Category: Human Nature

Bulldogs Excel at GW's Lafayette Debates


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:

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.

Athens Music Project Symposium April 17


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.

Goldwater Scholars, Carnegie Junior Research Fellowship


Yuliya_BilaFranklin College students continue to distinguish the University of Georgia by winning elite scholarships and fellowships. Earlier this week, Honors students Tuan Nguyen and Amy Webster were named 2014 Barry M. Goldwater Scholars:

The UGA Goldwater Scholars are among a group of 283 recipients of the one- and two-year scholarships that recognize exceptional sophomores and juniors in engineering, mathematics and the natural sciences. UGA students have received the Goldwater Scholarship almost every year since the mid-1990s, and the 2014 recipients bring the university's total of Goldwater Scholars to 46.


Nguyen is a junior from Douglasville majoring in biochemistry and molecular biology as well as mathematics in UGA's Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. He plans to pursue a combined M.D./Ph.D. degree with the ultimate goal of improving cancer diagnostics and treatment.

Webster is a  junior from Kennesaw majoring in genetics and mathematics in the Franklin College. She plans to pursue a doctorate in genetics with the goal of studying the processes that regulate gene expression while also teaching at the university level and promoting scientific literacy.

And just today, Yuliya Bila, a fourth-year Honors student was awarded a Carnegie Junior Research Fellowship:

As a junior fellow, Bila will have the opportunity to conduct research for books, co-author journal articles, participate in meetings with high-level officials, contribute to Congressional testimony and organize briefings attended by scholars, journalists and government officials.

Bila is majoring in international affairs in the UGA School of Public and International Affairs as well as Russian and Spanish in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences

Congratulations to these students, as well as the dedicated faculty who have taught, mentored, encouraged and advised them along the way. These high honors are a collective accomplishment in the students' name and to their individual credit. Their achievements reflect an atmosphere at the institution that we can revel in and promote in ways that will continue to attract such outstanding people to our campus.

Image: Yuliya Bila, courtesy of UGA Photographic Services.

Fashion and the Georgia Museum of Art


The Georgia Museum of Art will host a day of events on April 3 that bring together important parts of what will be highlighted during Thinc week as well. Start-ups are in fashion, in more ways than one:

The Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia will present a free lecture by Spoonflower cofounder Stephen Fraser April 3 at 11 a.m. in the M. Smith Griffith Auditorium.

Spoonflower is a web-based digital printing company that allows users to design, print and sell their own fabric, wallpaper, decals and gift wrap, as well as browse and purchase the designs of others.

Prior to launching Spoonflower, Fraser worked as a consultant for Internet start-ups and served as marketing director for, a print-on-demand book publishing company, from its 2002 launch through 2006. He is also the co-author of an upcoming book on designing fabric, scheduled to be published by Abrams Books in the fall of 2014. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina.

That evening, beginning at 8:45 as part of Museum Mix, the museum's thrice-yearly late-night art party, Athens Fashion Collective will present spring collections from six regional designers: Sanni Baumgartner (Community Service), Shawna Lea Maranville, Amy Flurry and Nikki Nye (Paper-Cut-Project), potter Rebecca Wood and Megan Huntz (Megan Huntz Dresses). 

And don't miss the DJ event following the fashion show. Paper-Cut-Project and Athens Fashion Collective feature lovely wife of the blog and great friend of the Franklin College, Mrs. Amy Flurry.

Maymester 2014: Entrepreneurial Leadership in the Arts and Sciences


Current UGA students are availed of a unique opportunity for course credit and valuable career preparation this upcoming Maymester, 2014. Boot Camp: Entrepreneurial Leadership in the Arts and Sciences

FCID 3800: Leadership in the Arts and Sciences (3 credits)

Students will explore the application of arts and sciences educational foundations to practical issues of leadership and innovation. Individual assessments of leadership skills will help students identify and build on their personal strengths. Leadership theory, hands-on practice, case studies, and conversations with successful leaders will equip students with the knowledge and skills they need to become effective leaders in any arena.


MGMT 5500: Entrepreneurship and New Venture Formation (3 credits)

Students will learn the fundamentals of new venture creation and small business management. Integrating basic knowledge from areas of finance, economics, management, and marketing, the course will prepare students to launch and manage emerging and small businesses. Class projects, meetings with successful entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, and a pitch competition will give students opportunities to test ideas and develop a preliminary business plan for achieving them.

Great faculty, the best UGA facilities and classes to hone your leadership skills. Download the application here and reserve your space today. 

The Neuroeconomics of decision-making


mackillop-james.jpgTerrific new study from the Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology Laboratory in the department of psychology:

Although choosing to do something because the perceived benefit outweighs the financial cost is something people do daily, little is known about what happens in the brain when a person makes these kinds of decisions. Studying how these cost-benefit decisions are made when choosing to consume alcohol, University of Georgia associate professor of psychology James MacKillop identified distinct profiles of brain activity that are present when making these decisions.

"We were interested in understanding how the brain makes decisions about drinking alcohol. Particularly, we wanted to clarify how the brain weighs the pros and cons of drinking," said MacKillop, who directs the Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology Laboratory in the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.


"These findings reveal the distinct neural signatures associated with different kinds of consumption preferences. Now that we have established a way of studying these choices, we can apply this approach to better understanding substance use disorders and improving treatment," he said, adding that comparing fMRI scans from alcoholics with those of people with normal drinking habits could potentially tease out brain patterns that show what is different between healthy and unhealthy drinkers. "In the past, we have found that behavioral indices of alcohol value predict poor treatment prognosis, but this would permit us to understand the neural basis for negative outcomes."

And importantly:

While MacKillop acknowledges the impact this research could have on neuromarketing-or understanding how the brain makes decisions about what to buy-he is more interested in how this research can help people with alcohol addiction.

Interesting research that ventures into several directions at once, which one might guess mirrors the nature of how we make decisions. 

Image: James MacKillop, courtesy of UGA Photo services.

Lampost post


lamppost2.jpg   lampost3_0.jpg  Maybe because it's Spring Break, but can you resist a lamppost post? Certainly, I cannot.

If you every wondered why North Campus has the look and feel of park, it is because UGA has some of the best grounds crew professionals you will find anywhere. They're at it again, this time, taking the time and care to replace the 100-year-old lampposts near the arch:

Installed in June 1914 by the Athens Rail and Light Company, the lampposts were the first row of electric lights at UGA and the first significant outdoor electric light installation in Athens. After 100 years of service, the lights have deteriorated and become unreliable, said Dexter Adams, director of the UGA Grounds Department.

The preservation project will comprehensively update the wiring, lamps and footings and replace missing cast iron parts. The Facilities Management Division will use the same metal preservation process on the lampposts as it used on the North Campus fence restoration project.

1914. And you wonder why campus just has that feel - there's one reason. One among many.

Images: beautiful Dot Paul photo from last summer (UGA Photo services) and one by the author during the most recent snow.

Introvert in an Extraverted World


campbell interiorProfessor and head of the department of psychology Keith Campbell is also a best-selling author whose research uncovers great insights on that delicate state of affairs we refer to as the human condition. Next week, he will give a lecture on how introversion impacts learning March 4 at 2 p.m. in the Reading Room of the Miller Learning Center:

The lecture is titled "Being an Introvert in an Extraverted World: The Case of Education" and is hosted by the UGA Student Affairs department of academic partnerships and initiatives.


"There are so many situations where extraversion helps, such as a job interview, to finding a date, to participating in class," Campbell said. "This is more important now than ever because people change jobs more often, date more and delay marriage, and are expected to actively participate in classrooms."

Another terrific event that anyone at all can turn into a learning experience. How lucky you are to be on your campus.

Careful on campus


OldCollege_snow 2014

Okay and...we're back.

Great snow, terrific sense of 'found time,' whether you used it well or not. But now we're back and you need to look out for falling ice - especially Old College, New College, Libraries, Peabody, Administration every building on campus for at least the next few hours.

UGA Librairies Research Grant



Apply for a Research Grant with UGA Libraries - Seven undergraduate research awards up for grabs

By Jessica Luton


Have a great idea for research but need a little funding help? The University of Georgia Libraries’ Undergraduate Research Awards are currently accepting applications for seven cash prizes totaling $2,000 for students who demonstrate distinction in research and academic inquiry. Find the requirements for applying here

Established in support of the University’s mission of instruction, research and service mission, these scholarships are meant to encourage scholarship and emphasize the research process using library resources and services.

This is a great opportunity for undergraduate students, especially those that may be embarking on a research project for the very first time.

Students must be enrolled in the CURO or Honors programs OR submit abstracts of their projects to the CURO Symposium by Feb. 14, in addition to applying for the research award.

Take advantage of this unique opportunity. But act fast. Deadlines are quickly approaching.  Read more about the UGA Libraries Undergraduate Research Award here and learn more about applying for the CURO Symposium here.