UNG receives $10,000 for poultry sciences scholarships
"Poultry is a critical part of Georgia's economy, and the scholarships provided by these funds and the progress of our course offerings ensure that our students will be well-positioned to drive the state's poultry industry forward," said Dr. Mike Bodri, dean of UNG's College of Science & Mathematics.
Poultry comprises 47 percent of Georgia's agricultural industry, according to a 2011 report from the University of Georgia. This includes a $38 billion dollar contribution to the state's annual economy and nearly 140,000 jobs. Georgia is also the top state in broiler chicken production; according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, if Georgia were a country, it would be the seventh-largest producer of broilers in the world.
"These scholarship funds are from local area companies who want to invest in UNG students who could possibly be their workforce of tomorrow," said Purvis, who is a biology and poultry science instructor. "The scholarships will enable us to help students who are passionate about the poultry industry but who otherwise may not have the financial means to attend college and connect to the local poultry industry."
Businesses contributing to the scholarship fund include CWT Farms, Pilgrim's, Columbia Farms, and Fieldale Farms.
In another opportunity to help students studying poultry science succeed, Purvis and eight UNG students travelled to the International Poultry Expo in Atlanta in January.
Casey English, a senior from Union County who wants to go into live production in the poultry industry, said students at the expo got a firsthand look at new technologies and innovations as well as opportunities for internships and jobs.
Kimberley Free, a freshman who graduated from North Hall High School, lined up an internship by visiting the expo.
"I was offered an internship in Dawson, Georgia, from Tyson Foods," Free said. "I'll be working in operations during the coming summer. I've been interested in this industry since high school, when I started participating in poultry judging in the Future Farmers of America program."
In fall 2014, UNG's poultry science program received its third consecutive student recruiting grant from the U.S. Poultry Foundation. The $6,550 grant was more than double the previous year's award of $3,100.
UNG offers courses in poultry sciences and students can earn an Associate of Science with a focus in poultry science in either a science or business track. Students earning the two-year degree may transfer into the four-year program at the University of Georgia or another school to pursue a bachelor's degree.