DAFVM Spotlight Employees
Jessica Fielder   Courtney Pratt

Jessica Fielder
August 2015

Field Technical Assistant
Early Childhood Development
Starkville Campus

Years in Position: 6 Months
Years of Service to MSU: 1 Year

Improving the quality of care and education of young children every day is Jessica Fielder’s number-one priority.

Fielder is a field technical assistant and trainer for the Early Years Network in the Mississippi State University School of Human Sciences. She is responsible for teaching early-childhood education staff from child care centers how to use developmentally appropriate curricula and best teaching practices for infants, toddlers and preschoolers.

Fielder said she is passionate about quality education for young children, and her job allows her to network with individuals who share that same passion.

“The part of my job that I enjoy the most is participating in activities with other child care professionals when I host training workshops. Providing activities they can do in their own classrooms is very rewarding,” she said. “I enjoy knowing that I make the training workshops a valuable experience for them. I love waking up each day knowing that I get to go to work and have fun.”

One memory in particular stands out to Fielder when she thinks about these types of activities.

“I was teaching a workshop on music for infants and toddlers, and one of the training activities was to divide the child care professionals into groups and provide them with a children’s song,” she said. “They had to then take the children’s song and make it fit a certain musical genre. My favorite was when one group sang Humpty Dumpty as a blues song. I laughed for a long time about that one and had a great time.”

Fielder said working in early-childhood education comes naturally to her.

“I have always enjoyed working with young children through programs such as Big Brothers/Big Sisters through various community service projects while I was attending school at the University of Southern Mississippi,” she said. “Choosing my profession was less about how much money I would make in the long run and more about waking up every day knowing that I will enjoy going into work, which was the most important thing to me.”

Fielder enjoys photography, DIY home interior projects and making crafts in her spare time. She also enjoys spending time with her 6-month-old son, Jayce Christopher.


Courtney Pratt
August 2015

Necropsy Technician
CVM Pathobiology/Population Medicine Department
Starkville Campus

Years in Position: 1 Year
Years of Service to MSU: 5 Years

Social skills do not come easily to all people, but Courtney Pratt makes friends wherever he goes.

Pratt is a necropsy technician for the College of Veterinary Medicine Pathobiology/Population Medicine Department. He is responsible for assisting the veterinarians, providing them with tools, making sure supplies are stocked and helping CVM students when needed.

Pratt loves meeting new people on a regular basis.

“I am a very sociable person,” he said. “I enjoy talking to new people and making new friends. Interacting with students or professionals I have never met before and getting to know them is definitely my favorite part about my job.”

Pratt said he became interested in his profession because of his passion for learning.

“I enjoy learning about different kinds of diseases and the effects they can have on the body,” he said. “I wanted to learn more about health, and this is the perfect position to do that.”

Demonstrating a strong work ethic proved vital for Pratt in attaining his current position.

“The individuals I work for now saw how I worked at my previous position,” he said. “They believed I had a strong desire to succeed in any position that I was placed in. I was excited about the opportunity because I wanted to learn as much as I possibly could in whatever position I was placed in.”

Off the clock, Pratt enjoys working on cars and his personal fitness. He also likes spending time with his wife, Nikki, and his 4-year-old daughter, Skylar.

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.


  • 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.

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