Agricultural students honored for academic achievements at Agri-Demic Forum

Published By: Russell Boone April 23, 2018

(Left) Dr. Ira Hicks, retired professor of agricultural education at Fort Valley State University and (right), Dr. Curtis Borne, a FVSU professor of agricultural education congratulate Katherine Royal (Center) a senior agricultural education major for earning the Ira Hicks Agricultural Education Award at the annual Agri-Demic Forum on April 17.

Fort Valley State University students, parents and their supporters received a free meal, words of wisdom and awards on April 17 during the annual Agri-Demic Forum.

The program, hosted by FVSU’s College of Agriculture, Family Sciences and Technology, serves as a platform for faculty and staff to acknowledge students for their academic achievements. More than 94 students enrolled in the College of Agriculture received academic awards and recognition for maintaining a grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or better.  

Katura Wright, an assistant state conservationist of programs for the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) served as the guest speaker. The 1998 Fort Valley State University alumna (plant science) discussed her experiences as an undergraduate student pursuing her degree.

The FVSU alumna stressed to students in attendance the importance of participating in internships and other programs designed to enhance their chances of securing employment. She also discussed the importance of preparing for a successful interview, proper dress and attire for events, and using discretion when engaging in social media.

After Wright’s remarks, Katherine Royal, a senior agricultural education major, received the Ira Hicks Outstanding Agricultural Education Award. Criteria for the award is based on GPA, scores on the Teachers Certification Test, and participation with the Future Farmers of America. The Perry native said she did not expect to hear her name announced as the recipient.

“I was shocked I got it,” Royal said smiling. “It means a lot that everything I put into this degree is finally paying off. I’m doing something in the right direction,” said the aspiring agricultural educator. Royal’s future plans include earning her master’s and doctorate degrees. She also wants to work in animal nutrition and pursue job opportunities in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).  

Dr. James E. Brown, professor and Agri-Demic Forum advisor, was impressed with the number of students who received academic awards at the event. “This high performance academically by our students is due, I believe, primarily to the right upbringing by their parents along with the proper coaching by their high school and college teachers.  It is all about developing the right mindset in an effort to keep students focused in the right direction,” Brown said.

The professor and interim program leader for FVSU’s Agriculture and natural Resources program said that the FVSU faculty and staff are dedicated to motivating students academically, mentally and socially.

For more information about the Agri-Demic Forum, contact Dr. James E. Brown at (478) 825-6296 or