Odum School Convocation honors fall and summer 2022 graduates

Allyson Mann, tiny@uga.edu

Contact: Melissa Lee, mleew@uga.edu

New graduates of UGA's Odum School of Ecology pose after fall 2022 convocation
Fall 2022 graduates of the Odum School of Ecology pose after the school's convocation ceremony. (Photo by Jason Thrasher)

The Odum School of Ecology celebrated fall 2022 graduation with a convocation ceremony and reception for graduates and their friends and families on Dec. 16 in the ecology auditorium.

Interim Dean Sonia Altizer, Georgia Athletic Association Professor of Ecology, welcomed participants and introduced alumna Sonia M. Hernandez, who earned a Ph.D. in ecology in 2008, under the mentorship of emeritus professor Ron Carroll. Hernandez delivered the convocation address, urging graduates to get to know themselves.

“There are practical ways that you can do that… You can have good mentors that will challenge you with really important questions. Travel really pushes your boundaries and shows you who you are. Get involved in experiences that will push you out of your comfort zone,” she said. “But then always remember to slow down and take a little bit of time to get to know yourself.”

Hernandez, now a professor in UGA’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources and the College of Veterinary Medicine, emphasized that today’s solutions require working together.

“If you’re here at the Odum School, it’s in large part because you recognize that the natural world is in trouble. And you want to understand and think about ways to mitigate all the damage,” she said. “The key to solving today’s complex conservation issues is multi-disciplinarity and the ability of people to work together. Your education at Odum is the first part, and you will add layers on to that with your work and other experiences. But it’s always important to remember to go back to what makes you passionate, and the way to do that is to know yourself.”

Hernandez’s remarks were followed by a hooding ceremony for those receiving doctoral and master’s degrees, and the recognition of bachelor’s degree graduates. Degrees were presented by Pejman Rohani, associate dean for academic affairs, UGA Athletic Association Professor of Ecology and Infectious Diseases, and Regents’ Professor. Assisting in the presentation were professor Craig Osenberg, graduate program coordinator, and lecturer Amanda Rugenski, undergraduate program coordinator.

The ceremony concluded with remarks from Melissa Lee, development and alumni relations coordinator, who welcomed the new graduates to the Odum School alumni community. About 135 guests joined in the post-ceremony celebration, which included refreshments in the Ecology lobby and courtyard.

View photos from convocation.

Graduate Students

Rebecca Lauren Atkins
Doctor of Philosophy in Ecology
Advisor: Craig Osenberg
Dissertation: Intraspecific variation in the distribution, physiology, population traits, and consumer effects of the saltmarsh periwinkle, Littoraria irrorata, across its geographic range

Emily Marie Bertucci
Doctor of Philosophy in Ecology
Advisor: Benjamin Parrott
Dissertation: Epigenetic and environmental determinants of aging and lifespan

Amy Alison Briggs
Doctor of Philosophy in Ecology
Advisor: Craig Osenberg
Dissertation: Algae effect coral reef microbial communities at multiple spatial scales, with consequences for coral-algal regime shifts

Deven Vishwas Gokhale
Doctor of Philosophy in Ecology
Advisor: Pejman Rohani
Dissertation: Modeling population biology of emerging infections of hosts with heterogenous immune histories

Jared Robert Bennett
Master of Science in Ecology
Advisors: Byron (Bud) Freeman and John Wares
Thesis: Cloudy Waters: The effect of fish density and sediment input on eDNA persistence

Josiah Michael Johnson
Master of Science in Integrative Conservation and Sustainability
Advisor: Benjamin Parrott
Thesis: Investigating the relationships between maternally-transferred mercury and hatchling development, behavior, and survival in the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis)

Phoebe Judge
Master of Science in Ecology
Advisor: Ricardo Holdo
Thesis: The impacts of hydraulic redistribution on the physiology and growth of understory plants in longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) ecosystems

Max Kelly
Master of Science in Ecology
Advisor: Catherine Pringle
Thesis: Effects of shrimp macroconsumers and stream flow on leaf decomposition in two tropical montane stream, Puerto Rico: A mixed effects modelling approach

Emily Grace Martin
Master of Science in Ecology
Advisors: Krista Capps and Stephen Golladay
Thesis: Exploring patterns in microplastic pollution in a large rural watershed

Andrew Joseph Nagy
Master of Science in Integrative Conservation and Sustainability
Advisor: Mary Freeman
Thesis: Life histories and long-term community trends of fishes in the Conasauga River

Corinne Margaret Sweeney
Master of Science in Ecology
Advisors: Krista Capps and Stacey Lance
Thesis: Radiocesium contamination in terrestrial plants and fungi near a former nuclear reactor cooling canal on the Savannah River Site in Aiken, SC

Undergraduate Students

Joy Elizabeth Chapman
Bachelor of Science in Ecology
Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering
magna cum laude

Hunter Long Hall
Bachelor of Science in Ecology

Atarah Sierra Kerr
Bachelor of Science in Ecology

Caitlin Mae Kirkpatrick
Bachelor of Science in Ecology
Bachelor of Science in Plant Biology with an emphasis in Plant Ecology and Environment

Andrew Marcus Macao
Bachelor of Science in Ecology
cum laude

Paul David McKinney
Bachelor of Arts in Ecology
Minor in Geography
Certificate in Geographic Information Science
Certificate in Sustainability

Allison Nicole Palmer
Bachelor of Science in Ecology
summa cum laude

Jonathan Thomas Parrish
Bachelor of Arts in Ecology
Bachelor of Arts in Political Science

Emma Cheyenne Raines
Bachelor of Science in Ecology

Satyatejas Gavva Reddy
Bachelor of Science in Ecology
Minor in Chemistry
summa cum laude with Highest Honors

Grayson Whittington Seelke
Bachelor of Science in Ecology
Minor in Geography
Certificate in Geographic Information Science

Veida Jewel Stringfield
Bachelor of Science in Ecology
Certificate in Sustainability

Christina Thanh-Lan Vu
Bachelor of Arts in Ecology
Minor in Entomology

Tayler Marie Wheeler
Bachelor of Science in Ecology

Martha Maria Wilber
Bachelor of Arts in Ecology
Minor in Horticulture
cum laude

Jillian Elyse Wilson
Bachelor of Arts in Ecology
Minor in Horticulture
cum laude

Hannah Elizabeth Woodward
Bachelor of Arts in Ecology
Minor in Avian Biology