United States Department of Agriculture Honors Ozzie Abaye for Excellence in Teaching

The United States Department of Agriculture in partnership with the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities has honored Ozzie Abaye, professor of crop and soil environmental sciences at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, with the 2023 Excellence in College and University Teaching Award for Food and Agricultural Sciences. The annual award “recognizes exemplary dedication to teaching and service to students” in the field of agriculture.

A member of the Virginia Tech faculty for over 30 years, Dr. Abaye currently holds an endowed professorship, the Thomas B. Hutcheson Jr. Professor of Agronomy. Her research, which has secured more than $300,000 in funding for the university, primarily focuses on sustainable agriculture practices that improve the livelihoods of farmers, women, and children in West Africa. Every year, she leads students on international field trips, providing them with hands-on, service-learning opportunities.

“I thank every one of the students I had over the years for enriching my life beyond what I ever dreamed,” said Dr. Abaye. “Teaching is not what I do for a living, but what I do to live. When I stand in front of the students, I feel overwhelming joy and gratitude to be entrusted as part of the young men’s and women’s futures.”

Dr. Abaye is a graduate of Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in biological science. She holds a master’s degree in animal and dairy science from Pennsylvania State University and a Ph.D. in agronomy from Virginia Tech.

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