Texas A&M AgriLife

Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement Award at the University Level

2015 Award Recipients

This award recognizes, encourages, and rewards superior classroom teachers—the individuals whose command of their respective discipline, teaching methodologies, pervasive caring, communication skills, and commitment to the learning process exemplify the meaning of teacher/mentor in its highest sense. This award is designed to distinguish those teachers who maintain high expectations of their students and ensure academic rigor in their courses. These teachers recognize their responsibilities in motivating and contributing to the overall development of their students as learners and future professionals.

Distinguished Achievement Award for Teaching


Oral Capps, Jr.

Dr. Oral Capps, Jr.

Oral Capps, Jr., Regents Professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics, earned his Ph.D. from Virginia Tech. After stints teaching at Virginia Tech and the University of Minnesota, he joined the faculty of the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences in 1986. He is nationally recognized for his scholarship in demand analysis, econometric modeling, and forecasting methodology with large data sets. But, the students in the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences recognize him as one of the best teachers at Texas A&M University. As a leader in agricultural economics, Dr. Capps works closely with professional organizations in the food-producing industries. The major upside of all these connections is his ability to bring real world scenarios to the classroom and show students the most current industry developments. Dr. Capps has been a master teacher and superb mentor to undergraduate and graduate students during his almost 30 years at Texas A&M. In the classroom, Dr. Capps brings lecture material to life, helping students to remember and apply the concepts discussed.


W. Shawn Ramsey ’90

Dr. W. Shawn Ramsey ’90

Shawn Ramsey, associate professor and assistant head for undergraduate programs in the Department of Animal Science, joined the faculty of the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences upon completing his Ph.D. at New Mexico State University. For the past 18 years, his teaching has touched the lives of more than 10,000 Aggies. By the numbers, Dr. Ramsey teaches close to 700 students each long semester and receives average course evaluation scores of 4.8 or above on a 5.0 scale. Dr. Ramsey is known for his efforts to get to know each student, to learn about their specific interests, and then to introduce them to other students with similar backgrounds or interests. In addition to classroom teaching, Dr. Ramsey coaches the undergraduate wool and mohair judging team. He teaches them not only how to evaluate wool, he also teaches them how to succeed outside their comfort zones. Not surprisingly, he has coached four national champion and eight intercollegiate champion teams.


Nova J. Silvy

Dr. Nova Silvy

Nova Silvy, Regents Professor, Senior Faculty Fellow, and associate department head for undergraduate programs in the Department of Wildlife & Fisheries Sciences, has been a faculty member in the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences since earning his Ph.D. from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale in 1975. Over his 40 years of service to Texas A&M University, Nova Silvy has authored more than 280 refereed publications and contributed to the understanding of more than 100 wildlife species. Dr. Silvy firmly believes that both undergraduate and graduate education are integral to a university research program. He also believes a quality education begins with the involvement of students in field research. This philosophy has empowered hundreds of undergraduates and more than 100 graduate students through field experiences and “hands-on” training.



Distinguished Achievement Award for Research


Vijay P. Singh

Dr. Vijay P. Singh

Vijay Singh is a professor and the inaugural holder of the Caroline and William N. Lehrer Distinguished Chair in Water Engineering in the Department of Biological & Agricultural Engineering. He joined the faculty of the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences in 2006. He earned his Ph.D. from Colorado State University and his D.Sc. from the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa. A world-renowned hydrologist in the area of water resources engineering, he is recognized for his seminal contributions in several key areas, including: watershed modeling, floods and droughts, entropy theory-based modeling, copula-based analysis, risk and reliability analysis, and climate change impacts on water resources. With more than 700 refereed journal articles, 23 books, another 55 edited books, and 80 book chapters, his scholarly contributions have immensely impacted water research and education globally. Dr. Singh has received more than 60 national and international awards for his contributions and professional service.


Kirk O. Winemiller

Dr. Kirk O. Winemiller

Kirk Winemiller is Regents Professor in the Department of Wildlife & Fisheries Sciences. Earning his Ph.D. from the University of Texas—Austin, he joined the faculty of the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences in 1992. He has published more than 200 papers and has been cited nearly 11,000 times. His research focuses on enhancing understanding of populations and communities of freshwater and estuarine fishes and has contributed significantly to the development of food web theory in basic ecological research. He has applied this research to enhancing the management and conservation of these fisheries in Texas and around the world.





Distinguished Achievement Award for Extension, Outreach, Continuing Education, and Professional Development


James C. Cathey ’91

Dr. James C. Cathey ’91

James Cathey earned his Ph.D. from Texas Tech University. Chief among his many roles is extension wildlife specialist for the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service—a role he fulfills as associate professor and associate department head in the Department of Wildlife & Fisheries Sciences. He joined the department in 2002 and AgriLife Extension in 2005.  He provides expertise to Texas landowners, agricultural producers, and county extension agents in 71 counties, often about grassland restoration, northern bobwhite, wild pigs, Rio Grande wild turkey, and urban deer. He has been Texas Wildlife Association director since 2008 and serves as an instructor for education events in its Conservation Legacy program. Dr. Cathey provides leadership to the Texas Master Naturalists program, which has received several national and state awards.



Distinguished Achievement Award for Graduate Mentoring


Dorothy E. Shippen

Dr. Dorothy E. Shippen

Dorothy Shippen joined the faculty in Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics in the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences in 1991 after earning a Ph.D. in biology at the University of Alabama and completing postdoctoral fellowships at the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of California, San Francisco. She established the plant Arabidopsis thaliana as a model for understanding the structure and function of telomeres, which are the “caps” on the ends of chromosomes. She has mentored 23 graduate students, and 17 have earned their doctorates so far. Fifteen of these students continued their research careers as postdoctoral fellows. Dr. Shippen is one of the most successful graduate mentors in the department: on average, her Ph.D. students publish 4.5 papers (twice the departmental average) and graduate in 5.7 years (one year less than the departmental average).



Learn more about the awards by clicking here.

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