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NMSU College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences awards staff

New Mexico State University's College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) presented awards to faculty, staff and others who have made agricultural contributions in their awards ceremony held April 15 at the Las Cruces Convention Center.


The New Mexico Outstanding Leadership Award was presented to Palemon Martinez who started his career with the NMSU Cooperative Extension Service in 1957. Martinez started the first farmer's market in New Mexico, was appointed board member of the New Mexico Livestock Board and co-established the Northern New Mexico Stockman's Association where he is currently secretary and treasurer.

The Leyendecker Agriculturist of Distinction Award went to Jerry Schickedanz who is responsible for both conceptualizing and bringing to fruition the Range Improvement Task Force. Schickedanz also worked as program leader for Agricultural and Natural Resources, authored numerous publications for the extension service and served as dean of the College of Agriculture from 1997 to 2005.

The Fabian Garcia Founders' Award went to John Mexal, a professor of horticulture and assistant department head of plant and environmental sciences. Mexal has initiated a mentoring program that pairs senior and junior faculty members and has helped establish 15 endowment funds to support student education including the Drs. Greg and Iris Mullins Scholarship, which he arranged within one week after Dr. Mullins passing in 2008.

Robert Hagevoort was introduced as the first Dairy Endowed Chair. Hagevoort served for 10 years as an independent dairy management consultant and nutritionist before coming to NMSU. Hagevoort will use his new position to address specific needs of the dairy industry and build upon and strengthen NMSU's current dairy program.

Dennis Hallford received the Distinguished Service Award. Hallford is a professor of animal range sciences, chair of the Radiation Safety Committee and the chair of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. In 2004, he received the rank of "Regents Professor" which is the highest rank for NMSU faculty.

Christopher S. Cramer was given the Distinguished Research Award. Cramer is a professor of plant and environmental sciences and teaches biometrical genetics in plant breeding, among other courses. Cramer has been part of the onion breeding program since 1997 and continues to develop cultivars that are high-yielding, high-quality, well-adapted and disease-resistant. Cramer has also been recognized by New Mexico onion growers for his work.

The Distinguished Extension Award went to Linda Wells, Extension specialist in the Home Economics Program Unit. Wells earned a master's degree from NMSU and has served as the state ICAN (Ideas for Cooking and Nutrition) program coordinator since fall 2001. She is currently serving as a co-liaison to the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences Board of Directors.

The Distinguished Professional Staff Award (on campus) was given to Connie Padilla who started at NMSU as a graphic artist and is now the ACES webmaster. Besides keeping this main interface up to date, Padilla has taken on special projects including multidisciplinary sites like the 2010 Desert Blooms site which she organized with almost a dozen specialists.

The Distinguished Professional Staff Award (off campus) went to Shad Cox. Cox not only manages the Corona Range and Livestock Research Center, he also maintains its website. Cox is well published and has given about 20 invited presentations throughout the state.

The Distinguished Staff Award (on campus) was awarded to Gloria Hernandez, administrative assistant in the Extension Home Economic Program Unit in the department of Family and Consumer Sciences. Hernandez assists at least nine individuals in different areas including family resource management and food safety. Hernandez also maintains databases for Extension faculty, nutrition educators, county directors and district directors.

The Distinguished Staff Award (off campus) went to Tom Jim, farm ranch manger at the Agriculture Science Center at Farmington. Jim has worked at the center for 19 years and has been instrumental in maintaining positive relations with the Navajo Nation. He has facilitated two recent field days hosted at the center for the Navajo Nation as well.

April Ulery received the Distinguished Teaching Award. Ulery is professor of plant and environmental sciences. In addition to teaching soils and environmental science classes, Ulery spent her recent sabbatical developing teaching modules to improve environmental science education in New Mexico high schools.

Adrian Unc was honored with the National Association of the Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Award. Unc is an assistant professor of plant and environmental sciences who teaches both entry level and capstone courses in environmental science. He has also taken the time to mentor undergraduate students involved in several programs including Minority Access to Research Careers and has co-authored 11 presentations with students at various conferences.

The Team Award went to the 4-H Home Economics School which includes Frank Hodnett, Mindy Turner, Shelly Porter, Connie Moyers, Teresa Dean, Ann-Marie Wilson, Marsha Palmer, Shannon Franklin, Jacqueline Baca, Corina Neish, Laura Bittner, Nicole Lujan, Desaree Jiminez and Shannon Wooton. This program gives youth an opportunity to learn about being in the kitchen as well as sewing and creating items for the home; it also includes activities that promote overall health, wellness and service.

The Award for Outstanding Agriculture Teacher was given to Tod Pinnell. An NMSU alumnus, Pinnell enjoys teaching and has trained 24 state championship teams in areas including parliamentary law, livestock evaluation, entomology, dairy evaluation and much more. His students have won the Production Sweepstakes in 2003 and 2011 and won the Leadership Sweepstakes in 2010.

Tom Dean was recognized with the Outstanding 4-H Agent Award. Dean works in Socorro County as the program director and Extension agent. Dean's work as an agent is well received as evidenced by the praise he gets from those he works with and from the students themselves. One 4-H participant was quoted as saying, "Mr. Dean has taught me many things such as responsibility, respect, good work ethics and most importantly to always have a good attitude no matter the situation."

Kelley Coffeen was awarded the Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management Industry Leadership Award. Coffeen is an NMSU graduate who has written four cookbooks, appeared on Good Morning America and hosted a weekly cooking segment on a regional television station for 12 years. She has been a member of the School of HRTM Board of Directors since 2009 and is a managing partner of Mesilla Valley Kitchen Restaurant.

Laine Renfro Sedillo won the Family and Consumer Sciences Industry Leader Award. Sedillo is an active member of the New Mexico Association of Family and Consumer Sciences and has served the community by working as secretary for the Senate Rules Committee for State Senator Linda Lopez and as the board president for Santa Fe Youth Works, a nonprofit organization working with disenfranchised youth.

Another distinguished group received the Extension Specialist Association Awards. This group was comprised of Leonard Lauriault who received the Extension Advocate Award, Natalie Goldberg who received the Distinguished Service Award, Joseph "Blair" Clavel who got the County Faculty Award and John Wenzel who was honored with the New Specialist Award.

For pictures of the award winners visit http://aces.nmsu.edu/employee/awardrecipients/.