Heather Savelle is committed to agriculture. A triple major in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, she recently completed an internship in the Oconee County Extension Office. She would like to get a master’s degree and become an extension agent herself in the future. Before coming to UGA, she was elected as state FFA officer in high school and then continued her involvement in numerous agricultural organizations after she started her university studies. She has traveled overseas to help promote agriculture education by working with Future Farmers of Georgia in the Republic of Georgia to develop programs. Additionally, she has traveled around the United States showing and judging dairy cattle.
Oconee County High School
B.S.A. in animal science, B.S.A. in dairy science, and B.S.A. in agricultural education
University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:
I spent my first year at UGA serving as a Georgia State FFA Officer. During that time and throughout my college career, I have become involved in Sigma Alpha, Dairy Science Club, Collegiate FFA, Block and Bridle and Alpha Zeta. In 2007, I served as president of Sigma Alpha Professional Agricultural Sorority, co-chair for Agriculture Safety Day camp and I received the Sigma Alpha Outstanding Leadership Award. I have also served as vice president for the Dairy Science Club and co-chairman for the Annual UGA Commercial Dairy Heifer Show for two years. As a member of the UGA Dairy Judging team, our team was awarded first place in the Ayrshire breed and second place overall at the Harrisburg All-American Dairy Judging contest. I was named high individual overall in Harrisburg as well. Last summer, I conducted an internship with the Georgia Cattleman’s Association and Georgia Beef Board in Macon, Georgia. This summer I spent two weeks in the Republic of Georgia with a team conducting leadership training for agriculture students. I have been named to the Dean’s List three times and have received the Daisy Campbell Rhodes Memorial Scholarship and the William Flatt Scholarship through the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences.
Last fall, I did an internship with the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service in Oconee County. I worked daily with the county extension agent going on site visits and answering questions from farmers, community members and landowners. In any given day, we would help with topics ranging from pond or pasture management to plant and disease identification to raising cattle, chickens, or bees. I do a great deal of research to find answers to questions, talk to people of all ages and backgrounds and travel all over the county. I love being able to help people with their questions or problems, spread agricultural knowledge and foster an appreciation for agriculture in the community.
Family Ties to UGA:
Both my parents attended UGA, where they met. Both were graduates from the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, where my mom earned her bachelor’s degree in plant pathology and my dad earned both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in agriculture education. My mom still works in the UGA plant pathology department as a research coordinator. Last fall, my sister began as a freshman in poultry science and animal science, and my brother will hopefully be a freshman here next year as well. In our home, UGA really is a family tradition!
I chose to attend UGA because…
Actually, my college goals did not even include coming to UGA! As much as I loved Georgia, I wanted to go out of state to Virginia Tech or Oklahoma. My idea was to move far from home where I could meet new people, live in a new town, and see new places. However, in April of my senior year of high school, I was elected a State FFA Officer, meaning I had to stay in Georgia. My decision was to attend UGA, and I have not looked back since. Living in Athens and attending school at UGA is a completely different experience than just living down the road and coming to town sometimes. I do live in a new town, have met so many new people, and have seen more new places than I ever imagined. I have grown to truly love and appreciate the university and its campus, never once regretting my decision.
My favorite things to do on campus are…
…to go to Georgia football games! I love being on campus on gameday, seeing everyone dressed in their red and black, some in their Saturday best, others with faces painted, feeling the energy in the stadium, standing in the student section, cheering at the top of my lungs, and watching young and old come from near and far to cheer on their favorite team. My favorite part, though, is seeing everyone from different majors, backgrounds and interests come together under one roof with one common bond: UGA football!!
When I have free time, I like…
…to draw, sew or do any kind of art project I can come up with. My free time is pretty slim, but I manage to have something going nearly all the time. My roommate will tell you that there are pictures of farm scenes, quilts, or other things I’ve created all over our apartment!
The craziest thing I’ve done is…
…spent two weeks in the Republic of Georgia in June of 2008. The country is starting Future Farmers of Georgia (FFG) modeled after the National FFA Organization (formerly Future Farmers of America) here in the United States. Groups from UGA had traveled there before, but this summer, our team, including a professor and four students, went to the country to help conduct a leadership camp for the FFG students. The camp itself was an incredible experience. Since we did not speak Georgian, we taught students using translators. The way the students responded to our workshops and then taught what they learned to others was more amazing than anything I have ever witnessed. We also traveled across the country visiting the schools with agriculture education programs, talking with the students and sharing our ideas and experiences with each other. Staying in homes with families of FFG students allowed us to truly immerse ourselves in the culture. The lives they lead are so much different—so much simpler—than ours. They appreciate time spent with their families, opportunities to meet new people, and sharing their rich history and culture. The agriculture and subsistence farming nearly everyone practiced was fascinating as well. The opportunity to travel to such a unique place and experience such an amazing culture, while also serving the community and making a difference in the lives of the students was an unforgettable opportunity.
My favorite place to study is…
…my bedroom. Everything I need is right there and I can turn all sounds off and focus on what I am doing. Also, my roommate and I have many of our classes together so we do a lot of studying together in the living room over a pan of brownies.
My favorite professor is…
…Bill Graves. I have known Dr. Graves for years because I have been showing dairy heifers, competing in dairy judging and participating in Dairy Quiz Bowl through 4-H. When I got to UGA and decided to major in Animal Science and Dairy Science, I asked him to be my advisor. Not only is he my advisor now, but he is also my professor and dairy judging coach. He is so interesting to have in class, and he makes learning fun. I have had the opportunity to travel all over the country with him as my dairy judging coach. Having Dr. Graves as my advisor, having him as one of my professors, and going on trips and to contests with him, have allowed us to become good friends. His goal has always been to help me achieve my goals, whatever I believe them to be. I really appreciate all he has done for me and admire his passion for helping students.
If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with…
…J.W. Fanning. Mr. Fanning was an agriculturalist in Georgia in the mid 1900’s. He dedicated his life to agriculture, even when everyone thought he should do otherwise. He earned his degrees in agriculture, worked as a county agent, helped save and revitalize farming and agriculture during and after WWII and was UGA’s first vice president for services. He founded Leadership Georgia and is now considered the father of leadership in Georgia. It would be so neat to sit and talk to him about his experiences, his views and ideals and what drove him to become such a prominent leader and servant in the field of agriculture.
If I knew I could not fail, I would…
…farm, travel the world, and open a business selling my artwork. Growing up raising and showing livestock from an early age fostered in me a love for the land, animals, and agriculture. I would love to farm, raising cattle and growing crops because I enjoy working with cattle, growing things and the challenge of making decisions. I also want to farm, so I could raise my family close to production agriculture, instilling in my children an appreciation for agriculture, hard work and responsibility. At the same time, I would travel the world, meeting people, experiencing different cultures, and seeing all the beauty the world has to offer. Lastly, because there are so many things I enjoy drawing and making, I would also open a business where I could sell my arts and crafts.
After graduation, I plan to…
…pursue a career in agricultural extension. As a result, I am planning to go to graduate school, possibly in plant protection and pest management. Working for the extension service requires agents to have a broad knowledge of agriculture and to know where to look to find answers. I have a strong background in animal science, but I do not have as much knowledge about plants, crops, pests and diseases. The master’s program that I am considering would help give me a broader knowledge base that would help me as a county agent.
The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…
…competing on the UGA Dairy Judging team. I judged dairy cattle all through middle and high school, so when I came to UGA, one of my goals was to compete on the collegiate dairy judging team. I spent two years traveling with our amazing team across the country from Memphis, Tennessee to Madison, Wisconsin, and Fort Worth, Texas to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, seeing new places, judging good cows, and having the time of my life! The team experienced many successful contests and came home with ribbons, plaques, plates and honors. The best parts, however, were the bonds our team made and the memories we will cherish forever.