Outreach ​and Engagement Awards

The College of Agriculture PK-12 Council's Outreach and Engagement Awards were established to recognize, reward, and celebrate faculty and staff involved in successful outreach and engagement activities and to encourage the improvement and expansion of those activities.  In 2019, there were five excellent nominations, exhibiting the tremendous work in the College of Agriculture expanding the pool of students interested in, and prepared for, careers in food, agricultural, life, and natural resource sciences. Annually, three awards are presented to individuals or teams, each receiving $5,000. 

New Award Category!

In prior years the award categories included the Excellence Staff, Emerging Faculty Impact, and the Sustained Faculty Impact. This year we have consolidated the Emerging Faculty Impact and the Sustained Faculty Impact awards to make room for a new award category; The Faculty Ignite Award. The Faculty Ignite award aims to increase the number of faculty members engaged in PK-12 outreach in the College of Agriculture while also sparking faculty interest in connecting their work to these audiences. This award will fund a proposed project submitted by a faculty member or a faculty lead team. Our goal is to encourage faculty to begin outreach and engagement projects with PK-12 audiences and build upon current engagement activities. Please see our 2020 Award Nomination/Application for more information. 

2020 Outreach and Engagement Award Nomination Form

The Excellence Staff & Faculty Emerging/Sustained Impact Award
The purpose of this award is to recognize Faculty and/or Staff in the College of Agriculture who have been engaged in outreach and engagement work with PK-12 audiences.
Outreach and Engagement Award Nomination

The Faculty Ignite Award
The Purpose of this award is to foster more Faculty PK-12 outreach and engagement efforts in the College of Agriculture. This award application is to be submitted as a project proposal. Teams are welcome to apply to this award; however, the project leader must be a faculty member.
The Faculty Ignite Award Application

Award Recipients

The Purdue College of Agriculture's PK-12 Council selected three winners of the 2019 PK-12 Outreach and Engagement Awards. Gwen Pearson received the PK-12 Excellence Staff Award, Elizabeth Karcher received the PK-12 Emerging Faculty Impact Award, and Tim Gibb received the PK-12 Sustained Faculty Impact Award. Each recipient received a reward of $5,000 to expand and improve their PK-12 Engagement activities in order to increase impact.

2019 Excellence Staff Award

Image of Gwen PearsonGwen Pearson has established a national reputation for excellence in PK-12 outreach and engagement and provides leadership for the College of Agriculture’s single largest PK-12 outreach event known as Bug Bowl. Dr. Pearson increased the impact and focus her outreach efforts by integrating and aligning the Department of Entomology outreach programs more closely with the College of Agriculture’s activities. Her awards, invited presentations, and media interviews have raised the profile of her outreach efforts on a national level. In 2016, she was recognized nationally with the Entomological Foundation Medal of Honor for her work in outreach and science communication. Gwen’s PK-12 outreach is impactful and annually reaches 500 visitors through the Bug Barn insect zoo on campus, 800 students through off-campus classroom programming, and over 40,000 members of the public through Bug Bowl activities during Spring Fest. Gwen tirelessly recruits and manages over 150 new volunteers each year for Bug Bowl, and proudly displays over 2,000 entries for the Bug Bowl Art Show. Gwen has increased the number of insect species in the Bug Barn from 2 to 25 live collections within 4 years. Faculty in Entomology, Veterinary Science, Biology and Landscape Architecture use insects from the Bug Barn in their Purdue courses. Gwen delivers innovative programs to large, non-traditional, and underrepresented audiences and inspires the next generation of entomological outreach practitioners. Gwen is sharing best practices and leading the nation in entomological PK-12 engagement through publications, workshops and professional society’s outreach committees.

2019 Emerging Faculty Impact Award

image of Elizabeth KarcherElizabeth Karcher has demonstrated emerging impact on PK-12 engagement as an assistant professor in the Department of Animal Science. Despite not having a formal Extension appointment, Dr. Karcher has a passion to engage with youth to encourage a pipeline of K-12 students to pursue animal science careers and ensure a trained competent future workforce. Her PK-12 efforts have focused on the development of innovative strategies to impact PK-12 student learning and engagement. The development and implementation of the poultry modules in 23 Indiana classroom exposed students to an area of agriculture that has a critical need. Indiana ranks 2nd in table egg production, but there are not enough qualified applicants to fill available job openings. In 3 years at Purdue, Dr. Karcher has engaged 767 PK-12 students through 6 innovative outreach programs. In addition, 25 K-12 teachers, 20 undergraduate students, 3 graduate students, and 6 industry partners have been involved in her PK-12 efforts. She has received federal funding to support youth programming and continues to seek out funding opportunities to support future programs. Elizabeth assesses the outcomes of her PK-12 outreach projects. As a result of her research on PK-12 engagement, she disseminates the results from the poultry high school module project, which showed that students had an increase in knowledge of poultry science and STEM literacy, with colleagues at the North American College and Teachers of Agriculture and Poultry Science Association conferences.

2019 Sustained Faculty Impact Award

image of Tim GibbTim Gibb has been involved in engagement activities for more than 30 years and has demonstrated sustained impact on PK-12 engagement as a clinical professor in the Department of Entomology. His work, with youth and adults in Indiana and across the nation, embodies the outreach and engagement spirit and mission of Purdue Agriculture. Dr. Gibb was one of a three-member research team to develop the Integrated Pest Management in Schools (IPMIS) program in response to a concerned parent at a local school. Tim and his team responded by implementing the IPMIS program to decrease the routine use of pesticides in public schools and reduce the number of pests in the school. This program was so successful that it became the national standard for human safety and effective pest management and was adopted by over 120,000 K-12 schools throughout Indiana and the U.S. Over 53 million students and 6.5 million teachers and staff have benefited from this program. Moreover, Dr. Gibb is well known and respected by his peers. He writes a popular educational and humorous column and podcast monthly known as Dr. Tim’s Spineless Wonders. He is a sought-after speaker with an excellent reputation for delivering educational, timely and motivating talks. His long relationship with 4-H projects, the 4-H/FFA Entomology CDE, and the national 4-H entomology curriculum and Youth Entomology web-based resources he has created has led to him being the primary point of contact of the Department of Entomology for youth and their parents.

2018 PK-12 Outreach and Engagement Award Winners​

PK-12 Excellence Staff Award – Kelly Delp

PK-12 Emerging Faculty Impact Award – Hui-Hui Wang

PK-12 Sustained Faculty Impact Award - John Lumkes, Daniel Taylor, and Jose Garcia

2017 PK-12 Outreach and Engagement Award Winners​

PK-12 Excellence Staff Award - Jeff Sanson, JW Fansler, and Shelly Surber

PK-12 Emerging Faculty Impact Award - Bryan Pijanowski

PK-12 Sustained Faculty Impact Award - Roger Tormoehlen​​​​​​

2016 PK-12 Outreach and Engagement Award Winners​

PK-12 Excellence Staff Award - John Cavaletto

PK-12 Emerging Faculty Impact Award - Dr. Rod Williams​

PK-12 Sustained Faculty Impact Award - Dr. Tom Turpin​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

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