Congratulations to faculty in the department of computer science, who have spearheaded efforts that led to UGA being named a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Research, a designation that underscores the role the university plays in advancing technology, policy and practices that strengthen America's cyber defense capabilities.
UGA is one of just 71 institutions nationwide to hold this joint National Security Agency/Department of Homeland Security designation and, along with Georgia Tech, one of two CAE-R institutions in Georgia.
To receive designation as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Research, an institution must have a high level of research activity and meet several criteria for cyber defense research, student training and overall impact.
Faculty members in the university's Institute for Cybersecurity and Privacy, one of the institutes affiliated with the Georgia Informatics Institutes for Research and Education at UGA, conduct research in network and system security, web security, security for mobile devices and the Internet of Things, and cybercrime attribution, among several other areas. Their work has been funded by agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security, Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency and National Science Foundation, as well as through industry partners such as Intel and Cisco Systems. A DHS grant to associate professor Roberto Perdisci, for example, is supporting the transition to market of a system known as AMICO that he and his colleagues created to defend computer networks from malicious software. An NSF grant to professor Kang Li, who directs the ICSP, is enabling the creation of open-source software to enhance the security of cloud computing.
"The goal of the Institute for Cybersecurity and Privacy is to become a state hub for cybersecurity research and education, including multidisciplinary programs and research, outreach activities and industry partnership," Li said. "By working together, we can help meet our nation's cybersecurity needs."
This is a major achievement for the university, thanks to our outstanding computer science faculty. A critical research role in the defense of the country, the institute also touches UGA's service and instruction missions, and attracts more dedicated faculty and students who want to take part in such important work. Very well done.
A new collaboration on microbial ecosystems, the summer program in public history, and Write@UGA were just some of the news worth crowing about this summer. A few more awards and news items worthy of congratulations:
Researchers return to the Gulf of Mexico to investigate the impacts of oil, methane and chemical dispersants on the deep-sea ecosystem – Georgia Athletic Association professor of Arts and Sciences Samantha Joye led the expedition
Dorothy Carter, assistant professor of psychology, is the principal investigator on one of only seven proposals accepted by NASA's Human Research Program to support astronaut health on missions to Mars
UGA's Summer Program in Public History shows students what historians do beyond the university to bring history to a wider audience
Simons Foundation established a new collaboration investigating the mysteries of Earth’s microscopic communities. The Simons Collaboration on Theory of Microbial Ecosystems, which includes Distinguished Research Professor Mary Ann Moran, will investigate how microbial ecosystems in the oceans form and function
African music instrument donation helps UGA students learn music, culture, history
55 faculty members take part in the university's inaugural Write@UGA Faculty Writing Retreat in the Miller Learning Center
Clark Alexander named director of UGA Skidaway Institute of Oceanography
Shawn Foster, a University of Georgia student majoring in cognitive science and linguistics, was one of 20 students nationwide selected as a Beinecke Scholar
Professor of art Michael Marshall featured in the premiere edition of Focal Plane
New study by Professor of psychology and chair of the Behavioral and Brain Sciences Program Dorothy Fragaszy was the cover story in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Georgia Athletic Association Distinguished Professor Marshall Shepherd will receive the 2018 Helmut E. Landsberg Award from the American Meteorological Society
Samantha Joye, Georgia Athletic Association Professor of Arts and Sciences, was elected as a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union
And congratulation to faculty and staff, especially professor of geography and lead organizer John Knox, on the upcoming solar eclipse ‘blackout’ at the stadium next week
Image: PNAS cover linked to new study by Dorothy Fragaszy
Algal blooms, Waffle House eclipse-viewing, food insecurity, Planet of the Apes, work-life conflicts and many more stories, Franklin College faculty kept a full schedule in media across the globe this summer. Here's a sampling:
Science says: Trump team garbles climate science (Georgia Athletic Association Distinguished Professor Marshall Shepherd) – WTOP
Trump’s tax plan a reminder of Reagan’s fruitless attempt (Associate professor of history Stephen Mihm) – The Vindicator
350 million in Europe at risk of extreme weather, professor of geography Andrew Grundstein quoted in Gulf News
SunTrust Park built in rainy hot spot, says UGA scientist (Marshall Shepherd) – Marietta Daily Journal
The universe doesn’t care about your “purpose” (Op-ed by philosophy doctoral candidate Joseph P. Carter in the New York Times
Warming to worsen dead zones, algae blooms choking U.S. waters, Georgia Athletic Association Professor of Arts and Sciences Samantha Joye quoted in U.S. News & World Report
Women and men report similar levels of work-family conflicts (study by assistant professor of psychology Kristen Shockley noted in the American Psychological Association, HealthDay, PhysOrg, Live Science, Daily Mail, Daily Mail
Is the coast clear? Not in many beachfront areas (article at National Science Foundation quotes professor of marine sciences and director of the UGA Marine Institute on Sapelo Island Merryl Alber
UGA primatologist provides gorilla vocals in “War for the Planet of the Apes,” assistant professor of anthropology Roberta Salmi quoted in the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer
This isn’t the first time the nation has experienced an opioid epidemic (Stephen Mihm) – Las Vegas Review-Journal
How summer vacation took hold in the U.S. (Stephen Mihm) – Bloomberg Viewpoint
Higher temperatures mean more delays and bigger costs for the airline industry (Marshall Shepherd) – Forbes
The problem with celebrating your baby’s gender (Keith Campbell) – Redbook
Greenland’s summer ocean bloom likely fueled by iron (study by Distinguished Research Professor and Franklin College associate dean Thomas Mote) – Phys.Org
Two sad ironies in Florida passing its ‘anti-science’ law (Marshall Shepherd) – Forbes
The southern drawl gets deconstructed, ScienceNews article notes work by assistant professor linguistics Margaret Renwick
Food insecurity projected to grow more in Atlanta’s suburbs (Jerry Shannon) – WABE
Brazil’s oil plans cast shadows over newly found ‘stunning’ Amazon reefs, professor of marine sciences Patricia Yager, Samantha Joye quoted at The Wire
Deadly heat waves becoming more common (Marshall Shepherd) – The Daily Star
The mussels that eat oil (Samantha Joye) – The Atlantic
First-ever UN ocean science report makes one thing clear: We need more science (Marshall Shepherd) – Fusion TV
Actual scientists say sea-level rise is a threat to Tangier Island, Virginia (Marshall Shepherd) – Forbes
Junk science, self esteem myth, and coaching (Keith Campbell) – Waiting For Next Year
Excessive heat predicted for the coming week could affect your medication (Marshall Shepherd) – Forbes
Image: provided by NASA, taken Aug. 3, 2015, phytoplankton is seen off the coast of New York, top and New Jersey, left. via U.S. News
Georgia Athletic Association Professor of Arts and Sciences Samantha Joye and Georgia Athletic Association Distinguished Professor Marshall Shepherd recently received career-defining professional awards:
Professor of marine sciences and director of the Ecosystem Impacts of Oil and Gas Inputs to the Gulf research consortium, Joye has been elected as a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union. An international nonprofit scientific association with 60,000 members in 137 countries, the AGU is a worldwide scientific community, promoting discovery in Earth and space science for the benefit of humanity.
"To be named a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union is such a tremendous honor and one that I could never have achieved by myself. I would not be in this position were it not for an amazing group of former and current undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral research scientists," Joye said. "I am so fortunate to have the most incredible and wonderful colleagues, especially those who share my love and fascination of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem, and an incredible team that works so hard to advance our Gulf ecosystem research."
Professor of geography and director of UGA's atmospheric sciences program, Shepherd will receive the 2018 Helmut E. Landsberg Award from the American Meteorological Society. The award, recognizing major advances in understanding urban impacts on rainfall climatology and for assessing the socio-economic value of urban precipitation forecasts, will be presented to Shepherd at the AMS Awards banquet on Jan. 10, 2018.
"To be recognized by peers with one of the more significant awards in my field is particularly humbling and affirms that our body of work on how urbanization impacts weather and climate is having an impact," Shepherd said. "The Georgia Athletic Association Distinguished Professorship and sustained funding from NASA have enabled us to build a world-class research group on urban weather and climate at the University of Georgia. We are now attracting or retaining some of the best and brightest graduate students because of our work."
These aren't just two of UGA's best, but two of the best scientists anywhere. We are in proud of their accomplishments and humbled by their relentless commitment to education and their scientific mission to address some of the world's most pressing challenges.
Anthropology professor Jennifer Birch co-authored a new paper in Science Advances that focuses on Northern Iroquoia to illuminate the effects of population dispersal on regional signaling networks:
What happens to regional social interaction networks when an important group leaves the network? The dispersal of Iroquoian groups from the St. Lawrence River valley during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries A.D. has been a source of archaeological
inquiry for decades. Social network analysis presented here indicates that sites from Jefferson County, New York at the head of the St. Lawrence River controlled flow within regional signaling networks during the fifteenth century A.D. The simulated removal of this group of sites from the networks results in greater network fragmentation. Centrality measures indicate that Jefferson County sites acted as bridges between New York and Ontario sites. In the network for the subsequent century, to which no Jefferson County sites are assigned, no single group took the place of Jefferson County in controlling network flow. These results provide new insights into processes of population relocation and geopolitical realignment in Precolumbian and Contact-era northeastern North America. Signalling networks for the Northern Iroquoians took the form of pottery vessels with often complex geometrical decorations.
The research team used social network analysis to establish the dynamics between sub-groups. According to Birch, “by focusing on the connections between communities and regions, rather than a single scale of analysis, we are better able to understand how people’s everyday activities relate to the larger-scale social and political histories.”
Fascinating work. Archeology helps us understand history.
Image: Trek of Huron diaspora via wikimedia commons.
Students are returning so campus and downtown Athens will soon be full to bursting. One great thing students, faculty and staff can do to relieve congestion in the area is to leave your car at home. Flagpole provides a great primer on ways you can do just that:
Campus Transit buses are free for anyone to use, and they stop at every stop on the route. You can hop on and hop off at any stop. There’s more space out than in, so just remember to step back and let people get out of the bus first, and take your backpack off if it’s crowded.
Athens Transit buses are free for anyone with a valid UGA ID card, which riders swipe at the farebox when entering at the front of the bus. UGA Transportation and Parking Services uses the student transportation fee to pay the county a discounted fare per swipe. County buses do not automatically stop at every stop on the route, so you have to pull the stop request cord that runs along the windows.
The UGA Mobile App has extremely useful transit maps and bus trackers that work with both the Campus and ACC Transit systems. Use it to find stops near you, which routes go where, and how soon the next bus will arrive. Bus stops are also visible on Google Maps, thanks to a project by the 2015 LEAD Athens civic leadership class. Both systems have maps and bus tracking available on their respective web sites, as well: transit.uga.edu and athensclarkecounty.com/transit.
County buses have had bike racks on the front of them for years, but starting this semester UGA buses will have them too. This allows people with bikes to have much more flexible transportation options and cover a broader range. The bike racks are easy to use but may be intimidating the first time. Luckily, they are the same as the ones used by Transit Authority of River City (Louisville, KY), which produced an awesome video about them.
A lot of important information to keep you safe and healthy, and there's more at the link. Welcome back, everyone. Let's make it great year (to walk/bike/take the bus).
Orientation leader and future cardiothoracic surgeon Akash Shah has advanced his passion to change the world and discovered a way to work toward that goal every day:
B.S. in biology with neuroscience emphasis
B.S. in cell biology
University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:
My time at the university has been filled with accomplishments, leadership and academic opportunities, and making lifelong friendships. Attending UGA has been more than a dream come true, and although it has been an exceptional experience, I have struggled with an autoimmune disease during my time here which has helped push me to excel in every single thing I do.
My first year at UGA was marked by involvement in a few organizations that have shaped the person I am today. The first of those organizations was Georgia Daze, a minority recruitment organization on campus. Through Georgia Daze, I had the opportunity to host an accepted student, mentor him, and during his visit he informed me that his visit convinced him to attend UGA. The second of these organizations was UGA Miracle, an on-campus philanthropy organization. I was selected as a member of the Hospital Relations Committee and made multiple visits to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta to volunteer for the children in the comprehensive inpatient rehab unit. During this experience, I met children who have since changed my life in more ways that I can mention. The summer after my first year, I participated in research at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Scottish Rite under Dr. Stanley Cohen during which I helped develop and analyze results from a study using alternative care methods to treat patients who suffered from numerous digestive disorders, including Crohn’s disease, which I personally struggle with.
My second year was marked by increasing leadership involvement on campus through two organizations. I served as the Fundraising Committee lead for the Hospital Relations Committee of UGA Miracle. Through this opportunity, I was able to coordinate hospital visits to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, while also directing a committee of more than 80 people to raise over $60,000, which contributed to an organization-wide total of over $614,000. I also served as the health chair of the UGA chapter of the NAACP. This gave me the chance to lead numerous programs bringing attention to health problems affecting minority communities as well as social justice issues. The summer after my second year was marked by the amazing opportunity to shadow and sit in on meetings with Dr. Allen Dollar, chief of cardiology at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta.
During my third year, I was given the opportunity to lead the UGA chapter of the NAACP as president. This was one opportunity that changed my life in numerous ways and has since become one of my largest passions. I was the first non-African-American president in chapter history and my term was marked by a seven-fold increase in membership, fundraising of over $6,000 to take a bus of 50 UGA students to the Million Man March in Washington, D.C., and receiving a SOAR award for that trip in conjunction with UGA’s Black Male Leadership Society. That year, I also received the John and Frances Mangan Family Scholarship through the Disability Resource Center on campus. The fall of my third year as well as my fourth year, I assisted the Office of the President and the Office of Undergraduate Admissions with a new initiative called Road Dawgs, a program in which we traveled to schools we don’t typically receive students from and tell them about the University of Georgia as well as college in general in hopes that they attend the university. The summer after my third year, I was able to shadow Dr. Brent Keeling, a cardiothoracic surgeon, at Grady Memorial Hospital.
During my fourth year, I was provided with opportunities that have shaped my time at UGA. Despite being hospitalized for a week and struggling through fall semester due to a flare-up of my auto-immune disease, I was not only able to thrive academically with my highest semester GPA, but was also selected as an orientation leader for New Student Orientation and have the amazing opportunity to impact the lives of thousands of new students. This year, I began participating in faculty-mentored research through the department of veterinary pathology, doing research on and working on a grant sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense. Toward the end of this year, I started a new student organization with two amazing individuals with the goal of bridging gaps on campus between organizations that may not usually associate.
A fantastic young man with a great future, who will make the future brighter for many beyond himself. Have great year, Mr Shah.
Landscapes of Chingaza: an exhibition of paintings by alumnus Philip Juras (‘90 BFA Art/Drawing & Painting, ‘97 MLA -Master of Landscape Architecture) in celebration of the 40th anniversary of Chingaza National Park, Colombia, opened this past week in Bogota. Juras had the honor of touring the exhibition with Colombia's president, Juan Manuel Santos. The exhibition, combining Juras' passions for art and conservation, presents a unique and comprehensive artistic representation of this Andean ecosystem:
Chingaza National Park is located 20 miles (50 km) east of Bogotá, Colombia, at between 9,000 and 13,000 feet (2,700m to 3,900 m) elevation. It serves as a refuge for the richly diverse páramo ecosystem, a high-elevation tropical grassland unique to the northern Andes. Chingaza is also the main source of drinking water for the eight million inhabitants of Bogotá.
At the highest elevations of the park, the formerly glaciated landscape is typically covered with relatively low, warm-colored grasses punctuated by silvery groups of espeletia, an unusual member of the aster family. Lower down, as the páramo grades into cloud forest it becomes more varied with dense patches of chusquea (a bamboo) and an array of shrubs and low trees that host a wide variety of aerophytes on their branches. The lowest slopes are cloaked by the resplendent Andean cloud forest. These richly diverse plant communities host numerous animal species including the Andean bear, white tail deer, tapir, puma, and over 200 bird species.
Congratulations to Juras on the remarkable achievement of these resplendent paintings and the international attention for his work. We're very proud to call him one of our own.
Image: View Over San Juanito, Chingaza National Park, Colombia by Philip Juras 2017 Oil on canvas 42 x 66 in.
Intuitively, I think most people understand that we have seasons because the Earth is tilted on its axis as it rotates around the sun. We are currently in northern (southern) hemisphere summer (winter) because that hemisphere is tilting toward the sun and receiving more direct energy. I often cringe during the winter when someone tweets, "it's snowing so what do they mean global warming."
One of the most nagging climate literacy challenges is public understanding of the role of the sun within Earth's climate system. I cannot tell you how often people mischaracterize the role of the sun in the climate change discussion. We live comfortably on Earth because of the sun. We are, on average, about 92 to 93 million miles of the sun, but the distance is not necessarily the most important factor for our comfortable temperature range. The sun is the driver of Earth's weather-climate system, but this is where it gets a bit tricky to understand if you have not taken a few classes in atmospheric physics or radiative transfer.
The more we know, indeed. Thanks to Dr. Shepherd for using his media platform(s) to inform and educate. The Eclipse event at the stadium will also be an important opportunity to engage, if even only for a few minutes, with a phenomenon that is ever-present, easy to ignore yet plays such a crucial role for life on Earth.
Image: Graphic of the Earth's global circulation, courtesy of NOAA.