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2022 Student Award Winners

Emerging Undergraduate Leader in Agricultural or Natural Sciences

Della Paloy

Della Paloy is a sophomore at WSU working to earn her double major in Agricultural Economics and Agricultural and Food Business Economics with minors in Japanese, Sustainable Development, and Environmental and Resource Economics Management. She is currently working as one of 22 ambassadors in the nation for Agriculture Future of America where she serves as the primary recruiter and point of contact for AFA on her campus. This summer she will be working as a supply chain operations and sourcing intern at Land O Lakes, a company she met through AFA. She is also very involved on campus, playing trumpet in the CougarMarching and Pep Bands. In the future, she plans to work in international trade, wanting to represent and sell Washington agricultural products overseas. She is very proud to be a WSU coug, and honored to have been nominated for this award.


Emerging Undergraduate Leader in Human Sciences

Joseph Ikueze Oziomachukwu

Joseph Ikueze is a passionate international student from Nigeria studying International and Development Economics with a minor in accounting with a cumulative GPA of 3.97. Joseph serves as an Undergraduate Representative of the Nigerian Students and Scholars Organization representing the interests of the Nigerian undergrads at WSU and makes them feel like they have a community. He is also part of a non-profit organization called the Apostolic Faith Mission where he volunteers his time to play his flute for events and contributes money to the upkeep of the organization. He has won the Henry.T Buechel scholarship, has been on the Presidential Honor’s roll to date and is looking forward to his internship as a financial analyst this summer. Joseph wants to pursue a PhD program in International economics so that he can be able to develop methods and solutions to make the world’s greatest economy even better.


Outstanding Junior in Agricultural or Natural Sciences

 Hannah Peha

Hannah Peha is a junior from Walla Walla, Washington, majoring in Agricultural Biotechnology and minoring in Horticulture and German. Additionally, she is a member of the Honors College. She has been on the President’s Honor Roll the past five semesters with a 4.0 GPA. She enjoys volunteering her time as a CAHNRS Ambassador, and she is a member of Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resource, and Related Sciences. Hannah is interested in pathology and crop science research with practical applications to improve the sustainability of farming. After she completes her undergraduate degree, she plans to attend graduate school to attain her PhD in plant science. She is currently working in the WSU Barley Breeding and Molecular Genetics lab. This summer, she will be conducting research on carbon allocation in cornat Forzentrum Jülich in Germany. In her free time, she enjoys watching movies at the CUB, attending WSU volleyball games, eating Ferdinand’s ice cream, and group fitness classes.


Outstanding Junior in Human Sciences

Sophia McMaster

Sophia McMaster is currently a junior at Washington State University studying Apparel, Merchandising, Design, and Textiles with a minor in Digital Technology and Culture. She has been a teacher assistant at WSU in Human Development for the past five semesters, an ambassador for the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Resource Sciences, an executive member of Luxe Magazine, and an active member of Pi Beta Phi sorority. During her freshman and junior year, she participated in the spring AMDT fashion show and enjoyed modeling the beautiful garment designs. In her free time, she enjoys dance, reading, sketching, and spending time with her friends and twin brother. Being a CAHNRS Coug and sharing her love for the program with future students is something she prides herself in and is continuously grateful for. She is looking forward to the opportunity to design her own collection next year and express her love for fashion.


Superior Club

Food Sciences Club



Graduate Student Leadership Award

Behnaz Molaei

I was raised in a family with parents and siblings educated in agricultural engineering and with a family business using mechanized agriculture in the arid regions of Iran. Since irrigated agriculture is the only option for high-quality crop production in our area, I got my B.Sc. degree in Water Engineering andM.Sc. in Irrigation and Drainage Engineering to help growers save water and energy during the growing season. I joined Washington State University, Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center (WSU-IAREC)in 2017 as a visiting scholar in Dr. Peters’s lab. I started my Ph.D. degree under his supervision in the Land Air and Water Researouces and Environmental Engineering (LAWREE) group of the Biological Systems Engineering (BSE)department, focusing on precision irrigation engineering using remote sensing.

Being associated with CAHNRSin the past 4.5 years gave me the chance to connect to growers and with the industry through research and extension projects and learn new agriculture practices. I learned the strength of agriculture in the USA is due to the research and extension projects that engage the growers, stakeholders, and industry in academic projects. CAHNRSalsoprovided me a great opportunity to learn new technologies to use in agricultural, strengthen my resume, and prepare for a future career either in academia or in industry. Within the leadership roles in CAHNRS, I learned different social and communications skills, risk management, teamwork, and many other valuable qualities that will be useful throughout my whole life.


Family and Consumer Scientist of the Year

Estela Navarro

Estela Navarro is a senior Honors student from Wenatchee, WA majoring in Economics with an emphasis in Policy and Law and minoring in Political Science. Estela enjoys being active in the WSU community by serving as the Deputy Director of Legislative Affairs for ASWSU, CAHNRS Ambassador, TA for the School of Economic Sciences, and an Apartment Coordinator at the Chief Joseph Complex. She served as a Senate Intern for the Washington State Senate during the 2021 legislative session and a Government Affairs Intern for the Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce. Estela is also involved in the Honors College as an Honors College Mentor and Honors 198 Facilitator. Estela has been on the President’s Honor Roll every semester since freshman year. She is currently awaiting grad school admissions decisions and will be pursuing a master’s in applied economics. She hopes to pursue a career in policymaking and economic advising.


Aggie of the Year

Elizabeth Nalbandian

Elizabeth Nalbandian graduated from Washington State University in December 2022, with two degrees; a B.S. in Food Science and a B.A. in Hospitality Business Management. During her time at WSU, she had the amazing opportunity of studying abroad in Italy and France and learning about the European Food Industry. Apart from working as a chocolatier for WSU Crimson Confections, she also interned at Lamb Weston with their R&D team. For her honors thesis, Elizabeth worked on finding the correlation between the functional properties of newly developed quinoa breeding lines and food quality. Elizabeth plans to continue her educational journey at WSU with a graduate degree, focusing on ingredients functionality and product development.