It's not even Honors Week yet and the accolades for Franklin students, faculty and alumni are already rolling in. A sample of awards, fellowships and scholarly activity from the month of March:
UGA Skidaway Institute research paper selected for research spotlight, authored by associate professor of Department of Marine Sciences Aron Stubbins
UGA alumna Patricia Andrews Fearon was one of 36 Americans to be named a 2017 recipient of the Gates Cambridge Scholarship, which fully funds postgraduate study and research at the University of Cambridge in England. Fearon earned a bachelor's degree in religion from the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and a bachelor's degree in journalism from the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication in 2009 before going on to earn a master's degree in the study of religions from the University of Oxford
Classics major Michael Sloman has received a Manson A. Stewart Award for 2017 from the Classical Association of the Middle-West and South. Award winners receive $1000 and a one-year membership to CAMWS
Junior graphic design majors in the Lamar Dodd School of Art Daniel Easley and Jonathan Cheaves each had their poster design submissions selected for inclusion in AIGA Atlanta’s Poster Show Part II: Art Director’s Cut exhibition, on view at the 2017 Atlanta Film Festival from March 24–April 2
Eight of the 12 UGA faculty members named Special Collections Libraries Faculty Fellows are from the Franklin College
Georgia Debate Union placed 3rd behind Emory and Harvard at the American Debate Association national championship tournament held recently at George Mason University
Foundation Distinguished Professor of Chemistry Gregory H. Robinson was named Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry – UGA Today
Ignite ticket wins 2017 SGA election (treasurer-elect Kal Golde is a third-year applied mathematics major from Atlanta) – R&B
UGA students, alumni offered record number of NSF Graduate Research Fellowships – UGA Today
As the largest, most diverse college on campus, the Franklin College is home to more than half of the record number of UGA students and alumni who were awarded 2017 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships:
Twenty UGA students and alumni were among the 2,000 fellows selected from over 13,000 applicants nationwide for the 2017 competition. NSF Graduate Research Fellowships recognize and support outstanding graduate students in STEM-science, technology, engineering and mathematics-disciplines. Fellows benefit from a three-year annual stipend of $34,000, along with a $12,000 cost of education allowance for tuition and fees, opportunities for international research and professional development, and the freedom to conduct their own research at any accredited U.S. institution of graduate education they choose.
UGA's 2017 NSF Fellows and their fields of study are:
• Henry Adams, disease ecology.
• Sara Thomas Black, geography.
• William Wesley Booker, evolutionary biology.
• Caitlin Conn, ecology.
• Abigail Judith Courtney, microbial biology.
• Michael Ryan Clifford Dibble, chemistry of life processes.
• Austin Guy Garner, evolutionary biology.
• Eilidh Geddes, economics.
• Alexandra Michelle Harris, industrial/organizational psychology.
• Robert Zachary Crump Holmes, ecology.
• Kathryn M. Moore, biomedical engineering.
• Mariel Pfeifer, STEM education and learning research.
• Sydney Elizabeth Bishop Plummer, chemical oceanography.
• Matthew Joseph Powers, microbial biology.
• Robert Lundell Richards, ecology.
• Claire Stewart Teitelbaum, ecology.
• David Vasquez, ecology.
• Sheena Vasquez, biochemistry.
• Elizabeth Ann Watts, biochemistry.
• Avery Elizabeth Wiens, chemical theory, models and computational methods.
That's an amazing list, and note the interdisciplinary fields of study. The future of science is happening right now on our campus. Congratulations to these students and alumni - these broadly prestigious fellowships also have an extraordinary financial impact on the careers of young scientists. A vital program, indeed.
Image: 2017 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship recipient Austin Garner, who earned his bachelor's degree in genetics.
Computer science professor Jaewoo Lee, who joined the UGA faculty this year as part of the informatics hiring initiative, is among a small group of experts in a new but increasingly vital field, data privacy:
"In 2009, when I started talking about data privacy, people would ask what is data privacy and what is that for?" said Lee, who arrived at UGA from a postdoctoral position at Penn State University.
It was at the beginning of his doctoral studies at Purdue University in 2009 that Lee began working in privacy-preserving data analysis, a field so new that it boasts few experts.
Data sets of private information such as medical records are regularly shared to provide statistical information about the data. Analysts survey the data to identify patterns to benefit companies or large groups of people. The challenge is to share the statistical information to learn as much as possible about a group without revealing information about individuals represented in the group.
The statistical science of learning about the group while protecting the information of individuals in the group is called differential privacy.
An interesting technical digression not included in the final version of the article: Differential privacy ensures that any conclusion drawn from an analysis remains almost the same no matter whether any particular individual’s data is used in the analysis or not. In other words, the results of the analysis do not reveal any information specific to an individual. It can be accomplished by adding some uncertainty, or noise, to the information to be disclosed, in the form of an algorithmic framework, though doing so also comes at a cost: a tradeoff between accuracy and privacy.
That tradeoff represents a crucial challenge going forward. So much data is produced on a per capita basis at this point that managing and protecting it becomes a priority. The work of researchers like Lee is enlightening on many levels, and the more we understand about the implications of the information-flooded world we have constructed, perhaps the better able to navigate it appropriately we will be. Nonetheless, a great young faculty member we are happy is now part of UGA and the Franklin College.
Two Franklin faculty members received major career honors this week, campus-wide and international awards. First, University of Georgia Foundation Distinguished Professor of Chemistry Gregory H. Robinson has been named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry:
A nonprofit organization with a heritage that spans 175 years, the Royal Society of Chemistry is the United Kingdom's professional body for chemical scientists and the largest organization in Europe for advancing the chemical sciences.
Robinson joins his department of chemistry colleague, Graham Perdue Professor Henry "Fritz" Schaefer, who was elected in 2005 as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.
A 2012 Humboldt Research Award from Germany's Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and a 2014 recipient of the Southeastern Conference Faculty Achievement Award, Robinson is an internationally recognized scholar whose scientific achievements have been described as groundbreaking. Over the past 25 years, Robinson and his team have published a series of fundamental findings that have reshaped how scientists view chemical bonding in many chemical compounds.
And Rick Tarleton, Distinguished Research Professor and University of Georgia Athletic Association Distinguished Professor in Biological Sciences in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, has been named Regents' Professor:
Regents' Professorships are bestowed by the University System of Georgia's Board of Regents on faculty members whose scholarship or creative activity is recognized nationally and internationally as innovative and pace-setting.
Tarleton, who is a professor in the department of cellular biology and founder of UGA's Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases, has made research advances that have the potential to transform the lives of the 10 million to 20 million people suffering from Chagas disease, a potentially deadly parasitic infection that primarily affects people in Central and South America.
Very important distinctions honoring the excellence of these renowned researchers, whose research and scholarship have broad impact in their respective fields. Professional accomplishments that attract this level of acknowledgement speak to the pinnacle careers these scholars have built in the laboratory and the classroom, teaching as they inspire the next generation of researchers. Congratulations - your work brings great honor to the Franklin College and the university.
Image: Tarelton, left, and Robinson, courtesy of UGA photo services.
Addressing the low numbers of women choosing to study STEM fields and particularly in areas related to software and information technology is the focus of a documentary screening tomorrow, March 22, at the Special Collections Library:
This documentary (rated PG-13) exposes the dearth of American female and minority software engineers and explores the reasons for this gender gap. CODE raises the question: what would society gain from having more women and minorities code?
The screening will be in the auditorium of the UGA Special Collections Library.
As the film highlights, large numbers of jobs will be in software-related fields in the future and a low percentage of them will be held by women. Too low, in fact. Why is this important? It's an urgent topic and the screening will be followed by a panel discussion that includes women working, studying and teaching in these fields right now.
Panelists include Marilyn Cole, Senior Software Engineer for Seller Labs, Kim Kirby, CEO Young Athenians, Ashley Huynh, UGA Computer Science student, and Manijeh Keshtgari, a lecturer in the department of Computer Science.
5:30 - 6:30 Networking Mixer with refreshments from Home.made
6:30 - 6:35 Five-minute introduction and recognition of our sponsors
6:35 - 8:05 Movie Screening
8:05 - 8:30 Panel Discussion.
The entire evening is free and open ot the public. Kudos to the Franklin College Office of Information Technology and our web services team for spearheading this important event, as well as to its many campus sponsors.
The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights briefing on Friday, March 17, to examine the Department of Justice’s enforcement efforts at the municipal level included testimony from assistant professor of sociology Sarah Shannon.
The briefing focused on urgent issues involving civil rights of all Americans: municipal practices of raising money when people come into contact with the justice system. The recent past in Ferguson, Missouri brought to light practices that can have racially discriminatory impacts, raising serious civil rights concerns regarding unequal access to justice and conflict of interest for those charged with assuring justice.
"The purpose of the briefing was to assess the Department of Justice's enforcement efforts around municipal court reforms and fines and fees in light of Ferguson," Shannon said via email. "I participated on a panel focused on research and policy recommendations. For my part, I shared some intitial findings from the multi-state, grant-funded project that I am a part of, which is led by Dr. Alexes Harris at the University of Washington. In particular, I discussed our assessment thus far that reforms are happening across the states but they face significant challenges due to the complexity of these laws, states' significant variation in these practices, lack of nationally representative data to assess the full scope and impact of fines and fees, and the diverse group of stakeholders whose interests in these policies and practices often diverge."
Expertise that can (and should) impact policy discussions is one the most important duties fulfilled by our faculty. The role of public scholarship in national policy debates is key to reform and relieves pressure from enforcement agencies and politicians while assuring the citizenry that government is moving in the right direction - toward openness, transparency, and equal justice. Great job, Dr. Shannon. We are proud of your efforts and participation on the national stage on issues that affect so many Americans.
Image: courtesy of Sarah Shannon
Extraordinary news for Franklin/Grady College alumna Patricia Andrews Fearon, one of 36 Americans to be named a 2017 recipient of the Gates Cambridge Scholarship, which fully funds postgraduate study and research at the University of Cambridge:
The scholarship, which recognizes intellectually outstanding postgraduate students with a capacity for leadership and a commitment to improving the lives of others, was established by a gift from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Fearon is the seventh UGA student or alumnus to receive the award since it was first awarded in 2001.
"Patricia's achievement reflects the excellent preparation our students receive to compete for the most prestigious international scholarships," said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. "The University of Georgia is proud that she is carrying on our land-grant tradition of applying her education to improve the lives of others around the world."
Fearon earned a bachelor's degree in religion from the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and a bachelor's degree in journalism from the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication in 2009 before going on to earn a master's degree in the study of religions from the University of Oxford. She studied social and cognitive psychology as a post-baccalaureate scholar at the University of California-Berkeley.
We refer back to this phrasing often, but also for a reason: students create a unique set of credentials on campus that paves the way for great contributions and broad opportunities. A religion degree paired with journalism, and later psychology, makes an invaluable combination. And while it may be easy to look back on her latest accomplishment and agree that the double major was a great idea, Fearon had the drive and confidence - and advisors, and professors, and parents - to make the decision and pursue the degrees. The more we can encourage students to make the most of the UGA learning environment, the richer that environment becomes. Congratulations, Patricia, and best of luck in your travels and your next set of adventures.
Emory, Harvard and UGA went 1-2-3 at the American Debate Association national championship tournament held recently at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.
Nathan Rice (sophomore from Roswell) and Johnnie Stupek (sophomore from Sandy Springs) debated teams from around the country, including victories over the University of Minnesota, Indiana University, and the University of Kentucky. Other schools competing at the tournament include Wake Forest University, Georgetown University, Michigan State University, among many others.
Nathan was recognized as the 5th overall speaker and Johnnie was recognized as the 9th overall speaker at the tournament.
Teams from Emory University and Harvard University finished first and second. Rice and Stupek's third place finished tied them with Northwestern University.
"The Georgia Debate Union was able to attend the tournament thanks in part to support from Franklin College," head debate coach Hays Watson wrote in an email. "Teams representing the University of Georgia have won four intercollegiate debate tournaments in 2016-17 and aim to finish the season on a strong note at the National Debate Tournament in Kansas City. The University of Georgia has qualified teams at the National Debate Tournament for 28 consecutive seasons."
Great job to coaches and students. Thiei serious commitment to excellence is positioning UGA well among the very best public and private universities in the nation and we are proud to support the team's efforts.
Image: Johnnie Stupek left, and Nathan Rice at George Mason University.
Twelve University of Georgia faculty committed to developing new courses using the University’s archival material have been named Special Collections Libraries Faculty Fellows:
[The] Program provides instructional support and a $2000 financial stipend to faculty who wish to develop new courses or redesign existing courses to make significant use of the collections and resources of the University of Georgia’s three special collections libraries: the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, and the Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection.
Eight of the 12 recipients are from Franklin College units:
- Brandon Craswell, Hugh Hodgson School of Music
- Elizabeth Davis, Department of English
- Tina Harris, Department of Communication Studies
- John Lowe, Department of English
- Teresa Saxton, Department of English
- Nancee Reeves, Department of English
- Beth Tobin, Department of English and Women's Studies
- Eileen Wallace, Lamar Dodd School of Art
Congratulations to these faculty members, and to the Center for Teaching and Learning and the UGA Libraries for a program that incentivizes the use of these incredible campus resources. The breadth of our library collections is something usually found only in major cities, and not even most of those. And right here in Athens are the treasures of civilization and the keys to knowledge even though the door is open most every day.