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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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10.24.2014

UGA Graduate School honors 2014 Alumni of Distinction

The University of Georgia Graduate School has honored 10 graduates with the 2014 Alumni of Distinction Award for achieving exceptional success in their professional careers and in service to their communities. The professional achievements and contributions to society made by these graduate alumni exemplify the best of UGA.

As the Director of the Emory Institute for Drug Development of Bioanalytical Chemistry, Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics Group, Richard F. Arrendale (BSEH '74, MS '80, PHD '88) has played a lead role in the preclinical and early clinical development of new treatments for tumors in tobacco users. Additionally, he co-chaired the 2012 UGA Symposium on Pharmaceutical Development.

Phillip J. Brantley (MS '77, PHD '80) is the associate executive director for scientific education at Louisiana State University's Pennington Biomedical Research Center. More than 30 years of research grants, mostly from the National Institutes of Health, have funded his research in weight loss and long-term weight management. Brantley is a member of the executive council of the Obesity Society and has served on the executive boards of the Louisiana Psychological Association and the Society of Behavioral Medicine.

UGA professor Perry W. Buffington (MA '73) is a bestselling author, speaker, media personality and licensed applied psychologist. He teaches clinical psychopharmacology in UGA's Franklin College of Arts and Sciences' program on the Griffin campus and was awarded the Teaching Excellence Award by the UGA psychology department in 2014. In addition to lecturing worldwide on ways to reduce drug errors, he is also a former contributing editor to Delta Air Lines' in-flight magazine, Sky.

Christopher Francis D'Elia (PHD '74) is the dean of the School of the Coast and Environment at Louisiana State University. His research is centered on the nutrient dynamics of estuaries and coral reefs. D'Elia is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, has served on numerous advisory panels to the National Science Foundation, and previously directed the International Ocean Institute-USA and the Center for Science and Policy Applications for the Coastal Environment.

Brain cancer survivor Michael Feuerstein (MS '75, PHD '77) is a professor of medical and clinical psychology and preventative medicine/biometrics at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. In 1994, he developed and directed a clinical psychology Ph.D. program for the Department of Defense to train clinical providers and military leaders in behavioral health and medicine. Feurstein has dedicated his career to improving the health, health care, function and well being of other cancer survivors.

Pamela Flattau (MS '72, PHD '74) has  served as a senior staff officer and task leader in Washington, D.C. for 40 years with the National Research Council, National Science Foundation, and Institute for Defense Analyses' Science and Technology Policy Institute. This year, she launched the nonprofit business venture, The PsySiP Project, to advance behavioral measures associated with sustainable consumption for integration into the U.S. System of National Accounts for the U.N.'s post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda.

Triple Dawg and Athens resident Kurt C. Lawrence (BSAE '85, MS '87, PHD '97) is  a supervisory research agricultural engineer and research leader of the quality and safety assessment research unit within the agricultural research service division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He is recognized internationally as an expert in radio-frequency moisture sensing in cereal grains, crack detection in shell eggs, and imaging systems used to detect poultry contamination.

Roland McElroy (AB '65, MA '69) is president of McElroy & Associates, a public relations firm focused on providing strategic advice for corporate and public policy clients. In Washington, D.C. he served U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn for 15 years, first as press secretary and later as chief-of-staff. In 2001, he wrote a history of the Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Georgia, entitled "Georgia Blue." His next project, a political memoir of his time with Nunn, is due to be released in 2015.

Kathleen Slevin (MA '74, PHD '75) is the former vice provost for academic affairs and Chancellor Professor of Sociology at the College of William and Mary. Her scholarship centered on age and gender inequalities. In 1990, she was appointed by the Governor of Virginia to serve on the Affirmative Action Monitoring and Advisor Committee. She currently serves as the president of the Southern Sociological Society and is the faculty advisor for the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.

Mrs. USA 1990 Deborah Williams (MS '83, PHD '85) is the president and CEO of the apparel and event productions company, Her Game 2. Through an exclusive merchandise licensing agreement with the National Basketball Association, she supplies apparel for NBA fans across the country. She is also the Founder of Behind the Bench: The National Basketball Wives Association. She was also selected as one of the 25 Most Influential African American Women in Business by The Network Journal.

The UGA Alumni Association congratulates you all on your success!

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10.22.2014

Bulldogs in the Sunshine State

Southern California is known for its beaches, beautiful weather and the glamour of Hollywood, but the Sunshine State has a touch of Bulldog, too. With more than 3,535 UGA alumni, Southern California is home to a host of alumni and alumni-owned businesses. 

A beer tap made from a Harley engine? Check. An annual Halloween party that includes a strait jacket escape contest and something called the Dead Marionette Theater? Check. A Johnny Cash shrine? Sure! All these elements and more come together to create the Gasser Lounge, a rock n’ roll bar located in Redondo Beach, California, the pride of owner Mike Bouchard (BBA ’03).

Serving as the Southern California Chapter’s game watching party venue, the Gasser Lounge hosts an energetic crew of football devotees every week for an indoor tailgating experience unlike any other, complete with a red leather interior and a special surprise after every Dawgs touchdown, served up by bartender Bouchard.

Bouchard and his bar aren’t the only ones keeping the Southern California Chapter entertained, however.

  

M. Ali Salimi (BBA ’03), president of the chapter, is an esteemed attorney who lived in Switzerland and London before beginning his own firm in Irvine.

Outside of work, Salimi opts for a hobby that’s a little less serious - gracing the stages of comedy clubs across the region. 

The UGA Alumni Association is proud of your accomplishments, Mike and Ali! Continue keeping the Southern California Chapter interesting.

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10.21.2014

2014-2015 Signature Lecture Series

Guest Blogger: Meg Amstutz, Ph.D. 
Associate Provost for Academic Programs

UGA is now highlighting a number of premier lectures through its new Signature Lectures designation, designed to help focus attention on the variety of prominent thinkers visiting campus.

When I first came to UGA in 1997, one thing I missed from my prior institution was the twice-yearly notice of its endowed lecture series. At the beginning of each semester, the arrival of the list of upcoming lectures would prompt my fellow graduate students and me to mark our calendars and chat with friends and colleagues about the topics that interested us most. Faculty across campus encouraged students to attend these lectures, and they often incorporated the work of the speakers into the classes they were teaching.    

In 2013-2014, more than 50 individual lectures were listed on UGA’s Master Calendar, signaling the strong level of intellectual activity taking place. At the same time, this long list signaled an opportunity to reframe these offerings conceptually, so that students and faculty might more easily mark the dates, participate and engage in classroom discussion together.

To that end, we have launched the UGA Signature Lectures, featuring speakers noted for their broad, multidisciplinary appeal and compelling bodies of work. This special designation recognizes a number of UGA’s endowed lectures, including the Gregory Lecture and the Mason Public Leadership Lecture, as well as lectures with historic significance on our campus, such as the Louise McBee Lecture, the Holmes-Hunter Lecture, and UGA’s Founders Day Lecture.

I am grateful to those who have chosen to endow lectures, because these Signature Lectures are one of the best ways for students to discover that they are truly part of a larger, international intellectual conversation.

For a full list of the 2014-2015 Signature Lecture, please click here.

The UGA Alumni Association will hold the 2015 Founders Day Lecture at the Chapel on Tuesday, January 27 at 1:30 p.m. The public is invited to attend.

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