April 23, 2013
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Shannon Zalewski and mural in Lilly Hall
Shannon Zalewski studies beneath the mural in Lilly Hall on Monday afternoon (April 22). Zalewski is a junior majoring in health and disease. According to a Purdue newsreel from 1958, "The aluminum and walnut mural in the main lobby symbolizes scientific interest in living things and the interrelated specialities needed to solve the mysteries of life." 
(Purdue Agricultural Communication photo/Tom Campbell)

Imprelis response effort earns TEAM Award

A group of Purdue University professionals whose investigation into consumer complaints of tree and plant damage led to a nationwide ban of the turf herbicide Imprelis will receive the 2013 Purdue Agriculture TEAM Award.

The award, whose name is an acronym for Together Everyone Achieves More, is presented annually to honor an outstanding interdisciplinary team of Purdue faculty and staff.

An award ceremony will be held 2-4 p.m. May 6 in Deans Auditorium of Pfendler Hall. The team will receive a commemorative plaque to be displayed in the agricultural administration building and a $10,000 cash prize.

"When reports of damage to trees and ornamental plants first surfaced, the Purdue Imprelis Herbicide Injury Response Team came together quickly and developed a well-coordinated process to investigate, analyze, report and make recommendations to the industry, consumers and landowners," said Jay Akridge, Glenn W. Sample Dean of the College of Agriculture. "This group, which represents many different programs in the College of Agriculture, is a terrific example of a high-performing team working together to solve a serious problem."

Lawn care companies, golf course managers and homeowners across the U.S. began using the new herbicide in the spring of 2011 and soon noticed damage to trees and ornamental plants adjacent to the treatment area. As the number of reports rose, the team was created to track and investigate consumers' complaints and to alert consumers. In all, the team investigated about 400 complaints.

Within 54 days of the first damage report in Indiana, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in August 2011 used the team's data in requiring DuPont, maker of Imprelis, to stop selling and distributing the herbicide nationwide. The Office of Indiana State Chemistbanned the sale, distribution and use of Imprelis in Indiana that September. The step Indiana took was necessary to prohibit others from selling and using it in the state.

In addition to the state chemist's office, the team consisted of faculty and staff from the departments of agricultural communication, agronomy, botany and plant pathology, entomology, and horticulture and landscape architecture, and the Plant and Pest Diagnostic Laboratory.

Ag selects top students for 2012-13 

The College of Agriculture has honored its top students for the 2012-13 academic year. They are:

* Gabriel Rangel of Indianapolis, Outstanding Senior. Rangel is majoring in biochemistry and has maintained a 4.0 GPA. He is a College of Agriculture Dean's Scholar and was the first student to be named the college's outstanding student each of his four years at Purdue. Rangel has worked on cancer and malaria research projects in laboratories at Purdue, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and the University of Maryland. This past summer, Rangel participated in the summer program in biological sciences at the Harvard School of Public Health, where he helped develop an imaging protocol for characterizing morphological changes that occur during maturation of the malaria parasite. Rangel received the prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Gilliam Fellowship for Advanced Study. He was named a Sen. Richard G. Lugar Scholar, Lilly Endowment Community Scholar and National Hispanic Recognition Program Scholar.

* Erin Whittaker of West Lafayette , Ind., Outstanding Junior. Whittaker is majoring in quantitative agricultural economics and French and is in the Dean's Scholars program. She is involved in the Department of Agricultural Economics Undergraduate Research Program, where she completed a thesis, titled "Grain Market Analysis and Pricing." Whittaker participates in the College of Agriculture Leadership Certificate program, represented the College of Agriculture at the 2011 Ag Future of America Leadership Conference in Kansas City and serves as a Purdue Ag Ambassador, Agriculture Council secretary, director of programming for Purdue student government and treasurer for the Return to Agriculture organization. Whittaker interned in Washington, D.C., where she researched and wrote key parts of the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012 for U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts. She will intern with Archer Daniels Midland this summer as a commodity merchandiser.

* Emily Erickson of Clark's Hill, Ind., Outstanding Sophomore. Erickson is majoring in biochemistry and is in the Dean's Scholars program. She has worked with Michael Zanis of Purdue's Department of Botany and Plant Pathology studying adaptive evolution of grasses, and in Karen Plaut's mammary biology lab. This summer, Erickson will intern at the National Institutes of Health in the mammary stem cell biology section, where researchers are developing biological models to investigate breast cancer. Erickson is a member of the Purdue Philharmonic Orchestra and recently was named principal viola player. She is a member of the American Dairy Goat Association and 4-H and started the Purdue Goat Club. She received the Purdue College of Agriculture Award of Excellence, Edwin T. Mertz Scholarship in Biochemistry and Leath Scholarship. Erickson's Junior Oberhasli was reserve grand champion at the 2011 North American International Livestock Exposition.

* Sarah Cox of Chillicothe, Ohio, Outstanding Freshman. Cox is majoring in pre-agricultural and biological engineering and pharmaceutical sciences and is a Dean's Scholar. She is active in the Navy ROTC program and is a member of Dingy armed drill team. Cox participates in Purdue's Global Engineering Program as a member of the Ecuador Pharmaceutical Transport Team, which is designing carrying cases for laptops that Timmy Global Health will use for keeping medical records in the Amazon. In 2012, she was a World Food Prize Wallace-Carver USDA intern in Poplarville, Miss., where she investigated the use of natural plant-derived oil mixtures to combat Crown Rot in strawberries. Cox will work this summer as an environmental intern for General Mills in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She was awarded the Purdue University Presidential and Purdue University Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps scholarships.

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