Explore where your degree can take you.
Each month this unique seminar series features one of our successful alumni. The seminar is a lunch and learn series during which a College of Agriculture graduate speaks about his or her pathway to success. This series is sponsored by the College of Agriculture Student Services Office. The seminars are open to students, faculty and staff. Lunch is provided to all attendees.
B.S. Animal Sciences/Pre-vet
Emily (Brennan) Vargas, MPH is from Jacksonville, Florida and received her B.S. in Animal Sciences/Pre-vet from Auburn in 2012. While at Auburn she was involved in Ag Ambassadors, the rowing team, and molecular biology research. After Auburn, she spent a year teaching English in Haiti and went to graduate school for Public Health at Emory University, graduating with her MPH in 2015. She currently works as a Statistical Programmer Analyst at Mayo Clinic in Florida, assisting Mayo physicians and researchers with data analysis for their studies. She is excited for the chance to be back with the Auburn family and share with students about her experiences in the field of Public Health.
Click here to view Emily’s seminar.
DR. TRENT WILKES
Trent Wilkes is from Crossville, AL. He attended Auburn University from 2000-2004 graduating with a Fisheries Pre-Professional degree from the College of Agriculture. Afterward he briefly worked in biomedical research before pursuing a career as a medical doctor. He earned a medical degree from the UAB School of Medicine prior to moving to Jacksonville Florida in 2012 for Emergency Medicine residency training. While in Jacksonville he met his wife Lindsey and they were married in 2015. He currently works as an Emergency Physician at Springhill Medical Center in Mobile, AL. He spends most of his off days having quality time with Lindsey and spoiling their 6 month old baby daughter Pearl as well as having fun traveling with the family and trying to sneak away to fish every now and then.
Click here to view Dr. Wilkes’ seminar.
DR. QIANG XU
Dr. Xu graduated from Auburn University in 2007 with his Ph.D. in Entomology. He is a Professor of Biology at Abilene Christian University. Xu, a native of Hangzhou, China, is so fascinated with mosquitoes and how to rid the world of the disease-carrying pests that he focused on that for his doctoral dissertation at Auburn University. Xu started his research six years ago and continued it once he started teaching at ACU in August 2007. Specifically, his dissertation research focused on investigating molecular mechanisms of insecticide resistance in insects.
Click here to view Dr. Xu’s seminar.
DR. VICTORIA PRATT
B.S. Poultry Science and Ph.D. Veterinary Medicine
Victoria is a 2006 Poultry Science and 2010 College of Veterinary Medicine graduate. Upon graduating Victoria went on work at a small animal practice in Georgia then moved to Tennessee to work at an animal emergency and critical care hospital. In 2013, Pratt accepted a position with Elanco Animal Health’s Poultry Business Unit, working with commercial poultry companies covering 12 states while maintaining her private practice and relief veterinary work on the weekends. In 2015, she enrolled in the University of Georgia’s graduate program and is now pursuing her master’s in avian medicine.
DR. CLETE YOUMANS
M.S. Crop, Soil, and Environmental Science
Dr. Clete Youmans is a 1978 & 1982 graduate from the Crop, Soil, and Environmental Science department. He currently works as the Principal Biology Development Manager with BASF Corporation. Prior to working with BASF Dr. Youmans worked as an R&D Agriculturalist with American Cyanamid Company.
Tony Gibson is the Founder, President | CEO of Gibson Landscape Services, a Top US 100 Landscape Contractor providing on time solutions for landscape and hardscape services, with precision, quality and with a reputation for “doing what they say”. With a market advantage in self-performing landscape & hardscape construction, commercial maintenance & irrigation management, Gibson has a unique advantage of controlling the coordination and care for what is most important, their client’s success. Tony has grown his business to be a top nominee for major regional projects and assignments in health care, educational, hospitality, urban plaza, federal, recreation and mixed use development. Tony has worked for and directed projects for some of the region’s most notable owners including ADP, Amazon, AT&T, Atlanta Braves, Boeing, Centers for Disease Control, Coke, Duke University, Emory, Fort Benning, Piedmont Park, Post Properties, Omni Hotels & Resorts and United States Space & Rocket Center. Voted a Top 20 UNDER 40 by Engineering News Record Southeast, Tony also served as Chairman of Georgia Urban Agricultural Council and is a graduate of Auburn University with a BS in Ornamental Horticulture.
Carl Thigpen is Executive Vice President and Chief Investment Officer of Protective Life Corporation, a post he has held since May 2007. He is also President of Protective Investment Advisors, Inc. Mr. Thigpen joined Protective in 1984. He served as Senior Vice President, Investments from March 2001 to January 2002, when he was promoted to Chief Mortgage and Real Estate Officer, a position he held until becoming the Executive Vice President and Chief Investment Officer in May 2007.
Steve Martin received a BS in Animal and Dairy Science from Auburn University in 1987 and a Masters in Animal Nutrition from Texas A&M in 1989 with a focus on forage production and feeding. Steve served on the research and marketing staff for the National Cottonseed Products Association after graduate school. In 1991, he joined Purina Mills as a field dairy nutrition consultant. Working in this role for 14 years, Steve had the opportunity to work for many large commercial dairies in the southwestern US. The experience with Purina led to a new opportunity to work on the production side of the industry as a member of a dairy management team in the Texas panhandle. In 2006, Steve re-entered the consulting world, but this time as the founder of Dairy Nutrition and Management Consulting, LLC. Steve excels in areas of diet formulation and modeling, feed/milk economics and heifer feeding strategies. After 25 years in the industry, the broad goal of Steve’s effort is to maximize the convergence of biology and economics for DNMC. Steve and his family now make their home in Northern Colorado where he leads the team’s efforts across the western US. Learn more at http://www.dnmcmilk.com/index.php .
Amanda currently serves at the Food Safety Quality Assurance Manger with Tyson Foods, Inc in Rogers, AR. She is an experienced protein scientist specializing in food safety and quality assurance of red meats and poultry products from farm to fork.
Mr. Randle is the owner of Randle Farms in Auburn, AL. Randle Farms grows a variety of meats, fruits, and vegetables fit for the southeastern climate. While they are not certified organic, there goal is to produce food that they are comfortable serving on our own tables. That means they do not use harmful pesticides on crops, animal byproducts in their livestock feed, or a program of antibiotics for our livestock. Rather than being certified organic by a government agency, they receive our certification from our customers, who understand how we farm.
Graves Lovell has been a fisheries biologist with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for the last nine years. Prior to that he worked as a biologist for six years with Southeastern Pond Management inc.
Bill is vice president of global market development at Prosensa Therapeutics. He received a bachelor’s of science degree from Auburn in 1981. Earning a science degree from Auburn provided a strong foundation for him to take his career in many directions. He coupled that foundation with the willingness to take career risks, move in unforeseen directions and continue his learning, which has led to an interesting career and life.
B.S. in Agricultural Communications
Jennifer grew up in Ariton, a very small town in Dale County. Thanks to a chance encounter with an agricultural education class, she developed a great passion for the agriculture industry and for communicating its importance in our lives. At Auburn, she majored in Agricultural Communications, served as Ag Ambassadors President and was actively involved in a sorority, Lobby Board and Young Farmers. During the fall of her junior year she was selected to serve as a National FFA Officer. She spent one year living out of a suitcase promoting agriculture education and the National FFA Organization. After returning to Auburn in the spring of ’08, she interned with Elanco Animal Health and graduated later that fall. Ten days after graduating she moved to Lafayette, Indiana, to work with Cargill. After three and a half years with Cargill, the South was calling her name and she was given the opportunity to serve in her current role as Young Farmers Division Director at the Alabama Farmers Federation.
B.S. in Horticulture, Landscape Design
A graduate of Columbus College, Columbus, Georgia, Mr. Dorough has a liberal arts degree and is also a graduate of Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, with a bachelor of science degree in horticulture and design. Doug has studied in France, England, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Greece, South America, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, the Caribbean, etc. Mr. Dorough was a trustee of the Atlanta Botanical Gardens and chairman of its Long Range Grounds Committee, Grounds Committee Consultant for the Atlanta Historical Society, a Director or the Georgia Nurserymen’s Association, and past President of the Greater Atlanta Nurserymen’s Association. Served on the board for the Art Institute of Atlanta for landscape design. Currently Mr. Dorough runs Dorough Landscapes in the metro Atlanta are. His company has been in business for 48 years.
B.S. in Horticulture
Troy began designing gardens while still working to obtain his degree in horticulture but his interest and passion for beautiful gardens began taking root as a child raised in a family of artists, gardeners, and writers. He was destined to thrive along this pathway of beauty, reverence for creation, and providing others with the experience of an awakened spirit that surfaces in the context of ones own garden sanctuary. Troy Rhone Gardens, Design. is based in Birmingham, Alabama with projects that extend from coast to coast. He has been feature in Southern Living, Alabama Gardener, and Flower Magazine.
B.S. in Agricultural Economics
Chuck Penry, a native of Baldwin County, graduated from Auburn with an Agricultural Economics degree in 1986. In the spring of 1987, Chuck began working for the Alabama Department of Agriculture where he served as Assistant Commissioner for one year. He then joined the staff of the Senate Agriculture Committee in Washington, D.C. In the fall of 1994, Chuck accepted a position running the lobbying shop for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association where he was named a “Top Ten Lobbyist on Energy Issues” by The Hill Newspaper. In 2009, Chuck joined the Tyson TEAM as the Vice President of Federal Affairs. In 2010, he became the Vice President of Government Relations for Tyson Foods, Inc. where he serves as the head lobbyist for the world’s second largest food producing company.
B.S. in Agronomy & Soils
M.S. in Plant Pathology
Taylor Hatchett owner of Boozer Farms is a graduate of AU’s College of Agriculture and holds a B.S. in Agronomy and Soils and a M.S. in Plant Pathology. Boozer Farms is located in Thorsby, Alabama and is a family run farm committed to supporting their local community through thoughtfully grown produce, education, and generosity. Boozer Farms’ produce is made available to consumers through their Community Supported Ag (CSA) program, at community farmer’s markets and through local restaurants. In addition to producing fruits and vegetables Boozer Farms’ also operates a sod farm specializing in Bermuda, Zoysia, and Centipede sod. Taylor loves farming and enjoys sharing her passion with others.
B.S. in Agronomy & Soils
M.S. in Plant Pathology
“Stan Usery is an agricultural and environmental groundbreaker and standard-setter on his 700-acre farm. Usery earned his bachelors degree in Agronomy and Soils in 2003 and his master’s in plant pathology in 2005. His innovative farming and business practices, along with his active professional and community activities, earned him and his family the title of Alabama Outstanding Young Farm Family for 2013-14. ”
SENATOR CLAY SCOFIELD
B.S. in Agricultural Economics
Senator Clay Scofield (R), Marshall County, was elected in 2010 to the Alabama Senate representing District 9, which includes Marshall County and a portion of Blount and Madison Counties. A lifelong resident of District 9 and a third generation farmer, Clay is the former Chairman of the Blount County Young Farmer’s Committee.
B.S. in Animal & Dairy Science
Working for the Auburn University Meats’ Lab for 19 months prepared Mrs McGlon for a career in the food industry specializing in Food Safety. She began by implementing the first USDC HACCP program for seafood, and carried the HACCP program across red meat, poultry, and prepared meats successfully for several companies. Upon moving to Montgomery, AL, she was challenged with implementing food safety and HACCP systems for hot-fill juice beverage, sauces, condiments, and several Fortune 100 food companies. Mrs McGlon’s areas of expertise includes HACCP, Food Safety, and applying Microbiology to Environmental Monitoring and Sanitation Systems. She has worked closely with the FDA, USDC, USDA, and State Health Departments.