This award goes to an individual who has graduated from the college within the last 10 years and who actively promotes the beliefs and values of Family and Consumer Sciences.

Dr. Amy Goss

Amy Goss

Amy Goss has been working diligently to carve her path in the field of nutrition science since she graduated from UGA in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in dietetics. 

She later received both a master’s of science in clinical nutrition and a Ph.D. in nutritional sciences from University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Goss serves in multiple roles: as an assistant professor at UAB, as a scientist in two NIH-funded UAB research centers, the Nutrition Obesity Research Center and the Diabetes Research Center, and as an adjunct professor at the University of Alabama.

“Amy is a junior faculty member who is clearly poised for emergence as a national leader in nutrition and diabetes research,” said Timothy Garvey, chair of the department of nutrition sciences and director of the UAB Diabetes Research Center. 

Specifically, Goss’s research explores how certain qualitative aspects of a diet influence things such as body composition, and outcomes related to treatment and prevention of diseases such as diabetes, obesity and fatty liver disease

Goss’s clinical background in dietetics and familiarity with nutrition research, in addition to her experience with medical image analysis, has contributed to the widespread recognition she has earned. 

The knowledge Goss has in the field of medical imaging is just one example of how she goes above and beyond in her work. 

While undergoing her graduate training, she sought out additional training in the highly specialized field of imaging. As a result, she became UAB’s local expert of analysis of CT and MRI scans.

“Perhaps Amy’s most outstanding feature is her analytical ability,” said Barbara A. Gower, professor and vice-chair for research in the UAB department of nutrition sciences. “She is able to look at research results and see interesting and often unexpected observations that others may miss.”

Goss has received many accolades for her work, including multiple peer-reviewed publications. Recently, she was presented an Early Career Award from the Thrasher Foundation as a result of her research of diet treatment of fatty liver disease in children. 

“I believe that Amy is one of the shining stars of our department,” Gower said. “She is worthy of the Pacesetter Award for her innovative and ‘out of the box’ diet approaches to treating and preventing chronic disease.”

Dr. Melissa Wilmarth

Melissa Wilmarth

Ever since Melissa Wilmarth graduated from UGA in 2012 with a Ph.D. in consumer economics, she has been on the road to success.

Wilmarth is currently working at the University of Alabama as an assistant professor in the department of consumer sciences while investigating the economic well-being of families. 

Through her research, Wilmarth hopes to find ways that will assist both individuals and families in improving their lives by making better economic decisions. 

She has published nine peer-reviewed journal articles, with five more currently under review, and one book chapter. 

“Dr. Wilmarth is setting the pace as the first (and still only) FHCE doctoral program graduate to serve as principal investigator on a federally-funded research grant while an assistant professor,” said Robert Nielsen, associate professor and graduate coordinator for the FACS department of financial planning, housing and consumer economics.

In addition, Wilmarth was the recipient of the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal Emerging Scholar Award, a member of a team that received a National Council on Family Relations Family Economics focus group best paper award, and was this year’s recipient of Iowa State University’s College of Human Sciences Outstanding Young Professional Award.

The outstanding amount of recognition Wilmarth has received in the few years since graduating from UGA is a sign of her immense dedication and passion for her studies. 

She credited the experiences she gained from FACS with propelling her to success.

“FACS gave me the opportunity to work one on one with faculty and truly develop skills for my future career,” Wilmarth said. “My current position includes responsibilities in research, teaching, and service; all of which I experienced in FACS.” 

On top of her research, Wilmarth also strives to create meaningful experiences for students in the classroom, similar to those she received in FACS. She has redeveloped courses and incorporated more real-world issues in an effort to advance students’ learning. 

“Dr. Wilmarth has managed to maintain rigor in the classroom yet also be one of the most sought after professors in our department,” said Milla Boschung, dean of the College of Human Environmental Sciences at the University of Alabama.