SS20 News - Select 2020 Faculty and Student Awards

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    Dr. Truman Surbrook receives the 2020 CANR Distinguished Faculty Award

    Photo of Dr. Truman Surbrook receiving CANR 2020 Distinguished Faculty Award 

    Photo of Dr. Truman Surbrook (left) Receiving 2020 CANR Distinguished Faculty Award from Dean Ron Hendrick (right) March 6, 2020

    The Distinguished Faculty Award recognizes faculty members who have brought distinction to the CANR through teaching, research and/or outreach and provided leadership that has helped students, faculty members and/or citizens reach their potential for excellence.

    Dr. Truman Surbrook is a professor in the MSU Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering. He earned his degrees from Michigan State University; including a bachelor’s degree in engineering, a master’s degree in mechanics and a Ph.D. in engineering. As a professor since 1965, he holds licenses with the State of Michigan as a professional engineer, master electrician and instructor for electrical inspectors. 

    He developed and supervised the MSU Institute of Agricultural Technology (IAT) Electrical Technology Program with consistently high enrollment and job placement rates for over 25 years. He also co-authored “Interpreting the National Electrical Code” and has published and presented over 75 papers and presentations.

    In honor of his service, Surbrook has received numerous awards, including the Withrow Teaching Excellence Award from the MSU College of Engineering, the Outstanding Faculty Award from the MSU Institute of Agriculture Technology and the Electrical Technologies Award from the Michigan Electric Cooperative Association. Outside of his professional career, he served on the Williamston Community Schools Board of Education where he instrumental in the design and construction of a new high school.

    Read More on the 2020 CANR Distinguished Faculty Award

    Dr. Wei Liao Receives 2020 CANR Howard and Lili Camden Endowed Teacher/Scholar Award

    Photo of Dr. Liao receiving 2020 CANR Camden Endowed Teacher/Scholar Award

    Photo of Dr. Wei Liao (left) receiving 2020 CANR Howard and Lili Camden Endowed Teacher/Scholar Award from Dean Ron Hendrick (right) March 6, 2020

    The Howard and Lili Camden Endowed Teacher/Scholar Award recognizes individuals with five or more years of teaching service in CANR who have developed innovative teaching methods, mentored in- and out- of the classroom and demonstrated instructional excellence, scholarly achievement and professional linkages. 

    Liao has been an assistant professor in the Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering for the past 11 years and was promoted to professor, effective July 2019. Liao has a strong passion for education and scholarship, both in the classroom and in the laboratory.

    As a dedicated teacher, he has developed and taught six courses–both undergraduate and graduate–since arriving at Michigan State University. Liao created new courses in response to student interest and departmental needs. For the past two years, he has taught above his assignment level to ensure that needs are met. His student comments are very positive and strong, and his SIRS scores rank high in both the department and in the College of Engineering.

    Liao’s mentorship goes beyond guiding student projects and serving on graduate committees. Each year, he mentors undergraduate students in his research laboratory with capstone design. More than 34 students have worked in his research group over the past 12 years. After graduation, all of his students were hired by universities, government agencies or major chemical/food companies. He continually provides opportunities for his students to participate in scholarly activity and encourages them to think toward in-depth research and scientific writing. He educates the next generation of engineers and scientists, ensuring there will be people to carry on engineering and science education in the future.

    Read More on the 2020 Howard and Lili Camden Endowed Teaching/Scholar Award

    Dr. Truman Surbrook receives the 2020 Withrow Teaching Excellence Award

    Photo of Dr. Saffron receiving Withrow Teaching Excellence Award 

    Photo of Dr. Truman Surbrook Receiving Withrow Teaching Excellence Award

    Each year, students in the College of Engineering nominate faculty members for this prestigious honor, which is based on excellence in teaching and mentorship. Dr. Truman Surbrook, a professor in the Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, is an exceptional educator with an uncommon ability to convey difficult concepts in a clear and inspiring manner. His teaching activities are focused on the areas of automation and control systems, electrical installations for agricultural facilities, electrical codes, artificial lighting systems, neutral-to-earth voltage, electrical energy conservation and efficiency, electrical grounding, renewable power systems and electrical apprenticeship training. 

    BAE graduate student Kaitlyn Casulli (advisor Dr. Kirk Dolan) received a USDA Education and Workforce Development Fellowship

    Photo of Kaitlyn Casulli FDA fellowship recipient

    Kaitlyn Casulli 

    Kaitlyn Casulli (BAE Ph.D. Candidate) and this year's outstanding graduate student received a fellowship from the USDA EWD in the amount of ~$180,000. The Agriculture and Food Research Initiative - Education and Workforce Development (EWD) focuses on developing the next generation of research, education, and extension professionals in the food and agricultural sciences. Kaitlyn received the award as a fellowship for predoctoral candidates. Congratulations Kaitlyn.

    2020-2021 BAE Scholarships

    A special Thank You to all the alumni, faculty, staff, friends and companies who made these scholarships possible through their kind and generous gifts.  If you are interested in supporting the department scholarships through a gift, please visit or click on the link at the end of the newsletter to make a donation. 

    2020-2021 Undergraduate Scholarship Recipients

    F.W. Bakker-Arkema Endowed Scholarship

    • Yassah Bah-Deh
    • Alec Christy
    • Nyilah Congress
    • Kasey Nelson

    DeBoer Family Scholarship/Fellowship Fund

    • Julie Celini
    • Taryn Hanses
    • Miriam Kaburu
    • Annaliese Marks
    • Narindra Randriamiarintsoa
    • Rachel Shapin

    A.W. Farrall Scholarship

    • Alicia Ziegler

    Clarence & Thelma Hansen Scholarship

    • Aaron Newberry
    • Alex Seybold
    • Chris Wentworth

    Howard & Esther McColly Scholarship

    • Megan Curtin
    • Emma Dester
    • Erica Peer

    George E. and Betty L. Merva Endowed Scholarship

    • Sydney Burtovoy

    John & Julianna Merva Scholarship

    • Ian Chesla

    Freshmen (2019-2020)

    Robert J. Gustafson Scholarship

    • Christina Berels
    • Grant Gmitter

    Alfred & Mary Murray Scholarship

    • Ryan Bartlett
    • Jeswin David
    • Grace Dempsey
    • Andrew Kearney
    • Emma Savage
    • Anthony Schulte
    • Blake Smerigan
    • Jacob Willsea

    2020-2021 Graduate Scholarship Recipients

    Outstanding BE Graduate Student Fellowship

    • Kaitlyn Casulli

    Galen & Ann Brown Scholarship

    • Oznur Caliskan-Aydogan
    • Carly Gomez

    Merle & Catherine Esmay Scholarship

    • Yousef Abdalaal

    Outstanding BE Research Fellowship & Fitch H. Beach Award

    • Juan Sebastian Hernandez Suarez