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University of Georgia startup company named Startup of the Year for 2013

IS3D LLC, creators of interactive software to teach scientific principles to students in grades K-12, received the "Startup of the Year for 2013" award presented by Four Athens.

Members of the greater Athens community submitted nominations for the inaugural award, which was presented during Four Athens' annual Open House on Jan. 21. "Startup of the Year is given to the team that demonstrates growth, persistence, engagement and an overwhelming desire to succeed," said Jim Flannery, project director for Four Athens (www.fourathens.com). The organization, which was formed to discover startups, build community, connect creativity, accelerate growth and invest in success, plans to give the award annually.

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Malian agricultural delegation returns to the University of Georgia

An agricultural delegation from the Republic of Mali braved the snow this week to visit the University of Georgia and meet with faculty and administrators.

The visit represents a renewal of the partnership, which was first established in 2006, between the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the people of Mali.

"The purpose of the visit is to foster more cooperation between the agricultural and educational organizations in Mali and scientists here at UGA," said CAES Dean J. Scott Angle. "We are excited to work with our counterparts in Africa to help foster development of agricultural practices here and overseas."

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UGA earns spot in The Princeton Reviews The Best Value Colleges book

The University of Georgia has received recognition in The Princeton Review's new book, "The Best Value Colleges: The 150 Best-Buy Schools and What It Takes to Get In."

The book, published on Jan. 28, includes 150 academic institutions—75 public and 75 private—based on surveys The Princeton Review, an education services company, conducted in 2012-13 of 2,000 undergraduate institutions concerning their academics, cost and financial aid. The publication also analyzed student survey data collected over the last three academic years. Rankings were made only for the top 10 in each category.

In its overview of UGA, The Princeton Review editors highlighted Georgia's merit-based HOPE Scholarship, which provides high school graduates who have a minimum 3.0 grade point average with a scholarship to cover the cost of tuition and a percentage of student fees and books. The editors also noted that UGA offers the prestigious Foundation Fellowship, which provides an annual stipend of approximately $9,000 for in-state students (in addition to the HOPE Scholarship) and $15,700 for out-of-state students (plus an out-of-state tuition waiver).

Robert Franek, The Princeton Review's senior vice president and publisher, said, "We salute these colleges for their outstanding academics and affordability either via their comparatively low sticker prices or generous financial aid awards to students with need-or both."

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UGA School of Law wins best of the best national moot court competition

This past weekend, the University of Georgia School of Law captured the top trophy at the Andrews Kurth Moot Court National Competition. This invitation-only tournament had the top 16 moot court programs from law schools across the country, based on performances during the 2012-13 academic year, competing in an elite environment.

Margaret E. "Maggy" Randels and Utrophia D. Robinson, Georgia Law third-year students, were the only undefeated team through multiple rounds of competition and brought home the national victory to UGA. Additionally, Robinson was named the competition's second best oralist, and the pair prepared the tournament's third best brief.

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University of Georgia Alumni Association unveils 2014 Bulldog 100 rankings

The University of Georgia Alumni Association honored the 100 fastest growing companies owned or operated by UGA alumni during the fifth annual Bulldog 100 Celebration Jan. 25 at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis.

The 2014 fastest growing business was Social Empowerment Center, founded and owned by UGA graduates and husband and wife duo, Rachelle and Edward Hutchinson. Located in Lawrenceville, Social Empowerment Center offers support to families in crisis, including mental health and indigent services. This was the company's first appearance on the Bulldog 100. Rachelle D. Hutchinson, a 2000 graduate of UGA's School of Social Work, is the first female and the first minority business owner to lead the No. 1 company since the program began in 2010.

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UGA researchers discover origin of unusual glands in the body

The thymus gland is a critical component of the human immune system that is responsible for the development of T-lymphocytes, or T-cells, which help organize and lead the body's fighting forces against harmful organisms like bacteria and viruses.

The main body of the thymus lies beneath the breastbone in the upper chest. But scientists were surprised several years ago when two teams of researchers discovered that both mice and humans have extra thymus-like glands distributed throughout their necks.

Now, researchers at the University of Georgia have published findings in Nature Communications that reveal where these extra glands come from and help explain what roles the extra thymuses may play in the complex network of the body's natural defense systems.

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Two UGA geneticists receive $1 million NSF CAREER Awards

Andrea Sweigart and David Nelson, assistant professors in the department of genetics in the University of Georgia Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, have each been awarded grants from the National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Program. The five-year, $1 million grants support junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.

"NSF CAREER awards are among the NSF's most prestigious. They are designed to identify the best and brightest up-and-coming scientists," said Allen Moore, professor and head of the department of genetics. "Our department is thrilled to have two awardees this year, which replicates our success in 2012. In addition to being outstanding researchers, all four faculty have undergraduate researchers in their laboratories, thereby exposing our students to the very best evolutionary and molecular genetics research."

Sweigart and Nelson join Kelly Dyer and Douglas Menke as recipients of the NSF CAREER award from the department of genetics since 2012.

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UGA presents Presidents Fulfilling the Dream Awards

The University of Georgia presented three awards to community members working toward equality, diversity and justice Jan. 17 as part of the 11th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Breakfast sponsored by UGA, the Athens-Clarke County Unified Government and the Clarke County School District.

Mark Dawkins, associate dean for academic programs and an associate professor of accounting in the Terry College of Business; Ernest Hardaway, assistant superintendent of human resources for the Clarke County School District; and Dervin Cunningham, a fourth-year biological science major, all received the 2014 President's Fulfilling the Dream Awards for their work in the Athens-Clarke County community to make King's dream of equality and justice a reality.

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Georgia College Advising Corps staff member recognized by President Obama

Lawrence Harris, a college adviser at Clarke Central High School in Athens and a member of the Georgia College Advising Corps, a program sponsored by the University of Georgia's Institute of Higher Education and part of the national College Advising Corps, was recognized by President Barack Obama at the White House summit on expanding college access held on Jan. 16.

"Lawrence went to the University of Georgia, and like a lot of first-generation college students it wasn't easy for him," Obama said. "He had to take remedial classes. He had to work two part-time jobs to make ends meet. At one point, he had to leave school for a year while he helped support his mom and his baby brother. Those are the kinds of just day-to-day challenges that a lot of these young people with enormous talent are having to overcome. Now, he stuck with it. He graduated.

"But now he's giving back. He's made it his mission to help other young people like him graduate, as a college advisor at Clarke Central High School in Athens, Georgia. And today the National College Advising Corps, the program that placed Lawrence in Clarke Central, is announcing plans to add 129 more advisors who will serve more than 80,000 students over the next three years."