Tifton Student Receives Top Academic Award at ABAC

Dr. Jerry Baker, provost and vice president for academic affairs, and ABAC President David Bridges present Tania Bautista with the J.G. Woodroof Scholar award.

TIFTON – As the top academic student at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, Tania Bautista is the 2021 recipient of the J.G. Woodroof Scholar award.

Bautista is a senior agricultural education major from Tifton. 

The Woodroof Scholar Award is named for Dr. J.G. Woodroof, the first president of ABAC in 1933, college officials said in a statement. The award was presented at the recent ABAC honors ceremony in Tift Hall.

After compiling the highest grade-point average possible with a 4.0 during her four years at ABAC, Bautista will graduate on May 14 with her bachelor’s degree in agricultural education. After graduation she plans to go into the classroom and become an agricultural educator.

Bautista said receiving the award was an overwhelming honor.

“Throughout my educational journey, I have worked hard to get to where I am today,” Bautista said.  “I take the privilege of getting an education with pride because having been born in Mexico and moving to the United States gave me the opportunity to get one of the best educations available. 

“Receiving this award means all of my hard work did not go unnoticed. Not only is this award for me, but for my parents, Roberto and Esperanza Bautista, who have sacrificed so much for my siblings and me.”

At ABAC, Bautista is a member of the ABAC Horticulture Club, the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, Collegiate FFA and the Cultura Latina Club. Her off-campus activities include volunteer work with Hands on Tifton through the Fulwood Garden Center, assembling food packages for the needy and serving as a parish council member.

Dr. Sallie McHugh, assistant professor of agricultural education, defines Bautista as a “definite shining star at ABAC and in ag education.

“Tania came into my office two years ago as an environmental horticulture major and we discussed ag education,” McHugh said. “She is passionate about horticulture, but I sensed she wanted to give back to students through ag education.

 “She is a gifted young lady who will write an amazing story as an ag educator. She will strive to provide her students the best program experience and will work to incorporate all students into her ag ed program.”

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