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Kudos, March 2019

Alan Flurry

Congratulations to faculty and student award winners, the Georgia Debate Union, and distinguished keynote speakers announced among our colleagues this month. A sample of recent accomplishments:

Gregory Simchick, a graduate student in the department of physics and astronomy, has been selected to participate in the 69th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting taking place from 30 June to 05 July 2019 in Lindau, Germany. The most qualified young scientists are given the opportunity to join more than 30 Nobel Laureates to convene in Lindau. The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings foster the exchange among scientists of different generations, cultures, and disciplines. The 69th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting (#LINO19) will be dedicated to physics. The meeting’s key topics will be cosmology, laser physics and gravitational waves.


The Georgia Debate Union won the American Debate Association national championship tournament this past weekend in Athens. Nearly 100 teams from around the country attended the American Debate Association's end of the year championship tournament, hosted at the University of Georgia. Seniors Advait Ramanan and Swapnil Agrawal won the American Debate Association's varsity division national championship and finished the tournament undefeated, with wins over the University of Kentucky, the University of Minnesota, Northwestern University and Indiana University. Ramanan was also recognized as the top overall speaker in the varsity division. 


The number of University of Georgia undergraduate students in STEM disciplines has risen approximately 20 percent over the past five years, with 11,832 (40 percent of the student body) declaring a major in science, technology, engineering or mathematics in the fall of 2018 alone. 


“Good science begins with good questions,” said Roger Hunter, NASA Small Spacecraft Technology program manager and associate director of the NASA Ames Research Center. Hunter spoke about how his work helps answer those questions during the 2019 Charter Lecture, “NASA’s Kepler Mission and Small Spacecraft Technologies: Today and Beyond,” held March 20 at the Chapel.


An $800,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation to the University of Georgia New Materials Institute will help researchers understand how multilayer plastic packaging biodegrades and also help manufacturers in their attempts to design and select more sustainable materials. The research funded by the grant will seek to yield both upstream and downstream solutions aimed at reducing the buildup of plastic packaging in the environment. Professor of chemistry Jason Locklin, director of the New Materials Institute, is principal investigator on the grant.


George Contini, professor of theatre and film studies, and Shelley E. Zuraw, associate professor of art, are among five UGA faculty members have been named Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professors, the highest university recognition for excellence in instruction.


Three UGA faculty members have been named recipients of the Richard B. Russell Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, the university’s highest early career teaching honor. This year’s winners, all of whom are faculty members in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, are Vera Lee-Schoenfeld, associate professor of linguistics; Amy Pollard, associate professor of music; and Sarah Shannon, assistant professor of sociology.


Mallory Harris was named UGA’s first Knight-Hennessy Scholar. Harris graduated from UGA in May 2018 with bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and computational biology along with a Spanish minor and an interdisciplinary writing certificate.


Strengthening collaborations between UGA and scientists in Brazil, Distinguished Research Professor of Physics David Landau has been selected and awarded support to present seminars at three Brazilian universities. The Sociedade Brasileira de Física (SBF) and the American Physical Society (APS) support the Brazil-U.S. Professorship/Lectureship Program.


Marshall Shepherd, Georgia Athletic Association Distinguished Professor of Geography and Atmospheric Sciences, will be a Keynote Speaker at the seventh annual Atlanta Studies Symposium,hosted by the Georgia Institute of Technology and held at the Academy of Medicine. The 2019 symposium theme, “Atlanta in the Anthropocene: The Making of a Resilient, Resourceful City,” brings together scholars from across the region to discuss Atlanta’s role in climate mitigation, and how Atlanta might respond to coming challenges.


Second-year theatre and journalism major Rachael Simpson was awarded the New Georgia Award for Independent Theatre for her play, “The Darker Side of the Rainbow,” written as a part of the week-long playwright workshop Amplify organized by the Black Theatrical Ensemble.


Image: Roger Hunter delivers his Charter Lecture in the Chapel on March 20. (Photo by Andrew Davis Tucker/UGA)





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