Ozzie Abaye, professor of crop and soil environmental sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Virginia Cooperative Extension specialist, has received the university’s 2017 Alumni Award for Excellence in International Outreach.
Sponsored by the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, the Alumni Award for Excellence in International Outreach is presented annually to a Virginia Tech faculty or staff member who has had a significant impact on international outreach at Virginia Tech. Recipients are selected based on their contributions to the internationalization of Virginia Tech and the global impact, significance, and sustainability of their work.
Abaye has been continuously committed to international outreach as evidenced by her involvement in such programs as the African Food Security Initiative Quality Food Production, Availability, and Marketing Project in West Africa as well as the Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resources Management Collaborative Research Support Program through the Office of International Research, Education, and Development in West Africa.
Since 2011, Abaye has been actively engaged in her work with the research and outreach project USAID/Education and Research in Agriculture (ERA) in Senegal. Abaye describes the project's goal as one to “develop human and institutional capacity in agricultural teaching, research, training, and outreach in order to serve the needs of the Senegalese public and private sectors, including farmers at all levels.”
Abaye has initiated several successful programs in her work with the ERA; she has developed comprehensive syllabi for five of Senegal’s higher education institutions, created seed curriculum and training programs, and strengthened the capacity of forage conservation and silage making in Senegal. Moreover, she started the 4-H Positive Youth Development in Agriculture project in Senegal that now boasts active and educational community programs in several villages.
“Outreach to benefit other is paramount to Dr. Abaye, and she is making positive differences in the lives of thousands of people in Senegal,” Thomas L. Thompson, associate dean and director of international programs, wrote in a letter of nomination.
In 2016, Abaye won the Outstanding Alumna in International Programs award through the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.