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Odum School honors students, faculty and staff at Spring Fling

Apr. 26, 2017



Writer: Beth Gavrilles, bethgav@uga.edu

Contact: Beth Gavrilles, bethgav@uga.edu


The Odum School of Ecology kicked off UGA Honors Week by recognizing the achievements of faculty, staff and students at its annual Spring Fling celebration, held this year on April 14 at Flinchum’s Phoenix. This year’s theme was “Fifty Years of EcoTude,” in honor of the anniversaries of the founding of the Institute of Ecology in 1967 and the Odum School in 2007.

Several faculty and students were recognized for national and University of Georgia honors received this year.

Four graduate students—Caitlin Camille Conn, Robbie Richards, Claire Teitelbaum and David Vasquez—received Graduate Research Fellowships from the National Science Foundation. These highly competitive fellowships provide funding for three years of study and research for outstanding graduate students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines.

Undergraduate Elizabeth Wilkes was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest and best known academic honor society. Founded in 1776 at the College of William and Mary, Phi Beta Kappa celebrates and advocates excellence in the liberal arts and sciences.

Assistant Professor Scott Connelly received the 2017 Costa Rica Adelante Award from the Office of International Education. The award recognizes dedicated service and invaluable contributions to the UGA Costa Rica campus and education abroad programs.

Professor John Drake was named a UGA Distinguished Research Professor, a title awarded to faculty who are internationally recognized for their original contributions to knowledge and whose work promises to foster continued creativity in their discipline.

Professor Jeb Byers was honored with a Josiah Meigs Teaching Professorship, UGA’s highest recognition for instruction at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Byers and Associate Professor Ford Ballantyne were recognized by the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost as UGA Outstanding Teaching Faculty.

Carolyn Keogh, lecturer and undergraduate coordinator, was recognized by the UGA Student Government Association at its annual Professor Recognition Reception.

Odum School scholarships and awards for undergraduates and graduate students were announced.

Doctoral student Jeffrey Minucci won the award for Best Student Paper in the Applied category for “Tolerance or avoidance: Drought frequency determines the response of an N2-fixing tree,” published in New Phytologist in March 2017.

Doctoral student John Vinson received the Best Student Paper in the Basic/Theoretical category for “The potential for sexual transmission to compromise control of Ebola virus outbreak,” published in Biology Letters in June 2016.

Margaret Clark, a student in the AB program, and Cole Gizelbach, Rachel Skinner and Galen Xiang, all in the BS program, received Ron Carroll and Carol Hoffman Costa Rica Travel Awards, which supports undergraduate students participating in ecology programs at the UGA Costa Rica campus.

Doctoral student Elise Krueger was recognized with the Distinguished Graduate Student Teaching Award.

Doctoral student Cecilia Sánchez won the Frank Golley Memorial Scholarship, given in memory of the late Frank Golley, who served as director of the Institute of Ecology from 1968-1979 and professor until his retirement in 2000.

Keysa Rosas-Rodriguez, a doctoral student in ecology and integrative conservation,  received the Graduate Diversity Award in Ecology. This award was created by emeritus professor David Coleman to support diversity initiatives of the graduate program.

Malcolm Barnard, a student in the BS program, received the Josh Laerm Memorial Outstanding Ecology Undergraduate Award, which recognizes a graduating or recently graduated Ecology major based on a combination of research, classroom and service performance. It is given in honor of the late Joshua Laerm, who served as director of the Georgia Museum of Natural History from 1978 to 1997.  

Doctoral students Kaitlin Farrell and Chao Song were honored with the Judy Meyer-Gene Helfman Graduate Travel Award. The award, named for emeritus professors Judy Meyer and Gene Helfman, provides funding for travel to meetings, conferences, or other activities related to the intersection of science, public policy and conservation, with preference given to students whose research focuses on aquatic ecosystems.

Elizabeth Ashley, a student in the BS program, received the Odum Global Scholars Award for Undergraduates, given to support studies abroad, a focal point of the school’s undergraduate program.

Students Luke Gamblin in the AB program and Katherine Russell in the BS program received Thelma Richardson and Frank Golley Undergraduate Support Awards in recognition of leadership within the Odum School to encourage others to become better stewards for sustainability and conservation of natural resources. The award is given in memory of Thelma Richardson, whose devoted service to UGA as ecology’s IT professional began with the formation of the Institute and lasted until her death, and the late Frank Golley, director of the Institute of Ecology from 1968-1979 and professor until his retirement in 2000.

Two teams of three undergraduates in the AB program were recognized with Rutherford Seydel Awards in Sustainability and Conservation. Tanner Mack, Callee Manna and Ben Taylor won for their project “ACC Dog Waste Bag and Public Outreach Initiative,” and Dawson Knick, Anna Nolan and Claire Willis were awarded for “Stroud Elementary School Trail Restoration Project: Pollinator Garden Interpretive Sign and Benches.” This award is given in honor of founding chair of the Odum School IDEA Advisory Board Rutherford Seydel III.

Faculty and staff awards were also announced.

Assistant Professor Krista Capps was named Faculty Instructor of the Year in recognition of significant contributions to the success of the undergraduate and/or graduate programs.

Graduate Advisor Katherine Adams received the Employee of the Year Award for significant contributions to the success and well-being of Odum School programs during the past year.

Professor Emeritus James Porter and Lecturer and Undergraduate Coordinator Carolyn Keogh were honored with the Dean’s Award for Professional Achievement, in recognition of outstanding creativity and innovation in service, research or teaching.

In addition, Professor Craig Osenberg was honored by the Ecology graduate students with the Purple Heart Award. This award is given to the faculty or staff member who has gone beyond the requirements of his or her position to be exceptionally helpful to students.

Undergraduate advisor Misha Boyd was presented with a book of tributes by the undergraduate students in appreciation for her tireless work on their behalf.

Finally, Associate Research Scientist Richard Hall was the unanimous choice of the judges for the costume that best expressed the evening’s theme.

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