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UGA summit on women in agriculture pulls attendees from throughout the Southeast

More than 150 agricultural leaders from across 13 Southern states and Washington, D.C., converged on the University of Georgia's campus in Athens on Feb. 8 to discuss leadership roles for women in agriculture.

"The delegates at this summit represent the future of agriculture," said UGA President Jere W. Morehead in his welcoming remarks. "The work they are doing to shape policies and programs to promote gender equity and women's leadership development will have a positive impact on an industry that is crucial to our nation's food security and economic vitality."

Women representing government agencies, farms, the Cooperative Extension System and agriculture-related industries were invited to participate in the UGA-led Southern Region Women's Agricultural Leadership Summit. Participants were chosen because of the leadership roles they play in their home states.

"This is a very far-reaching conversation," said Laura Perry Johnson, associate dean for extension for the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. "The thing that has made this summit a success is the diversity in our delegates; we have representatives from industry, from production agriculture, from agribusiness, academia, government and much more."

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UGA offers small business expertise to farmers

The University of Georgia is combining its expertise in agriculture and economic development into a one-day conference later this month.

The UGA Small Business Development Center, a unit of Public Service and Outreach, along with the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and UGA Cooperative Extension will host a Georgia Farm Business Education Conference in Tifton on Feb. 25. Agriculture is the biggest industry in the state with a value of $14.1 billion in 2014, according to UGA's Farmgate Value report released last fall.

"UGA is known for resources for agriculture and agribusiness," said Debbie Finney, UGA SBDC Albany area director. "We wanted to focus on the business side of farming. But at the same time you can't do that without bringing in experts from both sides."

Laura Perry Johnson, UGA's associate dean for extension, said her office was excited to work with the SBDC on the conference.

"The partnership between UGA Extension and Small Business Development Center is a great example of extension and public service working together and pooling our resources to offer better service to our clientele," Johnson said.

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History department launches summer public history program in D.C.

A new University of Georgia program in public history is offering students the opportunity to learn about the professional side of their discipline—through archiving artifacts, giving tours of historic sites or curating a historical collection of films—while living in Washington, D.C.

The program, offered by the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences' department of history, will consist of a Maymester introduction to public history class followed by a summerlong internship at one of the many institutions, museums, libraries and other cultural institutions based in the nation's capital.

The program is the first of its kind for Franklin College through the UGA in Washington program.

Public history, sometimes referred to as applied history, lends itself to a variety of employment opportunities with museums, institutions and a wide variety of other cultural entities and gives students a first-hand look at history, said Akela Reason, an associate professor of history who is leading the program.

"This program will introduce history majors to what they can do with their degree outside of academia," she said. "So, it's history in public archives, libraries, parks, public monuments, historic sites and museums. And that's where they'll be interning as well."

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Grady Sports students to cover 2016 Olympic Games in Rio

Two University of Georgia students in the Grady Sports Media certificate program will travel to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in August to cover the 2016 Olympic Games.

Nicole Chrzanowski and Jaylon Thompson have been selected by the United States Olympic Committee to report on the Games for the USOC's various information channels, including its website, TeamUSA.org.

"It's going to be a huge undertaking to basically be a member of the press corps at the Olympics, which is one of the events that most sports journalists aspire to cover," said Vicki Michaelis, John Huland Carmical Distinguished Professor in Sports Journalism and director of Grady Sports at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. "It's a 17-day experiment in sleeplessness and constant deadlines. They'll be in that same crucible as all of the professional journalists around them, and these are two students that I'm confident can handle that."

Michaelis was the lead Olympics reporter for USA Today through six Olympic Games and worked as a freelancer with Team USA during the 2012 Games in London. That same year, she and Malcolm Moran, director of the Sports Capital Journalism Program at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, worked with the USOC to formalize a student assistant program for the 2016 Olympics.

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Bledsoe named inaugural UGA Athletic Association Professor in Resilient Infrastructure

Brian P. Bledsoe, a scholar with more than 25 years of experience as an engineer, hydrologist and environmental scientist in the private and public sectors, has been appointed the inaugural Georgia Athletic Association Distinguished Professor in Resilient Infrastructure in the University of Georgia College of Engineering.

The board of regents made the special appointment at its January meeting. Bledsoe will join the engineering faculty this month.

"Dr. Bledsoe brings a tremendous record of accomplishment to the University of Georgia College of Engineering, and he will play a major role in the continuing growth of our academic program and our research enterprise," said Donald J. Leo, dean of the college. "I sincerely thank our partners in the Athletic Association for supporting our mission to educate the next generation of engineers."

Bledsoe's research is focused on the interface of hydrology, ecology and urban water sustainability with an emphasis on the sustainability and resiliency of green infrastructure including streams, floodplains and stormwater systems. His work is currently funded by the National Cooperative Highway Research Program, the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, among others.

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Researchers make link between genetics, aging

Scientists at the University of Georgia have shown that a hormone instrumental in the aging process is under genetic control, introducing a new pathway by which genetics regulates aging and disease.

Previous studies have found that blood levels of this hormone, growth differentiation factor 11, decrease over time. Restoration of GDF11 reverses cardiovascular aging in old mice and leads to muscle and brain rejuvenation, a discovery that was listed as one of the top 10 breakthroughs in science in 2014.

Scientists in the UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences have now discovered that levels of this hormone are determined by genetics, representing another potential mechanism by which aging is encoded in the genome.

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University of Georgia to collaborate with GeoVax on Zika vaccine

The University of Georgia announced today that it has entered into a collaborative research agreement with GeoVax Labs Inc. to develop and test a vaccine to prevent the emerging and virulent Zika virus infection.

The collaboration will combine the vaccine development expertise of UGA researchers led by Ted Ross, director of UGA's Center for Vaccines and Immunology, with GeoVax's novel vaccine platform technology. Ross, a professor and Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in Infectious Diseases in the College of Veterinary Medicine, joined UGA last fall.

The World Health Organization on Monday declared Zika virus an international health emergency, noting that Zika is spreading explosively and could affect as many as 4 million people in the Americas by the end of the year. The mosquito-transmitted virus is linked with birth defects in thousands of babies in Brazil, and more recently, with Guillain-Barré syndrome, a disorder in which the body's immune system attacks the nervous system. The virus is anticipated to spread to countries throughout the Western Hemisphere, with the exception of Canada and Chile.

There is no proven vaccine or treatment for Zika, which is closely related to yellow fever, dengue and chikungunya viruses, also transmitted to people by mosquitoes.

"This important partnership with GeoVax is consistent with one of our highest priorities, namely to work effectively with industry to address important challenges facing the state, the nation and the world," said David Lee, UGA vice president for research.

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Simon Kilmurry and Monica Pearson appointed to Peabody Awards Board of Jurors

The Peabody Awards at the University of Georgia has appointed Simon Kilmurry, executive director of the International Documentary Association, and Monica Pearson, and television news journalist, to its Board of Jurors. Additionally, Fred Young has been appointed chair of the Board of Jurors and Eddie Garrett the new vice chair. Both are already jurors and Young has previously served as vice chair. The announcement was made by Peabody Awards Director Jeffrey Jones.

Simon Kilmurry became executive director of the International Documentary Association in 2015 after a tenure as executive producer of "POV," the long-running, much acclaimed PBS showcase for documentaries, and as executive director of "American Documentary," POV's non-profit parent organization. Under his leadership, "American Documentary" received a $1 million MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions in 2013. Kilmurry was educated at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and Columbia University Business School's Institute for Not-for-Profit Management. "POV" documentaries that he has executive produced have won numerous honors, including five Peabodys, a primetime Emmy, 14 News & Documentary Emmys, three DuPont Columbia Awards and two Overseas Press Club Awards.

Monica Pearson, the first woman and first minority to anchor a 6 p.m. newscast in Atlanta, retired in 2012 after 37 years with WSB-TV. She now hosts a weekly radio show on KISS 104.1 FM, writes a column, "Monica Matters," for Southern Seasons Magazine, and continues her "Closeups" interviews on www.wsbtv.com/monica. She has received numerous accolades and honors for her TV work, including 33 local and regional Emmys. In March 2012, the bipartisan Georgia delegation to the U.S. Congress honored her on the floor of the U.S. House as "a true pioneer and a trailblazer in television news." She has taught part-time at Atlanta Metropolitan State College. In addition to her degrees from the University of Louisville and the University of Georgia, she holds an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta University), Oglethorpe University, American Bible University and a Doctor of Public Service from Young Harris College.

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UGA Alumni Association unveils 2016 Bulldog 100 rankings; SMD LLC tops list

The University of Georgia Alumni Association recognized the 100 fastest-growing companies owned or operated by UGA alumni during the seventh annual Bulldog 100 Celebration Jan. 30 at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis.

The 2016 fastest-growing business was SMD LLC, founded by Shane Douthitt and Scott Mondore. Their North Carolina-based talent management and analytics company enables businesses to monetize people management. SMD's patented cloud-based talent software identifies cause-and-effect relationships between talent management and business outcomes and then converts those analytics into actionable results in just four clicks for front-line managers and individual employees. Both Douthitt and Mondore each earned a master's and doctoral degree in applied psychology from the University of Georgia.

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UGA president to chair SEC working group on compliance, enforcement, governance

The Southeastern Conference has appointed nine individuals from campuses across the SEC to form a working group to review and discuss issues concerning compliance with NCAA regulations and effective operation within the NCAA governance process, Commissioner Greg Sankey announced. University of Georgia President Jere W. Morehead will serve as chair of the group.

Sankey announced in July 2015 at the SEC's annual Football Media Days that he would convene the SEC Working Group on Compliance, Enforcement and Governance, a collection of campus leaders to review and discuss NCAA issues.

"Compliance with NCAA regulations and the development of processes for effective participation by the SEC in NCAA governance are critical to the future of this Conference," Morehead said. "This working group is a proactive initiative to put the SEC in position to be a leader for many years to come in the development and enforcement of NCAA rules and regulations while solidifying our culture of compliance with those rules."