Faculty and students recognized by agriculture honor society

April 17, 2013
Contact Information:

Jason Norsworthy, Department of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences
479-575-8740 / jnorswor@uark.edu

Dave Edmark, Agricultural Communication Services
479-575-6940 / dedmark@uark.edu

Download story
fred bourland

Fred Bourland
(Click on image to download full-resolution version.)

michael thomsen

Michael Thomsen
(Click on image to download full-resolution version.)

Dharmendra Saraswat

Dharmendra Saraswat
(Click on image to download full-resolution version.)


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Arkansas chapter of Gamma Sigma Delta, the honor society of agriculture, presented its annual achievement awards April 16 to faculty and students in the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture and the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences. Chapter president Jason Norsworthy, professor of crop, soil, and environmental, distributed the awards during ceremonies on campus.

Faculty awards were presented to Fred Bourland, professor of crop, soil, and environmental sciences, who received the Research Award of Merit; Michael Thomsen, associate professor of agricultural economics and agribusiness, who received the Teaching Award of Merit, and Dharmendra Saraswat, associate professor of biological and agricultural engineering, who received the Extension Award of Merit.

Bourland, director of the Northeast Research and Extension Center in Keiser, is a leader in the cotton plant breeding field. He has contributed to the development and release of 70 cotton germplasm lines, five cotton cultivars and 36 germplasm registrations. He was a member of the team that developed the COTMAN cotton management program that has been widely implemented in U.S. cotton-producing states. He recently released the convention cotton variety UA48 with high yielding ability and fiber quality. In 2010 he was named International Cotton Researcher of the Year by the International Cotton Advisory Committee.

Thomsen teaches a course in food and agricultural marketing, which has grown to one of the department’s highest enrolled courses, and a graduate course in agribusiness strategy, a key component of the master’s degree program. He coordinates the department’s undergraduate curriculum program, has advised the Agricultural Business Club and has served as co-advisor to graduate student teams competing in case study competitions. He also serves on the Bumpers College Curriculum Committee and the Teaching Assistant Effectiveness Advisory Committee and has also served on the UA Graduate Council. Thomsen has been the lead project director on research grants totaling nearly $2 million.

Saraswat is the faculty expert in geospatial technologies in the state office of the Cooperative Extension Service in Little Rock. He is currently developing phone-based apps utilizing cloud computing and smartphones for use by agricultural professionals. His work addresses the watershed modeling needs of scientists in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Illinois, Australia, Belgium, Canada and the Netherlands through the use of remote sensing, global positioning systems, geographic information systems, field sensors and information technology. In 2011, Saraswat received the Early Career Award and the Innovation Award from the Cooperative Extension Service.

Seventeen awards were presented to students for oral and poster presentations on topics in their disciplines at the undergraduate, master's and doctoral levels. They are:

Oral presentationsUndergraduate: Tyler Patrick, first place; Bethany Sebesta, second place; M.S.: Jace Hollenbeck, first place; Holden Bell, second place; William Brandon Smith, third place; Ph.D.: Robert Louis Hirsch, first place, Balamurugan Packialakshmi, second place; Reiofeli Salas, third place.

Poster presentationsUndergraduate: Maggie Jo Pruitt, first place; Douglas C. Wolf, second place; Bethany Sebesta, third place; M.S.: Sandeep Rana, first place; Holden Bell, second place; Zachary Hill, third place; Ph.D.: Tyson Raper, first place, Vijay Singh, second place; Christopher Rogers, third place.

A list of the winners and their presentations' titles is online at http://gsd.uark.edu/awards.student.program13.html.