DAFVM Spotlight Employees

The administration for the Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine (DAFVM) spotlights two employees each month. All benefits-eligible professional and support staff employees within the Division qualify as part of the pool from which employees will be chosen. Highlighted employees will be randomly selected and given his or her choice of a $50 prize from DAFVM to be claimed from specific vendors at MSU. See Guidelines.

Nathan Gregory
Nov. 2018

News Writer
MSU Extension Service
Agricultural Communications

Years in Position: 4
Years at MSU: 4

Nathan Gregory advocates for Mississippians through his work as a writer in the Office of Agricultural Communications on the MSU Starkville campus. He promotes science-based information by writing media releases that go out to the state’s newspapers and TV outlets, as well as articles for LandMarks and Extension Matters magazines.

With his background in journalism, Nathan enjoys writing. But his work includes shooting video for social media and getting out the word about what this team writes and growing their audience requires almost as much effort as they put in to produce articles.

“I learn a lot about things that Extension researches and the different outreach efforts they do that I had no idea about when I was a student here 10 to 12 years ago,” Nathan said. “I enjoy learning about what goes on in the Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine and having the opportunity to share that information with others.”

Nathan likes meeting new people whose lives have been improved in some way thanks to Extension.

Nathan was a journalism major in college and worked as a newspaper reporter for several years before he came back to MSU four years ago.

“I chose to write for MSU Extension because I look back on my time as a student at MSU as some of the best years of my life and was grateful to have an opportunity to come back,” Nathan said.

Nathan’s wife, Kate, is a senior library associate at MSU. They have a 2-month-old daughter, Alline and a cat named Julius. Nathan is an avid MSU sports fan. He enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter, playing disc golf, collecting records, watching college sports, gardening, playing music and fishing. They are members of First United Methodist Church in Starkville.

Derrel Taylor
Nov. 2018

Research Technician
MSU Forest and Wildlife
Research Center
Department of Wildlife,
Fisheries, and Aquaculture

Years in Position: 15
Years at MSU: 15

Derrel Taylor works as a research technician for the MSU Forest and Wildlife Research Center at the H.H. Leveck Animal Research Center, popularly known as South Farm. His main job is to help with the research ponds and feeding.

“I generally help with anything and everything that needs to be done. That sometimes includes keeping predators out of the ponds,” he said. “However, my main chores are to monitor the oxygen level in the ponds and feed the fish.”

Derrel said that many people do not know that ponds require a certain amount of oxygen in order to be kept in a good condition for the fish. He said that he loves the cold season because the oxygen stays more stable in the ponds rather than fluctuating in the heat of the summer. However, there is so much more to his important role than just keeping up with the ponds.

Derrel helps to make sure the facility is in good and proper condition. He monitors erosion and is on the look-out for nuisance animals, such as muskrats which tunnel into the pond levees. These seemingly small and tedious jobs make a huge difference when raising catfish or other fish species.

“I chose this career because my family was in the catfish farming business. “I learned a good bit about fish farming as I grew up,” he said.” My favorite part of this job is that I get to be outside every day. It’s such a fun job, and I love the people I get to work with and meet.”

He said everyone on his team is dependable and careful. Most of the research related-work has to be done in specific ways and documented.

“We have to pay particular attention to aerator hours of operation and that they are functioning properly. We monitor the oxygen levels at least twice a day. You have to be observant and thoughtful. The oxygen can change in the ponds within 20 minutes, especially in the summer when it’s hot,” Derrel said.

Derrel won the Doris Lee Memorial Staff Award in 2014.

In his spare time, Derrel enjoys hunting as well as raising cows and farming. He has one daughter, Rachel, and one grandson, Taylor, who live in north Mississippi, and he likes to visit when he gets the chance.

  • The drawing for the DAFVM Staff Spotlight recognition will take place the last week of each month and be announced the first working day of the upcoming month.  Names are pulled randomly from a pre-populated Banner list.
  • To be the highlighted staff for any given month, the employee must have acceptable recent performance evaluations on file. Those evaluations will be reviewed prior to acknowledgement of the employee and awarding a prize. The evaluation itself will not be viewed but rather HRM will provide a general recommendation based on the employee’s past reviews.
  • The selected employees will be notified by letter from Dr. Greg Bohach, Vice President, DAFVM.
  • A required photo and a brief  interview of the recipients will be posted on the DAFVM Staff Council Web page www.dafvm.msstate.edu/advisory/spotlight/. This information will also be displayed on the monitors of the first floor of the Bost Building, as well as in other MSU locations and publications.
  • Each recipient can choose one of the following prizes:
    • $50 gift certificate to the University Florist
    • $50 gift certificate to the MAFES Sales Store
    • MSU apparel item ($50 value)

At each annual DAFVM Summer Celebration, the Staff Spotlight recipients from the previous year will be acknowledged. The DAFVM website will have an archive of all winners listed by month/date.

An employee cannot be chosen more than once during a two (2) year period.