Each year, the Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) holds an award ceremony to honor all of the tremendous faculty and staff for their accomplishments during their careers at Ohio State.
This year, several Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering faculty and staff members received awards. Here are the FABE recipients and their biographies from the ceremony program:
2022-2023 Distinguished Professor of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
Sudhir K. Sastry
Dr. Sastry is a Professor in the CFAES Department of Food, Agricultural, and Biological Engineering and serves as the President of the Society of Food Engineering. Dr. Sastry joined CFAES as an Associate Professor in 1987 and served as Interim Chair of the Department of Food, Agricultural, and Biological Engineering from 2010-2011. He is a renowned researcher contributing over 40 years of valuable scientific and technological achievements in the development of advanced thermal and nonthermal food manufacturing technologies, making food safer for consumption.
Distinguished Extension Professional Award
Mary Wicks has served as the program coordinator for the Ohio Composting and Manure Management (OCAMM) program since 1999 and for the Program for Bioproducts and the Environment (PROBE) since 2014. Her outreach efforts include implementing educational programs, such as the Manure Science Review and Ohio Compost Operator Education Course, both held annually since 2001; creating OCAMM odds & ends, a monthly e-newsletter delivered to over 550 subscribers; and writing lay articles and educational materials. She also provides support for developing research and outreach grant proposals. Mary enjoys the many opportunities to collaborate with and learn from OSU Extension professionals, CFAES faculty, and agency, commodity, and industry stakeholders. She holds a B.S. in geology from Virginia Tech, M.B.A. from the University of Houston, and M.A.T. from the University of Alaska, Anchorage.
Distinguished Early Career Extension Professional Award
Laura Akgerman is Disability Services Coordinator for Ohio AgrAbility, OSU Extension, and the CFAES DEI Office. Laura works with farmers with disabilities, presents on farming and gardening with a disability, agritourism, Caregiver support, Universal Design and Assistive Technology. She works on the Family and Community Education to Prevent Opioid Misuse and Abuse grant; the CFAES Department of Food Agricultural and Biological Engineering’s Extension/outreach team; GenerationRx; and serves as a Content Expert on Transformative Rehabilitation Opportunities for Children with CP in Appalachian and Rural Communities Research Study (College of Medicine). Her community work includes serving as Secretary of the Ohio Rural Health Association, and Chair of the AgrAbility Fact Sheet Writing group. Working at OSU, with farmers, Extension, and the disability and rural health communities is a dream job, and it is an honor and privilege to work with so many amazing colleagues across the state.
Distinguished Interdisciplinary Team Research Award
Program of Excellence in Natural Rubber Alternatives (PENRA) - FABE members include Katrina Cornish, Frederick Michel Jr., Alfred Soboyejo, Ajay Shah, and Judit Puskas
PENRA was created to integrate and accelerate the incubation, demonstration, market entry, and growth of a domestic natural rubber industry. Natural rubber is an agricultural material critical to all sectors of our economy and defense, but we import all that we need - produced from clonal rubber trees grown mostly in Southeast Asia. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the fragility of this extended natural rubber supply chain. PENRA focuses on the creation of the science, technology, and private partnerships needed to support the introduction and scaleup of natural rubber alternatives. Current research focuses on improvement of germplasm, production methods and processing techniques to increase the yield of natural rubber from the rubber dandelion (Taraxacum kok-saghyz), utilization of allergen-free latex from guayule (Parthenium argentatum), and evaluation of the natural rubber potential of other plants. The development of premium specialty products, such as gloves and sporting goods, are key to initial small scale
Congratulations to our amazing faculty and staff! Check out the rest of the CFAES Award Winners and their biographies on the ceremony program.