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UGA experts travel to Gulf of Mexico to investigate May 12 oil spill

A team of research scientists led by University of Georgia marine scientist Samantha Joye is on a rapid response research cruise to assess the impact of a crude oil spill approximately 90 miles south of Timbalier Island, Louisiana, on the biological communities in the Gulf of Mexico's water column.

The U.S. Coast Guard responded to the spill reportedly discharged from a Shell subsea wellhead flow line on May 12.

"Our goal for this response mission is to document the distribution of oil in the water column, to characterize the hydrocarbons and to assess the fate of oil—including biological oxidation, assimilation and movement into the food web—and formation of marine oil snow," said Joye, the Georgia Athletic Association Professor of Arts and Sciences, who will be overseeing the efforts from Athens. "These efforts will help inform other responders and will further advance our understanding of oil spill impacts on the Gulf ecosystem."

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UGA Honors student Valerie Tucker receives Pickering Fellowship

University of Georgia Honors student Valerie Tucker has been awarded a Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship for students interested in careers in the U.S. Department of State Foreign Service.

As a Pickering Fellow, Tucker will receive a scholarship of up to $37,500 annually for tuition and other expenses for her senior year of undergraduate studies as well as for her first year enrolled in a master's degree program.

Tucker, who is from Fort Walton Beach, Florida, is a junior majoring in international affairs in the School of Public and International Affairs and Spanish in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. She is one of 10 undergraduates and 20 graduate students chosen for the 23rd cohort of the program from among hundreds of applicants from 160 colleges and universities.

"Valerie Tucker is an outstanding student in international affairs and the CITS Security Leadership Program," said Stefanie Lindquist, dean of the School of Public and International Affairs. "She is extremely impressive and we were thrilled, but not surprised, that she was selected through the highly competitive and challenging interview process for the Pickering Fellowship at the State Department. Valerie is a SPIA and UGA student to watch-her future is super-nova bright."

Tucker has participated in various experiential learning opportunities through UGA. She recently completed a yearlong fellowship with SPIA's Center for International Trade and Security as a Richard B. Russell Security Leadership Scholar and has interned twice with TradeSecure LLC, a company that helps global businesses with issues such as export control, foreign investment and trade policies. Tucker also completed an immersive study abroad program with UGA en España at the University of Valencia in Spain that was funded by an Honors Program International Scholars grant. A member of the Redcoat Marching Band, Tucker served on the executive board of the UGA chapter of H.E.R.O. for Children, a nonprofit that works to improve the quality of life for children affected by HIV/AIDS.

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Four UGA students offered Boren Scholarships

Four University of Georgia students were awarded Boren Scholarships to study abroad during the 2016-2017 academic year. Boren Scholarships are funded by the National Security Education Program and offer up to $20,000 for language study abroad in areas of the world that are critical to U.S. interests.

UGA's 2016 Boren Scholarship awardees are:

  • Carver Goodhue, a junior Honors student and Foundation Fellow from Athens, majoring in anthropology and Romance languages in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences;
  • Joanna Keen, a senior from Johns Creek, majoring in environmental engineering in the College of Engineering;
  • Aaron Rawls, a junior and Army ROTC cadet from Hawkinsville, majoring in international affairs in the School of Public and International Affairs and minoring in military science; and
  • Rebekah Worick, a junior from Dahlonega, majoring in international affairs in the School of Public and International Affairs.

"The exceptional students I work with raise the level and broaden the scope of dialogue surrounding national security issues," said Elizabeth Hughes Sears, Boren Awards campus representative and student affairs professional in the Honors Program. "In their demonstrated commitment to using critical language skills to advance international cooperation, UGA students serve as outstanding representatives of their university, their nation and their generation."

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UGA engineering student Scotty Smith received Department of Energy fellowship

University of Georgia engineering student Scotty Smith has been named a 2016 Nuclear Energy University Program Fellow by the U.S. Department of Energy. The scholarships of $155,000 over three years are awarded annually to graduate students in engineering and science programs.

Smith is one of 33 NEUP Fellows selected nationwide. The graduate fellowships also include $5,000 toward a summer internship at a U.S. national laboratory.

"This is such an incredible honor," Smith said. "The thing that means the most to me is that I'll be able to continue to solve challenges important to the nation and its infrastructure."

A UGA Honors student from Duluth, Smith will graduate May 13 with a degree in civil engineering. He will continue his studies at Georgia Tech's School of Material Sciences.

"The University of Georgia College of Engineering is extremely proud of Scotty and all he has accomplished," said Donald J. Leo, dean of the College of the Engineering. "This Department of Energy fellowship shows that our engineering program is strong and that it's producing excellent young scholars and professionals. Scotty has been an amazing student and a great ambassador for our program, and I'm sure we will hear great things from him in the future."

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UGA team selected by NASA, Air Force to build and launch two cube satellites

A University of Georgia project led by a team of undergraduate students and including faculty from the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Engineering was recently selected for funding by NASA's CubeSat Launch Initiative.

The UGA proposal, "CubeSat for GA Water Resources," to NASA's Undergraduate Student Instrument Project will receive $200,000 in funding to prepare for a launch date 18 months from the project start date this month.

The spectrographic observatory of coastal regions, or SPOC satellite playfully known as DAWGSat, will be designed to perform the first moderate resolution multispectral analysis of vegetation health, ocean productivity, near-coastal sediment, organic matter and production of shelf waters and salt marshes from low Earth orbit, in this case an altitude of 400 kilometers.

A second CubeSat project also won $200,000 in funding—one of 10 selected by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory—to build the mapping and ocean color imager, or MOCI, to perform a photogrammetric analysis, known as "structure-from-motion," in low Earth orbit to generate 3-D point clouds of broad scale structures on the Earth's surface.

The UGA proposal to NASA was one of 43 selected for funding by its Office of Education and the Science Mission Directorate. The student-faculty collaboration will support the Small Satellite Research Laboratory to build both cube satellites.

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UGA Honors student Jonah Driggers received Udall Scholarship

University of Georgia Honors student Jonah Driggers has been named a 2016 Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation Scholar. The scholarships of up to $7,000 are awarded annually to outstanding sophomores and juniors pursuing careers related to environmental or Native American public policy.

Driggers is the ninth UGA student to be awarded the scholarship in the past six years. He is one of 60 Udall Scholars nationwide chosen from nearly 500 nominees.

Driggers, a third-year student from St. Simons, is a recipient of the Foundation Fellowship, UGA's premier undergraduate scholarship. He is pursuing a bachelor's degree in geography from the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and a combined master's degree in conservation ecology from the Odum School of Ecology. Following his graduation, Driggers plans to pursue a Juris Doctor to fulfill his career aspiration of working as a policy leader to help the U.S. transition to clean energy.

"The University of Georgia is proud of Jonah and his outstanding accomplishment," said President Jere W. Morehead. "The impressive academic and professional experiences he has gained as a UGA student prepared him well for this national competition and will continue to serve him as his career progresses. We look forward to great things from Jonah."

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Candlelight memorial service will be held for students, faculty and staff

Twenty-six University of Georgia students, faculty and staff members who died since last April will be honored at the university's annual candlelight memorial service May 3 at 7 p.m. on the steps of the Chapel.

UGA President Jere W. Morehead will lead the service, called "Georgia Remembers ... a Candlelight Memorial." Names of each of the 15 students and 11 faculty and staff members will be read aloud, followed by a toll of the Chapel bell and the lighting of a candle.

Names will be read by David Shipley, chair of the executive committee of University Council; Michael Lewis, chair of the executive committee of the Staff Council; and Houston Gaines, president of the Student Government Association.

Members of the university's Arch Society will light candles as each name is read aloud. Lindsay Atkinson, lead associate director with the Wesley Foundation, will deliver an opening prayer and Father John Coughlin of the Catholic Center will deliver a closing prayer. At the conclusion of the ceremony, the flames from the Arch Society members' candles will be passed to attendees so they can light their own candles of remembrance.

The Southern Wind Quintet from the Hugh Hodgson School of Music will provide music, and the university's Army ROTC will present the colors and ring the bell.

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Sustainable dyeing technology gives UGA win at international chemistry challenge

A team of scientists from the University of Georgia College of Family and Consumer Sciences has won first prize in the inaugural Green and Sustainable Chemistry Challenge for an innovative and environmentally friendly textile dyeing technology using nanocellulosic fibers.

Conventional dyeing processes require large amounts of water and create toxic effluent, or waste, that can be costly to treat. The wastewater from dye facilities often contains synthetic dyes and toxic chemicals, which leaves substantial ecological footprints, said research associate Yunsang Kim.

"The problem is that most of these textile dyeing industries are located in developing countries in which the regulation and societal concerns for environmental issues are really loose compared to developed countries," Kim said.

The team's project involves the production of nano-structured cellulose and the use of nanocellulose in a sustainable dyeing process that significantly reduces the amount of wastewater and toxic chemicals.

The competition, sponsored by Germany's Leuphana University and Elsevier, a leading publisher of scientific and academic journals, promotes projects that best offer sustainable processes, products and resources suitable for use in developing countries. Nearly 500 proposals were submitted for the competition, with five selected as finalists after an extensive review process.

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UGA marketing students team up to help Google-grant-qualifying nonprofits

The University of Georgia's Jennifer Osbon isn't the average book, lecture and exam kind of teacher.

A full-time lecturer in the Terry College of Business' department of marketing, Osbon wants her students to come away with a valuable, marketable skill set after taking her Digital Marketing Analytics course.

The best way to ensure they really master the concepts she's taught them is by using their marketing knowledge in the real world.

Inspired by a project in which she and other volunteers helped build 48 websites for 48 nonprofits in 48 hours last summer for Atlanta's 48 in 48 event, Osbon partnered with five Google-grant-qualifying nonprofits in the Atlanta area for her MARK 4650 course.

"As a learning tool, it's natural for students to create plans. We do lots of planning in school," she said. "Now they get to do a plan, they get to actually invest the money, they get to see how it performs and make tweaks and changes and recommendations for the future. So they're not only helping the nonprofit, but they're also getting the real-world experience of actually investing—not playing around with it or getting close to it or seeing how it works—they actually do it and look for actual results."

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UGA mourns passing of civil rights pioneer Horace Ward

Civil rights pioneer Horace Taliaferro Ward, the first African-American to apply for admission to UGA, died April 23 at the age of 88.

A retired federal judge, Ward is credited with helping to set the tone for the civil rights movement in Georgia in the 1950s.

"The University of Georgia mourns the loss of Judge Horace Ward, whose courage and determination paved the way for African-American students to gain equal access to the state's flagship institution of higher learning," said President Jere W. Morehead. "Judge Ward leaves behind a legacy of dedicated public service. The thoughts of the university community go out to his friends and family."