WASHINGTON — Four innovators in agriculture received monetary awards and research funding jointly presented by the Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation, an independent federal government agency, and the American Farm Bureau Federation. The awards honor scientists, educators and high school students for their contributions to science and research in agriculture.
“The American Farm Bureau Federation has a long history of supporting new ideas for delivering efficient solutions to our food and agricultural challenges,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. “That is why we are proud to support the work of the Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation in fostering the advancement of agriscience.”
Dr. Michael P. Doyle, a University of Georgia Regents Professor and director at the Center for Food Safety, is the recipient of the $10,000 Distinguished Agriscience Scientist Award. Doyle’s research focuses on food safety and security. On issues related to the microbiological safety of foods, he works closely with government agencies, the food industry and consumer groups.
Dr. Sara Clark, a teacher at Sonoraville High School in Calhoun, Ga., is the recipient of the $5,000 Agriscience Educator Award. As a secondary school teacher for 20 years, Clark encourages her students to explore the many fields of agriscience and find something that interests them. She uses methods such as inquiry-based learning, teaching others and self-directed learning to keep students engaged in the agriscience classroom.
Two high school students were also honored for agriscience research. Jillian Drake and Kellie Einck each received $1,000 awards for individual research projects.
Drake, a senior at Fallbrook Union High School in Fallbrook, Calif., concentrated her research on the plant pathogen Candidatus Liberibacter, which causes severe diseases in citrus trees and crops such as tomatoes, potatoes and peppers. She plans to continue her research at the Agriculture Department’s Agricultural Research Service laboratory.
Einck, a junior at South O’Brien High School in Paullina, Iowa, concentrated her research on new developments in ethanol production. Her goal is to find the best combination of bacteria strains for optimal fermentation.
“The winning candidates have demonstrated the desire to secure the future of American agriculture for generations to come and we salute them in those efforts,” Stallman said.