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(From left) Andrew Miller ‘16 ‘18, Kate Fiedler ‘14, and Richard Harkess ‘93
(From left) Andrew Miller, Kate Fiedler, and Richard Harkess

Three Hokies honored with first-ever SPES Alumni Awards

The School of Plant and Environmental Sciences at Virginia Tech held its first-ever Alumni Awards Celebration, honoring three outstanding Hokies. Two of them were also recognized by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS).

Andrew Miller ’16, M.S. ’18
SPES Outstanding Recent Undergraduate Alumni Award

Miller is the director of the Brentsville Turf Program at Brentsville District High School in Nokesville, Virginia. In this role, he mentors young individuals in the trade of turfgrass management, advocates for students interested in starting a career in the turf industry, teaches students through hands-on learning with commercial-grade equipment, and prepares students for the workplace with firsthand work experience. 

Miller was also awarded the CALS Outstanding Recent Undergraduate Alumni Award.

Kate Fiedler Ph.D. ’14
SPES Outstanding Alumni in the Global Community Award

Fiedler is currently a foreign services trainee with U.S. Department of Agriculture-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. Upon completion of the 10-month program, she will achieve the title of deputy agricultural attaché, a diplomatic foreign service role based at the United States Embassy in Tokyo. Within this role, Fielder will be responsible for agricultural trade negotiations, capacity building of local trade partners, and acting as a plant pathology expert for local and regional incursion of pests.

Fiedler was also awarded the CALS Outstanding Alumni in the Global Community Award.

Richard Harkess Ph.D. ’93
SPES Career Achievement Award

Harkess is a professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences at Mississippi State University in Starkville. His research, focused largely on ornamental plant material production, has had a major impact in the graduate program, with 25 students completing the program. He has received nearly $2.3 million in grants, leading to the publication of 64 peer-reviewed manuscripts. Harkess teaches three courses per year, coordinates undergraduate programs in the departmentm, and coordinates enrollment in the ACCEPtS courses, a grant-funded course sharing alliance with four universities.