First-Year Odyssey: an intro to careers

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FYO_vet.jpgIn a query in the form of a comment to a recent post, a prosective UGA student asked about the Franklin College and what role, as a prospective veterinary student, Franklin would play in their education. It's a good question.

A very significant role, actually. Aside from its importance to the core curriculum for a host of majors beyond Franklin, preparing students for study in a wide variety of fields and professional schools, the arts and sciences educate us about society in a way that will impact everything we do, whatever our field. The First-Year Odyssey program offers a case in point on this experience:

First-Year Odyssey seminars are designed to introduce students to academic life at UGA, allowing them to engage with faculty and other first-year students in a small class environment. 
In this seminar, Ward, a professor of internal medicine at the College of Veterinary Medicine and chief medical officer for small animal medicine, asks students to explore how pets are part of society and what responsibility people have to their pets. But the course also gives students a chance to see and interact with animals.
There were plenty of adoring "oohs" and "ahs" from the class of 15 students as they toured the existing Veterinary Teaching Hospital with Ward and got to see animals of various sizes receiving treatment. The students were especially excited in the large animal wing of the hospital when they found a sick calf taking solace with its mother in a stall.
But the tour wasn't just about looking at sick animals. Students also were introduced to the wide-ranging specialties in veterinary medicine. Ward said there are nearly as many medical specialties in treating animals as there are in people medicine-including cardiology, anesthesiology, orthopedics and neurology.
While one function of the class is to get students to think deeply about human-animal interaction in society, it's also an opportunity for students to explore careers that deal with animals. 
Elizabeth Davis, a biological science major from Adairsville, grew up on a farm with chickens, goats and horses. She is considering career options with animals beyond being a veterinarian.
As she has found out in the class, there are many options.
"I've learned a lot about being a vet and other careers," she said.

Precisely so. Hands-on experience with a variety of subject matter allows students to think broadly about their future, even if they have already decided on a career. Refining our ideas about what we want to do and the best route for our talents is one of the great luxuries [and responsibilities] students enjoy at UGA. The Franklin College plays a crucial role in thse opportunities, providing the space and breadth of faculty expertise for your imagination to roam - and your perceptions to sharpen.

New funding for ECOGIG-2

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Joye.AuSt_0.jpegSamantha Joye's tireless work in the Gulf of Mexico in the aftermath of the 2010 Macondo well blowout will continue thanks to a major new support stream:

Joye has received a new grant to continue its studies of natural oil seeps and to track the impacts of the BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill on the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem.

The project, known as ECOGIG-2 or "Ecosystem Impacts of Oil and Gas Inputs to the Gulf," is a collaborative, multi-institutional effort involving biological, chemical, geological and chemical oceanographers. The research team has worked in the Gulf since the weeks following the 2010 Macondo well blowout.

The three-year, $18.8 million dollar ECOGIG-2 program was funded by the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative, or GoMRI.

"I am so thrilled that the ECOGIG-2 research program was selected for funding by the GoMRI research board," said Joye, the UGA Athletic Association Professor of Arts and Sciences and a professor of marine sciences. "Our work will explore the basics of oil and gas cycling at natural seeps, discern the impacts of chemical dispersants on microbial populations and their activity and on the fate of discharged hydrocarbons, use sophisticated instrumentation and physical and biogeochemical models to track hydrocarbon transport and continue to document recovery of deep-water ecosystems from the Macondo blowout."

Congratulations to Joye and her colleagues. So many facets to this work, which will produce a better understanding of natural and not-so-natural hydrocarbon discharges into marine ecosystems. With energy exploration and regional economies interconnected perhaps as never before, Joye's research focus and expertise continue to play a crucial role in policy debates that try to reconcile the common interests of the two.

Image: Samantha Joye aboard a research vessel Atlantis, courtesy the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiaitive

Transgender Awareness Week

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The transgender community is an important constituency that helps inform institutional diversity efforts on campus - not unlike many other groups on campus. Where they differ significantly from other groups, however, is the threat of violence that transgender individuals face on a far too consistent basis. To bring added attention to this situation, the University of Georgia Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Resource Center will observe Transgender Awareness Week with several events Nov. 18-20:

Transgender activist Luna Merbruja will conduct a workshop titled "Liberation From The Margins: How To Fight Racial, Gender, and Queer Violence" on Nov. 18 at 2 p.m. in Room 141 of the Tate Student Center. The workshop will focus on the struggles and violence that queer, transgender and/or people of color face in their homes, workplaces and intimate relationships.

Participants will be given an opportunity to share their experiences of survival, resistance and strategies to address violence, as well as skill sharing to create communities that support one another.

Merbruja will deliver a keynote monologue at 6:30 p.m. in Room B2 of the main library. The performance will be dedicated to the memory of activist Sylvia Rivera and other transgender women of color who fought for liberation.

The performance will illustrate how four decades of resilience has created a platform for queer and transgender liberation to permeate mainstream culture, in which there are visible queer and transgender people of color on news channels, in network series, in magazines and on the New York Times Best Seller list.

See the link for information on more events this week. The LGBT Resource Center does important work in our campus community and the Franklin College supports all efforts to make our community more inclusive. Take advantage of some of these wonderful opportunities this week to learn, acknowledge and celebrate.

The 'Anthro' in Anthropcene

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housing.jpgWho is the 'Anthro' in Anthropocene? A very good question, and professor of philosophy and women's studies Chris J. Cuomo provides the answer Thursday at the Chapel in this week's installement of the Anthropocene Lecture Series:

The term “anthropocene” has gained enormous popularity among scientists who believe that we are currently in a global geological era that is distinguished by the extensive and lasting impacts that “human” activities (i.e. fossil fuel combustion, deforestation, pollution, etc.) are having on all of Earth’s vital systems. But should the practices, institutions and decisions that have led to the current global ecological crisis be identified as human activities? Or is it more appropriate to label these activities as Western, modern, or produced by particular value systems? Does the entire human species deserve the “blame” for the problems of current “man-made” global changes, or should scholars and scientists have more specific analyses of the historical causes of present geological trends?

Again, we are very lucky to have this series of engaged, informative public presentations by some of our best faculty members. The ethical and political dimensions of the systems that guide us are probably one of the few routes to informed solutions on public policy questions. But it takes time to learn, and great expertise to teach. You can increase your own level of understanding and build your informed opinion by attending this talk at 7 pm on Thursday. Very few things are so simple and straightforward.

Georgia Debate Union wins Virginia tournament

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Feinberg_Boyce_0.jpgA two-person UGA team-Amy Feinberg of Canton, an international affairs and public relations major, and Tucker Boyce of Alpharetta, an economics major - compiled a 9-1 record and emerged victorious at an intercollegiate debate tournament featuring 32 teams from East Coast colleges hosted by Liberty University in early November. The competition included teams from Boston College, Emory University, University of Florida, Georgetown University, University of Kentucky, University of Minnesota, U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Naval Academy, Vanderbilt University and Wake Forest University.

This was Feinberg and Boyce's fourth tournament of the season. They have compiled an overall record of 23-12. Their next tournament will be at Wake Forest University, typically the largest intercollegiate debate competition of the fall semester.

"It was great to see Amy and Tucker win a tournament that attracted some of the best debate programs on the East Coast," said Edward Panetta, professor of communication studies and director of the Georgia Debate Union. "They have worked hard with their coaches since early August, and it paid off with a string of solid victories.

"Any time a team wins nine of 10 debates at one tournament, it is a significant accomplishment."

Feinberg and Boyce defeated teams from Florida, Wake Forest and Georgetown on their way to victory. Feinberg also was recognized as the sixth best speaker at the tournament. Congratulations - great job, great students.

Open House at the Dodd Nov. 13

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Dodd_bridge.jpgTonight from 5-8 pm the Lamar Dodd School of Art throws open its doors as part of the Spotlight on the Arts festival. The open house includes exhibit space and studios in the:

School of Art Main Building, Ceramics Building & Thomas Street Building
Demonstrations, activities, exhibitions, lectures & more, including the Visual Resource Library, Art Education, Art History, Graphic Design, Scientific Illustration, Art-X, Photography, Painting and Drawing, Printmaking and Bookarts, Fabric Design, Ceramics, Jewelry/Metals and Sculpture. 

The Dodd is a perpetual motion machine of people, learning, making, showing, sharing and yes, art. Come out this evening and look around the place, look at some work, have a conversation, see what all the fuss is about. River Road on east campus.