2013 Alumni Undergraduate Teaching Awards

These awards are presented on the basis of outstanding teaching of undergraduates from nominations made by department heads, deans, alumni and students. A committee of retired faculty selects the recipients.

Christy L. Bratcher
Assistant Professor, Animal Sciences
College of Agriculture

PhD — University of Missouri
MS, BS — University of Florida

"It is the students who look up to me that keep me coming to work every day. Seeing the desire and drive in some of those students is what makes me do what I do and try to do it with a smile."

Christy Bratcher was born in north Alabama and moved to Daytona Beach, Fla., at age 11. An early involvement with animals on her grandparents' hobby farm fueled her interest in obtaining a degree in animal sciences. Bratcher previously worked as the food safety and quality assurance manager with Buckhead Beef. When a meat science position was posted at Auburn in 2007, she took the opportunity to move into academia and back to her home state of Alabama. Bratcher's research is focused on meat quality and food safety, with an emphasis in industry applied research. In 2012, she received a $4 million USDA/AFRI grant to investigate the gaps in knowledge and production of local and regional meats between the consumers who are buying them and the producers who are providing local and regional meats. Bratcher has been married to Michael for 14 years and they have two sons, Bryce and Carson.


Sang-Eun Byun
Associate Professor, Consumer and Design Sciences
College of Human Sciences

PhD — Michigan State University
MS — Kyung Hee University
BS — Andong National University, South Korea

"This award brings me a lot of joy and hopes in my pedagogical belief that passion and dedication for teaching can be always transmitted to students' minds and hearts."

Sang-Eun Byun teaches graduate consumer theory and global retailing, global sourcing, fashion forecasting, and visual merchandising at the undergraduate level. Her research interests include consumer psychology and decision making in a retail setting; visual merchandising and customer experience creation strategies; and global sourcing/retailing with a focus on the apparel industry. A number of her papers have been published and presented in peer-reviewed journals and conferences, and she has received several best paper awards. Byun has secured several intramural grants including the 2012 Competitive Outreach Grant. Recent grant projects include consumer decision making under scarcity conditions and developing a virtual knowledge support network for fostering entrepreneurship among small businesses in Alabama. Byun says her husband Joonyul Kim is her greatest source of inspiration. A scientist, he reminds her that a great scholar is good at both research and teaching and can use simple words to explain complex ideas in a clear and easy way. They have two daughters Lauren and Aine.


Jill Crystal
Professor, Political Science
College of Liberal Arts

PhD, MA — Harvard University
BA — Cornell University

"This award is important to me, in large measure, because it demonstrates the synergy among teaching, research, and outreach. I have always incorporated my research and experiences in the Middle East into my classroom. My students, in turn, ask questions about the region that would never occur to an academic, forcing me to think about the region in new ways."

Since coming to Auburn in 1994, Jill Crystal's teaching has ranged from large introductory core courses in political economy for undergraduates to seminars in comparative politics for PhD students. In 2010, she served as group leader on a Fulbright-Hays Faculty Seminar Abroad in Kuwait, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. She currently teaches primarily upper-level courses on Middle East politics, including one on the Arab Spring. Crystal is the author of several articles and book chapters and has written two books on the Gulf: Oil and Politics in the Gulf: Rulers and Merchants in Kuwait and Qatar, Cambridge University Press, and Kuwait: The Transformation of an Oil State, Westview Press. Her research interests have evolved from studying the effect of oil on politics to the role of the security sector in domestic politics and, currently, to the impact of the Arab Spring on the monarchies of the Gulf. Crystal is married to Russell Balch, and they have two children, Elizabeth and Malcolm.

Last Updated: Aug. 30, 2013

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