
Dr. Czyz from the Department of Microbiology & Cell Science developed a new course on Antimicrobial Resistance. Nearly 200 students have already taken the course – and they all loved it. Education is an essential component of stopping the problem of antibiotic resistance that affects everyone.


Stephen F. Enloe
Associate Professor, Ph.D.
Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants
Stephen F. Enloe received the Weed Science Society of America’s Outstanding Extension Award. Enloe works to educate landowners and public land managers on invasive plants that threaten our state. “This award was such an honor and I am very grateful to have received it,” Enloe said.


Class XI of the Wedgworth Leadership Institute
Christy Chiarelli
DIR, Dev & Ext/Alumni Affairs, M.S.
Office of Advancement (SHARE)
Chiarelli’s proudest accomplishment was the selection of Class XI of the Wedgworth Leadership Institute. The group is representative of agriculture’s diversity through their employment in 22 different sub-sectors of the industry, from citrus to horticulture to sod production. Class XI members also bring geographic diversity, representing 22 different counties across the state, from Calhoun to St. Johns to Miami-Dade. Members of Class XI have committed to 11 seminars, totaling 55 days, which further develop their leadership capacity in representing the agricultural industry. With seminars ranging from the Florida panhandle to Miami, time spent in Washington D.C. and a three-week international learning experience, this program broadens the participants’ perspectives and builds a network within the industry and beyond. Program graduates are equipped to address challenges of local, state, national and global dimensions.


Saskia Hendrickx
Deputy Director of Innovation Lab
Animal Sciences
The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems is proud to complete their 4th year and an expansion to 45 research projects abroad in Africa and Asia. To date, these projects have established more than 30 innovations.


Field and Fork activities
Anna Prizzia
Academic Program Spec III, M.S.
Office of Dean, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
In just over 4 years as a program at UF, Field and Fork campus food program has built a robust resource for teaching and learning. They have hosted over 30 classes and more than 1000 people, while also producing approximately 8000 lbs of diverse veggies for the Alan and Cathy Hitchcock pantry on campus.


Dr. Swisher working with four outstanding students, three from Haiti and one from Ghana
Marilyn E. Swisher
Professor, Ph.D.
Family Youth and Community Sciences
Dr. Swisher shared that her proudest accomplishment was working with four outstanding students, three from Haiti and one from Ghana. Dr. Swisher mentored three of them. They formed a team and helped each other complete their thesis research in and about Haiti under very difficult conditions. “I am honored they chose to work with me,” said Dr. Swisher.


Dr. Chris DeCubellis
Extension Agent III, Ph.D.
County Operations
“The two things I am probably proudest of in 2019 are the 4-H State 4-H Dairy Judging Team, which won 1st place in the national 4-H dairy judging contest at the All-American Dairy Show in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania” said Dr. Chris DeCubellis.
Tucker Padgett with the calf she won
The other big thing Dr. DeCubellis is proud of and thankful for is starting the 1st ever 4-H Dairy Heifer Chain. In this project, Irish Oaks Farms donated a registered Jersey Heifer to a 4-H member Tucker Padgett of Escambia County. Tucker gets to own this heifer, and when this heifer grows up and has a calf, this new calf will go on to another 4-H member, thus the idea of the “chain”.Thanks to the McGlothern family of Irish Oaks Acres for donating the heifer.


Benjamin Sperry
Assistant Research Scientist, Ph.D
Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants
In August of 2019, the outlet river connecting Lake Panasoffkee and the Withlacoochee River became infested with hydrilla creating an emergency situation. Dr. Benjamin Sperry’s team was able to work with the Southwest Florida Water Management District and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to increase the water flow and solve the problem.


Animal Science Research program received the 2019 Outstanding Young Animal Scientist Award
Philipe Moriel
Assistant Professor, Ph.D.
Range Cattle REC
Our Animal Science Research program received the 2019 Outstanding Young Animal Scientist Award for Research from Southern Section of American Society of Animal Science. Our major educational program was named 2nd Nutrition for Beef Females ,outreached 122 producers representing a total of 14,000 heifers and 159,00 acres of pasture.


two farmers sitting on grass
Joao Vendramini
Professor, Ph.D
Range Cattle REC – Ona
Bermudagrass is the most important forage for livestock production in the southeastern USA. In 2019, a new bermudagrass cultivar called “Mislevy” was released by the UF/IFAS Range Cattle Research and Education Center. This new cultivar has greater forage production than the commonly used bermudagrass cultivars in Florida.


UF/IFAS Range Cattle REC
Brent Sellers
Professor and Interim Center Director, Ph.D.
Range Cattle REC – Ona
A smutgrass field day was held at the UF/IFAS Range Cattle REC highlighting the results from over 2 years of research using various application techniques, including the weed wiper. Research and a portion of the outreach were funded through the Florida Cattle Enhancement Board and the USDA-NRCS.


Empty field
Maria Silveira
Professor, Ph.D.
Range Cattle REC – Ona
Biosolids have clear agronomic benefits, but potential impacts on water quality limit land application in Florida. Yanyan Lu, a PhD student, completed a 3 year study designed to evaluate the agronomic and environmental impacts of land application of biosolids. Results demonstrated that biosolids represent an environmentally sound alternative to replace inorganic fertilizers.


Raramuri Criollo cattle
Raoul Boughton
Assistant Professor, Ph.D.
Range Cattle REC – Ona
As Florida Panther numbers recovery increased interaction with humans is inevitable. One concerned stakeholder group are ranchers. A collaboration between UF/IFAS, JB Ranch, USFWS, and the Naples Zoo is investigating if Raramuri Criollo cattle, a reported more aggressive breed of cattle, can help guard the herd and lower Panther-caused calf loss.


Chris Prevatt
State Specialized Extension Agent II
Range Cattle REC – Ona
In 2019, I worked with an agricultural operation to plant 2,500 acres of Sunn Hemp for a crop cover following Corn. The nitrogen-fixing nodules in Sunn Hemp’s roots saved 300,000 pounds of nitrogen fertilizer from being used while also providing forage for grazing, sequestering carbon, and suppressing weeds.


UF/IFAS Range Cattle REC – Archbold Biological Station Long-term Agroecosystem Research
The ABS-UF Long-Term Agroecosystem Research (LTAR) site is a partnership between the Archbold Biological Station, University of Florida, Range Cattle Research and Education Center, and USDA. Our research mission is to underline management strategies that promote forage/beef cattle productivity while minimizing potential negative impacts on water, soil, biodiversity, and climate.



Christopher M. Demers
Extension Program Manager, M.S.
School of Forest Resources and Conservation
Christopher M. Demers, Extension Program Manager with The School of Forest Resources & Conservation is proud of the work the 2019 Forest Stewardship Program has accomplished.



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Posted: December 17, 2019

Category: UF/IFAS

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