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Amazing Student: Joseph Vaughn

Expected graduation: Fall 2016

Degree: Bachelors of Science Forest Resources (Forestry major)

Hometown: McDonough, GA

High School: Union Grove High School

University/Warnell highlights, achievements and awards: 
Chair-elect of Wildland Fire Management Group, Society of American Foresters

  • Chair meetings of the Program Committee in preparation for the technical session and field workshops for next year’s SAF National Convention.
  • Coordinate with the speakers and the meeting location to ensure all equipment and needs are met.
  • Review all preparations for meetings to ensure that they run smoothly.
  • Participate in the development and implementation of short-term and long-term strategy planning for the working group.

joseph head shot

Diversity Ambassador, Society of American Foresters

  • Attended the 2015 SAF National Convention and engaged in discussions to find solutions for diversity inclusion by understanding the perception racial and ethnic minorities have about natural resource management. 

Cypress Knee Editor

  • By taking pictures and writing excerpts, help to preserve Warnell’s history by compiling a yearbook that illustrates yearly events held at the college.
  • Raised $500 for the production of the annual yearbook and to help create a fund for students who can’t afford registration fees to professional functions.

Forestry Club Member

  • Able to raise over $200 by assisting club officers with production and logistics of selling firewood.
  • Participate in the Southern Forestry Conclave on the crosscut saw, bow saw, and log rolling teams.

Warnell Ambassador

  • Tasked with representing the Warnell School of Forestry at University and Professional functions. These events include Forestry Day at the Capitol where I spoke to state elected officials about the importance of protecting the forest industry in the state of Georgia. Provided logistical help at the Governors Honor Program by lending knowledge of current events occurring in the natural resource field.
  • Communicate resources, history and directional information to incoming students and families.
  • Recruit pre-professional and professional students enrolled at Warnell to continue our extension outreach program.


  • STAR Award from the Teton Interagency Fire Program
  • United States Forest Service Intermountain Region Fuels Award

Current Employment: 
Fire Effects Monitor for the National Park Service, Administrative Assistant for the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, and BBQ Cook for Saucehouse BBQ Restaurant

I chose to attend Warnell because... 
it is a nationally recognized leader in natural resource education and because an alumni expressed how the school has created a family environment among all that will, are, and have attended the school. 

My favorite places on campus are... 
One of my favorite places on campus is Oconee Forest Park where I like to walk my dog, Toby, and hangout with my girlfriend, Samantha. 

When I have free time, I like... 
be outside, it doesn’t matter what the activity is hiking, running, sitting on the porch or floating down the river the outdoors is where I feel most comfortable. 

The craziest thing I've done is... 
become a wildland fire fighter and serving the various communities in the West by managing wild fires.

My favorite place to study is... 
the computer lab of building 1 in Warnell.

My favorite professor is... 
Richard “Doc” Daniels who is the Silviculture professor, a career path I look forward to exploring. He has opened many doors for me with the United States Forest Service and the Society of American Foresters.

If I knew I could not fail, I would... 
travel the great state of Georgia sharing the history of Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources to recruit more students and friends of the natural resource industry.

If money was not a consideration, I would love to... 
establish an endowment that will help support students who want to attend professional society events like the SAF National Convention.

After graduation, I plan to...
consider two options: complete my Pathways internship by receiving a permanent position within the National Park Service as a wildland fire fighter or enter Warnell's Graduate Program and obtain a Masters degree in Silviculture.
The one Warnell experience I will always remember will be... 
flying back to Athens from Valdosta on a private jet courtesy of The Langdale Company after an exciting reception meeting with alumni and friends of Warnell learning about their experiences they had while enrolled at the Forestry school.


If you are interested in nominating a student for Warnell’s Amazing Students, please email with a short description of their involvement and activities in Warnell. Any student, undergraduate or graduate may be nominated!