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Published on 09/14/22

Newest class of CAES Ambassadors hits the ground running

By Claire Sanders
The 2022-23 CAES Ambassadors, all in red blazers, gather outside with CAES Dean Nick Place.
Founded in 1989, the CAES Ambassador program is UGA’s oldest student ambassador group and focuses on student recruitment, student engagement and community outreach. Pictured are the 2022-23 CAES Ambassadors with Cummins, back right, and CAES Dean Nick Place, front right, in front of Conner Hall on the Athens campus. (Photo by Blane Marable)

Pope Arline, a fourth-year student from St. Simons Island, Georgia, sits at a long conference table inside Conner Hall as his fellow College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) Ambassadors file in for their weekly Tuesday meeting. As the rest of the 32-student team catch up on the week and find their seats, Arline explains what he loves about being a student at University of Georgia.

“There’s such a sense of community here — I’ve always felt that my professors really care about my success not only in their classes, but in thinking about life after college. In a college like CAES, you’re able to make connections with your professors, advisors and classmates you might not be able to in a larger college on campus,” Arline said. “I’m from a small town and UGA can be a pretty overwhelming place, but I found my home in CAES. I couldn’t think of a better way to give back to the place that I call home than being a representative of CAES as an ambassador.”

Founded in 1989, the CAES Ambassador program is UGA’s oldest student ambassador group and focuses on student recruitment, student engagement and community outreach. Students with a major in CAES and at least two semesters of study in the college are eligible to apply and participate in the interview process, all with the goal of being selected to wear the program’s signature red blazer. These students are experts on all things CAES — for prospective students from across the state and nation, ambassadors offer a glimpse into student life in Athens and Tifton, along with the variety of hands-on learning opportunities available in agricultural and environmental sciences.

“Giving prospective student tours is one of my favorite parts of serving as an ambassador,” said Anna Cook, a fourth-year student from Fitzgerald, Georgia. “For me, it’s exciting to show students what I love about being a student not only at UGA, but also within CAES.”

Pam Cummins, director of student recruitment for CAES, leads students throughout their year of service, providing guidance and organizing professional development opportunities for the group. Though these students come from a variety of backgrounds and have unique career goals, it’s their passion for CAES that brings them together, she said.

“All of our ambassadors have a great deal of pride in being CAES students and are passionate about helping other students and community members learn more about the work we are doing here,” Cummins said. “They’re able not only to work alongside prospective students, but also to increase their own confidence in public speaking, network with UGA leaders and develop deep relationships with their fellow ambassadors.”

For Hampton Watkins, being a CAES Ambassador allows him to bring together two of his passions: science and connecting with others. A third-year student from Rome, Georgia, studying animal science, Watkins begins his first year of service as a CAES ambassador this fall.

“I’ve always loved opportunities to talk with people who are different from me, have different career goals. For me, being an ambassador allows me to bring together my passion for science and connecting with others — CAES has given me a great opportunity to be a part of the exciting things going on here,” Watkins said.

Excitement was high among the group as they began classes on the Athens and Tifton campuses, knowing that they’re not only furthering their own education in agricultural and environmental sciences, but also supporting the next generation of CAES students through meaningful outreach.

The 2022-23 CAES Ambassadors are:

Athens campus

  • Pope Arline, fourth year, agribusiness and risk management and insurance, St. Simons Island, Georgia
  • Megan Cherry, fourth year, agricultural communication, Chatsworth, Georgia
  • Ariana Cohen, third year, biological science, Cumming, Georgia
  • Aynslee Conner, fourth year, applied biotechnology and entomology, Madison, Georgia
  • Anna Cook, fourth year, biological science, Fitzgerald, Georgia
  • Grant Cook, fourth year, biological science and Entomology, McRae, Georgia
  • Molly Cooney, third year, agricultural communication, Grimes, Iowa
  • Jada Daniel, fourth year, biological science, Danville, Georgia
  • Chloe Dela Cerna, fourth year, agriscience and environmental systems and agricultural and applied economics, Tifton, Georgia
  • Ashley Dombrowski, master’s student, entomology, Newnan, Georgia
  • Maya Dubos, fourth year, hospitality and food industry management, Acworth, Georgia
  • Benji Easter, fourth year, agricultural communication, Peachtree City, Georgia
  • Kate Fouts, fourth year, animal science, Hoschton, Georgia
  • Brenna Gassman, fourth year, animal science and biological science, Evans, Georgia
  • Reilly Grady, second year, agribusiness, Dalton, Georgia
  • Kaitlyn Hart, fourth year, hospitality and food industry management, Moultrie, Georgia
  • Anna Hightower, fourth year, agribusiness Macon, Georgia
  • Paul Kellam, third year, biological science, Dublin, Georgia
  • Bella Kerbers, fourth year, agricultural communication, Katy, Texas
  • Justin Loedding, fourth year, agribusiness and agricultural and applied economics, Dawsonville, Georgia
  • Haley McMillan, fourth year, environmental resource science, Dacula, Georgia
  • Hank Murray, fourth year, agribusiness and agricultural and applied economics, Folkston, Georgia
  • Spen Oliver, fourth year, agriscience and environmental systems, Pine Mountain, Georgia
  • Taylor Pearson, fourth year, applied biotechnology and entomology, Reidsville, Georgia
  • Olivia Phillips, fourth year, agribusiness and agricultural and applied economics, Fitzgerald, Georgia
  • Brooke Raniere, fourth year, environmental economics and management, Peachtree City, Georgia
  • Grayson Swindell, second year, agribusiness, Manassas, Georgia
  • Audrey Thacker, fourth year, agribusiness and agricultural and applied economics, Malibu, California
  • Douglas Vines, fourth year, applied biotechnology, Marietta, Georgia
  • Hampton Watkins, third year, animal science, Rome, Georgia
  • Tyler Westbrook, fourth year, agribusiness, Jasper, Georgia
  • Will Woodard, fourth year, agribusiness, Madison, Georgia 

Tifton campus

  • Bailey Rayfield, fourth year, agriscience and environmental systems, Adel, Georgia
  • Kylie Whitworth, fourth year, agricultural education, Royston, Georgia
  • Kristen Edwards, fourth year, agricultural education, Pelham, Georgia
  • Miller Hayes, fourth year, agriscience and environmental systems, Brinson, Georgia
  • Lindsey Herrin, third year, agribusiness, Adel, Georgia

Applications to become a 2023-24 CAES Ambassador open Nov. 20. To learn more about the ambassador program, visit caes.uga.edu/students.

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