UW college of agriculture honors alumni, collaborators, faculty

An advocate for issues affecting Wyoming and the director of a laboratory that benefits livestock industries and people worldwide are outstanding alumni award recipients from the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Wyoming.

Jody Levin of Cheyenne and Adalberto Angel Pérez de León of Kerrville, Texas, are among award recipients to be recognized during Ag Appreciation Weekend Friday and Saturday, Sept. 14-15.

Others are the Whitney Foundation of Sheridan for its collaboration with the college in developing agricultural educational opportunities with UW, James E. and Jill (Lynch) Anderson of Colorado for establishing a scholarship for students, and Scott Shaw, a professor of entomology, for his teaching, research and scholarship.

Awards are presented Friday and recipients recognized on Jonah Field Saturday during the Wyoming-Wofford football game. Full stories are athttp://bit.ly/2018agawards.

            Outstanding Alumni

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Jody Levin

Boulder, Wyo.-area native Levin graduated with undergraduate and graduate degrees and interned with then Senator Craig Thomas’ office, later becoming legislative director from 2001-2002. She returned to Wyoming and was the state’s first endangered species coordinator.

“I owe everything to the college of agriculture,” she said.

She launched Levin Strategic Resources, LLC, in 2009, specializing in government and public affairs representation. This year she completed her term as president of the Wyoming Capitol Club. She is a member of the agriculture dean’s advisory group.

“She has been a staunch advocate for issues affecting Wyoming citizens, and her  grassroots  advocacy  and  community  outreach  have  made  her  a  trusted  liaison  between  the  people  and  government,” noted Ben Rashford, head of the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics in the college.

Pérez grew up in Veracruz, Mexico, received his master’s degree at the University of Georgia and his doctorate from UW. He continued his graduate vesicular stomatitis research with the USDA-Agricultural Research Service and now is the laboratory director of the USDA-ARS Knipling-Bushland U.S. Livestock Insects Research Laboratory in Kerrville.


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Adalberto Pérez de León

“It’s no secret I stood on the shoulders of giants,” said Pérez of his experience as a doctoral student in the college. One of those he credits is his co-adviser, Jack Lloyd, who died in March.

Christopher Chase, then with the USDA-ARS Arthropod-Borne Animal Disease Research in Laramie, made a recruitment visit to visit Perez in Georgia.

“When I first met him, it was apparent there was something special about Beto,” said Chase. “Now, he has made his mark as a world-renowned leader in developing policy and plans for national programs in both veterinary and medical entomology.”

Research/Outreach Partner Award

Whitney Foundation logo      The Whitney Foundation’s agricultural efforts include more than $3 million toward building curriculum with the college of agriculture and establishing the Edward E. Whitney Agricultural Instructor position at Sheridan College. In addition, the foundation agreed to enter a 50-year free lease with UW for the Adams Ranch immediately south of Sheridan College for use by the Wyoming Agricultural Experiment Station.

“We believe Mr. Whitney would be quite pleased to see these educational opportunities for both local, and the state’s, youths,” said Whitney Benefits vice president Roy Garber of Big Horn.

Legacy Award

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Jim and Lill (Lynch) Anderson

Jill (Lynch) Anderson was raised on her parents’ ranch in Weston County and attended a one-room schoolhouse. She graduated from high school in Newcastle, then received her education degree at UW. Jim Anderson was a graduate student of the UW geology department when they married. Jill’s parents homesteaded in 1933. The Lynch Ranch has been a family-owned working cattle ranch for 85 years.  Jim’s dad’s parents homesteaded in the early 1900s in Laramie County. His mother’s parents moved to the Chugwater area from Iowa circa 1928.

The couple established the Earl and Minnie Lynch Agriculture Scholarship in 2015 to honor the Lynches’ determination and dedication and specifically to support students pursuing graduate degrees in the college. In addition, Jim and his mother, Marie, established the Earl F. and V. Marie Anderson Endowment to support graduate students in natural resource development geology.

Andrew Vanvig Distinguished Faculty Award

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Scott Shaw

Shaw, a professor of entomology and the Insect Museum curator in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management, is recipient of the Andrew Vanvig Lifetime Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award. During his 25-year tenure at the University of Wyoming, Shaw has discovered and named more than 190 insect species from 29 different countries.

He has written more than 150 scientific publications about insects. Shaw has mentored 21 graduate students and established an undergraduate honors course in tropical ecology that includes opportunities to conduct research at the Yanayacu Biological Station in Ecuador.  In recognition of his teaching excellence, Professor Shaw received the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Outstanding Educator award in 2010.

Shaw is author of the book “Planet of the Bugs: Evolution and the Rise of Insects,” and worked with a third-grade class at Big Horn Elementary School in Sheridan County to designate the Sheridan’s green hairstreak (Callophrys sheridanii) as the state butterfly.