Three Dairy Science Alumni were honored at the the 2017 College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Awards program held Friday, March 31 at the Inn at Virginia Tech.
Dr. Frank F. “Skip” Bartol (DASC ‘75) was presented the 2017 Dairy Science Outstanding Alumni Award. Dr. Bartol, Alumni Professor & Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies at Auburn University was inspired by Dr. Dick Saacke as an undergraduate in the Department of Dairy Science. He then went on to earn both a M.S. and Ph.D. at the University of Florida and advanced training in molecular biology at the Center for Animal Biotechnology at Texas A&M University as a visiting scientist. His research focuses primarily on the identification of factors affecting and mechanisms regulating development and function of the female reproductive tract, particularly in regard to the reproductive efficiency and health in domestic ungulate species. His research has led to interdisciplinary advances including the development of the “uterine gland knockout” (UGKO) model, as well as the promulgation of the “lactocrine hypothesis” for maternal programming of neonatal somatic tissues at Texas A&M and Rutgers, respectively. Bartol served as Director of the Auburn University Cellular and Molecular Biosciences Program from 2001 until his appointment as Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies in the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine in July 2009.
Dr. Bartol was available for an informal scientific session at The Reproductive Biology Club while he was in Blacksburg before the awards ceremony.
Dr. Katie Olson, (DASC ‘08) was presented the 2017 Outstanding Recent Graduate Alumna Award. Dr. Olson currently serves as the Global Director for Dairy Product Development at ABS Global, Inc. She earned a B.S. in Agricultural Education at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls; a M.S in Animal Science - Genetics, at Colorado State University; and a Ph.D. in Animal Science - Genetics at Virginia Tech. She worked as a Post-Doctoral Research Associate at Virginia Tech before joining NAAB as a Research Geneticist. Dr. Olson joined ABS as a Research Scientist where she was promoted to Lead Research Scientist after only two years and currently serves as the Global Director for Dairy Product Development.
Dr. Olson was a guest speaker at the Department of Dairy Science weekly seminar before the awards ceremony.
Laura (Bradley) Siegel (DASC ‘10 & '12) was presented the 2017 Outstanding Recent Undergraduate Alumna Award. Siegel is an Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Agent in Amelia County. She assists producers and homeowners with services including soil testing, plant identification and diagnosis, farm planning, and problem solving.
Siegel grew up in Howard County, Maryland and spent ten years as a 4-H member raising and exhibiting market lambs, chickens, horses, and cattle. She has many years of work experience on dairy farms and served as farm manager at Virginia Tech’s Smithfield Horse Center during her graduate studies. She gained experience working with youth during her agricultural education student teaching internship. Before becoming an agent, she worked at the Southern Piedmont Area Research and Extension Center in the plant pathology laboratory where she gained experience in tobacco and strawberry production. Siegel hold B.S. degrees in both Dairy Science and Animal & Poultry Science (Livestock Production), as well as and a M.S in Career and Technical Education: Agricultural Education all from Virginia Tech.
Dr. Olson and Ms. Siegel were both Dairy Science panelists at the Women in Agriculture and Life Sciences: Women’s Month Panel Discussion on Friday before the awards ceremony.