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UGA entrusted with archaeological collection from American Museum of Natural History

The University of Georgia Laboratory of Archaeology has received an extensive archaeological collection that includes artifacts and other paleoenvironmental materials recovered by the American Museum of Natural History during a decade of excavation led by David Hurst Thomas on St. Catherines Island, Georgia.

The St. Catherines Island Collection contains more than 109,000 cataloged artifacts, 2,650 radiocarbon samples, and paleoenvironmental assemblages of animal bones, mollusk shells and plant remains. The collection coming to UGA includes prehistoric ceramics, partially reconstructed ceramic vessels, prehistoric ceramic pipes, lithic projectile points (arrowheads), bone tools, shell beads, shell gorgets and shell ear plugs.

The materials are accompanied by a comprehensive digital database that contains relevant field notes, photographs, catalogs, reports and publications that relate to the excavations conducted on the island from 2005 to 2015. The university will also receive any future artifacts excavated on the island.

"This is one of the most important archaeological collections to come to the Laboratory of Archaeology since its founding in 1947," says Mark Williams, director of the UGA Laboratory of Archaeology. "It will enhance our already extensive coastal collection and allow current and future researchers to continue answering questions concerning the role that islands and coastal regions played in the development of human societies over time."

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Georgia wins 2017 SEC MBA case competition

The University of Georgia won first place in the 2017 SEC MBA Case Competition held at the Warrington College of Business at the University of Florida on Saturday. The winning team was comprised of Rohit Banerjee, Matthew Green, Desiree Sullivan and Noah Winterer.

A team of four MBA students from every SEC university was presented a business case by Nationwide on Friday. The teams, who were separated into four divisions, proposed their solutions to a panel of judges on Saturday morning in divisional rounds. The top four proposals moved on to the final round to determine the winner of the competition.

"Winning this competition is so rewarding because we gave so much effort and stayed up late into the night," said Sullivan. "We put together a bold strategy and it took a lot of endurance to prepare our presentation."

Other awards given during the divisional rounds included Best Presenter and Best Q&A.

Noah Winterer from the University of Georgia, Alison Houlihan from the University of Florida, Chris Stegmaier from the University of South Carolina and Daniel Robinson from Auburn University were named Best Presenters for their respective divisions.

In its fifth year, the SEC MBA Case Competition provides an opportunity for SEC business schools to showcase their students' skills at solving simulated, real-world problems that cover the spectrum of business disciplines.

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UGA students surpass $250,000 raised in fight against cancer

During Emily Maggs' four years at the University of Georgia, she has learned that she shares something with every other student: She hates cancer.

Overnight from April 7 to April 8, Emily and nearly 3,000 of her fellow students participated in the 18th Annual University of Georgia Relay for Life at UGA's intramural fields. The event culminated with the early morning announcement that the students had raised a total of $255,129.47 to support the American Cancer Society.

Maggs, a senior majoring in consumer journalism, is originally from London, but her family now resides in Savannah. She served this past year as executive director for UGA's Relay for Life. "Everyone has a connection to cancer," Maggs said. "You could be attending a concert with 10,000 people, and every single person will have been touched by cancer in some way."

Maggs initially got involved with Relay for her mom and dad, who are both cancer survivors, but she now says her reasons have grown. "The more you are involved in Relay, the more you realize that you Relay for everyone around you-everyone who Relays and everyone on campus," Maggs said. "I Relay so that one day my children won't have to."

UGA's event is notable for being Relay's first event organized by, led by and composed entirely of college students. The student group is an affiliate of Relay for Life that is registered with UGA Student Affairs' Center for Student Activities and Involvement.

UGA Relay has raised more than $3 million for the American Cancer Society since the first relay in 1999 and annually ranks as one of the top collegiate relays in the nation.

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Two UGA Honors students named 2017 Goldwater Scholars

University of Georgia juniors and Honors Program students Morgan Gibbs and Mallory Harris are among 240 students across the nation to be recognized as Barry Goldwater Scholars, earning the highest undergraduate award of its type for the fields of mathematics, natural sciences and engineering.

Gibbs and Harris are each studying in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. Gibbs, from Peachtree City, is majoring in chemistry and minoring in pharmaceutical sciences. Harris, from Dunwoody, is pursuing mathematical sciences with a concentration in computational biology. Both plan to earn doctorates in their prospective fields.

"Once again, multiple UGA students have received the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship-a clear signal of the strength of undergraduate education at this great institution," said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. "As Morgan and Mallory continue on their academic and career paths, I have no doubt their research discoveries will help to improve lives around the world. The University of Georgia is very proud of them."

Since 1995, 53 UGA students have received the Goldwater Scholarship, all of whom have been members of the Honors Program.

The scholarship recognizes exceptional sophomores and juniors across the nation. This year, awardees were selected from a field of 1,286 undergraduates who were nominated by campus representatives from 2,000 colleges and universities nationwide. The awardees will receive up to $7,500 toward the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board.

"I am so pleased for Morgan and Mallory," said David S. Williams, associate provost and director of the Honors Program, who serves as the UGA campus faculty representative for the Goldwater Scholarship. "As individuals, they each richly deserve this recognition. Together, they represent the quality of UGA's undergraduate research program and the strong support that faculty members provide to our students."

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Charlayne Hunter-Gault announces Giving Voice to the Voiceless fund

Award-winning journalist, author and distinguished University of Georgia alumna Charlayne Hunter-Gault has established a new endowment, Giving Voice to the Voiceless. The endowment, created by Hunter-Gault and her husband, Ronald Gault, will provide grants to university students to promote social justice and global understanding by giving voice to the voiceless, the charting light of the life and work of Hunter-Gault.

"From Athens to Africa and beyond, my 'journeys to the horizon' as a journalist have tried to find people whose voices need to be heard so they can realize their dreams for themselves and their communities," Hunter-Gault said. "I hope this fund will encourage Georgia Dawgs from anywhere in the university to travel near and far, as I have tried to do, to give voice to those whose voices are unheard."

Hunter-Gault announced the fund during her keynote address at the fifth annual Chess and Community Conference at the Georgia Center on April 1. Hunter-Gault has reported on the Chess and Community program, created and directed by UGA alumnus Lemuel LaRoche, on PBS.

"Charlayne Hunter-Gault is an instrumental figure in the history of this institution," said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. "We are honored that she and Ron have established this fund, which will further Charlayne's profound legacy and will positively impact the lives of our students."

Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication Dean Charles Davis lauded "the remarkable work and commitment of Charlayne Hunter-Gault-from her PBS program 'Race Matters' that has shown us Lemuel LaRoche's dedication to chess and community in Athens, to her Peabody-winning stories and her service on the Peabody Board of Jurors, and as a champion of journalism the world over. We are grateful to be the stewards of Charlayne and Ron's vision for this fund. As it grows, it will help generations of students engage in innovative projects, internships, study abroad experiences, field study and other endeavors that give voice to the voiceless."

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Peabody Awards names PBS and FUSION broadcast partners for 76th annual ceremony

The Peabody Awards has partnered with PBS and FUSION on a special television broadcast of the 76th Annual Peabody Awards Ceremony. The red-carpet event will be held and taped the evening of Saturday, May 20, at Cipriani Wall Street in New York. A joint broadcast of the program is scheduled for Friday, June 2, at 9 p.m. EST.

The collaboration marks the first time the awards ceremony-a celebration of one of media's most coveted honors-will be telecast on both national broadcast and cable television. Rashida Jones, a cast member of Peabody Award-winning "Parks and Recreation," will serve as the evening's host. The Peabody Awards are based at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia.

"We are proud to join forces with PBS and FUSION in honoring the year's best stories in television, radio, podcasts and digital narratives," Peabody Awards Director Jeffrey P. Jones said. "Today more than ever, Peabody's mission to highlight the most compelling and empowering stories, and their impact on society is vital to public discourse. Broadcasting our awards ceremony to the loyal viewers of PBS and on FUSION's burgeoning network is a wonderful way to showcase Stories That Matter."

"The Peabody Awards has a long history of recognizing excellence in media," said Beth Hoppe, chief programming executive and general manager of general audience programming at PBS. "Acknowledging stories that matter is a core value of PBS, and we are thrilled to partner with them to bring the Peabody Awards honoring the best-of-the-best in media to PBS viewers around the country."

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$1.5 million gift enhances UGA’s proactive alcohol education

The University of Georgia will enhance its alcohol education and prevention programs thanks to a $1.5 million gift from Jack and Nancy Fontaine of Houston, Texas. The donation is their latest in nearly $6 million of support to the Fontaine Center for alcohol awareness and education since the center's establishment 11 years ago.

This gift will allow the Fontaine Center to increase the capacity of its Collegiate Recovery Community, as well as expand its proactive educational programming both on campus and throughout the state.

Liz Prince, who has served as director of the Fontaine Center since 2012, described the center's growth from assisting with individual cases of alcohol abuse to its current comprehensive programming that covers other drugs like marijuana and prescription drugs, as well as issues of interpersonal violence and sexual assault response.

"We're able to address things that really impact students where there's an intersection between alcohol and drugs and violence," she said.

Now the center offers a "spectrum of services," including prevention, early intervention and recovery support. They are also able to put students and families in touch with trusted treatment professionals around the country. Students know and trust the Fontaine Center and are getting in touch with counselors much earlier. Student organizations such as Greek Life groups and academic interest groups are reaching out to the center to request presentations and information sessions.

Prince said that the center has earned the respect of colleagues in the community and around the state.

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UGA students win national policy competition for TurnKey app

A new app wants to reward teens for not using the phone while driving. Created by students from the University of Georgia, the app recently took first place at the University of Pennsylvania's Fels National Invitational Public Policy Challenge held March 24-26 in Philadelphia.

The team-consisting of Master of Public Administration students Laura Pontari and Sara Richey, Doctor of Public Health student Hilary Carruthers, and Master of Public Health student Oluwatobi "Tobi" Olagunju-received $10,000 to complete the development of TurnKey, a mobile app designed to dissuade high school students from texting and driving.

The TurnKey app uses behavioral economics such as positive reinforcements to encourage students to drive safer. For each minute a student does not interact with their phone while driving, they earn points that eventually earn them prizes. Higher performing students will have their names entered into a drawing each semester for the chance to win a larger grand prize. In addition, students who team up to participate in the app's group competitions can claim awards that include bonus points or a group pizza party.

W. David Bradford, George D. Busbee Chair in Public Policy in UGA's School of Public and International Affairs, and Grace Bagwell Adams, assistant professor of health policy and management in the UGA College of Public Health, were the UGA team's faculty sponsors.

"TurnKey has implications for public safety and public health," said Bagwell Adams. "The application of behavioral science and technology to alter individual behavior in this context could save lives in Athens and other communities."

In collaboration with an app developer and the Athens-Clarke County School District, the TurnKey team will launch the pilot phase of the app at one Athens-area high school in fall 2017 and eventually span out to others.

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Roberto Docampo named UGA recipient of SEC Faculty Achievement Award

Roberto Docampo, Distinguished Research Professor of Cellular Biology and Barbara and Sanford Orkin/Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar, has been named the University of Georgia's recipient of the 2017 Southeastern Conference Faculty Achievement Award.

The award, which is administered by provosts at the 14 universities in the SEC, recognizes professors with outstanding records in teaching and scholarship who serve as role models for students and other faculty members. Winners receive a $5,000 honorarium.

Docampo, a faculty member in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and a member of the Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases, is a world-renowned researcher known for his work on neglected parasitic diseases including malaria, Chagas disease and sleeping sickness. He also is credited with the discovery of a novel organelle, the acidocalcisome, conserved from bacteria to human platelets, where it has a role in blood coagulation. His most recent work at UGA includes the successful use of the CRISPR/Cas9 technique to edit the genome of Trypanosoma cruzi, the parasite that causes Chagas disease. He also has characterized a key signaling pathway in the parasite, which could allow for advances in drugs or vaccines to treat or prevent parasitic diseases.

"Dr. Docampo is advancing research with implications for millions of people around the world while also educating and mentoring students who themselves will go on to improve global health," said Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Pamela Whitten. "His work exemplifies the vital role this institution plays in creating healthier communities in Georgia and beyond."

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UGA students, alumni offered record number of NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

A record number of University of Georgia students and alumni have been awarded National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships this year.

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.

"The University of Georgia continues to raise the bar for excellence in the STEM disciplines," said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. "I am proud of these 20 outstanding students and alumni whose research will help to solve some of the greatest challenges facing our world."

A list of UGA's 2017 NSF Fellows and their fields of study is available here.