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UGA graduate programs earn top 10 U.S. News rankings

University of Georgia graduate and professional programs continue to be recognized among the best in the nation in the 2024 edition of the U.S. News & World Report Best Graduate Schools.

The latest U.S. News & World Report rankings coincide with a period of growing demand for graduate and professional training at UGA.

“The University of Georgia’s innovative approaches to graduate and professional education are not only benefiting our students, but also local, regional and global communities,” said Ron Walcott, vice provost for graduate education and dean of the Graduate School. “The strong performance of our graduate and professional programs reflects the excellence and commitment of our faculty.”

The School of Public and International Affairs ranks No. 7 overall and has several graduate specialties among the nation’s top five. The College of Veterinary Medicine ranks No. 7 in the nation. In the Mary Frances Early College of Education, programs in school counseling, secondary teacher education, and curriculum and instruction all rank in the top 10 nationally. The full-time MBA program in the Terry College of Business ranks No. 31 in the nation and No. 11 among public universities. The higher education administration program in the Louise McBee Institute of Higher Education rose to No. 6 in the nation, continuing a run of top 10 rankings dating back to 2007.

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UGA highlights natural infrastructure initiatives at White House summit

During a panel discussion at the White House focused on restoring nature and providing communities tools to be resilient, the University of Georgia’s commitment to teaching, research and public service was highlighted on the national level.

Jack Hu, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost, participated in a panel discussion on workforce development during the Invest in Nature Summit, hosted by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. The event on April 20 focused on leveraging nature-based solutions to address the nation’s climate challenges while supporting investments in jobs, youth programs and resilient communities.

“At the University of Georgia, we are definitely seeing a lot of excitement in this area,” Hu said. “We’ve invested in faculty with expertise in nature-based solutions, developed educational programs to support students and address workforce needs, and created a framework to support research and engagement with government agencies, industry and communities.”

Hu was joined at the summit by Brian Bledsoe, Georgia Athletic Association Distinguished Professor in UGA’s College of Engineering, and Todd Bridges, who recently joined UGA as a professor of practice in the College of Engineering, after a long career as the national lead for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Engineering with Nature Initiative.

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Orkin establishes urban entomology professorship

Dan Suiter, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension entomologist and well-known expert in addressing the needs of pest control operators, has been named the Orkin Professor of Urban Entomology at the University of Georgia.

Orkin, an industry leader in pest control services and protection, has created the endowment to help strengthen the entomology program in the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES).

By supporting the CAES Department of Entomology, Orkin is supporting science that delivers transformative research to the world and helping to ensure that UGA faculty in urban entomology are leaders in their field. Orkin’s professorship paves the way for new research partnerships that advance the pest control industry, create new businesses and generate new jobs.

“The University of Georgia is very fortunate to have a partner like Orkin to help us increase our impact through teaching, research and outreach,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. “Their generous endowment of the Orkin Professorship in Urban Entomology will help our College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences advance this consequential field and support our talented faculty.”

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UGA researchers discover new planet outside solar system

A University of Georgia research team has confirmed evidence of a previously unknown planet outside of our solar system, and they used machine learning tools to detect it.

A recent study by the team showed that machine learning can correctly determine if an exoplanet is present by looking in protoplanetary disks, the gas around newly formed stars. The newly published findings represent a first step toward using machine learning to identify previously overlooked exoplanets.

“We confirmed the planet using traditional techniques, but our models directed us to run those simulations and showed us exactly where the planet might be,” said Jason Terry, doctoral student in the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences department of physics and astronomy and lead author on the study.

“This is an incredibly exciting proof of concept. We knew from our previous work that we could use machine learning to find known forming exoplanets,” said Cassandra Hall, assistant professor of computational astrophysics and principal investigator of the Exoplanet and Planet Formation Research Group at UGA. “Now, we know for sure that we can use it to make brand new discoveries.”

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Georgia Power invests $5M in e-mobility at UGA

The field of electric mobility, or e-mobility, is an area of tremendous growth in the state of Georgia. Thanks to a $5 million gift from Georgia Power Company to the UGA College of Engineering, the University of Georgia is aiming to be a leader in e-mobility for years to come.

“The University of Georgia is extremely grateful to Georgia Power Company for their generous investment in our efforts to advance e-mobility through teaching, research, and outreach,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. “Through our long-standing partnership with Georgia Power, UGA is expanding the educational opportunities available to our students and contributing to the economic development of our state.”

Georgia Power Chairman, President and CEO Kim Greene announced the gift at the second annual Electric Mobility Summit hosted by the University of Georgia. The summit brings together leaders in academics, research, industry and government to discuss opportunities and challenges in the e-mobility sector.

Georgia Power’s gift will be distributed across four areas: cultivation of an e-mobility network througout the state, scholarships for students pursuing UGA’s Certificate in E-mobility, support for research related to e-mobility, and and support for community partnerships to ensure the advances UGA makes in e-mobility are shared with all of Georgia.

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G-Day: Red beats black, Uga XI gets collared

Arian Smith scored twice, Carson Beck had a big opening half throwing the ball, and the Red squad knocked off the Black, 31-26, in the G-Day Game on Saturday afternoon at Sanford Stadium.

Prior to the game, Georgia unveiled Uga XI, named Boom, during a ceremonial collar transfer. Boom is a 10-month-old English Bulldog, and he has some big paw prints to fill. Uga X, known as Que, is retiring after a great run that began in 2015. Que is the winningest Uga of all time, having roamed the sidelines as the Bulldogs won back-to-back national championships and two SEC titles.

Georgia, winners of back-to-back College Football Playoff national championships, had about a dozen of last season’s standouts back on Dooley Field during the game, including quarterback Stetson Bennett, linebacker Nolan Smith and wideout Kearis Jackson. During a first-half timeout, they were recognized in front of the spirited crowd of 54,458 and got the chance to show off their new national championship rings.

While all those now-former Bulldogs looked on, Saturday’s spring practice finale featured an offense-heavy opening half in which both the Red and Black teams gained more 230 yards. Neither team got much going in the second half as more and more reserves took the field. The Black finished with 346 yards of offense to the Red’s 288.

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Peanut Innovation Lab receives $15 million

Farmers around the world grow peanuts because the plant adapts to poor soils and produces a crop even as droughts become more common. Peanuts are shelf-stable, nutritious, don’t require expensive fertilizer and people like to eat them. Smallholder farmers around the world grow the crop on modest plots and cook the nuts into traditional dishes or sell the crop for money to send their kids to school.

To leverage the power of this unique crop, the U.S. government partners with the University of Georgia to solve problems faced by farmers. On April 12, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and UGA announced a five-year extension of their collaborative research and outreach work in peanut innovation.

The $15 million grant from USAID will allow the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Peanut, which is headquartered in the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), to scale up the findings from previous research and get the technology into farmers’ fields.

“We are so pleased that USAID has chosen to continue their funding of the Peanut Innovation Lab for another five years, ” said CAES Dean and Director Nick T. Place. “Our mission in CAES is to support the creation of sustainable food systems both here and abroad – the important work done through this program is a critical part of that mission and we are excited to see what results come out of the Peanut Innovation Lab during this next funding cycle.”

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Two UGA faculty awarded Guggenheim Fellowships

Two University of Georgia faculty members are among 171 scientists, writers, scholars and artists honored across 48 fields by the Board of Trustees of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation with 2023 Guggenheim Fellowships. Guggenheim Fellowships are awarded annually to those “who have demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts.”

Andrew Herod, Distinguished Research Professor of Geography in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, and Sonia A. Hirt, dean of the College of Environment and Design where she is also Hughes Professor in Landscape Architecture and Planning, are UGA’s 2023 Guggenheim Fellows.

Herod’s Guggenheim project is about the U.S. and international poultry industry, and includes a planned book, “Chicken: A Geographical Political Economy.” The book will explore several aspects of the industry’s historical growth and contemporary global development, including how transnational meat corporations are impacting its structure; how growing consumer demand for organic and “ethically raised” meat is reshaping the industry; what international labor migration flows mean for the industry’s ongoing global geographical organization; and the connections between the scientific community and poultry production.

Hirt’s Guggenheim Project will explore how ideas of space and time evolved through American history and how they impact the way we design spaces and live in them today. The project will investigate America as a land of plenty, especially in terms of space, including the size of homes, yards, automobiles, gas stations and roads to its sprawling cities. Simultaneously, the work will explore how Americans’ notions of time—and the right way to spend it—stand apart from those in other Western nations.

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Two UGA juniors named Goldwater Scholars

University of Georgia juniors Audrey Conner and Emilio Ferrara have been named 2023 Barry Goldwater Scholars, earning the highest undergraduate award of its type for the fields of mathematics, engineering and natural sciences.

Both are Foundation Fellows and Stamps Scholars in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and the Morehead Honors College. Conner, from Tifton, is majoring in chemistry; Ferrara, from Atlanta, is majoring in biochemistry and molecular biology. Both presented their research at UGA’s annual undergraduate research symposium—the CURO Symposium—in early April.

Since 1995, 66 UGA students have received the Goldwater Scholarship, which recognizes exceptional sophomores and juniors across the United States.

“The University of Georgia commends Audrey and Emilio on this prestigious honor,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “We are excited to see them excel as undergraduate researchers who are already contributing a great deal to their fields and to UGA’s research enterprise.”

Conner plans to pursue a doctorate in organic chemistry and conduct research in organic synthesis and methodology. Ferrara plans to pursue a doctorate in biomedical sciences and research the next generation of curative genetic medicines for rare diseases.

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UGA students, alumni win NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

Two current University of Georgia undergraduate students are among the 10 campus recipients of 2023 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships.

The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program helps ensure the quality, vitality and diversity of the scientific and engineering workforce of the United States. The program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students who are pursuing full-time research-based master’s and doctoral degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) or in STEM education. The GRFP provides three years of support at $37,000 annually over a five-year fellowship period for the graduate education of individuals who have demonstrated their potential for significant research achievements in STEM or STEM education.

Begun in 1952, this fellowship program is the oldest and most prestigious of its kind; 42 recipients have gone on to become Nobel laureates, and more than 450 have become members of the National Academy of Sciences.