Lins and Payne named outstanding CAFES seniors

May 8, 2019 - The College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences (CAFES) at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls presented awards to two outstanding seniors at their 36th Annual Senior Supper on April 24.
The Rochelle Junkman Seymour award for the graduating senior with the highest GPA went to Montana Lins, an animal science major from Avoca. He was not able to be present to accept his award because he was completing his first year of veterinary school. Lins was accepted in the Food Animal Veterinary Medical Scholars (FAVeMedS) program by the School of Veterinary Medicine at UW-Madison after completing his first year at UW-River Falls. Only four students each year from across the state are accepted into this program.

During his time at UW-River Falls, Lins was a member of the Academic Quadrathlon team that took first place in the oral competition at the 2018 Midwest Section of the American Society of Animal Science meeting. Lins also collaborated with one of the 2018 outstanding seniors, Rebecca Storlie, on a research project to develop a novel approach for artificial insemination of ewes. The project was done under the guidance of Justin Luther, professor of animal science. Lins and Storlie captured first place and the People’s Choice Award in the first ever WiSys Quick Pitch competition at UW-River Falls with this project.
“Montana is truly an outstanding student. He is one of only a dozen or so students I have taught in biometrics over the last 10 years that truly understands statistical theory,” Gary Onan, professor of animal science and Lin’s academic adviser said. “I have a photograph of the 2018 Academic Quadrathlon team on my desk with the caption “reaching new heights” and in Montana’s case, that is true both intellectually and physically (he is really tall!).”
Vicki Payne, of Plymouth, received the Dr. Earl Hildebrand Memorial Award. This award is presented to a student who best exemplifies a combination of scholastic achievement, extracurricular involvement and leadership roles within the college. Seniors are nominated for this award by faculty in the college, with the College Scholarship Committee making the final selection.
Payne graduates May 11 with a degree in animal science with equine and meat animal emphases. She has worked at the Campus Farm and been active in clubs and on intercollegiate competitive teams. She was co-captain of the Horse Judging Team and the IHSA Hunt Seat Team, served as the IHSA Show Chair, and held elected office as secretary and subsequently as president of the Horseman’s Association.
Most recently, Payne was the student manager for the 2019 Colt Sale, handling the pedigree research and the photography for the sale website and social media. She has been the face of the UW-River Falls equine program for many prospective students as she has been a volunteer farm tour guide for campus visit days and interacted with high school students as a volunteer for the annual Falcon Ag Challenge, the Ag Technology Contest and youth horse judging clinics.
Payne has volunteered off campus at This Old Horse, a non-profit sanctuary, been a guest speaker at 4-H horse and pony clubs, and a bell ringer for the Salvation Army. In September 2018, she started her own business, Solid Ground Equine Massage Therapy, LLC.

In their letter of nomination, the equine faculty summed up their comments about Vicki by saying, “With her affable personality and motivation, the CAFES work, volunteering efforts, research and extracurricular activities she has completed, Vicki has demonstrated that she is a fantastic student and individual. It’s been a true pleasure for each of us to interact, teach and work alongside her.”

The Senior Supper is hosted by the CAFES Alumni Association. Association President Whitney Thome, ’11, served as the emcee. The program traditionally features speakers from industry, the graduating class, and the faculty. This year’s speakers were Michael Van Handel, ‘03, national sales solution manager with Land O’Lakes Purina Feed; Jared Retzlaff, agricultural marketing communications major; and James Graham, professor of agricultural education. Students who earned Cum Laude merit and/or completed the Honors Program were also recognized during the program and presented with cords to wear at commencement.

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