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Georgia 4-H turns to oysters, volunteers to combat erosion on Tybee Island

This summer, Georgia 4-H is recruiting an army of oysters to help ensure the future of the organization's coastal environmental education center.

Georgia 4-H, which is part of University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, is working with UGA Marine Extension to encourage new oyster beds along the marshy shoreline at Burton 4-H Center on Tybee Island.

In early April, dozens of volunteers spent a Saturday morning filling bags with oyster shells. These bagged shells will be placed along the shoreline to create a new habitat for wild oysters and to spur the creation of new oyster reefs along the marsh's edge.

This new living shoreline, built from six truckloads of oyster shells along about 500 feet of marsh front, should resist erosion, create and improve the wildlife habitat, improve water quality and help mitigate sea level rise.

"A couple of years ago, we realized that the Horse Pen Creek was encroaching on most of the buildings at Burton 4-H Center," said Arch Smith, director of Georgia 4-H. "We began working with engineers to develop a solution to reduce the erosion of the creek bank and settled upon a solution that adds an educational component as well."

Building the living shoreline will provide an opportunity for 4-H environmental education program instructors to use it as a teaching tool for the 8,000 students who visit Burton 4-H Center annually to study coastal habitats and issues. Burton 4-H Center is one of five facilities operated by Georgia 4-H that provides environmental education programs.

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Robot developed by UGA engineers offers safer, more efficient way to inspect power lines

A robot invented by researchers in the University of Georgia College of Engineering could change the way power lines are inspected—providing a safer and more cost-effective alternative.

Currently, line crews have to suit up in protective clothing, employ elaborate safety procedures and sometimes completely shut off the power before inspecting a power line. It can be difficult, time-consuming and often dangerous work.

A team led by Javad Mohammadpour, an assistant professor of electrical engineering, has designed, prototyped and tested a robot that can glide along electrical distribution lines, searching for problems or performing routine maintenance.

Distribution lines carry electricity from substations to homes, businesses and other end users.

The self-propelled robot looks like a miniature cable car and is approximately the size of a coffee maker, much smaller and lighter than similar devices now used by utility companies.

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UGA launches Terry Women’s Initiative

The University of Georgia Terry College of Business has launched the Terry Women's Initiative, a program committed to the recruitment, retention and advancement of students that aims to inspire confidence and advance students' academic and professional goals.

Funded by a donation from Terry College alumna Betsy Camp, the Terry Women's Initiative is open to all UGA students regardless of gender or major. By providing an array of resources and experiences, the program supports students throughout their college careers, from helping them choose and prepare for the right major to providing valuable insights on classroom engagement, the job search and more.

"The inspiration behind the Terry Women's Initiative came from a 2014 Atlantic Monthly article entitled ‘The Confidence Gap,' which documents the fact that success in work and life is as much a function of confidence as of competence," said Betsy Camp, who serves as president and CEO at DF Management Inc. "According to research, confidence comes from the lessons learned taking risks and leaning into opportunities as they present themselves. It is the mission of the initiative to be a resource so that every Terry woman has the confidence, as well as the competence, to reach her full potential."

The program relies on the involvement of Terry students, alumni, faculty, staff and recruiters, who assist students in picking out their best-fit major, building classroom confidence, finding internships and succeeding academically.

"The ultimate goal of the Terry College of Business is to nurture well-rounded, successful students who can positively contribute to our state and nation," said Benjamin C. Ayers, dean of the Terry College. "The creative and supportive programing of the Terry Women's Initiative helps to further prepare our students to be the absolute best they can be. I am extremely grateful to Betsy Camp for creating and funding this dynamic and ambitious program."

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Sam Nunn and William J. Perry to deliver Charter Lecture at UGA

Former U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn will be joined by former Secretary of Defense William J. Perry for the spring 2016 Charter Lecture at the University of Georgia.

Their discussion, titled "Preventing Nuclear Catastrophe in an Age of Terrorism," is free and open to the public and will be held April 26 at 3:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries.

"Sen. Nunn and Secretary Perry have dedicated their lives to public service, and we are pleased to have them join us as distinguished Charter Lecturers," said President Jere W. Morehead. "Their topic is timely and one of great importance to our society. We are looking forward to a provocative and engaging discussion."

The lecture is co-sponsored by the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost and the UGA School of Public and International Affairs. Perry will be participating via videoconference from Stanford University, where he is a senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. Students from Georgia Tech will be participating in the discussion, as well, with UGA Meigs and Regents' Professor Loch Johnson moderating questions submitted via the Twitter hashtag #UGACharter16.

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UGA Fulbright scholars reach for the stars in Germany, explore the coast in Chile

University of Georgia faculty participating in the 2015-16 and 2016-17 Core Fulbright Scholar and Fulbright Specialist programs evaluated the impact of rural nursing in Ecuador, brought research on telenovelas to universities in Chile, and will examine the coast and teach about invasive species in Chile, and examine the nature of galactic gas clouds and their relationship to the cosmic web.

"I extend my congratulations to the UGA faculty who were selected as Core Fulbright Fellows this year," said Noel Fallows, interim associate provost for international education. "These internationally engaged scholars are through Fulbright strengthening research partnerships and enhancing the international reputation of the University of Georgia across all academic disciplines."

The UGA faculty members and their destinations include:

Phaedra Corso, UGA Foundation Professor of Human Health and director of the Economic Evaluation Research Group in the College of Public Health. Corso traveled to Ecuador in the summer of 2015 on a Core Fulbright grant to teach and conduct research. Her host institutions were the School of Public Health at the University of San Francisco Quito and Quito Salud Pública. The projects Corso took on while in Ecuador surveyed the impact of a rural nursing intervention program and evaluating the cost-effectiveness of a Quito-based program called Salud al Paso. Several UGA graduate students participating in a master's internship program accompanied Corso to help complete the data collection and evaluation.

James "Jeb" Byers, associate dean of administrative affairs and a professor of marine ecology in the School of Ecology, will travel to Chile in 2017 to initiate a project examining the ecology of the Chilean coast, and to teach a course on invasive species. His host institution is Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.

Robin Shelton, professor in the department of physics and astronomy, will travel to Berlin, Germany, in spring 2017 to work on galactic computer simulations. The simulations will help determine whether some of the enormous clouds of gas that astronomers have found to be falling into the Milky Way galaxy are related to the spiderweb-like structure of material that stretches across the universe, called the "cosmic web."

Additionally, Carolina Acosta-Alzuru, an associate professor in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, traveled to Chile for one month in late spring 2015 on a Fulbright Specialist grant to teach and coordinate faculty development activities. Hosted by the Universidad de Chile, Acosta-Alzuru taught a graduate seminar on the links between telenovelas, culture and society. She also led a hands-on assignment in an undergraduate course about strategic planning and organizational communication, and led seminars at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and at the Universidad de los Andes.

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Chemist received NSF CAREER Award for nanobiotechnology

Jin Xie, an assistant professor in the department of chemistry in the University of Georgia Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, has been awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Program.

CAREER awards are among the NSF's most prestigious. The five-year grant supports junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholar and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.

Xie's research is focused on advances in nanobiotechnology, particularly the clustering of nanoparticles in biologically relevant structures that will lead to a new class of composite materials. These new materials will offer combinations that represent expanded possibilities in modern diagnosis and drug delivery within the human body.

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Peabody Awards to mark 75th anniversary with May 21st gala hosted by Keegan-Michael Key

The 75th Peabody Awards ceremony gala will be held on the evening of Saturday, May 21 at Cipriani Wall Street in New York and be hosted by Peabody Award recipient Keegan-Michael Key (Key & Peele, Fargo).

The Peabody Awards, based at the University of Georgia, will select finalists for the first time in its history, to be announced April 12. From the 60 Peabody Finalists, a group of winners-The Peabody 30-will ultimately by chosen. The Peabody 30 will be revealed in a succession of announcements by category, beginning April 19.

"There are now more than 400 scripted prime-time television shows, new locations for documentary television, a flood of podcasts, and a wealth of quality digital storytelling," Peabody Awards Director Jeffrey P. Jones said. "Peabody has to reflect that change in order to continue to award the best of the best, while also recognizing and highlighting this expanded field of quality media production."

Once again, the gala will be televised in a 90-minute special, "The 75th Anniversary Peabody Awards," airing on Pivot, Monday, June 6 (8 p.m. ET/PT). Pivot is repeating the success of last year's telecast by bringing back the production talents of Den of Thieves.

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Newsmakers to converge on UGA for 2016 Alumni Seminar

Some of the nation's most prominent newsmakers-in fields ranging from athletics to the sciences-will share their stories during the University of Georgia's 2016 Alumni Seminar, April 29-May 1.

The three-day seminar-which is open to UGA alumni and anyone interested in lifelong learning-begins with an opening dinner and an address from UGA alumna and award-winning ABC News journalist Deborah Roberts. Events continue through May 1 with lectures, behind-the-scenes tours and interactive seminars.

"The Alumni Seminar provides an in-depth look at some of the exciting things that make this university distinctive," said President Jere W. Morehead. "Alumni and friends alike will learn a great deal over the course of the weekend from some of our most notable students, faculty and alumni who are shaping the future of our nation and world."

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UGA researchers use single molecule of DNA to create world’s smallest diode

Researchers at the University of Georgia and at Ben-Gurion University in Israel have demonstrated for the first time that nanoscale electronic components can be made from single DNA molecules. Their study, published in the journal Nature Chemistry, represents a promising advance in the search for a replacement for the silicon chip.

The finding may eventually lead to smaller, more powerful and more advanced electronic devices, according to the study's lead author, Bingqian Xu.

"For 50 years, we have been able to place more and more computing power onto smaller and smaller chips, but we are now pushing the physical limits of silicon," said Xu, an associate professor in the UGA College of Engineering and an adjunct professor in chemistry and physics. "If silicon-based chips become much smaller, their performance will become unstable and unpredictable."

To find a solution to this challenge, Xu turned to DNA. He says DNA's predictability, diversity and programmability make it a leading candidate for the design of functional electronic devices using single molecules.

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Two UGA students receive Goldwater Scholarships

University of Georgia Honors students Catherine "Cali" Callaway and Morrison Nolan have received 2016 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships, a premier academic award for undergraduate students pursuing careers in science, mathematics and engineering.

The scholarship, which awards up to $7,500 toward the cost of tuition, fees, books and room and board, recognizes exceptional sophomores and juniors across the nation. Since 1995, 51 UGA students have received the award.

"Our students' continued success in the Goldwater competition speaks volumes about the quality of education that UGA provides in the STEM disciplines," said President Jere W. Morehead. "Cali and Morrison represent the broad range of scientific interests that students can pursue at UGA, and their achievement demonstrates the value of intensive research experiences at the undergraduate level."