Tuesday, February 24, 2009

New Director Named for UGA’s Gwinnett Campus

A new director for University of Georgia graduate and continuing education programs offered in Gwinnett has been named. Ruth Bettandorff, who has served as associate director for learning services at UGA’s Center for Continuing Education Conference Center and Hotel since 2004, will succeed Janet Sandor, who retired in December.

Bettandorff, who is also a senior public service faculty member, will hold the title of assistant vice president for academic affairs and director of the Gwinnett Campus. She will report to Bob Boehmer, associate provost for institutional effectiveness and extended campuses, who has overall responsibility for UGA programs offered in Gwinnett, Griffin and Tifton.

Bettandorff’s responsibilities will include handling day-to-day coordination of academic programs at the Gwinnett Campus, located at 2530 Sever Road in Lawrenceville, just off I-85 at the Old Peachtree Road exit. She also will work with UGA schools and colleges to develop new graduate degree programs for the Gwinnett campus, and with the Georgia Center for Continuing Education on new non-credit courses for professional development.

As associate director of the Division of Learning Services at the Georgia Center, Bettandorff provided strategic direction in programming, budgets and management and was responsible for developing and supervising educational programs that generated revenue and grants of more than $5 million annually.

Before coming to UGA, Bettandorff held administrative positions with Kennesaw State University, Agnes Scott College and the University of Louisville. She holds a bachelor’s degree from California State University at Chico and a master’s and Ph.D. from the University of Mississippi.

“Since beginning her career as director of the Jackson Campus of the University of Mississippi in 1976, Dr. Bettandorff has held a number of increasingly responsible positions in higher education administration in continuing education and credit programs at several institutions, including the University of Georgia,” said Boehmer. “In combination with her deep knowledge of the Gwinnett community, this experience uniquely qualifies Dr. Bettandorff for leadership of our rapidly growing Gwinnett Campus.”

Bettandorff has lived in Lawrenceville for 15 years and served on several Gwinnett school committees. Her two daughters graduated from Collins Hill High School and her youngest daughter is now a 5th grade teacher in the Gwinnett public schools.

“It is very exciting to have the opportunity to be a part of growing and expanding the new UGA campus in Gwinnett,” said Bettandorff. “This campus is designed specifically for adult learners whose jobs, families and other responsibilities have made it difficult to travel to continue their education. Now they can take advantage of a variety of UGA graduate degree programs and professional development courses available right in the Gwinnett area.”

UGA has offered graduate degree programs in Gwinnett since the mid-1980s, but increased the number and variety of programs in recent years. In addition to continuing education programs in Gwinnett, UGA offers customized training for businesses and organizations in the Gwinnett area through the Georgia Center, the Small Business Development Center and the Educational Technology Training Center operated by UGA’s College of Education—all of which have offices at the Gwinnett Campus.

For more information about UGA’s Gwinnett Campus, see www.uga.edu/gwinnett.

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarship Awarded to Emory Senior

Emory University senior Alexandra Kamins has received the Gates Cambridge Scholarship, one of only 36 students in the United States – and about 100 worldwide -- to receive the highly competitive award.

The scholarship, which was established in 2000 after a $210 million donation from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, provides for graduate study at the University of Cambridge in England. The scholarship is offered to students outside of the United Kingdom who are pursuing a master’s or doctoral degree. Kamins is the second Emory student to receive the scholarship and the first since 2001.

Kamins, a biology major, will pursue a master's degree in veterinary science and plans to study zoonoses, diseases that transmit between humans and other animals, in Cambridge's Department of Biological, Medical and Veterinary Science.

"Alex is a multi-talented woman with the mind of a scientist, the heart of an activist and the instincts of a diplomat," says Dee McGraw, the director of Emory's National Scholarships and Fellowships Program. "She is one of the most accomplished members of this senior class and I have no doubt that she will make great contributions to our world."

Since coming to Emory, Kamins has spent a summer abroad in Namibia and Botswana, as well as a semester in Kenya. She has been a member of Emory's INSPIRE undergraduate research program which emphasizes a multidisciplinary approach to science.

She has conducted research since her freshman year, working first on "evolving" enzymes to better activate HIV/AIDS drugs and then in Kenya examining the impact of human activities and structures on large mammals. Her honors thesis explores whether or not insect communities share bacteria and, if so, how these symbionts are transferred

"For a career, I plan to combine my interests and experiences to help create communication between human and animal heath sectors and to manage zoonotic disease spread," says Kamins, a native of Centennial, Colo. "The odds are that the next pandemic will be one of these diseases and I want to do my part to stop it."

Outside of her research "biology shares my love with many other subjects, including creative writing, theater set designing, art and illustration, and literature," says Kamins, who spends what free time she has riding horses.

Since the start of the Scholarship Program in 2001, more than 530 Scholars have completed their studies at Cambridge, and have gone on to careers around the world. Past scholars are starting to contribute solutions to many of the difficult issues which beset humankind, fulfilling the intention of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation when the scholarships were established. Scholarships are awarded on the basis of a person's intellectual ability, leadership capacity and desire to use their knowledge to contribute to society throughout the world by providing service to their communities, and applying their talents and knowledge to improve the lives of others.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

UGA Counseling Professor Merrily Dunn Receives National Award

University of Georgia counseling professor Merrily Dunn is one of only three people in the nation to receive the 2009 Annuit Coeptis Senior Professional Award from the American College Personnel Association.


The award recognizes contributions in administration, teaching, research and publications, and is among the most prestigious honors given by the ACPA—College Student Educators International.

Dunn, an associate professor in the College of Education’s department of counseling and human development, is coordinator of the master’s program in college student affairs administration. She teaches classes in student development theory, assessment and campus ecology. Dunn’s research interests include the preparation of student affairs professionals, gender issues and college student development.

Prior to coming to UGA in 2001, Dunn was program coordinator of the student affairs in higher education program at Mississippi State University. She served as a faculty member at the National Housing Training Institute in 2000 and 1998, and as the Scholar-in-Residence at the 2000 Association of College and University Housing Officers—International Conference.

Dunn received her Ph.D. in educational leadership and policy from Ohio State University, a master’s in higher education administration from Iowa State University and a bachelor‘s in political science from the University of Nebraska.

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Anglers Receive Honors from Georgia Wildlife Resources Division

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division recently awarded 26 anglers with a 2008 angler award for reeling in an outstanding catch (or catches!) last year. The angler award program recognizes those who catch fish that meet or exceed a specific weight for that particular species.

“Presenting angler awards to those who made some great catches last year is a great time to not only applaud the award recipients, but it’s also a wonderful time to recognize the great fishing opportunities - such as the nine public fishing areas - that are available to everyone in the state,” says Wildlife Resources Division Fisheries Management Chief John Biagi. “Fishing also is a great way to spend quality time with family and friends, and most people recognize that outdoor recreation activities actually strengthen the family as a unit and children as individuals.”

The Wildlife Resources Division presents 2008 angler award recipients with a certificate signed by division Director Dan Forster and an embroidered baseball cap that reads, “Georgia Angler Award 2008” and is customized to include the species and weight of the fish caught by each winner. Qualifications for angler awards include:

- Catching the fish by legal hook and line sport fish methods in Georgia,

- Meeting or exceeding the minimum weight OR length requirements,

- Taking the fish to a division fisheries biologist for positive species identification OR including a clear, side view photo of the fish for identification purposes,

- Completing and submitting an angler award application to: Wildlife Resources Division/Angler Award Application/2070 U.S. Hwy. 278, SE, Social Circle, GA 30025.

In addition to the angler award program, the division also maintains a freshwater fish state record program for anglers who land a catch that exceeds the existing record catch weight by one ounce or more. State record fish award winners also receive a certificate of recognition and an embroidered baseball cap that reads, “Georgia State Record Holder,” and includes the award winner’s name, the species, the weight and the date caught.

That’s not all, though - the division also is helping to recognize children across the state for catching their first fish with the online kid’s first fish award certificate available at www.gofishgeorgia.com . Parents can easily download the certificate, fill in the pertinent information and present it to a child for a fish well caught.

For more information regarding fishing in Georgia, including official angler award and state record program rules and the kids first fish certificate, visit www.gofishgeorgia.com or contact the nearest Wildlife Resources Division Fisheries Management office.

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Friday, February 13, 2009

Berry College Newspaper Staff Earns Numerous State Awards

The Campus Carrier, Berry College’s student newspaper, earned five staff awards and two individual honors in this year’s Georgia College Press Association (GCPA) Better Newspaper Contest. The winners were announced Feb. 7 at the GCPA Press Institute in Athens, Ga.

The Campus Carrier earned recognition for overall excellence within a variety of categories in Senior B Division, which includes all Georgia colleges and universities with enrollments under 8,000.

Kevin Kleine, lecturer of journalism and student publications adviser, lauded the efforts of his student journalists.

“Berry students are among the best anywhere,” Kleine stated. “I think this newspaper staff does its best to provide the community with content that matters.”

Group awards won by the Carrier staff are as follows:

-Third Place – Best Community Service – News

-Third Place – Best Community Service – Features

-Third Place – Best Community Service – Sports

-Third Place – Best Community Service – Editorial Excellence

-Third Place – Improvement Award

Individual awards (won in competition with four-year schools of all enrollments) include:

-Caleb Bloodworth – Second Place – Best Review. Caleb is the son of William and Lisa Bloodworth of Fort Oglethorpe, Ga.

-Jay Zuckerman – Third Place – Best Sports Story

“We feel great to get recognition for our work,” said Ashton Staniszewski, editor of the Campus Carrier. “But the most important thing for us is to serve our fellow students with great coverage of the events and issues that our campus community cares about.

“We intend to improve in the future, and perhaps next year we can win this contest,” Staniszewski continued. “It is important to us to carry on a tradition of excellence in the quality of our student newspaper that has existed here for more than 100 years.” Staniszewski is the son of Roman and Ceres Staniszewski from Sarasota, Fla.

In addition to the contest results announced at the GCPA Press Institute, the organization also elected officers and board members for the coming year. Included in this group was Berry freshman Ashley McIntyre, daughter of Pauline and David McIntyre of Kennesaw, Ga., who will serve as secretary.

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Georgia Law Dominates Regional Mock Trial Tournament; Advances to Nationals

Two teams from the University of Georgia School of Law recently captured first place at the regional round of the 2009 Texas Bar Association National Trial Competition held in Atlanta, sweeping the tournament composed of more than 25 teams.

Competing in two different divisions in the Atlanta contest, Georgia Law students overcame teams from schools such as Vanderbilt University, Emory University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Third-year law students Michael J. Eshman and Titus T. Nichols composed one team while Amer H. Ahmad and Erin P. Redmon made up the other.

“Both teams delivered a commanding performance,” Georgia Law Director of Advocacy Kellie Casey Monk said. “To have two teams finish with a 5-0 record in one of the oldest and most prestigious mock trial competitions in the United States is an amazing feat. I couldn’t be prouder of our students.”

The teams will now advance to the national tier of the tournament, which will take place in Texas during March.

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

UWG Debate Finishes in Top Ten

The UWG Debate team finished its season with a tremendous finish at Northwestern University in Illinois. The team of Georgia residents Vince Binder of Gainesville and Jim Schultz of Jupiter placed second out of 137 teams in the finals.

Dr. Michael Hester, director of UWG Debate, tried to put their accomplishment in context.
“Vince and Jim became the first UWG team in at least 25 years to reach the semifinals of both the Wake Forest and Northwestern tournaments, which are the two largest tournaments of the regular season,” said Hester. “They've been a top ten team all season, and their run to the finals at Northwestern is an exclamation point to their season.”

The Binder and Schultz team completed the preliminary rounds with a record of 6-1, trouncing teams from Towson, Michigan State, Wake Forest, John Carroll and Missouri State Universities. Their only loss went to Southern California in round 5.

Next up for UWG Debate is the post-season beginning with the District VI qualifying tournament at Georgia State University at the end of February. For more information on the UWG Debate program, call 678-839-6636.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Five High Flying Schools to be Honored During National Youth-At-Risk Conference

Five schools nationwide will be honored as “High Flying Schools” next month during the 2009 National Youth-At-Risk Conference sponsored by Georgia Southern University.

Alfred E. Beach High School of Savannah, Ga.; Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center of Estes Park, Colo.; Elizabeth Vaughan Elementary School of Woodbridge, Va.; Screven County Middle School of Sylvania, Ga.; and C.J. Hicks Elementary School of Conyers, Ga. will be honored during the conference that takes place March 1-4 in Savannah, Ga.

With at least half of their students living at or below the poverty level and with a highly diverse student body, the 2009 High-Flying Schools were chosen for their success in achieving academic success, community collaboration, citizenship development and democratic education.

Each school will be honored during an awards ceremony at 8:45 a.m. on March 2 at the Hyatt Regency in Savannah, which is the site of the conference. Following the awards ceremony, each school’s success story will be shared in a High Flying School Showcase beginning at 10:30 a.m.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the National Youth-At-Risk Conference sponsored by Georgia Southern University’s College of Education and Continuing Education Department.

More than 1,200 attendees are expected for what has become the leading conference nationwide for professionals who deal with troubled youngsters and at-risk youth. The conference draws educators, counselors, social workers, criminal justice professionals and community leaders from around the country. For more information on registration for the conference, go to www.nationalyouthatrisk.com or call 912-478-5551.

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Monday, February 9, 2009

Georgia company SmARTlens Corporation recognized with Academy Award for Technical Achievement

Georgia was on the mind of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Saturday, February 7. Steve Hylén, creator of SmARTlens Corporation’s Hylén System, accepted an Academy Award for Technical Achievement at the 81st annual Scientific and Technical Academy Awards dinner and show.

“We are honored to have such an outstanding, innovative company here in Georgia,” said Ken Stewart, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD). “SmARTlens is the type of company we work hard to bring to the state, and its strong connections to the entertainment industry tie in well with our mission.”

Hylén’s award cited the groundbreaking nature of the Hylén System, a device that affixes to film and digital cameras to allow directors and cinematographers to produce visual effects within the camera instead of in post-production.

Randall Abney, SmARTlens Corporation’s president and CEO, noted that the Hylén System is, to the best of his knowledge, the first Technical Achievement Academy Award involving a Georgia-based company. The company is investigating opening an office/assembly facility in the Athens area and is working with GDEcD Small Business & Innovation Regional Project Manager Ryan Thornton.

“It is an honor to have a group such as the Sci/Tech committee, which was appointed by the Board of Governors of the Academy, understand the technology of the invention and the patents,” Mr. Hylén said in Beverly Hills after the presentation. “I am very proud that they have endorsed the technology and its future possibilities. The road has been long and is by no means over; but this endorsement by such an astute group of experienced professionals gives me hope for additional development and innovation for the Hylén System.”

“The Academy’s recognition of the Hylén System as an important development in cinematography validates our belief that the Hylén System can have a major impact - creatively and financially - in the making of feature films, commercials, music videos, and television programs,” Abney said after the presentation.

“Georgia has been the backdrop for more than 33 nominated films and 25 Academy Award-winning films since 1972,” said Bill Thompson, Deputy Commissioner of the Film, Music & Digital Entertainment Division of GDEcD. “The first known film to be produced in Georgia was in 1912, in the days before Hollywood. And now, for a Georgia-based company to receive a Technical Achievement Award from the Academy brings everything full circle. Congratulations to Steve Hylén and his team for such an outstanding achievement. The nine feature films currently shooting in Georgia salute you! We look forward to promoting the SmARTlens product to our customers.”

For more information about SmARTlens Corporation, contact Carolyn Abney at cabney@smartlens.com or visit www.smartlens.com.
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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Fayette County's McIntosh High School Takes State Academic Bowl Championship Again

Starr’s Mill Finishes Second in Jr. Varsity

After finishing first in the Griffin RESA High School Academic Bowl (varsity division), Fayette County's McIntosh High School repeated its performance at the statewide meet, successfully defending its state championship.

For the past two seasons, the team has been 47-0. Team members include Andrew Gifford, Emma Kearney, Will Kearney (captain), David Wonderley and Conner Pigott. Melody Wonderley is the team’s coach.

Other Fayette County varsity teams that earned placements at the RESA regional competition included Whitewater High (Team A), second; Starr’s Mill High (Team A), third and Whitewater High (Team B), fifth.

The RESA regional junior varsity division was dominated by Fayette County with Starr’s Mill taking first followed by Fayette County, second; McIntosh, third; Whitewater, fourth and Starr’s Mill (Team B), fifth.

All of the varsity and junior varsity teams placing first through fifth at the regional competition were eligible to represent Griffin RESA at the state tournament at West Hall High School on January 24. Over 29 teams from school systems representing Butts, Fayette, Henry, Lamar, Newton, Pike, Spalding and Upson counties participated in the regional competition.

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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

German Students of Fayette County High School Win Awards at Convention

German students at Fayette County High brought home five awards from the 2009 State German Convention and one of them was elected vice-president of next year’s event.

A total of 14 students from the school attended the convention and competed against 20 other high schools from across the state. Students who won awards are Vernie Lumacang, first place in third year poetry recitation and first place in third year spelling; Michael Broich, second place in third year vocabulary; Jonathan Harper, second place in third year role-play and John Cudnohufsky and Katy Massey, third place in German Language Obstacle Course.

The convention gives students the opportunity to demonstrate their language proficiency and knowledge of culture in various ways. It has been held in Georgia for 36 years.

In addition to winning awards, Wesley Satterwhite was elected by his peers to serve as vice-president of the 2010 State German Convention.

“I am proud of our students, their hard work and achievements. They also had an exhaustingly good time,” says German teacher Betty Mason.

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Four UGA Students Win National Geographic Internships

Four University of Georgia students in the department of geography have won internships with National Geographic out of only 11 awarded nationally.

Jason Gruba of Martinez and Jesse Oakley of Gainesville won internships to the National Geographic Educational Program. Laura Jones of Athens won an internship to the international edition of National Geographic Magazine. And Cassie Mertzlufft, also of Athens, won an internship to the National Geographic Book Division.

“I think having four UGA interns out of 11 nationally is a real indication of how well prepared UGA geography students are for work at National Geographic,” said George Brook, Merle C. Prunty Jr. Professor, head of the geography department and director of the UGA Luminescence Dating Laboratory. The geography department is in UGA’s Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.

The geography internship program, directed by Robert E. Dulli, deputy to the chairman, is designed for geography and cartography majors at U.S. colleges and universities who are currently in their junior or senior year of academic work, as well as master’s degree students.

The purpose of the program is to furnish students a professional learning experience through participation in various projects aimed at the diffusion of geographic knowledge. Information about this program, which presently accommodates eight to eleven students for each academic term, is sent to heads of geography departments at colleges and universities throughout the United States in late August. The deadline for application materials, for all periods, is in early October for the following year.

“It is also a reflection of the excellent education they have received in the Franklin College and at UGA in general,” said Brook. “Over the course of my career I have seen the caliber of students in geography and at UGA improve year by year, and I think National Geographic is aware of this. One final point is that students in geography are well trained in Geographic Information Science as well as in their main area of interest, making them very useful for a variety of tasks at National Geographic.”

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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Teenager Spearheads Fundraiser for Emory ALS Center

After being inspired by two athletes who lost their lives in their prime from a devastating disease, teenager Brian Duffy and his family have raised more than $17,000 for research and programs at Emory University's ALS Center.

Also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) kills the motor neuron cells in the brain and spinal cord, which causes the brain to lose the ability to control the muscles in the body, leading to paralysis and problems swallowing, eating and breathing. The person's mental capacity remains completely intact, making the disease a cruel sentence for patients who are often otherwise healthy and active before being diagnosed.

Brian Duffy, 15, first learned about ALS in 2005 after watching the Ironman Triathlon from Kona, Hawaii. That year racer Jon Blais became the first person with ALS to ever complete the race. Having said he would finish even if he had to be rolled over the finish line, Blais symbolically laid down at the finish line and "log-rolled" across under his own power. A year later, Blais was in a wheelchair. Less than two years after his diagnosis, he succumbed to the disease.

At the end of a news story on Blais, Brian told his parents, Karen and Mike Duffy, that he wanted to do something to help. With his parents' support, Brian began a letter-writing campaign in January 2006 to family and friends and raised more than $2,200 that year. His parents ran triathlons to raise money, and his younger brother, Kevin, a golfer, sold golf balls as an ALS fundraiser. That was good, but for Brian, it wasn't enough.

At Brian's urging, the family held its first annual "Run for Life 5K - A Race to End Lou Gehrig's Disease" race in 2006, and to date has raised more than $17,000 for ALS research, donating the proceeds to the Emory ALS Center. The third annual race is set for May 2, 2009 - coincidentally the 70th anniversary of the day in 1939 when Lou Gehrig took himself out of the New York Yankees lineup because of the disease.

Proceeds will continue to support the Emory ALS Center where medical professionals partner with the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Georgia and the ALS Association of Georgia, searching for new understanding of the illness and seeking to minimize its toll on families. Research at the Emory ALS Center focuses on basic mechanisms of motor neuron degeneration, genetics of ALS, and new experimental treatments. The Emory ALS Center also provides multidisciplinary care to ALS patients and their families, focusing on independence and quality of life through state-of-the-art intervention. Together, Emory neurologists, nurses, a speech-language pathologist, occupational, physical, and respiratory therapists, dieticians, and a social worker address all aspects and stages of this debilitating disease.

"This disease is a horrific one," says Jonathan Glass, MD, director of the Emory ALS Center and professor of neurology, Emory School of Medicine. "It hits people smack in the middle of their productive lives, and it affects not only the individual, but the whole family. We have created a patient-centered approach at Emory that has been very successful. The family comes to us, and we bring all of the providers they need to them. The support that we receive from donors drives the research we are doing."

Demand for care at the Emory ALS Center has increased dramatically since the center was named an MDA regional network clinical research center, one of only five in the country and the only center in the Southeast. Glass says volunteers, such as Karen Duffy, are vital to the Center's ability to provide emotional and social support for ALS patients and their families who come to the Center.

"These volunteers provide a link to the community and let people know how important this Center is and that what we have here is special and is not happening anywhere else," Glass says. "Brian's efforts are what really started this, and he and his brother are amazing kids. They are examples of what people really can do to make an impact. With public understanding of how important this is we will get the support we need to continue."

Now a freshman at South Forsyth High School, Brian, 15, runs cross-country and is on the swim team. He often has to explain to classmates what ALS is when they see the "Cure for ALS" bumper sticker on the family car.

"My goal is to have ALS become as well-known as other diseases, so people will become more aware of it and do more to help find a cure," Brian says.

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