2016 Outstanding Thesis Award Recipients Named
The College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at Oklahoma State University is pleased to announce the seven recipients of the 2016 Dr. Cletis Williams and William E. and Martha Jane Williams Outstanding Thesis Awards.
The Outstanding Thesis Award endowment was established to reward excellence in M.S. and Ph.D. level writing and research. The award includes $1,000 cash for first place winners and $500 cash for second place winners chosen by the graduate coordinators in CASNR. The awards are given within each of the following areas: social sciences, plant sciences, animal sciences, and engineering and soil sciences.
Williams received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Oklahoma A&M College in 1943 and 1950, respectively. He went on to earn a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in 1954. The endowment was created in honor of his parents, William and Martha Jane Williams.
“To win the Williams Outstanding Thesis Award is a major accomplishment,” said Cynda Clary, CASNR associate dean of academic programs. “It reflects the recipient’s ability to apply their relevant educational experiences in ways that help solve real-world issues and concerns.”
Nathanael Thompson’s thesis, “Essays on the Economic Value of Genetic Testing in Beef Cattle Production,” received the first place award for the social sciences category. Francis Epplin served as his advisor. Thompson is currently an assistant professor of agricultural economics at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.
Cassandra Murphy was awarded second place in the social sciences category for her thesis, “Modeling Review and Visitation Pattern of Agritourism Operations in Oklahoma.” Max Melstrom served as her advisor. Murphy currently is a lending specialist at Bear State Bank in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
The first place award for the plant sciences category was presented to Eric Duell for his thesis titled “Elevated Temperatures and Drought Favor Invasive Grasses over Native Species.” Gail Wilson served as Duell’s advisor. Duell is in the doctoral program at South Dakota State University.
James Matthew Carroll’s thesis, “Connecting Environmental and Management Factors with Northern Bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) Movement and Habitat Use,” was awarded first place in the animal science category. Craig Davis served as his advisor. Carroll is now in a post-doctoral position in natural resource ecology and management with Sam Fuhlendorf at OSU.
Justin Buchanan’s thesis, “Genetic Parameter Estimation and Gene Network Derivation for Fatty Acid Traits in Angus Beef Cattle,” was awarded second place in the animal science category. Raluca Mateescu and Megan Rolf served as his advisors. Buchanan is now in a post-doctoral position at the University of California, Davis.
Andres Patrignani’s thesis, “Soil Moisture Dynamics in Water-Limited Cropping Systems of the Southern Great Plains,” was awarded first place in the engineering and soil science category. Tyson Ochsner served as his advisor. Patrignani is now an assistant professor in agronomy at Kansas State University.
Collin Craige’s thesis, “Biofeedstock Supply Chain Logistics Dynamic Modeling: Eastern Red Cedar,” was awarded second place in the engineering and soil science category. Mike Buser served as his advisor. Craige continues to serve as a research engineer in the department of biosystems and agricultural engineering at OSU, while pursuing a Ph.D.
“We are proud to recognize the efforts of these exceptional students and their advisors,” said Clary. “We look forward to the contributions they will make to the scientific community in the future.”
CASNR believes in the value of hands-on education and the importance of having a well-rounded student experience. The award-winning faculty members are dedicated to developing students and passionate about adding value to the total educational experience. With 16 majors and 59 study options, plus more than 60 student organizations, the college is committed to expanding minds and inspiring purpose. Learn more at casnr.okstate.edu.
REPORTER: Kate Garvie
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