DAFVM Spotlight Employees

The administration for the Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine (DAFVM) plans to spotlight 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.

Rebecca Bates
Rebecca Bates
August 2016

Extension Agent/County Coordinator
MSU Extension Service            
Lincoln County

Years in Position: 10
Years of Service to MSU: 15

Working for the MSU Extension Service as a county agent is the only job Rebecca Bates has ever wanted.

“I’m from an MSU family. My father was a professor. I’ve always felt that this job was made for me,” Rebecca said.

As a horticulturist, Rebecca fields calls from homeowners, vegetable producers and other Extension agents who need horticulture-related advice. As the county coordinator, Rebecca is instrumental in running the farmers market and working with local dairy producers, the local Cattlemen’s Association and the Lincoln County Forestry Association. She also hosts a weekly radio show and writes columns for two local newspapers.

For the last five years, to kick off National Dairy Month in June, Rebecca and local dairy producers have brought a dairy cow to the front steps of the Lincoln County Courthouse.

“Our elected officials come out, we put the proclamation declaring it’s National Dairy Month on the back of the cow, and they all sign it,” she explained. “I had a senator call me to make sure he wasn’t going to miss it. It’s a really good photo op!”

In 2013, Rebecca received the inaugural Travis Tadlock Outstanding Extension Agent Award. Tadlock, who retired as the Lincoln County agent in 1978, was well known to Rebecca.

“I’m very lucky in that I’ve had good relationships with every agent who has served in the county since Travis, but he was the one I always worked to be like. I think he’s the most beloved agent the county has ever had,” she said.

In her free time, Rebecca loves to garden.

“I don’t get stuck on one plant; I just love to plant things and watch them grow,” she said.

Other than her garden, her favorite place to be is in Gautier on the Pascagoula River.

Katie Bouchillon
Katie Bouchillon
August 2016

Extension Associate I
MSU Extension Service
Starkville Campus

Years in Position: 8
Years of Service to MSU: 8

Working with people has always been Katie Bouchillon’s favorite part of her job with the MSU Extension Service, although her interactions and audiences have changed over the course of her career.

As an Extension Associate with the Office of Nutrition Education, Katie spent several years touring the state with the Body Walk educational exhibit designed to teach elementary school-age children about the human body.

“I saw all of our beautiful state, met tons of volunteers, and interacted with tens of thousands of children,” Katie said. “In each place I worked with a new group of volunteers, and I had five minutes to introduce myself, get them excited about the intense physical labor required to set up the exhibit, convey I knew what I was doing, and assure them we could accomplish our task. I quickly learned that praising everyone throughout the process made a big difference.”

During the past year, Katie has transitioned to working as an accounting assistant and social media coordinator.

“I love social media!” she said. “I love being able to share information about our nutrition educators and highlight the work they do.”

Katie is passionate about sharing Extension’s mission with everyone she meets.

“I want to let Mississippians know Extension is more than farming, cattle and forestry,” she explained. “We are here to help you figure out how to keep your families healthy, that you can have something tasty and delicious to eat and know you’re providing a nutritious meal for your kids and for yourself.

In addition to spending time on social media platforms when she’s off the clock, Katie loves to read, especially sci-fi novels and nonfiction. She also enjoys spending time with her one-year-old mixed-breed dog, Tom Barker.


  • 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.