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Davis College announces 2021-22 outstanding faculty awards

The Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design at West Virginia University recently named recipients for its 2021-2022 outstanding faculty awards.

“These last two years brought unexpected challenges inside and outside the classroom,” said Dean Darrell Donahue. “However, our faculty persevered and continued to provide high-quality education, groundbreaking research and service to our community and state. From our dedicated faculty, this year three reached new heights in their achievements in support of our land grant mission at WVU.”

Outstanding Teaching Award: Annette “Nettie” Puglisi Freshour

Nettie Freshour

This year’s Outstanding Teaching Award recipient is Annette “Nettie” Freshour, teaching associate professor of human nutrition and foods.

Freshour taught four different courses focused on human nutrition within the Division of Animal and Nutritional Sciences

Student engagement is at the heart of Freshour’s teaching. She also uses her own professional experiences as a sports dietitian and nutrition counselor to enhance student learning In her  class, introduction to nutrition and foods, most of her students are athletes or want to work with athletes, which allows her to discuss practical strategies for fueling. 

“Teaching nutritional education and counseling, I get to share situational strategies with the students that they may not read about in a book,” Freshour said. “I also have them practice counseling with each other because it’s a skill that constantly needs practiced.”

Although Freshour focuses on teaching, she also advises 30 undergraduate students and 10 graduate students. She is the co-faculty advisor for the Student Association of Nutrition and Dietetic. She also works alongside other faculty and graduate students on multiple research projects.

Outstanding Research: Ember Morrissey

Ember Morrissey

This year’s recipient of the Outstanding Research Award is Ember Morrissey, assistant professor of environmental microbiology.

Morrissey is the primary investigator for an $800,000 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Morrissey has worked on approximately 12 research projects as both a primary investigator and a collaborator for others. She was published eight times in the past year.

Morrissey’s passion for nature’s mysteries fuels her research. She focuses on microbes and how they interact with plants and the environment in order to sustainably manage and protect our natural resources.

“It’s amazing to see how students can build off my ideas and, likewise, their ideas can inspire me,” Morrissey said. “Research is a creative process and seeing how the ideas of and passions of my students and collaborators lead the research in new and exciting directions is what makes science so much fun.”

Outstanding Service: Matt Kasson

Matt Kasson

This year’s Outstanding Service Award recipient is Matt Kasson, associate professor in plant pathology and mycology.

Since 2017, Kasson has served as the director of the International Culture Collection of (Vesicular) Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi. He was also the president of Gamma Sigma Delta, the Agriculture Honors Society. He is part of a mentoring committee for junior faculty. He has served as a judge for the Davis College’s Graduate Research and Creative Scholarship Day and is part of the West Virginia Agricultural and Forestry Station and the Research Office Advisory Board.

He is a member of Mycological Society of America. He is also part of a leadership counsel and ran a workshop at a national conference. Kasson is a member of American Phytopathology Society, where he serves as a division forum representative to the Potomac area and is on the Committee of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. In 2021, he served as associate editor of Mycologia.

His favorite part of serving the university and his profession is being able to give answers and provide solutions to stakeholders. 

“Serving is the mission of the land-grant university,” Kasson said. “It is important that what we do benefits the state. ‘How does this benefit West Virginia?’ should be the focus,” he said.




CONTACT: Leah Smith 

Interim Director of Marketing and Communications  

Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design