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Emma Laing honored as 2024 Seawell Award recipient

Scott Williams, executive director of the Career Center, delivered the award to Laing in her office. (Submitted photo)

Faculty who receive this honor are selected via feedback from the Career Center’s annual Career Outcomes Survey

Emma Laing, clinical professor and director of dietetics in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences, is the 2024 recipient of the University of Georgia’s Lee Anne Seawell Faculty Recognition Award. Faculty who receive this honor, given annually by the Career Center, are selected via feedback from the Career Center’s annual Career Outcomes Survey. Members of the Class of 2023 had the opportunity to identify a faculty or staff member who had a positive influence on their career development.

Laing received her undergraduate degree in nutrition and dietetics from the University of Delaware. She received her master’s and doctoral degrees in food and nutrition from UGA, and her research centers on the efficacy of weight-inclusive approaches to improve health and well-being.

“As an educator, I take my job seriously to help students reach their leadership potential while embracing the diversity in their professional and personal lives,” Laing said.

As director of the dietetics program, Laing created a professional development course for all students to take during their junior year. The class includes a variety of career development and goal-setting projects, including utilizing Career Center resources such as the UGA Mentor Program and Arch Ready Certificate.

Laing also guides students through the unique challenges of pursuing a career in nutrition. In order to become registered dietitian nutritionists, students need an advanced degree and approximately 1,000 hours of supervised practice in an accredited program before they can seek state licensure. Laing hosts workshops about the complex application process for these programs and covers their nuances in her career development course.

Laing is a career champion for her students and goes above and beyond to support them as they pursue their career goals. In addition to the career development and mentorship opportunities she provides for students, Laing estimates that she writes hundreds of letters of recommendation each year.

“I truly love my job and being a part of my students’ journey,” Laing said.

The late Lee Anne Seawell endowed this faculty recognition award, which has been presented annually since 2017. Seawell joined UGA in 1947 as one of the university’s first female administrators and she worked in career services and student financial aid until her retirement in 1987.

“Teaching and mentoring students at UGA is an absolute privilege, and it is humbling to receive this award,” Laing said. “Success in my students’ professional lives comes from within, and I simply help them articulate what makes them stand out.”