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2013 CALS Awards Finalists

Each spring, CALS recognizes undergraduate students who display outstanding leadership and scholarship. Finalists for the following awards will be recognized and recipients announced at the CALS Scholarship and Leadership Awards Banquet on April 18 (

The J. Wayne Reitz Medal of Excellence

This award was established in 1967 to honor Dr. J. Wayne Reitz, Provost for Agriculture at the University of Florida from 1949-1955, and President of the University of Florida from 1955-1967. It  is presented annually to the outstanding CALS senior who has achieved a distinguished scholarship record and has demonstrated a high degree of leadership.

Asher AdamecAsher Adamec

Atlantic Beach native Asher Adamec is a Food Science and Human Nutrition senior with a Nutritional Sciences specialization. He is in the CALS Honors Program, serves as the Pre-dental American Student Dental Association vice president and plays drums in the UF Campus Crusade for Christ worship band. Asher has volunteered at the Sulzbacher Homeless Shelter dental clinic and Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville and the UF College of Dentistry. He conducted research at Shands Jacksonville and co-authored a Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery article. Asher’s work on a College of Dentistry project to determine how cranberry extracts inhibit the formation of dental plaque resulted in funding opportunities for both his collaborating professor and FSHN Professor and Interim Chair Susan Percival, who recommended him for the project. Dr. Percival said Asher “exemplifies the values Dr. Reitz had in mind.”

Blaire ColvinBlaire Colvin

Blaire Colvin is a senior Plant Science major from Gainesville. She serves as Alpha Zeta Honors Fraternity public relations chair and as a CALS Ambassador. Blaire has held the office of president for both the Agronomy-Soils Club and Sigma Alpha Professional Agricultural Sorority. Blaire was recognized as a Tri Societies Golden Opportunity Scholar and as the Students of Agronomy, Soils and Environmental Sciences National Research Symposium Contest Winner. As part of her honors thesis project, Blaire developed a Digital Image Model to determine peanut maturity that will soon be available for use by farmers across the Southeast. Dr. Diane Rowland, associate professor in Agronomy, said of Blaire, “I cannot fully express … how much potential she has for not only succeeding in her future pursuits, but also for making an incredible impact on agriculture as a whole.”

Gene Rodrick Gene Rodrick

Gene Rodrick, from Watkinsville, Ga., is a Food Science and Human Nutrition senior with a Nutritional Sciences specialization. Gene is in both the UF and CALS honors programs and has volunteered with Gainesville Special Olympics and the NOAH Foundation. He has assisted with research at the McKnight Brain Institute and has co-authored articles and presented at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting. In 2012, Gene traveled to Ghana to deliver medical care to rural areas. He was awarded the Howard Hughes Science for Life Undergraduate Research Award. Gene will attend medical school at the University of South Florida and plans a career in academic medicine. Dr. Gail Kauwell, a professor in FSHN, said, “He is a humble and self-directed young man who has a strong work ethic and who strives for personal excellence in all that he does.”

The E. T. York Jr. Medal of Excellence

This award, named for Dr. E.T. York Jr., Vice President of Agriculture, University of Florida, 1963-1973, is presented annually to the outstanding CALS junior with an outstanding academic record in upper-division work who has demonstrated a high degree of leadership.

Carleigh BruceCarleigh Bruce

Carleigh Bruce is a junior Food Science and Human Nutrition major with a Nutritional Sciences specialization from Ocala. She is a member of both the UF and CALS honors programs and has served as a UF Honors Ambassador and Liaison. Last year, she co-founded and chaired the Honors Involvement Conference. Carleigh has worked as a research assistant in the Pediatric Psychology Lab in the Department of Clinical and Health Psychology for the past two years. She began as a child care coordinator for the pediatric weight management treatment outcome study. Carleigh then assisted with data collection and recruitment in pediatric medical clinics and later assisted with leading one of the weight management groups. “Carleigh is an outstanding young woman with a stellar record in academics, leadership and service,” said Dr. Susan Percival, interim chair of FSHN.

Shelby FrantzShelby Frantz

Shelby Frantz is a Food Science and Human Nutrition junior from Valrico with a Nutritional Sciences specialization. A Delta Delta Delta sorority member, Shelby began volunteering at the student-run Equal Access Clinic for indigent care her freshman year. Shelby currently serves as the clinic's HIV services director and as co-coordinator for their 5k race. As the director of the Global Health Committee for the American Medical Student Association, Shelby plans events and fundraisers and coordinates medical mission trips. She supports patients and families experiencing end-of-life issues as a Haven Hospice volunteer. “Shelby is one of the most reliable people I know, and if she commits to something she will always come through. Shelby puts in 110% to everything she does no matter how big or small the task may be,” said one of her Equal Access Clinic co-directors.

Carley FullerCarley Fuller

A Neptune Beach native, Carley Fuller is a junior Plant Science major with a Crop Ecology specialization. She is a UF Honors Program member and has worked as a Crop EcoPhysiology Laboratory research assistant and as a plant breeding course teaching assistant. Carley has served as Agronomy-Soils Club secretary, where she was responsible for membership, meeting minutes and service project planning. This spring, Carley participated in a one-semester study abroad exchange in Brazil. To prepare for this experience, Carley enrolled in an intensive Portuguese class and practiced her language skills with Brazilian students in the Agronomy Department. She will pursue a graduate degree in Agronomy, specifically Agrobiodiversity. Dr. Diane Rowland, associate professor of Agronomy, said, “I have no doubt that Ms. Fuller will make a positive impact on plant science and agriculture at a global scale.”

Larry J. Connor Medal of Excellence

This awardwas established in 1999 to honor Dr. Larry J. Connor, Dean of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences from 1991-1999. It is presented annually to the outstanding senior minority student who has achieved a distinguished scholarship record, demonstrated a high degree of leadership, and contributed to and fostered diversity within the student body and society.

Ansuya DeosaranAnsuya Deosaran

Ansuya Deosaran is a senior from Coral Springs completing her degree in Food Science and Human Nutrition with a Nutritional Sciences specialization and a Communication Studies minor. She has been recognized as an Anderson Scholar of Distinction and a member of both the Dean’s List and President’s Honor Roll. Ansuya has been a research assistant in the FSHN Department and the College of Medicine’s Tissue Engineering Lab. She received a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Scholarship for her research work and has been a contributing author for journal abstracts and poster presentations. She volunteers at the Helping Hands Institute, the Pharmacy Department at Shands Hospital and the UF English Language Institute. Dr. Nicholas Simpson, associate professor at the College of Medicine, wrote that “Ansuya is both intellectually blessed and highly motivated, a combination which has led to her many successes.”

Chanae ForsheeChanae Forshee

Chanae Forshee, from Miami, is a Family, Youth and Community Sciences senior. She has interned with Florida Senator Oscar Braynon and U.S. Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, receiving the college’s Loop Legislative Internship Program Scholarship for both experiences. Her internships have fueled a passion for public service that is reflected in her volunteer record. As a Black Student Union member, Chanae acted as executive director of the Florida International Step Show. She has served as an ambassador to the Dean of Students Office as a Campus Diplomat, as Family, Youth and Community Sciences Club vice president, and as a team member on the One Thing Remains Dominican Republic mission trip. Dr. Suzanna Smith, FYCS associate professor, says Chanae “is committed to and passionate about improving the lives of children and families and their communities through public policy and law.”

Leshawn RichardsLeshawn Richards

Leshawn Richards is a senior from North Lauderdale pursuing majors in Food Science and Human Nutrition (Nutritional Sciences specialization) and Biology. His honors thesis, under the direction of Dr. Bryan Kolaczkowski, specializes in the purification and binding kinetics of MDA5 CARD 2 protein. Leshawn has served as a teaching assistant and tutor for Organic Chemistry and a supplemental instruction leader for Biochemistry. Outside the classroom, Leshawn devotes his time to service activities that benefit the Gainesville community. He has spent time volunteering for the Alachua County Health Department’s Minority AIDS Program, the Parkview Outreach Community Center and the St. Francis House. Dr. Gail Kauwell, professor in the FSHN Department, said Leshawn “is an outstanding example of what it is to be a well-rounded, top-notch student, and a genuinely honest, sincere and caring servant leader.”

CALS Alumni and Friends Leadership Award

This award was established to recognize the CALS senior who exemplifies leadership, scholastic achievement and citizenship, and who has a high degree of leadership in departmental or college organizations.

Katalina BeltranKatalina Beltran

Katalina Beltran is a senior from New Port Richey, majoring in Food Science and Human Nutrition with a Nutritional Sciences specialization. She has been active in the UF Pre-Dental Society, serving as secretary and president. Katalina participated with two research projects in the Food Science and Human Nutrition Department, one examining the impact of fiber on the immune system and a second looking at the effect of probiotics on the gut microbiome. A native Spanish speaker, Katalina has volunteered at Gainesville High School in the English Speakers of Other Languages program. She received a Gold President’s Volunteer Service Award for her volunteer efforts. Katalina will attend Temple School of Dentistry following graduation. Dr. Anne Kendall, undergraduate coordinator for Food Science and Human Nutrition said, “She is an exemplary leader and has a strong record of service to the community.”

Erica FeinglassErica Feinglass

Erica Feinglass from Jacksonville will graduate with dual degrees in Food Science and Human Nutrition (Dietetics specialization) and Anthropology. She has been active in the FSHN Club, serving as president and director of social events. Erica worked with the City of Gainesville and the University Athletic Association to develop educational materials and to teach nutrition and fitness programs to others. She has volunteered at Shands Hospital and recruited campus groups to participate in the annual Gators March for Babies. As an ambassador for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Erica assisted students at the advising center and represented the college at university events. Dr. Pamela S. McMahon, a senior lecturer in FSHN, said that through her many years of teaching and advising, “Erica stands out as being one of the most organized, dedicated students.”

Lauren MayoLauren Mayo

Lauren Mayo, a senior from Riverview, is majoring in Animal Sciences with a Dairy Science specialization and an Agricultural Communication minor. Lauren has traveled throughout Florida and the Southeast as a CALS Ambassador, held leadership roles in the Dairy Science Club and Collegiate Farm Bureau, and coordinated the UF Ag Facts Day. For two years running, Lauren has been a member of UF’s first place team at the Southern Regional Dairy Challenge. In 2011, Lauren became the first UF student to hold a national office in the American Dairy Science Association. The next year, Lauren won the ADSA’s Outstanding Student Award—the top national individual award for undergraduate dairy science students. Dr. Joel Brendemuhl, assistant chair in Animal Sciences, predicts that Lauren Mayo will be “a major player in animal agriculture at the national level.”