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.
Lanna Miller

Lanna Miller
May 2019

Student Services Coordinator
MSU College of
Forest Resources

Years in position: 6
Years at MSU: 24

Lanna Miller has been advising students for 24 years, having discovered her passion as a student.

During her junior year of college, she worked in the academic advising office for the MSU Athletic Department. She realized that working with students on a college campus was something she wanted to do as a career.

“I decided to complete a graduate program in counselor education, and I have been advising ever since,” Lanna said.

As the Student Services Coordinator in the MSU College of Forest Resources for the past 6 years, she coordinates academic advising for undergraduate students, academic sessions and registration during orientation, class scheduling with the registrar’s office, the college scholarship program, and activities of the college living and learning community.

“I love working directly with students and watching how each student progresses from our first contact until graduation,” Lanna said. “I always enjoy the CFR graduation reception each semester.”

Advising is more than approving a student’s class schedule each semester. Advising plays a role in promoting student success and retaining students. Advisors who are able to connect with students help those students become engaged and the students are then more likely to make good choices that move them toward graduation and careers or graduate school.

“You have to care about students, but you also have to care about the department, college and university which you are representing,” she explained. “Part of being a good advisor is making sure that university standards are upheld and applied consistently.

Lanna has two children. Maggie is a senior and will attend MSU in the fall. Whitten is in fourth grade and currently plays recreational baseball. Her family enjoys Mississippi State sports, especially tailgating for football games and grilling in the Left Field Lounge during baseball games.

Ola Hawkins

Ola Hawkins
May 2019

Nutrition Educator
MSU Extension Service
Leflore County

Years in position: 26
Years at MSU: 26

Even though she has a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice, Ola Hawkins found her place with the MSU Extension Service as a nutrition educator in Leflore County.

Ola has been working with children and adults, teaching them the importance of nutrition and physical activity for nearly 27 years. Specifically, she teaches a better way of living by eating healthy foods and engaging in regular physical activity.

“One of my favorite things about my job is going out and seeing a child or adult after the class and they remember me and remember what I taught them,” Ola said.

Her earliest and favorite memory on this job was the first time she worked with an adult group talking about the importance of nutrition and exercise.

“That experience made an impact on me because they were excited about the difference a few changes in eating habits and adding physical activity can make,” Ola said. “They were really pleased by the end of our lessons. It feels good to know that I can make a difference.”

One of the most important qualities to have in order to be successful in this career is having a deep passion for people and their wellbeing. Another vital trait is simply having a willingness to help and be available.

“I don’t feel like people actually know the importance of eating healthy and the benefits to be gained,” Ola said.

Ola works hard and enjoys her job. “I like knowing that I can help make a difference in the lives of others.” Ola said.

Ola’s son recently graduated from MSU, and her grandson plans on attending in the fall. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, cake decorating and spending time with her family and friends.

  • 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.