Emily Edelman’s acceptance to the University of Georgia was a dream come true.
“If you grew up in Georgia like I did, you know UGA is where everyone wants to go. It’s on everyone’s list,” Edelman said. “And when I got in, I also got into my dream program—poultry science.”
Edelman grew up showing livestock—pigs, goats and a dairy heifer—and that early experience with the Future Farmers of America (FFA) provided a foundation for her career.
“Showing livestock has a lot of challenges,” she said. “It teaches you responsibility and resource management, and it’s what got me interested in a career in animal science. In the end, it’s all about feeding the world, honestly, and that’s what I want to do.”
Through FFA, Edelman met UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences outreach coordinator Jessica Fife and learned about the college’s poultry science program. She visited Athens to tour the department, and she quickly fell in love with the program and with campus.
Edelman graduates in May 2023 with a bachelor’s in poultry science and minor in animal science, and she plans to pursue a career in poultry quality assurance.
As a student, Edelman does her part to build campus community through her role as an Avian Ambassador and secretary of the poultry science club.
“As an Avian Ambassador, we get to recruit people into the poultry department and help them figure out their best path,” she said. “And it’s just a great opportunity to help others figure out what they want to do and to see how poultry and our department can fit their needs. It’s also how I was recruited into the program, so it has come full circle.”
She also sees younger students excel, which is a gratifying experience.
“In the poultry science club, I got to see a bunch of freshman grow throughout the year,” she said. “I’m toward the end of my time at UGA, and they’re just beginning, so it’s nice to use my position to encourage them. I can say, ‘You’re the next generation, you’re going to do great things.’ This role also helped me figure out that I wanted to do quality assurance because it’s such a helpful role in the process.”
Edelman is also part of the horticulture club, crochet and knitting club and open improv. These extracurricular activities, she said, supported a well-rounded experience on campus.
“I always encourage other students that if they have other interests, explore that. You don’t have to only follow professional pursuits,” she said.
Her involvement across campus has been possible thanks to the Georgia Commitment Scholarship (GCS) Program. This need-based scholarship program is open to first-year students and can be renewed for four years, offering support throughout their undergraduate experience.
The GCS Program has created over 680 student scholarships and committed over $100 million toward need-based awards.
“Honestly, I’m paying for my education fully,” Edelman said. “My mother is a single mother with two children in college, and this has been extremely helpful for me. Since my freshman year, I haven’t had to take out loans, and it has been a great way to get involved in the UGA community.”
Part of Edelman’s scholarship was an additional stipend for her experiential learning, which is required for all UGA undergraduates. While she found a paid internship, this stipend helped with food, housing and more during the internship.
“It helped take a huge weight off of my shoulders,” she said. “I knew that if I found an unpaid internship that was the opportunity of a lifetime, this scholarship would have helped fund that experience.”
Edelman’s scholarship is supported by donors Kim (BBA ’89) and Richard Stamper (BBA`84), who make sure to stay connected to scholarship recipients.
“The Stampers have been really interested not just in my development, but in the development of all the students who receive one of their scholarships,” Edelman said. “We get to meet up once a semester to talk about how our education is going and how we’re personally doing. They’ve been super proud of me and supportive of my going into poultry science and the poultry industry. It’s nice to know that if we ever need anything, they’re just a call away.”