Source: UF|IFAS Blogs
By Jennifer Johnson

In accordance with UF’s strategic goal for internationalizing the campus across all mission areas, the UF|IFAS Administration has established six annual international awards for UF|IFAS faculty and staff. The 2023 UF|IFAS international awards were given by the Global Food Systems Institute (GFSI) on March 20, 2023 at the Future of Food Forum in the University of Florida Reitz Union Grand Ballroom. Dr. Greg MacDonald, Professor and Undergraduate Coordinator, Weed Science and International Agronomy served as Master of Ceremonies. The awards were presented by Dr. Elaine Turner, Dean for the UF/IFAS College of Agricultural and Life Sciences; Dr. Robert Gilbert, UF/IFAS Dean for Research and Director of the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station; and Dr. Norma Samuel, Central District Extension Director, UF-IFAS Extension. Congratulations to the winners of the 2023 UF|IFAS International Awards!

UF|IFAS International Award Winners 2023:

UF|IFAS Early Career International Research Fellow Award

Jiangxiao Qiu

Dr. Jiangxiao Qiu is an Assistant Professor in Landscape Ecology and Ecosystem Services, School of Forest Fisheries and Geomatics Sciences. His research has focused on sustainability science and is rooted in interdisciplinary and multi-national teams. He has published 56 journal articles, won over $3.4M in grants and has $3.2M in pending awards. Dr. Qiu has collaborated with colleagues from the U.S., France, Netherlands, and Brazil, related to green building design, renewable energy, and wastewater recycling. He has also partnered with colleagues from Sweden, UK, U.S., Israel, Ecuador, France, China, and Colombia to study mechanistic archetypes of linkages between inequality, biosphere, and societal actions.

UF|IFAS International Research Fellow Award

Madan Oli

Dr. Oli is a Professor and Distinguished Teaching Scholar in the department of Wildlife Ecology. He has collaborated with colleagues from India, UK, Rwanda, Oman, and Canada and co-published 169 journal articles with collaborators from around the world. Madan’s research interests are broad and include population ecology & modeling, disease ecology, population viability analysis, population cycles, human-wildlife interactions, carnivore ecology, and wildlife conservation and management. Madan also serves on the Editorial Board of Ecology, the flagship journal of the Ecological Society of America.

UF|IFAS Early Career International Educator Award

Cameron Jack

Dr. Jack is an Assistant Professor in the department of Entomology and Nematology. He has co-published 24 journal articles and presented 14 international talks. He has garnered $1.5M in grants to further his research and teaching agenda. Dr. Jack leads a study abroad program to Thailand for 4 weeks of beekeeping lessons.

UF|IFAS International Educator Award

Donald Behringer

Dr. Behringer is a Professor in the School of Forest Fisheries, and Geomatics Sciences. His research includes marine disease ecology and epidemiology and the resilience and restoration of marine communities. He currently leads a study abroad course to the UK on coastal biology, natural history, and culture. Recently, he created a semester and year-long student exchange program with Swansea University in Wales. Dr. Behringer is a Fulbright and Rhodes Scholar advisor and helps applicants prepare for their interviews. Dr. Behringer is also an accomplished scholar, publishing over 69 journal articles, many with international collaborators. He has secured over $1.6M in grants to further his research agenda and has served as a member for several international university governance committees.

UF|IFAS Award for Internationalizing Extension 2023

Amy Vu

Dr. Vu is a State Specialized Program Extension Agent for Apiculture in the department of Entomology and Nematology. She has a 100% Extension appointment. Dr. Vu works with beekeepers in Florida and abroad to improve the sustainability of beekeeping. She helps growers improve their competence in keeping bees and teaches about entrepreneurship and business practices. Dr. Vu has won $700K in funding to support her work and advance beekeeping business practices and is part of the USAID Farmer to Farmer Partners of the Americas program.

The award ceremony also recognized the winners of the 2022 and 2021 UF|IFAS Awards for Internationalizing Extension:

UF|IFAS Award for Internationalizing Extension 2022

Brian Estevez, Aly Schortinghouse, and Nick Simmons

Mr. Brian Estevez is the Escambia County 4-H Agent 3, Ms. Aly Schortinghouse is the Escambia County 4-H Agent 1, and Mr. Nick Simmons is Escambia County Director and Livestock Agent 2. Together they manage the volunteer system to support youth development in Escambia County. They deliver programming to youth audiences about livestock, manage volunteers for positive youth development, and manage extracurricular activities for children around agricultural topics. For the past six years the team has been engaging in the Gulf Coast Diplomacy Council and the U.S. Department of State diplomacy program to provide seminars on 4-H and youth development programming to youth and adult visitors from Brazil, Haiti, Mexico, Chili, Nepal, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Turkey, and Zimbabwe.

UF|IFAS Award for Internationalizing Extension 2021

Jonael Bosques Mendez

Mr. Bosques-Mendez is the County Extension Director and Extension agent II, Hardee County. His specialty is agriculture and community resources, and he works with the south Florida beef-forage program in Wauchula, FL. Mr. Bosques-Mendez excels in internationalizing Extension through outreach to farmers throughout the Caribbean, South America, Europe, and Australia. Over the past 13 years Mr. Bosques-Mendez has increased IFAS’ outreach by offering bi-lingual educational programming (English and Spanish) and delivering his lessons over the internet. He has worked with 400 youth in Deyemon, Haiti to teach them how to grow food using best management practices.

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