Published on 10/12/23

Six UGA faculty to be honored at annual D.W. Brooks Lecture and Awards

By Claire Sanders Kinnard
U.S. Department of Agriculture researcher Edward Buckler will be the keynote speaker for the D.W. Brooks on November 16.
U.S. Department of Agriculture researcher Edward Buckler will be the keynote speaker for the D.W. Brooks Lecture and Awards on Nov. 16.

Plant geneticist Edward Buckler will give insight into how quantitative genetics and genomics hold the potential for greater agricultural sustainability when he presents the keynote for this year’s D.W. Brooks Lecture. The annual event, which will recognize six University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and UGA Cooperative Extension faculty, will be held in Mahler Hall at the UGA Center for Continuing Education and Hotel at 3:30 p.m. Nov. 16.

Buckler, a researcher with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service and an adjunct professor in plant breeding and genetics at Cornell University, will deliver the talk for this year’s Brooks Lecture and Awards, titled “Advancing Agriculture: Leveraging Quantitative Genetics and Genomics to Improve Efficiency and Reduce Emissions.” He will share his lab’s work and illuminate how their findings might affect the larger agricultural landscape in the future.

Buckler’s lab uses genomic, computation and field approaches to accelerate breeding in maize, sorghum, cassava and other crops to reduce emissions, ensure food security, improve nutrition and responsibly respond to climate change. Buckler is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and received the inaugural National Academy of Sciences’ Prize in Food and Agricultural Sciences in 2017.

“CAES is excited to host Dr. Edward Buckler for this year’s D.W. Brooks Lecture. The goal of this series is to present new, innovative movements within agricultural and environmental sciences, and we believe that Dr. Buckler’s work in informatics and genomic tools is an exciting look into what might be next for our industries,” said Nick Place, CAES dean and director.

Each year, CAES hosts the annual lecture and awards in honor of the late D.W. Brooks, CAES alumnus and founder of Gold Kist Inc. A lifelong learner and leader, Brooks devoted his career to improving lives through innovation and CAES honors these leaders and award winners in his memory.

This year, the college will honor six CAES and Extension faculty who have excelled in service to the land-grant mission at UGA.

2023 Awards of Excellence Winners

Samuel Aggrey
Samuel Aggrey

Samuel “Sammy” Aggrey honored with the D.W. Brooks Award for Excellence in Diversity

Aggrey is a Richard B. Russell Chair and Professor in the Department of Poultry Science at CAES. He joined the UGA faculty in 1999 and has been a faculty member in the UGA Institute of Bioinformatics since 2006. His research includes developing models for genomic selection, nutrigenomics, molecular and cellular bases of stressors (heat and coccidia infections), and poultry breeding.

Aggrey is a three-time D.W. Brooks Awards of Excellence winner, having been honored with the 2013 D.W. Brooks Award for Excellence in Research and the 2022 D.W. Brooks Award for Excellence for International Agriculture and the Environment. Aggrey mentors a diverse group of students and staff from different ethnicities, religions, cultures, native languages and genders, providing learning experiences that harness the power of diversity for a common purpose.


Ali Berg
Alison Berg

Alison Berg honored with the D.W. Brooks Award for Excellence in Extension

Berg is an associate professor, registered dietitian nutritionist, and UGA Extension nutrition and health specialist in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences. In her state Extension role, she leads health education programs and interventions delivered by UGA Extension agents in chronic disease prevention and health promotion. Berg's current research explores the impact of these Extension health programs on nutrition and health behavior (e.g., diet quality, physical activity, and adherence to self-management and preventive guidelines) to prevent and manage chronic diseases including obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some cancers.

Berg serves on the Community Engagement Core of the Georgia Clinical Translational Science Alliance, facilitating community-engaged research across Georgia through training, capacity-building and helping to match researchers with communities and Extension programs with common goals.


Tammy Cheely
Tammy Cheely

Tammy Cheely honored with the D.W. Brooks Award for Excellence in Public Service Extension

Cheely is an Agriculture and Natural Resources agent and county Extension coordinator for Glascock and Warren counties in UGA Extension's Northeast District. She joined UGA Extension in fall 1994 as the county coordinator, ANR agent and 4-H agent for Warren County and later gained responsibility for Glascock County. Over her 29-year career, she has also served in Hancock and Washington counties.

Known for her tremendous impact in the beef cattle industry locally, statewide and nationally, Cheely has served as president of the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association and is considered an expert in the beef industry supply chain, from cow-calf operations through the marketing of beef products to consumers.


Brian Kiepper honored with the D.W. Brooks Award for Excellence in Teaching

Brian Kiepper
Brian Kiepper

Kiepper is an associate professor in the CAES Department of Poultry Science, where he teaches the highly popular course, “Effects of Global Agriculture on World Culture.” This core course in the UGA curriculum, the largest at CAES, exposes more than 350 undergraduate students each semester to the role agriculture plays in our everyday lives. To date, more than 5,000 UGA undergraduate students from across campus have completed the popular “Agriculture and Culture” course. I

In 2005, he accepted his first teaching assignment as co-instructor of Wastewater Treatment Unit Operations. Since that initial teaching assignment almost 20 years ago, UGA undergraduate students have earned more than 15,000 credit hours in his courses, including “Introductory Poultry Science,” “Poultry Processing,” and numerous First-Year Odyssey Seminars.


Woo Kyun Kim honored with the D.W. Brooks Award for Excellence in International Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

Woo Kyun Kim
Woo Kyun Kim

Kim is a professor and poultry nutritionist in the Department of Poultry Science at CAES. His research has focused on the roles of feed additives, amino acids, vitamins and minerals on nutrient utilization, gut health and bone health in poultry.

He has published more than 200 peer-reviewed papers and obtained approximately $20 million in extramural funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture and the USDA Farm Service Agency’s Crop Assistance Program, among others. He has given over 90 invited talks across the globe and has mentored 28 graduate students.


John Snider honored with the D.W. Brooks Award for Excellence in Research

Snider is a crop physiologist and professor in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences at the UGA Tifton campus. After working as a postdoctoral researcher with the USDA Agricultural Research Service, he joined CAES in 2012 as an assistant professor and was promoted to full professor in 2023.

John Snider
John Snider

His research focuses on characterizing physiological responses to yield-limiting abiotic stresses, identifying management strategies that improve water-use efficiency, and identifying traits associated with improvements in seedling vigor for cotton, the most widely planted row crop in Georgia. He has published 106 peer-reviewed research articles and obtained more than $6.3 million in extramural competitive grants and industry support for his program. In recognition of his research accomplishments, Snider received the 2015 Young Cotton Physiologist of the Year Award at the Beltwide Cotton conferences.


To register for the D.W. Brooks event, visit More information on the 2023 D.W. Brooks Lecture and Awards is available on the event website.

Claire Sanders is the senior public relations specialist in the CAES Dean and Director's Office.