Awards Programs Recognize Outstanding Alumni and Faculty

Monday, December 12, 2022

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The award winners stand against a logo backdrop smiling and holding up their plaques
2022 PVM Faculty Awards recipients (left–right): Drs. Harm HogenEsch, Paula Johnson, GuangJun Zhang, Dianne Little, and Kenitra Hendrix. Not pictured: Drs. Marxa Figueiredo, Kellie McGrady, and Stephanie Thomovsky

Several PVM faculty members were recognized with awards this fall for teaching, research, service, and excellence in diversity and inclusion. Additionally, the 2022 Distinguished Alumnus Award and the college’s most prestigious teaching award were presented during the annual Purdue Veterinary Conference.

Dr. Marxa Figueiredo, associate professor of basic medical sciences, received the Zoetis Distinguished Teacher Award, given annually to an outstanding teacher at each veterinary school in North America. The award recipient also is eligible to compete for the National Zoetis Distinguished Teacher Award. Dr. Figueiredo teaches Veterinary Cell and Tissue Design to first-year DVM students. Selected for the award by veterinary students, Dr. Figueiredo is known for her kind and caring approach that conveys to the students how she truly cares about their learning and about each of them as individuals. She is praised for always being willing to take the time to explain concepts and answer students’ questions.

Dr. Kenitra Hendrix, director of the Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory and clinical associate professor of comparative pathobiology, was honored with the PVM Excellence in Service Award for demonstrating consistent and sustained delivery of services. Dr. Hendrix joined the faculty in 2013 as section head of the ADDL’s Bacteriology Laboratory. She is commended for her commitment to serving ADDL clients and the Purdue University Veterinary Hospital. Since assuming the role of director in 2019, she has worked diligently to improve efficiency and client communications, which are key in serving the State of Indiana.

Dr. Harm HogenEsch, associate dean for research and Distinguished Professor of Immunopathology, received the Alumni Faculty Award for Excellence. Nominated by fellow faculty and selected by a committee of faculty and alumni, the award recognizes performance and contributions in research, instruction, and public relations and professional services. Dr. HogenEsch joined the PVM faculty in 1994 and rose through the academic ranks until he was promoted to full professor in 2001. He was appointed as associate dean for research and graduate programs in 2008. The award recognizes Dr. HogenEsch for his transformative and collaborative research efforts and noteworthy accomplishments, including his well-known research on vaccine development and vaccine adjuvants.

Dr. Paula Johnson, clinical associate professor of small animal emergency and critical care in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, was presented with the PVM Faculty Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion Award, honoring faculty who demonstrate a commitment to diversity and inclusion through active recruitment and retention efforts, teaching, research, multicultural programming, community outreach activities, or other initiatives. Dr. Johnson joined PVM in 2004 in a part-time capacity to help with the expansion of the Purdue University Veterinary Hospital’s Emergency Services by providing a 24-hour service for the local community. In 2007, she accepted a full-time position and helped foster an amazing increase in the hospital’s caseload. Additionally, Dr. Johnson has actively engaged in initiatives to help diversify the veterinary medical profession, including work with Veterinarians as One Inclusive Community for Empowerment (VOICE) and the Vet Up! program.

Dr. Dianne Little, associate professor of basic medical sciences who also holds a courtesy appointment in the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, received the Zoetis Award for Veterinary Research Excellence for her role in generating new knowledge through basic and clinical research. Since joining PVM in 2016, she has maintained an extensive research portfolio with a focus on orthopedic diseases and regenerative engineering that has been continuously funded for eleven years by the NIH. In conjunction with her research, Dr. Little has built an extensive network of collaborators, involving scientists at universities, research institutes, and private companies. She also is a dedicated mentor, serving as committee chair for 11 graduate students.

Dr. Kellie McGrady, lecturer in the Department of Veterinary Administration, was presented with the PVM Alumni Outstanding Teaching Award. Dr. McGrady is the instructor-of-record for the first-year Veterinary Skills and Competencies (VSAC) courses and also teaches the Applications and Integrations courses, and occasionally in some Veterinary Nursing courses. Dr. McGrady is recognized as a dedicated teacher who works to apply sound pedagogical principles to optimize student learning, is patient and understanding, and welcomes student feedback.

Dr. Stephanie Thomovsky, clinical associate professor of veterinary neurology and rehabilitation medicine in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, received the college’s Excellence in Teaching Award, as nominated by her peers. Dr. Thomovsky joined PVM in 2014 and has taught neurology, neurosciences, and rehabilitation medicine in multiple courses. Additionally, she has played an integral role in the training of five neurology and neurosurgery residents. Students praised Dr. Thomovsky for her energy, enthusiasm, and engaging presentation style.

Dr. GuangJun Zhang, the John T. and Winifred M. Hayward Associate Professor of Genetic Research, Genetic Epidemiology, and Comparative Medicine in the Department of Comparative Pathobiology, was honored with the Excellence in Research Award for his role in generating new knowledge through basic and clinical research. Since joining the faculty in 2012, Dr. Zhang has become recognized for his expertise in genetics and the zebrafish model of human and animal diseases, including cancers. This specialization has led to his lab supporting many researchers at Purdue with collaborations across campus and over $18 million in outside funding including support from the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense, and the National Science Foundation.

Dr. Fred Metzger (PU DVM ’86) received the Distinguished Alumnus Award, an honor bestowed upon only 68 of the college’s more than 3,500 DVM and 1,200 veterinary nursing graduates. After earning his DVM degree in 1986, Dr. Metzger returned to his hometown of State College, Pennsylvania, where he established a veterinary practice in 1992. The practice has since grown to more than 90 team members including 13 doctors and 17 certified veterinary technicians who see more than 30,000 patients annually. An adjunct professor at Penn State and consultant for IDEXX Laboratories and Antech Diagnostics, Dr. Metzger is a popular presenter at many conferences, frequently lecturing alongside his friend and mentor, Dr. Dennis DeNicola (PU DVM ’78, PhD ’81). He also is known for works he co-authored with another mentor, former PVM Dean Alan Rebar (PU DVM ’73, PhD ’75), entitled, Clinical Pathology Interpretation in Geriatric Veterinary Patients, and A Guide to Hematology in Dogs and Cats.

Dr. Larry Adams, professor of small animal internal medicine and Small Animal Internal Medicine section head for the Purdue University Veterinary Hospital, was recognized with the Raymond E. Plue Outstanding Teacher Award. Established by Dr. Plue (PU DVM ’68) through a generous endowment, the award recognizes outstanding teachers who make an extra effort to influence and inspire students, in the same way that the late Dr. Billy Hooper inspired Dr. Plue when he was a student and Dr. Hooper was on the faculty. Nominations are made by alumni in the five most recently graduated classes, and submitted to the college’s Alumni Liaison Committee, which recommends a recipient to the dean.

the group of four stand together smiling in front of the stage
Pictured together at the Purdue Veterinary Conference (left-right): Dr. Dennis DeNicola (PU DVM ’78) with new Distinguished Alumnus Dr. Fred Metzger (PU DVM ’86), and the 2022 Raymond E. Plue Outstanding Teacher, Dr. Larry Adams and his wife, Dr. Laurie Adams.

Writer(s): Purdue Veterinary Medicine News |

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