On Oct. 1, the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences recognized its staff and faculty who have demonstrated excellence in the college’s teaching, research and Extension missions with the annual D.W. Brooks awards and lecture series.
“Some think world-changing innovators like Norman Borlaug, Glen Burton and D.W. Brooks are a rarity who may never again be seen in our high-tech world,” said J. Scott Angle, the college’s dean and director. “But we know differently. If you look down the list of those we honor today, and dozens of others among our faculty ranks, you will see great potential, innovation and success that will matter in this world and in agriculture for generations to come.”
This year’s award winners were honored at a ceremony at the UGA Center for Continuing Education.
The annual awards are named after Brooks, who graduated from the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences in 1922. Brooks founded the agricultural firm Gold Kist Inc. while serving as a professor of agronomy at the college. He also founded Cotton States Insurance Co.
College administrators established the D.W. Brooks Faculty Awards for Excellence in Teaching in 1981 to recognize faculty members who made outstanding contributions to the college’s teaching mission. In 1983, administrators expanded the awards to include research, Extension and county Extension programs. An award for international agriculture was added in 1988.
This year’s D.W. Brooks Award for Excellence winners are:
• Steve Stice, who received the D.W. Brooks Distinguished Professor Award. Stice is a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in the college and director of the UGA Regenerative Bioscience Center. His current research activities range from working with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to developing disease resistant livestock in sub-Saharan Africa and stem cell therapies for stroke and Parkinson’s disease.
• William Graves, who received the D.W. Brooks Award in Teaching. Graves has been part of the faculty of the UGA animal and dairy science department since 2001. He teaches four classes and three labs and serves as a graduate and undergraduate student adviser, Dairy Science Club adviser, Dairy Judging Team coach and departmental Extension coordinator.
• Sammy Aggrey, who received the D.W. Brooks Faculty Award for Research. Aggrey’s research interests include mapping poultry genes for growth and development, microRNA predictions and nutrigenomics-an emerging field that researches the interaction between genomes and nutrient use.
• Clint Waltz, who received the D.W. Brooks Faculty Award for Extension, joined the UGA Turfgrass Team in September 2001 as a turfgrass Extension specialist. He conducts research projects in many areas of turfgrass management, especially evaluating how various turfgrass species respond to the environmental stresses of the Southeast.
• Yao-wen Huang, who received the D.W. Brooks Faculty Award for Diversity. Huang is a professor in the food science and technology department and an adjunct professor in the marine sciences department. His research areas include food safety and microbiology, seafood technology and product development.
• James Jacobs, who received the D.W. Brooks Faculty Award for Public Service Extension. Jacobs is the agriculture and natural resources agent for the UGA Extension offices in Pierce and Ware counties.
• Terry Centner, who received the CAES Faculty Award for Outstanding Academic Adviser. As a professor in the agricultural economics department, Centner developed the college’s pre-law program, environmental law minor and agribusiness certificate. He currently serves as director of those programs and teaches environmental, public health and agribusiness law courses. His research program involves the policy analysis of current issues confronting agriculture and the environment, including the application of findings that enhance agricultural performance. He has delivered lectures, seminars and papers in 30 countries.
• Georgi Austin, who received the Classified Staff Award for Excellence in the administrative or professional category. During her seven years as business manager for the crop and soil sciences department, Austin has overseen grant awards, payroll, purchasing and accounting compliance for the department’s 48 faculty members.
• John Rema, who received the Classified Staff Award for Excellence in the technical category. Rema has served as a research technician with Miguel Cabrera in the crop and soil sciences department for 19 years and has worked in the department for more than two decades. He is responsible for field and lab work related to the application of animal manures to crop and pasture land. His area of work focuses on poultry litter and a mixture of poultry litter and bedding material.
• Chris McKenzie, who received the Classified Staff Award for Excellence in the skilled trades category. McKenzie has served as the feed mill supervisor at the UGA Poultry Research Center since 2007. He blends custom formulations of corn, soy and nutrients, allowing poultry researchers to test the effect of different ratios on growth and other variables. McKenzie’s role is critical to faculty researching livestock nutrition. The mill, which produces specialty feed for poultry and swine research projects, turns out 8 to 10 tons of feed a week.