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Intranet: Resources: CAES Faculty & Staff Awards

2015 Awards for Athens Faculty and Staff

During the annual D.W. Brooks awards ceremony on November 10, 2015, the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences presented awards to Athens-based staff.

Scarborough receives Administrative/Professional Award of Excellence

 Mary Jane Scarborough is the type of hyperorganized, diligent person who can make even the most disorganized undergraduate student or harried researcher seem “together” by proximity.

Since 1987, she’s helped bring a sense of order and calm to the UGA Department of Horticulture, which encompasses three campuses, 71 faculty and staff members, a 90-acre research farm and 54,527 square feet of greenhouse space.

Since assuming her current role as administrative specialist in 1996, Scarborough’s organizational skill and dedication to the department impacts every departmental function, from the promotion and tenure systems, to class scheduling, to grant accountability.

“I have always told her that I am going to retire when she retires, as I worry about the department without her on board,” wrote one horticulture professor in his recommendation letter in support of Scarborough’s award.

Students, faculty and staff agree that Scarborough’s positive attitude and professionalism make their time working or studying at the Department of Horticulture a positive experience.

Scarborough’s rapport with the department’s 65 undergraduate and 22 graduate students also makes her indispensable. Graduating seniors often list Scarborough’s helpfulness and attention to detail as one of the reasons why they enjoyed their time at UGA.

Carl Hall earns Skilled Trades Award of Excellence

 Carl Hall, farm supervisor at the UGA Durham Horticulture Research Farm, had a job working indoors once. He did not like it.

Hall feels that a bad day on the farm is better than the best day in an office, and for the past 36 years, he’s helped shape the Durham farm into one of the most productive outdoor laboratories in the state.

His ability to help researchers who are new to the Southeast and to the farm stems from a lifetime of working this land. Hall’s father was superintendent of the Durham farm, and Hall was raised on the site. He is a living, 50-year archive of the farm’s operations and knows what has worked and what hasn’t.

Over the years, Hall has designed experimental plots, built irrigation systems and prepared fields for research. His knowledge concerning the farm’s geology and layout would be indispensable in any situation, but is even more important given that the 90 acres is used by dozens of researchers in horticulture, entomology, plant pathology, ecology, plant biology and genetics.

In addition, part of the farm has been certified for organic production, and research must be managed differently and buffered from non-organic uses.

Hall has also proven his logistical skill and engineering prowess by inventing and building new equipment from scratch, like an onion transplanting wheel or a drip irrigation subsoiler—equipment that saved research assistants hours of labor.

In addition to his work with land and equipment, Hall is known as a patient, hands-on supervisor for inexperienced research farm workers, along with being a great cook.

Berry wins Technical Award of Excellence

 Jennifer Berry, a research professional and lab manager for the UGA Honey Bee Program, has helped coordinate the university’s world-renowned honey bee research for the last 15 years. She manages a rotating and robust staff of graduate students and research professionals in a hands-on fashion. Working alongside Keith Delaplane, professor of entomology, she aims to develop bee populations that are more resilient to the stresses contributing to current bee population decline.

In addition to managing the day-to-day operations of the UGA Honey Bee Lab, she has become an authoritative source on beekeeping in the Southeast, across the country and internationally. From hosting beginner’s workshops, to helping coordinate the Georgia Master Beekeeper Program, to speaking at international beekeeping conferences, she is known as a knowledgeable and engaging educator and serves as an exceptional resource for the apiculture community.

She is also involved in educating women in developing countries on beekeeping in order for them to become self-supporting. And, for the first time in Georgia history, she was instrumental in creating a program to teach and certify inmates in apiculture within the Georgia prison system. This program was designed to help secure potential jobs, upon an inmate’s release, in order to help reduce recidivism.

When she’s not teaching or at the lab, she can be found working with the hundreds of bee colonies she has established between the Okefenokee Swamp and the north Georgia mountains as part of a collaborative project with Emory University.

While her current collaboration with Emory is one the largest projects she has worked on, her prior research on varroa mites, integrated pest control methods to control these mites and the sublethal effects of miticides are some of the most cited published works on the subject.

Beckstead named Outstanding Academic Advisor

 Robert Beckstead, an associate professor of poultry science at UGA, is a nationally renowned researcher. He’s also earned a reputation as a caring and engaged academic instructor, known for taking time to help students find their own path to a fulfilling career in science.

He joined the faculty of the Department of Poultry Science at UGA in 2007 and was promoted to associate professor in 2013. He currently teaches “Molecular Diagnostic and Research Tools in Avian Biology” and two First-Year Odyssey classes, “Chickenology: Everything You Need to Know About Chickens” and the “Effects of Global Agriculture on World Culture.”

Being an academic advisor in poultry science is a much more dynamic assignment than it was 25 years ago. With more pre-professional students than ever before, Beckstead has to balance the needs of students heading to veterinary and medical schools with those headed for careers in the poultry industry.

His ability to connect with each student on an individual level and shepherd them through their undergraduate experience has earned Beckstead the gratitude of former students and accolades from the university community.

In addition to advising students, Beckstead ensures current and prospective poultry science students have hands-on research experience. He is quick to invite undergraduate students, and even high school students, to work alongside him and his graduate students as they perform cutting-edge genetic research.

Beckstead, a native of Idaho, received his bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University, his doctorate from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, and performed postdoctoral work at the University of Utah.