2015 Horticultural Science Service Awards

The annual Horticultural Science Service Award Ceremony, hosted Monday, June 15th, honored our faculty, staff and student and their exemplary contributions and performance. The department had an excellent year in terms of awards and honors.

The criteria of the service awards are based on:

  1. Departmental and/or Community/Public Service – unique contributions, assuming additional duties, leading initiatives, leadership roles, etc., beyond typical expectations.  Community/public service:  outreach and volunteerism in the community or other areas outside of the department.
  2. Human relations – enhancing the quality and morale of the department, mentoring others, supporting coworkers and students, etc.
  3. Work performance – outstanding accomplishments, impacts, innovations, productivity, grades, leadership, excellence, etc.


Sushila Chaudhari receiving 2015 Horticulture Service AwardSushila Chaudhari – Graduate student recipient

Sushila exemplifies what we would like to see in our graduate students.  She is dedicated, hardworking, smart and productive.  She has received numerous awards already.  She has worked with growers both in India, but also in North Carolina through her presentations on tomato grafting and weed identification and management.  She helped teach a workshop to a group of visiting African Scholars.  According to the nominator, “she has been the most active of all our weed science students in the department in extension and outreach activities in the last ten years”.  Sushila has provided great leadership among the graduate students in our program.  Sushila has been active in the department student groups, serving as the Secretary/Treasurer in the Horticultural Science Graduate Student Association, as well as computer chair and assisting with three years of PAX plant sales.

Sushila has also shined outside of the department.  She participates in Service Raleigh, helping it to meet the needs of the community.

Issac Lewis receiving 2015 Horticulture Service AwardIssac Lewis – Staff recipient

With great humor and energy, Issac Lewis is a dedicated staff member of the department. Issac is an indispensable part of the Pesticide Education Program, run by Wayne Buhler.  Besides the many day to day activities, Issac has taken the initiative to set up and maintain a merchant account and website where all of the Pesticide Education resources and services can be easily purchased.  He has created a web portal and coordinated working with Kay Zimmerman, Associate Vice Provost for Distance Education & Learning Technology Applications (DELTA) to bring pesticide safety education online and to help others in the department do so as well.

Last summer Issac was elected to the University Staff Senate as a representative of our college and department. Since the fall of 2012, Issac has served as one of two Staff Representatives at faculty meetings and has filled in for Michelle at times in recording faculty meeting minutes.  For the last two years, Issac has served as Department Co-chair of the State Employees’ Combined Campaign, making it fun and enjoyable for everyone.  Issac is also known for the endless number of small things that he does, from tracking folks down to make sure they know they have a package to locking up the building when needed and helping to clean up the periodic leaks and floods.

However, Issac is probably best known for his humor and jovial attitude.  I look forward to when Issac will be take over the world and be the benevolent overlord.

Tom Monaco receiving 2015 Horticulture Service AwardTom Monaco – Faculty recipient

As Head of the Horticultural Science Department for 15 years, Tom Monaco oversaw many changes in the department.  He is probably most proud of the faculty he has hired, nurtured and guided, helping to launch their careers.  He helped the JCR Arboretum become the well-known institution it is today and guided the establishment of the Southern Region Small Fruit Consortium in 1999.  As a faculty member his also very proud of the 15 PhD and 15 Masters students he has worked with who are spread all over the country.

Even after retirement he has served as coordinator for the Southern Region Small Fruits Consortium since 2003. He is also Director of commodity relations for the college.  During which time he has actively promoted the Covington Sweetpotato Endowment for Excellence, which has raised $1.2 million.

Upon his retirement, Tom and his wife Jenny established the Thomas J. and Virginia S. Monaco Horticultural Science Graduate Fellowship Endowment for Diversity, which has supplemented the assistantships of many graduate students since it was established 12 years ago.

Tom has been as active in retirement as well.  He is active on the Ground Committee for St. Michaels Episcopal Church, serving as the curator for the labyrinth on the church grounds, which was designed by Anne Spaffords’ students. He and his wife deliver Meals on Wheels through their church.

Gregory Scott receiving 2015 Horticulture Service AwardGregory Scott – Pride of the Wolfpack Award

In his role as Building Liaison Contact with Facilities, Gregory has been outstanding. We are having ceiling tiles (asbestos abatement) and lights replaced second floor Kilgore Hall. He has kept the occupants of the offices impacted very well informed of progress. The work was described in color coded zones. We receive multiple updates for each of the zones so that we can track progress and plan as to when we will be back in our offices. On smaller projects, he was shown great communication skills and concern by keeping everyone aware of what is going to be going on in the building and how long projects are likely to impact “Kilgorians.”

Thank you to Michelle Healey and the Departmental Awards committee for organizing and facilitating the awards process.