Agriculture honorary recognizes students, faculty


Matt Interis, assistant professor of agricultural economics, left, receives the Gamma Sigma Delta professional research award from Peter Ryan, president of the Mississippi State University chapter of the agricultural honorary society.


Michael Seymour, associate professor of landscape architecture, left, receives the Gamma Sigma Delta professional teaching award from Dr. Ryan.

Mississippi State University's chapter of Gamma Sigma Delta, the honor society of agriculture, met in late April to recognize faculty and students for outstanding contributions to agriculture.

The annual meeting included the induction of new members, scholarships and awards for 2013, and officer installation. The keynote speaker was Scott Willard, head of MSU's Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology and Plant Pathology.

Willard's message, “Clod Kickers and Gene Jockeys,” addressed the importance of balancing applied and basic sciences in agricultural research.

“The best faculty can integrate applied and basic sciences. We need to look for teachable moments with students to help them understand problems better,” he said. “We want students who are adaptable, flexible and able to communicate information.”

Willard said some students need more encouragement to study in labs and others need more encouragement to go to the fields. Faculty should help students develop skill sets that give them the ability to adapt their research to various clientele and situations.

“Our challenge is to strike a balance in agricultural research through our teaching, outreach and engagement,” he said. “With applied and basic sciences, each student needs a grasp of one and a good understanding of the other.”


Angus Catchot

GSD President Peter Ryan, associate provost, presented faculty awards during the meeting. Matt Interis, assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics received the organization’s research award. Michael Seymour, associate professor of landscape architecture, received the teaching award. Angus Catchot, entomologist in the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology and Plant Pathology, received the Extension award.

Students earning scholarships included Roy Mon Jacob, a doctoral student in poultry science; Timothy Day, a master’s student in food science, nutrition and health promotion; Alyssa Swenson and Rushil Randive, both undergraduates in biochemistry, molecular biology, entomology and plant pathology.

Officers for the next year include Kirk Swortzel of human sciences, president; Linda Breazeale of agricultural communications, vice president; Byron Williams of food science, nutrition and health promotion, treasurer; and Melinda Josey of plant and soil sciences, secretary.

Linda Breazeale | MSU Ag Communications

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