The UGA Pacesetter award goes to an individual who has graduated from the college within the last 10 years and who actively promotes the beliefs and values of Family and Consumer Sciences.
Dr. Melissa Wilmarth, assistant professor in the department of consumer sciences in the College of Human Environmental Sciences, has been on the road to success ever since her graduation from the University of Georgia with her Ph.D. in consumer economics. Her current research involves investigating the economic well-being of families. Through her research, Wilmarth hopes to find ways that will assist both individuals and families in improving their lives by making better economic decisions.
She has published nine peer-reviewed journal articles, with five more currently under review, and one book chapter.
Dr. Robert Nielsen, Associate Professor at UGA's Family and Consumer Science department of financial planning, housing and consumer economics said, "Dr. Wilmarth is setting the pace as the first (and still only) FHCE doctoral program graduate to serve as principle investigator on a federally-funded research grant while an assistant professor".
In addition, Wilmarth was the recipient of the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal Emerging Scholar Award, a member of a team that received a National Council on Family Relations Family Economics focus group best paper award, and was this year's recipient of Iowa State University's College of Human Sciences Outstanding Young Professional Award.
The outstanding amount of recognition Wilmarth has received in the few years since graduating from UGA is a sign of her immense dedication and passion for her studies. "FACS gave me the opportunity to work one on one with faculty and truly develop skills for my future career," Wilmarth said. "My current position includes responsibilities in research, teaching, and service; all of which I experienced in FACS."
On top of her research, Wilmarth also strives to create meaningful experiences for students in the classroom, similar to those she received in FACS. She has redeveloped courses and incorporated more real-world issues in an effort to advance students' learning.
"Dr. Wilmarth has managed to maintain rigor in the classroom yet also be one of the most sought after professors in our department," said Milla Boschung, dean of the College of Human Environmental Sciences here at the University of Alabama.