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Odum School recognizes award winners at annual Spring Fling

May. 14, 2018

Writer: Beth Gavrilles, bethgav@uga.edu

Contact: Beth Gavrilles, bethgav@uga.edu

The Odum School of Ecology honored faculty, students and staff for outstanding achievements during the 2017-2018 academic year at its annual Spring Fling celebration, held on April 20 at Flinchum’s Phoenix.

The evening’s masters of ceremonies, doctoral students Anya Brown, Deven Gokhale and Carly Phillips, presented the year's Odum School awards and scholarships.

The Seydel Award in Sustainability and Conservation was given to two teams of students in the bachelor of arts program to fund projects focused on ecological dimensions of sustainability in the building and/or environs of the Odum School of Ecology. Maggie Clark, Lulu Lacy, Cyra Malec and Madisen Riebock won for their project “Save the Shoals: Management of Athens’ Last Untouched Granite Outcrop,” which will contribute to the development of a management plan for Athens Clarke-County’s only protected granite outcrop. Madison Crosby, Lauren Black, Alec Lavender, Katie O’Shields and Kelly Jones received the award for their project, “Pollinator and Rivercane Conservation in the State Botanical Gardens.” They will install interpretive signage and nesting sites for bees in the floodplains of the State Botanical Garden of Georgia.

Eleanor Duffy and Katie O’Shields, students in the A.B. program, and Morgan Laketa in the B.S. program, received Ron Carroll and Carol Hoffman Costa Rica Travel Awards, which support undergraduate students participating in ecology programs at the UGA Costa Rica campus.

Suzie Henderson, a student in the B.S. program, and Diane Klement in the A.B. program were named recipients of the Thelma Richardson and Frank Golley Undergraduate Support Award, which recognizes leadership within the Odum School to encourage others to become better stewards for sustainability and conservation of natural resources.

Doctoral student Chao Song received the Best Student Paper Award for “Continental-scale decrease in net ecosystem productivity in streams due to climate warming,” of which he is first author and which has been accepted for publication by Nature Geoscience.

Doctoral student Ania Majewska received the Distinguished Graduate Student Teaching Award.

Kaylee Arnold, a doctoral student in the IDEAS area of emphasis, received the Graduate Diversity Award in Ecology. This award was created by Professor Emeritus David Coleman to support diversity initiatives of the graduate program.

Doctoral student Kelsey Solomon was honored with 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.

Zach Butler, a master’s student in the Conservation Ecology and Sustainable Development program, received the Environmental Policy Award, along with law students Pfeiffer Middleton, Shawn McKenzie and Holden Shriver, for their “Guidebook on Managing Non-Motorized Recreational Boat Use on Georgia’s Rivers” and the related ordinance they drafted for Madison County. 

Krista Capps and Elizabeth King were named Outstanding Faculty Instructors of the Year in recognition of significant contributions to the success of the undergraduate and/or graduate programs.

Beth Gavrilles and Allison Walters shared the Employee of the Year award for significant contributions to the success and well-being of Odum School programs during the past year.

Mica Turner and Allison Walters received the Dean’s Award for Professional Achievement, in recognition of outstanding creativity and innovation in service, research or teaching.

Katherine Adams was presented with the Purple Heart award, given by the graduate students to the faculty or staff member who has gone beyond the requirements of his or her position to be exceptionally helpful to students.

The MCs noted that several faculty members, as well as a current student and one recent graduate, were recognized by the University of Georgia this year.

Undergraduate Margaret Clark received a University of Georgia Presidential Award of Excellence, given to graduating seniors in the top one percent of UGA undergraduates who have demonstrated outstanding academic achievement, service and leadership during their collegiate careers.

Assistant professors Krista Capps and Elizabeth King were named Outstanding Teaching Faculty by UGA Provost Karen Whitten.

Capps was also named a Lilly Teaching Fellow for 2018-2020 by the Center for Teaching and Learning.

Professor Emeritus Ron Carroll received the Costa Rica Adelante Award from the Office of International Education.

UGA Athletic Association Professor of Ecology Sonia Altizer received the 2018 Lamar Dodd Creative Research Award, given by the Office of Research for an outstanding body of work that has gained broad recognition.

Professor Amy Rosemond received the 2018 Creative Research Medal in Natural Sciences and Engineering from the Office of Research in recognition of outstanding research or creative activity within the past five years that focuses on a single theme identified with the University of Georgia.

Daniel Becker, PhD ’17, received the 2018 Robert C. Anderson Memorial Award from the Office of Research, which is given to recent PhD alumni for outstanding research at the university or immediately after graduating.

A number of students and faculty also garnered national honors and awards.

Jeb Byers, Distinguished Meigs Teaching Professor, and Professor Amy Rosemond were named Fellows of the Ecological Society of America in 2018.

Denzell Cross, a doctoral student in Integrative Conservation and Ecology, received a Ford Foundation predoctoral fellowship in recognition of his academic excellence; promise for future achievement as a scholar, researcher and teacher in higher education; and capacity to use diversity as a resource to enrich the education of all students.

Integrative Conservation and Ecology doctoral student Keysa Rosas Rodriquez received a Fulbright grant to conduct research in Mexico, where she will examine the impacts of palm oil expansion on the structure and function of freshwater ecosystems in the Neotropics.

The film Chasing Coral, which features Meigs Professor Emeritus Jim Porter as a cast member and scientific advisor, won a Peabody Award as one of the best documentaries of 2017. 

Undergraduate Guy Eroh was named both a Goldwater Scholar and a Udall Scholar in 2018. Goldwater scholarships recognize exceptional sophomores and juniors in the natural sciences, mathematics and engineering; only 211 were given nationwide. Udall scholarships are awarded to students committed to careers in the environment, Native health care or tribal public policy; Eroh was one of just 50 recipients.

Undergraduate Tina Jones received a Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation. She will pursue graduate studies in in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado Boulder. Doctoral students Emily Bertucci and Carolyn Cummins received honorable mentions.

The highlight of the evening was the presentation of the best costume awards. Joy Vaz (aka Gamora) won the contest for the costume that best expressed this year's theme, "Starship Ecoprise." Claire Teitelbaum (aka Mr. Spock) was named the winner of the best dancing-while-in-costume contest. The evening’s music was provided by Basementality, led by  Professor Jeb Byers and featuring a stellar guest performance on lead guitar by Professor Pej Rohani.

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