2022 CFAES Alumni Award Recipients

Young Professional Achievement Award

Stephanie N. Langel

BS 2011

Animal Sciences

Stephanie obtained her BS from the CFAES Department of Animal Sciences, her MS at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and her PhD in immunology and virology at Ohio State. She considers her science communication efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic to be her most significant contribution to her field. During her PhD work, Stephanie studied a novel pig coronavirus that emerged in the United States for the first time in 2013, and she learned about the pandemic potential of coronaviruses and how they represent threats to human and animal health and food security. She applied this knowledge during her postdoc work at Duke University, where she started studying SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). Specifically, she was studying why children are less likely to get severe COVID-19 compared to adults. Stephanie also was working on vaccine strategies that boost immunity in the nose, lungs, and breast milk for protection against SARS- CoV-2. Having a strong background in coronavirology and having hands-on experience with SARS-CoV-2 gave her the scientific knowledge needed to accurately communicate the science of the COVID-19 pandemic to the public. Utilizing her vast and varied connections via social media, Stephanie was able to spread science communication throughout a wide network. Eventually, this led to larger media outlets including The Atlantic, The New York Times, and various medical associations, where she has continued to educate the public as a great science educator.

Wendong Zhang

PhD 2015

Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics

During his brief time at Iowa State, Wendong has implemented a widespread Extension program with national reputation for Iowa’s landowners, farmer-operators, and agricultural professionals to address critical issues in land valuation and United States-China agricultural trade issues. Wendong conducts the annual Iowa Land Value Survey and organizes the annual Soil Management and Land Valuation Conference, the longest running conference at Iowa State. He was also instrumental in the establishment and leadership of the new ISU China Ag Center in 2017. He has expanded his research and Extension portfolio to address agricultural and trade relations between China and the United States, and he has quickly become a leading thinker in understanding the United States-China trade war and Phase One Trade Deal. These efforts have earned him the 2019 Agricultural & Applied Economics Association (AAEA) Bruce Gardner Memorial Prize for Applied Policy Analysis Award and the 2020 ISU Dean’s Citation for Extraordinary Contributions for ISU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Wendong is also the recipient of the AAEA 2021 ISU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Early Achievement in Extension and Outreach Award, and the 2021 Distinguished Extension/Outreach Program Award.

International Alumni Award

Lucas de Araujo Souto

MS 2010

Animal Sciences

During his career, Lucas has demonstrated his ability to excel across multiple roles and functions within the animal health and nutrition industry. From his beginning in sales, it was evident that Lucas employed his technical expertise, engaging personality, and ability to evaluate and deploy multiple tools to appropriately manage a large animal health portfolio. His dedication to and creativity in tackling complex issues led to his rapid career advance from local tasks to regional duties to global strategic responsibilities in large, worldwide health companies. While this advancement of responsibility may not be unprecedented during a career, the pace of this advancement by Lucas speaks volumes to his capacity to integrate data points and guide teams at developing strategies to deliver. He is known by many as a lifelong learner, always willing to take risks and leaps to have new experiences and gain knowledge of a new area. His career has taken a global spin as he has worked and learned in his native Brazil, the United States, and currently, France. In his own words, his greatest contribution to his industry has been “engaging teams and challenging leaders across different countries on doing the right things better to improve people’s lives.”


Ilhami Yildiz

PhD 1993, MS 1987

Agricultural Engineering, Agronomy

A leader in agricultural engineering and a passionate teacher, Ilhami has not let a lack of resources stop him from pursuing greenhouse engineering. He has been a faculty member at five universities within the United States, Turkey, and Canada. As a result of his outstanding accomplishments as a faculty member, he has been offered leadership positions. From 2011–13, he served as department head at Dalhousie University (College of Agriculture, Department of Engineering) in Canada. There, he reformed the curriculum and led significant improvements in facilities, research productivity, faculty profile, and student enrollment and satisfaction. His next leadership role was from 2019–20 as the president of Istinye University in Turkey. There, Ilhami initiated and led the strategic plan and the restructuring processes; established a new hiring protocol that emphasized equity, diversity, and inclusion; and initiated plans for the formation of focused research centers. His passion for greenhouse engineering has led him to form his own consulting business in Canada to design and build greenhouse energy systems. He has also served on the editorial board of the U.S. Secretary of Energy’s review panel. Despite his diverse and worldwide experience, his publication of the textbook Greenhouse Engineering: Integrated Energy Management has been what he considers his biggest and most crucial contribution to his industry.

Distinguished Alumni Award

David H. Brown

BS 1962
Dairy Technology

David’s distinguished career and generous support of CFAES are worthy of celebration. From 1962–64, he worked for Ira A. Gould in the CFAES Department of Dairy Technology, where he conducted state-level examinations for milk and cream testing licenses and managed the Ohio State Fair ice cream evaluation program. After Ohio State, David worked with major food industry companies including Gerber Products Co., Ross Products Division of Abbott Laboratories, Dairyland Food Laboratories Inc., and Frigo Cheese Corp. In 1979, he started his own company, Dairy Specialties, Inc. Today, he serves as the president of Dairy Specialties, which sells calf rennet and milk clotting enzymes, among many other offerings, to every major cheese manufacturer in the United States. David’s impact on the dairy industry cannot be understated. In 1989, he developed an enzyme modification for cheese curds that produces a concentrated cheese flavor ingredient. This ingredient can replace aged cheddar, which typically requires a 6- to 12-month aging process, thus reducing ingredient costs and time investment for manufacturers. David’s next major impact was in converting whey protein from a waste product to a valuable nutritional ingredient that is now used in many foods. David has had worldwide success in the dairy industry, a distinguished career, and a fierce commitment to our college.

Keith M. Howard

PhD 1989

Plant Pathology

Keith is the dean of faculty, the associate provost for faculty affairs, and an associate professor of biology at Morehouse College in Atlanta. He is devoted to facilitating institutional transformation to enhance STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education for students of color. His academic interests are plant-parasite interactions and natural product chemistry. As a U.S. Department of Agriculture postdoctoral scientist in Peoria, Illinois, Keith studied the usage of biological control agents to minimize pesticide use. He went on to become the first African American research plant pathologist at the center. Keith attended a historically Black college and university (HBCU) as an undergraduate (Delaware State), and he was inspired to give back as an educator and mentor. In 1991, he joined the faculty at Morehouse College, one of the oldest and most highly regarded HCBUs in the United States. Keith enjoys fostering student interest in science and has taught several science courses. One of his favorite courses is titled African Ethnobotany, which he also taught on a study abroad trip in Ghana. He loves to help students connect the dots and create those “aha moments.” At Morehouse, Keith oversees the college’s seven academic divisions. Dedicated to education, Keith is a co-leader on a $9 million National Science Foundation grant for a multi-university HCBU STEM undergraduate success research center.

Juan F. Moreno

BS 1988

Dairy Science

Juan has been in the livestock business since his childhood in his native country, Colombia. Juan is the founder and CEO of Global Livestock Reproduction Innovators, Sexing Technologies (ST) and STgenetics, based in Navasota, Texas. In 2002, Juan was granted a license to sex-sort livestock semen using a flow cytometry process, which was the genesis for ST. At present, ST operates subsidiaries in 16 countries, employing over 1,200 people. Juan has also been granted 78 patents, a key to his accomplishments. In 2015, ST successfully launched STgenetics, a livestock genetics development and sales company that markets products domestically and globally. ST currently has eight sperm-sorting facilities in the United States, including at Select Sires, Inc., in Plain City, Ohio, and 15 sperm-sorting facilities outside of the United States. More recently, Juan founded EcoFeed by STgenetics, an endeavor focused on enhancing feed efficiency in milk/beef production, located near South Charleston, Ohio. A large STgenetics laboratory is located near Marysville, Ohio, as well. Juan has had a highly distinguished career as evidenced by his accomplishments, and there are a very large number of Ohio State alumni, faculty, staff, and students who have benefited from the technology development for which he provided leadership as CEO of the ST enterprise.

Alexandre Vaz Pires and Ivanete Susin

PhD 1994 and PhD 1994

Dairy Science and Animal Sciences

Alexandre and Ivanete graduated in September 1994 with PhDs in ruminant nutrition. Alexandre worked with Maurice Eastridge, studying the nutrition of lactating dairy cows. Ivanete was advised by Steven Loerch while researching the nutrition of sheep. Upon graduation, both of them returned to faculty positions in the Department of Animal Husbandry at ESALQ/USP in Brazil. Alexandre continued his research in ruminant nutrition but also conducted research in bovine reproductive physiology. Ivanete continued her research with sheep, becoming one of the most Ivanete Susinnotable researchers in sheep nutrition in Brazil. They have returned to Ohio State many times to discuss research with Ohio State colleagues. Both Eastridge and Loerch have been invited speakers at a conference in Brazil and have remained in contact with them through the American Dairy Science Association and the American Society of Animal Science. Through continual associations, many excellent students from their labs have come to Ohio State for graduate school or as visiting students for a few months. Many of the students Alexandre and Ivanete have mentored over the years are also distinguished in their careers. Much credit can be attributed to the efforts of Alexandre and Ivanete.

Bill Tom

BS 1987
Animal Sciences

Bill is a lifelong agriculturalist with more than 30 years of dedication to Ohio’s agricultural community. He serves as the Ohio State Fair department director for beef cattle, contributing to the current and future agricultural community through outstanding program leadership. In 2019, Bill served in a critical role at the inaugural Dean’s Charity Steer Show at the Ohio State Fair, which raised more than $150,000 for Ronald McDonald House Charities. Bill secured participants and oversaw the barn and logistics before and during the show. Bill has also established himself as a community leader within many agricultural entities. In 2018, he was appointed to the Tyson Foods Animal Well-Being Advisory Panel for his expertise in animal welfare. Bill has experienced multiple aspects of agriculture in his career. At United Producers, Inc., he leads the livestock marketing team, providing forward thinking to prepare for the evolving future. While in college, Bill was a member of the AGR fraternity and continues to support the program. He served on the house corporation board and is a past president of the alumni house. He was instrumental in the fundraising campaign that led to remodeling the AGR BETA Chapter House in 2015, as he understood its importance and impact to college students.

Robert Torres

PhD 1993

Agricultural Education

Robert is professor and head of the Department of Agricultural Education, Technology, and Innovation at the University of Arizona and is the Neely Family Endowed Professor. He has provided important leadership as he has served as president of the American Association for Agricultural Education. He is perhaps best known for his teaching of social sciences research methods courses. When Robert took these courses at CFAES, they were some of the best research methods courses for social sciences at Ohio State. In borrowing from the Ohio State template, Robert’s reach in his courses spans peer institutions from across the country. Former doctoral advisee, Tracy Kitchel, CFAES senior associate dean and director of faculty and staff affairs, had this to say about his time working with Robert: “I can attest to the strong mentoring and teaching. My career path would not have been this successful had it not been for Robert. As someone who took his research courses and then had the opportunity to teach them myself, his teaching spans not only a second but now a third and perhaps fourth generation of graduate students. In sum, his immaculate record makes him worthy of your recognition.”

Meritorious Service Award

Steven C. Loerch

Steven served CFAES in a truly meritorious way for over 30 years as an Ohio State faculty member. He is presently the senior associate dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences at Penn State University after having been the head of the Department of Animal Sciences at the University of Illinois. A primary aspect of Steven’s service was his great dedication to the teaching of graduate and undergraduate students in a very high-quality fashion. Steven was also a consistent contributor to statewide Ohio State University Extension programming as well as national and international beef cattle nutrition forums. An extension of Steven’s research program was his superb training of graduate students. Several of the graduate students for which he served as mentor have gone on to be leaders at other universities and companies. An example of the latter is Milton Gorocica, who received the 2016 CFAES International Alumni Award. Jim Kinder, Steven’s nominator, had this to say about him: “He simply was an exemplary faculty member in making the ‘whole greater than the sum of the parts’ in his manner of functioning.” Steven believes that his greatest contribution to the Ohio State is “the lives I have touched as a teacher. I have had the privilege to teach thousands of undergraduates and hundreds of graduate students. I hope I made some small contribution to their success. My service to these students has been my greatest joy. Any other career achievement pales in comparison to the importance of giving students the tools to go out in the world and achieve great things.”

Pamela Thomas

MS 1990

Rural Sociology

When you think of Pamela, you think of a legend. For over 24 years, Pamela served the needs of minority students at CFAES. She made sure that students were able to adjust to life in the college. She served as advisor to MANRRS (Multicultural Students in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences) and always ensured that the students had opportunities within the college to become successful professionally. Pamela always had an open-door policy and was more than just an advisor to students. When students did well, she took time to celebrate them. When students dealt with challenges, she was there to ensure that they got on the right track and had the resources to overcome the challenges. Any student who interacted with Pamela knows that their life changed for the better. In 2016, as a result of her efforts of service over the years, Pamela was recognized as Advisor of the Year by the National MANRRS Organization. Pamela believes her most significant contribution has been “the belief in the potential of and unlimited investment in the countless CFAES students I have interacted with during my tenure at Ohio State.”

Henry Zerby

Henry was appointed to CFAES faculty in 1999 and was subsequently promoted to associate professor, professor, and then, in 2015, to chair of the Department of Animal Sciences. In 2016, he joined Wendy’s Company as senior director of protein innovation, and in February 2021, he was appointed as vice president for supply management of foods with Sodexo, one of the largest food service companies worldwide with headquarters in Paris, France. Henry and his family, however, still reside on the family farm near Marengo, Ohio. Most importantly, he was a great instructor and mentor for undergraduate students, some of which he continues teaching today as an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Animal Sciences. Furthermore, his service through Extension education for Ohio food-animal producers was absolutely superb. Due to this, he gained great credibility with these stakeholders, some of whom he continues to engage with in an advisory capacity. In addition, the meat sciences graduate students he mentored have gone on to be leaders in the meat and allied industries. Henry says his greatest joy at Ohio State “was the opportunity to work with very talented students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Through my current industry responsibilities, I have the opportunity to work and communicate with several of my former students. It gives me great satisfaction to witness the mentoring they are now providing to others, and the leadership they are exhibiting in their respective communities. I hope that my interactions with them, in some small way, have contributed to their success.”