3 Athens-based UGA scientists win D.W. Brooks awards

Three Athens-based professors in the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences have received the college’s top honors in teaching and research.

 

Professor Maria Navarro of the UGA Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication took home the D.W. Brooks Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Since 1999, Navarro has made a name for herself across the university for her energetic teaching style and ability to engage students.

Whether they’re from a farm in south Georgia or from an Atlanta suburb, she has a talent for helping her students see how agriculture shapes the world around them.

Professor Katrien Devos, who works in the departments of Crop and Soil Sciences and Plant Biology, won the D.W. Brooks Award for Excellence in Research. Devos has studied the genetics of plants for the past 25 years. Her emphasis is on grasses and orphan crops, those that are critically important to small farmers in developing nations, but often don’t have the commercial value or research budgets devoted to corn, wheat or other western crops.

Ignancy Misztal, professor in the Department of Animal and Dairy Science and 2010 winner of the D.W. Brooks Award for Excellence in Research, was named the 2017 D.W. Brooks Distinguished Professor.

Misztal’s work on improving animal breeding and productivity models, and the software he developed to provide these calculations, has earned the UGA Department of Animal and Dairy Science an international reputation as a home to cutting edge research.

Over his three decades working in animal genetics, Misztal has developed a novel, unified method for incorporating DNA, phenotypic and pedigree information into the genetic evaluation of livestock. His system has become the standard in the field, and it has created a new understanding of the way livestock populations inherit traits.

The D.W. Brooks Awards, established in 1981, honor the best of the best in UGA CAES and honors UGA CAES alumnus, faculty member and agricultural leader D.W. Brooks. This year’s winners received their awards this month at a ceremony held in conjunction with the CAES annual D.W. Brooks Lecture in Athens.

“They represent truly the best of the best,” said CAES Dean and Director Sam Pardue of the award winners. “I’m always amazed at the breadth of work that the men and women in this college do on a daily basis, and the impact we have across the state and the nation and around the world.”

In addition to Navarro, Devos and Misztal, the college honored Wade Parker, Agriculture and Natural Resources program coordinator for UGA Extension’s Southeast District, with the D.W. Brooks Award for Excellence in public service Extension. Calvin Perry, superintendent for UGA’s C.M. Stripling Irrigation Research Park in Camilla, Georgia, was awarded the D.W. Brooks Award for Excellence in Extension.

 

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