Display Accessibility Tools

Accessibility Tools


Highlight Links

Change Contrast

Increase Text Size

Increase Letter Spacing

Readability Bar

Dyslexia Friendly Font

Increase Cursor Size

Alumni Awards

The College of Natural Science Alumni Awards are presented annually to alumni, faculty and students in recognition of their achievement and excellence.

The 2024 Natural Science Alumni Awards were held on Friday, April 5, 2024.


The deadline for submitting nominations for the 2025 awards celebration is Friday, September 27, 2024.

The 2025 Alumni Awards Celebration will be held on Friday, April 4th, 2025.

Questions? Please contact Sara Ford via email at fordsar2@msu.edu.

The Dan Bolin Award is presented to outstanding undergraduate students who are juniors in the College of Natural Science in recognition of their leadership qualities, community service and academic abilities. The award is named in memory of former College of Natural Science student Dan Bolin.

Recipients are chosen by the NatSci Student Advisory Council from nominations submitted by students in NatSci. Awards are presented at the annual alumni awards held in conjunction with Classes Without Quizzes.

The Dan Bolin award recipients receive a one-time stipend funded by the NatSci AA Endowed Scholarship Fund. Your gift to this fund will enable the NatSci to grow the scholarship amount granted to future award winners.

Questions? Please contact Sara Ford, NatSci Alumni Relations via email or (517) 884-0290.

2024 Dan Bolin Undergraduate Awards


Helena Bunte came to Michigan State from Raleigh, North Carolina, and
is a zoology major with a minor in marine ecosystems management.
Bunte is currently working as a receptionist at the MSU Veterinary
Medical Center and is a student research assistant in the lab of Dr.
András M. Komáromy. Bunte completed a field study abroad in South
Africa and Mozambique, and was a summer camp junior counselor
with Hope Reins of Raleigh, an organization that involves working with
rescue horses. One of her most recent accomplishments is her published
article about sea turtle conservation in the December 2023 issue of
The Current, a student-run magazine. Bunte, a member of the Honors
College, is involved in the Pre-Veterinary Medical Association Club.
Bunte’s many accomplishments during her time at MSU include being
on the Dean’s List, and receiving the Cole Scholarship, the Red Cedar
Scholarship, and the Presidential Study Abroad Scholarship. Bunte has
maintained a 4.0 GPA.


Destiny Kanning came to Michigan State from Hamburg, Germany and
is a human biology major. While at MSU, Kanning has worked as an
Advanced ER/Trauma Technician at McLaren Health Care, a medical
assistant for MSU Health Care, and a student brand ambassador for
Kaplan Test Prep. She is currently conducting voluntary clinical research
with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and MSU Health Care pediatric
specialty clinics. Kanning has been involved with many groups—Doctors
without Borders, State Singers, SONA, and the MSU Weightlifting
Club. She has received many awards and honors, including the First-
Generation Honors Association Trailblazer Award, Leader of the Year
Award, the Deans Honor Scholarship, and the Spartan Volunteer Service
Award. She is fluent in several languages, including German, Spanish,
Korean, Cantonese, and Latin. Kanning has maintained a 3.3 GPA.


James Hager came to Michigan State from Battle Creek, Mich., and
is a computational mathematics major with minors in data science,
computer science and CMSE. A research assistant in the Department
of Chemistry, his research consists of creating molecular dynamic
simulations of soil-like conditions to study how PFAS travel when
introduced through the environment. Hager is a Dean’s Research
Scholar, a member of the University Advancement Student Ambassador
Program, and serves as treasurer/vice president of All Together, a
student organization that supports children with developmental
disabilities in the Greater Lansing area. Hager has been on the Dean’s
List, is a Brennan/Devlin Research Scholar, and is the recipient of the
Spartan Volunteer Service Award. He has maintained a 3.7 GPA.


Siddak Singh Marwaha came to Michigan State from New Delhi, India,
and is a double major in data science and astrophysics. While at MSU,
Marwaha has held positions as an undergraduate teaching assistant, a
research assistant, a physics tutor, and a resident assistant. He is actively
engaged with the Burgess Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation,
and recently co-founded a company called Passionett, stemming from
a deep-seated desire to contribute to the betterment of humanity.
Marwaha has been involved in many clubs, including the Astronomy
Club, the Society of Physics Students, and the Quantum Information
and Computation Club. He is the vice president for the Undergraduate
International Student Association and a resident assistant for Student
Life and Engagement. He is also a member of the varsity sports IM
soccer team. He has volunteered with the Earth Saviours Foundation
and Sri Aurobindo Society. He has received two esteemed awards—the
International Tuition Grant and the IFFCO Scholarship. Marwaha has
maintained a 3.9 GPA.

The Meritorious Faculty Award is presented to a faculty member who has demonstrated excellence in the areas of teaching and research. Nominees must have an appointment (full or partial) in the College of Natural Science. Recipients exemplify MSU’s commitment to the land-grant mission of teaching, research and outreach through their dedication to professional, community and/or MSU service. The award includes a one-time stipend of $1000.

Anyone may submit a nomination.

The award is presented at the annual alumni awards held in conjunction with Classes Without Quizzes.

Nominations not selected to receive the award are held for three years and automatically re-nominated each year.

Questions? Please contact Sara Ford via email or (517) 884-0290.

2024 Meritorious Faculty Award

University Distinguished Professor and John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor, Departments of: Microbiology, Genetics and Immunology;
Integrative Biology; and Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences

Richard Lenski is known worldwide for the long-term evolution
experiment (sometimes called the “Lenski experiment”) with E. coli
bacteria that he started in 1988, and which continues today. Eminent
evolutionary biologist Doug Futuyma remarks that the work is “an
absolutely magnificent achievement.” Without the Lenski experiment,
many aspects of the evolutionary process would still be hidden today.

Lenski’s impact on students and trainees is also legendary. He
has mentored more than 50 graduate students and postdoctoral
researchers, and more than 60% have gone on to become professors
themselves. In addition, he has mentored people from underrepresented
backgrounds at a rate far exceeding his peers—thereby enhancing the
diversity of the U.S. workforce.

“I owe my continued success as a disabled researcher to Dr. Lenski,”
writes Dr. Kyle Card, one of Lenski’s former graduate students. “He
saw my potential long before I saw it in myself . . . He exercises trust
and understanding, and he cultivates a laboratory where a currency of
respect is valued above the research we do. These qualities make him an
outstanding scientist—and an even better human being.”

Lenski has served as a council member of the National Academy of
Sciences; was on the organizing committee for the National Academy
of Sciences for the Blavatnik U.S.–Israel Scientific Forum on Combating
Antibiotic Resistance; and was a visiting professor for the 2023 Summer
Workshop on Evolutionary Biology at the University of Basel, Switzerland.
He is currently a council member of the American Philosophical Society.

He has garnered a long list of honors and awards. He received MSU’s
William J. Beal Outstanding Faculty Award (2020); the D. C. White Award
from the American Society for Microbiology (2020); MSU’s Team Award:
Sustained Efforts toward Excellence in Diversity, presented to the BEACON
Center for the Study of Evolution in Action (2021); and the Lifetime
Achievement Award from the Society for the Study of Evolution (2021).

Lenski received his B.A. in biology from Oberlin College in 1976, and his
Ph.D. in zoology from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in 1982.
He joined the MSU faculty in 1991.

Past Recipients

  • 2023 - Michael Feig, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • 2022 - Edward F. Brown, Department of Physics and Astronomy, FRIB, and Computational Mathematics, Science and Engineering
  • 2021 - Shannon Manning, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics
  • 2020 - Gemma Reguera, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics
  • 2019 - David P. Weliky, Ph.D., Department of Chemistry
  • 2018 - L. Karl Olson, Department of Physiology
  • 2017 - Richard Hill, Integrative Biology
  • 2016 - Edward Walker, Microbiology & Molecular Genetics and Entomology
  • 2015 - Babak Borhan, Chemistry
  • 2014 - Steven Heidemann, Physiology
  • 2013 – Robert Maleczka, Chemistry
  • 2012 – Gary Westfall, Physics & Astronomy
  • 2011 – C. Robin Buell, Plant Biology
  • 2010 – Julie Libarkin, Geological Sciences
  • 2009 – James Stapleton, Statistics & Probability
  • 2008 – Aureal Cross , Geological Sciences & Plant Biology
  • 2007 – Ralph Taggart , Plant Biology & Geological Sciences
  • 2006 – Jack Bass, Physics & Astronomy, George Bird, Entomology
  • 2005 – G.J. (Mike) Karabatsos, Chemistry
  • 2004 – Edwin Kashy, Physics & Astronomy
  • 2003 – Susan Conrad, Microbiology & Molecular Genetics
  • 2002 – Loren Snyder, Microbiology & Molecular Genetics
  • 2001 – Jerry Babcock, Chemistry
  • 2000 – Robert Hausinger, Biochemistry/Microbiology
  • 1999 – Julius Kovacs, Physics & Astronomy
  • 1998 – John E. Wilson, Biochemistry
  • 1997 – Glenda Lappan, Mathematics
  • 1996 – Jack Preiss, Biochemistry
  • 1995 – Emanuel Hackel, Zoology
  • 1994 – Hans Kende, Botany & Plant Pathology
  • 1993 – Howard Hagerman, Lyman Briggs School
  • 1992 – Pamela Fraker, Biochemistry
  • 1991 – James Hamilton, Chemistry
  • 1990 – Jerry Dodgson, Biochemistry
  • 1989 – John Beaman, Botany & Plant Pathology
  • 1988 – Clarence Suelter, Biochemistry
  • 1987 – Everett Beneke, Botany & Plant Pathology
  • 1986 – Alexander Tulinsky, Chemistry
  • 1985 – Marvin Hensley, Zoology
  • 1984 – Fumio Matsumura, Pesticide Research Center
  • 1983 – John Lockwood, Botany & Plant Pathology
  • 1982 – Kyung Whan Kwun, Mathematics
  • 1981 – Leo Mericle, Botany & Plant Pathology

The Outstanding Alumni Award recognizes alumni for outstanding professional achievement and support of the college or university. Recipients exemplify MSU’s commitment to the land-grant mission of teaching, research and outreach through their dedication to professional, community and/or MSU service.

Anyone may submit a nomination.

The award is presented at the annual alumni awards held in conjunction with Classes Without Quizzes.

Nominations not selected to receive the award are held for three years and automatically re-nominated each year.

Questions? Please contact Sara Ford via email or (517) 884-0290.

2024 Outstanding Alumni Award

B.S. Microbiology ’86; M.S. Food Science ’88; Ph.D. Food Science ’05

Mark Moorman is recognized worldwide as a premier food safety thought
leader. His career has epitomized dedication to MSU’s land-grant mission
of advancing knowledge and transforming lives, firmly anchored in
service to the microbiology profession and MSU.

As current director of the Office of Food Safety at the U.S. Food and
Drug Administration (FDA), Moorman leads a large team of professionals
focused on improving the safety of our food supply. He is spearheading
efforts to adopt novel approaches in the FDA’s “New Era of Smarter Food

Moorman served as an MSU undergraduate teaching assistant in the
Food Microbiology Lab course and provided support in the development
of monoclonal antibody-based rapid mycotoxin test kits for the nascent
Neogen company, contributing to the early success of this Lansing-based
company, which has grown from a few employees in 1985 to more than
2000, today.

After completing his M.S. in food science in ’88, he joined Silliker
Laboratories of Illinois, Inc., advancing to laboratory director over the
next 10 years. In 1998, Moorman joined the Kellogg Company in Battle
Creek, MI as a microbiologist and ultimately in 2011 as senior director
of Global Scientific and Regulatory Affairs. He earned his Ph.D. in Food
Science from MSU in 2005.

At MSU, Moorman has served on the Department of Food Science and
Human Nutrition (FSHN) G. Malcolm Trout Council and the MSU Food
Science Advisory Board. He received MSU’s FSHN Outstanding Alumni
Award in 2006, and the Alumni Service Award from MSU’s College of
Agriculture and Natural Resources in 2021. He has served on the boards
and committees of a multitude of professional organizations—including
the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the International Life Sciences
Institute, and the National Center for Food and Technology.

Throughout his career, Moorman has been profoundly fascinated by
the microbial world and its impact on the safety of our global food
system. His work seeks today seeks to better understand the ecology of
microorganisms affecting our foods and the identification of preventative
measures that can assure the safety of our food supply.

Past Recipients

  • 2023 - Bryan O. Buckley, B.S. Microbiology, ’10; Master of Public Health, ’12

  • 2022 - James D. Hoeschele, Ph.D. Chemistry ’69
  • 2021 - Patrick Lukulay, Ph.D. Analytical Chemistry ’95
  • 2020 - Claudia Turro, B.S. Chemistry ’87, Ph.D. Chemistry ’92
  • 2019 - Marilyn Capelli Dimitroff, B.S. Mathematics ’66
  • 2018 - Craig Roy, Ph.D., B.S. Microbiology ’85
  • 2017 - John Woollam, M.S., Physics ’63; Ph.D., Physics ’67
  • 2016 - Patrick Smith, Chemistry ’72; M.S., Chemistry ’77; Ph.D., Chemistry ’78
  • 2015 - Damian Handzy, Physics '95
  • 2014 - Joseph Caruso, Chemistry '51
  • 2013 – Henry Edelhauser, Physiology ’64 & ’66
  • 2012 – Bobby Wilson, Chemistry ’76
  • 2011 – Eric Ayers, Microbiology ’85
  • 2010 – Azam Niroomand-Rad, Physics ’71 & ’78
  • 2009 – Susan Sylvester, Entomology ’78
  • 2008 – Kenneth Yerrick, Chemistry ’59 & ’61
  • 2007 – Stephen Warren, Zoology ’76 & Genetics ’81
  • 2006 – Mark Ehlert, Microbiology ’75
  • 2005 – Michael Donoghue, Botany ’75
  • 2004 – Eugene Parker, Physics ’48
  • 2003 – Mary Ruth Dawson, Zoology ’52
  • 2002 – Daniel Edson, Clinical Lab Science ’79
  • 2001 – Phaedon Avouris, Chemistry ’74
  • 2000 – Jack Samarias, Statistics ’70
  • 1999 – Paul O’Connor, Chemistry ’91
  • 1998 – Richard & Shirley Pendell, Bio Science ’35
  • 1997 – Durward L. Allen, Zoology ’37
  • 1996 – B.L.S. Prakasa Rao, Statistics ’66
  • 1995 – Robert Martin, Medical Technology ’71
  • 1994 – Lorenz Kull, Physics ’67
  • 1993 – Joseph Longo, Physics ’66 & ’68
  • 1992 – Paul Ts’o, Botany & Plant Pathology ’51
  • 1991 – Karen Klomparens, Botany & Plant Pathology ’72 & ’77
  • 1990 – Jerry Cowen, Physics ’50 & ’54
  • 1989 – Harley Hotchkiss, Geology ’51
  • 1988 – Gordon Guyer, Entomology ’53
  • 1987 – Charles Vincent, Chemistry ’54
  • 1986 – Reardon Campeau, Mathematics ’65
  • 1985 – Ritchie Wessling, Chemistry ’57
  • 1985 – Susan Crispin, Botany & Plant Pathology ’78 & ’80
  • 1984 – Ron Goldsberry, Chemistry ’66 & ’69
  • 1983 – Michael Schulz, Physical Science ’64
  • 1982 – Thomas Jamieson, Bio Science ’65
  • 1981 – James Orbison, Chemistry ’39
  • 1980 – Eldon Foltz, Chemistry ’41    

The Recent Alumni Award recognizes alumni who have graduated within the last 15 years and have shown outstanding professional growth. Recipients exemplify MSU’s commitment to the land-grant mission of teaching, research and outreach through their dedication to professional, community and/or MSU service.

Anyone may submit a nomination.

The award is presented at the annual alumni awards held in conjunction with Classes Without Quizzes.

Nominations not selected to receive the award are held for three years and automatically re-nominated each year.

Questions? Please contact Sara Ford via email or (517) 884-0290.

2024 Recent Alumni Award

B.S. Physics ’08, B.S. Physiology ’08

Dr. Esfahanian is a Clinical Assistant Professor of pediatric
anesthesiology at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford
(LPCHS), board certified in pediatrics, anesthesiology, and pediatric

He completed his dual bachelor’s degrees in physics and physiology at
MSU in 2008, graduating cum laude. Upon earning his M.D. degree from
Wayne State University School of Medicine in 2013, he matched into the
UC Irvine/Children’s Hospital of Orange County residency in combined
anesthesiology/pediatrics, one of only seven medical residencies to offer
such unique training at that time.

Dr. Esfahanian continued his subspecialty training at the Stanford
University School of Medicine, completing a fellowship in pediatric
anesthesiology (2018-2019) and an advanced clinical experience in
pediatric regional anesthesiology (2019-2020).

Dr. Esfahanian’s interest is in incorporating regional anesthesia techniques
in enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) pathways; he has presented
nationally on the effectiveness of head and neck nerve blocks, particularly
for cleft palate repair. He has published articles on unique regional
anesthesia techniques for the management of postoperative pain after
posterior spinal fusion in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, in addition to
ERAS programs for cleft palate repair.

He is a member of the LPCHS Cleft and Craniofacial Team, LPCHS
Pediatric Anesthesia Spine Team, and the Stanford Pediatric Regional
Anesthesia (SUPRA) Team. He is an associate director of the
Packard Clinical Pathways Program, with a focus on the creation and
implementation of perioperative and Enhanced Recovery After Surgery
(ERAS) pathways.

Dr. Esfahanian is one of a few select course instructors for the Stanford
Pediatric Anesthesiology Fellowship, is the educational director of
library sciences, and the regional anesthesia rotation director. In 2022, he
received the Teacher of the Year award for distinguished performance in
teaching, advising, and mentoring the pediatric anesthesiology fellows
at the Stanford University School of Medicine, Division of Pediatric

He is an active member of multiple national societies, including the
American Society of Anesthesiologists, the Society of Pediatric
Anesthesiology, the American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain
Medicine, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Past Recipients

  • 2023 - Jelani Zarif, Ph.D. Cell and Molecular Biology ’14
  • 2022 - Mark Ondari, Ph.D. Chemistry '10
  • 2021 - Shannon Morey, B.S. Chemistry ’10
  • 2020 - Kristina Martin, B.S. Clinical Laboratory Science ’02, M.S. Biomedical Laboratory Operations ’07
  • 2019 - Eeda Marie Wallbank, B.S. Environmental Biology and Botany ’05
  • 2018 - Paul Thomas, M.D., B.S. Human Biology ’09
  • 2017 - Jason Pratt, B.S. Microbiology and Molecular Genetics ’05
  • 2016 - Chelsea Walton, Ph.D. Mathematics '05
  • 2015 - Jennifer Schomaker, Ph.D. Chemistry ’06
  • 2014 - Karen Wayland, Ph.D. Environmental Geosciences and Resource Development ’01
  • 2013 – Sasha Fawaz, Zoology and Psychology '08
  • 2012 – Li Fan, Biochemistry ’00
  • 2010 – Dan Mindiola, Chemistry ’96
  • 2008 – Brian Langley, Chemistry ’99
  • 2005 – Wakeshi Benson, Chemistry ’96
  • 2003 – Carl Bruch, Physics ’96

The Tracy A. Hammer Graduate Student Award for Professional Development is presented to an outstanding graduate student in support of their professional development. Nominees must be pursuing a degree in the College of Natural Science

Faculty and students may submit a nomination.

The award is presented at the annual alumni awards held in conjunction with Classes Without Quizzes.

The award was renamed in 1996 to memorialize 1995 co-recipient Tracy Anne Hammer. A native of New York, Hammer was the first dual degree candidate to pursue a doctoral degree in animal genetics through the Department of Microbiology and Veterinary Medicine. Her research centered on canine dilated cardiomyopathy. Hammer died in a plane crash shortly before graduation and her degree was awarded posthumously.

The Tracy A. Hammer award recipients receive a one-time stipend of $750 funded by the NatSci AA Endowed Scholarship Fund. Your gift to this fund will enable the College of Natural Science to grow the scholarship amount granted to future award winners.

Questions? Please contact Sara Ford via email or (517) 884-0290.

2023 Tracy A. Hammer Graduate Student Awards

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Joshua Kaste continues to earn top grades while fulfilling the course requirements for BMB, as well as two additional training programs—the NSF-IMPACTS program in computational plant biology, and the NIHfunded Plant Biotechnology for Health and Sustainability (PBHS). He demonstrates a creative flair in addressing issues ranging from metabolic engineering, to evolutionary patterns of gene expression, to metabolic flux analysis, to integrating metabolic modeling and omic datasets to accurately predict metabolic fluxes in whole plants. His ultimate goal is to inform the engineering of plants for sustainable
biosynthesis of biofuel and high-value products.

After earning his B.S. in plant sciences, summa cum laude, from Cornell University in 2016, Kaste was the supervisor of an agricultural genomics lab for three years before coming to MSU. He developed assays in collaboration with the USDA and worked with large-scale plant and animal breeding groups to provide high-quality, fast-turnaround genotypic data via microarray and next-generation sequencing platforms. He has been a first author or co-first author on several papers. In addition to his stellar academic and research progress, he is dedicated to the education and professional development of others. He has played leadership roles in the IMPACTS and PBHS programs, helping to organize and run their symposia; and he has played a major part in bringing a bioinformatics class project on topological data analysis to completion for publication. Most remarkably, he developed a complete set of hands-on computer-aided exercises for exploring the concepts and practice of metabolic flux analysis for an intensive workshop for Ph.D. students and postdocs that he co-taught in May 2022.

This award stipend will help defray expenses for Kaste to attend and present his work at a scientific conference. He expects to complete his Ph.D. in 2024.

Past Recipients

  • 2022 - Daniel Puentes, Physics and Ana-Maria Raicu, Cell and Molecular Biology Program
  • 2021 - Patricia Perez-Bonilla, Neuroscience and Pharmacology/Toxicology and Keenan Noyes, Chemistry
  • 2020 - Sean L. Nguyen Cell and Molecular Biology and Environmental Toxicology and Ilias Magoulas Theoretical and Computational Chemistry
  • 2019 - David Bowersm Program in Mathematics Education (PRIME) and Caitlin Kara Kirby, Earth and Environmental Science and Environmental Science and Policy
  • 2018 - Oyemolade Osibodu, Program in Mathematics Education (PRIME) and Visala Rani Satyam, Program in Mathematics Education (PRIME)
  • 2017 - Connie Rojas, Integrative Biology and Ecology
  • 2016 - Paula Gajewski, Genetics Program and Patricia Jaimes Department of Geological Sciences
  • 2015 - Jie Li, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and Elizabeth Schultheis, Plant Biology
  • 2014 - Kumar Ashtekar, Chemistry
  • 2013 – Alexandria Theakston Musselman, Program in Mathematics Education and Emily Weigel, Zoology
  • 2012 – Arvind Jaganathan, Chemistry
  • 2011 – Tomomi Suwa, Plant Biology
  • 2010 – Samuel Pappas, Physiology and Sarah Heim, Physics & Astronomy
  • 2009 – Kimberly Cervello, Science and Mathematics Education and David Duriancik, Food Science & Human Nutrition
  • 2008 – Ed Kabara, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and Jaime Kopper, Cell & Molecular Biology Program
  • 2007 – Rashad Simmons, Chemistry
  • 2006 – Ellen Wilch, Genetics Program
  • 2005 – Melissa Meaney, Chemistry
  • 2004 – Anne Fischer, Chemistry
  • 2003 – Emil Bozin, Physics & Astronomy
  • 2002 – Shannon Haymond, Chemistry and Shibani Mukherjee, Microbiology & Molecular Genetics
  • 2000 – Micah Stowe, Chemistry
  • 1999 – Thomas A. Cullen, Chemistry
  • 1998 – Mark A. Waner, Chemistry
  • 1997 – Matthew Gardner, Chemistry and Vaughn Wagner, Zoology
  • 1996 – Eleny-Nicoleta Ionel, Mathematics and Tedi Draghici, Mathematics
  • 1995 – Jose de Ondarza, Physiology and Tracy A. Hammer, Microbiology and Veterinary Medicine
  • 1994 – Nancy S. Barta, Chemistry
  • 1993 – Philip Schultz, Chemistry