Southscapes - Fall 2018 issue

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A publication for alumni and friends of the University of Georgia® College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences

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A U.S. Marine Corps major, Blue Angel, and University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences graduate, Mark Montgomery (BSA – Agribusiness, ’01) pilots the Blue Angels’ C-130T transport plane. Learn about Montgomery and other hard-working Ag Dawgs on page 24.


 CAES Student Ambassador Ariana Cherry (left) and Daniel Seeler are members of the CAES Student Philanthropy Council. These hardworking students have found that the research and learning opportunities at CAES enrich their education.

CONTINUE A TRADITION OF EXCELLENCE AT CAES. “Hands-on experience working in research labs and learning beyond the classroom are part of what makes my education at CAES outstanding. As a student, I appreciate being involved in research.” Ariana Cherry Currently pursuing bachelor’s degrees in animal science and applied biotechnology from CAES

“Opportunities such as studying winemaking in Cortona, Italy, have enriched my learning experience at UGA and my personal development. I’m thankful to CAES donors for the scholarships and support that have contributed to my success as a student.” Daniel Seeler BSA – Food Science, ’17 Currently pursuing a master’s degree in food science from CAES

You can ensure that future students have experiential learning opportunities, like education abroad, internships, research and leadership programs, by giving to CAES today. Give online at or by mailing in the enclosed envelope.

From the Dean

southscapes MANAGING EDITORS Andrea Applegate, Kathryn Schiliro ART DIRECTOR Katie Walker COPY EDITORS Andrea Applegate, Kathryn Schiliro, Erin Yates CONTRIBUTING WRITERS April Bailey, Sage Barnard, Charlene Betourney, Christina Conner, Sharon Dowdy Cruse, Keith Farner, Merritt Melancon, Josh Paine, Kathryn Schiliro, Clint Thompson, Erin Yates CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS AND PHOTOGRAPHERS Sherry Abrams, Steve Bisson/SavannahNow. com, Christina Conner, Sharon Dowdy Cruse, Michael Czarick, Gene Duncan/Disney, Mark A. Ebert/U.S. Navy, Dirk Hansen, Ellen Hardin, Matt Hardy, Dorothy Kozlowski, Dasha Lebedev, Megan McCoy, Dennis McDaniel, Merritt Melancon, Brent Moore, Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post, Edwin Remsberg, Shell Royster, Kathryn Schiliro, Clint Thompson, Andrew Davis Tucker DIRECTOR Angela Rowell Hurt Office of Communications and Creative Services DEAN AND DIRECTOR Sam Pardue College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences SENIOR DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT Mary Ann Parsons Office of Development and Alumni Relations DIRECTOR OF ALUMNI ENGAGEMENT Suzanne Griffeth Office of Development and Alumni Relations

Suggestions? Questions? UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences uga_collegeofag @UGA_CollegeofAg

SOUTHSCAPES is published semiannually for alumni, friends and supporters of the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences by the CAES Office of Development and Alumni Relations and produced by the CAES Office of Communications and Creative Services.


here’s nothing quite like fall in the Classic City. The excitement returns to campus, along with students and football Saturdays. As we enter the new academic year, our college continues to grow in size and reputation. We set a challenging goal in our last strategic plan to have 500 graduate students enrolled in the college by 2020. This semester, we surpassed that goal two years early. Some students now reach for the end of their first semester, looking forward to a much-needed break. Others are getting serious about what the future will hold when they graduate in the coming months. Our students certainly find success at the end of their education experience. Not only are they in rewarding careers, but they are finding financial success as well. This year, the College of Agricultural and Environmental PARDUE These milestones Sciences had the second highest remind us of the starting salaries at graduation progress we have among University of Georgia colleges and schools. In the pages of this issue of Southscapes, you made; the impact will find profiles of CAES alumni who have built our college has had interesting, innovative careers around the country. on the state, nation You will also find stories about our scientists, and world; and the highlighting the impactful research that goes on in important people our labs to make life better for those around us. who have paved While our focus is always on the next big thing, we will take time this year to celebrate a huge the way for the milestone: the centennial anniversary of the innovations we will Coastal Plain Experiment Station and UGA Tifton make in the future. campus. The celebration kicked off in August and will continue through May 2019. These milestones remind us of the progress we have made; the impact our college has had on the state, nation and world; and the important people who have paved the way for the innovations we will make in the future. Taking time to reflect on our history will provide us with a great foundation for future success.

2017 National Agricultural Alumni and Development Association Award Winner 2018 Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences Award Winner THE UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA IS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY, AFFIRMATIVE ACTION, VETERAN, DISABILITY INSTITUTION.

Sam Pardue Dean and Director, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences FALL 2018

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For more stories, visit southscapes.caes. In fall 2018, CAES updated its website design and expanded the research section of the site. The website has improved navigation and user experience on both computers and mobile devices. Visit www.caes. to take a look.

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From the Dean Noteworthy Class Notes From Four Towers Lead Dawgs

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Stress can trigger hormonal shifts that make it more likely for a chicken to produce female offspring. Associate Professor Kristen Navara discusses her research on altering the sex ratios in commercial poultry production at tinyurl. com/KNavara. See the related story on page 14.

University of Georgia plant breeder Scott NeSmith has released five blueberry varieties for home gardens. He shares his family’s blueberry muffin recipe at tinyurl. com/NeSmithBlueberry Recipe. See the related story on page 15.

Subscribe to the CAES Newswire for news about agricultural, consumer and environmental sciences: newswire.



to Grow

It all started with a movie many people haven’t seen. About 10 years ago, Ruqayah Bhuiyan sat down to watch “Sunshine,” a movie about astronauts flying to the sun. Amid all of the high drama, fission bombs and personal conflict aboard the ship, there was a garden. This outer-space garden got her thinking, “If you can grow plants in space, couldn’t they grow anywhere?” Today Bhuiyan is a senior studying horticulture in the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. She’s interested in controlled and low-resource farming systems. But her goals for controlled growing systems are more earthbound than the space garden in the movie. She wants to produce more food using less resources for people in environmentally restricted parts of the world. This spring, she was able to meld science with science fiction by interning with NASA at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Seeing technology that seems like something from the

an Ruqayah Bhuiy iculture completes hort NASA internship with

future applied to real problems was a great exercise in imagining all of the factors that go into growing food in a controlled environment on Earth. “My goal going into this was to learn how to grow more plants with limited resources and in a practical way,” Bhuiyan said. “They need this food for extended and long-distance space travel. They need this food for going to Mars.” During her four months on the Space Coast, Bhuiyan put her experiments in controlled environments into overdrive. Her primary experiment involved testing different types of leafy green vegetables to see which would produce the most fresh matter and grew the best under similar conditions set on the International Space Station. Continued on page 4 FALL 2018

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q Ruqayah Bhuiyan, a senior studying horitculture, recently completed an internship with NASA at the Kennedy Space Center, researching optimized food crop growth systems for future NASA exploration missons.


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Continued from page 3 NASA provided the experimental concept and space, and Bhuiyan maintained and recorded observations of the growth responses of each variety tested during the course of the trials. She and her mentor, Michelle Spencer, tested 16 crops and ran three trials for each crop. In the end, ‘Extra-Dwarf’ pak choy and ‘Dragoon’ lettuce came out on top. Those varieties will be sent up to the International Space Station for space flight testing in the next round of experiments. Supervisors also provided Bhuiyan with the space and equipment to run “My goal going experiments in aeroponics — where into this was plants’ bare roots are misted with water and nutrients — and cable culture — where to learn how to grow more plants plants are preseeded into spools of coiled plastic channels and unfurled when the with limited astronauts reach their destination. resources and in She even got to do an experiment growing a practical way.” potatoes, à la Matt Damon in “The Martian.” It was nearly as dramatic – RUQAYAH BHUIYAN growing them in Florida, she said. This fall, Bhuiyan will continue her undergraduate research work with Professor Marc van Iersel in the CAES Department of Horticulture, and she’s going to continue to run small-scale experiments for NASA. If you’re going to farm in outer space, many little things have to be just right. Bhuiyan knows that those details will make a difference, whether the farmers that she helps are 2,000 miles west of Athens or 2,000 miles above it. “Going (to the space center) and actually witnessing what can be done, then coming back to Athens, (Georgia), and seeing the potential within the ag world was really impactful,” she said. For more information about the research and internship opportunities available to CAES students, visit www.caes.uga. edu/students.html. • Merritt Melancon

 UGA CAES Alumni Association  @UGA_CAES_Alumni  agdawg_alumni   UGA College of Agricultural and  Environmental Sciences (CAES) Alumni

TOP 5 CAES POSTS FROM FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM In terms of reach for March through August 2018

1.  Announcment of Former President Jimmy Carter’s induction into the Georgia Agricultural Hall of Fame 

2.  State Sen. Tyler Harper (BSAE – Agricultural Engineering, ’09) and Matt Coley (BSA – Agricultural Economics, ’03; MS – Agricultural Economics, ’05) named to the UGA Alumni Association’s 2018 40 Under 40

3.  Graduation 2018  4.  Erin Burnett’s (BSA – Agricultural Communication, ’16) Georgia equine license plate design unveiling

5.  Ocean Spray Foods and Snacks Product Development Team member Raghu Kandala’s (Ph.D. – Food Science, ’05) Lead Dawg feature ue increased hing gift reven Corporate matc of the ar ye t firs ring the and 38 percent du ok, Instagram bo ce Fa on n day campaign h their gifts ca atc m ll #MatchItMon wi s nie whose compa CAES. to ns tio na Twitter. Donors do ir the impact of the double or triple


TOP 10 EVENTS HIGHLIGHTED ON THE ALUMNI ASSOCIATION’S SOCIAL MEDIA Check out these UGA and industry events featured each year:

1.  Institute of Food Technologists Expo

2.  Georgia Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association Conference

3.  Southeast Regional Fruit and Vegetable Conference

4.  Sunbelt Ag Expo  5.  International Production and Processing Expo


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6.  UGA Food, Agricultural, Environmental and Sciences Career Fair

7.  National Agricultural Alumni Development Association Conference

8.  CAES convocations  9.  Ag Dawgs After Hours (New for 2018!)

10.  CAES alumni and college-wide events



Curious about your alma mater? Need to know the latest college news or fellow #AgDawgs? Want your contribution to go further? Follow the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Alumni Association on social media:



rior to 2014, staff in the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Office of Diversity Affairs noticed a trend: First-year students consistently visited the office to express common academic and social concerns. “While they were talking, if there was an older student around, we would place them both together,” said Narke Norton, program coordinator in the Office of Diversity Affairs. “The students needed to realize that their peers were great resources.” From this, Victoria David, administrative director of the Office of Diversity Affairs, created the Mentoring Among Peers Program (MAPP). In 2014, MAPP hosted its first cohort of students by using peer mentorship from the UGA Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences club to guide entering college students from the Young Scholars Internship Program and other new CAES students through outreach. MAPP is a voluntary program that pairs first-year and transfer students with mentors during the fall semester. Pairs are matched based on their majors, and they are introduced at a mixer to kick off the semester. From there, relationships grow organically. Students bond over lunch or through intramural sports or other social activities throughout the fall. The new students benefit from the guidance they receive, while mentors benefit from the leadership experience they gain. Ayodele Dare, a senior majoring in agricultural communication, was a new student during MAPP’s first year and has served as a mentor since he became eligible his junior year.

“As a freshman, I was a shy kid, “Ayo really pushed me to be more so it was helpful to me to have involved and to network,” Maddox said. someone share their experiences “He was that friend who introduced (with me),” Dare said. “It’s surreal me to good restaurants, but who was to be on the other end of also honest and let me that and to give back.” know when I was being “As a freshman, Dare said each student hardheaded.” I was a shy kid, he’s mentored has made him Maddox and Dare so it was helpful want to mentor again. He have stayed in touch. to me to have enjoys talking with them on a Although the number of someone share personal level and helping in participants has varied their experiences any way he can. each year, Norton noted Alexandria Maddox, a the positive impact of (with me).” junior majoring in biological the program. – AYODELE DARE science, admitted she was “In the college, we’ve hesitant about retained 90 percent of signing up for MAPP. But our mentors and 74 percent of our Dare’s mentorship over her mentees,” Norton said. • April Bailey first year has been a highlight of her college experience.


MAPP pairs new students with peer mentors

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Emerging Scholar interns are co-mentored by faculty scientists from their home university as well as CAES. The interns conduct supervised research on topics within the agricultural and environmental sciences, prepare a summary research paper and present their findings in a professional setting.

Emerging Futures Through the Emerging Scholars “The program sends the message Internship program, rising juniors that UGA is a good option for and seniors from historically black graduate school, and it gives them colleges and universities (HBCU) the option to come here on a trial conduct research with University of basis to gain a better view about Georgia College of Agricultural and what we do here,” Broder said. Environmental Sciences faculty, Allowing students to preview this gaining research experience that academic environment is important, prepares them for graduate school. according to Mohammed Ibrahim The program is an (Ph.D. – Agricultural eight-week summer Economics, ’05), FVSU “The program internship geared toward agricultural economics HBCU undergraduate sends the message professor and program students interested coordinator. Ibrahim that UGA is a good in attending graduate option for graduate recruits FVSU students school for agriculture for Emerging Scholars. school, and it gives and related sciences. “I believe there them the option Students receive a can be different monthly stipend and misconceptions about to come here on a housing allowance and the environment trial basis to gain are co-mentored by CAES at UGA and what to a better view about scientists. At the end of expect from graduate what we do here.” each internship, students school,” Ibrahim said. prepare a research “This internship is a – JOSEF BRODER paper and present their good investment for findings publicly. students to experience The program is coordinated by what the university has to offer and the CAES Office of Diversity Affairs, decide if they want to attend.” which is led by Administrative Director Victoria David. When the program began in 2010, the first Emerging Scholar came from Fort Valley State University (FVSU). The program is designed to reach students who may not have seen UGA as an option for graduate school, said Josef Broder (BSA – Agricultural Economics, ’71), CAES associate dean for academic affairs.


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Emerging Scholars Internship program shows students from historically black colleges what CAES has to offer

A total of seven FVSU students have been scholars in the program. Six agricultural economics majors and one food and nutrition major participated, according to Ibrahim. Two of the agricultural economics majors went on to graduate from CAES with master’s degrees. Emerging Scholars participants are not required to attend UGA for graduate school, but for some students, like Janeal Jackson, an FVSU graduate, the program was the icing on the cake. “I credit my being here at UGA to Emerging Scholars,” Jackson said. “I hadn’t considered applying to UGA for graduate school before that.” Jackson, a first-year graduate student studying food science and technology, was an Emerging Scholars intern in 2017. She said she was grateful for the experience the internship provided and for her interactions with David and the CAES Office of Diversity Affairs. Since its first year, 10 more students from Tuskegee, Florida A&M, Savannah State and Alabama A&M universities have participated in the Emerging Scholars Internship program. • April Bailey


RELEPHANT EXPERIENCE Animal health major Grace Boothby volunteers at Thailand Elephant Sanctuary and Dog Shelter


 Current University of Georgia student Grace Boothby, majoring

in animal health in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, spent two weeks this summer in Thailand, where she gained veterinary experience at an elephant sanctuary and dog shelter. Based in Chiang Mai, Thailand, Boothby and other students on the Loop Abroad organization’s service-learning trip spent their first week at Elephant Nature Park, which is home to over 1,000 rescued dogs, cats, water buffalo, monkeys, horses, elephants and other animals. Boothby shadowed the elephant veterinarian at the park. “A few of the rescued elephants had stepped on land mines when they were working for the logging industry,” she wrote in an email. “We got to help clean off their wounded feet. Treating elephants was the most amazing, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I will never forget.” The next week was spent at the Animal Rescue Kingdom dog shelter and Loop Abroad’s new teaching facility. Boothby practiced blood draws and physical exams, scrubbed into spaying and

neutering surgeries, and practiced monitoring anesthesia. “Many of the classes I have taken at UGA helped me on this trip,” she wrote. “My knowledge about anatomy and physiology, as well as some biochemistry, came in handy, and I was definitely able to apply this stuff to the veterinary information I was gaining.” Loop Abroad is an animal welfare and conservation organization that brings together students and locally run animal welfare organizations worldwide. Through Loop Abroad’s study abroad programs, students “contribute to long-term improvement on the ground in the countries they visit,” according to a Loop Abroad press release. Students must complete an application process to participate in these programs. “I found out about Loop Abroad from Pre-Vet Club here at UGA,” Boothby wrote. “I chose to go on this trip because I always knew that I wanted to travel in college and this experience seemed very unique in that it catered to my future career goals.” After graduation, Boothby plans to attend veterinary school and become a small-animal veterinarian. • Kathryn Schiliro

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 Left: Boys plant peppers at Chickamauga Elementary School in Chickamauga, Georgia. Inset: Dalton Green shows a group of students how to plant basil.

said. “For a fairly rural town like Chickamauga, it was an eye-opener.” “That really opened our eyes to the fact that students weren’t learning at home, and they weren’t learning in the classroom, about the different sectors of agriculture or how it all comes together,” she said. “They may learn the basics — this is a plant and this is what it needs to grow — but they don’t connect that to food production.” They decided to work with the state legislature to fix the issue because a bill would lead to the most lasting change. “We could have gone to a local school system and asked if they wanted to do a pilot program or an ag education program in your elementary schools, but what we did, by going through the Legislature, is build a firm foundation for something that can grow into a statewide program or maybe a national program.” Potter and Green worked with Mullis to introduce the bill during the 2017 session of the Georgia General Assembly, but Mullis decided to hold the bill until the next legislative session. During the 2018 session, Georgia State Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee Chairman John Wilkinson, of Toccoa, and Mullis reintroduced it with co-sponsorship mily Potter and Dalton Green were lucky to have from state Sens. Larry CAES students advocate for found a purpose in the FFA at the Gordon Lee Walker III of Perry, agricultural education in High School in Chickamauga, Georgia. Since Ellis Black (BSA then, the two University of Georgia College of Georgia’s elementary schools – Animal Science, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences ’65) of Valdosta, agricultural education majors made it their and Dean Burke mission to introduce agricultural concepts to of Bainbridge. younger students. The bill allows Potter, a senior, and Green, a sophomore, worked for a three-year with the Georgia Legislature for two years to pilot program in an develop a program to put an agricultural education unlimited number of curriculum into the state’s elementary schools. Georgia elementary Finally, a pilot program, included in the 2018 Quality schools beginning Basic Education Act, became part of the Georgia code when in the 2019-2020 Gov. Nathan Deal signed the act into law on April 27, 2018, school year. The during the State FFA Convention. curriculum will meet “The people at UGA are what made this possible,” said the FFA’s three-part Green, who plans to go into agricultural education after he model, which includes graduates in 2021. “They were not there as a part of the bill classroom instruction, writing or anything, but they were there as support and as hands-on learning and guidance.” leadership training. That day represented years of planning and work for Green and Potter, who Faculty members in the CAES Department helped draft the proposal with the help of state Sen. Jeff Mullis of Chickamauga. of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Potter and Green’s work with students at the Chickamauga Communication are currently conducting Elementary School summer daycare program sparked the idea. It research to craft the elementary school was clear when they started that the kids knew some basics about curriculum in Georgia, and it should agriculture, but they were having trouble connecting the dots. make its debut in pilot classrooms next They knew that milk came from cows and that cows lived on farms, but school year. • Merritt Melancon those farms could have been on Mars for as much as they knew, Potter


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Elementary Agriculture

q Top to bottom: A dozen of this year’s crop of Extension interns are from UGA. Kelly Paulk was an ANR intern in Brooks County, Brittany Clark was an ANR intern in Clarke County and Kayla Robinson was an ANR intern in Henry County.


Field Studies This summer, 28 college students interned in University of Georgia Cooperative Extension offices across the state. They worked alongside Extension agents to gain hands-on experience in the office and the field. The interns observed UGA Extension at work serving Georgians. Now in its 11th year, the UGA Extension internship program is open to undergraduate and graduate students. This year’s interns ranged from sophomore undergraduates to doctoral students. Of the 28 interns, 12 are students or recent graduates of UGA. The others are students or recent graduates of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural and Berry colleges, and Auburn, Emory, Fort Valley State, Georgia State and Georgia Southern universities. Their majors range from global health to agricultural and environmental systems. The interns worked in all of UGA Extension’s program areas: 4-H Youth, Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS), and Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR). ANR interns helped UGA Extension agents work with farmers, gardeners and local communities. FACS interns assisted with nutrition, home care and financial management classes that support families. Georgia 4-H interns helped 4-H agents teach students important life skills, like leadership and cooperation. “It was something new every single day. When you walked in the office, you didn’t know if you were going to be walking through chest-high tobacco, stumbling through a corn field, or going to look at a sick sheep,” said Kelly Paulk (BSA – Agriscience and Environmental Systems, ’18), who worked in Brooks County. Nathan McLendon, who interned in Terrell County, says his internship experience helped him hone his people skills. “You learn so much about agriculture and natural resources. It’s a really good learning experience, and


UGA Extension internship program doubles as students explore careers in service

it really helps you to develop yourself professionally,” said McLendon. Many interns go on to become UGA Extension agents, like Lanier County 4-H Agent Megan Powell (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’17). “Whether I was working in the field with a grower or with 4-H’ers at camp, my internship allowed me to grow by learning something different every day,” Powell said. “I fell in love with the work that Extension does to serve people of all ages in Georgia.” The number of summer interns hosted by UGA Extension has doubled since last year, and UGA Extension plans to continue to increase participation in its internship program in the coming years. The program is popular with students because, as UGA Extension interns, they gain insight about careers in Extension from experienced agents and start building their professional networks. “The UGA Extension internship program provides an excellent opportunity for students to get a firsthand look at the day-to-day life of an Extension agent,” said Director of Extension County Operations Mike Martin. “They not only get to work alongside professional faculty in the field, but they are also given an opportunity for leadership and to take an active role in program planning, preparation and delivery.” These interns gain valuable insight into the ways that UGA Extension agents work with their communities to solve everyday problems while paving their way to potential careers in UGA Extension. For more information about working with UGA Extension, visit careers. • Sage Barnard and Sharon Dowdy Cruse

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The Department of Food Science and Technology’s Food Process Research and Development Laboratory provides facilities and expertise for creating food products and testing new processing technologies.

Food science professor emeritus named to ACSH Board of Scientific Advisors University of Georgia Professor Emeritus Robert Shewfelt has been named to the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) Board of Scientific Advisors. The board peer-reviews the council’s work; writes articles for Priorities, the council’s magazine; and guides the council’s positions on science policy. Founded in 1978, ACSH is a science and health education and consumer advocacy organization that promotes evidence-based science and health policy. Shewfelt, who retired in 2013, joined the faculty of the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Department of Food Science and Technology in 1982 on UGA’s Griffin campus. In his early years at the college, he focused his time on his research, which involved tracing quality SHEWFELT changes in fruits and vegetables from the farm to the consumer. In 1996, he transferred to UGA’s Athens campus to teach and serve as the undergraduate coordinator and recruiter for the food science major. He continued to conduct research, but switched his primary focus to teaching future food scientists. He developed what became a popular first-year Odyssey seminar, “Chocolate Science,” to interest UGA students in the field of food science. Despite the attention the seminar garnered, “Food Processing” was Shewfelt’s favorite course to teach. “Everything we do in food science — keeping foods safe, preventing spoilage, maintaining nutritional and sensory quality, and developing new products — comes back to an understanding of food processes,” he said. The class lab was run like a virtual food company. Students had to select, develop and manufacture four distinctly different food products. Shewfelt said the experience forced his students to get away from “a multiple-choice test mentality” and to think about applying concepts from the class to real-world situations. “My first department head, Dr. Tommy Nakayama, told me that my teaching would benefit from my early focus on research because I would be teaching from experience rather than from a book,” he said. The second edition of Shewfelt’s 2007 textbook, “Introducing Food Science,” was published in 2015. In 2012, he released his second book, “Becoming a Food Scientist: To Graduate School and Beyond.” His most recent book, “In Defense of Processed Food: It’s Not Nearly as Bad as You Think,” was released last year. He also posts weekly to his blog at • Sharon Dowdy Cruse


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n just under two decades, the local food movement has changed the way many people think about their food. Now it’s time for the next step: a local seed system. The wall between heirloom seed varieties and modern varieties needs to be dismantled, chef Daniel Barber told the audience gathered at the University of Georgia Special Collections Libraries last fall. Plant breeders, like those at the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, need to work more closely with farmers and chefs to produce varieties that provide natural disease and pest resistance as well as phenomenal flavor. “You can take advantage of the past with respect and modernity and turn it into something very exciting for the future,” he said during his talk, titled “What Kind of Menu Will Meet the Challenges of the Future? Exploring a New Recipe for Good Food from the Ground Up.” Barber, who has pioneered the farm-to-table movement in fine dining in New York City and upstate New York, has received multiple James Beard Foundation awards

q Dan Barber, chef and national farm-to-table and sustainable food systems advocate, delivers his lecture, “What Kind of Menu Will Meet the Challenges of the Future? Exploring a New Recipe for Good Food from the Ground Up,” on April 10 at at the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries.

and built a reputation as a chef and farmer. He is also the author of “The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food” and has been featured in the documentaries “Chef’s Table” and “Wasted! The Story of Food Waste.” Earlier this year, inspired by his search for new flavors and more hardy heirloom vegetable varieties, Barber’s team launched Row 7 Seed Company — a cooperative of chefs and plant breeders working to provide flavorfocused vegetable varieties that retain some natural disease and pest resistance. Farmers and plant breeders have “You can take traditionally worked hand in hand to advantage of the Award-winning Chef Dan Barber Addresses Future of develop varieties that will thrive in past with respect Food and Sustainability in CAES Lecture local conditions through the landBy Merritt Melancon and modernity grant system, but Barber advocates and turn it into involving chefs in the process as well. He has helped to develop something very over a half-dozen wheat and grain exciting for the varieties based on flavor profiles future,” he wants to use in the kitchen. – DAN BARBER Barber was at UGA to speak to students and the public about his vision for modern food and farm systems, but he also wanted to visit with plant breeders in the college. He met with CAES breeders; toured UGA’s student-run farm, UGArden; and visited local organic farm Woodland Gardens in Winterville, Georgia. He hopes to work with UGA plant breeders to develop new varieties that provide trademark flavors for Southeastern farmers and chefs. “We’re going to start the breeding projects moving forward on this very local, very micro level,” he told the crowd. “I’ve been more emboldened in this idea while I’ve been here in Georgia, just in the last few hours, seeing the interest, enthusiasm and passion for a new food culture and by the youth and how they’re dialed into good food, good flavor, fresh ingredients, and exploring and celebrating this very diverse environment and history that y’all have here.” • Merritt Melancon

To watch Barber’s lecture, “What Kind of Menu Will Meet the Challenges of the Future? Exploring a New Recipe for Good Food from the Ground Up,” visit CAESBarberlecture.


For JamesBeard-awardwinning chef Dan Barber, flavor begins on the farm


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q The mule barn (right) was built in 1913 to demonstrate a new construction technique to the state, and it is the oldest building on the UGA Griffin campus, according to Dr. Hunnicutt. The renovated 3,900 square-foot barn, located in the heart of the Griffin campus academic quad, now houses the Dundee Café.

A century-old Griffin campus landmark gets new purpose with renovation

BARN Yesterday

 UGA president Jere Morehead (center) prepares to cut the ribbon at the Dundee Café on the University of Georgia's Griffin's campus on Oct. 4, 2018. The renovation of the old mule barn was made possible by a $1 million gift from the Dundee Community Association. The café will serve students, employees and visitors as well as keep the memory of Dundee Mills and the historic mule barn alive through photos and exhibits.


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he Georgia Experiment Station, now the University of Georgia Griffin campus, was established in 1888 and opened in 1889, when mules pulled the farm equipment. The agricultural research station’s mule barn was constructed in 1913, after the previous structure was struck by lightning and burned. The replacement barn was built using the slip-form concrete method to demonstrate a then-new construction

technique. According to Lew Hunnicutt, assistant provost and campus director at UGA-Griffin, it is the oldest structure on campus. Today, the interior walls of the 105-year-old barn still contain memories of that time: names of the mules written above the pegs that held their bridles, crop weight calculations written by people long since gone and animal tracks embedded in the concrete floors. These and other historic features were preserved during the $1 million renovation made possible by a gift

q Several historic elements of the mule barn were preserved, such as names of the mules written where their bridles were hung.


new hire


Crop and soil department head envisions sustainable growth through education

from the Dundee Community Association. The 3,900 squarefoot structure, located in the heart of the campus quad, has been repurposed into the Dundee Café. Students, employees and the general public can come to the café for a meal and a history lesson. The space will house rotating exhibits on the history of the campus and the nearby former Dundee Mills, the area’s largest employer for nearly a century, when Griffin, Georgia, was known as a textile town. The grand opening was celebrated at a ribbon cutting ceremony Oct. 4, 2018. • Sharon Dowdy Cruse

Janine Sherrier believes the University of Georgia Department of Crop and Soil Sciences’ focus on long-term sustainability is vital to Georgia agriculture and the farmers who make it the No. 1 industry in the state. As of June, Sherrier is the new UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences crop and soil sciences department head, based in Athens, Georgia. Her vision involves helping Georgia farmers be successful now and for decades into the future. “With a commitment to all three branches of the landgrant mission — extension, research and academics — we work side by side with growers and find solutions to their emerging challenges. We’re developing resources and knowledge to ensure their future success, and we aim to train a steady stream of well-prepared graduates for the agricultural industry,” Sherrier said. UGA’s campuses in Athens, Griffin and Tifton, Georgia, SHERRIER house crop and soil sciences faculty and staff. The department provides modern technology and science-based knowledge to students, farmers, consumers, agribusinesses, nonprofits and governmental agencies across the state. Sherrier came to UGA because the crop and soil sciences department is known for its impactful Cooperative Extension programs, applied and basic research, and academics, but she is driven to continue to strengthen the department’s programs. Sherrier says the department will also address issues that may be on the horizon for the agricultural industry. Growers face increasing costs, complex regulations and intense competition for resources. “Everywhere I’ve traveled in Georgia, I’ve heard from growers about how important the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences is to their industry,” she said. “In crop and soil sciences, the faculty have particular strengths in plant genetics and breeding, soil geochemistry, and sustainable management practices. One of my goals is to bridge and leverage those strengths to generate novel resources for our growers.” With Sherrier’s long-term vision for the department and Georgia agriculture, she advocates for agricultural management strategies that generate high crop yields and growers’ economic success while emphasizing careful stewardship of natural resources. Sherrier previously served as a professor of plant and soil sciences at the University of Delaware and held the first dual appointment with the Delaware Biotechnology Institute. At the University of Delaware, she established an internationally competitive research program about beneficial-plantassociated microbes. Work by her team there led to the development and marketing of a bioinoculant, approved by the Environmental Protection Agency, that is available to growers today. Sherrier earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Baylor University and a doctorate in biology from Texas A&M University. She also completed postdoctoral research programs in genetics at the John Innes Centre and in biochemistry at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. • Clint Thompson FALL 2018

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CAES researcher finds that stress hormones affect the sex ratio of poultry offspring

DID YOU KNOW? The topranked CAES Department of Poultry Science was created in 1912 to support Georgia’s largest industry.


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 Earlier this year, CAES Associate Professor Kristen Navara published a book on the effects of maternal stress hormones in a variety of species. Patterns of sex-ratio adjustment are especially important to the poultry industry.

t may seem like everyone on Earth has an equal chance of being born male or female. It’s about a 50-50 split, after all. However, University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Associate Professor Kristen Navara has found that it’s not that simple. Stress and lack of resources can trigger hormonal shifts that make it more likely for mothers to produce female offspring. She’s found that it’s true for birds and for humans, and it’s probably true for most vertebrates. Women who gain less weight during pregnancy are more likely to have female offspring, and parrots that experience food shortages produce more female chicks. Navara also found that more female babies are born in the equatorial regions of the globe, while more male babies are born at higher latitudes, but it’s unclear how or if latitude relates to stress. This year, Navara published a book on patterns of sex-ratio adjustment in a variety of animals, called “Choosing Sexes: Mechanisms and Adaptive Patterns of Sex Allocation in Vertebrates.” It’s one of the only works that explains the power of maternal hormones across species. Understanding how stress hormones affect the sex of the hen’s chicks is invaluable for the poultry industry, which needs male chickens to populate broiler houses and female chickens to populate laying houses. “In the poultry industry, the sex of the chicks is particularly important,” Navara said. “We’re trying to find a treatment that would program the hen to produce more of the desired sex. That would be huge because we would not only reduce the discarding of unwanted chicks, we could substantially increase the profits of the poultry producers.” Recently, Navara’s team has found some of the genes responsible for responding to environmental stress and triggering the hormonal shifts in hens that control the sex and health of their progeny. Up until this point, they’ve only been able to affect the sex ratio of the hen’s chicks in the lab by treating her with hormones, a practice that is banned in the poultry industry. Their next step is to find a hormone-free treatment to trigger the gene responsible for translating stress into hormones to skew the sex ratio of chicks. Eventually, this could be accomplished through breeding, but that is a project for the future, Navara said. • Merritt Melancon


House of Blues To date, UGA plant breeder Scott NeSmith has released five blueberry varieties for home gardens. ‘BLUE SUEDE’ is a highbush blueberry that produces a normal-sized home garden plant, attractive, sky-blue fruit, and attractive fall foliage; ripens over time; and is self-pollinating.

‘CUTIE PIE’ is a dwarf hybrid that’s compact, with small leaves; generally keeps attractive foliage into the fall; is very attractive during flowering, as it puts on a lot of flowers; has small, darker berries; and produces a good crop load.


‘FROSTBERRY DELIGHT’ is a rabbiteye blueberry that produces large, sky-blue berries and blue, green and silver foliage; is self-pollinating; and is heat- and drought-tolerant.

‘SOUTHERN BLUEBELLE’ is a highbush blueberry that’s an ultra-dwarf plant; produces medium- to large-sized, lightblue fruit and an abundance of berries; and flowers profusely.

‘SUMMER SUNSET’ is a rabbiteye blueberry that has deep-green foliage; multicolored berries that turn from light green, to yellow, to orange, to a deep sunset red, to midnight blue as they ripen; and produces normal-sized berries with a full-flavored taste. The plant does not keep its foliage in the fall.

Grab your mixing bowl – NeSmith shares his family blueberry muffin recipe at NeSmithBlueberry Recipe.

For years, University of material specifically for home Georgia plant breeder landscapes. They partnered Scott NeSmith has created with UGA to provide NeSmith blueberry varieties for the with input and to test the commercial market. Now, edible-ornamental selections. he’s introducing a series “A couple of these new of blueberry plants bred ornamental blueberry for home gardeners. releases are ultra-dwarfs and Blueberries have to travel would make for a great patio long distances to get from plant,” he said. “Others have farmers to consumers. These attractive foliage during the berries must be extremely firm growing season. You can enjoy when they’re the beautiful, picked so they CAES research colored foliage can withstand develops blueberries in the fall and mechanical winter; flowers specifically for harvesting, in the spring; home gardens hold up and delicious through longberries distance shipping and have a in the summer.” long shelf life, NeSmith said. “We wanted these plants “You can’t have berries that to produce good-tasting leak and ooze while they are fruit,” he said. “Some produce being shipped to market,” he small, dark berries, and some said. “But in a home setting, it produce multicolored berries. doesn’t matter because you are Above all, you don’t have to going to eat them right away.” worry about whether your kids Commercial blueberry or grandkids pick and eat them varieties must also ripen at because they are safe to eat.” one time. In a home setting, NeSmith continues to breed gardeners like to pick a varieties for the home market, bowlful at a time, so they don’t including a plant that produces mind an extended ripening clusters of blueberries and season, NeSmith said. blue-green foliage and Many of the blueberry plants another that will hold berries bred by NeSmith did not meet on the bush for two to three commercial standards, but weeks while retaining a produced pretty and large superior-quality taste. fruit, or a plant with attractive “Our goal is to help foliage or shape. He decided consumers surround to take a second look at these themselves with flavorful plants for home gardeners and beauty in their own home the edible-ornamental market. landscapes,” he said. Representatives from • Sharon Dowdy Cruse the nursery industry also approached him and requested FALL 2018

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The University of Georgia Tifton campus is a hub for groundbreaking research with global impact. World-renowned scientists conducting agricultural research have called UGA-Tifton home for the past century. Learn more at

q Phillip Marion Roberts, UGA Extension entomologist, examines cotton. Inset: George Vellidis’ precision agriculture class trains students to use cutting-edge technology.


Pioneering Possibilities


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year and will commemorate a century of agricultural research built on collaborations by scientists to bolster the outcomes of agriculturists. The work of these scientists took down the boll weevil in the 1990s and greatly lessened the impact of thrips-transmitted

workforce upon graduation. Kelly Paulk (BSA – Agriscience and Environmental Systems, ’18) was introduced to impactful new technology in Professor George Vellidis’ precision agriculture class. “It was all new to me because the farm that I grew up on did not use a lot of the precision ag UGA-Tifton software that we celebrates learned about,” a century of she said. “In transformative my current job, I’m using a lot agricultural of the precision research and ag techniques.” education Paulk now works for Southeastern Agricultural tomato spotted wilt virus, Laboratories and Southeastern kudzu bugs and whiteflies in Crop Consulting as a sales and recent years. marketing specialist. “There’s a huge diversity “For years, UGA-Tifton in scientific training here. faculty had a strong desire That’s a real strength because to teach students, but we put people with different academic programs were not backgrounds on teams to available at the extended address issues. If you’ve got a campus,” said Vellidis. disease problem in a crop, it’s Vellidis and Mark Rieger, most likely not isolated to the a former professor in UGA’s crop. It may be transmitted by Department of Horticulture, insects. It may be caused by led the effort to establish some soil fertility issue,” West UGA-Tifton’s degree said. “There’s usually not just programs. Working with the one simple solution. It’s very Tifton faculty, they created complex and challenging.” a major that didn’t exist Many of these worldanywhere else, met the needs renowned scientists are also of the agricultural sector and educators at UGA-Tifton. played to the strengths of the The hands-on education they campus. With an inaugural provide is often the reason class of about 20 students, these students enter the UGA-Tifton began offering the

agriscience and environmental systems major in 2003. “It was good for me to go to a school locally, around where I farmed. What the professors and researchers taught us has a lot to do with some of the things we face every day,” said Russ Griffin (BSA – Agriscience and Environmental Systems, ’05), a farmer in Tift County, Georgia, and member of UGATifton’s first graduating class. “I was glad they got a program in Tifton because I really didn’t want to travel that far to Athens, (Georgia).” A few years later, the campus offered an agricultural education degree, which is now the campus’s most popular major. “The University of Georgia’s agricultural education degree program continues to grow in new and exciting ways. We were recently given the opportunity to outfit a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Integration and Research Development Laboratory to develop innovative projects that raise the bar for agricultural education in south Georgia and beyond,” said Assistant Professor Ashley Yopp in the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education PHOTOS BY EDWIN REMSBERG

Leadership and adaptability helped Tifton, Georgia, land the Coastal Plain Experiment Station 100 years ago, and these characteristics make the University of Georgia Tifton campus a valued partner in farming operations in Georgia and abroad. “What we do today is dramatically different than what we did years ago, and that’s because we’re on the leading edge of changes in agriculture,” said Assistant Dean for UGA-Tifton Joe West. Former UGA-Tifton agricultural engineer James Shepherd designed the combine that enabled peanut farmers to harvest more efficiently, technology that is still used by most modern peanut combines. Researcher Glenn Burton put the campus on the map through his work on pearl millet, which helped feed millions in India and Africa. UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Professor Peggy OziasAkins, a Tifton native, was part of a collaborative effort to sequence the peanut genome in 2014, which helps researchers worldwide produce a more resilient peanut. These scientists are part of UGA-Tifton’s 100-year history. The campus celebrates its centennial anniversary this

q Extension agronomist and peanut specialist Frank McGill helped increase peanut yields at home and abroad. Horticulture researcher and molecular geneticist Peggy Ozias-Akins pioneered development of genetically engineered peanuts and peanut improvements.




and Communication at UGATifton. “We’re building on the strong roots of our program to cultivate the next generation of scientists and teachers of agriculture.” UGA entomologist David Riley has served as the graduate coordinator of UGA’s plant protection and pest management master’s degree program (MPPPM) for the past four years. More than 46 MPPPM students have graduated during his tenure. “These professionals are currently working at seed companies, the Environmental Protection Agency and other

regulatory agencies, the Cooperative Extension Service, and private agricultural companies. The common thread in this group of professionals is their sincere desire to make U.S. agriculture the best in the world,” Riley said. “These are fine, dedicated professionals that UGA has had the privilege of training since 1973, when the program was established.” An account of UGA-Tifton’s agricultural contributions will be chronicled in a book to be released in spring 2019. • Clint Thompson

Former University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences plant breeder Glenn Burton was inducted into the Georgia Golf Course Superintendents Association’s Hall of Fame at The King and Prince Beach Resort on Dec. 4, 2017. According to Mike Brown, then past president of the association and chairman of the Hall of Fame committee, Burton’s induction was overdue. “In 2011, we started the Hall of Fame to honor some of the guys BURTON who have gone above and beyond the role of being a golf course superintendent. In 2015, the selection committee discussed recognizing the outstanding contributions from people outside the position of superintendent. The contributions from several of these people had a dramatic impact on the Georgia golf course superintendents. (Burton’s) developments for Bermuda grass were really a game changer for the game of golf,” Brown said. “The ultra-dwarf grasses that putt so well today are derived from the grasses he produced years ago. Prior to his release of ‘Tiffine’ and ‘Tifgreen’ during the 1950s, there just weren’t any good turf options for greens in the South. In fact, some courses had sand greens. Superintendents and golfers alike, whether they know it or not, are thankful for the great work of Dr. Burton,” he added. From 1936 to 1997, Burton served as a research geneticist and plant breeder on the UGA-Tifton campus. His career highlights include saving millions from starvation though pearl millet research that contributed to the Green Revolution in parts of India and Africa. Burton was inducted into the Georgia Agricultural Hall of Fame in 1984. Burton helped transform the game of golf through his six turfgrass hybrids now grown on golf courses, athletic fields and lawns throughout the Southern U.S. “It was an easy decision for the selection committee to award him posthumously. It was an honor to have his family there to accept the award,” Brown said. A committee chaired by the association’s past president, along with the sitting president and several Hall of Fame members, select the inductees every year. • Clint Thompson

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q The Agricultural Research Building sits at the front of the Tifton campus, adjacent to the H.H. Tift Building, which was renovated in 2016. The update includes modern touches like high-efficency LED lighting but retains much of the original architecture.

extension how-to


Science at Your Fingertips

Looking good for 80 years old Members of the University highlighted UGA-Tifton’s of Georgia Tifton campus impact on the community community took part in a and the important research rededication of the newly enabled by the renovation. renovated Agricultural “This facility helps ensure Research Building this past that UGA faculty, staff and April. The building was the students have the space second structure built on the they need for our critical campus. agricultural research and Renovations to the building education programs,” include the Morehead Renovation prepares addition of said. “I would UGA-Tifton’s high-efficiency like to thank Agricultural Research the state and LED lighting, extensive Building for the future the University fiber-optic System cable and wireless internet Board of Regents for their capabilities. The historic investment in this project, building retains many of its which ultimately is an original architectural features, investment in both the future including the windows. of UGA-Tifton and the vitality Renovations to the of Georgia’s No. 1 industry.” building, formerly known The 12,000-square-foot as the Animal and Dairy structure was originally Science Building, concluded completed in 1938. in early March and were made “We are a campus possible by $5 million in that prides itself on state support. The building groundbreaking research houses faculty and staff of the that impacts the world. Being UGA College of Agricultural able to renovate and return and Environmental Sciences to service one of our original Department of Animal buildings will only enhance and Dairy Science and that research,” said Assistant Department of Entomology. Dean for UGA-Tifton Joe West. At the rededication, UGA • Clint Thompson President Jere W. Morehead


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University of Georgia Cooperative Extension extends lifelong learning to Georgians through unbiased, research-based education in agriculture, environmental science, and personal and financial health. Through our free online library, numbered UGA Extension publications connect university research to Georgians, Americans and citizens of the world. At Extension, we create channels of access to science. The knowledge that we foster creates the foundation for new hobbies, untried courses of study and transformative career paths. Check out the following new titles. Sweet Potato Production and Pest Management in Georgia (Bulletin 1489) In the past, Georgia led sweet potato production in the U.S. But the emergence of the sweet potato weevil, Cylas formicarius (Fabricius), caused Find these Georgia’s sweet potato production publications to decline significantly. Over the and more at past several years, however, acreage https://t.uga. in Georgia has rapidly increased. edu/387. Growers have capitalized on market demand and successfully use sweet potatoes as a rotation for cool-season vegetable crops. Currently, there are about 5,000 acres of sweet potatoes grown commercially in Georgia. This bulletin is a comprehensive resource on the production, disease, insect, nematode and weed management of sweet potatoes. Vineyard Frost Protection (Bulletin 1490) The viticulture industry is growing across Georgia and the Eastern U.S. Frost is a perennial threat in these regions, and reducing frost risk can save approximately $48,000 per acre in return revenue. This publication covers all aspects of vineyard frost protection, including weather patterns that cause frost and freeze damage, as well as passive and active methods that can be employed to reduce frost risk. Organic Pecan Production (Bulletin 1493) Organic food sales in the U.S., driven largely by personal health preferences and environmental ethics, rose from $13 billion in 2005 to $35 billion in 2014. Organic farmers are required to follow an ecological soil management program and are restricted in their use of chemicals. Pecan production generates unique challenges to organic production methods in the humid Southeastern U.S. because the environment is conducive to heavy pressure from insects, diseases and weeds. This publication covers the creation of an organic pecan production program based on the selection of pest-resistant cultivars. • Erin Yates

q Frank Williams, retired groundskeeper at the UGA Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens, looks up at a species of bamboo that can grow 18 inches in a day.



into bamboo chips to use as mulch throughout CGBG. He says bamboo chips keep weeds down and don’t decompose as quickly as bark or straw. Like many state workers who manage limited budgets, Williams found ways to stretch dollars and often recycled or repaired items at CGBG. He repaired an old surplus tractor and brought it back to life to use in the garden. Now, Williams teaches the new generation of garden workers how to maintain the gardens and the tractor. fter more than 30 years, Frank Williams retired from “The work was hard, and I did a lot of it his position as the groundskeeper for the by myself. But I believe you can’t let the University of Georgia Coastal Georgia Botanical work work you. You have to work the work,” Gardens (CGBG) at the Historic Bamboo Farm he said. “And, at the end of the day, your in Savannah, Georgia. But he still works there work will speak for you.” three days a week and, even at 75, he hasn’t “Mr. Frank is a great example and slowed down. mentor to the younger employees at the Friends of the Coastal Gardens (FOCG) recently named garden,” said Tim Davis, CGBG director a classroom in Williams’ honor to show their appreciation and coordinator of University of for his years of hard work and dedication. Georgia Cooperative Extension in Photographs of Williams adorn the walls of the UGA Coastal Georgial Chatham County. “He recently Frank Williams Classroom. Botanical Garden came to work and never missed “I was honored when Mr. Jim asked me if a day despite being treated for a they could honor me,” said Williams of FOCG honors groundskeeper President Dr. Jim Andrews. “Mr. Andrews has Frank Williams for his medical condition.” Williams, who was fighting always come up with ideas, and he has worked unmatched work ethic cancer, happily reports he is alongside me to make things happen. When we cancer-free. started work on the camellia garden, it looked like To learn more about CGBG, go to a junkyard. But we dug up stumps, worked hard and got it done.” • Sharon Dowdy Cruse Williams’ work at CGBG has always been very labor-intensive, but he never complains, and he has never taken a sick day. Thousands of visitors come to CGBG each year and enjoy the results of Williams’ weeding, mowing, tending, planting, pruning and other tasks. Seeing visitors enjoy the garden brings Williams joy. “The more I do out here, the more people come. They enjoy the beauty, and they enjoy nature. I cleared trees and cleaned up the back part of the pond, and now more people come to that spot and get peace,” said Williams. He is fondly called “Mr. Bamboo” and earned his nickname by tending CGBG’s 160 varieties of bamboo. Now an expert on the plant, Williams says bamboo can grow 18 inches in 24 hours. Williams strongly suggests home gardeners think long and hard before adding bamboo to their landscapes. “If you get it, you’ll be stuck with it because it’s really hard to get rid of,” he said. “People always come here to see the bamboo. I used to wonder what they saw in the bamboo, and then I saw something.” Over the years, Williams began to craft bamboo chairs, tables, display racks and fans. Williams also turns bamboo pruned from the groves



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q Bryan Fluech, associate director of the UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant, discusses Georgia shrimp at the Ocean to Table workshop for UGA Cooperative Extension agents. Inset: FACS agent Barbara Worley shows off a blue crab.


Sea Farers Hands-on course prepares UGA Extension agents to share health benefits of Georgia seafood

Barbara Worley grew up on the coast of North Carolina and considers herself an oyster connoisseur. La Keshia Levi, on the other hand, shudders at the thought of eating an oyster. After attending a two-day Ocean to Table workshop, both University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) agents are prepared to encourage residents in their counties to eat more Georgia seafood. The brainchild of Chatham County Extension FACS Agent Jackie Ogden, the workshop series is designed to increase consumers’ and UGA Extension agents’ knowledge of Georgia seafood. “Living here on the coast, I eat a variety of Georgia seafood, but I’m aware that not


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everyone in Georgia does,” Ogden said. “With the growth of Georgia’s oyster and clam industry, I saw the need to encourage Georgians to learn about the nutritional and health benefits of all seafood.” The seafood most commonly harvested from the Georgia coast are shrimp, clams, oysters, blue crabs and fish. Georgia fishers catch favorites like sea bass, snapper and mahimahi as well as lesser-known species like triggerfish and sheepshead. Funded by a UGA Extension Innovation Grant, the workshops are presented through a partnership between UGA Extension and the UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant. “With these grants, I wanted to foster

innovation, partnership and collaboration in Extension programming. This particular project brings the expertise of UGA Extension and the UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant together to create a better program,” said Laura Perry Johnson, associate dean for Extension. “That exemplifies the true spirit of the land- and sea-grant mission.” Three workshops were presented to educate the public, then two train-thetrainer workshops prepared county agents to teach seafood programs. The most recent workshop was held in May 2018 at the UGA Marine Education Center and Aquarium on Skidaway Island, Georgia. This Ocean to Table workshop included an overview of the nation’s


of seafood per week, but only 1 in 5 Americans meets that dietary recommendation. Fatty fish are one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty To learn acids, which are known to reduce more about the risk of heart disease. incorporating seafood into Bryan Fluech, associate director your diet, visit of the UGA Marine Extension www.gacoast. and Georgia Sea Grant, believes Georgians would increase their consumption of seafood if they knew seafood contains essential vitamins and minerals like zinc, iodine, iron, calcium and selenium. “People may think they don’t like fish, but there are hundreds of species, and they don’t all taste the same,” Fluech said. “Fish is very affordable, too, if you just learn to diversify your palate.” “The agents are now prepared to answer questions about seafood consumption, like knowing the mercury levels in fish, and are ready with suggestions and specific seafood recipes to help clients prepare seafood for their families,” Ogden said. • Sharon Dowdy Cruse


seafood industry and taught the county agents who are piloting the program how to safely handle and cook seafood, read product labels, know portion sizes and understand the benefits of using the online Georgia Seafood Directory. The county agents also took a boat trip on the waterways near Skidaway Island, tried crab fishing, and toured the Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant’s oyster hatchery at the Shellfish Research Lab on Skidaway Island, the only such hatchery in the state. To better understand the deep history of Georgia’s seafood industry, the group also toured the Pin Point Heritage Museum, the former home of A.S. Varn & Son Oyster & Crab Factory located in the heart of a Gullah/Geechee community. “I’ve lived in Georgia since 2000, and I didn’t know that we produced so much seafood,” said Levi, who is based in middle Georgia’s Houston County. “I knew I was going to learn a lot in this program, but I had no idea that I was going to get to try all the different types of seafood and get so much hands-on experience, and I went on my first boat ride.” Levi even ate roasted oysters. She plans to incorporate the health benefits of eating seafood into the trainings she offers, especially those for pregnant women. She will also encourage Houston County restaurants to serve more Georgia seafood. “With the current growth of Worley was amazed by Georgia’s oyster and clam industry, how much she learned in I saw the need to encourage the workshop. Georgians to learn about the She said, as a scuba diver, nutritional and health benefits of she's picked up many oysters, but she never all seafood, in addition to teaching knew they were protandric, them about the availability of meaning they can change Georgia seafood products.” from male to female, until she toured the hatchery. – JACKIE OGDEN Her goal was to return to Forsyth County with information about the type of Georgia seafood available to her clients and how they can access it. She now plans to brainstorm with other metro-area FACS agents to develop a seafood education program that can be used in multiple counties. Ogden says she knew the key to reaching Georgians was to train her fellow FACS agents, who share health and wellness information year-round and are seeking to improve the health of Georgians. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends eating two to three servings

 UGA Extension agents learned about the nutritional benefits of seafood, which tends to be high in protein, vitamins and minerals and low in calories, fat and saturated fat. The agents were trained in the safe handling and preparation of seafood.

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hey called them “kids on the bubble,” kids from different backgrounds in danger of dropping out of school. Today they are soldiers, college students, homeowners and candidates for the state Legislature. Many cite their time in an innovative University of Georgia Cooperative Extension program as helping them bridge the gap to success. The Teens as Planners (TAP) program broadened their horizons through college tours and field trips outside of Georgia’s Elbert and Madison counties and taught them that they were the architects of their own stories. “Our goal was to get them to graduate from high school,” said Christa Campbell, UGA Extension Family and Consumer Sciences


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FLIPPING THE SCRIPT Between 2009 and 2016, “at-risk” youth in Elbert and Madison counties found a sense of community and a network of support through the Teens as Planners (TAP) program at their local UGA Extension offices. Community service and personal and professional development programs helped the students to build their foundation for success after high school.

ABBY JOHNSON Working since 2015 and plans to become a police officer “My favorite memories from TAP are from the college tour we did. I was hardly allowed to speak about my plans after high school when I was at home, so taking that trip with adults who wanted to show me some options meant a lot to me.”

KEANDREYA MORRISON Class of 2020, Fort Valley State University “Although I have many great memories with TAP, I will always remember all of the amazing volunteer work we did and how great it felt to help the community.”

ANGEL RUCKER Class of 2021, currently studying at Emmanuel College and plans to transfer to the Armstrong Campus of Georgia Southern University “TAP has made a tremendous difference in my life. TAP has prepared me for college and has helped me develop many leadership and communication skills. I can say without a shadow of a doubt that TAP has molded me into the young adult I am today.”

U.S. ARMY SPC. SHAQUILLE SANDERS Serving in the Army and considering graduate school “My best memory from TAP was the trip to Washington, D.C. We had the opportunity to visit the White House and experience our history at a different level. My favorite part was when we were able to talk and present our work with TAP to Kalpen Modi, a member of the White House staff, and the response to our presentation. The idea of someone so important showing us recognition for what we had done and we were going to do was unreal. It showed us we do have a voice.”

(FACS) agent and TAP coordinator for Elbert to rely on one another for the extra support County. “I’m amazed at how far they’ve they needed to achieve their goals. gone and the bond they still share.” The small-group settings were key Between 2009 and 2016, Campbell and to building their confidence and trust, former Program Assistant according to Campbell. Valencia Thornton leveraged “Part of the success was Teens as Planners Elbert County’s existing that we let them drive the program helped students program,” Campbell said. UGA Extension youth development infrastructure, “We wanted to give them plan for bright futures targeting at-risk high school life skills and get them students through the grantinto community service funded TAP program. work. They took that and created a bond In Madison County, Extension FACS Agent that made it feel like it was a family. And a Leigh Anne Aaron (MAL – Agricultural lot of them needed that external support.” Leadership, ’15) ran the TAP program. Grant funding ended in 2014; however, Some students’ families were living in the TAP program continued on local funding poverty. Some would be the first in their until the last cohort graduated in 2016. TAP family to go to college. All of them came mentors Campbell and Thornton continue to

JOHN T. WILLIAMS Class of 2018, Morehouse College, 2018 District 57 (Fulton County) candidate for the Georgia House of Representatives and currently employed at Alston & Bird law firm in Atlanta “TAP made a huge difference in my life. It taught me things that I would use in and out of the classroom. From public speaking to preparing everyday meals with friends, this program taught me how to live, learn and love. It was a constant force over my life, always pushing me to meet my best potential. Without this program, I would not have developed the courage to go out and change the world. My best memory is the conversations I had with Mrs. Christa and Ms. Valencia. They never failed to show me that they truly believed in me and my dreams.”

stay in contact and support many of these young adults. TAP participants are invited to two meetings a year, so they can see their TAP “family” and the TAP mentors can help with college, issues with work, issues at home or with life in general. When funding for the program ran out in 2016, 23 at-risk students graduated from high school with help from the TAP program. Thirteen of them went on to college or technical school. Campbell hopes to find the $10,000 a year she needs for travel and program resources to restart the program in the future, but she is proud of what her TAP students have accomplished. • Written and compiled by Merritt Melancon

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WORK G like an


Blue Angels Corrie (King) Mays (BSES – Environmental Economics and Management, ’03)


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q Two CAES alumni have reached new heights since their days at Conner Hall. Corrie (King) Mays (BSES – Environmental Economics and Management, ’03) was the second woman to hold a numbered position with the Blue Angels. She managed navigation, radios and weapons systems in F/A-18 Hornet combat jets. U.S. Marine Corps Major Mark Montgomery (BSA – Agribusiness, ’01) pilots the Angels’ C-130T transport plane.

Ag Dawgs are not strangers to hard work. Students in the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences have plenty of opportunities to get their hands dirty, whether it’s out in the field or inside a lab, greenhouse or barn. They gain the practical knowledge and skills employers seek, and as a result, our graduates are consistently in demand for jobs that provide a safe food supply, a cleaner environment and better lives for all people. CAES has the highest placement rate (34 percent) of alumni into graduate and professional schools, and our graduates have the secondhighest median starting salaries out of all UGA graduates. Our featured alumni know firsthand why it’s great to be an Ag Dawg.


Major Mark Montgomery (BSA – Agribusiness, ’01)

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The Sky’s the Limit Soaring past the clouds, engines roaring, pilot Mark Montgomery breaks into the blue. A U.S. Marine Corps major, current Blue Angel, and University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences graduate, Montgomery (BSA – Agribusiness, ’01) pilots the Blue Angels’ C-130T transport plane, “Fat Albert.” The C-130 is basically a “school bus with wings” and is responsible for moving the team’s 30,000 pounds of gear and 40 passengers from place to place and is part of air-show-opening flight demonstrations. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps in 2002, a year after his UGA graduation. He’s flown more than 1,200 combat hours, including operations and exercises in Afghanistan, Iraq, Italy, Morocco and Spain. Alumna Corrie (King) Mays (BSES – Environmental Economics and Management, ’03) was also a Blue Angel. In fact, she was the second woman to hold a numbered position on the team. She served as the events coordinator and squadron naval flight officer for the 2015-2016 seasons and was responsible for 130 flight demonstrations and flyovers, including Super Bowl 50, Walt Disney World and multiple Major League Baseball games. Mays was at UGA during 9/11 and, after graduation and a few


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 Mark Montgomery has been a Blue Angel since 2015. Below: Corrie (King) Mays flies in loose formation with the Blue Angels in this epic selfie. Right: Check out Mays’ and Montgomery’s interview with Southscapes at

Two CAES alumni find true-blue success years as a natural resource economist, decided she wanted to serve her country. She was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps in 2006 and has nearly 1,000 flight hours, including deployments in the Middle East and the Pacific. She joined the Blue Angels from the Marine Corps’ two-seater F/A-18 Hornet combat jet community, where she was a “backseater” or weapons systems officer who worked navigation, radios and weapons systems. “Like Goose in ‘Top Gun,’” she said. “Just taking off and seeing the world below you, the perspective that you have, it’s incredible,” she said. “When I was “(Being) 18 inches in the Hornet, flying the F/A-18, the apart and going raw power you can literally feel in 400 mph … The amount the seat of your pants while you’re of teamwork that goes flying is incredible.” The six-month Blue Angels into those 10 minutes of application process requires rounds maneuvers, we want people of grueling interviews, travel to see this is what your and going to air shows. Actually military can do.” becoming a Blue Angel is a two-year commitment, and they’re on the – MARK MONTGOMERY road 300 days a year. There are about 130 Blue Angels from the Marine Corps and Navy branches of the U.S. military — only about 10 percent are Marines — at any given time. Established in 1946 to demonstrate the might of the U.S. military, the Blue Angels now focus on recruiting and “inspiring excellence,” Montgomery said. “(Being) 18 inches apart and going 400 mph … The amount of teamwork that goes into those 10 minutes of maneuvers, we want people to see this is what your military can do,” Montgomery said. Aside from flying, both Montgomery and Mays are motivated by the Blue Angels’ community and school outreach. “One of the things I least expected was the impact I had just being a female on this team,” Mays said. “To get in front of Americans of all ages and have them see us in our uniforms and see their reactions … I love (having) the opportunity to show them yes, we’re out there, we have been out there, we’re doing great things, and we’re part of the team.” Originally from Massachusetts, Mays ended up at UGA because she thought she’d study business and wanted the quintessential college experience: college town, sports


Work like an AG DAWG




team, etc. “I definitely found that here in Athens, (Georgia),” she said. Montgomery came to UGA through his father, who’s a veterinarian. He worked in his veterinary clinic growing up. Initially an animal science major, he turned his attention to agribusiness, but joined the military seeking adventure. Both praise CAES’ class sizes and close relationships as keys to their success. “One of the things I loved about the ag school was that it (had) smaller classes,” Montgomery said. “The personal attention that you can get, the detail you can go into when it’s a smaller ratio of instructors to students, it’s much more rewarding that way.” Montgomery credited Steven Turner, and both Montgomery and Mays credited Jeffrey Dorfman, CAES professors, as having the greatest impact on them. “I remember absolutely loving to learn from them,” she said. “They could take the most complex subject and break it down in a way that made it very relatable, very understandable and very enjoyable.” The college also provided them with opportunities to serve the public, a skill they used in their career as Blue Angels. “I definitely remember how many opportunities we had to integrate with the community here and all over Georgia,” Mays said. “It was pretty awesome.” Mays currently lives in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and has opened a store, The Plum Porch, with her sister. Montgomery remains with the Blue Angels, based in Pensacola, Florida. • Kathryn Schiliro

aul Adeyemi served as a University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Ambassador during the 2011-2012 school year. As an Ambassador, he attended a leadership conference in Orlando, Florida. There, he met a recruiter from The Walt Disney Co. who was looking for interns. “Prior to that day, I thought of Disney as just the Disney Channel or the resorts,” Adeyemi (BSAE – Agricultural Engineering, ’12) said. He followed up with the representative, applied and was accepted into the program. As an intern, Adeyemi worked with the quality engineering team, writing job plan correctives for assembly and disassembly of the ride vehicles and conducted several audits to verify compliance with state and national standards. Mechanical engineer He transitioned to full-time work for the company Paul Adeyemi keeps one year later, designing ductwork, piping and other cool in Florida’s building modifications for the Walt Disney World theme parks Resort in Orlando before his departure in 2014. “I decided I didn’t want to work solely for Disney, but I wanted to continue working with Disney,” Adeyemi said. That is exactly what he does in his current position as a mechanical engineer for EXP, a Florida-based engineering, architecture, design and consulting company. Adeyemi provides building solutions and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) designs for clients that include Disney and the Universal Orlando Resort. “Within the entertainment sector, there’s a lot of on-the-job learning,” Adeyemi said. “The design approach is different because you’re trying to preserve the fairytale feeling that visitors get from what they see.” There’s much he’s learned on the job, but Adeyemi recognizes how his CAES education prepared him for his current position. He said he was immediately able to apply the knowledge he gained from the HVAC and structural engineering classes he took. “Those classes definitely prepared me, not only in learning to use the different systems like AutoCAD, but also in having to think critically and break down a problem from the beginning stages,” Adeyemi said. Potential employers initially questioned the degree on Adeyemi’s resume. They saw that he studied agricultural engineering with an emphasis in mechanical systems, and they assumed his skill set was limited to the agricultural sector. He proved that his major, now offered by the UGA College of Engineering, provided a skillset he could extrapolate beyond agriculture. “My advice to current students is to go full force,” he said. “Get a foot in the door, work on your soft skills and be ready to compete for the job that you really want.” • April Bailey FALL 2018

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q Associate Professor Franklin West looks at media in petri dishes inside an incubator in his lab at the Rhodes Center for Animal and Dairy Science.


pioneer pioneer Associate Professor Franklin West inspires students on the frontier of genetic research


ssociate Professor Franklin West (Ph.D. – Animal and Dairy Science, ’08) takes a student-centered approach to teaching. Using his own path and principles as examples, West inspires students in the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Department of Animal and Dairy Science to challenge themselves. As a student, West directly benefited from university research programs, and today he shapes a meaningful learning environment through collaboration and shared knowledge. Under West’s guidance, the college’s animal biotechnology course went through major revisions. He transformed the book-and-pencil course centered on examining traditional genetics theories to be an active learning discussion about


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modern technology: cloning, stem cells, gene therapy, genetic manipulation and epigenetics. As a leader at the Regenerative Bioscience Center (RBC), West helped to create the RBC Fellows, an undergraduate program that takes advantage of faculty strength in animal and dairy science, biochemistry, engineering, and veterinary medicine. In just three years, the program has grown 65 percent and involves more than 70 undergraduates. “What I thought could be a tedious, if not boring, research experience has turned out to be one of the most rewarding and exciting experiences I have had thus far as an undergraduate,” one of West’s students wrote. West has created a culture where research students feel like equal contributors and take control of their learning experiences. Beyond teaching, West’s research contributions bridge animal science and human health. His scientific accomplishments range from generating the first chicken-induced pluripotent stem cells for a project on Newcastle disease to developing a swine stroke



model that could have major implications on treatments for human stroke victims. His focus on regenerative medicine has resulted in numerous peer-reviewed publications covering stroke, stem cell plasticity and neural differentiation, Newcastle disease in poultry, and traumatic brain injury (TBI). His pioneering work on poultry and swine pluripotent stem cells led to new means of generating vaccines for livestock, animals that are resistant to poultry diseases, and controls for smaller losses in animal production. The Journal of Neurotrauma, the authoritative publication focused on neurodegenerative disease research linked to brain trauma, featured West’s work on the development of a translational model for the largest population of TBI victims: children up to four years old. “Frank’s sincerity, honesty, perseverance and dedication are what drive his research excellence,” said RBC Director Steve Stice, also West’s graduate school mentor. “He works in a world where ideas are shared and where friendship matters most.” • Charlene Betourney

Work like an AG DAWG

Stick a pin in it


to schools and VIPs as well as doing his own research (currently on the taxonomy and systematics of fungus-feeding beetles). The Smithsonian’s mission as an educational institution focuses on research, collections and exhibits. By design, it somewhat models the landgrant mission of teaching, research and extension, which can be very effective, according to Shockley. One of the museum’s latest exhibits is “Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World,” which encourages patrons to think like an epidemiologist. Since Floyd Shockley keeps up with more insects are one of the top vectors of human disease than 35 million insect specimens that other than humans themselves, Shockley and his are housed in nearly a dozen locations. department helped to implement it. On top of that, he coordinates the efforts of staff, “It’s exciting to bring the science out from scientists and other government officials, prepares behind the scenes in a way that doesn’t endanger public exhibits, and completes research. our collections, but reminds the public It may seem a bit like organized that we’re more than what they’re Floyd Shockley chaos for some, but for Shockley seeing out in the main museum,” said manages millions Shockley. “It’s really neat to see this (Ph.D. – Entomology, ’09), entomology of specimens for department collections manager at the new opportunity to engage about why Smithsonian Institution’s National the Smithsonian collections matter, what we can do with Museum of Natural History, this is the collections we already have, and Institution’s where his passion shines. why we don’t stop.” entomological Ever since he was a child growing When he’s not at the museum, collection up on a small farm outside Kansas City, Shockley consults with and gives guest Missouri, Shockley has been fascinated lectures to law enforcement about with insects and the environment. Little did he know forensic entomology or to other museum managers back then, he’d become the collection manager for about collection practices. the largest set of insect specimens in the U.S. and one He also participates in about a dozen professional of the top collections in the world. organizations. On top of that, Shockley has been on Shockley originally wanted a teaching or research the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental faculty position, since he enjoyed doing both as a Sciences Alumni Association board of directors for doctoral student and even helped mentor younger three years and visits campus three or four times a graduate students. However, the skills he gained year to engage with the college and give back. working in Joe McHugh’s Insect Systematics “I’ve always considered the University of Georgia Lab and the University of Georgia Collection of my academic home, so I feel really strongly about it, Arthropods set him up for success at something else. and I do everything I can to help out from here,” he “That was one of the first times I really had an said. • Josh Paine opportunity to manage a collection in a professional capacity,” he said. “That opportunity sort of set the course for my career. During that time, we did several things that I’ve carried into my professional career here. All of the logistical things that I now do as a byproduct of my job here, I first learned there.” After teaching for a few semesters after graduation, Shockley was contacted about an entomology technician job at the Smithsonian Institution. He was excited about the opportunity and had already visited the natural history museum a few times throughout graduate school. He’d spend the better part of a decade learning the ins and outs of the museum world and working his way up in the department. A majority of his time was spent collaborating with other government organizations, like the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Department of Defense. Shockley still enjoys giving behind-the-scenes tours

Work like an AG DAWG q Debra Jones Wright’s passion for horses brought her to the University of Georgia and now she has her dream job.


Horse and the National Snaffle Bit associations. She is also an official steward for AQHA and is a member of the AQHA youth committee and Professional Horsemen’s Association of America. “Being a judge and a steward is a prestigious opportunity. I’m proud to protect the horse and the association’s standards and rules. I make sure everyone is doing things legally, humanely and for the benefit of the association,” she said. “I really felt like the people who were respected and reached successful levels in the industry were the judges. The judges dictate the industry, what people breed, what people see as ideal, which horses do events.” Jones Wright came to the University of Georgia for one reason: to learn from the great equestrian Carla Wennberg (BSA – Animal Science, ’81). “I was literally starstruck. She was everything I wanted to be. She judged, she rode, she taught and she was a strong, strong female across all disciplines,” Jones Wright said. At CAES, Jones Wright became involved in the Block and Bridle Club and the horse and livestock judging teams. She organized the annual rodeo, worked at the CAES horse barn under the direction of Professor Gary Heusner, and helped with the UGA Cooperative Extension horse program. After she completed her bachelor’s degree, she worked with cutting and training horse breeder Dale Wilkinson and taught part-time at Georgia Southern University. Then, she taught and coached the equestrian team at Berry College. When her teaching and judging schedules conflicted, she had to make a choice, and she chose judging. She and her husband, a professional farrier – a person who shoes horses – went into business at New Beginnings Horse Farm in Plainville, Georgia. For 17 years, the 30-stall operation offered services from coaching to boarding, and Jones Wright continued judging. Today, Jones Wright is back home in South Carolina and building a new, 12-stall facility on her parents’ ranch. She is breeding and selling her own horses, teaching, and As a 4-H’er, Debra Jones Wright judging. (BSA – Animal Science, ’88) found Jones Wright credits CAES and the her passion and her future career. Department of Animal and Dairy Science She loved anything and everything about with providing her many opportunities horses. She participated in shows and was drawn to gain experience. to judging. “They offered me everything, from “Every time I showed horses or cattle, I was breeding, to time at the vet school, to Love of horses turns impressed with the person in charge, the breaking and training experiences,” into judging career for official,” she said. “I was full of questions. If I she said. “There wasn’t a piece of the animal science graduate won, I wanted to know why I won, and if someone industry that I couldn’t be exposed to Debra Jones Wright else’s horse won, I wanted to know why her horse when I was a UGA student if I put won. I love the reasoning part of judging. I just eat it myself into it. … There’s no doubt the up. I knew I wanted to be successful, and I wanted to opportunity and support I was given by be an official.” my advisor shaped my life and my Today, Jones Wright has accomplished her childhood dream. career. The same is true for the judging team. I was able to She is an accredited judge for the American Quarter Horse travel and earn that base experience, and that is (AQHA), the National Reining Horse, the National Reined Cow invaluable.” • Sharon Dowdy Cruse




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cut from the same cloth


att Coley is a fourthgeneration cotton farmer who values the opportunity to work some of the same land his grandfather and greatgrandfather tended decades ago in Vienna, Georgia. “Just thinking about the issues they had trying to grow a crop, a lot of the problems they faced then, we’re still facing here today, but just on a little bit bigger scale,” Coley said. “You’re still trying to make a crop and do it in an economical manner and be able to be in business the following year.” Coley (BSA – Agricultural Economics, ’03; MS – Agricultural Economics, ’05) was destined to continue his family’s farming tradition. “For as long as I can remember, when I was out of school during the summer, there were things for me to do on the farm, whether it was hoeing weeds or scouting cotton. There was always something to do,” Coley said.

“As I got older and started helping Forestry for more than three years. some down here at the gin, it didn’t He even had the opportunity to matter what time of the year it was, work on the 2008 farm bill. my dad always found something to This experience followed a keep me occupied.” Congressional Agricultural Fellowship Coley and his father grow he earned with Chambliss during approximately 3,400 acres of cotton his junior year at the University of and 400 acres of peanuts every year. Georgia College of Agricultural and They employ seven Environmental Sciences. workers on the farm, “That (fellowship) Matt Coley keeps and they oversee was a tremendous up his family’s eight employees opportunity and kind tradition as a fourthat Coley Gin and of opened my eyes to generation cotton Fertilizer, where agricultural policy. It farmer in Vienna Coley is an owner didn’t take but a few and operator. The weeks working on the number of gin Hill to make me realize workers balloons to between 15 and that, before I moved back to the 20 during the fall harvest season. family farm, I wanted to do something While farming is Coley’s passion, ag policy-wise,” Coley said. he also has political experience. This year, Coley was honored by Following his graduation in 2005, the UGA Alumni Association when Coley moved to Washington, D.C., he was selected to its 40 Under 40 and worked with Sen. Saxby Class of 2018. Visit www.alumni.uga. Chambliss on the Senate Committee edu/40u40/ to learn more about this on Agriculture, Nutrition and honor. • Clint Thompson FALL 2018

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Dusty Engel brings precision agriculture to south Georgia producers

eorge Vellidis’ “Principles of department needs to understand Precision Agriculture” class how to diagnose issues and fix at the University of Georgia problems. I only have two full-time Tifton campus prepared Dusty employees, but in essence, I have Engel (BSA – Agriscience 180 employees,” Engel said. and Environmental Systems, ’09) for Precision agriculture enables farmers the career he has today at Lasseter to improve efficiency in their agricultural Equipment Group. That experiential practices. Innovations like GPS learning enabled Engel, a native of Burke technology and variable-rate irrigation County, Georgia, to have a job in place allow for farmers to be more precise in before he graduated. their daily operations “I think George in the field. “I think George understood where the Fellow UGA [vellidis] understood technology was heading College of where the technology when I was in school. Agricultural and was heading when I was At that time, it was just Environmental in school … Once I got into his auto-steer. You had some Sciences alumnus classes, it led me to where I tractor functionalities Chris Hopkins (BSA that could be controlled – Crop Science, ’02; wanted to be.” by precision ag. He MPPPM – Plant – DUSTY ENGEL pushed it on us enough Protection and Pest and covered enough of Management, ’04) the topic that he got me interested in is the store manager at the Lasseter it. Once I got into his classes, it led me dealership in Lyons, Georgia. He believes to where I wanted to be,” Engel said. Engel’s experience and expertise Engel has worked as the precision has helped growers adopt precision agriculture manager for Lasseter agriculture in their farming operations. Equipment for more than 10 years. “In 10 years, we watched precision He helped create and now oversees agriculture go from an idea or concept the precision agriculture department to the early infancy of its development in seven of the company’s south — to today, where it’s mainstream,” Georgia stores. Hopkins said. “I would say that three“Precision ag is so ingrained into the quarters of our farmers use some form of equipment now, a lot of it comes on precision agriculture in their day-to-day the tractor from the factories. Our parts operations compared to 10 years ago. In guys need to be aware of what parts are my particular location, I would say that needed and how they’re actually being maybe 10 percent of my producers use used by the customer. Our service some form of precision agriculture.” • Clint Thompson


Work like an AG DAWG

FFRROOMM OOCCIILLLLAA TTOO AATTLLAANTNTAA One member of the University of Georgia Alumni Association’s latest 40 Under 40 class credits a Congressional Agricultural Fellowship for his career path in politics. Sen. Tyler Harper (BSAE – Agricultural Engineering, ’09) is the District 7 senator in the Georgia General Assembly. His time working under U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss opened Harper’s eyes to public service. “It gave me enough interest in the political process, helping and serving people, and doing what we can to make our state better that I knew, one day, I wanted to serve in some capacity,” Harper said. Harper is involved in a number of business enterprises, and he is the owner and operator of Tyler Harper Farms in Ocilla, Georgia. Primarily a row crop operation, Harper’s farm produces peanuts, cotton and corn along with pine trees. It’s all part of a 1,000-acre farming operation that includes Harper Hill Plantation and Harper Family Holdings. Through these partnerships, he helps manage the operations, which includes the production of hay and a small herd of commercial beef cattle as well as the management of forest lands and a number of rental properties in south Georgia. His agricultural and business experience makes Harper a leader for farmers at the state level. “There aren’t many of us in the legislature who are actually involved directly in production agriculture. There are also members of the legislature who have no ties to agriculture,” Harper said. “It makes it more important today than in years past that those of us who have ties to the agricultural community

become more involved. The more members of the General Assembly and members of the general public get further removed from the farm, the harder it is to explain the importance of agriculture to our economy, our state and our country.” Harper’s responsibilities include counseling fellow members of the Georgia Senate on the importance of providing funds for agricultural research and educating them on different production issues faced by farmers. “There are a lot of issues we have to deal with at the state level, and it’s more important to have strong voices who are willing to serve in certain capacities, whether it’s in the legislature or other positions, like the Georgia Farm Bureau or Georgia Agribusiness Council,” Harper said. “These kinds of entities help us make sure we’re informing individuals who need to be informed of the importance of agriculture. Those who are willing to get involved and make their voice heard help us to be able to convince those who don’t have a background in agriculture why certain policy decisions need to be made.” • Clint Thompson

row crop farmer tyler harper speaks up for agriculture in the georgia general assembly

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 Chris McClure holds an adult gyrfalcon, the largest falcon species and one of The Peregrine Fund’s conservation projects.

earned him a reputation for being really good at what he calls “bird math,” the population statistics that provide the backbone for research-based conservation work. After graduating from CAES, McClure interned at The Peregrine Fund and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He received his doctorate in biological sciences from Auburn University before he moved out West and studied the effects of noise pollution on birds. He was instrumental in developing the Phantom Road, a method used to study the effects of traffic noise in the absence of roads by projecting road noise into road-less areas. After his postdoctoral research, McClure was recruited by The Peregrine Fund, a nonprofit founded in 1970 to conserve peregrine falcons. It has since expanded its mission to conserve all raptors. In addition, the nonprofit operates an interpretive center where the public can interact with ambassador raptors. As director of global conservation science for The Peregrine Fund, he designs monitoring programs, hen Chris McClure (BSES – Environmental experiments and analyses to Economics and Management, ’05) was an determine why raptor populations undergraduate at the University of Georgia are declining and what can be done College of Agricultural and Environmental to save them. Sciences, he sometimes got in trouble for skipping class This analysis means he’s able to to go birding. contribute to multiple conservation Little did his professors know that his time efforts around the world, but it also out in the woods with his binoculars helped to means he doesn’t get out into the shape a career path that led him woods as much as to one of the most prestigious he used to. Chris McClure conservation groups in the world. “But I do get to practices McClure, who currently serves as park next to condors conservation the director of global conservation every day, which is through science at The Peregrine Fund in cool,” McClure said. research for The “I can walk across Boise, Idaho, credits his parents’ love of the outdoors and the brass-tacks the parking lot and Peregrine Fund environmental economics basics he go see a peregrine learned at CAES for launching his career falcon, and I get to in conservation. feed harpy eagles now and then. So, “(Being a CAES graduate) gives a pretty unique I still get my dose of the outdoors perspective on biodiversity conservation that you and get to see exactly what it is that wouldn’t get if you just went the ecology or wildlife we’re trying to save.” management track,” McClure said. “It helped me For more information about understand how policies should or shouldn’t be handled The Peregrine Fund, visit www. and how incentives can drive conservation.” His grasp of statistics and environmental systems • Merritt Melancon





southscapes // FALL 2018

Work like an AG DAWG

Take a Bough

 Richard T. Olsen, director of the U.S. National Arboretum, and Sandra Gibson, executive director of the National China Garden Foundation, scout the future site of the China garden in Washington, D.C.

U.S. National Arboretum Director Richard Olsen’s career in horticulture keeps him grounded


Looking back on Richard Olsen’s family history, it is no surprise that he pursued a career in horticulture.

“My two years at UGA cemented my resolve to pursue an academic career in ornamental horticulture,” Olsen said. “There, I truly experienced what it meant to be under heat stress. We looked at the combination of photoinhibition and nutrient stress on photosynthesis during production of broad-leaved evergreen shrubs, (specifically) anise (Illicium spp.). It combined my love of ecology and the evolution of landscape plants with plant physiology issues affecting growers. “There was always something or someone exciting coming through the program, and they made sure you were introduced and interacted with them, whether it was an international expert on hydrangeas or a lead grower for one of the largest wholesale nurseries in the U.S.,” he said. Olsen’s appointment to the National Arboretum was equal parts

Olsen (MS – Horticulture, ’01) said his family had a large vegetable garden anchored by giant rhubarb clumps in Wisconsin, and in North Carolina, they had dogwoods and red tip photinias. While horticulture was present throughout his life, it wasn’t all that drove him to pursue a degree. His experience as a Boy Scout and a lifelong hobby of drawing and art classes guided his path. “You put all that together and it screams landscape architecture,” he said. He bookended his master’s degree in horticulture from the University of Georgia with a bachelor’s degree in landscape design and a doctorate in horticulture, both from North Carolina State University. In 2015, Olsen was appointed the director of the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, D.C. Olsen was previously a research geneticist and lead scientist in the arboretum’s Floral and Nursery Plants Research Unit. He served as acting director of the arboretum in 2014. He was also the acting assistant director of the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, the world’s largest agricultural research facility, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service. At UGA, Olsen worked with researcher and “My two years at Professor John Ruter, who UGA cemented my was solving important resolve to pursue production issues for an academic career in the nursery industry ornamental horticulture.” from the Coastal Plain Experiment Station on – RICHARD OLSEN the UGA Tifton campus.

unfathomable and a once-in-a-lifetime shot. After all, he and his wife both figured Olsen would be a professor at a land-grant university with a horticulture program. “Being selected was a huge surprise, as I had no experience in leading other than my own programs,” said Olsen, who now heads a $12 million program with 75 staff and research laboratories and ultimately answers to Congress. He’s proud to note he still gives at least 10 presentations a year to garden clubs and professional societies. “I’m not just an academic horticulturist, but a real-life gardener who gets my hands dirty and experiences the realities of cultivating plants, pushing the envelope of what can and can’t be done in our gardens, and then relaying that to other passionate gardeners,” he said. • Keith Farner

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Work like an AG DAWG

Anastasia Buh creates food concepts for Cinnabon and helps the homeless along the way

safety first emphasis on microbiology because he knew that there was a growing demand for microbiologists and infectious disease experts in the poultry industry. At the time he graduated, the need for people Steven Lyon (BSA – Poultry Science, ’04; who understood the connection between MS – Poultry Science, ’06; Ph.D. – Food farming and food safety was exploding. Science, ’09) is responsible for helping “When I graduated, the larger retailers Chick-fil-A maintain its standing as a — Chick-fil-A, Walmart, Kroger — they quality meal on the go by safeguarding the were just realizing that they needed company’s food safety record. microbiologists to help ensure food Since 2009, Lyon has worked to ensure safety,” Lyon said. “At the time, there the safety of the chicken served at every weren’t that many people who could work Chick-fil-A. He has worked with poultry across the entire food chain, but having farmers, poultry processors an ag background (meant and restaurant ownerI could work) throughout Chick-fil-A Food operators to maintain the the supply chain. My food Safety Solutions safety from farm-to-fork science and agriculture Principal Program in Chick-fil-A’s more than background was critical to 2,300 restaurants. Lead Steven Lyon helping everyone make the Today, he is the principal changes needed to reduce ensures the fowl program lead for the chain risk across the board.” stays fresh restaurant’s food safety It’s not the most obvious solutions team. connection for younger A native of Bishop, Georgia, Lyon students, but Lyon urges all students didn’t know where his degree would take studying agriculture to think about him when he enrolled in the University careers in food safety. Coming from an of Georgia College of Agricultural and agricultural training background, they Environmental Sciences in 2000. He just have skills that are in high demand in the knew he wanted to work with food and restaurant industry: the ability to tackle stay in Georgia. problems on a systemwide basis and to “I really wanted to make sure that I communicate with both producers and had a job when I graduated,” Lyon said. consumers without missing a beat. “Job security, staying local and pursuing a “Having an agricultural background career working with food and agriculture has been vital for me in terms of earning drew me to CAES. Also, growing up in an credibility with producers,” Lyon said. agricultural community, I wanted to stay “Being able to speak their language has close to my roots.” enabled me to make connections and build The education he received while at CAES the credibility we needed for them to work helped him shape a career in the relatively with us to reduce food safety risk.” new field of retail food safety. • Merritt Melancon He went into poultry science with an


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If you grew up in Georgia, something about a Chickfil-A chicken sandwich may feel like home.

Roll Ag Dawg on a


hen it comes to cinnamon rolls, Anastasia Buh (BSA – Food Science, ’11), senior manager of product development and commercialization for Atlanta’s FOCUS Brands, knows her stuff. Buh, a 29-year-old from Eastanollee, Georgia, was recently promoted to this position and primarily works to create branded consumer goods in the quick-service restaurant, convenience and grocery channels. She partners with manufacturers to develop products that highlight the brands’ most recognizable attributes – such as Cinnabon’s heavenly aroma of Makara cinnamon. Her job ranges from creating consumer packed goods, such as the Cinnabon Gooey Bites available in grocery stores, to developing high-end, branded

goods with customers like The Cheesecake Factory. The Cinnabon Cinnamon Swirl Cheesecake that Buh worked to develop recently launched in The Cheesecake Factory’s 200+ locations. Her favorite part of the job is coming up with “something out of thin air that no one has thought of,” she said. Buh has always had a passionate interest in food. Her father, a chef, owned a restaurant, and she worked in the kitchen throughout

her high school and college years. She says that this background, combined with her food science education at the University of Georgia, prepared her for her career today. The UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences food science program provided her with a solid foundation of technical and hands-on, industry knowledge. She attributes her insight into the industry’s inner workings to her now-retired professor, Robert Shewfelt. “Being in his classes made me aware of all of the opportunities in the market,” she said. “Everything was focused around any kind of offering or pathway where you could use food science in the industry.” While Buh loves her job, her true passion involves aiding those who are less fortunate. Buh found a way to combine her two passions, food and helping the homeless, by starting a food donation program at FOCUS Brands. The company’s research and development (R&D) department was initially having to discard product samples and inventory due to lack of freezer space. With permission from the company, she found small shelters with volunteers willing to pick up this leftover food. The company has now partnered

with an Atlanta food pantry, Intown Collaborative Ministries, for more than three years. “We donate R&D samples: buns, bread, cakes, donuts, anything really. It’s great because they can be ready for quick takeaway meals or be kept for longer,” she said. Due to the nature of the company’s work, many FOCUS Brands employees travel, which led Buh to start a health and beauty donation program, too. Employees of the company collect travel-sized toiletries, bundle them and donate them to food banks in addition to the food. They have been able to donate hundreds of pounds of these useful items. “FOCUS Brands has been so good at supporting personal passions (that relate to) love of something in the industry,” Buh said. Speaking of love, Buh met her husband through her first job assignment with Cinnabon for Burger King, where she inspected the quality of Cinnabon Minibons in Burger Kings nationwide. He now works in the information technology department of her company. Her attachment to both FOCUS Brands and Cinnabon runs very deep, and this enables her to integrate personal and industry-related passions in bettering her company and the lives of others. • Sage Barnard

FALL 2018

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Work like an AG DAWG


Sarah Cook’s expertise is a hot commodity as Georgia Department of Agriculture director of domestic trade

Sarah Cook’s experience in domestic trade makes her a valuable asset for small food businesses looking to expand their brand beyond Georgia.


Cook (MAL – Agricultural Leadership, ’14), a graduate of the University of Georgia Tifton campus, serves as the director of domestic trade for the Georgia Department of Agriculture. She is responsible for marketing Georgia agricultural companies and their products to the entire U.S. Her marketing responsibilities include 14 trade shows over the next year. “With produce, we’ve got a lot of major players that have already been involved in these trade shows. We’re going to be their support mechanism,” Cook said. “This position is something that’s long been needed in the state of Georgia, and people are very excited about it.” Cook’s position with the Georgia Department of Agriculture was created during the 2018 Georgia “This position is legislative session. something that’s In her former job for the Georgia Department of long been needed in the Economic Development’s Center of Innovation for state of Georgia, and people Agribusiness, Cook worked with similar small-foods are very excited about it.” processing companies that were just getting established. Her current role involves helping these businesses expand their brand regionally and throughout the U.S. – SARAH COOK “Companies I may have worked with over the past 10 years have already established their business and are ready to expand. This might be their next step,” Cook said. Some of the major trade shows where Cook and the Georgia Department of Agriculture will have a presence include the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit, held in Orlando, Florida; the Southeast Produce Council, which caters to businesses like Southern Valley that specialize in produce; the Specialty Food Association’s Fancy Food Show in New York City, which hosts businesses that specialize in jams, jellies and manufactured foods; and Natural Products Expo West in California. Cook credits UGA-Tifton for her career success and represents the Tifton, Georgia, area on the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Alumni Association board of directors. “To see the effort made on behalf of the university to incorporate areas outside of Athens, (Georgia), is important to me as an alumna and especially as a board member,” Cook said. • Clint Thompson


class notes

1950s Frank McGill (BSA – Agronomy, ’51; MS – Agronomy, ’62), retired University of Georgia Cooperative Extension peanut agronomist, was chosen as the winner of the 2018 Valor Award from the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation. Known as “Mr. Peanut,” McGill was a member of the team that developed the multidisciplinary package approach that increased peanut yields in Georgia about three times between the mid-1950s and mid-1970s.

Stay in touch, Ag Dawgs! Complete the college’s online form to share information for the Class Notes section: https://t.uga. edu/4ad.

1960s Ned Hamil (BSA – Poultry Science, ’62) retired from his position as chairman of the Life of the South Corporation. 1970s Kenneth Morgan (BS – Entomology, ’71) retired from the Tennessee Valley Authority, where he was an operations manager. Bill Messina (BSA – Horticulture, ’72; MS – Horticulture, ’75) is an expert and community resource based at the garden department of Appalachian Ace Hardware in Franklin, North Carolina. Prior to this position, he worked at Spring Valley Nursery, also in North Carolina; taught horticulture at Iowa State University; served in the U.S. Navy; and was a horticulturist for University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension. Stephan Pappas (BSA – Dairy Science Production and Manufacturing, ’75) retired from his position as farm manager at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Farmingdale and now works two days a week on a New Jersey vegetable farm. Prior to his position as farm manager, he was a herdsman at Little’s Dairy in Eatonton, Georgia, then moved back to Long Island, New York, where he was in charge of a hog operation at Suffolk County Farm. From there, he was a tech specialist at SUNY at Farmingdale for 15 years.


1940s David Hsi (MS – Agronomy, ’49), New Mexico State University professor emeritus, recently won three gold medals in badminton at the New Mexico Senior Olympics and qualified for the 2019 National Senior Games in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Hsi has also been a member of Kiwanis International for 60 years.

p As an academic advisor, Caitlin (Teasley) Dye’s (BSA – Animal Science, ’15) goal is to always have a “third ear” when listening to her students. “I try to be there for my students in any shape, form or fashion or given any life situation that comes,” said Dye, who has advised biological science, food science and unspecified majors in the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences for more than two years. As a former transfer student to UGA, she hopes that her personal experience will give helpful insight to her students as well. This year, Dye received the college’s Outstanding Professional Advisor Award, an honor that required a department head’s nomination and letters of support from faculty and students. “It validates that my advising method is meaningful to my students,” Dye said of receiving the award.

Dr. Charlie Broussard (BSA – Poultry Science, ’78; MS – Poultry Science, ’80), Merck Animal Health national account manager, was named to the University of Georgia Board of Visitors. Broussard also has a degree in veterinary medicine from the University of Georgia.

Georgia, Claxton now works for the Georgia Agricultural Education department in recruitment and retention.

1980s Argene Claxton (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’80) won the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Georgia Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association. After teaching agriculture for 37 years at Perry High School, in Perry,

Mark Esoda (BSA – Agronomy, ’81) is the golf operations manager for the Parks and Recreation Department of the city of Loveland, Colorado.

University of Georgia, is a senior attorney in the Oceans program at the Conservation Law Foundation in Boston. Fuller owned and operated an equine veterinary practice near Boston for 20 years before earning her law degree from the University of Maine.

Candler Bennett (BSA – Agricultural Economics, ’81) is a credit manager at R.W. Griffin Feed, Seed and Fertilizer.

Dr. Erica Fuller (BSA – Biological Science, ’81), who also has a degree in veterinary medicine from the

David Gazda (BSA – Agricultural Economics, ’83) was inducted into the Georgia Angus Association Hall of Fame this year. Gazda serves as the director of field services and regional manager with the American Angus Association.

FALL 2018

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 UGA CAES Alumni Association  @UGA_CAES_Alumni  agdawg_alumni

 UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) Alumni

class notes FROM FOUR TOWERS


he rural town of Denton, Georgia, has a population of 250 and has been where I’ve lived my entire life, aside from the years I was a student in Athens at the University of Georgia. My connection to agriculture has been a constant in my life in south Georgia. My CAES degree was the key that unlocked the door to my involvement in agriculture. It also offered me the opportunity to volunteer and give back to my college. Through my volunteer work, I’ve had the MCCALL amazing opportunity to connect with students, alumni, professors and administrators at CAES. As a result, I was instilled with a growing sense of pride in the way our college’s educational programs have grown to meet the varied demands of society. Currently, CAES offers 21 undergraduate major programs, 18 graduate programs and 14 doctoral programs ranging from agribusiness to water and soil resources. These majors produce Ag Dawg alumni with amazing jobs like the ones featured in this issue of Southscapes and in the Alumni News section. Our CAES Alumni Association mission is “to connect, engage and celebrate alumni, students and friends of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.” I invite you to connect with us by visiting us online at, on Facebook at UGA CAES Alumni Association and on Instagram at agdawg_alumni to discover opportunities to get involved!

Van McCall (BSA – Agronomy, ’77) President, CAES Alumni Association


southscapes // FALL 2018

1980s continued Bruce Kotz (BSA – Food Science, ’83) is the vice president of specialty products for Golden Peanut and Tree Nuts in Alpharetta, Georgia. Jodi (Holtzman) Selvey (BSA – Agricultural Economics, ’84), Colliers International senior vice president/principal and market leader of the office occupier services group, was named to the University of Georgia Board of Visitors. Paul Wojtkowski (MS – Agricultural Economics, ’84) has published a book, “Agroecology, Simplified and Explained.” Springer will publish the title. For more information, visit agroecologybook. Calvin Perry (BSAE – Agricultural Engineering, ’86; MS – Agricultural Engineering, ’88), University of Georgia Cooperative Extension specialist and superintendent of UGA’s C.M. Stripling Irrigation Research Park in Camilla, Georgia, won the 2017 D.W. Brooks Faculty Award for Excellence in Extension from the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. David Strickland (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’87) is the agriculture teacher at Cairo High School in Cairo, Georgia. He’s in his 32nd year of teaching.

John Floros (Ph.D. – Food Science, ’88) was named the president of New Mexico State University as of July 1. He moved to New Mexico State from Kansas State University, where he was the dean of the college of agriculture and K-State Research and Extension.

Dr. Joel Cline (BSA – Animal Science, ’92) was elected by his peers to the board of governors of the American College of Poultry Veterinarians. Dr. Cline lives in Elba, Alabama, and is a corporate veterinarian for Wayne Farms LLC. Cherry (Rouse) Henderson (BSA – Animal Science, ’96) is the agriculture teacher at Ware County Middle School in Waycross, Georgia.

Chip Bridges (BSA Craig Landry (BSA – – Agricultural Education, Environmental Economics ’89) moved from his and Management, ’96; MS position as Georgia FFA – Agricultural Economics, state program ’99) was manager for recognized for agricultural his 2008 paper, education at “Flood Hazards, the Georgia Insurance Rates, Discover Department of and Amenities: ways to Education and Evidence from the engage Georgia FFA Coastal Housing with your state advisor Market,” that ran fellow Ag Dawgs to agriculture in the Journal at caes. teacher at of Risk and Lumpkin County Insurance. He and alumni. High School his co-authors in Dahlonega, will receive the Georgia, this fall. Robert I. Mehr Award from the American 1990s Risk and Insurance Jimmy Williamson (BSA Association. Landry is – Agronomy, ’90) retired currently a professor in the from the position of chief of Department of Agricultural police for the University of and Applied Economics at Georgia Police Department the University of Georgia. this year. He spent 30 years in law enforcement within Jason Gillespie (BSAE – the University System of Agricultural Engineering, Georgia, and 28 of those ’98) was named the years were spent at UGA. 2018 Water Environment Association of South Katrina (Claxton) Jones Carolina Engineer of (BSA – Agricultural the Year. Gillespie is the Communication, ’91) of senior engineering project the Georgia FFA Foundation manager for Renewable received the 2018 Water Resources in Outstanding Cooperation Greenville, South Carolina, Award from the Georgia where he manages Vocational Agriculture their $50 million Dig Teachers Association. Greenville tunnel project.

alumni news Amanda (Little) Long (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’99), who’s taught for 20 years, is the agriculture teacher at Miller County High School in Colquitt, Georgia. 2000s Tim Coolong (BSA – Horticulture, ’00; MS – Horticulture, ’03; Ph.D. – Horticulture, ’07) won an Outstanding Extension Publication Award at the Southern Region meeting of the American Society for Horticultural Science. Vahe Heboyan (MS – Agricultural Economics, ’01; Ph.D. – Agricultural Economics, ’11) is an assistant professor at Augusta University. Adam Smith (BSA – Environmental Economics and Management, ’01) is the SunTrust Bank Commercial Banking Division’s senior vice president and food and agribusiness relationship manager. Smith’s focus is on value chain optimization; food and agribusiness manufacturing, processing, distribution, and storage; and tailoring solutions for clients in varying industries statewide. Smith was responsible for agribusiness lending at First National Bank of Coffee County prior to moving to SunTrust.


Tried and Tested Carrie Crabtree ensures that Georgia Department of Agriculture lab tests make the grade Every day is different, and every sample that comes into Carrie Crabtree’s lab at the Georgia Department of Agriculture in Tifton, Georgia, is unique. As the laboratory quality director for the Georgia Department of Agriculture Laboratories Division, Crabtree (BSA – Animal Science, ’06; BSEH – Environmental Health, ’06; Ph.D. – Animal and Dairy Science, ’12) helps oversee 50 analysts in Tifton and Atlanta. Their jobs include testing for pesticide residue, pesticide formulations, complaint samples on pesticide drift, fertilizer samples, human food, fuel and animal feed. As for what the laboratories test for, Crabtree asks, “Does the animal feed or food or fuel that you buy have in it what’s on the label?” One of the most important parts of Crabtree’s job involves ensuring that foods are safe for consumers to eat. Crabtree’s lab may get asked to help on national recalls. “That’s always a hot topic for us. The romaine lettuce (recall) was big for the Food and Drug Administration. We worked very closely with them,” Crabtree said. “We didn’t have any issues with romaine lettuce here, but we did survey the romaine lettuce pathogens in the state of Georgia because food safety is one of the most important things we do.” After tropical storms or hurricanes, Crabtree’s lab also helps with emergency responses. “When Georgia’s coast got hit two years ago and a lot of restaurants got flooded, we did a lot of food pathogen surveillance to see if they could open back up,” Crabtree said. In recent years, the limited complaints of pesticide drift have made Crabtree’s CLINT THOMPSON

Andres Villegas (BSA – Biological Science, ’98), Georgia Forestry Association president and CEO, was named to the University of Georgia Board of Visitors.

job a little easier. University of Georgia Cooperative Extension has made a concerted effort to educate farmers and chemical applicators about the dangers of pesticide drift, and the lack of complaints is a sign that the educational process is working, Crabtree said. “Last year we didn’t have any confirmed cases of drift that came into the lab. We’re kind of waiting to see what drift season does because that would be our next big thing for pesticides, our next potential hot topic,” she said. Crabtree studied ruminant nutrition while earning her doctorate at UGA. That experience has helped in her two-plus years of working for the Georgia Department of Agriculture. “The instrumentation I got to work with very closely in school, we use here across the board. That knowledge helps a lot when I interact with pesticides,” Crabtree said. • Clint Thompson FALL 2018

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class notes 2000s continued Tamlin Hall III (BSA – Agricultural Economics, ’02) is a 2018 Georgia General Assembly Honoree for his exemplary work in advocacy and the arts. Hall was recognized for his film, “Holden On,” and “his inspirational efforts to remind those with mental illness that they are never beyond help or hope,” according to the invitation resolution. Kasey (Mixon) Jackson (BSA – Animal Science and Dairy Science, ’02; MAL – Agricultural Leadership, ’04) was named the 2017 Outstanding Teacher of the Year for Georgia by the National Association of Agricultural Educators and the Georgia Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association. Jackson teaches at West Laurens High School in Dexter, Georgia. Elliott Marsh (BSA – Agricultural Economics, ’02; MAL – Agricultural Leadership, ’11) was promoted to North American sales manager for Trimble Ag Business Solutions. Beth (Bland) Oleson (BSA – Agricultural Communication, ’02; MS – Food Science, ’05), Association Services Group account executive, was named to the Fruit and Vegetable 40 Under 40, an honor bestowed by Great American Media Services, publisher of Fruit Growers News and Vegetable Growers News. Sherry (Wilson) Abrams (BSA – Agricultural Communication, ’03; MAL – Agricultural Leadership, ’15) is the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and


Environmental Sciences associate director for alumni engagement and annual giving as of July. She previously served as the CAES annual giving coordinator. Matt Coley (BSA – Agricultural Economics, ’03; MS – Agricultural Economics, ’05), owner and operator of Coley Gin and Fertilizer and Coley Farms, was named to the University of Georgia Alumni Association’s 40 Under 40 Class of 2018. Emily (Wise) Grisbeck (BSA – Food Science, ’03) is a supplier quality manager for Buffalo Wild Wings, based in Minneapolis. Juli (Morgan) Fields (MAL – Agricultural Leadership, ’04) moved to the position of executive director with the Technical College System of Georgia Foundation from the State Botanical Garden of Georgia in Athens, where she was the development director. Before her position at the botanical garden, she was the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences director of alumni relations. Steven Lyon (BSA – Poultry Science, ’04; MS – Poultry Science, ’06; Ph.D. – Food Science, ’09) was promoted to principal lead, food safety operations, for Chick-fil-A Inc. in January. Myria (DeHaven) Shipman (BSA – Animal Science, ’04; MAL – Agricultural Leadership, ’06) is the agriculture teacher at Islands High School in Savannah, Georgia.

southscapes // FALL 2018

Sara Dunn (BSA – Agribusiness, ’05), vice president of electronic banking for Oconee State Bank, recently celebrated 15 years at Oconee State Bank, which is based in Watkinsville, Georgia. Dunn also recently received a First Quarter 2018 Golden Cupola Award and the 2017 Volunteer of the Year Award from the bank. She serves on the board of directors for the Hardigree Wildlife Sanctuary in Watkinsville and as lead facilitator of the Youth Leadership Oconee program in Oconee County, Georgia. Lindsey (Guyett) Martin (BSA – Animal Science, ’05) is the agriculture teacher at the Bradwell Institute in Hinesville, Georgia. Robert Laster (BSA – Food Science, ’06) is an application project manager for Jungbunzlauer Inc. in Chicago. Trisha (Stephens) Lastly (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’06; MAL – Agricultural Leadership, ’10) has taught for nine years. She’s in her fourth year as an area horticulture teacher for the Georgia Agricultural Education state staff. Greg Pillar (Ph.D. – Agronomy, ’06) is the assistant provost for university programs at Queens University of Charlotte, in Charlotte, North Carolina, and was recently promoted to professor of environmental science and chemistry.

Cliff Riner (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’06; MAEE – Agricultural and Environmental Education, ’17) is now the crop production manager at G&R Farms in Glennville, Georgia. Riner was previously the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Vidalia onion area agent and UGA Vidalia Onion and Vegetable Research Center coordinator. Brittany Adams-Pope (BSA – Animal Science, ’07; MAL – Agricultural Leadership, ’10) received the 2018 Rising Star: Early Career Leadership and Service Award from the Association of Leadership Educators. Kellis (Johnson) Boland (BSA – Animal Science, ’07; MAL – Agricultural Leadership, ’09) is the seventh-grade life science teacher at Clarke Middle School in Athens, Georgia. Chris Cunningham (BSA – Agribusiness, ’07) is the vice president of R.L. Cunningham & Sons. Shannon (O’Berry) Danforth (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’07) is the agriculture teacher at Lanier County High School in Lakeland, Georgia. Danielle Davidson (BSA – Biological Science, ’07) is a Charleston County School District science teacher and cheerleading coach. Meredith (Carey) Arrington (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’08) has been teaching agriculture at Effingham County High School in Springfield, Georgia, for 10 years. Becky (Brannon) Beasley (BSA – Food Science, ’08) is a product development

supervisor in the S&D Coffee and Tea corporate office in Concord, North Carolina. Ali (McDaniel) Hill (BSA – Food Science, ’08) is the director for brand strategy and business development for Golden Peanut and Tree Nuts in Alpharetta, Georgia. Caitlin Lammie (BSA – Food Science, ’08) is an innovation manager for Smithfield Foods at the Smithfield Innovation Center in Smithfield, Virginia. Jeci (Crane) Bohannon (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’09; MAL – Agricultural Leadership, ’14) is the agriculture teacher at Liberty County High School in Hinesville, Georgia. Will Cabe (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’09), and his wife, Heather, won the 2018 Georgia Farm Bureau Achievement in Agriculture Award. Sen. Tyler Harper (BSAE – Agricultural Engineering, ’09), District 7 Georgia state senator and owner and operator of Tyler Harper Farms, was named to the University of Georgia Alumni Association’s 40 Under 40 Class of 2018. Erin Lee (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’09) is an agriculture teacher at Camden County High School in Kingsland, Georgia. Adrienne (Gentry) Smith (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’09) of Colquitt County High School in Moultrie, Georgia, won the 2018 Outstanding Teacher Award from the Georgia Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association. Danielle Wedral Licata (MS – Food Science, ’09) is the market development manager for Jungbunzlauer in Des Plaines, Illinois.

alumni news LEAD DAWG

Not a Garden Variety Alumnus


Among those who tend the Trial Gardens on the University of Georgia Athens campus are butterflies, bees, student workers and Brandon Coker (BSA – Agriscience and Environmental Systems, ’11). The Trial Gardens are internationally renowned for ornamental plant research. The data collected during the hot, humid Georgia summers help the world’s top plant breeders determine what plants make it to market. The garden also serves as a living laboratory for students and a place of relaxation for the public. “Much of the state’s economy is reliant on research conducted by UGA’s agriculture programs,” Coker said. Ornamental horticulture in Georgia is valued at more than $843 million, according to the 2016 Georgia Farm Gate Value Report, produced by the UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development. Coker sees his work as part of a larger push to keep interest in an important industry alive and well. Coker grew up in nearby Lexington, Georgia, and has had a lifelong love of plants. He helped tend his family’s home garden as a child. He was inspired by his high school science teacher, Joe Conti, another UGA alumnus. student worker. Now the director of the “I just hoped my students would walk Trial Gardens, Ruter remembers his first away from my class with an appreciation impression of Coker as a hard worker for the natural world,” with a positive attitude Conti said. who “always greeted me Brandon Coker In high school and with a smile, looked me throughout college, Coker in the eye and had a firm puts new plant worked for Lexington-based handshake,” he said. breeds through Goodness Grows nursery Coker began working on under Rick Berry, who is their paces at his bachelor’s degree at also the mayor of Lexington. UGA in 2009, transferring to the UGA trial There, Coker realized his the main campus in Athens, Gardens passion for plants could be Georgia. After graduating, a career. he was hired to manage While working on an associate’s a crew and work commercial properties degree in agricultural science from for The Brickman Group, a landscaping Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, company. He then went on to be a store Coker gained experience on the UGA manager for Pike Nurseries for six years. Tifton campus, where he worked with When the position of Trial Gardens researcher and Professor John Ruter as a manager opened in late 2016, Ruter knew

Coker was the right person for the job. “I also knew that working a regular schedule at UGA would be better for Brandon and his family, which means a satisfied employee,” Ruter said. Coker began managing the gardens in 2017. He’s only the third manager the gardens have had since opening in 1982. His favorite part of the job is being able to support his wife, Heather, and two girls, Lynly and Sabrina, while doing something he loves. “I come to work happy and leave happy; everything I do revolves around my family,” he said. Coker’s future plans involve pursuing his master’s degree and continuing to manage and improve the garden. But, “at the end of the day, I just want to grow plants,” he said. • Christina Conner FALL 2018

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Field Experience Nick Paserchia finds his turf in one of the Southeast’s best parks departments


Never mind the other side. For Nick Paserchia (BSA – Turfgrass Management, ’11), the grass is always greener where you water it. In a previous role, Paserchia was responsible for the upkeep of the University of Georgia’s baseball stadium, Foley Field, and the university’s Turner Soccer Complex. As the head grounds foreman of Foley Field, he set up for practices, repaired mounds, painted lines and managed moisture on the field. Moisture management keeps the field from affecting the baseball when it lands — think bad hops — during a game. This year, Paserchia made the move to become the turf supervisor for the city of Roswell, Georgia’s parks and recreation department. They have one of the best parks departments in the Southeast. Paserchia worked as a student assistant for the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences turfgrass management program, then as Georgia Southern University’s turf manager for three years before rejoining UGA’s staff in August 2015. He has always had a passion for this type of work. “I had my own landscaping business in high school, so I always knew that I liked this kind of hands-on work,” Paserchia said. At CAES, Paserchia learned the science behind maintaining good soil fertility and nutrition, lessons he uses every day to take soil tests and create appropriate fertilizer programs. “The big thing was learning the chemistry behind how plants take up nutrients and … learning the different varieties of grass,” he said. Paserchia emphasizes to students the importance of getting hands-on experience through internships, programs and jobs. Mistakes will be made, and that’s alright. That’s another way of learning, he says. “Use your professors and time in college to get experience. Whatever it is you want to do, you have to get out there and feel it to actually understand it,” he said. “It’s all trial and error.” Maintaining durable, well-used Southeastern Conference playing fields was a “whole new ball game” and moving to recreation has been a substantial transition, but Paserchia’s CAES training and field experience gave him the tools to keep UGA and Roswell just a little greener. • Sage Barnard southscapes // FALL 20182017 44  southscapes // FALL

class notes 2010s Christy (Bryan) Brannon (BSA – Agribusiness, ’10) works for Bryan Farms. Tyler Murray (BSA – Animal Science, ’10; MS – Animal Science, ’16) is an agriculture teacher at Camden County High School in Kingsland, Georgia. Andrew L. Ross (BSA – Agriscience and Environmental Systems, ’10; MAL – Agricultural Leadership, ’12) is the field director for U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, who represents Texas’ 10th District, and manages the congressman’s flagship office in Austin, Texas. Anastasia Buh (BSA – Food Science, ’11) was promoted to senior manager for product development and commercialization at FOCUS Brands. She creates licensed food products with Cinnabon, Auntie Anne’s, Carvel and Moe’s. Bhabesh Dutta (Ph.D. – Plant Pathology, ’11), University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences assistant professor and UGA Cooperative Extension vegetable disease specialist, was included in the Fruit and Vegetable 40 Under 40, an honor bestowed by Great American Media Services, publisher of Fruit Growers News and Vegetable Growers News.

Caroline (Black) Lewallen (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’11), farm education and agritourism coordinator for Jaemor Farms in Alto, Georgia, won the 2018 Excellence in Agriculture Award from Georgia Farm Bureau. April McDaniel (BSA – Horticulture, ’11) is the director of alumni relations for the University of Georgia Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources. Dr. Justin Brown (BSA – Animal Science, ’12), who also has a degree in veterinary medicine from the University of Georgia, is a postdoctoral research associate at Iowa State University. Brandi (Bishop) Baade (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’13) of Pike County High School in Zebulon, Georgia, won the 2018 Ideas Unlimited Award from the Georgia Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association. Ashley (Cochran) Best (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’13) is in her sixth year of teaching agriculture at Winder-Barrow High School in Winder, Georgia. She’s also the co-advisor for FFA. Jamison Cruce (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’13) is the manager of government affairs for the USA Rice Federation. Caitlyn Frost (BSA – Animal Science, ’13) is the senior hazard analysis critical control point coordinator and food safety and quality assurance supervisor for Tyson Foods.

alumni news

Morgan (Strickland) Grizzle (BSA – Agribusiness, ’13) is an AgGeorgia Farm Credit relationship manager. Jesika (Williams) Holloway (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’13) is an agriculture teacher at Haralson County High School in Tallapoosa, Georgia. Andrea Scarrow (MAL – Agricultural Leadership, ’13) is the Southwest District director for University of Georgia Cooperative Extension. Prior to this position, she was the Family and Consumer Sciences agent for Colquitt County Extension, then the Southwest District’s Family and Consumer Sciences program development coordinator. Jaideep Singh Sidhu (MS – Food Science, ’13) is a manager for scientific information and product stewardship, global scientific and regulatory affairs, for The Coca-Cola Co. in the greater Atlanta area. Jordyn Ventura (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’13) is an agriculture teacher at Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School in Rocky Face, Georgia.

Deanna (Edmonds) Bullins (MAL – Agricultural Leadership, ’14) works for North Carolina State University as a weekend retreat coordinator and North Carolina Cooperative Extension assistant at Betsy-Jeff Penn 4-H Educational Center. Sarah Cook (MAL – Agricultural Leadership, ’14) has been hired as the director of domestic trade for the Georgia Department of Agriculture. She is also the west central Georgia area market coordinator for the Georgia Grown program. In her previous role, Cook served at the Center of Innovation for Agribusiness for nearly 10 years, specializing in small-food processing and agritourism. Zack Dalton (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’14) is in his third year of teaching agriculture at White County High School in Cleveland, Georgia. Josh Daniel (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’14) is in his fifth year teaching agriculture and his second year at Madison County High School in Danielsville, Georgia. Jonathan Harding (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’14) is the state government relations regional manager for WestRock. Amanda Hartley (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’14) is the agriculture teacher for Morgan County High School in Madison, Georgia.


Kiwi by Design From media to missionary work, Jonathan Ellis finds his way with Optimism

Although digital design may not seem like the likely career path for a University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences graduate, Jonathan Ellis (BSES – Environmental Economics and Management, ’09) has applied what he learned during his time at UGA to a variety of jobs, including both media and missionary work. After spending the first dozen of his formative years in New Zealand, Ellis’ family moved to California before settling near Atlanta, where he finished high school. Like many students who come to UGA, Ellis was looking for a major that would give him relatable skills and teach him about the environment. After graduation, he taught himself more about graphic and web design through freelancing. Later, he put those skills to use as the head of administration and media for Youth With a Mission (YWAM) in Cambodia and Thailand alongside his wife, Charlotte, whom he met at the UGA Wesley Foundation. After a few years in Asia, the couple decided to put down roots in Auckland, New Zealand, where Jonathan Ellis now works as digital developer for Optimism, an online learning and performance development firm. He works on the design and development of digital solutions for companies and organizations to communicate important messages, like new product launches or employee trainings, through animations, infographics, video and mobile learning. Even in the digital arena, Jonathan Ellis has applied his agricultural and environmental experience by helping agribusiness clients, including a recent project for a fertilizer company. Looking back on what he’s accomplished in his work, Jonathan Ellis is proud of the avenues that his work has taken. “(With YWAM) we were able to have a good influence while we were there to improve things and the relationships in the community,” he said. “I think in my job now, I’ve helped my company become more creative and deliver new types of content for learning.” • Josh Paine CONTRIBUTED

Heidi Gilkenson (BSES – Water and Soil Resources, ’13) is the project coordinator for Pinnacle Design/Build Group Inc., a contracting company that engineers, designs and builds structures for the heavy civil construction market. Prior to this position, Gilkenson spent three years working as an environmental scientist for a geotechnical engineering firm in metro Atlanta.

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class notes

Kaita (McGregor) Parrish (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’14) is an agriculture teacher at Ridgeland High School in Rossville, Georgia. Andrew Vasina (BSAB – Applied Biotechnology, ’14) is a North America food technologist for Biospringer, Lesaffre Culinary Solutions in Milwaukee. Cindy Young (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’14; MAEE – Agricultural and Environmental Education, ’15; MS – Horticulture, ’18) is in her second year of teaching agriculture at Chattanooga Valley Middle School in Arnoldsville, Georgia. Morgan Crandall (BSA – Food Science, ’15) is a food safety consultant at Chick-fil-A Inc. Matthew Darby (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’15) is the agriculture teacher at Northside High School in Warner Robins, Georgia. Kalie Hall (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’15) of Madison County High School in Danielsville, Georgia, won the 2018 Outstanding Early Career Teacher Award from the Georgia Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association.


Dillon Parker (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’15) is the agriculture teacher at Rabun County High School in Tiger, Georgia. Daniel Parrish (MS – Food Science, ’15) is the continuous improvement lead on the Zaxby’s Franchising Menu Innovation Team. Parrish is also a member of the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Alumni Association board of directors. Michael Plumblee (MS – Crop and Soil Sciences, ’15) is a precision agriculture Cooperative Extension specialist for Clemson University. He works at the Edisto Research and Education Center with growers of major crops, including corn, cotton, peanuts and soybeans. Emily Wagener (MS – Food Science, ’15) is a technical applications specialist for GNT USA Inc. in Tarrytown, New York. A.J. Britt Jr. (BSA – Animal Science/Dairy Science, ’16; MS – Animal Science, ’18), is the animal science program coordinator at Navajo Technical University in Crownpoint, New Mexico. Britt was the first hire for the university’s new animal science program. Hugo Moran Chavez (MAEE – Agricultural and Environmental Education, ’16), a U.S. Eventing Association (USEA) member, was among a delegation of USEA and U.S. Dressage Federation members and

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2010s continued Callie (Holloway) Kendrick (BSA – Agriscience and Environmental Systems, ’14) of Byron Middle School in Barnesville, Georgia, won the 2018 Teachers Turn the Key Award from the Georgia Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association.


p The CAES Alumni Board invited alumni to connect, engage and celebrate at the Alumni Volunteer Training Day on Friday, Sept. 14. Learn how you can get involved, watch video and see more photos from Alumni Volunteer Training Day on the CAES Alumni Association’s Facebook page.

sport horse breeders who visited communities across Honduras earlier this year to teach equine care, breeding, first-aid and preventative medicine seminars and to give eventing and jumping demonstrations and clinics. Alyssa (Tarleton) Flanders (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’16) is the agriculture teacher at Russell Middle School in Winder, Georgia. Eythan Franklin (BSA – Food Science, ’16) is in research and development with Diana Foods. Ali Halalipour (Ph.D. – Food Science, ’16) is a research scientist in starch research and development for the ADM Company in Decatur, Illinois. Morgan Hinz (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’16) is an agriculture teacher at East Laurens High School in Dublin, Georgia.

Lacy Powell (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’16) is the agriculture teacher at Calhoun City High School in Gordon County, Georgia.

Jaky Cervantes (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’17) is the agriculture teacher at Indian Creek Middle School in Covington, Georgia.

Ashley Sapp (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’16) is the agriculture teacher at Ebenezer Middle School in Rincon, Georgia.

Chris Crump (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’17) is the agriculture teacher for Union County High School in Blairsville, Georgia.

Alexis Barnes (BSA – Food Industry Marketing and Administration, ’17) is the turf and utility sales training development specialist with John Deere, based in Cary, North Carolina. She was selected to be on the national board of directors for the American Community Gardening Association.

Marvin Indrajaya (BSA – Food Science, ’17) is a food technologist for Dr. G’s Creations.

Marrissa Blackwell (BSA – Animal Science, ’17) is the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences’ livestock and equine youth programs assistant.

Chris Kirby (BSA – Horticulture, ’17) is a grower with Davis Floral. Ivan Pocrnic (Ph.D. – Animal and Dairy Science, ’17) is a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Georgia. Maggie (Ramsey) Reeves (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’17) is the agriculture teacher at Baconton Charter High School in Mitchell County, Georgia.

alumni news

Grant Ward (BSA – Agribusiness, ’17) is a manager for Cain Bickley Chemicals. Davis Woods (BSA – Agribusiness, ’17) is the area manager for Phoenix Landscape Management. Cliff Collins (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’18) is the agriculture teacher at Heard County High School in Franklin, Georgia. Jordan Collins (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’18) is the agriculture teacher at Elbert County High School in Elberton, Georgia. Kevin Harrison Jr. (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’18) is the agriculture teacher at Appling County High School in Baxley, Georgia. Madison Hickey (BSA – Agricultural Communication, ’18) is an economic development project manager for the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce in Gainesville, Georgia.

Josh Odom (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’18) is the agriculture teacher at Tift County Northeast Middle School in Tifton, Georgia. Charles Orgbon III (BSES – Environmental Economics and Management, ’18), a sustainability and social innovation strategist, is a consultant within Deloitte’s Risk and Financial Advisory Services in San Francisco. Andy Paul (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’18) is the leadership program specialist for the Georgia FFA Association, based at the state FFA office in Athens, Georgia. Paul is a former state and national FFA president. Prior to graduation, he completed his student teaching at Franklin County Middle School in Carnesville, Georgia. Kelly Paulk (BSA – Agriscience and Environmental Systems, ’18) is a Southeastern AgriLab and Consulting sales and marketing specialist in Barney, Georgia. Paulk markets the company’s products and services to growers across the Southeast.

Nick Hodges (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’18) is an agriculture teacher at Wayne County High School in Jesup, Georgia.

Joshua Presley (BSA – Horticulture, ’18) is the Hall County Agriculture and Natural Resources agent for University of Georgia Cooperative Extension.

Katie Huberty (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’18) is the agriculture teacher at the Georgia School for Innovation and the Classics in Richmond County, Georgia.

Ashley Tillman (BSA – Animal Science, ’18) is a laboratory technician II for the University of Georgia Feed and Environmental Water Laboratory. 

Call of the Wildlife Double Dawg Rusty Garrison leads the Georgia Department of Natural Resources

Georgia’s natural environment may call to mind swamps, millions of acres of forests, waterways and coastal regions. Rusty Garrison (BSA – Animal Science, ’80), director of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division, is in charge of overseeing it all. His job makes him the chief arbiter of his division’s motto: “To conserve, enhance and promote Georgia’s fish and wildlife resources.” “My job is to communicate that message and to protect the wildlife,” Garrison said. A Double Dawg, Garrison has a master’s degree in wildlife resources from the University of Georgia in addition to his College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences animal science degree. He says that this academic foundation gives him a better overall picture of his job. Garrison handles the administration of three main departments: game management, fisheries management and wildlife conservation. He monitors the status of 350 species of plants and animals that are endangered, threatened or not hunted. “There is not a typical day,” Garrison said about his routine. His job requires attention to events statewide. The responsibilities widely vary, but he enjoys teaching people about the state’s natural features. Garrison has worked in summer camps throughout the state and even helped to create the Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center in Mansfield, Georgia. The center provides locals and Georgia residents with camping, public learning programs, walking trails and other opportunities to get involved in nature. “I grew up outdoors, and that love for teaching about the outdoors, that’s what brought me here,” he said. • Sage Barnard CONTRIBUTED

Michael Schwarz (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’17) is an agriculture teacher at Wayne County High School in Jesup, Georgia.


Luke Lineberger (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’18) is the agriculture teacher at Crawford County High School in Roberta, Georgia.


Gates Rodimon (BSA – Animal Science, ’17) is a research and development technician for Stepan Company.

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alumni news Thank you for a year of record-breaking generosity!

In its most successful year of fundraising to date, the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences raised nearly $24 million in gifts, the second-highest total among all UGA colleges and schools for fiscal year 2018, which ended June 30. In fact, the fiscal 2018 total surpassed last year’s fundraising total by more than $15 million. “We thank our supporters who recognize the value of our teaching, research and extension programs and have chosen to make investments in our long-term success,” said Mary Ann Parsons (BSA – Agricultural Communication, ’02; MAL –Agricultural Leadership, ’06) senior director of development for the college. “As we look toward the future, this support provides a vital foundation for our ability to continue to educate tomorrow’s workforce, provide high-quality research programs, and equip our county faculty with the resources to tackle challenges in communities across the state.” To date, CAES donors have contributed more than $75 million to the Commit to Georgia campaign, a multiyear effort to increase scholarships, improve classroom opportunities, and support research and service across the university. The growth of campaign donations by UGA donors has set a record for five years straight. The total endowed funds to CAES reached nearly $40 million and included an endowed chair and three endowed professorships. Fiscal 2018 giving by alumni and friends of CAES resulted in a 10.5 percent


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Unprecedented support from donors in 2018 has incredible impacts on CAES students, faculty and research

p CAES students show their gratitude to donors with homemade signs at “Thank a Donor Day,” held at the Tate Student Center Plaza in April 2018.

increase in the annual fund, and 777 individuals made their first gift to CAES. These gifts will have a huge impact on CAES students. Already, $150,000 has been designated to CAES for Georgia Commitment Scholarships, need-based undergraduate student scholarships that are matched dollar-for-dollar by the UGA Foundation. These funds help to cover students’ costs that may not be covered by other scholarships or grants, thereby removing students’ financial barriers. CAES is better equipped to train the next generation of scientists and to contribute to Georgia’s largest economic sector thanks to the generosity of alumni, corporations, foundations and friends. To learn more about giving to CAES, visit or contact the CAES Office of Development and Alumni Relations by calling 706-542-3390. • Sage Barnard and Josh Paine

“As we look toward the future, this support provides a vital foundation for our ability to continue to educate tomorrow’s workforce, provide highquality research programs and equip our county faculty with the resources to tackle challenges in communities across the state.” – MARY ANN PARSONS


#1 Ranked best in the nation by

Georgia’s No. 1 industry is supported by the No. 1 poultry science department in the nation. Since 1912, the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences’ Department of Poultry Science has boosted Georgia’s $25.5 billion poultry economy by providing excellence in teaching, pioneering technology, and industrychanging research and Extension outreach to citizens of the state. With 100 percent postgraduation job placement, the future is bright for poultry science graduates at the University of Georgia.


Development and Alumni Relations 117 Four Towers University of Georgia Athens, GA 30602-4352


This Little Piggy had Choclo

On her weeklong spring break trip with MEDLIFE two years ago, University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences student Ellen Hardin traveled to Cusco, Peru, to help the service-learning nonprofit provide medical care to local, low-income families in the area. While in Peru, the avian biology major gained hands-on experience in the biological sciences and encountered local agriculture. “I learned all about the crops they grew, the high altitude’s effects on the plants, and what they can and can’t produce,” she said. She also took this photo of piglets snacking on choclo,

or Peruvian corn, outside a small village near the Sacred Valley in Cusco. Choclo is usually white with large kernels, and it is part of the daily diet of farmers and village members. It rarely makes its way into more industrialized societies without processing. Its natural chewy, starchy texture is often seen as undesirable when compared to the smallkerneled sweet corn often consumed in the U.S. Local livestock in Cusco are traditionally pasture-raised, but they do enjoy an occasional treat, like choclo. Hardin’s photo won the 2018 Ag Abroad Photo Contest, part of CAES’ annual International Agriculture Day, which is put on by the college’s Office of Global Programs. The photo was voted on by faculty, staff, students and guests at the event, and Hardin won a cash prize for her firstplace entry, titled “An Unconventional Diet.” To learn more about the contest, visit • Kathryn Schiliro

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