CALS Awards: equity and diversity, international and extension awards

This week’s CALS Awards’ post features recipients of the CALS Equity and Diversity Award, the Excellence in International Activities Award, and the Pound Extension Award. Congratulations to these three awardees!

Rebecca Larson

Rebecca Larson is an associate professor and Extension specialist in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering (BSE), and recipient of the CALS Equity and Diversity Award. She has been a champion for equity and diversity in BSE for over 10 years through her research, outreach and service.

Larson has built a successful research group in BSE with an incredible diversity of backgrounds. She also seeks out projects that enable research to be carried out in developing countries designing and building anaerobic digesters to provide energy in place like Uganda and Bolivia.

Through Larson’s Extension appointment she provides support for county agents and farmers throughout Wisconsin. She works with a wide variety of stakeholders in terms of ethnic backgrounds, educational levels and political beliefs.

In 2017, Larson spearheaded an effort to encourage more women to use the BSE fabrication shop by instituting a Women’s Shop Night. Larson has worked tirelessly at promoting the BSE shop night series both internally in the BSE department as well as across campus. The shop night has grown steadily from approximately 5 students the first year to a capped maximum of a dozen this year.

Larson has been part of the CALS Equity and Diversity Committee and has led the BSE efforts the last several years. Her work has gone beyond ensuring training events, such as the Hostile and Intimidating Behavior Workshop and the Implicit Bias Training, to include encouraging her colleagues to actively discuss biases and promoting a climate of equity in the department. She is truly a champion in this area.

Jon T. Roll

Jon T. Roll has been a passionate supporter of international activities in the Department of Bacteriology, CALS, and the university for more than fifteen years. In his role a faculty member, Roll has coordinated opportunities for undergraduates to study each summer in Thailand, as well as organized collaborations between faculty and scientists at Mahidol, Chulalongkorn, Mae Fah Luang and Chiang Mai Universities and UW–Madison.

Roll has also been an important facilitator of UW connections between the Wisconsin Alumni Association and alumni in Thailand and helped successfully reestablish the Thai UW Alumni Chapter in January 2020. As the creator of the UW Microbiology International Internship and summer study abroad program in Thailand, Roll has enabled high level strategic partnerships that have gone well beyond his two science programs. On many occasions, Roll helped host international visitors from around the world, which has greatly aided CALS Global in its efforts to revitalize and strengthen the international charge of the college.

To date, Roll’s programs have impacted hundreds of undergraduate students, as well as many graduate students, post-doctorates and faculty. Thanks to Roll’s efforts, the UW as a whole is in a better position to assist in meeting the challenges that the emerging science and technology fields are seeking to harness in Thailand and other partner countries. His wide-reaching activities have certainly earned him the Excellence in International Activities Award.

Christelle Guédot

Christelle Guédot joined the UW–Madison Department of Entomology as an assistant professor and Extension specialist in 2012. Coincidentally, that same year, a new major agricultural pest in Wisconsin arrived–the spotted-wing drosophila (SWD). She immediately assumed a leadership role to monitor invasion by this devastating pest of soft fruits, coordinating a team of extension agents, citizen scientists, and pest specialists in state agencies.

In addition to her leadership, Guédot has also shown a remarkable ability to develop productive research and extension collaborations internationally, regionally and locally. She has been the lead- or co-PI on significant funding awards from state and national commodity groups, as well as federal and state grantors. Her grants record demonstrates the capacity to serve the needs of local stakeholders while also remaining relevant to the broader scientific, agricultural community.

Guédot has co-lead the Extension Fruit Team since 2014. In this role, Christelle has been a unifying force for fruit crop extension outreach throughout the state. In 2016, she helped create the new UW Fruit Website, an organized database of articles related to fruit growing in Wisconsin. That year she also co-created the “Wisconsin Fruit News”, a biweekly newsletter sent to growers around the state to provide them with timely, research-based articles to help them manage their crops. Guédot has authored or co-authored 158 articles in the Fruit News, including at least one article in every edition to date. With her clear commitment to research, teaching and extension, Guédot is well deserving of the Pound Extension Award.