Published on 06/21/21

Poultry science faculty, staff earn awards

By Claire Marie Coleman

Four faculty and staff members in the Department of Poultry Science at the University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) have received prestigious awards from national professional organizations. 

Andrew Benson, assistant professor in the Department of Poultry Science, received the 2021 Novus International Teaching Award from the Poultry Science Association (PSA). The award is given to recognize that excellence in teaching is integral to the future welfare of the poultry industry, and to support continued professional improvement through travel, study and other means. Benson is an alumnus of the department and now teaches the course that inspired him to pursue a career in poultry science. Benson is an asset to the department as an instructor and continues to inspire his students to pursue degrees in poultry science and avian biology.

Jessica Fife, who serves as the outreach coordinator for the department, received the 2021 PSA Student Recruitment Award from PSA. This biennial award recognizes an individual who, using innovative methods, has significantly improved the recruiting program of a respective department, college or university.

As outreach coordinator, Fife leads the department’s recruitment initiatives; student affairs, marketing and communication efforts; alumni relations, and more. Recently, she created Georgia’s first poultry science curriculum for high school agriculture education classrooms and is currently pursuing a doctorate in agricultural leadership, education and communication from CAES.

Lorraine Fuller, a research professional in the Department of Poultry Science, was awarded the Tyson Foods Inc. Support Personnel Award through PSA. This award acknowledges the contributions by support personnel and to recognize outstanding support of research, extension or teaching programs in poultry science.

Fuller has helped more than 30 graduate students with their research, is author or co-author on 49 papers, and holds two patents. Recently she has begun developing testing protocols and reagents for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's use in approving active compounds for treatment of ascariasis and helminthiasis in poultry.

In addition, Lilong Chai, assistant professor in the Department of Poultry Science, was awarded the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers’ 2021 Sunkist Young Designer Award. This award recognizes and honors members under 40 years of age for outstanding contributions to the advancement of the profession and to stimulate professional achievement. Sponsored by Sunkist Growers, the Sunkist Young Designer Award specifically honors the development of a technical plan that influences agricultural engineering progress, as evidenced by use in the field.

Chai’s contributions include being author or co-author of more than 100 publications and principal investigator or co-principal investigator for 20 grants and contracts. Chai also recently initiated a successful inaugural Georgia Precision Poultry Farming Conference with support from department administration, fellow faculty members and researchers.

“UGA’s Department of Poultry Science is a pretty amazing place to be, and we owe that to the innovation, creativity, and success in large part to our faculty and staff. This year, we are extremely proud to have the efforts of two of the faculty, Drs. Benson and Chai, recognized by two professional associations. Additionally, we are tremendously delighted to have two of our support staff recognized by the Poultry Science Association for innovation in recruitment, Jessica Fife, and Dr. Lorraine Fuller for career-long efforts in parasitology research and service to the poultry community,” said Todd Applegate, head of the Department of Poultry Science.

Georgia is the nation's leading poultry-producing state, and the poultry industry represents more than 50% of the state's agricultural income. To meet the demand for innovation in poultry production, UGA is building a new Poultry Science Building to better equip faculty and students, the nation’s poultry industry and Georgia communities.

To learn more about the initiative, which will be funded by a public-private partnership, visit To get involved, contact Mary Ann Parsons, CAES senior director of development, at

Claire Marie Coleman is an undergraduate student majoring in agricultural communication in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences' Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication.

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