Nelson, Baier named Outstanding Seniors

Wisconsin State Farmer

RIVER FALLS - Each year the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences (CAFES) at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls presents two awards to outstanding seniors in the College. The awards were announced at the 34th Annual CAFES Senior Supper on April 26. The recipients were Kristopher Nelson, a double major in agricultural business and dairy science from Arena, and Faith Baier, an animal science major from Durand.

The Dr. Earl Hildebrand Memorial Award for the Outstanding Senior in CAFES was presented to Nelson. This award honors 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. The College Scholarship Committee reviews all nominations and makes the final selection.

In their letter of nomination the faculty members said, “Mr. Nelson is one of the most engaged, enthusiastic, and brightest students that we have had the pleasure of teaching at UWRF. His work ethic and caring nature are constantly demonstrated by his work in and out of the classroom.”

After noting a number of campus and community organizations and activities Nelson has been involved in, the nominators highlighted his leadership skills. Nelson was not always successful in seeking elected office in the organizations but he always helped the leadership team that was elected to be successful, because he felt it was the right thing to do for the organization. He has gone above and beyond to help fellow students struggling with the course material. While serving on the Inter-Fraternal Council, he created a practical approach to teach Greek members to be accountable for their actions and to speak up when they see injustice.

Nelson’s dream is to return to the dairy farm where he was raised. He plans to work part-time off the farm after graduation to help financially support his entry into the business.

Baier received the Rochelle Junkman Seymour Award as the graduating senior in the College with the highest GPA.

Her adviser described her as a truly exceptional young professional saying “I am often impressed by the professionalism of her communication and her ability to take other students under her wing and mentor them.”

Through her work on several undergraduate research projects, Baier developed a passion for understanding the relationship of food animal welfare, behavior, and health. In summer 2016, Baier worked with the Kraft-Heinz company to develop an animal welfare risk assessment tool which is currently being installed for use on turkey farms that contract with Kraft-Heinz.

Baier’s original goal was veterinary school, but with her newly found passion for food animal welfare and research, she recently turned down her acceptance into veterinary school and accepted a graduate assistantship at Colorado State University under Professor Temple Grandin.

The annual Senior Supper is sponsored by the CAFES Alumni Association to recognize the accomplishments of the graduating seniors and to welcome them into the ranks of alumni.