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Ballard, Wester, students win big at Wildlife Society Texas Chapter

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            KINGSVILLE (March 7, 2019) — The Wildlife Society Student Chapter from Texas A&M University-Kingsville brought home a number of awards from the Texas Chapter of the Wildlife Society (TCTWS) state meeting. In addition, a number of faculty members also won awards.


            Kelly Wood, a senior from Victoria received one of the highest honors, the Colin Caruthers Award. That earned Wood, the Texas A&M-Kingsville chapter’s Distinguished Student Award.


            Michael Page, a senior from Kennedale received the Charly McTee Award and Mikayla House, a master’s student from Helotes, received the Sam Beasom Memorial Award.


            Two faculty members received major awards. Dr. David B. Wester, professor, received the Educator of the Year award and Dr. Bart Ballard, professor and C. Berdon and Rolannette Lawrence Endowed Chair in Waterfowl Research, was made an Honorary Life Member.


            In the student poster competition, Texas A&M-Kingsville brought home second and third place awards. Jason Loghry, a senior from Rockport, placed second with his poster Wetland Use and characterization of Mexican wetlands used by wintering midcontinent Greater White-fronted geese. Placing third in the graduate student class was Brandon Palmer from Rochester, Michigan. His poster topic was Quantifying the spatial and temporal distribution of thermal refugia for northern bobwhites using an unmanned aerial vehicle.


            Two graduate students placed second and third in the photo contest. Silverio Avilla-Sanchez from Tampico, Mexico placed second followed by Palmer in third.


            The plant identification team placed second as a team with individuals placing second and third. Kye Johnston, a junior from Victoria placed second and David Rosales, a senior from Laredo was third.


            Team members include graduate students Dillan Drabek from Schulenburg, Jose Cortez from Roma and Darrion Crowley from Seadrift; seniors Rosales, Marco Urive from Mission and Rudy Rosales from Laredo; junior Johnston; sophomores Micayla Pearson from La Vernia; Alejandro Bazaldua from Harlingen and Weston Stone from Breckenridge; and freshman Sam Stone from Austin.


            A group of faculty also won an award for their popular article Things you may have heard about chronic wasting disease published in the February 2018 issue of Texas Wildlife magazine. Those faculty include Dr. David Hewitt, Professor and Leroy G. Denman Jr. Endowed Executive Director of Wildlife Research; Dr. Fred Bryant, professor and director of development; Dr. Charlie DeYoung, professor emeritus and research scientist; Dr. Randy DeYoung, associate professor and research scientist; and Dr. Clayton Hilton, associate professor and director of veterinary technology.


About Dr. David B. Wester

            Dr. David B. Wester was the statistician at Texas Tech University and professor in their wildlife program from 1976 to 2011. After that, he joined the faculty at Texas A&M-Kingsville and has held a similar position for the past seven years.


            Wester teaches experimental design, regression, non-parametric statistics and multivariate statistics on a rotational basis. “He has taught literally over 1,000 students experimental design during his tenure as a professor,” said nominator Dr. Scott Henke, Regents Professor and chair of the animal, rangeland and wildlife sciences department. “Many of us within the wildlife profession, including myself, owe our statistical research knowledge to Dr. Wester.”


            According to Henke, Wester teaches an overload of courses each semester because he feels our student needs should come first.        


            “Dr. Wester assists graduate students with their analyses of their wildlife research for thesis and dissertation. Last year alone, he assisted 45 graduate students which amounted to more than 1,100 hours of effort,” Henke said.


About Dr. Bart Ballard

            Dr. Bart Ballard has served as vice president, president-elect and president of the TCTWS.


            “Many say his lab feels more like a close family, but he has another family, that is, a family of peer wildlife biologists. They gather once a year,” said Dr. Jena Moon, TCTWS president. “As past president, Dr. Ballard has been a true role model for me in working into my role this year.”


            “Perhaps the most noticeable aspect of Dr. Ballard’s mentoring style is the comradery he develops with his students and other professionals. He fosters an inclusive, family-like atmosphere for both his students and other professionals alike,” she said.


            “His uncanny ability to foster relationships and bring conservationists together is exceptional and he continually strives for excellence in research and teaching,” Moon said.



Category: Ag/Env & Wildlife Sci

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