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School of Law wins National Moot Court Competition

The University of Georgia School of Law won the 70th Annual National Moot Court Competition in New York City on Thursday.

The winning team members are third-year students Jonathan Kaufman, John Lex Kenerly IV and Joseph H. “Joe” Stuhrenberg.

The team prevailed in the regional rounds and then headed to New York, where they squared off against 31 other teams from around the country. Over the course of six rounds in four days, the team ultimately won in the finals before a panel of five distinguished judges.

In addition to winning the national championship, Stuhrenberg was named best oralist in the final round.

The team was coached by the School of Law’s Kellie Casey and Rob McNiff. This is the fourth time the School of Law has won the National Moot Court Competition.

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College of Engineering institute wins teaching award

The University System of Georgia has named the Engineering Education Transformations Institute (EETI) in the UGA College of Engineering the winner of its 2020 Regents’ Teaching Excellence Award for Department or Program. The award showcases an outstanding department or program — selected from among all 28 institutions within the university system — that promotes, supports and recognizes excellence in teaching and service to students.

“The University congratulates the Engineering Education Transformations Institute on this high-level recognition,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. “Its members’ commitment to student learning and success in engineering is inspiring, and their innovative work has the potential to benefit students and faculty across all STEM disciplines at UGA and beyond.”

The Engineering Education Transformations Institute is comprised of faculty, staff, researchers and students from three schools and 15 degree programs in the College of Engineering. It seeks to transform engineering education by building social capital and shared capacity around the scholarship of teaching and learning in engineering.

Through research, education forums, teaching and learning communities, and support for project development and travel, EETI is creating a community that is passionate about improving the educational experience of engineering students. The institute offers Georgia’s only doctoral program in engineering education, and it encourages undergraduate students to work alongside faculty on nationally funded engineering education projects.

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College of Engineering professor named AAAS Fellow

William Kisaalita, a professor in the University of Georgia College of Engineering, has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The honor is presented to AAAS members by their peers for scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.

Kisaalita is being recognized for his contributions to the field of development engineering, particularly in the use of human-centered design for the creation of technology-based interventions for low-resource settings. Kisaalita’s research has led to the creation of three devices in commercial use, including a biofuel-powered cooler to keep milk fresh and safe to drink in areas without electricity, such as sub-Saharan Africa.

“I am deeply humbled by this recognition by my peers. However, I should mention that these contributions would not be possible without the many graduate and undergraduate students I have worked with over the years – this is their recognition as well,” said Kisaalita. “I am excited and look forward to continued inquiry, creation and service toward solutions to problems from a large segment of our global population earning less than $5 per day.”

“Dr. Kisaalita is a perfect example of how engineers positively impact the world by searching for solutions to our greatest challenges,” said Donald Leo, dean of the UGA College of Engineering. “He is an excellent teacher, a dedicated mentor and a creative researcher.”

Along with his teaching and research responsibilities, Kisaalita has served as the associate director of UGA’s Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities and he is a faculty mentor for students in the Peach State Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation.

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LeaseQuery named fastest-growing UGA business

The University of Georgia Alumni Association recognized the fastest-growing companies owned or operated by UGA alumni during the 11th annual Bulldog 100 Celebration on Feb. 8 in the West End Zone of Sanford Stadium.

The 2020 fastest-growing business, LeaseQuery LLC, is led by CEO George Azih and Chief Revenue Officer Chris Ramsey. Azih earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration in 2003 and Ramsey earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2005.

Atlanta-based LeaseQuery helps over 10,000 accountants and finance professionals eliminate lease accounting errors through its lease accounting software—the first of its kind built by accountants for accountants. The company also provides specialized consulting services and facilitates compliance with regulatory reform for companies across all sectors.

“I’m so proud to be recognized by the UGA Alumni Association. The reason LeaseQuery exists is because of UGA and the professors I had here,” said Azih. Ramsey added, “UGA is fantastic because if I hadn’t come here I wouldn’t have met George or the many other UGA grads that form the basis of our company.”

The Bulldog 100 recognizes the fastest-growing businesses regardless of size by focusing on a three-year compounded annual growth rate. The average compounded annual growth rate for this year’s Bulldog 100 businesses was 59 percent.

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Shepherd wins AAAS science engagement award

J. Marshall Shepherd, a meteorologist whose diverse communication efforts engage a wide audience on weather, climate, and the relationship between science and society, will receive the 2020 Mani L. Bhaumik Award for Public Engagement with Science from the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

As the Georgia Athletic Association Distinguished Professor and director of the atmospheric sciences program at the University of Georgia, chair of the NASA Earth Science Advisory Committee, and former president of the American Meteorological Society, Shepherd’s prowess as a researcher and leader are well known within the scientific community. Yet he also devotes an exceptional amount of energy to connecting with public audiences by writing a regular column for Forbes, hosting a Weather Channel podcast, engaging with his local community, and more.

“Dr. Shepherd is not only a world-class scientist, community servant, and role model, but he is an outstanding communicator,” wrote Jack Kaye, associate director for research in NASA’s Earth Science Division, in the award nomination letter. “Few scientists put as much time and effort into communicating with a broad set of audiences as Dr. Shepherd.”

The AAAS Mani L. Bhaumik Award for Public Engagement with Science, established in 1987, recognizes scientists and engineers who demonstrate excellence in their contribution to public engagement with science. In 2019, the award was endowed by quantum physicist Mani L. Bhaumik.

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Viticulture researcher honored in 40 Under 40 awards program

Cain Hickey, viticulture researcher in the horticulture department of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, was recently recognized for his contributions to Georgia’s burgeoning wine industry by the publishers of  Fruit Growers News  and  Vegetable Growers News  in their Fruit and Vegetable 40 Under 40 awards program.

The national awards program recognizes young growers, Extension professionals, industry leaders and researchers who are contributing to the future of the fruit and vegetable industries. Honorees are nominated by their peers based on their early career accomplishments.

Working mainly at test plots at the Durham Horticulture Farm in Watkinsville and in north and west Georgia’s wine-growing counties, Hickey has researched disease-resistant varieties of wine grapes, new trellising systems for Southern climates and cultivation best practices.

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Education faculty member receives NCTE award

Sakeena Everett, an assistant professor in the College of Education’s language and literacy education department, received the Alan C. Purves Award from the National Council of Teachers of English for her article “Untold Stories: Cultivating Consequential Writing with a Black Male Student through a Critical Approach to Metaphor.”

The article was based on a consequential literacy pedagogy that Everett developed to provide support for high-achieving young black men and their English language arts educators. It was published in Research in the Teaching of English, a flagship journal for English educators, and is considered the 2018-2019 Research in the Teaching of English article most likely to have an impact on educational practice.

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UGA posts record $477.5M in R&D expenditures for FY2019

The University of Georgia continued a multi-year expansion of grant-funded research programs in fiscal year 2019, increasing its economic impact on the state. Research and development expenditures reached a record high of $477.5 million—a robust increase of 5.4 percent over the previous year. Over the past five years, the university’s R&D expenditures have jumped by more than 34 percent.

“As UGA grows its research enterprise, we are expanding our positive impact on the world while strengthening the economy of our home state,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “Gains in agricultural productivity; improvements to health care; the creation of new, marketable products—these are just a few of the many benefits stemming from UGA’s research and development that are driving our increased economic impact on Georgia, which is now estimated at $6.5 billion per year.”

The growth in research expenditures is due to the success of UGA faculty in winning grants and contracts. Notable recent examples include Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar Ted Ross in the College of Veterinary Medicine, who last fall received an award of up to $130 million from the National Institutes of Health to develop a universal flu vaccine, and Distinguished Research Professor Jessie Kissinger in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, who won two awards in the past year totaling up to $16.2 million to develop health informatics databases.

The success of UGA faculty in competing for grants extends across the university. UGA’s Willson Center, for example, has received more than $600,000 since 2018 from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, denoting record levels of grant funding in the humanities.

UGA currently ranks No. 57 among U.S. universities in the National Science Foundation’s survey of overall R&D expenditures. The ranking, which lags a year behind, is based on UGA’s FY2018 R&D expenditures of $453.2 million.

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Ecologist receives NSF CAREER grant

Aquatic ecologist Krista Capps, an assistant professor in the Odum School of Ecology and Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, has been awarded a CAREER grant from the National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development program.

CAREER grants, which are among the most prestigious given by the NSF, support early-career faculty who exhibit promise as both researchers and teachers, and whose work has the potential to advance their field and their institution.

“CAREER awards from the National Science Foundation are prestigious, only given to those that have already become accomplished for their science,” said John L. Gittleman, dean of the Odum School of Ecology. “But even more important, they signify the confidence that their research will continue to grow in critically important areas. This is an exceptional honor for Dr. Capps as well as for the scientific strength of ecology and UGA.”

A member of the River Basin Center, Institute for Resilient Infrastructure Systems, the Center for Integrative Conservation Research, and the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Institute at the University of Georgia, Capps studies the structures and processes of freshwater ecosystems with a focus on how human activities alter them.

The five-year, $1.18 million CAREER grant will fund research about the impacts of wastewater on the structure and function of tropical rivers, particularly the impacts of pollution that results from aging and obsolete wastewater infrastructure.

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Carnegie Foundation reaffirms UGA as community engaged university

The University of Georgia has been recognized for excellence in public service and outreach, being designated as a community engaged institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching for a second time. The classification was first awarded to UGA in 2010.

“Receiving this classification is a national recognition of the University of Georgia’s expansive outreach programs and their impact on Georgia, the United States and the world,” UGA President Jere W. Morehead said. “As the state’s land-grant and sea-grant university, working with communities to build a stronger, more prosperous Georgia is central to everything we do.”

The Carnegie Foundation’s Community Engagement Classification recognizes public service and outreach activities such as service-learning and university-community partnerships. This elective classification requires submission of extensive documentation and evidence of unique and distinctive university partnerships with local, statewide and global communities.

Since the initial classification in 2010, UGA has greatly expanded its outreach programs and opportunities for students. President Morehead’s focus on experiential learning has meant that every undergraduate student now graduates with a meaningful, hands-on learning experience outside of the classroom setting. The number of service-learning courses at UGA has more than doubled since 2010, with 250 individual courses carrying the official “s” designation. In 2018-19, more than 7,150 students enrolled in at least one service-learning class, providing more than 300,000 hours of service and an estimated $7.7 million economic impact on Georgia communities.

In partnership with local communities, the university’s Small Business Development Center, with 17 locations around the state, helped create 450 businesses and more than 3,000 jobs last year alone. The university’s economic impact on Georgia is estimated at $6.5 billion annually, $973 million of which comes from the impact of UGA’s outreach programs.