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Karri Hobson-Pape named vice president for marketing and communications at UGA

Karri Hobson-Pape, co-founder and partner at Inflexion Point Marketing Group in Atlanta, has been named vice president for marketing and communications at the University of Georgia. The appointment was announced today by UGA President Jere W. Morehead.

"Karri brings the ideal combination of professional experience and strategic vision required to advance the institution's critical marketing and communications functions," Morehead said. "I look forward to working with her as a member of the university's senior leadership team."

Hobson-Pape's appointment is effective Jan. 1, 2016. She succeeds Tom Jackson, who became heritage communications executive with the University System of Georgia earlier this year.

As vice president for marketing and communications, Hobson-Pape will report directly to Morehead and will oversee the Division of Marketing and Communications, currently known as the Public Affairs Division. The office comprises four departments: news service, publications, broadcast/video/photography and the Visitors Center, as well as WUGA-FM. Under Hobson-Pape's direction, the division will serve as the central communications and marketing unit at UGA.

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Georgia Writers Hall of Fame to induct four new members Nov. 9

The environment and civil rights will be the focus of this year's Georgia Writers Hall of Fame ceremony events Nov. 8 and 9 at the University of Georgia.

Taylor Branch and Janisse Ray will be inducted into the hall Nov. 9, along with posthumous honorees Vereen Bell and Paul Hemphill. The ceremony begins at 10:30 a.m. All events are in the auditorium of the UGA Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries.

"The Georgia Writers Hall of Fame celebrates our state's literary tradition, and this year we are proud to induct four outstanding Georgia writers," said Toby Graham, university librarian and associate provost. Branch is best known for his landmark history of the civil rights era. Ray's writing is deeply influenced by the natural world. Bell's fiction first brought the Okefenokee Swamp into the national consciousness, and Paul Hemphill explored themes related to the working class South.

"Our programming will focus on the topics of civil rights and the environment, ones that connect this year's inductees and that are of particular relevance to Georgia," Graham said.

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UGA engineering program to train students to look to nature for solutions

Researchers at the University of Georgia and James Madison University want students to draw inspiration from nature as they look for solutions to complex engineering challenges. The two universities have received assistance from the National Science Foundation to develop instructional resources centered on the concept of biologically inspired design, known as biomimicry, in engineering curricula.

The two-year collaboration will be led by Ramana Pidaparti, a professor and associate dean for academic programs in the UGA College of Engineering, and Jacquelyn Nagel, an assistant professor of engineering at JMU.

Nature has developed clever solutions for incredibly complex problems, Pidaparti explained. As examples, a leaf is able to convert sunlight and water into usable energy while a shark's skin possesses a unique texture that doesn't allow bacteria and other organisms to gain a foothold. With mankind facing increasingly complicated questions, scientists are turning to the natural world for answers through the study of biomimicry.

"The focus of our project is to provide students with experiences that combine biological concepts with engineering solutions," Pidaparti said. "We need to look to biological systems that have evolved over billions of years to find answers to engineering challenges of the future."

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UGA iGEM team wins gold at international synthetic biology competition

The University of Georgia's iGEM—International Genetically Engineered Machine—team won a gold medal and was runner-up for the best measurement project award at the 2015 iGEM Giant Jamboree in Boston, Massachusetts.

iGEM is an annual international collegiate synthetic biology competition originated by MIT. The 2015 event included 280 iGEM teams and more than 2,700 attendees from across the globe. The competition seeks to promote synthetic biology research awareness and collaborations to develop practical solutions for the real world. The teams are judged on their research novelty, impact toward real world solutions, outreach, collaborations and more.

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Sanford and Barbara Orkin to give $1 million for need-based scholarships at UGA

The University of Georgia today announced that Sanford and Barbara Orkin of Atlanta have extended a long history of generous giving by establishing a fund to provide scholarship support for low-income students attending the state's flagship institution of higher education.

The couple's latest gift of $1 million from the Sanford and Barbara Orkin Family Foundation will establish a scholarship fund, which will be used to provide financial support for tuition, books, room and board, and other living expenses incurred by outstanding, academically talented students who come from low-income families.

Students eligible for Orkin Scholarships may come from families where there is little to no parental involvement and financial resources are minimal to non-existent. In many instances, scholarship recipients will come from families where no current or past family member has ever attended college.

"One of the university's top priorities is to increase scholarship support for students with significant financial need," said President Jere W. Morehead. "I am deeply grateful to Sanford and Barbara for their enduring generosity and for establishing this scholarship fund, which will have a transformative impact on the lives of many UGA students."

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Former provost gives $500,000 to UGA College of Public Health

The University of Georgia College of Public Health has received a $500,000 gift to create the Karen and Jim Holbrook Distinguished Professorship and an endowed fellowship to support graduate students in the global health field.

Karen Holbrook served as UGA provost and senior vice president for academic affairs from 1998 to 2002 before being named president of The Ohio State University. Jim Holbrook is a retired oceanographer and past deputy director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Pacific Marine Environmental Research Laboratory in Seattle.

The gift reflects the Holbrooks' lifelong commitment to higher education, the health sciences and global collaboration as well as their strong affection for UGA. The UGA Foundation is providing an additional $250,000 for the distinguished professorship in recognition of Holbrook's transformative tenure as provost at UGA and to honor her remarkable service record in higher education.

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UGA receives $8.2 million grant to support families in Georgia child welfare system

A team of University of Georgia faculty members, led by a researcher in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences, has received an $8.2 million grant from the Administration for Children and Families, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to improve the lives of children and families in the child welfare system in Georgia.

The project will focus on creating positive and stable homes through the integration of research-based services designed to improve healthy marriage and relationship skills and promote economic stability.

With numerous state and local partners, including the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services, Georgia Family Connection, Great Start Georgia, Strengthening Families Georgia and Project Safe, the five-year project will reach nearly 1,500 families in a 13-county, mostly rural, region in northeast Georgia.

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Digital collection of Civil War materials receives Georgia Historical Records award

"America's Turning Point: Documenting the Civil War Experience in Georgia" received the Georgia Historical Records Advisory Council 2015 Award for Excellence in Documenting Georgia's History.

This project was part of a partnership between the Digital Library of Georgia, a GALILEO Initiative based at the University of Georgia, the Atlanta History Center, the Georgia Historical Society and the UGA Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

"America's Turning Point: Documenting the Civil War Experience in Georgia" is available at http://dlg.galileo.usg.edu/CollectionsA-Z/turningpoint_search.html.

The collection brings together archival materials documenting the Atlanta Campaign and the defense of Savannah; the Eastern Theater and Western Theater outside of Georgia; Confederate government records and correspondence of its prominent officials; life on the homefront; slavery; and the Civil War in memory.

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UGA graduate student wins U.S. Department of State eInternship

Matthew Nahrstedt, a graduate student in the Environmental Planning and Design program at the University of Georgia's College of Environment and Design, has been accepted into the Virtual Student Foreign Service eInternship program. He will be working with the U.S. Department of State's Overseas Buildings Operations Bureau, which directs worldwide overseas diplomatic building programs.

The internship, while virtual, will be in the Master Planning Division, researching foreign cities. The division manages the master planning of diplomatic facilities throughout their lifecycles. Its activities include site acquisition planning, expansion of existing compounds, redevelopment and relocation planning.

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Cordero named Patel Distinguished Professor in Public Health

The University of Georgia College of Public Health has named one of its newest faculty members, Dr. José F. Cordero, as the first Gordhan L. and Virginia B. "Jinx" Patel Distinguished Professor in Public Health.

Cordero joined the college in August as professor and head of its department of epidemiology and biostatistics.

"As the state of Georgia continues to struggle with poor ratings in infant and maternal mortality, we are very pleased to have one of the leading experts in child and maternal health join us at the College of Public Health," said Phillip Williams, dean of the college. "Under Dr. Cordero's guidance, the college and UGA will be able to expand its expertise in this area of critical need."

An internationally recognized researcher and public health leader, Cordero has dedicated his career to addressing maternal and child health, minority health and health disparities.

For 27 years, he served in the U.S. Public Health Service at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. During his time at the CDC, he was the first Hispanic to attain the rank of assistant surgeon general and held a number of leadership positions focused on improving the health of mothers, children and adults in programs such as immunizations, birth defects and disabilities.

The most prominent of these roles included deputy director of the National Immunization program and founding director of the National Center for Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities.