New employees share why they chose FVSU

August 29, 2012 – Fort Valley State University new hires share their backgrounds; tell why they came to FVSUand what they offer our students.

Roger Barnes, descriptive writer, Office of Marketing and Communications
Barnes holds a master’s degree African history from the State University of New York at Albany and a dual bachelor’s degree in English and history from Syracuse University. Barnes has served as an editor for Black Enterprise magazine, a reporter for both theCovington News and the Rockdale Citizen, and he served six years as a media relations specialist at Georgia Perimeter College.

“I’m here to find the most exciting students, faculty and event stories at Fort Valley State University and share those stories internally and with the outside world,” Barnes said. “I hope my work will greatly increase the profile of FVSU and all it has to offer.”

 Brittany Billips, registered veterinary technician, Department of Veterinary Science

Billips holds a bachelor’s degree in veterinary technology from Fort Valley State University. After graduating in 2010, Billips took an externship at Zoo Atlanta, working with exotic animals such as rhinoceros, gorillas, giraffes and tortoises. Billips then worked at Banfield Pet Hospital in Macon, treating mostly cats and dogs. At FVSU, Billipswill assist in the laboratory portions of laboratory animal medicine, large animal medicine, veterinary and clinical parasitology.

“In the classroom, I share with students some of my real world experiences from working in veterinary clinics,” Billips said. “That touch of the real world will be valuable to them and can help them understand how to handle each animal they encounter with confidence.”

James Burrell, director, Office of Recruitment and Admissions
Burrell holds a master’s degree in enrollment management from Capella University, a master’s in public administration from Kentucky State and a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Hampton University. He also brings to Fort Valley State University 20 years of experience working in higher education at Hampton University, Kentucky State and Albany State.

“Recruitment and admissions will better serve students by developing a communications plan for using technology and social media,” Burrell said. “This communication plan will consist of a three stage approach: prospective students, students that have submitted an application and admitted students. Each of these stages will involve various units on campus participating in the recruitment process.”

Albert Calhoun Jr., data management specialist, Office of Institutional Research, Planning and Effectiveness
Calhoun holds a master’s degree in psychology from Auburn University in Montgomery and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Alabama State University. He comes to Fort Valley State University after serving eight years as a statistician at Alabama State University.

“I’ll objectively look at data to help the institution make data-driven decisions,” Calhoun said. “I can measure anything. I just need to know what you want to look at.”

Dr. Celia Dodd, assistant professor, Department of Biology
Dodd holds a Ph.D in neurotoxicology from Virginia Tech and a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience from The College of William and Mary.

“I’m at Fort Valley State University because I wanted to work at a smaller institution with undergraduates who were interested in conducting research,” Dodd said. “I think it is very important for undergraduates to have research experience. FVSU often sends their students out to other institutions during the summer for that experience. I want them to have the choice to do their research here.”

Won Eason, information technology specialist, Division of External Affairs
Eason recently graduated from Columbus State University with a bachelor’s degree in management information systems and a minor in computer science. FVSU is his first job out of college.

“From the tech side, I’ll be the person making sure everything is up and running for each division in external affairs,” Won said. “I’ll keep everything rolling so everyone else can do their job.”

 Bridget Harris, officer, Department of Campus Police and Safety
Harris holds a degree in criminal justice from Middle Georgia Technical College. She has worked at the Macon Youth Detention Center as a juvenile correctional officer. She has previously worked at Fort Valley State University as a security officer (2007-2008).

“You give respect in order to receive respect,” Harris said. “I also believe you keep a smiling face and a great attitude on the job because that goes a long way.”

Willie Holliday, public safety officer, Department of Campus Police and Safety

Holliday brings a career in law enforcement and military service to Fort Valley State University. He served as a law enforcement officer in the metro area for 16 years and has 11 years of experience in the military, serving in a motor transport division. Holliday said serving at Fort Valley State University will afford him the opportunity to further his education.

“I bring to Fort Valley State University a level of professionalism,” Holliday said. “I always give 100 percent on every job and pride myself on the quality of customer service I bring. I love working with people and that’s the best part of the job, dealing with people and keeping them safe and secure.”

Dr. Francine Hollis, assistant professor of food science/nutrition, Department of Agriculture Instruction
Hollis holds a Ph.D. from Cornell University in food science and technology with a concentration in sensory evaluation. She also holds a bachelor’s degree from Alabama A&M University in food science and technology. Her experience includes conducting research on colon cancer and nutraceuticals at Alabama A&M University, investigating the anti-hypertensive effects of rice bran at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, and conducting sensory and smell research at Cornell University. She has made several PowerPoint and poster presentations on behalf of universities and companies such as Cargill in Memphis, Tenn. Hollis is continuing to build her list of publications. Her most recent publication is entitled “Assessment of Low-Density Polyethylene Squeeze Bottles in Delivering Wine Vapor-Phase Stimuli: A Preliminary Study” and is currently in press for the Journal of Sensory Studies.

“Being a minority regarding both gender and ethnicity in Food Science, I want to impact and motivate minority students and help create future researchers and leaders,” said Hollis.

 Capt. Thomas Jones, assistant instructor events of military science and leadership, ROTC
Jones holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of South Alabama and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in public administration at Columbus State University. He has served six years in the National Guard as a field artillery officer and recently came off active duty from Fort Carson, Colo.

“I came to Fort Valley State University to capitalize on an opportunity to help shape and train the Army’s future leaders,” Jones said. “The courses I am involved with play a key role in setting our cadets up for success in their military careers. My goal is to teach them how to think critically and help them develop their decision making abilities.”

Lisa Minter, officer, Department of Campus Police and Safety

Minter brings Fort Valley State University 11.5 years of experience in corrections.

“I’m skilled at spotting and observing all behavior and suspicious activity and conducting building and perimeter checks to keep students safe,” Minter said. “I’m looking forward to working at Fort Valley State University to help promote positive and safe attitudes.”

Eric Obeng, research assistant plant science biotech, Agricultural Research Experiment Station
Obeng holds a master’s degree in plant science from Alabama A&M University and a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology Agriculture in Ghana.

“I work with research professors, professionals and students as we find the various plant sources (biomass and starch content) which can be used as alternatives for biofuel production. The main goal of our research with students is to find sustainable sources of energy.”

Andrea Page, financial aid customer service representative, Department of Financial Aid
Page holds a bachelor’s in business administration from Phoenix University and is currently working on a master’s degree in theology from Liberty University. Before coming to Fort Valley State University, Page worked with learning support at Gordon College and in the district attorney’s office in Dougherty County.

“What I will bring to students is excellent customer service,” Page said. “My job requires listening to students and parents and giving them sound information.”

Dr. Somashekhar Punnuri, research professional, Agricultural Research Experiment Station
Punnuri has a Ph.D in plant sciences from Oklahoma State University. He completed his master’s and undergraduate studies in India at the University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad.

“I came to Fort Valley State University because the university here was doing the same kind of research on biofuel crops that I was looking for,” Punnuri said. “We are working on mapping of important physiological traits in pearl millet, a crop for marginal lands also used for ethanol production and graduate students joining the research will learn the mapping techniques and marker-assisted selection methods used in molecular breeding.”

Capt. Ann Janice Vogan, assistant professor of military science/recruiting operations officer, ROTC
Vogan holds a master’s degree in environmental management from Webster University and a dual bachelor’s degree in chemistry and biochemistry from California State University, Long Beach. She has served 8.5 years in the Army as a chemical officer and is currently on active duty.

“The Army selects a few active soldiers to serve as military science instructors and I saw this as a great opportunity,” Vogan said. “I’m teaching basic leadership courses that will benefit Cadets in their civilian and military lives. It will empower them to succeed, helping them develop a unique brand of leadership while strengthening their skills and enabling them to be decisive and tenacious. The FVSU Army ROTC’s mission is to recruit, train, retain and commission the future leadership of the Army and motivate young people to become better citizens.”

Master Sgt. Monique Washington, senior military instructor, ROTC
Washington holds a master’s degree in human resources management from Western International University and a bachelor’s degree in behavioral science from Webster University. She served as a human resource manager during her 23 years of military service.

“We’re here to build better citizens, better leaders and better followers,” Washington said. “Cadets will start at the bottom and work their way up. Along the way, they will learn to respect leadership even as they learn to become leaders. There’s so much they will learn here: discipline, character, knowledge, it will all make them better leaders in corporate American or the military.”




Roger E. Barnes, descriptive writer

Marketing and Communications

(478) 827-3110,