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Don B. Huntley College of Agriculture

Students, Faculty, Staff of the Year Award Recipients Named

Published Date: Apr 11, 2017 12:00:00 PM

College of Agriculture News

The Department of Human Nutrition and Food Science is well represented among the recipients of the Huntley College of Agriculture annual awards.

Professor Bonny Burns-Whitmore was chosen as the Mack H. Kennington Advisor of the Year Award, given to the advisor who does the best quality work in advising students on academics and their career plans.

Students who nominated Burns-Whitmore praised her for her passion for teaching and her commitment to her students.

“I have taken two classes with her, and I am always on my toes. I learned quickly that she expects critical thinkers and hard workers,” one wrote. “Although Dr. Burns-Whitmore is busy, she never misses an email. Her prompt responses surprise me, because I have witnessed dozens of students in and out of her office daily. She makes time for all of us.”

University President Soraya Coley will host a spring quarter event where Burns-Whitmore and outstanding advisors from other colleges are honored. Burns-Whitmore’s name also will be inscribed on a permanent plaque displayed in the College of Agriculture.

Assistant Professor Gabriel Davidov-Pardo, also in human nutrition and food science, was chosen as the Teacher of the Year in his second year at Cal Poly Pomona.

The award is given to the teacher who demonstrates caring, the ability to manage the learning process, subject matter competence, zeal for teaching, scholarly writings, development of new curriculum or teaching materials or other contributions.

Students who nominated Davidov-Pardo spoke of how enthusiastic, approachable and patient he was with students, even while presenting challenging material.

“What I found unprecedented in his behavior toward his students’ projects was that he wanted each project to succeed as badly as his students,” one said. “I have found that he takes pride in his students’ success, not only his own.”

Frances Loya, the administrative support coordinator for human nutrition and food science, was chosen for the Staff of the Year Award. The award is given to a staff member who demonstrates caring, good communication skills, initiative, the ability to assist with the learning process and contributions to a department, the college, or university.

Faculty members and students praised her for her institutional knowledge, the ability to juggle multiple responsibilities simultaneously, and dedication to completing projects – all “while sending everyone away with a smile.”

“Frances is one of the most organized people that I know. She is always able to help me with my questions and even anticipate problems to avoid them,” one faculty member said. “I have no doubt that our department functions mainly because of her efforts.”

Branden Garner and Andy Reynaga were named the John E. Andrews Student Leaders of the Year. The award is given to the undergraduate and graduate students for scholarship, service, and contributions to others, including fellow students, their departments, the food and agricultural industry, and community.

Garner is a senior in agribusiness and food industry management and was named to the Dean’s List. He has served as a Cal Poly Pomona student ambassador, giving campus tours to visitors and representing the university at college fairs and events. He also has served as a missionary last summer to Greece and Germany and has led Bible studies for Cal Poly Pomona Cru.

“I have witnessed him on many occasions exhibiting great leadership qualities such as agenda design, communication skills, time management, and negotiation skills,” a faculty member wrote. “He is always willing to lend a hand for the College of Ag, department or major. He brings new ideas and great enthusiasm to everything he completes.”

Reynaga is a graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in agriculture with a sub plan in nutrition and food science who was recently accepted to medical school. As an undergraduate, he worked his way through Cal Poly Pomona while also holding a full-time job as director of dietary services for an Orange County health services company. Reynaga has worked on a number of research studies, tutored and lectured nutrition students, counseled high school athletes and Hispanic women about nutrition, and is a nutrition and dietetic technician, registered.

“He has been a manager in many of his jobs and always seems to be the group leader of any project he is involved with,” a faculty member wrote. “I have noticed both graduate and undergraduate students gravitate to him to ask questions. He usually knows the answers, and if he doesn’t, he looks it up for them.”

The Huntley College of Agriculture will recognize all the honorees at Commencement on Friday, June 9