Zoe Gobourne received the top honor, the Award of Excellence, for SANS. Gobourne was also the Most Outstanding Student for the Department of Human Ecology. Presenting the award, from left, are: Dr. Grace Namwamba, chair of Human Ecology, and Dr. Moses T. Kairo, SANS Dean.

Students in the School of Agricultural and Natural Sciences were among the 603 undergraduate students honored for their academic prowess during the 2021 calendar year at UMES’ 69th spring honors convocation.  Each school at the university honored a top student along with a student from each academic department at the April 14 ceremony.  Dean’s list students were also recognized.

Zoe Gobourne, a senior from Silver Spring concentrating in family and consumer sciences, received the SANS Award of Excellence along with the departmental award for Human Ecology. According to Dr. Grace Namwamba, chair of the department, Gobourne is highly thought of in the program among faculty members and her peers.  Her input through peer and faculty discussions regarding the FCS concentration has led to proposed changes in the program to better align it with student interests and current professional practices.  She has a “passion for working with families and children,” and has volunteered packing food for families in need at Burtonville Elementary School, Rainbow Family Christian Center and Greencastle Elementary School.

According to Namwamba, Goborne is “proactive, resourceful and is driven to achieve her goals.”  She is a Writing Center tutor and received the 1890 Land-Grant Scholarship.  Following her May graduation, she plans to pursue a master’s degree in applied behavior analysis at UMES.

Ryan Howe, the Department of Agriculture, Food and Resource Sciences’ honoree, is a junior from Glenmoore, Pennsylvania, majoring in agribusiness management.  He was described in his nominating packet as “a perceptive, sharp individual with a high aptitude for agriculture and business.”  Howe has served his peers as a tutor for statistics and put his agricultural knowledge to work on a challenge hosted by the USDA to find entry points for a feed supplement in countries outside the U.S.  When he graduates from UMES, he plans to “take over the family business by following in my father’s footsteps of being a seed representative with the agriculture community.  A Hawk scholar-athlete, Howe also has aspirations to be drafted for a professional team and continue his baseball career.

A third-year biology major on a pre-med track, Iyinyeoluwa “Ruth” Okulate was the standout for the Department of Natural Sciences.  Following a winter ’22 graduation, Okulate aims to pursue a Doctor of Medicine degree in biomedical sciences.  Over her academic career, she has been an undergraduate researcher in Dr. Tracy Bell’s lab and completed research internships at the Mayo Clinic and the University of Texas.  This summer, Okulate will be involved in undergraduate research at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai, New York. 

Despite a heavy academic load, she has also found time to serve as a senior resident assistant, and student assistant in the Office of the President, hold membership in the Alpha Omicron chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, and be a campus delegate for the Maryland Student Climate Action Coalition and vice president of the Honors Student Association.  Okulate also volunteers in Tidal Health Peninsula Regional Hospital’s emergency department.

Gail Stephens, Agricultural Communications and Media Associate, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, School of Agricultural and Natural Sciences, 410-621-3850.

Photos by Jim Glovier, UMES campus photographer, jmglovier@umes.edu.

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