The 2023 Dean’s Award recipients and retirees were recently honored with an awards ceremony and celebration. Since 1990, the Dean’s Awards for Outstanding Achievement have recognized outstanding contributions by our community members that significantly advanced the mission of the College.

The award for outstanding achievement in Graduate Student Leadership went to Nina Ferrari. Nina is an outstanding graduate student, as evidenced by recent awards received, her publications, and her straight-A average in grad courses at OSU. More importantly, Nina has gone far above and beyond the normal expectations of a grad student by: being a teaching assistant in several courses a year; serving on the COF and HJ Andrews DEI committees; leadership of graduate students in both the College of Forestry through her work on Graduate Student Council, and at the HJA via her work as our graduate student representative; and mentoring several undergrads during their time in the field with her.

Matt Powers and Greg Goralogia received the award for Fostering Undergraduate Student Success. Matt was nominated by eight separate undergraduate students who stated that Dr. Powers is an exceptional teacher, one who has consistently shown creativity, inclusivity, and passion in how he utilizes unique and engaging teaching techniques. A nominator noted, “Greg is a superb mentor, and as in most academic research laboratories, senior postdocs such as Greg mentor both undergrads and grads. Greg has been a postdoctoral scientist in the forest biotechnology laboratory for five years and has mentored 12 undergraduates and 11 graduate students. He has also mentored and collaborated with approximately a half-dozen technicians and about a dozen students carrying out work.”

Indy Gerhardt was recognized for outstanding achievement in Contributions as a Student Worker. Indy is a technician in the Forest Ecohydrology and Watershed Science (FEWS) lab in the FERM department and an undergraduate student in Biology. One of their nominators said, “Indy has contributed exceptional support to our research group, to help us accomplish intensive summer-long field campaigns and critical lab work during the school year. They have also pushed the lab group as a whole to be consciously inclusive of underrepresented minority groups by bringing thoughtful conversations and agenda suggestions to our lab group meetings.”

The award recognizing outstanding achievement in the Mentorship of Graduate Students went to Ben Leshchinsky, Elizabeth Swanson, and Loren Albert. About Ben, a nominator noted, “I became aware of Dr. Leshchinsky’s generosity and willingness to go above and beyond before I even became a graduate student at Oregon State. As I was applying for graduate school, Ben offered his time to meet with me to discuss a possible future at OSU. With no expectation that I would become a Beaver or a member of his research team, he offered his time and support without expecting anything in return. As a first-generation college student, the time he took to answer my questions in meetings and over email was invaluable”. A nominator of Eli noted, “I met Eli when I was an e-campus student struggling to attend school and work full-time during a global pandemic. Eli set an atmosphere of positive mentorship, Where I learned to be more comfortable with constructive critique and embrace continuous improvement, which has helped me embrace a learning and growth mindset. It is difficult and sometimes isolating to be an e-campus student when you have limited connections to your peers or campus. Eli spent one-on-one time with me, discussing my educational goals and career interests, and helped me identify classes and topics that would build my educational background and professional skills. Eli regularly checked my progress and feelings as a remote student and was always responsive and an advocate.” One of Loren’s nominators said, “Loren is an exemplary mentor. She advocates tirelessly for student success and happiness, she encourages academic growth through her diligence, time, and attention, and she works assiduously to enable strong networking and collaborative opportunities. It is precisely this kind of mentorship that leads to a thriving, productive graduate student body.”

The award for Outstanding Achievement in Distinction to the College went to the Elliott State Research Forest Team: Shannon Murray, Jenn Bailey Guerrero, Deanne Carlson, Jeff Behan and Katy Kavanagh. These five outstanding professionals have not only maintained but significantly elevated our college’s standards and reputation through their exceptional work on the Elliott State Research Forest’s Forest Management Plan (FMP).

2023 retirees that were honored were Dave Shaw, John Sessions, Carol Carlson, and Steve Fitzgerald. Dr. David Shaw has been a professor at Oregon State University since 2005, and a renowned authority in forest health. He was pivotal in developing and delivering the Extension curriculum for the Master Woodland Manager program, the Oregon Forest Pest Detector program, and the Pest Scene Investigators program. Dr. John Sessions is an alumnus of OSU. He earned his Ph.D. in Forest Management with the late Darius Adams in 1979 and has been a College of Forestry Professor or Emeritus since 1983. John’s accomplishments are numerous. First, John is an OSU Distinguished Professor and an SAF Fellow. He has twice been the recipient of a COF Dean’s Award and has received the Aufderheide Teaching Award 5 times (that’s 12.5% of the time he’s been at OSU). Carol Carlson started working on the Research Forests on April 1, 1997, as an accountant. In 2004 she was promoted to professional faculty and became the Business Manager for the Research Forest. Everyone who has worked with with Carol can attest to her prowess with numbers and appreciate all the things she does to keep the numbers balanced! Stephen Fitzgerald, Extension Specialist and Professor, has served the State of Oregon, Oregon State University, and the College of Forestry for more than 30 years. He is recognized by colleagues and Oregonians as an authority on complex silvicultural prescriptions. His career at OSU has included numerous positions, including Extension Forester on the Southern Oregon Coast and in Central Oregon, Statewide Extension Silviculture Specialist, and Director of the College of Forestry’s Research Forests.

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