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Two UGA faculty named AAAS Fellows

Two University of Georgia faculty members have been named Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, an honor bestowed upon them by their peers for "scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications."

Debra Mohnen, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology: Mohnen is recognized for pioneering work describing the biosynthesis of pectins and unraveling their role in plant cell wall integrity.

Robert A. Scott, professor of chemistry, biochemistry and molecular biology and associate vice president for research: Scott is recognized for distinguished contributions to metallobiochemistry, particularly on applications of synchrotron radiation-based techniques in bioinorganic chemistry, and for outstanding student training and university administration.

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UGA professor wins national agricultural science teaching honor from APLU

The Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities recently honored UGA Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics professor Michael Wetzstein with the National Teaching Award for Food and Agriculture Science.

The APLU presented the award, which honors university faculty for the use of innovative teaching methods and service to students, at the126th APLU annual meeting in November in Washington, D.C.

To instill his love for economics in students, Wetzstein casts information in a form they are comfortable learning. In class, economic concepts and connections are presented by webbing a variety of learning forms-prose, graphics and numerical examples. He believes that long after students have forgotten most of the specific content within a course, they will be left with positive impressions. Wetzstein's current research emphasis is on food versus fuel security and associated climate change impacts.

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UGA School of Law dominates regional moot court competition

The University of Georgia School of Law recently captured first place and the Best Petitioner Brief Award for Region 5 as part of the 64th Annual National Moot Court Competition. The school will now advance to compete against the top 30 teams from across the country at the national tier of the tournament, which will be held in New York City, N.Y., during February.

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Georgia, Rice, Stanford and Tulane receive the 2013 AFCA Academic Achievement Award

Georgia, Rice, Stanford and Tulane recorded a 100 percent graduation rate for members of its freshman football student-athlete class of 2006. This is the first time Georgia and Tulane have received this award, and the second honor for Rice and Stanford. The award will be presented at the President's Kickoff Luncheon on Monday, Jan. 13, at the 2014 AFCA Convention in Indianapolis.

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Teach to Learn brings CCSD science teachers to UGA science labs

Thirteen Clarke County School District middle and high school science teachers, along with five UGA College of Education master's students, will visit UGA science labs and meet with 10 science faculty from the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Engineering on Dec. 4. The professional learning day on campus is a component of the Teach to Learn partnership between the College of Education and CCSD.

The goal is to connect local science teachers with UGA faculty and their research. Charles Kutal, professor and associate dean in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and a Teach to Learn Advisory Board member, organized the event, along with Julie Luft, Athletics Association Professor of Science and Mathematics Education, and Amy Peacock, CCSD K-12 science coach.

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UGA professor named Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Fellow

Alfie Vick, an associate professor in the University of Georgia College of Environment and Design, was named a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Fellow at the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in Philadelphia earlier this month. This designation is only bestowed up on top instructors and practitioners.

Vick was among 51 international green building professionals selected to the 2013 class of LEED Fellows. The LEED Fellow Program is a professional designation from the green building industry that recognizes exceptional contributions to green building and significant professional achievement within the rapidly growing community of LEED Professionals. The LEED Fellows program is based upon peer nomination and a portfolio review process.

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New research shows promise for earlier, better dementia diagnosis

According to recently published research from the University of Georgia's Franklin College of Arts and Sciences department of psychology, scientists may be one step closer to a better biomarker for earlier detection of mild cognitive impairment, the leading predictor of dementia and Alzheimer's disease in older adults.

Psychology professor and Bio-Imaging Research Center director Stephen Miller, along with former graduate student Carlos Faraco, used fMRI brain scans-scans that give researchers not only a visual picture of the structure of the brain but also information about blood flow within the brain-to test the working memory of adults with normal healthy adult brains against those showing signs of mild cognitive impairment. The research was recently published in the journal Neuropsychologia.

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Early-action applicants to UGA receive admissions decisions

Some 7,500 high school seniors will have additional cause for celebration this holiday season, as they learn today that they have been offered early admission to the University of Georgia for fall semester 2014.

The admissions office received more than 12,000 early-action applications for the freshman class that will enter in 2014-another record number of applicants, and a very academically accomplished group of high school seniors. Similar to last year, those offered admission at this point are academically superior with an average GPA of almost 4.0, a mean SAT of 1355 (with a mean SAT writing score greater than 650), or a mean ACT of 30. UGA requires students to submit writing scores for their ACT and SAT tests; those scores are an integral part of the selection process, McDuff said. Those students admitted through early action also took an average of seven advanced placement or international baccalaureate classes.

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UGA awards student scholarships for study abroad in sustainability

The University of Georgia Office of Sustainability awarded scholarships to two undergraduate students for study abroad opportunities in sustainability. The awards are made possible by the Brittney Fox Watts Memorial Endowment established by the family of UGA alumnus Brittney Fox Watts to "honor her creative spirit, adventurous soul and loving heart and to empower individuals to address the health and well-being of people and communities around the globe."

Zack Holmes, a senior from Atlanta double-majoring in ecology and biology, plans to engage in a Maymester study abroad program through UGA Discover Abroad. The program will explore the north and south islands of New Zealand, focusing on sustaining human societies and the natural environment. He plans on pursuing a Ph.D. in disease ecology with a focus on how climate change is driving the spread of ecologically related pathogens, and he believes that knowledge gained through this study abroad will help him to "narrow the gap between ecological science and sustainable practice."

Erin Lawless, a first-year graduate student from Cumming, Ga., in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences textiles, merchandising and interiors department, plans to participate in a China study abroad experience titled "Global Sourcing of Soft Goods."

Through enhanced understanding of current textile production methods, Lawless hopes to become better equipped to promote sustainable, fair-trade practices in the fashion industry. In an undergraduate study abroad, she had the opportunity to work with a master dressmaker in Ghana and learn from the craftspeople that developed the products.

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UGA ranked 15th on Open Doors 2013 study abroad list

The University of Georgia was ranked 15th among all U.S. institutions in the 2013 Open Doors report on the number of U.S. students studying abroad. UGA had 1,991 students who studied abroad for academic credit in the 2011-2012 academic year.

The majority of UGA students participate in one or more of the approximately 100 faculty-led programs around the world, including programs at UGA’s year-round residential centers in Oxford, England; Cortona, Italy; and in the Monteverde region of Costa Rica. Others enroll in semester or year-round exchanges at one of UGA’s 50 exchange partners abroad or join external programs. Besides the traditional classroom-based programs, study abroad opportunities also include service-learning, lecture, fieldwork, internships and laboratory experiences.