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Intranet: Resources: CAES Faculty & Staff Awards

2016 Awards for Athens Faculty and Staff

During the annual D.W. Brooks awards ceremony on November 7, 2016, the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences presented awards to Athens-based faculty and staff.


Barner receives Administrative/Professional Support Award

 How does the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences keep track of a $225 million budget with hundreds of dedicated spending accounts? The college keeps its finances straight through the help of hawk-eyed number crunchers like Lindsey Barner.

As a senior budget analyst for CAES Business Office, Barner’s chief responsibility is to track the college’s spending and provide regular financial updates to CAES’s associate deans for Extension, academics and research so that they can make financial decisions efficiently.

“Lindsey provides sound guidance in the management of our numerous accounts to help us maximize the productivity of our operations while adhering to the regulations that govern our numerous fund accounts,” said CAES Associate Dean for Research Robert Shulstad.

Since coming to the CAES Business Office in 2008, she has become an indispensable resource to her colleagues and to the college’s administration. Over the last three years, she has been integral to the establishment of the Budget Execution Support Team, responsible for streamlining the budget oversight and reporting process.

While her attention to detail and organizational skills enable her to deftly manage her financial responsibilities, her willingness to take time to help others understand the sometimes dense world of higher education finance is what sets her apart.

“She has an outgoing personality and has a proactive desire to help, and makes a positive impact in everything she undertakes. Most of all, Lindsey is a person of integrity, who can be counted on and trusted,” said William Cheesborough, director of finance and administration for CAES.

Barner lives in Oglethorpe County, Georgia, with her husband, Scott, and four children. She enjoys spending time with her family, especially playing softball and racing go-karts.


Skilled Trades Support Award presented to Barnett

 Whether it’s food safety posters headed to Ecuador or a box of nametags for new University of Georgia Cooperative Extension agents, the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences turns to Carla Barnett when a package has to arrive on time.

Since 1994, Barnett has managed the mail system for CAES, UGA Extension and Georgia 4-H, making sure the dozens of county Extension offices and research stations remain connected to UGA’s Athens Campus.

From crates of promotional rain gauges, to state-of-the-art lab equipment, to grant documents that must be shipped overnight, Barnett knows how to pack and ship it safely. She weathers the unpredictability and demands of her job with creativity, ease, grace and a smile that helps to diffuse stressful situations.

“Her skills do not end with her work ethic,” said Carla Wood, director of signature of events for the college. “She always projects a warm and cheerful attitude, greeting everyone with a smile and warm hospitality. No matter the circumstances, her daily mail visits always brighten my day.”

In addition to her work in mailing and shipping, Barnett is responsible for the state’s inventory of UGA Extension promotional and educational materials, brochures, stationery and soil testing supplies.

Barnett also engraves the nametags and nameplates for everyone in CAES, replacing multiple lost nametags for certain faculty and staff members without judgment.


Technical Support Award presented to LaFayette

 For every groundbreaking research publication and new crop variety produced at the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, there is a small army of graduate and undergraduate laboratory labor laying the groundwork for discovery.

In Professor Wayne Parrott’s plant breeding laboratory, it’s Peter LaFayette’s job to make sure the army of seed collectors, pipetters and cell counters are all working effectively and are on the same page.

For the past 18 years, LaFayette has guided dozens of undergraduate and graduate research technicians in the Parrott Lab, teaching everything from basic laboratory manners to cutting-edge techniques for extracting, isolating and duplicating plant DNA. LaFayette has taught his students to take the work of research seriously, but to handle lab work with patience and a sense of humor.

“Most importantly, we learned how to approach research, which many students, unfortunately, do not experience,” his former students wrote in his nomination letter. “We believe his teaching style, one of subtle guidance with room for independent experimentation and failure, is what was responsible for us all developing confidence in our abilities and to learn and grow as people and scientists.”

In addition to being “a book of unwritten knowledge” for students, LaFayette has pioneered and perfected many research techniques that have given the Parrott Lab an advantage in funding and performing research, including novel techniques for cell culturing, gene copying and genome editing.

LaFayette moved to Athens, Georgia, in 1989 after graduating with his doctorate in plant physiology from the University of California, Davis.


Norris awarded Outstanding Undergraduate Academic Advisor

 With 240 students to advise each semester, it’s easy to assume that Jo Anne Norris has a set of one-size-fits-all recommendations for the undergraduates she counsels. But that would be wrong.

Norris’ calm demeanor and her ability to give each student her undivided attention—despite the crowd of students gathered outside her office—make a unique impact on each of her advisees.

“My general philosophy in life is that we were created to help each other,” Norris wrote in her application. “In addition to having a giving spirit, I feel that there are three keys to successful advising: individuality, diplomacy and compassion.”

Norris has been a fixture in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics for three decades and took over the role of undergraduate advisor eight years ago.

From students who just found out that they no longer have the HOPE Scholarship to students grappling with whether to graduate ahead of schedule or to add another major, Norris treats each student’s situation with time and respect.

The hardest thing about advising is helping students through a setback that they are experiencing because they fell behind academically or failed to plan, Norris said. She has learned how to read their faces and how best help those students. She can be the coach who gives the halftime pep talk or a stern voice reminding them of what they already know is right.

“Even though I don’t teach a class or have a Ph.D. behind my name, I am an educator,” Norris said. “It’s not only my job to prepare students for the workforce, but it’s also important to prepare them for life.”


Fairchild named Outstanding Undergraduate Academic Advisor

 As a poultry science specialist with University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, Brian Fairchild helps poultry farmers in Georgia and around the world to ensure the health and productivity of their chickens. His experience working with the poultry industry helps students in UGA’s Department of Poultry Science make their time at the university more productive.

Fairchild has served as the undergraduate faculty advisor for poultry science students for the past 13 years. The poultry science major is one of the fastest growing majors in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

Each semester, Fairchild guides about four dozen students through the process of planning their course of study. His experience in the poultry industry provides them with invaluable insight into how to make the most of their degrees.

Fairchild’s connections in the poultry industry provide his students with the networking opportunities they need to secure internships and jobs after graduation.

“He helped me prepare for and get in touch with multiple companies looking for interns for this summer until I found a perfect fit,” poultry science student Elizabeth Davis wrote in her nomination letter for Fairchild.

Time after time, students cite Fairchild’s personal attention in helping to define their career paths.

He’s been instrumental in attracting new students to poultry science by helping to host Avian Adventures, a high school enrichment program; the CAES Young Scholars Program, a high school research program; and through outreach with the Poultry Science Club.

Fairchild received his doctorate in physiology from North Carolina State University. In addition to his work as an undergraduate adviser, he has mentored 19 graduate students and has a robust research and extension program.