Honey Bee Lab Technicians
Nathan was born in Maryland. He spent his childhood in Texas and his young adulthood in South Carolina. His interest in honeybees was sparked at a young age. While in England, his family visited an apiary, where little Nathan observed bees at work in an observation hive and learned all about the beneficial products and services bees provide to humans. After that experience, he knew that he wanted to become a beekeeper - at least as a hobby. At age 6, he tried to start a bee colony by baiting bees into a jar with honey, but all he caught were yellow jackets. While that experiment might have gone awry, he has come a long way in his knowledge of bees since then.
Later, Nathan saw a beekeeper's exhibit at the state fair and his beekeeping desire grew. After moving to South Carolina and attending a beginner beekeeper course hosted by the Aiken Beekeepers Association, he and his mom started their first hive. Nathan joined the association and, after about a year, was elected Secretary; he helped to revise their newsletter and establish their website. He next served as vice president for two years. During this time, he ran two beginner and one intermediate beekeeping courses. He was awarded the SC Junior Beekeeper of the Year award for his efforts.
Nathan put his beekeeping endeavors on hold while he attended Bob Jones University and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. He worked for two years at a marketing agency in Greenville, SC. In the fall of 2013, he married his best friend, Tori. The following year, he sensed that the “ad man” life was not what he wanted, and he started exploring opportunities to work with bees again.
Tabitha has been the event Manager for the UGA/Young Harris Beekeeping Institute since 2012. She is the first point of contact for all Beekeeping Institute questions, concerns and suggestions, and can often be found solving crises at every turn throughout the weekend-long conference.
Tabitha is a graduate of the University of North Georgia (formerly NGCSU), with a Bachelor's Degree in English with concentration in writing and publication, and a minor in Studio Art. In addition to her work with the annual institute, she is employed full-time with a strategic marketing and advertising agency in Gainesville, GA and also runs her own social media and graphic design business.
Jack is our resident student worker at the bee lab and assists with just about everything that needs to be done, from making sugar syrup and assisting in the fieldwork to counting mites on sticky screens and other lab duties. Jack hails from Madison County, GA. He grew up on the family chicken farm; so, hard work is not a foreign commodity to him. Currently, he is enrolled at North Georgia University as a Biology major, but he looks forward to transferring to UGA and completing his undergraduate pursuits here. If we have our way, he will soon be a graduate entomology student here in the Honey Bee Program!
The work with honey bees appeals to Jack’s interest in Biology and has proven to be a valuable scientific experience for him. When not working, going to class, or studying Chemistry, his time is spent outdoors: biking or backpacking the many trails in the Appalachian Mountains. Jack finds peace and relaxation in the highlands. He also enjoys wakeboarding and other watersports.
Ben is our lab tech II, and he serves in both lab and fieldwork.
Born in Alpharetta GA, Ben grew up to become an eagle scout and member of the Phi Beta Kappa honors society. After high school, he ventured to Brigham Young University to pursue degrees in both public relations and psychology. Seeking a change in environment, he later returned to the southeast to finish his degrees at UGA, where his focus shifted to the broader perspectives of sociology with the idea of becoming a professor and writing on the topic of “the chemical society.” Since graduating in May 2011, Ben has also taken a strong interest in honey bees. He has chosen to balance this newest interest with his long-term passion in art; his most recent artistic work captures aspects of his experiences here at the lab. He has developed a duality of raising public awareness of bee decline though the fine art world. He recently exhibited his portfolio in New York and hopes to pursue art on a full time basis one day.
Ben came to work for us without the slightest idea of what he was about to get into. Within the first week, he had been stung so many times that I didn’t think he would stick with it, but he did. I attribute this perseverance to Ben’s attitude; he is one of those folks who never has a bad day. Through Ben’s proverbial lenses, the sun is always shining and his glass is always half full. Working with him just puts a smile on our faces every day. Ben is very talented, and I know that his future lies in painting and photography. While it will be a sad day when he moves on to become famous, at least I’ll be able to say “I knew him when he was just one of us at the lab….”
Trey is a senior at Madison County High School, the middle linebacker for their football team, and also a member of their track team. Upon graduation, he plans to enlist in the United States Navy, where he hopes he’ll have the opportunity to try out for the Navy football team. Trey’s other passion is engineering, and he plans to pursue a degree. We’ve tried over the years to sway him toward entomology, but his heart just isn’t in it. I suppose that engineering will be ok, too.
This past summer was Trey’s second year working at the bee lab. He’s a neighbor of mine, and he started working for me on my bee farm years ago. I noticed quickly that he was a hard worker. He showed up on time and didn’t sit around toying with the cell phone (not my typical experience of teenagers…). That’s why I asked him to come to work at the UGA bee lab over the summer. Self-initiative, which Trey has lots of, is very important around here since there is so much going on each day. Hopefully he’ll be able to work for us one more summer before he "ships off" towards his future.