College recognizes achievements of faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community members

In celebration of UGA Honors Week and the end of the 2021-2022 academic year, the College of Public Health recognized more than 70 dedicated faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community members for their commitment to advancing public health.

CPH Faculty Excellence Awards

Five faculty members were recognized by the UGA College of Public Health for their exceptional work in service, teaching, and research.

Excellence in Teaching Award – Jessica Knight, Epidemiology & Biostatistics

Jessica Knight is an assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics. Jessica joined UGA in 2018 and has taught 7 different courses in 16 classes. Her colleagues were impressed by her accomplishments in the classroom citing an average 5 out of 5 in evaluations and adding, “Dr. Knight has reliably provided exemplary instruction of foundational and essential methods needed by epidemiologists and public health professionals.” Jessica’s students also praise her teaching stating, “We have come away from each course with a rewarding and engaging classroom experience, as well as a deep understanding of critical concepts,” and, “The work is rigorous. While the material can be difficult, it’s easy to be a student in Dr. Knight’s classes. I always felt comfortable asking questions and that it was okay to be wrong if I wasn’t sure.”

Outstanding Part-Time Faculty Award – Donald Lloyd, Health Policy and Management

Since 2010, Don Lloyd has been a part-time associate professor in the department of health policy & management. During that time, he has taught 12 different courses in 29 classes. Students comment on Don’s commitment to their growth and development as future health professionals. His courses are highly interactive, thought-provoking and expects the best of his students and himself. As one student shared: “During my time in Dr. Lloyd’s HPAM 3500 class, we had three general class rules. Show up, show up on time, and show up dressed to play. I truly believe that Dr. Lloyd lives by these three rules because there was not a single day that he showed up where he was not prepared for everything that we threw at him.”

Outstanding Online Faculty Award – Jennifer Gay, Health Promotion & Behavior

We learned in March 2020 how critical online learning is for faculty instruction and student outcomes. Recognizing the importance of excellence in online teaching, the College created our first ever online teaching award.  Jennie Gay is an associate professor in the department of health promotion & behavior. Her students agree that her innovation in teaching online content is what makes online learning exciting: “Unlike many of my other professors, Dr. Gay included weekly video presentations over the week’s topic along with supplemental videos, readings, and resources.”

Headshot of Travis Glenn outside in natural light with a gentle, closed-lip smile.Excellence in Research Award – Travis Glenn, Environmental Health Science

Travis Glenn is a professor in the department of environmental health science. In addition to his teaching and research in EHS, Travis is Director of the Institute of Bioinformatics. He is a self-described “evolutionary biologist” who develops and uses DNA tools to understand and improve the world. He has developed and implemented a variety of DNA tools used in research of animals, plants, and microbial communities. Travis’ research in DNA and his scholarly works speak for themselves. He has over 15,000 citations, 154 peer reviewed publications, and 13 invited book chapters. He is currently involved in five federally funded grants with CDC, NIH, and NSF.

Excellence in Service Award – Erin Lipp, Environmental Health Science

Erin Lipp is a professor in the department of environmental health science and serves as the College’s associate dean for academic affairs. Erin and her lab have provided weekly wastewater surveillance data to keep the UGA and Athens-Clarke County (ACC) communities informed of SARS-Cov-2 spread. CPH colleagues wrote that, “Dr. Lipp’s work has been an important service to our community and to the state of Georgia during the pandemic and should be recognized by this award.” She is now collaborating with colleagues around the country to develop methods to identify a range of viruses in wastewater. This work has been a partnership with ACC Public Utilities and the Northeast Georgia Health District. Erin has been serving the Athens community for over 10 years in her partnership with the Upper Oconee Watershed Network.

CPH Outstanding Staff Award

The College of Public Health Outstanding Staff Award honors the CPH staff member who has made an impact on the College’s students, community, and mission. This year’s recipient is Carmen Parr, Business Manager in CPH’s Finance Office responsible for payroll, fiscal compliance and reporting. Carmen graduated from UGA in 2011 with a B.S. in psychology and joined the College in 2015. Carmen is well-respected by her peers for her supportive leadership and admired as a problem solver who handles difficult situations and assignments well. Colleagues consistently describe Carmen as going “above and beyond” and “always willing to help.”


Delta Omega Honors Society 2022 Inductees

The Beta Chi Chapter of the Delta Omega Honor Society has announced its newest inductees for 2022. Delta Omega is an honorary public health society whose mission is to promote excellence in contributing to the field of public health and advancing the health of people in every aspect. Each year, the College of Public Health Beta Chi Chapter nominates and inducts a select few faculty, students, and alumni, as well as one honorary inductee.

This year’s honorary inductee is Dr. Mel Garber, in recognition of his contribution to promoting the health of all in Georgia. As founding director of the Archway Partnership, he worked tirelessly with communities throughout Georgia to link the resources of UGA to community needs. Across all communities, improving the public’s health was a top priority. Dr. Garber quickly became a close collaborator with the College of Public Health. Together with Archway faculty, CPH faculty and students have provided health promotion programming, community needs assessments for rural hospitals and policy briefs to support community health. Today, he continues to serve Georgia communities and CPH as a mentor for our Health Equity Program.

Faculty inductees are Sarah Saint Hamilton and Lili Tang.

Alumni inductees are Erica Parks, Kim Metcalf, Meridith Keller Woodman, Samrina Jamal, Noah Hopkins, Charles “Ash” Warnock, and Katilia Harden.

Student inductees are Chiamaka Nwokeocha, Kate Templeton, Emma Shearer, Maria Hinson Tobin, Marquell Cole, Paige Borcherding, Annie Kwok, Travis Dopson, Valerie D. Bampoe, Kathryn Chiang, and Farrah Williams.

University-Level Faculty Honors & Awards

Tenure & Promotion

Congratulations to our three CPH faculty members who received tenure this academic year:
Jenay Beer, Associate Professor, Institute of Gerontology and Health Promotion & Behavior
Lisa Renzi-Hammond, Associate Professor, Institute of Gerontology and Health Promotion & Behavior
Lili Tang, Associate Professor, Environmental Health Science

UGA Creative Teaching Award Jennifer Gay, Health Promotion & Behavior

Jennie Gay, associate professor of health promotion and behavior, was a 2022 Creative Teaching Award recipient. This award recognizes UGA faculty for excellence in developing and implementing creative teaching methods to improve student learning. Jennie was honored for her use of supportive coaching and small learning milestones to help students learn needed skills. In her inclusive class, students can “choose their own adventure” for project topics. They set the knowledge, skills and degree of competence they would like to pursue. In each module, students submit practice assignments that prime them for the successful completion of a semester-long project. Each assignment receives extensive feedback, and if competency has not been reached, the student can try again, incorporating the feedback into their revision, until they establish competence. By learning from revisions, students establish a mastery of the subject matter.

CPH Student Honors & Awards

College-Wide Awards

Blue Cross Blue Shield Master of Public Health Student Support Fund Award:
Carlyncia McDowell is an MPH candidate, concentrating in health policy and management with a certificate in disaster management. She has made it her mission to network and acquire knowledge on health disparities that affect marginalized communities, find effective methods to meet various communities’ needs, and debunk mental health stigma. Carlyncia is an inaugural fellow of the College of Public Health’s Health Equity Fellow program and currently serves as Vice President of the ACHE Student Chapter, focusing on career development and diversity and inclusion. In addition, Carlyncia was a policy and research intern for Hope Givers, GA Inc. and secretary for My Brother’s Keeper. She is currently an intern for the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, and a member of Georgia’s Association of Health Executives (GAHE) Communications and Diversity & Inclusion Committee.

Health Equity Fellows:
The College of Public Health launched the Health Equity Fellows program to help address the social determinants and racial injustices that drive health inequities in Georgia. In partnership with the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA), the College selected five Health Equity Fellows to work directly with local government officials in Georgia communities of need and to carry out projects to address health disparities.

The 2021-22 Fellows are:
Vanessa Diokpara, MPH candidate, working in East Point, GA
Leila Farist, MPH candidate, working in Hiawassee, GA
Kristi Sprowl, Doctor of Public Health candidate, working in Albany, GA
Pryce Nwabude, MPH candidate, working in Tifton, GA
Sloane Sengson, Health promotion undergraduate student, working in Decatur, GA

Departmental & Institute Student Awards

Environmental Health Science

John J. Sheuring Award – Kween Simmons
Kimberly L. Rowe Environmental Health Award – Jack Gochenour
Environmental Health Science Scholarship – Amelia Foley
Harold and Mary Barnhart Scholarship – Fatmata Bah
Randy Manning Award – Kelly Fry
Georgia Power Environmental Health Science Scholarship – Tiffany Mukundi

2022 EHS Annual Student Research Showcase:
First place – Jacob Kremer
Second Place – William Norfolk
Third Place – Elizabeth Riegelman & Erick Mollinedo (tied)

Epidemiology & Biostatistics

Graduate Teaching Award – Sydney Sumners
Graduate Research Award – Anqi Pan & Erin McDaniel
Graduate Service Award – Wesley (Zane) Billings
Ann and Tipton Golias International Travel Fund in Epidemiology – Cassie Hulme

Health Policy & Management

Connie Lloyd Scholarship Fund – Swezen Kizito & Natalia Serrano

Health Promotion & Behavior

Bernard Ramsey Outstanding Major – Josie Ryder
Undergraduate Recognition Awards –Kaitlyn Catapano, Paige Hellinger, & Jaquarius Raglin
Undergraduate Service Award – Eisha Baig
David Hayes Undergraduate Award – Eisha Baig, Madeleine Osborne, Josie Ryder, & Sloane Sengson
Outstanding Achievement, Graduate – Emily Townsend
Excellence in Research, Graduate – Noah Hopkins

Global Health Institute

Karen and Jim Holbrook Distinguished Graduate Fellowship in Global Health – Kenya Murray & Laura Grajeda

Institute for Gerontology

Mary Ann Johnson Aging and Health Graduate Scholarship – Bailey Collette & Kasey Smith

University-Level Student Honors & Awards

2022 Presidential Award of Excellence

Kelly Fry was selected to receive the 2022 Presidential  Award of Excellence. This award is given to undergraduate students in their final year of study who have demonstrated outstanding academic achievement, strong extracurricular involvement, and/or service to and involvement in their respective school or college.  Kelly will graduate this Spring with a BS in Environmental Health Science. Kelly has accrued a long list of accolades from his time at UGA: In 2019 and 2020, he was a College of Public Health Presidential Scholar; In 2021, Kelly was selected for the National Environmental Public Health Internship Program (co-sponsored by the CDC) to work on harmful algal blooms with the Public Health Department in Vancouver, WA, and he has been a member of the Red Coat Marching Band since 2018. Kelly plans to pursue his MPH in Environmental Health Science at UGA.

First Honor Graduate

Josie Ryder (BS, Health Promotion and Behavior with an emphasis in Behavioral Medicine) will be recognized as a First Honors Graduate for her 4.0 GPA. Josie has served as a peer learning assistant in Chemistry at UGA and has worked in the community through internships with Georgia Department of Health and the Athens Neighborhood Health Center. Josie volunteers with Meals on Wheels for the Athens Community Council on Aging and has also volunteered with Campus Kitchen and the Foothills Area Health Education Center during her time in the major. She is a certified nurse assistant and works as a caregiver with Christopher’s Bridge Home Care. Josie was selected by the faculty as this year’s Bernard Ramsey Outstanding Senior in the major of health promotion. She will attend medical school at the Medical College of Georgia this fall and plans to practice medicine here in Georgia.

Blue Key Honor Society inductees:

Abigail Doorley (BS, Health Promotion & Behavior)
William Norfolk (PhD, Environmental Health Sciences)
Maria Hinson Tobin (DrPH, Health Policy & Management)

UGA Student Employee “Team” of the Year

Environmental health majors Amelia Foley and Lily Metsker and marine science major  Carolina Melendez Declet were recognized by the UGA Career Center for their work supporting Erin Lipp’s SARS-CoV-2 wastewater surveillance program. The wastewater surveillance program is an ongoing monitoring program to investigate community-level COVID-19 transmission through monitoring sewage in Athens Clarke County for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. These students have spent countless hours in the field, collecting samples from wastewater reclamation facilities and directly from sewer lines throughout Athens-Clarke County, in the lab using molecular tools for detection of the viral RNA, and producing results for over 600 wastewater samples. Their dedication underscores their understanding of the importance of this work to inform public health decisions during a critical time of the COVID-19 pandemic. Amelia, Carolina, and Lily take responsibility for this work with the interests of the larger community in mind, demonstrating an amazing capacity for professionalism and work ethic.

#3 Top Student UGA Student Employee of the Year

Although initially hired as a student employee in Bolton Dining Commons in January 2020, health promotion major Kylie Zarecki was soon partnering with UGA Dining Services Food Safety Coordinator and the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) Katherine Ingerson to create videos highlighting food safety guidelines for dining patrons using “to-go” boxes during the pandemic. Over the next few years, Kylie worked exclusively with the RDN to update food safety training materials and presentations into a digital, video format for all Dining Services employees, eventually taking on the role of Lead Research Assistant for dining research headed by the RDN. Her selection as a top UGA Student Employee of the Year recognizes the tremendous influence and impact of her public health work supporting UGA Dining Services, and ultimately the health and safety of the UGA community.

Posted on May 12, 2022.