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UGA Debate Team qualifies for national championship for 25th consecutive year

For the 25th consecutive year, the University of Georgia Debate Team has qualified for the National Debate Tournament. At the district competition held in late February at Emory University, UGA qualified two teams—the maximum number available to any university—to the season-concluding national championship, which will be held March 28 to April 1 at Indiana University.

The teams that qualified are made up of Shyam Shanker of Marietta, a fourth-year student double majoring in biology and political science, and Will Caplan of Alpharetta, a second-year double major in political science and international affairs minoring in communication, as well as Margaret Davis of Johns Creek, a third-year double major in sociology and political science minoring in Spanish; and Robert Galerstein of Dunwoody, a second-year double major in political science and international affairs minoring in comparative literature.

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UGA students to spend spring break volunteering at sites across U.S.

A group of 438 University of Georgia students will forgo typical spring break trips like the beach and amusement parks to spend the week of March 8 participating in community service work at 20 sites across the U.S.

These students will serve in soup kitchens, clean up state parks, build family housing and work with abused children. The students have signed on for IMPACT, a program that offers substance-free, experiential service-learning projects and encourages an understanding of pressing societal issues. Students perform short-term projects for community agencies and learn about social justice issues, including homelessness and poverty, children's wellbeing, affordable housing and construction, human rights, environmental topics, animal advocacy, Native American culture, disability awareness and HIV/AIDS awareness.

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UGA student testifies before Congress about impact of Extension

University of Georgia student Tess Hammock testified at a U.S. House of Representatives hearing Tuesday on behalf of the 7 million 4-H'ers in America.

The hearing, held before the subcommittee on horticulture, research, biotechnology and foreign agriculture chaired by Rep. Austin Scott (R-Ga.), recognized Cooperative Extension's centennial year.

"It is an honor for me to share my story," said Hammock, a youth trustee of the National 4-H Council, "and to tell you how the Smith-Lever Act and one of the world's most innovative educational ideas ever—the Cooperative Extension System of our nation's land-grant universities—has helped to shape my life and the person I am today."

Hammock, from Forsyth, Ga., is an agricultural communications major in the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

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Three UGA faculty receive Meigs Professorship for superior instruction

Three University of Georgia faculty members have received the university's highest recognition for superior instruction at the undergraduate and graduate levels, the Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professorship. 

The 2014 Meigs Professors are:

• James Hamilton, associate professor of advertising and public relations in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication;
• Audrey Haynes, associate professor of political science in the School of Public and International Affairs; and
• David Mustard, associate professor of economics in the Terry College of Business.

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UGA to offer online masters program in financial planning

Addressing the growing demand for financial advisers, the University of Georgia College of Family and Consumer Sciences will begin offering an online master's degree program in financial planning this fall. The non-thesis degree program will prepare graduates to sit for the Certified Financial PlannerTM examination.

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St. Marys town hall meeting will discuss development of flood resiliency plan

A Sea Grant Town Hall meeting will be held March 19 at 6:30 p.m. in the St. Marys Little Theatre (Theatre by the Trax), 1000 Osborne Road for St. Marys residents and municipal leaders to learn about the development of a flood resiliency plan and share feedback on issues related to flooding, sea level rise and storm surge. The public meeting will include summaries of the plan by researchers from Georgia Sea Grant, the University of Georgia Carl Vinson Institute of Government, Marine Extension and three UGA public service and outreach units.

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Paper by UGA ecologists wins inaugural award from Royal Society for the Protection of Birds

The authors of a University of Georgia study on global conservation funding have received an inaugural Conservation Science Award from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. Lead author Anthony Waldron, a former postdoctoral associate at the UGA Odum School of Ecology now at Oxford University, accepted the award on behalf of his co-authors at a ceremony on Feb. 26 at the Royal Society in London that marked the launch of the RSPB Centre for Conservation Science.

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Scientists use underwater robots to excite students about science

Can underwater robots catch the imagination of middle and high school students and spark an interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics? Researchers and educators from the University of Georgia's Skidaway Institute of Oceanography and Marine Extension think so. They are creating an education program focused on autonomous underwater vehicles, also called gliders or underwater robots.

The program, "Choose Your Own Adventure," will capitalize on Skidaway Institute's expertise with AUVs and MAREX's extensive history of marine education. Skidaway Institute scientist and UGA faculty member Catherine Edwards, and MAREX faculty members Mary Sweeney-Reeves and Mare Timmons will direct the one-year project.

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UGA Extension publishes first app for iPhones, iPads and Android devices

Stationed in the heart of the Chattahoochee National Forest, Mickey Cummings, UGA Extension coordinator for Union County and the app's content author, has spent his career identifying plants for day-trippers, hikers and homeowners in North Georgia.

"I started wanting to create a collection of photographs that backpackers could use to identify plants on the trail," Cummings said. "All the reference material I was working with was too large to pack, and we wanted something that would be easy for people to use."

He first developed a hard copy of his guide, a pocket-sized laminated flipbook, in May 2008 to help the public identify local plants on the fly. Since then, UGA Extension has sold more than 1,000 copies of that original book, and the free online edition has been viewed more than 6,000 times.

"Native Plants of North Georgia," now available for iPad, iPhone and Android devices, is a consumer-oriented field guide of the flowers, trees, ferns and shrubs that populate North Georgia's yards and forests.

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FACS department head wins national honor

Lynn Bailey, head of the foods and nutrition department in the University of Georgia College of Family and Consumer Sciences, has been named a Fellow of the American Society for Nutrition.

Induction as a Fellow is the highest honor bestowed by ASN and is given annually to a select group of scientists who have had distinguished careers in nutrition.