Dr. Kinder award recipient of the 2022 L.E. Casida Award for Graduate Student Mentorship
Dr. James Kinder, professor with the Department of Animal Sciences at The College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University is the award recipient of the 2022 L.E. Casida Award. The award was presented at the American Society of Animal Science 33rd Biennial Reproduction Symposium on Sept. 19, 2022, Park City Utah. The L.E. Casida Award of Excellence in Graduate Education is a prestigious award designated to only the finest educators within Land Grant Universities that have shown exemplary mentorship to graduate students of Reproduction Biology within Animal Sciences. The award was established to honor the late Dr. Lester Earl Casida who was a renowned mentor of many graduate students focused on reproductive biology when he was a member of the faculty at the University of Wisconsin. After Dr. Casida’s passing, those that he mentored were dedicated and achieved getting an endowment established to recognize those who excelled in mentoring graduate students in the field of reproductive biology of food producing animals.
Dr. Kinder taught, mentored, and inspired countless students across his impressive career of over 45 years. Dr. Kinder has served various roles within The Ohio State University first as an assistant professor in the Department of Animal Science in 1975. His primary responsibilities were teaching introductory animal science, reproductive physiology, and coaching the livestock judging team. The teams he coached in 1976 were national champions, and in 1977 reserve national champions. The teams he coached placed first or second in ten consecutive national contests and the 1977 team won the American Royal contest in Kansas City, Missouri the last time an Ohio State team placed first in this contest. Dr. Kinder attributes much of his success as a graduate student mentor to what he learned from working with judging team members – i.e., the importance of working with students as individuals in developing them as professionals. Dr. Kinder then continued his career with the University of Nebraska, Lincoln (UNL) where he established a nationally recognized research program in reproductive physiology and endocrinology working with beef cattle. At UNL, he taught the endocrinology and reproductive physiology courses and published countless peer-reviewed publications of which nearly all had graduate students as first authors. The two nominators for the Casida Student Mentorship award were two of Dr. Kinder’s former students, Dr. Debora Hamernik, who was an undergraduate at UNL and became interested in the field of reproductive biology after taking the reproductive physiology class with Dr. Kinder as instructor and Dr. Andrea Cupp who earned her M.S. and Ph.D degrees while working under the direction of Dr. Kinder at UNL. The reason for this recognition of Dr. Kinder, based on comments from his former students, was his devotion in getting to know each student as an individual and his considerations of each being different and special. He worked at getting to understand each students’ strengths and helped them grow to overcome potential areas where they could grow in their development. This was evident from the quote of one of his former students “You helped each of your students play to our strengths and you also helped us understand and grow in areas of strength that we did not know we had. I look back and think you were always looking for ways to help us push ourselves harder and raise the bar higher…” -Ellen Bergfeld. Dr. Kinder worked to propel each student forward and came alongside them to help them achieve their fullest potential. Many of his former students would agree that his mentorship did not merely stop in the classroom, laboratory, or judging arena but continued both in and outside of the classroom, weekends, and beyond graduation. One of his former students stated - “Fellow graduate students joked that your students were in “Kinder-care” because, we spent so many hours with you! But if it wasn’t for your attention and care, I would not have survived graduate school.” - Freddie Kojima
Dr. Kinder has also had long-term active engagements with graduate student mentoring in Australia, through collaborations at CQUniversity, University of Melbourne, and James Cook University as Adjunct Professor. Dr. Kinder has served in many capacities with his time here at Ohio State. He has chaired both the Department of Animal Sciences and Department of Human Nutrition for about 14 years and served as interim director of Ohio State ATI for 4 years just to name a few. Many of his former graduate students have gone on to have careers in medical schools, the livestock industry, and embryo transfer sector. His former students can be found throughout the United States, Mexico, Brazil, and Japan. Dr. Kinder’s graduate students have benefited from his knowledge, patience, and guidance throughout his extensive career in higher education as evidenced by a comment from another of his former graduate students - “…..you have impacted yet another generation; people you have never met” by affecting how many of us, as parents - Jim Scotts
Dr. Cupp emphasized many of the attributes of Dr. Kinder in her introduction of Dr. Kinder at the Les Casida Graduate Student Mentor recognition event that occurred in conjunction with the Biennial Reproduction Symposium of the American Society of Animal Science Western Section meetings. Her introduction follows.
James Kider received his BS degree from the University of Missouri, MS Degree from the University of Nebraska, and PhD from Washington State University where he was Jerry Reeve's first graduate studnet (Jerry was a former L.E. Casida Awardee). Jim spent 3 years at the Ohio State University where he coached one National winnign Livestock Judging team, and a 2nd place team before he took the job at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln here he spent the next 20 years advising 17 PhD and 17 MS studnets-who he packed a lot of mentoring in 20 years.
For ”Jim it was all about the people” and he spent his time at Nebraska ensuring that his students were prepared for their future careers- he always said “Work Hard and Play Hard”.
His students would become 13 faculty members currently at - Cornell, UNL (one Professor and one Research Center Director), Tokyo University, K-State (one Professor and one Department Head), University of Kansas Medical Center, three at Universities or Research Centers in Mexico, University of Tennessee, Wingate University, one in Brazil; He also has two students that have their own embryo transfer companies, One ambassador from Mexico to Italy, one physician, one working at DNA genetics, a former CEO of the tri-societies (and ASAS), one working at Pfizer and a special education teacher. His first graduate student - Kaz Imakawa on his postdoctoral identified interferon Tau---so indirectly Jim has something to do with that discovery.
He also mentored several undergrads two of whom you may know - Deb Hamernik a Deputy Director at USDA and Lane Christenson at University of Kansas Medical Center. Students that were teaching assistants with him also stated how much they still use what Dr. Kinder taught them while helping teach endocrinology (Galen Erickson).
After leaving UNL to become Department chair at The Ohio State University, Jim did not stop his mentoring. One faculty member formerly at the Ohio State University stated - “Jim made me a better faculty member—better than even I thought possible” - so Jim continued to mentor faculty as a department head.
On a personal note - Jim helped a young girl from Virginia find her passion for research and I would not be where I am today without his mentoring and accepting me on as a graduate student. Congratulations to Jim for being a L. E Casida Awardee!