Category: student

Chemistry doctoral graduate Gilliard awarded Merck Fellowship


R_Gilliard.gif2014 doctoral graduate in the department of chemistry Robert J. Gilliard, Jr., has been awarded a UNCF/Merck Foundation Postdoctoral Science Research Fellowship. The award provides $92,000 and includes a stipend, research grant and travel funds for up to two years of fellowship tenure:

Gilliard will pursue research projects focused on synthetic chemistry and will collaborate with John Protasiewicz of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and Hansjörg Grützmacher of ETH Zürich—an engineering, science, technology, mathematics and management university in Zürich, Switzerland. Gilliard will depart for Zürich in August.

"This is a tremendous honor for which I am extremely grateful," said Gilliard, a native of Hartsville, South Carolina, who came to UGA in 2009 to work with Gregory H. Robinson, the Foundation Distinguished Professor of Chemistry. "My experience at UGA has been highly rewarding in research as well as teaching, and I'm looking forward to these new opportunities for collaboration."

Gilliard is one of UGA's best, who chose to come to the university to work with our best faculty. In Gilliard's case, that meant Foundation Distinguished Professor of Chemistry Gregory H. Robinson. said Robinson of Gilliard:

"Robert arrived at UGA with a clear career plan, and he has worked hard to realize his ambition, forging new directions in the synthetic organic chemistry of beryllium."

An extraordinarily bright young researcher and teacher, Gilliard has already achieved great, early career distinction and we look for more in the future. Congratulations to Gilliard and to the department of chemistry on this prestigious fellowship.

2014 Truman Scholar Sarah Mirza


SarahMirza.jpgThe Truman Scholarship has awarded annually since 1975 to a select group of students who display extraordinary potential for leadership in public service. Franklin student Sarah Mirza joins the distinguished group this year:

Mirza, an Honors student majoring in Spanish and geography at the University of Georgia, has received a 2014 Harry S. Truman Scholarship, which recognizes juniors with exceptional leadership potential who are committed to careers in government and elsewhere in public service.

Mirza is a graduate of Grand Island Senior High in Grand Island, Nebraska and a recipient of UGA's Foundation Fellowship. She was one of 59 students nationwide to receive the scholarship, which offers up to $30,000 for graduate study. The Franklin College of Arts and Sciences student is the 19th UGA recipient of the Truman scholarship since 1982, the first year UGA students received the award.

Fantastic honor for Mirza and the university. Mirza is developing her potential and building for a powerful career that will make the greatest use of her dedication for service. Students who ask the most of themselves bring the university closer to its full potential, and so we all celebrate in Mirza's outstanding achievements.

Student Reports from Antarctica



Carr_AAPG with penguinsGeology student participates in field study, featured in AAPG Explorer article


Congratulations are in order for geology department student Hunter Carr for his research venture to Antarctica alongside nearly 100 other geology academics.

Carr’s research field expedition was recently featured in the American Association of Petroleum Geolost’s magazine, the AAPG Explorer. This academic publication is dedicated to the field of petroleum geology, the study of subsurface locations of the Earth which can contain extractable hydrocarbons, especially petroleum and natural gas.

Carr, who hails from Tyler, Texas, grew up close to the field of petroleum geology.  His father is a member of AAPG and has been working in the industry for years. 

However, the trip, which garnered participation from 100 geologists and climatologists, all with different specialties and expertise, was invaluable due to the exposure to the other disciplines.  Carr was one of just five students invited to participate in this intensive field student. 

Titled,  “Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands Scotia Arc Tectonics, Climate and Life,” the trip gave all participants to learn about the geological terrain of Antarctica, and the changes that are occurring as a result of climate change.

Carr, who is quoted in the article about his experience on the trip, keenly articulates just how important a field expedition is for the study of geology and for discovering one’s own interests within the field.

 “The GSA field trip taught me how to observe the geology of an area because I was mostly learning from Ph.D. geologists, all specialists in their various disciplines,” Carr said. “Listening to how they approached a problem observed in outcrop was like absorbing 10 geological papers, all at once.

“I was able to see how they dissected an outcrop, discussed it amongst themselves and reached a consensus,” he said. “Within five to ten minutes, they had an outcrop completely figured out.”

In September, Carr enters the final year of his bachelor’s degree in geology. His senior thesis will investigate sulfur isotopes of a volcanogenic massive sulfide deposit, an ancient sea floor smoker in Turkey, that’s subsequently been uplifted.

“Picture yourself on the sea floor, and you have all of these sulfide metals precipitating out,” he said. The GSA geology field trip, with its emphasis on sea floor spreading and plate tectonics, inspired him to undertake this senior thesis in economic geology.

Music student wins top international competition


Jean_Martin-Williams-and-Lauren-HuntBig congratulations to the Hugh Hodgson School of Music and DMA student Lauren Hunt:

University of Georgia doctor of musical arts student Lauren Hunt took first prize Sept. 1 in the International Horn Competition of America's university division. Hunt, who began her studies this fall in the Hugh Hodgson School of Music, competed against 53 other hornists for the title.

The International Horn Competition of America was founded in 1975 to promote higher performance standards for domestic hornists. In time, its mission expanded to include international artists who compete every other year in the event's professional and university divisions. This year's competition, held on campus at Kentucky's University of Louisville, included performers from 21 states and 10 countries.

"Everyone hopes to win at competitions like this, but my main goal was to make it past the first round," Hunt said. "Once I had accomplished that, I simply made it a point to have fun and enjoy playing my instrument. I think that's a big reason why I performed as well as I did."

When it comes to the top music schools in the country, awards like this really tell the story. That Lauren is new to UGA and chose to bring her talents here for her doctoral education speaks volumnes about our faculty. Congratulations to our brass faculty members, and especially Jean Martin-Williams and Richard Deane. 

Image: Horn professor Dr. Jean Martin-Williams with Lauren Hunt.

English PhD Matthew Nye wins Emerging Writer's Residency and Book Prize


Congratulations to Matthew Nye, a PhD student in English who was selected as the sixth winner of the Madeleine P. Plonsker Emerging Writer’s Residency and Book Prize:

[Nye] will be in residence on the campus of Lake Forest College from February 1 to March 31, 2014, where he will work to complete his winning manuscript, Pike and Bloom.

He will receive $10,000 and, upon editorial approval, the finished book will be published by the &NOW Books imprint of Lake Forest College Press, with distribution by Northwestern University Press. He also will take part in the Lake Forest Literary Festival and offer a series of public presentations.


About Pike and Bloom, Professor Tissut writes: “The intricacies of Matthew Nye’s sentence patterns, fraught with embedded motifs that bring the character’s intense inward life to the fore, trap the reader and take her on an exploration of the surprises and hesitancies of language. How else are we to go out into the world, physically or mentally, than by riding this collective, infinitely malleable medium, put to extremely individual uses by each of us? From the—illusory?—ablation of his appendix to his recurring encounters with a nurse associated with Marlene Dietrich, Pike weaves his own verbal universe by dint of pondering, questioning, and surmising.

2013 history graduate Chelsey Cain wins Gilder Lehrman Award


Recent UGA history graduate Chelsey Cain has been named one of fifteen winners of the 2013 Gilder Lehrman History Scholar Award, it was announced on June 19. Selected from candidates across the country, the Award recognizes outstanding graduating college seniors who have demonstrated academic and extracurricular excellence in American History or American Studies.

Founded in 1994 by Richard Gilder and Lewis E. Lehrman, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is a nonprofit organization devoted to the improvement of history education. The Institute has developed an array of programs for schools, teachers, and students that now operate in all fifty states, including a website that features more than 60,000 unique historical documents in the Gilder Lehrman Collection.

From June 7 through June 10, 2013, the Gilder Lehrman Institute brought the awardees to New York City for a series of special presentations in their honor, including meetings with eminent scholars, exclusive behind-the-scenes tours of historic archives, and an awards dinner. Museum and archive visits included stops at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Gilder Lehrman Collection, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, with talks and discussions led by Kenneth T. Jackson, Khalil Gibran Muhammad and Adrienne Petty.

Congratulations to Chelsey and our history department, which is enjoying a truly banner year and brings great honor to UGA and the Franklin College.

Tom Okie wins Nevins Dissertation Prize


Tom-Okie, outdoorsBy all accounts, this award is akin to winning a Pulitzer Prize for a dissertation. Huge congratulations to our history department and to newly minted Ph.D. Tom Okie:

University of Georgia doctoral graduate Tom Okie was awarded the 53rd annual Allan Nevins Dissertation Prize at the annual meeting of the Society of American Historians at the Century Club in New York City on May 20. The prize—$2,000 and publication of the winning dissertation—is awarded for the best-written doctoral dissertation on an American subject. The award honors the society's founder and first president.

Okie's dissertation, "‘Everything is Peaches Down in Georgia': Culture and Agriculture in the American South," was completed and defended at the conclusion of his study at UGA in the summer of 2012. The work explores the ascendance of the peach as a symbol of the post-Civil War South, as well as an ecological alternative to cotton in establishing a more permanent culture in the region.

"Cotton had a bad reputation by the end of the war," said Okie, who taught history as a visiting assistant professor at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, in 2012-13 and will be an assistant professor at Kennesaw State University starting this fall.

The story of peaches in the South is far more intriguing than it might seem and Okie's narrative looks back even at it looks forward in creating the cultural context of the story. This is going to be a great book, an important book, and its selection for the Nevins Prize is inspiring on many levels - not least of which is the contemplation of such a powerful symbol for our state.

2013 Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship


lady-ada-lovelace google dole carton

Congratulations to computer science grad student Jennifer Rouan, who has been awarded a prestigious Google scholarship:

Rouan recently received the 2013 Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship, an award that honors its namesake by encouraging women to excel in computing and technology.

Borg was a computer scientist who devoted her life to revolutionizing perceptions of technology and dismantling barriers that keep women and minorities from entering computing and technology fields. The Google scholarship—worth $10,000 for the 2013-14 academic year—also encourages women to become active role models and leaders in these fields.

UGA’s Rouan, a master’s degree student in the Franklin College of Arts and Science’s department of computer science, also was selected for the 2013 Google Student Veterans of America Scholarship. Recipients of Google scholarships can accept only one of the awards.

“I’m very excited to have won both scholarships, but as a woman in tech I identify with Anita Borg and her impact on our field,” Rouan said. “And, so, being part of that memory is an important part of my own life philosophy.”

Fantastic - two Google scholarships. Difficult to verify, but we think Jennifer is the first UGA student to be selected for both awards. Big congratulations to her, Thiab Taha, and the computer science department.

Image: Women-inspired Google doodle honoring Anita Borg, Grace Hopper and Lada Ada Lovelace

Art Alumna wins ICA Prize


KatarinaBurin interiorWe always love it when our people move on and do well - prizes, awards, appointments and new positions. Now Lamar Dodd School of Art alumna Katarina Burin (BFA '99) has hit two of these at once:

Katarina Burin, who took her conceptual creation of a fictitious Czechoslovakian architect from Berlin to Boston, has won the Institute of Contemporary Art’s 2013 James and Audrey Foster Prize.

The $25,000 award comes as Burin, a native of Slovakia, has accepted an offer to become a member of the faculty as lecturer in Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard University. She’s been a visiting lecturer at Harvard since 2009. The ICA award, she said, will allow her to expand on a project centered around Petra Andrejova-Molnár, a character she created who is rooted in the movements of early-20th-century modernist architecture.

2013 Truman Scholar Smitha Ganeshan


SmithaGaneshan studio portraitFranklin College Honos' student and anthropology major Smitha Ganeshan is the 18th UGA recipient of the Truman Scholarship since 1982 and the only recipient in Georgia this year.

[The] Harry S. Truman Scholarship recognizes juniors with exceptional leadership potential who are committed to careers in government and elsewhere in public service.

Ganeshan is a graduate of Northview High School in Johns Creek and a recipient of UGA's Foundation Fellowship. She was one of 62 students to receive the scholarship, which offers up to $30,000 for graduate study. 


Ganeshan, who aims to pursue a dual M.D. and Master in Public Policy degree, is active in health care and health policy issues in Athens as well as around the globe.

She volunteers at the non-profit Athens Nurses Clinic, which provides basic primary care and dental services for uninsured patients, and has interned at the Athens Health Network, an organization that works to reduce health care disparities by coordinating health services for the indigent population. She is a co-founder of the Lunchbox Garden Project, an after-school nutrition education and obesity prevention program that was launched in 2011 and now serves two schools in Athens through a grant from UGA's Office of Sustainability. 

Around the globe, around your town. We are lucky to be surrounded by exceptional people, who - along with everything else they do - bring out the best in others. Congratulations to Smitha and the department of anthropology, which I know is very proud of her accomplishments. As are we all.