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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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Recent Entries


04.23.2014

Alumna puts passion for historic preservation into action

Catherine Garner (MHP ’13) has a passion for preserving the historic buildings of Salisbury, NC. After finishing her undergraduate degree in geography and urban planning at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Garner interned with preservation planners in Winston-Salem. Fulfilled by the work, she chose to pursue the path of historic preservation, eventually earning her masters from UGA in preservation planning.

Since then Garner landed her dream job as Salisbury’s newest city planner and liaison to the City’s Historic Preservation Commission. Her goal, in this position, is to make communities people want to live in. She is actively involved in the city’s new "one-stop shop" for development services. The innovative program encourages local business owners to obtain city permits and a business license under the same roof. By streamlining the process, the program hopes to involve local businesses in the city planning process.

Congratulations Catherine! It’s great to see an alumna making a difference in her community. The work you do will impact Salisbury for generations to come

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04.22.2014

Longtime UGA supporter hangs his “Gone Fishing” sign

William “Dink” H. NeSmith, Jr. (ABJ ’70) is one of the most passionate Bulldogs you will meet. A 1970 graduate of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, NeSmith is co-owner and publisher of Athens-based Community Newspapers, Inc., which publishes dozens of newspapers in Georgia, Florida and North Carolina. As if his professional responsibilities didn’t keep him busy enough, NeSmith, a self-admitted “joiner,” has dedicated as much (if not more) of his free time to higher education.The list of his past university volunteer roles is unparalleled:

  -  chairman of Grady's advisory board and president of its alumni board;

  -  chairman of the board of directors of the Fanning Leadership Institute;

  -  chairman of the Richard B. Russell Foundation;

  -  member of the Athletic Association Board of Directors; and

  -  trustee of the UGA Foundation

In addition, NeSmith is a past president of the UGA Alumni Association and served from 2003 to 2005. He could always be counted on to support his alma mater, and his leadership was surely a factor in UGA’s rise to a top 20 public institution of higher education.

In 2008, Gov. Sonny Perdue asked NeSmith to join the University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents. Five years later, he was serving as chairman of the 18-person governing board for USG. Only the third Athenian to fill this position, NeSmith recently concluded his term as chairman.

Reflecting on a lifetime of professional and philanthropic endeavors, NeSmith recently penned a short piece about his readiness to enjoy his greatest accomplishment: his family. The alumnus is surrounded by an ever-growing swath of Bulldog Faithful: his wife, Pam (BSHE ’71); three children, Alan (BSA ’04), Emily (AB ’99) and Eric (ABJ ’02); and seven grandsons. Upon the birth of each grandchild, NeSmith proudly gave them each a lifetime membership with the UGA Alumni Association. Although the Alumni Association is no longer dues-based, the NeSmith family boasts an impressive 15 lifetime members!

Read more about NeSmith’s transition to “grandpa time” here. This is one alumnus who has certainly earned the right to hang his “Gone Fishing” sign on the door. Thank you for your continued support, Dink, and your fine leadership in many areas across campus and the state.

Dink NeSmith is a regular contributor to the Athens Banner-Herald; read more of his pieces here.

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04.21.2014

McCall Wilder Designs offers timeless clothing options for children

McCall Wilder (ABJ '92) was having trouble locating the perfect outfit for her first baby's Christening. After an usuccessful search, the alumna decided to take matters into her own hands and create her own elegant and timeless clothing pieces for children. And so, in 2001, McCall Wilder Designs was established.

Wilder grew up in Athens with dreams of designing and pursuing journalism. She attended Hollins College in Virginia before transferring to UGA to study broadcast news in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. After graduating, Wilder interned and worked for CNN in Atlanta, taking part in the launch of CNN.com, the Internet’s first news site. She remained at CNN as a writer and producer until 1999.

Wilder’s “Baby McCall line” of heirloom gowns and special occasion outfits was only available by appointment until May 2008, when the first McCall Wilder Couture for Children Boutique & Atelier opened in the heart of Atlanta. The Baby McCall and McCall Wilder Designs lines now include more than 50 different styles, from crib bedding to dresses for teens and women.

Congratulations on your successful business venture, McCall. Your clothes and other products are simply beautiful.

Stay up-to-date on news and design ideas through the McCall Wilder Designs Facebook page.

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