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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 and will provide professional advice to help our students succeed in their careers. 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.


Spring 2020 Seminars:


Friday, January 31, 2020

The January seminar is entitled “Innovation for CRISPR, NGS, qPCR, and Synthetic Biology by Integrated DNA Technologies” and will feature a Dr. Mitchell Gore,  Field Application Manager with Integrated DNA Technologies. He is currently the Field Application Manager for Custom Oligonucleotides and Gene Expression and Genotyping at Integrated DNA Technologies, Inc. where he leads a global team that supports customer application needs in academic and corporate research and molecular diagnostics.  

Location: 207 Comer Hall
Time: 12:00 pm


Friday, February 28, 2020

The February seminar is entitled “Agrotourism” and will feature Allie Logan and Cassie Young,  Owners of Backyard Orchards . 

Location: 207 Comer Hall
Time: 12:00 pm


Wednesday, March 25

The March seminar is will feature a panel of Young Alumni.  Featured alumni include: John Allen Nichols, Alabama Farmers Federation, Kayla Greer, Alabama Cattlemens Association, and Kristen Pegues Ford, UGA Extension

Location: 207 Comer Hall
Time: 12:00 pm


Fall 2019 Seminars:

ProFessional Skills from the ProS!

featuring a young alumni panel from Wayne Farms. Panelists include: Frank Reeves (AGEC), Amber Allen Reeves (POUL) and Megan Cameron (ANSC)
Wednesday, September 25, 2019
362 Funchess Hall

Team leadership and INspiring Excellence

featuring Charlie and Claire Goldman (HORT), Owners of R&R Landscapes.
Wednesday, October 30, 2019
362 Funchess Hall

Building a Network

featuring Annette Bitto (AGEC), Territory Sales Manager for John Deere, Cory Blair (CSES), Golf Irrigation Sales Manager with Stovall & Co. and Jordan Moseley, Development Office with the College of Agriculture
Monday, November 18, 2019
362 Funchess Hall


Past Seminars

B.S. Equine Science


Katie Willoughby is an Agricultural and Food Law attorney at Wallace Jordan Ratliff & Brandt LLC and a member of the firm’s Agricultural & Food Law, Bankruptcy & Financial Restructuring, and Commercial Litigation groups. Katie focuses her practice on matters arising under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act, the Packers and Stockyards Act, the Food Safety Modernization Act, regulatory compliance matters involving both the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and other agriculture statutes.

Katie’s works with the firm’s food industry clients involves appearing before federal courts and regulatory bodies all across the country.  In this capacity, she routinely works with cooperative associations, growers, producers, shippers, distributors, manufacturers, brokers, terminal market receivers, retailers, exporters and importers from across the nation.  

Katie graduated from Auburn University with an Animal Science – Equine degree in 2012. Katie received her Juris Doctor from Cumberland School of Law, and attended the University of Arkansas School of Law for her LL.M. in Agriculture and Food Law.

Katie has a lifelong background in agriculture, including owning and caring for horses for over twenty years, experience in cattle husbandry and exposure to poultry, swine, and fisheries operations through her academic and extracurricular activities


    – Marlee Moore, Multimedia Content Director, Alabama Farmers Federation
    – Anna Leigh Peek, Region Recruiter and Trainer, Nutrien Ag Solutions
    – Brady Peek, Sales at Peek Equipment & Owner Peek Farms
    – Andrew Pinyan, Loan Officer, Alabama Farm Credit

B.S. Agricultural Business and Economics

Rachel Holland, Senior Vice President of the Agriculture Lending Department at United Bank in Atmore, Alabama. I have 12 ½ years of lending and banking experience.  I graduated from Auburn University with a graduate degree in Agriculture Business and Economics. I grew up on a farm in Harpersville, Alabama. I am a partner with my husband, Kevin Holland, on our existing farm, which is located in Atmore, Alabama. We grow peanuts, cotton and have stocker cattle each year.  I reside in Bay Minette, Alabama, have two children, Katie Grace and Kinsley.

B.S. Poultry Science

Clara (Fisher) Goldman is the Quality Assurance and Regulatory Supervisor for Aviagen’s US Pedigree Division in Crossville, TN. Clara completed her B.S. in 2014 in Poultry Science at Auburn University. Since graduating from Auburn, she has had the opportunity to work in the US, Indonesia, and Scotland with hatchery Quality Assurance for Aviagen. In 2017 she moved to Crossville to work in Aviagen’s pedigree division, developing a comprehensive program of production and hatchery quality assurance. Most recently she has taken on the regulatory responsibilities for her division including animal welfare, biosecurity, and ISO.

Ph.D. in Fisheries


Ben currently works for the USDA-Agricultural Research Service as Research Leader in Aquatic Animal Health Research Unit.

B.S. in Turfgrass Management 
M.S. in Entomology

Addison Barden is a Southeast Regional agronomist based in Atlanta, GA. He helps golf facilities maintain better playing conditions through the USGA Course Consulting Service on-site visits, educational outreach, and research throughout the nine-state region of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Addison grew up in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida where he started his career in turfgrass at TPC Sawgrass. He attended Auburn University for his BS in Turfgrass Management and Masters in Entomology.

Prior to joining the USGA, Addison worked in south Florida and the New York Metropolitan area at North Jersey Country Club and was Superintendent of the West Course at Westchester Country Club.    

B.S. Ag Communications
B.S. Wildlife Sciences

Rebecca Ann Bearden began working as a biologist with the Geological Survey of Alabama in January of 2015. Her current research projects include a habitat threats analysis for the petitioned Slenderclaw Crayfish in DeKalb and Marshall counties, Alabama, as well as a habitat assessment of the environmental factors affecting burrowing crayfish distribution in the Black Belt Prairie region of Dallas County, Alabama. She manages social media relations for the Alabama Rivers and Streams Network and is currently an outdoors columnist for Southeast Farm Press. She is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Biology from the University of Alabama with a research focus on burrowing crayfish distribution and behavior.


A native of Maplesville, Alabama, Rebecca grew up working on her family’s beef cattle ranch that she and her sister Rachel currently own and operate. She graduated from Auburn University in 2007 with dual Bachelor of Science degrees in Agricultural Communications and Wildlife Sciences with an English minor. Rebecca worked as a conservation education specialist for the Alabama Wildlife Federation (AWF) from 2008 to 2014. She developed nature-based educational programming and trained naturalists as the School and Naturalist Coordinator for AWF’s outdoor educational facility, the Alabama Nature Center in Millbrook, Alabama. She also served as the copy editor for Alabama Wildlife magazine.  Rebecca spent the summer of 2007 working as a horseback guide for Yellowstone Wilderness Outfitters and the summer of 2005 working as an intern with the Student Conservation Association in Yellowstone National Park.


B.S. Ag Business & Economics

Glenn is at 1985 Ag Business and Economics graduate who currently serves as Director of Talent Acquisition for Delta.  Glen has over 20 year in the talent acquisition industry. He is responsible for global talent acquisition including contingent labor, for the nation’s leading airline with 80,000 employees worldwide. Come learn more from one the best in the business on the skills you need to be successful in securing a job when you graduate.


Check out a podcast Glen was a part of recently — https://soundcloud.com/candeshoptalk/28-glen-johnson-delta-air-lines

B.S. Horticulture

Bethany A. O’Rear is a 2000 graduate of Auburn University’s College of Agriculture.  She holds a B.S. in Ornamental Horticulture and a M.Ed. in Adult Education.  Her passion for horticulture started at a young age on the family farm, and this passion continued to grow during her time at Auburn. 


In August of 2001, Bethany began her horticulture career at Landscape Services, Inc., of Birmingham and spent her tenure there as buyer/nursery manager.  Over the years, she built relationships with numerous landscape architects, garden designers and wholesale nursery growers ensuring that each job had the best plants the green industry had to offer. In 2011, she pursued a different path but remained involved in the industry she loves.  Currently, Bethany serves as a Regional Agent for Alabama Extension, specializing in commercial and home horticulture working with both homeowners and industry in a region that includes the most populated county in Alabama. 

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.

B.S. Fisheries

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.

Ph.D. Entomology

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.

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.

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_gibsonTONY GIBSON
B.S. Ornamental Horticulture

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.

B.S. Agricultural Business & Economics

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.

martin-steveSTEVE MARTIN
B.S. Animal and Dairy Science

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 .


B.S. Poultry Science

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.

M.S. Entomology

 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.

Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 10.27.15 AMGRAVES LOVELL
M.S. Fisheries Management

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.


B.S. in Agronomy and Soils

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.

Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 10.44.49 AM

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.

Doug Dorough

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.


Troy Rhone   

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.

Chuck Penry  

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.

Taylor Hatchett 

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. 

Shannon Mcglon


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.