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May 10, 2021
By Fred MillerU of A System Division of Agriculture@AgNews479
Download related PHOTOS:
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station has named four faculty
and staff the inaugural recipients of the Early Career Recognition of Professional
Excellence (RoPE) Awards.
The recipients are:
The award was created to recognize full-time Agricultural Experiment Station employees
who have sustained outstanding performance during their early careers, said Jean-François
Meullenet, senior associate vice president for agriculture-research and director of
the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, the research arm of the University of
Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.
“Our faculty and staff are singularly committed to the Land Grant missions of research,
extension and education,” Meullenet said. “Jiangchao, Chad, Liliana and Daniela embraced
that calling immediately when they joined the experiment station.
“In this early chapter of their careers, they went to work and are contributing every
day to our charge to achieve scientific discoveries that benefit Arkansas citizens,
expand agricultural sustainability and profitability, promote environmental stewardship,
strengthen local and state economies and ensure safe and nutritious food supply.,”
Meullenet said full-time employees in good standing who possess a majority appointment
to the Agricultural Experiment Station, and who have completed two to seven years
of continuous service are eligible for the RoPE Award. Recipients will receive a $2,500
award and will be recognized at the experiment station’s annual faculty and staff
Jiangchao Zhao joined the department of animal science as an associate professor in 2015 and was
promoted to associate professor in 2019. His research focuses on human and animal
microbiome, the collection of all the microorganisms in a specific niche, like the
gut microbiome. These microbiomes play an important role in the health of people and
He has published more than 40 papers, including several high-impact papers on the
human gut microbiome related to healthy aging and on the swine gut microbiome related
to animal production.
Liliana Florez-Palacio joined the department of crop, soil and environmental sciences as a post-doctoral
research associate for the soybean breeding program with breeder Pengyin Chen. She
continues to work in that capacity with soybean breeder Leandro Mozzoni.
Florez is responsible for the design and execution of research, including grant preparation
and reporting, personnel management and budget review. Mozzoni said she is “a devoted
researcher with high integrity, strong scientific rigor and attention to detail.
Chad Hayes is the poultry science department’s on-site facility manager for the Applied Broiler
Research Unit at Savoy. Department head Dave Caldwell said Hayes’ primary responsibility
is to manage commercial rearing for the Agricultural Experiment Station’s contract
to produce broilers for Simmons Foods.
Hayes also oversees the coordination of an on-farm research program that requires
the maintenance and care of all commercial flocks and the research, teaching and extension
projects at Savoy.
Daniela Kidd is office manager for the department of crop, soil and environmental sciences. She
manages the office’s daily tasks, anticipates the department head’s needs, serves
on committees, organizes social events, helped implement Workday, and kept the office
and the department head running smoothly, said Robert Bacon, recently retired department
Nathan Slaton, associate vice president for agriculture-research and assistant director
of the experiment station, has discovered Kidd’s value since assuming the role of
interim department head.
“I cannot imagine taking on the interim department chair task without her expertise
and awesome organization skills guiding the daily activities!” Slaton said. “During
my first week on the job as interim chair, she had me signed up for several trainings
required of department chairs, coordinated our calendars and had documents ready for
me to review for decisions that needed immediate attention.”
To learn more about Division of Agriculture research, visit the Arkansas Agricultural
Experiment Station website: https://aaes.uark.edu. Follow us on Twitter at @ArkAgResearch.
About the Division of Agriculture
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen
agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption
of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative
Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work
within the nation’s historic land grant education system.
The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas
System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension
and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity,
sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran
status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative
Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
Media Contact: Fred MillerU of A System Division of AgricultureArkansas Agricultural Experiment Station(479) email@example.com