Like Father, Like Daughter
Michasia (Harris) Dowdy (BSA – Agriscience and Environmental Systems, ’14; MPPPM – Plant Protection and Pest Management, ’16) and her father, Glen Harris, share more than a father-daughter bond. They are also colleagues who rely on each other. Dowdy officially became an Agriculture and Natural Resources agent for University of Georgia Cooperative Extension in Lowndes County, Georgia, last June, then became the agent in Brooks County, Georgia, in May. Her father is an Extension agronomist based on the UGA Tifton campus. He delivers scientific, research-based information to agents like Dowdy, who relay that information to local growers. Dowdy has already called on her father’s expertise.
“I would say the middle of July, about a month and a half into my job, I had a peanut field where there were some nutrition problems. It wasn’t long before I had to have him come down and help us,” Dowdy said.
“It’s one of my favorite parts of my job as an Extension specialist, working with the agents. We always tell people that they’re not just colleagues or friends, they’re family,” Harris said. “It makes me proud to have Michasia in Extension.”
Having a father serve as an Extension specialist and practically growing up at UGA-Tifton helped Dowdy transition to Lowndes County Extension agent. She grew up knowing many of the specialists that she works with now, and some were her professors.
“She took advantage not only of the degree programs offered, but also sought internships and applied research experience. I was delighted to have hired her into our organization and look forward to the bright future both Michasia and Glen have with UGA Extension,” said Associate Dean for Extension Laura Perry Johnson.
As for Harris, the proud father only offers advice if asked. He doesn’t want to hover over Dowdy’s work, as a parent might. But when Dowdy solicits advice, Harris is quick to respond.
“Probably one of the best pieces of advice I ever received was when I started at UGA-Tifton 22 years ago. Someone told me our job is to make the agent look good, especially when we go into the county. That was super advice and I always try to follow that,” Harris said. “It’s a two-way street. It’s not me telling them what to do. We communicate together and work it out together. That’s what makes our Extension system special, I think, the relationship between the specialist and the agent.”
By Clint Thompson