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From the Dean

Sam Pardue
Dean and Director
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

During my sophomore year as an undergraduate, I had the opportunity to work in a physiology research laboratory. Early on, I was trusted only to wash glassware.

I learned that, while a somewhat menial task, washing the glassware properly was essential for the lab. Leaving residues or contaminants could derail weeks of research and cost thousands of dollars.

Once I had proven myself responsible in the “little things,” I had the chance to actively participate in the research. From that experience, I became a coauthor on a refereed journal article as an undergraduate. That is somewhat common now, but in the 1970s, it was a big deal.  

Looking back, my time in undergraduate research put me on a path that shaped my career. It was a great experience, one that we want all University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences students to have the opportunity to pursue.

Experiential learning has long been a hallmark of land-grant universities, from our youngest students in 4-H who “learn by doing” to our graduate students who are actively teaching and conducting research. I know from personal experience the value of these opportunities in shaping career choices. I hope you will join me in supporting this important effort by sharing your expertise, offering internship possibilities and giving your financial support to the college.

One way we create that experience for our students is through the Deans’ Promise, our pledge to support all of our students’ participation in out-of-classroom experiences. Whether students choose to seek undergraduate research opportunities, study abroad or pursue internships, these experiences will enhance their overall student experience, increase the value of their education and help them develop and practice needed skills for their futures.

A recent student survey showed that what our students value most about the college are the strong relationships they build with faculty, staff, alumni and industry leaders. That network of support will help us stay at the forefront of cutting-edge research, nationally renowned Cooperative Extension programs and outstanding education for our students, who will go on to lead our agricultural industry.