Three UGA Extension Specialists Recognized for Their Service to the State

By Kelly Simmons, University of GeorgiaMaegan Snyder, University of Georgia

The University of Georgia’s Office of Vice President for Public Service and Outreach honored UGA Extension specialists Eric Prostko, Clint Waltz and Alfredo Martinez for their outstanding service to the state. 

Prostko, Waltz and Martinez traveled to Athens for the 24th annual Public Service and Outreach Meeting and Awards Luncheon on April 13. Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, who was on hand as keynote speaker, praised the value that UGA’s Public Service and Outreach provides the state. 

“Life is about service and service to others,” Cagle told an audience of about 300 gathered in Mahler Hall in the Georgia Center for Continuing Education. “When we commit ourselves to service we truly find the greatness this world has to offer." 

Each of the Extension specialists honored have dedicated their careers to this philosophy. 

Prostko, a professor and Extension specialist in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, received the Walter Barnard Hill Distinguished Public Service Fellow Award. 

The award, which is UGA’s highest honor for public service and outreach, recognizes sustained, distinguished and superb achievement in university public service that improves quality of life. 

It is named for the chancellor who led UGA from 1899 until his death in 1905. 

Prostko is responsible for the statewide weed science programs in field corn, peanut, soybean, sunflower, grain sorghum and canola. In addition, he provides training and education programs for county Extension agents and at local county crop production meetings. 

You can learn more about Prostko's public service and Extension program here

Martinez and Waltz received Walter Barnard Hill Awards for Distinguished Achievement in Public Service and Outreach in recognition of their outstanding contributions to the improvement of the quality of life in Georgia and beyond. 

Martinez, a professor of plant pathology in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, focuses on disease management and production practices for turfgrass, small grains and grass forages in Georgia. 

Waltz, professor and turfgrass Extension specialist in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, has statewide responsibilities in all turfgrass management areas, including turfgrass water management. 

Other Public Service and Outreach unit employees who were honored this week include Hill Award winners Raye Rawls, public service associate at the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development, and Paula Sanford, a public finance and organization specialist at the Carl Vinson Institute of Government. 

Anna Karls, faculty member in the Department of Microbiology in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, won the office’s Engaged Scholar Award. Sandy Christopher, program coordinator and assistant to the director at the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development, won the office’s 2015 Staff Award. 

For more information about the Office of the Vice President for Public Service and Outreach, visit