Brittni Littlejohn receives 2018 Sorensen Achievement Award

OVERTON – Brittni Littlejohn, a Texas A&M University department of animal science graduate research assistant at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center, Overton, is recipient of the 2018 A. M. “Tony” Sorensen Jr. Achievement Award.

Brittni Littlejohn receives the 2018 A. M. “Tony” Sorensen Jr. Achievement Award from Dr. Tom Welsh. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo by Maggie Tucker)

The award recognizes the most outstanding graduating doctoral student of physiology of reproduction within Texas A&M’s animal sciences department. Littlejohn will receive a plaque and $1,500 in recognition of her accomplishments. 

The award was established in 1982 in recognition of Sorensen, who once led the physiology of reproduction section for more than two decades. The endowment funding the $1,500 prize was established as a memorial honoring Sorensen’s contributions as a researcher, scholar and educator.

Dr. Ron Randel, Texas A&M AgriLife Research physiologist, Overton, one of Littlejohn’s advisory co-chairs, said Littlejohn received the award because she demonstrated a record of excellence as a teacher and researcher.

“Her research was exemplary for a PhD candidate,” he said. “As a part of the team working to elucidate the effects of prenatal stress in beef cattle, she is publishing novel results.”

That research led to the AgriLife Research team’s receipt of a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant to continue studying the effects of prenatal stress on calf physiology and temperament, Randel said.

Dr. Tom Welsh, professor and AgriLife Research Faculty Fellow and Littlejohn’s co-chair advisor based in College Station, said Littlejohn excelled as a graduate teaching assistant and simultaneously was a highly productive graduate research assistant.

“Brittni was the conduit that linked her advisors in College Station and Overton with key collaborators of other agencies and institutions,” he said. “Brittni’s study of prenatal stress and postnatal health and performance of calves is also relevant to health and development of human neonates.”

Littlejohn, of Hallsville, is Randel and Welsh’s 12th student to receive the Sorensen Award. She said it was an honor to receive the award knowing the list of prior recipients and what high esteem Sorensen is still held among people in the field.

“It’s an honor to be recognized for my accomplishments in research and teaching, especially now, as my program comes to an end,” she said.

Littlejohn recently graduated with a doctorate in physiology of reproduction in animal science from Texas A&M, and accepted a collaborative post-doctorate position with Mississippi State University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Research Service in Lubbock where she will focus on use of biophotonics related to animal health research.

“I want to thank the committee for choosing me as the award recipient,” she said. “I hope my future endeavors represent the memory of Dr. Sorensen well.”

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Source: Agriculture Section – AgriLife Feed

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