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Abigail Borron named 2023 ASEC Distinguished Alumnus

Abigail Borron (M.S., Youth Development and Agricultural Education, 2007; Ph.D., Youth Development and Agricultural Education, 2012) has been named a Purdue Agricultural Sciences Education and Communication Distinguished Alumnus for 2023.

Borron is an associate professor in the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communication at the University of Georgia (UGA). With a 70 percent teaching and 30 percent extension appointment, Borron demonstrates continual fluidity across teaching, extension, and research. For example, her extension-based research targets the role of the extension system in effective and transformative engagement efforts and programs. This work informs her undergraduate- and graduate-level courses in culture-centered communication and engagement in agricultural and environmental sciences.


Abigail Borron Abigail Borron (M.S., Youth Development and Agricultural Education, 2007; Ph.D., Youth Development and Agricultural Education, 2012) is an associate professor in the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communication at the University of Georgia.

Such intentional application of community engagement among emerging communication professionals has served as the basis for her receiving a Top Paper Award in Journalism Citizenship and Democracy from the Association of Education in Journalism and Mass Communication and the Kettering Foundation in 2016; the UGA Service-Learning Research Award in 2017; and the New Teacher United States Department of Agriculture, Food, and Agriculture Science Excellence in Teaching Award in 2019.

In return, the teaching concepts she develops and refines with her students in the field she then uses as guiding principles in the workshops she designs and delivers to Extension agents and specialists throughout the year.

Borron earned her B.A. in English from Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne in 1999. After earning her Ph.D. from Purdue in August 2012, she was an assistant professor in what is now ASEC until 2015. She has been a faculty member at UGA since then.

Borron has more than $1.07 million in research and instructional grants and 36 publications. In 2018, she was awarded a UGA Public Service and Outreach Fellowship that allowed her to begin examining methods by which outreach and engagement programs can be evaluated for social impact. She was awarded this fellowship again in 2019 to continue the work. Since then, she has developed and validated two scales based on the community capitals framework that capture individuals’ perceptions of their community-level assets, along with their personal perceived ability within their community, which led a colleague and her to establish the Community Diagnostics + Social Impact (CD+SI) Toolkit™. The CD+SI Toolkit™ now serves as the basis for interdisciplinary collaboration with bench scientists and local leaders.

In March 2023, Borron and three UGA colleagues were awarded a Romanian-American Foundation (RAF) grant for UGA to serve as a host institution to three cohorts of five Romanian faculty each over three years. As RAF-Fulbright scholars, these faculty will work with UGA Extension specialists and agents to experience Georgia’s statewide extension system, and to ultimately be equipped to engage in the design and implementation of national model of extension in Romania.

The other 2023 ASEC Distinguished Alumni are Aaron McKim and Travis Park.

The awards presentation will be 2 p.m. Friday, September 15, in Creighton Hall of Animal Sciences, room 1042. All are welcome to attend the ceremony and the reception that follows.

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