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The University of Georgia is taking a step forward in its Innovation District initiative and The University of Georgia C...
02/03/2020
Delta commits $5 million to innovation, engineering

The University of Georgia is taking a step forward in its Innovation District initiative and The University of Georgia College of Engineering enhancements, thanks to a $5 million gift from The Delta Air Lines Foundation.

“This gift will help us prepare our students to be successful leaders in the knowledge economy while enabling the research discoveries of our faculty to make the greatest impact on society," said President Jere W. Morehead.

http://bit.ly/2uaSCLp

Foundation gift to support Innovation District, student-industry partnership program.

Katlin Shae's weavings center around images from a realm of physics that she never studied formally but has always found...
02/03/2020

Katlin Shae's weavings center around images from a realm of physics that she never studied formally but has always found fascinating: the quantum world.

“The goal is to share the wonder and awe that I have for systems that are happening all around us,” says Shae, who earned her MFA in sculpture from the University of Georgia in May 2018. “If I could make one other person excited about any of these things—about STEM concepts, about quantum physics, about the cosmos, about their place in the world—then that would be success.”

http://bit.ly/31gX6fI

UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences

The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded a research fellowship to Rachel Gabara, associate professor in the...
02/02/2020
UGA professor wins prestigious fellowship

The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded a research fellowship to Rachel Gabara, associate professor in the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences’ department of Romance languages.

The fellowship will fund the completion of Gabara’s second book manuscript titled "Reclaiming Realism: From Documentary Film in Africa to African Documentary Film."

http://bit.ly/37XcX5i

Rachel Gabara was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities research fellowship

Congratulations to UGA Institute of Higher Education's Greg Wolniak on being named a 2020 Research Fellow for the Strate...
02/01/2020
Wolniak named 2020 SNAPP Research Fellow | Institute of Higher Education

Congratulations to UGA Institute of Higher Education's Greg Wolniak on being named a 2020 Research Fellow for the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP)!

Using a large alumni survey database, Wolniak and his research partner will examine issues of diversity and equity in the arts, and the extent to which (and for whom) undergraduate arts education serves as a pathway to graduate education in fields like law and business.

http://bit.ly/2OhsRzL

Image: Wolniak was named a 2020 Research Fellow for the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP). The fellowship includes access to a large alumni survey database containing postcollege information on undergraduate arts majors. Using the database, Greg Wolniak and research partner, Amy Whitake...

Growth in the number of graduates earning degrees in high-demand fields, a thriving research and innovation ecosystem, a...
01/31/2020
$6.5 billion: UGA’s annual economic impact grows - UGA Today

Growth in the number of graduates earning degrees in high-demand fields, a thriving research and innovation ecosystem, and a commitment to serving the state have lifted the University of Georgia’s annual economic impact to its highest level yet: $6.5 billion.

“It is gratifying to put a number on UGA’s value to the state economy, even as we know that some of the additional benefits, such as civic engagement and improvements to quality of life, cannot be quantified," said President Jere W. Morehead.

http://bit.ly/37NpWH0

President Morehead: UGA is "more vital to our state’s success than ever.”

A $235,000 grant from the Vera Institute of Justice will allow faculty from the UGA Carl Vinson Institute of Government,...
01/31/2020
Study could help reduce rural incarceration rates

A $235,000 grant from the Vera Institute of Justice will allow faculty from the UGA Carl Vinson Institute of Government, UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and the University of Georgia School of Social Work to develop a "research hub" and work with up to 15 rural Georgia counties to find ways to safely divert people with mental health and substance abuse issues from jail.

“Criminal justice reforms at the state level in recent years have been impressive, but this research will bring much-needed attention to rural communities in Georgia," said Sarah Shannon, associate professor of sociology.

https://t.uga.edu/5AI

An interdisciplinary team at UGA was awarded a grant to address increasing incarceration rates in rural communities

Who is more susceptible to this new coronavirus and what are some precautions people should take to limit exposure?Mark ...
01/30/2020
Researchers solving the coronavirus puzzle

Who is more susceptible to this new coronavirus and what are some precautions people should take to limit exposure?

Mark Jackwood, a professor and infectious disease expert at the University of Georgia, shares some of his thoughts on the current outbreak and what the future may hold for the coronavirus.

https://t.uga.edu/5B4

Infectious disease expert shares thoughts on the current outbreak.

Thanks to funding provided by UGA's Presidential Interdisciplinary Seed Grant Program one UGA College of Public Health p...
01/30/2020
Seed grant research explores impact of environment on state childhood obesity policy

Thanks to funding provided by UGA's Presidential Interdisciplinary Seed Grant Program one UGA College of Public Health professor and her team will have the opportunity to study how the built environment surrounding schools impacts the implementation of Georgia's state-wide childhood obesity policy, Georgia SHAPE.

“This interdisciplinary research will result in meaningful benefits to our state, nation and world while helping to expand the university’s research enterprise," said UGA President Jere W. Morehead.

https://t.uga.edu/5AH

University of Georgia researchers are studying how the built environment surrounding schools impacts Georgia’s state-wide childhood obesity policy with support from a UGA seed grant program.

“The students, the environment here is where my research informs my life, and my life informs my research,” said Laura L...
01/29/2020
Associate professor researches workplace behavior while teaching effective leadership - UGA Today

“The students, the environment here is where my research informs my life, and my life informs my research,” said Laura Little, an associate professor of management and Synovus Director of the Institute for Leadership Advancement.

“It’s called ‘mesearch,’ trying to better understand the things I’m dealing with, and what the people around me are dealing with as well.”

https://t.uga.edu/5Af

Terry College of Business

When Laura Little sits at her desk in Moore-Rooker Hall, she’s researching.

New research by the University of Georgia's Greg Strauss could offer significant promise for treating an aspect of schiz...
01/29/2020
Research offers promise for treating schizophrenia - UGA Research News

New research by the University of Georgia's Greg Strauss could offer significant promise for treating an aspect of schizophrenia that currently has no pharmaceutical options.

Strauss's study confirms that successfully treating one particular symptom - reduced motivation - has a positive effect on other negative symptoms of schizophrenia.

https://t.uga.edu/5At

UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences
UGA Psychology Department

Research by a University of Georgia psychologist shows that targeting one particular symptom of schizophrenia has a positive effect on other symptoms, offering significant promise for treating an aspect of schizophrenia that currently has no pharmaceutical options. A team led by Gregory Strauss publ...

01/28/2020
New Materials Institute offers hands-on research experience

The University of Georgia's New Materials Institute is dedicated to making the world a better place to live, play and thrive through Green Engineering principles and greater sustainability.

Caitlin Cato and Katherine Shayne share their experiences with the faculty and researchers at the NMI.

The University of Georgia College of Education's Ikseon Choi and his colleagues are committed to integrating technology ...
01/28/2020
Teaching students coding and engineering principles using robots

The University of Georgia College of Education's Ikseon Choi and his colleagues are committed to integrating technology and STEM-based projects into the K-12 curricula through robotics.

“The core question we had in developing the curriculum was how can we help children solve realistic problems by integrating science, math, technology and engineering,” said Choi, who also directs the Research and Innovation in Learning, or RAIL, lab.

https://t.uga.edu/5Ad

UGA's Ikseon Choi developed a six-part lesson plan and workbook that pairs the fun of building and programming a robot with STEM principles.

The University of Georgia Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Education Program has launched Food eTalk, the country’s onl...
01/27/2020
UGA SNAP-Ed rolls out nation’s first evidence-based online program | News | College of Family and Consumer Sciences | UGA

The University of Georgia Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Education Program has launched Food eTalk, the country’s only evidence-based online SNAP-Ed program.

“This groundbreaking nutrition education method allows us to increase our reach and impact," said Jung Sun Lee, UGA Athletic Association Professor in the UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences.

https://t.uga.edu/5zU

UGA Extension

January 22nd, 2020 Author: Cal Powell  |  706-542-3536  |  More about Cal Contact: Jung Sun Lee  |  706-542-6783  | More about Jung Sun

Congratulations to Hannah Stephen, a Ph.D. candidate in biochemistry and molecular biology, on receiving the F30 Ruth L....
01/27/2020

Congratulations to Hannah Stephen, a Ph.D. candidate in biochemistry and molecular biology, on receiving the F30 Ruth L. Kirschstein Individual Fellowship from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development!

This fellowship will support Stephen's research on the mutation of the O-GIcNAc Transferase enzyme and her goal of bringing her glycobiology expertise to veterinary medical research.

https://t.uga.edu/5zR

UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences

Two University of Georgia professors have been named Regents’ Professors for research that is recognized both nationally...
01/26/2020
Two faculty members named Regents’ Professors - UGA Today

Two University of Georgia professors have been named Regents’ Professors for research that is recognized both nationally and internationally as innovative and pace-setting.

Congratulations to Odum School of Ecology and University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine's Pejman Rohani and UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences's Ronald L. Simons on this prestigious recognition!

https://t.uga.edu/5zT

Pejman Rohani and Ronald L. Simons rewarded for their pace-setting research.

Congratulations to the nine UGA faculty and administrators who have been named to the 2019-2020 class of the Women's Lea...
01/25/2020
Nine named 2019-2020 Women’s Leadership Fellows - UGA Today

Congratulations to the nine UGA faculty and administrators who have been named to the 2019-2020 class of the Women's Leadership Fellows Program!

Throughout the yearlong program, the participants will attend monthly meetings to learn from senior administrators on campus as well as visiting speakers from academia, business and other fields.

https://t.uga.edu/5zi

The program was created as part of the university’s Women’s Leadership Initiative.

FOCUS ON FACULTY - University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine professor, Chad Schmiedt, has one goal: to impro...
01/24/2020
Focus on Faculty: Chad Schmiedt

FOCUS ON FACULTY - University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine professor, Chad Schmiedt, has one goal: to improve the lives of cats, dogs and the people who care for them. 🐱🐶👨‍⚕️

Schmiedt, whose research explores how chronic kidney disease in companion animals starts and progresses, returned as a faculty member to his alma mater where he knew he could be challenged in a work environment committed to the highest levels of veterinary care.

Find out how Schmiedt's research inspires his teaching- and the one UGA experience he'll never forget - at https://t.uga.edu/5zl.

He conducts research that explores how chronic kidney disease in companion animals starts and progresses

According to a new study from the University of Georgia, some new mothers are still having to advocate for the breastfee...
01/24/2020
Women still face barriers to breastfeed at work

According to a new study from the University of Georgia, some new mothers are still having to advocate for the breastfeeding resources they need at work.

“Many women who have young children are in the workforce, and we should be able to make it easier for them to combine those two things,” said UGA College of Public Health's Heather Padilla. “It shouldn’t be a choice of one or the other.”

https://t.uga.edu/5yZ

The burden still falls on working mothers to advocate for the resources they need, according to a new study from the University of Georgia

A growing number of dams in Puerto Rico, combined with seasonal changes in water availability, have made it increasingly...
01/23/2020
Odum School of Ecology | Long-term data reveal impact of dams and drought on migratory shrimp in Puerto Rico

A growing number of dams in Puerto Rico, combined with seasonal changes in water availability, have made it increasingly difficult for shrimp to reach their destinations, according to a recent study from the University of Georgia.

Not being able to reach the ocean could potentially reduce survival of larval shrimp, while failure to reach spawning ground could reduce adult shrimps’ ability to reproduce; both could cause population decline.

https://t.uga.edu/5yA

Odum School of Ecology

The combination of dams, droughts and dry seasons are making it harder for Puerto Rico's migratory shrimp to complete their life cycle.

The UGA Libraries are committed to making an impact on the lives of future scholars at the University of Georgia through...
01/23/2020
Libraries’ Undergraduate Research Award helps students grow as scholars - UGA Research News

The UGA Libraries are committed to making an impact on the lives of future scholars at the University of Georgia through the Undergraduate Research Awards.

“This award is significant because of the emphasis that is placed on undergraduates to pursue research in areas or formats that they are sometimes not aware of," said Garrison Bickerstaff, lecturer and LURA committee member.

https://t.uga.edu/5yW

 Awards & Honors | January 21, 2020January 22, 2020 Libraries’ Undergraduate Research Award helps students grow as scholars With a librarian’s help, Isabel Ott’s research project grew exponentially into a complete history of an understudied group of viruses comprising 300 sources of informa...

Meet the dynamic duo! When undergraduate student Emily Jones began working with the University of Georgia College of Edu...
01/22/2020
Engaging in research strengthens the undergraduate experience - UGA Research News

Meet the dynamic duo! When undergraduate student Emily Jones began working with the University of Georgia College of Education's Kevin McCully, she had no idea that her time spent in McCully's Exercise Muscle Physiology Lab would have such a strong impact on her future plans.

https://t.uga.edu/5yO

 Education | January 21, 2020January 21, 2020 Engaging in research strengthens the undergraduate experience By Allyson Mann Photography By Amy Ware Three years might not seem like a long time in the world of research, but it represents three quarters of Emily Jones’ undergraduate education. For...

A grant of nearly $1 million from the National Science Foundation (NSF) will bring a new electron microscope—the only on...
01/22/2020
$1 million NSF grant funds new electron microscope - UGA Today

A grant of nearly $1 million from the National Science Foundation (NSF) will bring a new electron microscope—the only one of its kind in Georgia—to the UGA campus.

“Our proposal identified 29 major users of the new microscope across 14 departments,” said Tina Salguero, UGA professor and principal investigator for the project. “The diversity of research interests represented highlights the broad demand for this microscope at UGA.”

https://t.uga.edu/5yN

A grant of nearly $1 million from the National Science Foundation will bring a new electron microscope—the only one of its kind in Georgia—to the UGA campus.

Researchers from the University of Georgia and Makerere University in Uganda have launched DOT Selfie, a mobile health r...
01/21/2020
UGA study using ‘selfies’ to encourage tuberculosis treatment

Researchers from the University of Georgia and Makerere University in Uganda have launched DOT Selfie, a mobile health research project to assist in the treatment of one of the world's deadliest infectious diseases: tuberculosis.

DOT Selfie patients will use their smartphone to record and send time-stamped videos of their daily medication intake, resulting in a weekly reward for following their medication regime.

https://t.uga.edu/5yr

UGA College of Public Health
National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Researchers from the University of Georgia and Makerere University in Uganda are using selfies to improve patient adherence to tuberculosis (TB) treatment.

As part of its Innovation District initiative, UGA launched two new programs last semester designed to prepare its facul...
01/21/2020
New innovation programs earn high marks - UGA Today

As part of its Innovation District initiative, UGA launched two new programs last semester designed to prepare its faculty and researchers for the world of entrepreneurship and technology commercialization.

Between the inaugural induction of the first two Innovation Fellows and the inaugural Innovation Bootcamp, both programs provided valuable training and support to participants on their innovation journeys.

https://t.uga.edu/5yB

Two new programs launched last semester designed to prepare UGA faculty and researchers for the world of entrepreneurship and technology commercialization

New research from the University of Georgia suggests that a minimally invasive and non-operative exosome treatment can n...
01/20/2020
Exosomes promote remarkable recovery in stroke

New research from the University of Georgia suggests that a minimally invasive and non-operative exosome treatment can now influence the repair and damage that follow a severe stroke.

“What the exosome technology does is communicate with jeopardized cells and work like an anti-inflammatory agent to interrupt and stop further damage," said Steven Stice, Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar and D.W. Brooks Distinguished Professor in the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

https://t.uga.edu/5yk

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

“It was eye opening and unexpected that you would see such a benefit."

“What is the magic to making science learning meaningful and engaging?”That question is at the heart of University of Ge...
01/20/2020

“What is the magic to making science learning meaningful and engaging?”

That question is at the heart of University of Georgia doctoral student Tong Li’s research and teaching.

“I use magic tricks as a way to inspire students to learn how to think outside of the box, how magicians create amazing and touching moments for their audience and how to incorporate the principles of magic into their design process,” said Li. “It encourages them to be creative and make the impossible things possible.”

https://t.uga.edu/5yl

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Videos

Making science accessible: Athens Science Alliance still going strong

By Alaa Ahmed Photography by Jason Thrasher, Nancy Evelyn

“This is the first time I’ve given a talk about breast milk while holding a beer,” says David Mills.

As the crowd at downtown Athens’ Little Kings Shuffle Club fills their seats, Mills starts his Athens Science Café presentation. One evening a month, for almost seven years, the Café has brought a diverse group of speakers to talk about their research. The events are entirely student-run and have earned a following in the Athens and UGA communities.

Mills’ appearance on Nov. 21, 2019, also marks the first Athens Science Café delivered by a national scholar brought to Athens for this purpose. A professor at the University of California, Davis, Mills talks to a crowd of nearly 50—mostly UGA students and their friends—about the importance of breast milk in forming a healthy microbial community (or microbiome) in an infant’s gut.

Breast milk includes a protein with anti-cancer applications, Mills explains, and its third-largest component is fiber. Although infants can’t digest it, the fiber plays an important role in colonizing their gut with beneficial bacteria, especially Bifidobacterium, which often appears on the label of probiotic supplements. Somewhat surprisingly, Mills says infants in developing or rural areas have a higher abundance of “good” gut bacteria—and, thus, healthier gut microbiome—than their peers in North America and Europe, despite the higher living standards in the latter two regions.

“Are we losing the key bacteria that are meant to seed our children?” Mills asks the audience. “What are we doing to our children, or to ourselves, so that we are not passing it on to our children?”

After the talk, people have questions—along with a healthy appreciation for what they learned.

“There’s a lot more science behind breast milk than we thought,” says Maria Letourneau, a UGA graduate student in marine sciences.

This kind of exchange is why the Athens Science Café was established: to connect the Athens community with science by facilitating a two-way dialogue between scientists and citizens.

Learning and libations

In 2013, Rishi Masalia was sitting at a round table in the Atlanta Botanical Garden, listening to an evening science talk. As a UGA graduate student, he was used to lectures, but not in such an informal setting.

“Having cocktails and chatting about science was a cool concept in and of itself, but specialty, science-themed cocktails?” he said. “Count me in.”

Prior to that night, Masalia and a colleague had discussed holding similar events in Athens. Masalia felt the 50-minute talk did not leave enough time for audience questions. In addition, attendees had to pay for both parking and admission to the Botanical Garden, which may have limited the audience.

“We wanted the Science Café to be a place where people could grab a beer, listen to a non-dense science lecture, and ask questions directly to an expert—all with no cover charge,” he said.

Soon after, the Athens Science Café was born, with its first event held in early 2014. The monthly format included a 40-minute talk, followed by 10 minutes of Q&A, with the entire event being live-streamed on Facebook.

“We started out as a group of science nerds who liked talking about science,” Masalia said. “Currently, the Café is coming up on its 7th birthday, and it’s taken on a life of its own, continuously evolving with each new group of student leaders.”

The Café initially received financial support from UGA through the President’s Venture Fund. Last year, Jason Wallace, assistant professor in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, wrote in funding for the Athens Science Café as part of a grant proposal. Thanks to this extra support, the Café can now invite speakers from across the country, such as Mills.

“Government agencies want their research to have an impact on society, and the Athens Science Café helps move cool research out of the lab and into an everyday setting,” Wallace said.

However, Café speakers were usually well-established professionals, and there was a growing desire for current students to themselves engage in science communication, according to Masalia. He and a group of graduate students—all involved in the Café at the time—wanted to practice science communication instead of just facilitating talks. After individually writing blogs and exchanging feedback, Masalia and two of his colleagues, John Spiekerman and Jeff Cannon, got together and hatched the idea of formally launching a blog-type website.

Cannon emailed all UGA science departments with a description of the idea and a call to action. The response was overwhelming.

“We got responses pretty quickly, and we actually delayed starting so that Jeff, John and I could put together some writing structures to handle that many new writers and reviewers,” Masalia said.

Now the Athens Science Café is part of a bigger entity called the Athens Science Alliance, which also includes the Athens Science Observer, a website where students write and post articles on various scientific topics. The two organizations were merged under the umbrella of the Alliance to unite their resources and branding efforts.

“The Observer was born out of a desire for training and experiential learning,” Masalia said.

Observer writers have covered such topics as antibiotic resistance, nanotechnology, the lack of maternity care in STEM fields, privacy implications of personal genetic data, the science behind vampires and a series of posts on Christmas myths.

As the two initially independent branches merged into the Athens Science Alliance, a liaison was elected to coordinate between the Observer and the Café. Gregory Evans, writer and associate editor for the Observer (as well as a graduate student in plant biology), tries to facilitate better communication between the two branches.

While the two branches of the Alliance provide free science outreach, running the organizations comes with financial obligations: The Café pays fees to reserve space at the venue, while the Observer has website maintenance expenses. Prior to their merging, each branch managed their finances independently. Michelle Ziadie, former editor-in-chief of the Observer, said the website’s expenses usually come out of the students’ pockets, while on the Café side, monthly “Percentage Nights” at the downtown Ben and Jerry’s help them generate funds.

On the second Wednesday of every month, the Café sets up experiments outside Ben and Jerry’s, which gives the organization a portion of proceeds. Elizabeth Watts, the Café fundraising coordinator and a graduate student in biochemistry and molecular biology, said the experiments vary from very simple—like making smoke by adding water to dry ice—to more complex and interactive, like making designs with ingredients like milk, food coloring and laundry detergents.

On the Observer side, Ziadie, a graduate student in genetics, attributes the site’s growth to increased interest in pursuing careers in science communication, as well as Observer recruitment efforts. With extra funding, she envisions holding training workshops for writers.

“Many students want to have the experience of translating their science for a broader audience,” she said. “They want to be able to communicate the important scientific ideas that may also have social or political consequences.”

Malaria and mosquitos

David Peterson, an associate professor of infectious diseases at UGA, believes a speaker should know their audience and find ways to connect with them. He found his connection through humorous, on-topic questions.

“What’s the medieval Italian term for ‘bad air’?”

“In 1786, what illness caused George Washington to be treated with quinine?”

“What provided a ready excuse for the colonial British to drink gin and tonic?”

The answer to all those questions, according to Peterson, is malaria.

During the September 2019 Café, titled “Malaria: From Miasma to Elimination”, Peterson covered the history of malaria outbreaks and the challenges facing vaccine development, partly due to the complex nature of the parasite. While sipping a gin and tonic himself, Peterson warned the audience against relying on tonic water—which contains small amounts of quinine—for malaria prevention.

“If you think you can drink enough gin and tonic to protect yourself from malaria, you can’t,” he said. “With the proper ratios, that would be five liters of gin.”

At the end of his talk, Peterson answered questions from the audience, most of which involve the risks of using genetic engineering on the mosquitoes that carry and spread malaria.

“I really enjoyed the audience questions,” he said. “It was clear that many in attendance had been reading about malaria.”

His talk drew a crowd of more than 30, with a mix of UGA students and Athens residents. Richard Field, the current Café program director and a graduate student in genetics, talks about other past events, including one given by the owners of Kindercore Vinyl that discussed vinyl record production, and another about beer-brewing technology, given by employees of Creature Comforts, a local brewery. Field attributes the success of these two Café talks to the “real-world” nature of the topics.

To help promote upcoming Cafés, the Observer introduces the talks through articles on the Café’s topic. This was done for both Mills’ and Peterson’s talks, among others.

The Café’s venue, Little Kings Shuffle Club is an important partner to the Café’s success. The arrangement to host the Science Café was mediated through Nick Batora, a Ph.D. student in genetics who was a regular customer of Little Kings and director of the Café at the time.

“We host these events because they bring people in, and we like the people running the Café,” said Terri Silva, a manager at Little Kings. “We always create a special cocktail for the Café based on the subject of the talk.”

The Café audience seems to always leave with new, sometimes surprising information. Staci Belcher, a dietician and avid Café attendee, was surprised to learn from Mills that breast milk contains fiber. Others were surprised by the different useful components of breast milk.

“The science of breast milk is a really important topic that we don’t often discuss,” said Denise Fahey, a graduate student in biochemistry and molecular biology.

An education in communication

While graduate students are generally trained to present to their peers, Simeone Lim-Hing, an associate editor for the Observer and graduate student in plant biology, had another kind of audience in mind. Being the first member of her family to pursue science, she had personal reasons to practice writing in accessible language.

“My grandparents, who do not speak English as a first language, can read my articles and have a grasp on my science,” she said. Lim-Hing also credited her experience with the Observer with making her a better teaching assistant by helping her explain course material to her students more effectively.

Observer writers also acknowledge certain challenges. Maria Flowers, a senior majoring in biochemistry, is in the process of writing her first article. To her, the biggest challenge is finding a balance between simplifying complex ideas and avoiding wrong interpretation of data.

“You want the reader to walk away both educated about the topic and inspired to learn more about it,” Flowers said.

Beyond connecting the UGA and Athens communities, Wallace said science outreach is important for graduate students on a professional level. Tiffany Lohwater, chief communications officer for the American Association for the Advancement of Science, agrees. Good communication skills, she said, can help students and scientists in applying for jobs, conducting interviews and writing grant applications. In addition, she said outreach events can benefit both scientists and their communities.

“In order for science to be truly useful to society, we must maintain and build connections to the communities where we live and work, as well as communities that may be underserved or underrepresented,” Lohwater said. “Public engagement, including science outreach, can help provide relevant information to broader communities, as well as help to inform scientists about the societal context of their work.”

Masalia cites his experience with the Alliance as a key factor in his personal success. He graduated in 2018 with a degree in plant sciences and is now director of bioinformatics for a startup company in California, a position that requires him to speak to investors and customers about science.

“Science communication is literally the reason I have my job,” Masalia said.

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