Why support Franklin College?

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Privately funded scholarships have a direct and personal impact on UGA students and provide opportunities for them to achieve their dreams. Often the impact is life changing and can best be understood in the words of the students themselves. Below are the words of one of our students, junior psychology major Toni McKoy, whose life has been changed through the generosity of a scholarship donor.

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This has been a critical past year for me, I've had to juggle classes, work, and club activities in order to stay on top of classes and financially support myself. After a rough first semester and unfortunate events following, I decided to pursue what I thought would make me a happier person in life. I continued my studies in Japanese and I made a critical decision to switch my major from Animal Science to Psychology. I even decided to become more active in the Japan Club at UGA. I ran and was elected as the advertiser, historian, and dance coordinator for the club. After all of these changes and accomplishments, I decided to further challenge myself. This school year I hope to begin my music minor and join even more clubs and organizations around campus. Next summer I wish to be able to study abroad in Japan to strengthen my language skills.

Now that I have more goals I'll have to try even harder to keep my grades up, stay active in activities and work throughout the year. Last school year I worked at the Georgia Museum of Art as a security guard. While it would be nice to get that position again, I would like to expand my work experience which, at the moment, includes my work as a security guard and as a youth coordinator at a local Atlanta organization called Project South. I've been working for Project South for the last three summers as a coordinator and a team leader of a youth summer program in the Atlanta area. This experience made me realize that I enjoy working in the field, doing research based work, and helping others. This was important to realize, because by pursuing my degree in Psychology, I can work in all three areas. After obtaining my Bachelor's degree, I plan to find a job and begin my Master's degree. After that, I want to be able to do research based work and maybe travel around the country or even the world. At the same time, I still want to be able to enjoy things I love like studying music and the Japanese language and culture.

It is crucial that we continue to offer the opportunity of the UGA experience to the widest possible array of students. Read more stories about what scholarships mean to our students here.

Bulldogs Excel at GW's Lafayette Debates

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LafayetteAmyEilidh.JPGLast week, we reported that UGA sent two students to the 2014 Lafayette Debates hosted by George Washington University and the French government in Washington, D.C. How'd they do? Pretty well, of course:

The team of Amy Feinberg and Eilidh Geddes had a wondefully successful tournament at the recent Lafayette Debates held at George Washington University and sponsored by the French Embassy.  The team defeated teams from Georgetown, Ecole de Guerre, and the University of Houston (featuring a former NDT champion) in the preliminary rounds and defeated the U.S. Military Academy in the octofinal round.  They ultimately lost a close debate to the University of Houston in the quarterfinals, barely missing out on a all-expenses-paid trip to France.

In addition to their team success, Amy Feinberg was named the 8th speaker at the tournament.  The Lafayette Debates featured teams from all across the nation and the world.  The list of participants can be found here: http://www.lafayettedebates.com/teams.htm

We are proud of their accomplishment and look forward to returning to DC next year.  Go Dawgs! 

Thanks to the Georgia Debate Union for keeping us updated. Great job representing UGA, Amy and Eilidh.

New drug formulation for cancer treatment

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Shanta-Dhar.jpgGreat new research from the department of chemistry:

The drug dichloroacetate, or DCA, was touted as a cure-all, but after years of work, scientists are still searching for ways to make the unique treatment as effective as possible.

Now, researchers at the University of Georgia have discovered a new way to deliver this drug that may one day make it a viable treatment for numerous forms of cancer. They published their findings in the American Chemical Society's journal ACS Chemical Biology.

"DCA shows great promise as a potential cancer treatment, but the drug doesn't find and attack cancer cells very efficiently in the doses researchers are testing," said Shanta Dhar, an assistant professor of chemistry in the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. "We have developed a new compound based on DCA that is three orders of magnitude more potent than standard treatments."

Every cell in the body needs energy to divide and grow, and most of them do this by breaking down sugar. When cells misbehave, they are normally deprived of their food and die in a process called apoptosis.

Dhar is becoming one of the foremost cancer researchers in the country, and this new work (and accompanying technology) only re-emphasize that case. So very much goes into getting to the stage where we can promote published results from our faculty, and having the institutional pieces of the puzzle in place where our researchers can do their best work is where these real benefits to society can be glimpsed. Hard to overstate the implications of this new research, the product of great perserverence and dedication by Dr. Dhar and her team. And it's also occasion to remember how many things have to happen in concert to make it all possible.

Image: Shanta Dhar, with graduate assitant Sean Marrache, in her lab.

Athens Music Project Symposium April 17

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Pylon-40Watt-1979Besides providing a gratuitous opportunity to post this phot of Pylon from 1979 (wow), the Athens Music Project, a Willson Center Research Cluster featuring Franklin faculty, is presenting the community with signifciant cultural dividends:

The Athens Music Project will hold its first symposium April 17 from 4-8 p.m. in the auditorium of the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries at the University of Georgia.

The AMP is a Faculty Research Cluster of the UGA Jane and Harry Willson Center for Humanities and Arts and is co-directed by Susan Thomas, an associate professor of music and women's studies, and Jean Ngoya Kidula, associate professor of music and African studies. The event is co-sponsored by the Willson Center and the Hugh Hodgson School of Music.

The AMP provides a platform for research, creative development and shared expertise in, about and for Athens' diverse musical communities. 

...

Michael Lachowski, a member of the Athens band Pylon and currently the public relations coordinator at the Georgia Museum of Art, will give a keynote talk on "How Art Turned Into Music: The ‘Athens Music Scene.'" The talk will be followed by a roundtable on "Hearing the Past and Seeing the Future: The 40 Watt" that will feature Lachowski, 40 Watt Club owner Barrie Buck and Velena Vego, the club's talent buyer. Christopher Lawton, director of the Georgia Virtual History Project, will moderate the discussion.

To find out more about other parts on the program, see here. But I highlight the keynote as a point of emphasis: the Athens music scene enjoys a kind of mystique that flows from and into its world renown. But the mystique is difficult to quanitfy so hasn't been to any great extent. So good for Kidula and Thomas for presenting a platform to delve into these mysteries further - may the best parts remain shrouded, but let us enjoy the discussion and perhaps further celebrate this catalyst for the rich pageant that surrounds us.

Image: Pylon plays at the original non-commercial location of the 40 Watt Club (Myers Building, third floor, 171 College Ave.) in 1979.

[Re]Defining 'Food Deserts'

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Very interesting new research from the Jerry Shannon in the department of geography on access to healthy food:

The concept of food deserts grew out of a need to describe areas with the combination of a low-income population and reduced availability of stores selling healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables. Online resources made available by the USDA identify food deserts by measuring the distance to the closest supermarket from each census tract. Coupled with income, if more than 33 percent of a population in a given area lives more than a mile away from a supermarket, that is considered a low-access area.

"For geographers, that definition is problematic, because the perception of distance can change-something can be far away but feel close if you have a car, for example," Shannon explained. "Access to healthy food is a question of resources and daily mobility as well as proximity."

Food deserts straddle development, politics, economics and transportation issues; one solution used in many localities has been to introduce a new supermarket or big box store into a low access area. Shannon's research and related case study suggest a different development alternative may be more effective.

One primary finding documents how low-income people access the food system and confirms that people do not only shop where they live.

Physical development of our communities dictates so much about the quality of life - of all citizens. With income disparities only growing more acute, conversations about development will be even more dominated by economic interests at the top. But understanding how development issues - and food access is certainly one - affect all members of the community (and as Shannon notes, food deserts are often invoked to support certain schemes) is more important than ever. This work, and the accompanying map, go a long way to helping make us more informed. More great work for our geographers.

Robinson receives SEC Faculty Achievement Award

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Gregory-H-Robinson.jpgThe accolades continue to roll in for Foundation Distinguished Professor of Chemistry Gregory H. Robinson. One of our most outstanding faculty members, Robinson

has been named the University of Georgia's 2014 recipient of the Southeastern Conference Faculty Achievement Award.

The award, which is administered by SEC provosts, recognizes one faculty member from each of the 14 SEC schools and includes a $5,000 honorarium. Robinson joined the UGA faculty in 1995 and was named Distinguished Research Professor in 2000, Franklin Professor in 2005 and Foundation Distinguished Professor in 2013.

"Dr. Robinson excels as a scholar and as an instructor who demonstrates an outstanding level of commitment to the university and to his field," said Pamela Whitten, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. "He represents the University of Georgia with distinction in all that he does and is most deserving of this honor."

A dear friend of the blog in addition to being a great scientist and scholar, Robinson's findings on chemical bonding in inorganic compounds have reshaped the view of scientists around the world on that subject. A dedicated mentor, Robinson is involved with students at every stage of their experience at UGA - from prospective to post-doc. We are very proud of this most recent achievement, and humbled by Dr. Robinson's efforts on every front of UGA's mission.

Image: Gregory Robinson, courtesy of UGA Photo Services.