Dimitrios Tsitsigiannis, a doctoral candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has won the National Peanut Board's Dr. George Washington Carver award for 2004.
A native of Greece, Tsitsigiannis (pronounced TZE-TZE-Janis) accepted the award at the annual meeting of the American Peanut Research and Education Society in San Antonio. He received a plaque and a $1,000 prize. A matching $1,000 went to his school.
He's working on his dissertation, Strategies to Reduce Aflatoxin Contamination Utilizing Peanut and Aspergillus Fatty Acid Molecules and has a 3.9 grade point average.
The NPB award established the award in 2001 in honor of George Washington Carver.
Carver was well known as the father of the American peanut industry and for his community service. He is credited with bringing the county Extension concept to the South and introducing farmers to practical agricultural information that ultimately led to rural economic development.
“Although this year's winner comes from a country that doesn't even grow peanuts, he nonetheless, exemplifies the true spirit of Dr. Carver — a positive contribution in peanut research, along with a demonstrated commitment to community service,” said Wes Shannon, chairman of the NPB research committee.
Tsitsigiannis works with undergraduate and graduate students to develop strong scientific backgrounds in food safety and public communications skills. In his native country, he started a small library for poor students in a rural village, donating his personal computer and dozens of books.