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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."

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UGA Honors student to present research on Capitol Hill

Erin Hollander, a junior Honors student majoring in biochemistry and genetics at the University of Georgia, was one of 60 presenters selected out of hundreds of applicants from institutions across the country to present her research at the nation's capital during the 20th annual Posters on the Hill event held in Washington, D.C., on April 19-20.

Posters on the Hill highlights exceptional undergraduate research by allowing students the opportunity to showcase their work and advocate for undergraduate research to congressional representatives. Each year, hundreds of attendees, including legislators, their staffers and federal program representatives, view the presentations.

"It is wonderful that UGA students continue to receive this impressive recognition, and I am very proud of Erin individually," said David S. Williams, associate provost and director of UGA's Honors Program. "Erin is a dedicated and gifted researcher who has worked hard and has been well supported by her faculty mentors. I look forward to following her work in the future."

The event, which is sponsored by the Council on Undergraduate Research, helps raise awareness of the high-quality research undergraduate students pursue, the impact of this research on students' professional preparation and the importance of continued investment in and expansion of undergraduate research support.

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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 Womens 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."