College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

ABE faculty, students receive ASABE awards

Five faculty and two students in the Iowa State Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering received awards during the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers annual international meeting.

The meeting was held virtually this year from July 13-15.

Award winners:

Adina Howe

New Holland Young Researcher Award

 Howe is an ABE assistant professor and teaches courses in numerical and research methods and conducts research on the connections between agriculture, society, and land and water resources. Howe is a prolific and highly creative scholar, and is an outstanding research mentor to graduate and undergraduate students.

Howe’s cutting-edge research seeks to improve water quality through studying pollutant fate and transport of microbial pathogens and genes. Howe’s research has been used to inform decisions and policy through the detection and quantification of both harmful and beneficial genes in the environment. She identifies beneficial plant-microbial activities which can lead to sustainable crop and land management strategies. She has developed and led workshops to train diverse researchers locally and globally in data science topics.

Ramesh Kanwar

ADS/Hancor Soil and Water Engineering Award

Kanwar is the Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor of Water Resources Engineering. He teaches and conducts research in water and ecological engineering, environmental and natural resources engineering, water quality, groundwater hydrology, irrigation, drainage, and sustainable development systems for global food security and safety.

Kanwar has made significant contributions and impacts to international higher education, research and consultancy. His efforts have led to developing technologies for improving the safety of water supplies around the world. Kanwar has designed, funded and directed a series of international water projects in China, Chana, Vietnam, Myanmar, Uzbekistan, India, Romania and Georgia.

Amy Kaleita

2020 Class of Fellows

Kaleita, ABE professor and associate chair for teaching, was honored as a fellow for her sustained excellence in education, research and service. Throughout her career, Kaleita has been devoted to providing high quality education to young engineers and to creating a robust research program. She teaches courses in soil and water conversation management and engineering and analytical techniques for data and modeling. Kaleita also conducts research on information technology for precision conservation, remote sensing, hydrologic modeling, precision farming, and advanced analytical methods for understanding the influence of spatiotemporally variable soil and hydrologic properties.

She leads a collaborative research program with more than $7 million in external support and has received over $4 million in external support for educational programs. Kaleita has also participated in a variety of outreach activities, including serving as chair of the ISU College of Engineering Honors Program committee.

Suzanne Leonard

2nd place – Boyd-Scott Graduate Research Award

Leonard’s research, “Static and Dynamic Space Usage of Late Gestation Sows,” received second place in the Ph.D. category. She is currently a fourth-year doctoral student in agricultural and biosystems engineering at Iowa State and a postdoctoral research associate. Originally from Dugspur, Virginia, she completed her bachelor’s in biological engineering from North Carolina State University in 2016. Leonard’s graduate research is focused on optimizing animal production systems by evaluating housing designs for sows. Upon completion of her degree, she plans to work in extension.

Dirk Maier

Sukup Global Food Security Award

Maier is an ABE professor and director of the Consortium for Innovation in Post-Harvest Loss and Food Waste Reduction. He has visiting faculty appointments at three universities in Africa. He is faculty advisor and mentor to the Iowa State Engineers Without Borders student chapter which is building a new clinic in Northern Ghana. Maier is responsible for leading an internationally-recognized research and outreach program in post-harvest engineering and technology applied to grain and feed operations and processing. He also leads international outreach of the Iowa Grain Quality Initiative, which focuses in enhancing the market preference, consumption, and utilization of Iowa and U.S. corn, soybeans and their value-added products for the global grain and feed industry.

His current research involves value-added processing of crops and products. His Consortium initiative has enhanced the national and international reputation of Iowa State as a leader in the fight against global food and nutrition insecurity.

Gretchen Mosher

SMV Technologies Ergonomics, Safety and Health Award

Mosher is an ABE associate professor and teaches courses in total quality management and a senior capstone. She also conducts research on safety and quality management in the grain and feed processing industry, specifically on the evaluation and risk analysis of human elements in grain and feed systems.

Mosher has created one of the leading agricultural safety programs by examining the nexus of occupational safety, quality management, and employee decision making in grain elevators and related facilities. She has also led educational interventions for nearly 600 grain elevator workers on combustion hazards of grain dust, and participated in significant outreach and service at the local, regional and national levels.

Abby Schaefer

Yoerger Preprofessional Engineer of the Year Award

Schaefer recently graduated with her bachelor’s degree with distinction in agricultural and biosystems engineering and a minor in chemistry. While at Iowa State, she worked as a teaching assistant for Numerical Methods for Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering. Throughout her undergraduate career, Schaefer conducted research in wastewater treatment improvements.

Schaefer has received a number of awards and scholarships, including the 2019 and 2018 ASABE Iowa Section Fall scholarship, the Iowa State Program of Study awards in 2019 and 2020, and the 2017 Women in Science and Engineering award. She has been involved in Alpha Epsilon, Pi Beta Phi, and has served as a College of Engineering tour guide for prospective students since 2017.