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12.05.2013

Focus on the Faculty: Kyle Johnsen

Each month, I would like to feature a member of UGA's outstanding faculty. While I am proud to share the achievements of our alumni and students, those accomplishments would not be possible without the guidance and support of the faculty members they interacted with during their time on campus.

Today, I'd like to begin with Kyle Johnsen, an assistant professor in the College of Engineering.

Despite Johnsen being a Triple Gator from the University of Florida, Johnson elected to join the faculty here at the University of Georgia. He cites a few reasons for that decision:

"The boundary-less Faculty of Engineering (now the College of Engineering) fit perfectly with my cross-disciplinary research, which is a hybrid of computer engineering, computer science and education research. I also had the honor of being one of the first faculty members hired as part of the Faculty of Engineering, which began offering a computer systems engineering degree at the same time I was hired. Finally, the opportunity to be on the ground floor of a new college at a top-tier research institution does not come along very often. It was perfect, though I certainly have had to set aside the Florida versus Georgia rivalry!"

We'll let Johnson's allegiance to the orange and blue pass because of his great work here in Athens. The courses Johnsen teaches include “Virtual Reality,” “Intro to Computer Systems Engineering,” “Sensor Networks” and “Capstone Senior Design.” He notes that his senior-level virtual reality course is his favorite because students learn to design, build and demonstrate innovative simulators and virtual experiences. He's seen a variety of projects come through his classroom, including an underwater oil pipeline repair simulator to an augmented reality zombie fighting game. He enjoys helping students create products that they can talk about and even take with them on job interviews.

In his free time, Johnsen has set up his research lab to be an interactive attraction for external groups, especially those that work with school-aged children. According to Johnsen, "It's incredibly fulfilling to see the wonderment in the eyes of children experiencing virtual reality for the first time."

Thank you for your commitment to inspiring UGA students, Kyle, and thank you for being a part of the faculty that brought the College of Engineering to fruition. Keep up the great work!

To learn more about Kyle Johnson and his work at UGA, please click here.

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07.28.2014

Father and son share a bond like no other

Craig Sager Jr. (ABJ '10), a member of UGA's 2008-2009 football team, and his father, legendary sartorialist and NBA and MLB sports announcer, Craig Sager Sr., have always shared a love of sports. They now share an even stronger connection - a connection that helped save Craig Sr.'s life.

On July 3, Craig Jr. donated bone marrow to his father who is battling acute myeloid leukemia.

“I was pretty confident I’d be the match,” Craig Jr. said. “But 10 out of 10? That’s pretty crazy.”

Craig Jr. was disappointed, though, to find out the surgery would take place on July 3. Like many Georgians, Craig Jr. looks forward to running the annual Peachtree Road Race each Fourth of July. The race has always served as a bonding experience for the entire Sager family. This would have been the first time in 32 years that Craig Sr. has missed the race and Craig Jr. was looking forward to running in his 10th consecutive Peachtree Road Race.

Despite warnings from his doctors that he forego the race this year, Craig Jr. opted to run the race alongside his mother and sisters - in honor of his father.

Less than 24 hours after donating 1.5 liters of bone marrow to his father, Craig Jr. lined up at the starting line with thousands of other runners.

“I wasn’t supposed to be doing this race,” Craig Jr. said. “I was supposed to stay overnight in the hospital but I left at 6:00 p.m. and then just went to bed.”

In the end, Craig Jr. completed the 2014 Peachtree Road Race in one hour and 17 minutes. He was realistic about his finishing time and did not expect to match his previous time of 42 minutes.

Congratulations to Craig Jr. for bravely helping his father's leukemia battle and for crossing the Peachtree Road Race finish line for the 10th year in a row. Best wishes to the entire Sager family for a future of good health!

Information for this blog was sourced from the Atlanta Journal Constitution and MLB.com

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07.25.2014

UGA alumna is on fire

In 2006, Disney produced a huge hit with Cars. It was a family-friendly, fun-filled animated adventure that led to a sequel and the successful spin-off Planes. This summer, a related film will grace the silver screen, Planes: Fire and Rescue, and in it, a successful UGA alumna.

Corri English (ABJ ’00) is well-known in her field as the star of numerous films, guest on iconic television shows, and lead singer for country band Brokedown Cadillac. Though her career began when she was quite young, hosting children’s shows on TBS in the 1980s, it really took off after graduating from UGA.

English has made a name for herself in horror films, winning Best Actress at the International Horror and Sci-Fi Film Festival for her role in Unrest. She also generated quite a following for her voice-over work in popular video games such as Mass Effect 3, Dragon Age: Origins and  Star Wars: The Old Republic. These character voicing skills were brought to life during Planes: Fire and Rescue

Her character, Pinecone, along with four other smokejumpers, bravely leaps from planes to put out fires. "Working alongside actors like Dane Cook, Ed Harris, and Regina King was a great experience," said English. 

The alumna is excited about the release of the film and hopes it leads to further voice acting opportunities in the future. 

Truly, for this star Bulldog, the sky is the limit.

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07.23.2014

Make miracles happen with Gwinnett Braves

As an Emmy-winning reporter for CBS, Adam Murphy (ABJ ’97) spends a large amount of time in the spotlight. He works as a consumer investigative reporter, cracking down on scam artists and tracking dollars involved in large projects. Recently, the alumnus has been focusing his off-screen efforts on helping people.

In 2013, Murphy decided to use his influence to launch the nonprofit ‘Miracle for Mom’. The organization is dedicated to his own mother, Janice Murphy, who was diagnosed in 2010 with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP). PSP is a progressive neurological disorder that causes complications with controlling balance, complex eye movements and upper-level thinking. Discovered in 1964, this relatively new disease has had little attention placed upon it by the scientific community due to its rarity. With no known cause, cure, or treatment procedure, the outlook for those suffering with PSP has looked bleak for the 1 in 100,000 Americans that will develop this neurological disorder. Miracle for Mom hopes to change that.

Miracle for Mom strives to find a cure for PSP and helps those living with the disease. In its four years, the charity has raised more than $10,000. This year alone, Miracle for Mom joined forces with the Atlanta Hawks to raise more than $4,000 in one night. Tonight (July 23), the charity is partnering with the Gwinnett Braves to hopefully raise even more to support the fight against PSP. 

Miracle for Mom Night with the Gwinnett Braves is being held tonight, July 23, 2014, at 6:30 p.m. A portion of ticket sales will be given to the organization. Attendees who purchase a "First Pitch Ticket," will be given and especially good seat in the stadium. And for $15, attendees can enjoy a delicious pre-game tailgate catered by Williamson Bros. BBQ.

Tonight's event is sure to be fun, but also important in the fight against PSP. 

Learn more about Miracle for Mom and/or purchase tickets for tonight's game at www.miracleformom.org

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