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AMSA Student Teaching “Cleaver” Award 

A meat cleaver is resilient and designed to break through soft bones and cartilage. Graduate teaching assistants are encouraged to be “cleavers”, by being resilient in teaching abilities, breaking through to students, and enhancing their knowledge. The tough metal and thick blade of a cleaver is unique and more durable compared to other knives. Graduate students are expected to be durable through their own obligations, and above all, create a unique learning experience for students.


The AMSA Student Board of Directors would like to recognize one master's and one PhD student's excellence in teaching and assisting faculty with meat, animal, or food science courses.


1. The nominee must have been an MS or PhD graduate student and an active teacher or teaching assistant during the 2024 calendar year.
2. The nominee must have been an AMSA member during the time they were teaching.
3. Previous winners of this award are not eligible to compete again in the same level (MS/PhD).

Judging by committee based on:
1. Ability to motivate and stimulate students.
2. Evidence of interest in the improvement of teaching.
3. enthusiasm and vision for teaching meat, animal or food science.
4. Diversification of activities, such as coaching a judging team, student training and
advancement, service to department, college and university.
5. Involvement in extracurricular student-related activities beyond teaching, such as
advising and involvement in student organization, outreach, etc.
6. Service to animal agriculture and related industries.

Award nomination requirements:
1. Completed documents (listed below) must be submitted no later than February 28, 2024, by 11:59pm
central standard time..
2. Three nomination letters
3. Philosophy of Teaching Statement
4. Student résumé or CV
5. Official or unofficial transcript
6. Statement of purpose

Nominees for the award will have their applications scored and graded by a committee assigned
by the AMSA Student Board of Directors. Committee members will individually review and
score each application. Once the committee member has reviewed all applications, they will
submit their scores to the committee chair. The committee chair will put applicants in ranking
order based upon the cumulative score from each committee member. The winner will be notified
and an award will be presented at the 2024 RMC.

Score Sheet:
Nomination Letters (35 points): Three nomination letters must be submitted in the application.
Two out of the three nomination letters must be from students who have taken a course under the
direction of the nominee. The other nomination letter must be from a faculty member that the
nominee worked directly under, or with while teaching a course. In the nomination letter from the
faculty member, a description of the student’s role in the class is required.

Statement of Philosophy of Teaching (20 points): A teaching philosophy is a self-
reflective statement of your beliefs about teaching and learning. It should also discuss how you
put those beliefs into practice by including examples of what you do in the classroom.

Résumé or CV (20 points): The nominee shall also submit a résumé or CV with their
application, describing their accomplishments in addition to being a successful teacher.

Transcript (15 points): An official or unofficial transcript shall be submitted in the application.
The transcript should reflect the nominee’s ability to maintain their studies while achieving a
positive learning experience in their classrooms.

Statement of Purpose (10 points): Statement of purpose is a direct representation of the student
you are. The statement of purpose should describe who you are, what has influenced your career
path so far, your professional interests, and where you plan to go following your degree.

Nomination of Award:

1. Any active professional or emeritus member of the association may make a nomination, except members of an award’s selection committee. No member may nominate himself or herself.

2. Complete the nomination through the link below. All nominations are due February 28, 2024, by 11:59 pm Central Standard Time.

Submitting Award:

Email the nomination packet as one PDF file titled" Name of Nominee_Name of Award" (also include title in the email subject line) to by February 28, 2024.  

Undergraduate Scholastic Achievement Award

Award nominations for the 2024 Awards Program will soon be open for the Undergraduate Scholastic Achievement Award. Nominations must be received no later than February 28, 2024, by 11:59 pm Central Standard Time. Selection of the USAA will be made, and faculty notified in April 2024. Nomination intents are not needed for this award.

If you have any questions, please contact Joanna Hardcastle (


To promote meat science by recognizing outstanding undergraduate students with potential for a career in meats. The candidate may or may not have committed himself/herself to a career in meats but should have demonstrated an interest in meat science and the meat industry. Students majoring in Animal Science, Food Science and closely allied fields of study are encouraged to apply.


Students from four-year institutions may apply. The student must be an AMSA member that is a junior, senior or have graduated not more than eight months prior to the RMC at the time of application. The AMSA Undergraduate Scholarship Award committee will evaluate a student’s credentials according to procedures described below. Previous award winners are not eligible to receive another award.

Application Materials:
  1. Cover Letter
  2. Resume
  3. Completed AMSA USAA Selection Criteria Form (forms linked below)
  4. Student’s unofficial transcript of all undergraduate work.
  • Faculty Member will be required to submit Verification Form 
Nomination Format:

Students may submit their own applications, as long as a faculty member (or advisor) confirms the student’s application by completing a verification form of the application.  All applications must be verified by a faculty member or will result in disqualification for the award. 

Submitting Applications: 

Email the nomination packet as one PDF file "Name of Nominee_USAA" (also included in email subject line) to by February 28, 2024.  Please include the faculty member that will be verifying the nomination on the email when submitting an application.  AMSA Staff will send the verification form to the faculty member to confirm their support.  Faculty verifications must be received by March 6th for the student to be eligible for the award. 

2023 Award Recipients

Student Teaching "Cleaver" Award Recipients

  • Morgan Denzer- Oklahoma State University
  • Andrew Cano- Tarleton State University
  • Kaylee Greiner- Texas A&M University
  • Montserrat Perez Valadez- California State University-Fresno

Undergraduate Scholastic Achievement Award Recipients

  • William Boyd- West Texas A&M University
  • Chesney Effling- Kansas State University
  • Grace Harris- Oklahoma State University
  • Ambri Harrigal- West Texas A&M University
  • Bailey Hauge- Iowa State University
  • Sara Hene- Kansas State University
  • Jordan Looper- University of Arkansas
  • Laura Reiling- University of Nebraska
  • Sadie Schaefer- Northwest Missouri State University
  • Stephanie Shimer- University of Florida
  • Abigail Tack- Texas A&M University
  • Preston Twilligear- Texas Tech University
  • Stephanie Witberler- Kansas State University