DAFVM Spotlight Employees
Isaac Pickett   Amanda Smith

Isaac Pickett
April 2015

Research Associate
E.G. (Gene) Morrison Brown Loam Branch Experiment Station
Raymond, MS

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

You never get a second chance to make a good first impression, and visitors to the E.G. (Gene) Morrison Brown Loam Branch Experiment Station can tell Isaac Pickett works hard to impress them.

Pickett is responsible for landscape maintenance at the station, which includes cutting grass, weeding and keeping fence lines clean. He is the property representative for the station, which requires him to keep inventory and fleet records. He also helps procure equipment and supplies. Collecting and recording data from various research projects are also among Pickett’s tasks.

Working outside on a daily basis and interacting with nature is Pickett’s favorite part of his job, and it influenced his choice of profession.

“I grew up on a small cattle farm where I learned everything I know from my father and uncles. Growing up in this environment made me realize how much work goes into agricultural practices,” he said. “As I got older, I wanted to learn how to make farming practices easier and more practical for small-time producers.”

Pickett experiences new things every day on the job, which makes it that much more enjoyable for him.

“One thing I wish people knew about my job is that working around Mother Nature is a challenge, but the challenge makes the outcome all the sweeter,” he said. “I don’t see what I do as a job, more of an adventure I get to experience every day.”

Pickett enjoys hunting, fishing, playing board games with friends on the weekend and reading in his spare time.


Amanda Smith
April 2015

Field Technical Assistant-Training
Early Years Network
Gulfport, MS

Years in Position: 3 Years
Years of Service to MSU: 3 Years

Child care providers can sometimes have a difficult time learning all the required tasks for their positions. Amanda Smith helps them along the way.

Smith provides staff development at the Early Years Network. She also provides one-on- one, in-classroom technical assistance to child care providers.

Smith said one of the favorite parts of her job is that she gets to meet new people on a regular basis.

“Building a network of people who are all interested in bettering the education of young children is another one of my favorite aspects of my job,” she said. “I enjoy the interactions and the relationships that I build with the providers. I see so many of the same providers at each workshop I teach, which helps to maintain a community network.”

Smith’s favorite memories on the job come from the reactions she gets from people that she previously taught.

“Recently, while visiting my cousin, I ran into one of the providers that I had in a training class a few months ago. We greeted one another, and she proceeded to tell everyone in the room that I had taught her in a class, and how much she enjoyed it,” she said. “She told me that I had done such a wonderful job of explaining the information, and she learned so much from me that day.”

Working for the Early Years Network gives Smith a chance to help others.

“I love my job. It can be stressful at times, like any job, but it’s also very rewarding,” she said. “I love knowing that I am helping early childhood teachers gain the tools they need to help foster a high-quality education setting for the children in their care.”

In her spare time, Smith enjoys gardening and reading. She has been married for 11 years.

For more information visit the Early Years Network website.

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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