New Faces in College's Academic Affairs Office

Not many people have worked and taken classes on all three University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences campuses. Breanna Coursey (BSA ­– Agricultural Education, ’13) is one of a few people who has worked and/or studied on the Athens, Tifton and Griffin campuses, which helps her immensely in her position as academic recruiter for the college.    

As a Young Scholar at UGA-Griffin, Coursey had no idea that she would be recruiting prospective students like herself to the college less than a decade later.

In July 2015, she became an admissions counselor at UGA-Tifton, where she took classes as an undergraduate student.

This June, Coursey was named the director of student and employer engagement in the college’s Athens-based Office of Academic Affairs. She follows Brice Nelson (BSA – Animal Science, ’85), who retired in 2016 after 31 years of service to CAES, 18 of which were spent in the academic affairs office.

With a background in agricultural education — she was a teacher at Malcom Bridge Middle School in Oconee County, Georgia, for two years — Coursey has a passion for guiding students and empowering their success.

“Being aware of opportunities and careers available in agriculture and related fields, I want to connect students with those opportunities, especially those students who may not have considered agriculture as a possible career,” she said.

Coursey received her master’s degree in education from Auburn University and is now working on a doctorate in workforce education at UGA, where she has taken classes at UGA-Griffin.

Fellow CAES alumnae Amanda Stephens (BSA ­­– Agricultural Education, ‘12) and Hannah Rull (BSA – Agribusiness, ‘17) also are tackling added responsibilities in the Office of Academic Affairs.

Stephens was promoted to director of experiential learning. She continues to coordinate the college’s study abroad programs, but has added responsibilities in advising, coordinating and meeting the university’s new experiential learning requirement.

Rull joined the office as a full-time administrative associate in May, after serving as a student worker. She now heads up FABricate, the college’s food and agribusiness entrepreneurial initiative, and coordinates other student events. She also manages the college’s social media and communication for current CAES students.

Kelly King, a longtime academic advisor, also joined the team as director of advising and curriculum. She manages the college’s academic advisors and coordinates student records and curriculum from orientation to graduation.

“The Office of Academic Affairs has undergone many staff changes this past year,” said Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Josef Broder. “I am most pleased with the latest additions to the academic affairs team: Breanna Coursey, Kelly King, Hannah Rull and Katie Murray. These are all talented and dedicated staff members who serve our students, faculty and academic programs. I also extend my heartfelt thanks and best wishes to those who have retired — Brice Nelson and Ellen Martin — or moved on to other colleges and universities — Dr. Jean Bertrand (Ph.D. – Animal and Dairy Science, ’87) and Julie Cook. I appreciate their dedicated years of service to our college and especially how they helped so many students over the years. While we were able to thank them for their service to the college, I wanted to share my appreciation with our alumni, since many of you knew them personally.”

By Josh Paine

Alumna Katie Murray Takes Over Recruitment at UGA Tifton Campus

Katie Murray (BSA – Agricultural Education, ’06), the new face of the academic program at the University of Georgia Tifton campus, joined UGA-Tifton this summer as the new student recruiter, just in time to welcome fall semester’s crop of students.

Murray, a Moultrie, Georgia, native, UGA alumna and one-time high school agriculture teacher, is excited to again be working with students.

“To be able to have an influence on students and to work with the best and the brightest minds representing the future of agriculture are just a couple of reasons why I’m so excited to be at the University of Georgia,” Murray said. “The college education I received at UGA helped pave the way for the career opportunities I experienced after college. I want others to have that same experience.”

Murray will promote the campus to high school students and to freshman and sophomore college students interested in transferring to UGA-Tifton. To do so, she’ll travel to high schools throughout the year to talk to prospective students.

Murray’s background is deeply rooted in southern Georgia agriculture. Her father was a farmer before he became an agriculture teacher, and he encouraged Murray to show livestock, first in 4-H and then later as a National FFA Organization member. She is one of three siblings who received a college-level agricultural education. Murray later earned a master’s degree in agricultural education from North Carolina State University.

She joins UGA-Tifton after working for three years at Southern Valley Fruit and Vegetable, where she was responsible for marketing, coordinating social media and writing for the blog. Murray believes her experiences in the produce industry will help her recruit students who are interested in various aspects of agriculture.

Murray comes to UGA-Tifton at a time when student enrollment is growing. Last spring semester, 19 students — the largest class to date — graduated from UGA-Tifton. This semester, 47 undergraduates are enrolled at UGA-Tifton. Agricultural education is the most popular major on campus, with 18 students.

“It’s my job to help students and their families realize the type of education they’d receive here. I have been in these students’ shoes before and understand the pressures that come with finding the right college,” Murray said. “Fortunately, if they’re interested in agriculture and want to stay closer to home here in southern Georgia, there’s not a better place they can be.”

By Clint Thompson