New faculty bios

September 1st, 2015

Foods and Nutrition (FDN)

Dr. Jamie Cooper has been hired as associate professor in sports nutrition.

Cooper holds two degrees from Michigan State University and her Ph.D. from University of Wisconsin-Madison and comes to FACS from Texas Tech University. 

She has published 23 journal articles with a list of exceptional colleagues and has published one book, “The Complete Nutrition Guide for Triathletes” (2012). 

In addition to studying metabolism and hunger/satiety in humans as it relates to obesity and chronic disease, she carries outreach in the area of sports nutrition.

Dr. Chad Paton joins the FACS faculty as assistant professor in a new joint, interdisciplinary position in FDN and the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Department of Food Science and Technology. 

His bachelor’s and master’s degrees are from Michigan State University and he received his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland. 

His current funded research in the area of metabolic health is supported by Cotton, Inc., and he has 20 referred journal articles.

Paton, husband of Dr. Jamie Cooper, also comes to FACS from Texas Tech University.

Dr. Hea Jin Park has accepted the position of assistant professor, tenure track. Dr. Park earned her Ph.D. in 2005 from Ewha Woman’s University in Seoul, South Korea. 

Her research focus is on bioactive food compounds, particularly folic acid and polyphenols, and their mechanisms of action on obesity and obesity-related diseases such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. 

Dr. Alison Berg, RD, LD, has been appointed assistant professor and Extension specialist in the area of human nutrition and health promotion. 

She is treasurer-elect for the Georgia Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, immediate past-president of the Northeast Georgia Dietetic Association and serves on the FACS Alumni Board. She received her B.S. in dietetics from FACS in 2007, her M.S. in 2009 and her Ph.D. in 2015. 

Human Development and Family Science

Dr. Kimberlee Spencer has been hired as a clinical assistant professor and will serve as Child Life Coordinator under the leadership of director Dr. Laura McKee.

Spencer received her Ph.D. in child development from Texas Women’s University, her master’s in early childhood education from Concordia University in St. Paul, Minn., and her bachelor’s in education from Columbia College in Missouri.

She most recently served as the director of the Early Learning Programs at Nova Southeastern University.

Textiles, Merchandising and Interiors (TMI)

Mr. Greg Vessels has been named the associate clinical professor, non-tenure track, in the position Georgia Soft Goods Distinguished Professor.

Vessels comes to UGA after a strong career in international sourcing in the apparel industry. He has degrees from the University of Georgia (B.A.) and Georgia State University (Management), and has served as the International Sourcing Executive responsible for developing sourcing strategies for companies to optimize product cycle from product development, through supply chain management and logistics, to customer satisfaction.

Dr. Laura McAndrews has been hired as assistant professor in the new position of product design and development. She received her Ph.D. at the University of Missouri, researching supply chain management. 

Her degrees are from Missouri, Kansas State University and Parson’s School of Design, N.Y., and she previously spent nine years in the industry with brands such as Ralph Lauren, The Gap, Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie in product development.

Dr. Leonid Ionov joins the department as an interdisciplinary hire with the College of Engineering.

Ionov comes to FACS from Dresden, Germany, where he has served as group leader at the Leibniz Institute of Polymer Research. He received his diploma from Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia, in 1999 and a Ph.D. in Chemistry at TU-Dresden in 2005.  

He joins the strong team we are building in textiles, fiber and polymer science with collaborating faculty in chemistry and engineering. 

His spouse, Dr. Alla Synytska has been hired as a professor in the department of chemistry.

Program Development Coordinators 

The role of UGA Extension family and consumer sciences agents has evolved to help Georgia families and communities be healthier, more financially stable and better at building strong relationships.

“Our counties are requesting assistance with wellness programs and asking Extension agents to support programs that improve their residents’ quality of life,” said Deborah Murray, FACS associate dean for Extension and outreach.

In Georgia, 46 Extension agents are assigned to accomplish this task.

Some of the most popular programs FACS agents deliver are fitness and nutrition programs, like Walk Georgia and the Zero Weight Gain Challenge, and food safety training, like ServSafe® for food service employees. 

FACS agents also work with Georgia youth through 4-H in consumer judging, health projects, Relationship Smarts programs and financial management.

To better meet this need for programming, the Georgia Extension leadership team recently added FACS program development coordinators (PDCs) to work with campus faculty, agents and communities to plan programs that address local needs.

“They help agents get access to resources not only in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the College of Family and Consumer Sciences, but in other colleges at UGA as well,” Murray said. “They also work with the colleges to leverage grant dollars and other external dollars needed for county programming.”

The new FACS PDCs are Denise Everson in the Northeast District; Kisha Faulk, Northwest District; Janet Hollingsworth, Southeast District; and Andrea Scarrow, Southwest District. 

These new coordinators were all working as Extension agents when they were selected for their PDC positions — Everson in Clarke and Oconee counties, Faulk in Fulton County, Hollingsworth in Appling and Wayne counties and Scarrow in Colquitt County.

– Sharon Dowdy

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