The National Peanut Board (NPB) awarded Shannon Stoup, a graduate student at Oklahoma State University, the 2008 Dr. George Washington Carver Award at the American Peanut Research and Education Society (APRES) Annual Meeting in Oklahoma City. Stoup was honored with a plaque and $1000.00 cash prize. The award named for the "father of the peanut industry," recognizes excellence in peanut-related research and community involvement. Stoup's achievements also earned Oklahoma State University a matching $1,000 award.

Stoup's research project, "Breeding Peanut for Disease Resistance," had two major objectives:

  • Develop peanut germplasm that is high- oleic in nature with improved resistance to Sclerotinia blight and Southern blight.
  • Develop molecular markers for peanut associated with the resistance to Sclerotinia blight and Southern blight.

"The 2008 Dr. Carver award finalists exemplified strong academic excellence. This made it difficult to select a winner, but with strong germplasm research with high-oleic and disease resistance on soilborne diseases such as sclerotinia, Shannon Stoup is this year's recipient. Congratulations to our winner," said Jack Brinkley, NPB Research Chairman and North Carolina delegate.

An Oklahoma native, Stoup has an outstanding record of community involvement, which includes the Oklahoma State University Upward Bound program, a college prep program for economically disadvantaged high school students. Stoup is also actively involved with her church and with hospice organizations.

"A 4-point student with deep agricultural roots, actively involved in numerous community volunteer services while engaged in groundbreaking peanut disease research as a Master's candidate......nothing but impressive," said Mike Kubicek, Executive Secretary of the Oklahoma Peanut Commission.

Stoup will receive her Master's in science education in 2009. She plans to become a science teacher.

Competition for the 7th Annual Dr. George Washington Carver Award was open to undergraduate and graduate students engaged in research related to the USA-grown peanut industry. Entries were judged on their measurable impact in the categories of peanut cultivation and new peanut-product development. Judgment criteria were also based upon volunteerism and community involvement.