International agriculture educator receives young professional award

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Tom Gill, assistant director of international programs in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, recently was recognized for his outstanding efforts at inspiring students to explore international agriculture.

Gill received the 2012 Young Professional Award from the Association for International Agriculture and Rural Development. The organization bestows the honor annually to recognize early career contributions to achieving its goals and objectives.

Gill joined Penn State three years ago as a special assistant to help develop Africa programs in the college's Office of International Programs. Since then he also has taught a variety of undergraduate international agricultural development courses and currently serves as the coordinator for Penn State's International Agriculture undergraduate minor.

"Dr. Gill's strong record and reputation for excellence is highlighted by his commitment to international agriculture and rural development, his personal integrity, his overall productivity and his outstanding scholarship," said Mark Brennan, Penn State associate professor of community and leadership development. "Such excellence has earned him the respect of his students and colleagues."

Gill revised and currently teaches INTAG 100 Introduction to International Agriculture, a core course for the International Agriculture minor, according to Deanna Behring, director of International Programs in the College of Agricultural Sciences.

She noted that Gill also co-created and currently co-teaches two new courses in international agriculture, including a senior seminar course with a travel component to Washington, D.C., allowing students to meet with officials at the U.S. Agency for International Development, the World Bank and other groups engaged in international and rural development.

He also created and launched the Ag2Africa program, a College of Agricultural Sciences initiative to provide increased opportunities for faculty, extension staff and students to engage with partners in Africa.

"Dr. Gill was also a key member of the team that formulated a four-day workshop on global food security for Fulbright students from around the world, which helped kick off the Year of Food Security at Penn State," Behring said.

"He is a great teacher who is highly dedicated to his field and extremely knowledgeable about international agriculture. I expect him to have an incredible influence on current and future international agriculture and development."

Before coming to Penn State, Gill was completing a doctoral degree in Interdisciplinary Ecology from the University of Florida, during which time he worked with smallholder farmers in Kenya with the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee.

Gill received his master's degree in Tropical Agricultural Development from Reading University, U.K., and his bachelor's degree in Geography from Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge, U.K.

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Last Updated January 09, 2015