CVM Announces Faculty, Staff Awards

August 29, 2023

The College of Veterinary Medicine has announced the recipients of its College Achievement Awards, which were presented at the recent CVM Fall Convocation.

The recipients include: 

Merit Employee of the Year: Joanna Hildreth has staffed and maintained the small animal rehabilitation service in the hospital for the last 15+ years. Her dedication is what has made this service a success throughout that time as she helps patients recover from injury or disability and helps to support their overall health and wellness.

Merit Mid-Career Employee of the Year: Jessica Griffith is an integral member of the Small Animal Emergency and Critical Care team, constantly working to improve the service and overall patient care. She has a strong ability to care for and pick up trends in all ICU patients.

Merit New Employee of the Year: Liesel Schwartzkopf is a proven leader in the large animal hospital, willing to cover on call when her fellow employees are in need of help. She continually demonstrates exceptional technical skills while providing excellent, compassionate patient care and communications skills while working with clinicians, fellow staff members, clients and veterinary students

Resident of the Year: Since her first day as a surgical resident in the Hixson-Lied Small Animal Hospital, Dr. Stephanie Telek has been a consummate professional in every sense of the term. Telek has taken on challenging cases while providing every patient with the best care possible while embracing each opportunity to improve her surgical and other clinical skills.

Graduate Student of the Year: Henry Osemeke has received a MS in preventive veterinary medicine and a PhD in population sciences in animal health with a minor in statistics. He has authored 10 peer reviewed paper, five as first author; given 9 presentations in national or international conferences and has collaborated on six funded grant proposals. He has also published a collection of online sample size calculators to help veterinarians make decisions on sampling swine populations for PRRS virus.

Post Doc of the Year: Dr. Ashenafi Beyi spearheads the efforts in Dr. Qijing Zhang’s lab on understanding antibiotic resistance and bacterial pathogenesis mechanisms. He is a key player in the NIH-funded project studying the transmission of multidrug resistant Campylobacter. By using both in vitro and in vivo approaches and sophisticated experiments, Beyi demonstrated the spread of a novel antimicrobial resistance trait between different strains of Campylobacter jejuni via horizontal transfer in the chicken intestinal tract. His work not only improved the understanding of AMR’s dissemination mechanisms, but also provided an explanation why antibiotic resistant Campylobacter is increasingly prevalent in nature.

Service Team of the Year: The Histopathology Lab and its full-time staff members are responsible for generating high quality slides and images for histopathologic evaluation from the masses of highly varied clinical specimens received at the VDL. This team’s work provides the foundation for the VDL’s nationally recognized reputation for predictably providing clientele with next-day results. Over the course of the past two years, the Histo Team has been leading the charge towards transcending their workflow and work product from the long-standing historical norms into the digital era, creating a transformational and precedent-setting change in the current and forward-looking opportunities and capabilities of the laboratory.

International Service Award: Dr. Jessica Ward contributes positively to international of Iowa State, the College of Veterinary Medicine, the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, and the Lloyd Veterinary Medical Center. She is the instructor of record for the international preceptorship course and has streamlined the mechanism for application and approval of the students’ international experiences and has improved faculty awareness of policies regarding international visitors in VM4 clinical rotations including creating standardized protocol for processing individual international student visitors to VM 4 rotations.

Outstanding Achievement in Extension or Professional Practice: Dr. Kristina Miles places an emphasis on teaching and has tirelessly led countless students through the rigors of learning the complex field of diagnostic imaging. She has spent countless hours shepherding students to become competent at interpretation of basic, and often quite complex imaging skills. Above all, Miles is an excellent and accomplished imaging specialist spending countless hours interpreting imaging in clinical patients and then explaining the more basic to complex interpretations necessary for positive clinical treatments.

Early Achievement in Extension or Professional Practice: In her short time at Iowa State, Dr. Jamie Kopper has made an incredible and positive impact in professional practice in equine medicine and surgery. She is a self-motivated problem solver who has demonstrated superb leadership and the initiative to equine services which has resulted in improvements in patient care, client service and faculty/staff morale.

Outstanding Achievement in Teaching: Dr. Mike Lyons has developed the first-ever cadaver-based human anatomy class at Iowa State with a hands-on curriculum not only for the BMS Non-Thesis Master’s Program but at the undergraduate level as well. His impact on student success derives from his investment in culturing strong relationships with students, an approach that unequivocally facilitates a positive learning environment.

Early Achievement in Teaching: Dr. Jamie Kopper became the instructor-in-charge of the third-year course focusing on equine medicine during the challenging COVID pandemic. Despite many challenges, Kopper thrived in this new role, creating a success asynchronous course that students could complete on their own schedule. She also organized interactive synchronous reviews for students each week and offered optional case-based clinical reviews to help students connect the course information to real life clinical cases. In her didactic lectures, Dr. Kopper provides a multifaceted educational experience to reach the different learning styles by providing traditional lectures that are enhanced by practice quizzes, case examples, discussion boards and review sessions.

P&S Excellence Award: Kelly Boesenberg-Smith has provided tremendous leadership to the VDL’s Quality Service Program for over a decade. A highly capable and proficient professional, she has grown to be a very active member and well-respected thought leader in the American Association Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians. Under her leadership, the Quality Service Program continues to mature, improve and become a streamlined and state-of-the-art quality program. Boesenberg-Smith has also played a significant role in facilitating the planning and design of the new VDL building, serving as the principal point of contact and liaison between FP&M and VDL Operations.

P&S Excellence Award: As the Serology lab manager, Shelia Norris inspires young technicians to strive for excellence in their work and to seek professional growth and improvement. She has fully mastered all aspects of her job that includes diagnostic laboratory management, diagnostic testing and analysis, quality assurance and control, sample processing and storage, human resource management, project management, regulatory diagnostic testing and results management.

P&S Mid-Career Award: Bret Crim (not pictured) and Daniel Patanroi have acquired nationally recognized expertise in the veterinary diagnostic laboratory and animal health information management space. They are responsible for the architecture, design, development, testing and implementation through the entire produce lifecycle maintenance of an ever-growing suite of novel software, database applications and customized integrations used to support the entirety of the VDL’s client-facing, internal laboratory operational, and external reporting functions.

P&S New Professional Award: In her role as the business administrator in the Department of Biomedical Sciences, Audra Hartwigsen's primary responsibility is to manage the business affairs of the department. During the phase-in of Workday, she immersed herself in the system’s training to better organize the department’s finances.  Her team-based mindset and eye for detail has completed changed the department’s understanding of its financial situation. Hartwigsen has also helped create an inclusive environment where its students, faculty and staff flourish.

P&S Research Award: Dr. Amro Hashish's demonstrated proficiency allows him to participate in multiple projects in the college's poultry research program that he solves not only through traditional research tools but through new innovative ways. His main research project focuses on utilizing Nanopore sequencing as a cutting-edge diagnostic assay in the field of poultry medicine. One recently developed assay holds great promise to solve the characterization of an avian coronavirus that has challenged the poultry industry for decades. Hashish is also leading the research to develop and validate three new real-time PCR assays for bacterial avian pathogens.

CVM Champion Award: Brad Kuennen supports the entire community by creating a welcoming environment in the CVM Library and facilitating access to information the library curates through its multiple assets. He was an integral part of the team that worked on the updated design in 2022 of the physical appearance of the library. As a member of the Dr. Frederick Douglass Patterson Centennial Celebration task force, Kuennen provided much needed access to archival information and developed a presentation on the life and legacy of Dr. Patterson which he shared multiple times last year.

CVM Champion Award: Deb Vance in ISU International Students & Scholars has been instrumental in assisting the ophthalmology service with foreign clinicians coming to Iowa State. She has also provided the CVM with consistent assistance of all international student and scholar needs and is critical to the College’s ability to recruit and retain foreign applicants. With her assistance, the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences has been able to cast broad nets to bring in the best and brightest individuals.

Patterson Diversity & Inclusion Award: Dr. Jen Scaccianoce is passionate about matters related to DEI efforts both within and beyond the College of Veterinary Medicine. She advocates not only for CVM students but non-ISU students who are in the Clinical Year Education program, mentoring these students and helping facilitate the program while encouraging recruitment of future students. Scaccianoce has repeatedly sought out DEI training to further enhance her skills and is part of faculty facilitating the fourth-year rotation to the Crow Creek Reservation. She organized the College’s White Coat for Black Lives Knell as part of the college’s response to the murder of George Floyd.

Early Achievement in Research: Dr. Jamie Kopper has positively impacted the field of equine and large animal gastroenterology through her original research publications, presentations and research mentoring to veterinary students, graduate students and residents. Kopper’s research focus on improving the survival of horses and gastrointestinal disease and investigations of the intestinal epithelial barrier in the horse and dog. Since 2020 she has produced 19 peer-reviewed publications and has served as PI or Co-I on 11 projects resulting in numerous research abstracts and proceedings.

Mid-Career Achievement in Research: Dr. Jodi McGill's research focuses on the immune response to respiratory infections. Her lab currently is studying the response to several respiratory pathogens. McGill has established herself and her lab as one the most productive at Iowa State. Since 2018, she has served as the PI for over $6.5 million in grant funds from federal, industry and foundation sources. She has presented her research findings in over 20 invited talks and has been an author of over 45 peer-reviewed publications.