DAFVM Spotlight Employees

The administration for the Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine (DAFVM) spotlights 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. See Guidelines.
Jason Sanders

Jason Sanders
July 2018

Research Technician
Dept. of Biochemistry,
Molecular Biology,
Entomology & Plant Pathology

Years in Position: 1 Year, 8 Months
Years at MSU: 1 Year, 8 Months

Most jobs do not involve seeing one’s boss dressed up in a cockroach costume, but Jason Sanders loves his job working at the Mississippi Entomological Museum.

His primary responsibility is coordinating the Mississippi Bug Blues outreach program, which Jennifer Seltzer and JoVonn Hill launched in 2012. The program has undergone a metamorphosis since it began, expanding beyond education about invasive insect species to including conservation and biodiversity.

“My favorite part of the job is seeing the looks on people’s faces when they learn something new,” Jason said. “Insects are endlessly fascinating and are a great gateway to getting the public, especially younger children, interested in their surroundings and science in general. When anyone reacts with awe and wonder as we present them with new information or show them some of the amazing insect specimens we have housed at the Mississippi Entomological Museum, it’s a great day!”

Jason travels around the state educating people about why the environment is important and what they can do to help. In addition to speaking at public schools, agricultural events, wildlife camps and the Mississippi State Fair, the team launched its own campus-based events: Insect Movie Night and Mississippi State Insect Fair.

The path to this position began in 2010, when Jason graduated from Mississippi State with his master of business administration . . . and decided he didn’t like business. In 2013 he finished his bachelor of fine arts degree and took a job designing candles for Starkville’s local candle company, CURiO (formerly DPM Fragrance). When he saw the entomology department was looking for a graphic designer, he decided to go for it.

“I am no stranger to making really out-of-left-field life changes,” he joked. “Now here I am, talking to somewhere around 30,000 people a year about insects. Life really is a mystery sometimes.”

He enjoys classic movies and traveling with his wife of 5.5 years, Christin.

Learn more about the Mississippi Bug Blues program at msbugblues.msstate.edu.

Steven Felston

Steven Felston
July 2018

Agricultural Technician
Delta Research & Extension Center

Years in Position: 16 years
Years at MSU: 16 years

Steven Felston loves interacting with people and helping them solve problems on a daily basis. So his work in the Delta Research and Extension Center’s Communications Department fits him well.

Steven helps with logistics and set-up for the many meetings hosted at the center, including distance education video conferences. He also assists with building and grounds support and maintenance. He has enjoyed accepting the new challenges that have come about during his 16-year employment in Stoneville.

“I’ve always been interested in ag research and problem solving,” Steven said. “My recent move to the Communications Department has given me new ways to learn and continued opportunities for growth. I hope all of my colleagues consider me a resource for any type of problem or situation. My bottom line is making their jobs and work environment easier, positive and safe.”

During his career, Steven has gained appreciation for the most important traits required for success in his line of work.

“Be positive and solution-based,” he said. “Always lend a hand, no matter the person or situation. Strive for growth, work hard, be respectful, and remember that family and faith are high priorities in life too.”

Steven said he is blessed to have both of his parents still alive and enjoys seeing them nearly every day.

“I am also blessed to have been married to my best friend, Romelda, for nine years,” he said. “Together we have three wonderful children, Alazia, Nikeria and Taureon.” For fun, Steven enjoys basketball and cooking.

  • 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.