CANR recognizes the George M. Worrilow Award winner and Distinguished Alumni Award recipients

October 30, 2013 under CANR News

Three graduates of the University of Delaware College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) were presented with the college’s Distinguished Alumni Awards, while Robin L. Talley was presented with the George M. Worrilow award at a ceremony held on Friday, Oct. 11, as part of Homecoming festivities.

The awards are given based on a clear record of outstanding career accomplishments, service and leadership to the profession, and community service, including service to UD.

George M. Worrilow Award

Robin L. Talley received her bachelor of science degree, with distinction and Cum Laude, in Agricultural Economics from the University of Delaware in 1984. She went on to receive her master’s of Business Administration from the University of Delaware in 1996.

Talley currently serves as the District Director for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency. As the District Director, Talley is responsible for administration of federal farm programs delivered by three field offices in Delaware. She provides leadership to field office managers in planning, managing and carrying out program responsibilities and provides training for all field personnel. She also evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of program operations, advises management on the need to adapt or revise national policies and procedures to meet needs within the state and trouble-shoots program and management issues and institutes change management.

Distinguished Alumni Awards

John Cantello received his undergraduate degree (B.S.) and graduate degrees (M.S., Ph.D.) from CANR. His graduate work focused on molecular virology. Cantello pursued post-doctoral training in gene therapy at the California Pacific Medical Center, San Francisco, CA. Cantello currently serves as Vice President, at Worldwide Business Development in GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) R&D organization. In this role, he leads the business development activities for the Metabolic Pathways & Cardiovascular Therapy Area and the newly created Bioelectronics R&D Unit.

Bernie Murphy received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware in 1975 in animal science.  He subsequently attended the University of Arkansas and Iowa State University where he obtained his master’s and doctorate degrees in poultry science and meat and poultry products technology respectively.

Murphy currently serves as President of the Jones-Hamilton Co.  Murphy worked internationally for 7 years supporting the development and marketing of animal health products.  Murphy’s career has been closely aligned with the poultry industry having managed business related to nutrition, primary genetics, processing, food safety and air quality.  Murphy was instrumental in the development and ongoing support of the University of Delaware Environmental Research facility in Georgetown, DE.

Distinguished Young Alumnus

Zaiqi Pan, who received his Masters degree in 2008 from the CANR statistics program, currently works as a research scientist at DuPont Pioneer. He joined DuPont in December 2007, working in the Insect Resistance Management Science group.  His major role is to develop insect population genetics models with biologists and simulate insect resistance development on Bt crops by using statistical tools and computer modeling techniques.

Pan is one of the key members in the Optimum® AcreMax® execution team.  The team developed and implemented an innovative method to deploy refuge for Bt corn. Their creative approach allowed DuPont Pioneer to claim the first position in insect control trait product offerings in the company’s history.

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Pan credits UD Statistics Program for preparing him for DuPont career

March 14, 2012 under CANR News

Winning the prestigious Bolton/Carothers Innovative Science Award is an honor for any DuPont employee, especially so when it is only your fourth year on the job. Such is the case for Zaiqi Pan, who received a master’s degree from the University of Delaware Statistics Program in January 2008.

An employee of Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business, Pan received the award with his fellow team members — Laura Higgins, Lindsey Flexner and Natalie Hubbard — in January 2012 for their work developing and implementing an innovative method to deploy refuge for the Pioneer genetically modified corn plant.

Pan, who received a master’s degree in statistics, credits the personal and educational support he received from the professors in the Department of Food and Resource Economics in UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources for not only helping him make it through to graduation, but also for starting him off on his successful career path.

When Pan started in the statistics program in 2005, a serious family situation made him question whether or not he wanted to continue with his studies. Luckily for him, the statistics faculty was there to help guide and support him through the rough patch.

“Dr. Ilvento encouraged me to stay in the program and keep connected when I had to go through such a very stressful time,” said Pan, adding that he missed a lot of class time and studies that Tom Ilvento, professor in the Department of Food and Resource Economics, helped him make up.

After the difficult start, Pan said he soon began thriving in the Statistics Program, specifically in the StatLab, a statistics laboratory designed to help researchers in the use of effective and appropriate statistical techniques in different research areas. It was in the StatLab that Pan worked and formed a close friendship with Lidia Rejtö, professor of statistics in the Department of Food and Resource Economics.

That friendship was cemented, Pan said, when Rejtö spent a sabbatical at Pioneer, DuPont Agricultural Biotechnology, in 2008 and they worked together on a number of projects.

Rejtö said she enjoyed working with her former student and praised Pan for his statistical abilities. “What is very rare is that he knows not just the statistical theory but he’s able to apply the theory and to develop a program,” said Rejtö. “There are not many statisticians who can combine the two things.”

Pan, who did his undergraduate research in mechanical engineering and then went to work as a software engineer in telecommunications before joining the UD Statistics Program, praised StatLab for providing him with the skills that ultimately led him to become a successful professional.

“It’s a really hands-on experience,” said Pan, adding that it helped improve his communication and collaboration talents.

Pan explained this comes in handy working at DuPont, where “you have to have excellent communication skills to present your ideas, so your audience will be able to understand your creative solutions quickly.”

The program also helped Pan by providing him with an opportunity to intern at DuPont while still studying for his master’s degree. He worked with Bruce Stanley in the Stine-Haskell Laboratory at DuPont Crop Protection, which gave him the first-hand experience that helped him get his current job with Pioneer studying agricultural biotechnology.

Pan has helped current students in the same way that he was helped as a student, saying that he currently oversees three interns from the UD Statistics Program.

“I think that the internship just helped me a lot to prepare for my career, so now I try to actually give back my experiences to my interns,” said Pan. “We value their strength and capability and assign them real projects they can work on and build their professional skills on. We treat the internship as a learning experience so they can successfully prepare for their future career.”

About the Bolton/Carothers Innovative Science Award

The Bolton/Carothers Innovative Science Award is named after Wallace Carothers, who is credited with inventing nylon in 1938, and Elmer Bolton, who helped encourage Carothers and commercialize the product. The award recognizes creative scientific invention or discovery that results in a recently commercialized new product, technology or business generating significant revenue with the potential for sustainable earnings.

About StatLab

StatLab provides statistical consulting services to UD graduate students, faculty, staff and researchers throughout the University, as well as non-University agencies and companies. The StatLab is jointly supported by the Statistics Program of the Department of Food and Resource Economics and Research and the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Article by Adam Thomas

Photos by Danielle Quigley

This article can also be viewed on UDaily

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