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Georgia Extension agents celebrate their successes at Epsilon Sigma Phi ceremony By Merritt Melancon

University of Georgia and Fort Valley State University Cooperative Extension agents gathered in Athens, Georgia, last week to recognize the work of their colleagues’ achievements at the annual Georgia meeting of Epsilon Sigma Phi (ESP), a professional organization for those working in Extension.

In addition to awards recognizing accomplishments in educational programming, the meeting allows agents to learn from each other. Poster presentations featuring successful programs from across the state are an annual part of the group’s meeting. 

UGA Extension has 300 Extension agents serving in 157 counties across Georgia. Their mission is to spread research-based knowledge from the campus of the university to every small town, farm field and city block in Georgia. 

“My message to all of you here today is really a simple one,” UGA President Jere Morehead told the agents gathered on Friday, Sept. 4. “Please just keep doing what you’re doing to showcase this wonderful university. Please continue with the pride for the work that you do that then causes the people you interact with to have admiration for this university. And please keep doing, every day, the little things that add up to the great things that this university means to the state of Georgia.” 

This year, Epsilon Sigma Phi recognized agents from across the state who answered Morehead’s call to find ways to make the knowledge and research of the university impact the lives of Georgians more directly.

Award winners include:

  • ESP Friend of Extension, Georgia Chapter Award: Rep. Terry England (Auburn, Georgia)
  • Distinguished Service Award: Stephens County Extension Coordinator Forrest Connelly
  • Continued Excellence Recognition: Spalding County 4-H Agent Cherry Hovatter
  • Mid-Career Service Recognition: Muscogee County Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) Agent Rhea Bentley
  • Early Career Service Recognition: Tattnall County Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Agent Chris Tyson
  • Diversity Multicultural Recognition for a Team: Dougherty County Extension Coordinator James Morgan, Dougherty County FCS Agent Suzanne Williams and Crisp County 4-H Agent Randy West
  • Diversity Multicultural Recognition for an Individual: Muscogee County FCS Agent Rhea Bentley
  • District New Professional Awards: Northeast District, Walton County 4-H Agent Jenna Daniel; Northwest District, Fulton County ANR Agent Rolando Orellana; Southeast District, Bacon County ANR Agent Will Lovett; Southwest District, Berrien County ANR Agent Eddie Beasley
  • Tal DuVall Scholarship: Tattnall County ANR Agent Chris Tyson
  • ESP Professional Development Fellowships: Seminole County 4-H Agent Cindy Meadows and Mitchell County 4-H Agent Jennifer Grogan
  • Administrative Leadership Recognition: Mitchell County 4-H Agent Jennifer Grogan
  • Meritorious Support Service Award: Northeast District, Franklin County 4-H Program Assistant Audrey Justice; Northwest District, Coweta County Extension Secretary Pamela Burkey; Southeast District, Bacon County Extension Secretary Sharon Bridges; Southwest District, Randolph County Extension Secretary Drusilla Whatley

For more information about Epsilon Sigma Phi, please visit esp.caes.uga.edu. For more information about about UGA Extension, please visit extension.uga.edu.

(Merritt Melancon is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)

ESP meeting in Athens
ESP meeting in Athens

Dekalb County Extension Agent Leonard Anderson and Stephens County Extension Agent Susan Yearwood judge a poster presentation during the 2015 Georgia meeting of Epsilon Sigma Phi. Epsilon Sigma Phi is a national professional organization for those working in the Cooperative Extension System.

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Dekalb County Extension Agent Leonard Anderson and Stephens County Extension Agent Susan Yearwood judge a poster presentation during the 2015 Georgia meeting of Epsilon Sigma Phi. Epsilon Sigma Phi is a national professional organization for those working in the Cooperative Extension System. Download Image
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