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Glenn Beard

Nine university faculty and staff members receive top public service and outreach honors

The Office of the Vice President for Public Service and Outreach has announced that six faculty and three staff members will receive awards for outstanding service to the state and UGA at the 21st Annual Public Service and Outreach Meeting and Awards Luncheon in April. One faculty member will receive the Walter Barnard Hill Fellow Award, five faculty members will receive the Walter Barnard Hill Award and three staff members will receive the Staff Award for Excellence.

Distinguished Public Service Fellow
The Walter Barnard Hill Distinguished Public Service Fellow Award, UGA’s highest award in public service and outreach, recognizes sustained, distinguished and superb achievement in university public service that improves the quality of life in Georgia, the nation or abroad. The Hill Fellow is named in honor of Chancellor Walter Barnard Hill, who led UGA from 1899 until his death in 1905.

L. Ray “Rusty” Brooks of the Carl Vinson Institute of Government is the 2012 Hill Fellow. Brooks is the associate director for the Vinson Institute’s International Center, which he has served in a variety of capacities since 1982. He was a 2004 winner of the Walter Barnard Hill Award.

Brooks has earned a worldwide reputation for his efforts to share the expertise and resources of UGA with governments across the world. Through training for government officials and employees, shared technical assistance and research, the programs he directs contribute to bettering the lives of people from Croatia to China to Liberia and beyond. Brooks’ work facilitates networks among Georgia and countries across the globe and promotes increased cultural understanding by coordinating exchanges between U.S. and international leaders, leading in some cases to exploration of economic development opportunities in Georgia.

Hill Award for Distinguished Achievement
This year, five faculty members and service professionals will receive the Walter Barnard Hill Award for Distinguished Achievement in University Public Service and Outreach in recognition of their outstanding contributions to the improvement of the quality of life in Georgia or elsewhere.

This year’s Hill Award recipients are Glenn H. Beard, W. Dennis Epps, Maritza Soto Keen, Margaret E. “Beth” Melnik and Eric Prostko.

Beard, the county extension coordinator and agricultural and natural resources agent in Colquitt County, provides support for the county’s vegetable industry by coordinating an in-depth educational program.

Epps, associate director for the Governmental Services and Research Division of the Carl Vinson Institute of Government, leads a unit that provides a variety of customized assistance and research to state and local governments throughout Georgia.

Soto Keen, a public service associate at the Fanning Institute, serves as lead faculty in UGA’s Latino Pipeline Initiative, which aims to increase the number of Latino youth in higher education.
Melnik, a senior public service associate in the Small Business Development Center, oversees SBDC’s Division of Applied Research, conducting research studies for community groups and in-depth research analysis to help small business owners make knowledgeable decisions about their companies.

Prostko, associate professor and extension weed specialist in the department of crop and soil sciences, is nationally recognized as one of the leading weed management experts.

Staff Award for Excellence
The Public Service and Outreach Staff Award for Excellence honors outstanding effort and workplace creativity and innovation and celebrates the achievements of public service and outreach staff. The 2012 recipients are Michelle Bailey, Emily Davis and Kathy Hart.

Bailey, a data management specialist at the Carl Vinson Institute of Government, provides support for the institute’s Survey Research and Evaluation Unit.

Davis, a program coordinator at the Fanning Institute, manages support for training programs, including the Community Leadership Initiative.

Hart, a senior event coordinator at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education Conference Center and Hotel, coordinates high-profile special events and serves as liaison to the Office of Special Events.