UGA faculty receive 2019 First-Year Odyssey Teaching Awards

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Six University of Georgia faculty received a 2019 First-Year Odyssey Teaching Award in recognition of their success as innovative teachers in the First-Year Odyssey Seminar program. They were honored on March 6 at the sixth annual First-Year Odyssey Seminar reception thanking all FYOS faculty. The FYO Teaching Award recognizes outstanding instructors who have demonstrated creativity or innovation in instruction, connection of seminar content to the instructor’s research, and incorporation of FYOS program goals into the seminar. This year’s recipients have been fully engaged with their students, provided them with a strong connection to the university through their research, and tied their curriculum directly to FYOS program goals.

Award recipients and their seminar titles include:

Grace Ahn

Grace Ahn is an associate professor of Advertising in the Grady College. Her seminar, “Harnessing the Power of Digital Technology for Better Lifestyle Choices,” teaches students about the marvels of technology, how digital technology has shifted the rules of communication and social interaction in their everyday lives, and how they can harness the power of digital technology to make more informed choices in their future careers. She has involved students in her research and taken them into the community on service projects.


Todd CallawayTodd Callaway is an assistant professor in the Department of Animal and Dairy Science in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. His seminar “Poo and You:Microbes, Our Animals, and a Safe Food Supply” helps students understand how food borne and environmental pathogens and antibiotic resistant organisms reach people and how we can prevent illnesses. He challenges preconceptions of the relationship between humans and microbes and discusses some of the issues surrounding food production. He goes out of his way to introduce students to UGA’s campus, culture, and resources and to involve them in his work.


Cesar EscalanteCesar Escalante is a professor in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. His seminar “Social Issues in Agricultural Finance—from Racial and Gender Biases, to Immigration Policies, and Microfinance” introduces students to the plight of socially and financially disadvantaged farmers in local and global business operating environments. He continues to meet with students from his seminars and notes that he continues to learn from them, and that they have impacted his teaching in unexpected ways.



Adam Milewski is an associate professor in the Department of Geology. In his FYO Milewskiseminar “Water: The Most Important Resource of the World,” students learn the physical processes governing the distribution of water on Earth, the unique properties of water, the role humans play in altering these resources, and methods for water resource analysis. He engages his students through hands-on activities, like building a water gauge system to measure the ground water level and taking them to UGA’s Tanyard Creek for demonstrations. His class has been noted by students as interesting and fun, allowing them to connect with their peers.


Doris MillerDoris Miller is a professor of Veterinary Pathology in the College of Veterinary Medicine. Her seminar “Animal Forensic CSI” provides a hands-on interactive approach to teaching and student learning. She was nominated by a current veterinary student who praised Dr. Miller for her genuine interest in her students and determination to help them succeed. Because of the small class size, the student was able to get to know Dr. Miller, who helped navigate her toward research, veterinary pathology, and veterinary school. The student said, “She taught us with patience, kindness, and a desire to spread her passion which made me incredibly excited for my years to come at UGA.”


JeffreyJeffrey Berejikian is a Meigs professor in the Department of International Affairs in SPIA. His seminar “Foreign Policy and Neuroscience” introduces students to the interdisciplinary study of international affairs. The course is organized around a simple, but important premise, that the cognitive processes shaping the decisions of governments on the “big issues” in international politics also affect the choices we make in our everyday lives. He was nominated by a student who lauds him as “one of the best professors I have ever had,” for his engaging lectures, the ability to foster unique classroom discussions, and his willingness to mentor his students beyond the classroom.


The University of Georgia is a leading institution for providing a first-year student engagement experience that promotes student success from start to finish. The FYOS program, administrated by the Office of the Vice President for Instruction and taught by faculty who tie seminar content to their own scholarly research, is unique among other first-year seminars in the nation. UGA’s innovative seminars also help introduce students to the academic culture at UGA through participation in a variety of lectures, campus performances, and success workshops, coupled with social events and learning opportunities outside the classroom. Since its inception in 2011, every first-year student—over 39,000—have completed a First-Year Odyssey Seminar. Faculty from every school and college and more than 89 departments have participated in the program. Each year the program offers more than 300 courses across a vast spectrum, from “Animal Forensic CSI” to “The Science of Chocolate” to the “Zombie Plague.”

For more information about the First-Year Odyssey Seminar Program, visit