CAES student named UGA's Student Employee of the Year

Posted: April 25, 2016 1:00 AM

CAES student named UGA's Student Employee of the Year

UGA Career Center
Contact: Aaron Brown,, 706-583-5475

2016 Winner: Kayla Alward

Each year, The University of Georgia Career Center recognizes the top 100 student workers on campus at the Student Employee of the Year Awards Luncheon which took place on April 20th, 2016 at the Tate Center Grand Hall. The 1st place winner was Kayla Alward, from the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences Dairy Farm. Kayla also was the winner of the regional competition which includes 12 states. This is the first time a UGA student has won the regional award which is presented by the Southern Association of Student Employment Administrators (SASEA). Kayla was also presented with a check for $1000 from SASEA, along with 2 plaques representing her UGA win and regional win.

There are over 5000 student workers on campus so the competition is very intense.  Special recognition is given to the students who placed in the top 3, voted on by an 8 member faculty and staff committee.

“UGA departments function at a much higher level with the hard work and energy of students.” says Aaron Brown, Student Employment Manager at the University of Georgia Career Center.

In Kayla’s role as a student employee for the UGA Dairy Farm, Michael Mathis says, “Kayla makes schedules, oversees daily care of calves, and manages treatment protocols for sick calves.  In other words, she is in charge of the next generation of the UGA Dairy Farm.  This next generation currently exists as a group of newborns that require twice daily bottle-feeding, constant monitoring, attention to detail, and willingness to make tough decisions.  With her most difficult challenge this fall, a severe pathogen spreading through the calves, Kayla worked relentlessly (day and night) treating calves, working with University veterinarians, and creating protocols that ensured future calf health.  This included developing new treatment methods, new calf worker routines, implementing a biosecurity program, and strategically designing methods to reduce spread of the illness.  Few other student employment opportunities require this level of dedication and heart to their job.  Punching in and out of the clock did not matter to Kayla, these calves were her responsibility and she stayed the course unrelentingly.  Aside from serving in this capacity, Kayla also chose to live on farm to assist in off-hour needs of the farm and in cases of emergency.  This often has her filling in for other employees that do not show up for a shift (calves have to be fed!), maintaining farm records in our on computer database, maintaining herd registration with the Holstein Association USA, interacting professionally with industry representatives, and checking cows all hours of the morning and night when they are expected to calve.  Her value to the farm cannot be measured.  She is a student that truly has dedicated herself to the UGA Dairy Farm and the animals that it houses.”

Miss Alward is majoring in Animal Science and Dairy Science. After graduation she plans to attend graduate school for Dairy Reproductive Physiology. Miss Alward attended South Effingham High School in Guyton, GA and graduated in 2013.