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08.19.2015

Alumnus Spotlight: Brinkley Warren (ABJ ‘05, MA ‘12)

Brinkley Warren (ABJ '05, MA '12) is a fan of the Georgia Bulldogs and giant robots. Warren, a Double Dawg and Fulbright Scholar, received a scholarship from UGA to attend Singularity University in Silicon Valley in 2011. Today, Warren is one of three co-founders of MegaBots, Inc. a high-tech robotics company creating a new global sports league of giant, human-piloted robots. 

Based out of Oakland, California, MegaBots, Inc. hopes to launch a global sports entertainment franchise of giant battling robots in stadiums and arenas. The ultimate goal is to create a new sport with millions of fans in stadiums around the world cheering on their favorite pilots and robots in epic robot battles. 

The three MegaBots Co-Founders, from L-R, Brinkley Warren (ABJ '05, MA '12), Gui Cavalcanti, Matt Oehrlein standing in front of the MegaBot Mk. II at San Diego ComicCon 2015

The world will get its first taste of what these robot battles might look like when Team MegaBots faces Japan's Suidobashi Heavy Industries in the world's first gian robot duel. The company made history when it issued the challenge to Japan in June 2015. Japan, no stranger to giant human-piloted robots, accepted the challenge with one condition. The robots must engage in hand-to-hand combot. 

In order to meet this requirement, MegaBots, Inc. must implement major upgrades to its robot, the Mk. II, before the fight in 2016. Originally designed for  long-range paintball combat, the Mk. II needs major upgrades to armor, power, speed and weapons systems to make it capable of hand-to-hand fighting. 

MegaBots has assembled a team to help improve its robot and help America win the giant robot duel. Team members include Howe & Howe Technologies, NASA, IHMC Robotics and BattleBots co-founders Greg Munson and Trey Roski. 

Learn more about MegaBots and how you can support its campaign on its website

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08.17.2015

Welcome back, students!

Today is the first day of the 2015-2016 academic year and the energy is palpable all over Athens! This past week:

-  Hunker Down for Housing moved in thousands of students into UGA residence halls

-  Sorority recruitment took place up and down Milledge Avenue

-  Moving vans were spotted across town as returning students moved into new apartments

-  Construction on downtown additions sped up to completion

-  The Class of 2019 Freshman Welcome took place in Sanford Stadium (more to come on that later)

President Jere W. Morehead (JD '80) has a special message for the UGA community, including the university's outstanding alumni and friends who help make all that UGA offers a reality. Check it out:

And don't forget to follow along with the entire week's action at welcome.uga.edu - you can even submit your own content using #welcomeUGA!

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08.11.2015

UGA alumnus honors wife’s memory through lung cancer awareness efforts

Today's guest blog is brought to you by alumnus Blake Varner (BBA '06). Since losing his wife, Angela Varner (AB '07), to lung cancer, Blake has dedicated his time to raising awareness and funds for lung cancer research. 

One in 14 Americans will be diagnosed with lung cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. You may be surprised to learn that anyone with lungs, regardless of age or smoking history, can get this disease. I’d have never guessed that my wife, Angela, who I met at UGA, would be one of them.

When Angela was diagnosed with cancer, she was an otherwise healthy 29-year-old and an avid tennis player (she played club tennis at UGA). We had no idea that she was sick until she went through testing after giving birth to our second child. What we originally thought was a bad case of bronchitis turned out to be lung cancer.

After four short months and one heck of a fight, we lost Angela to lung cancer last February.

Significant research advances in the past decade have led to better treatments and more options for patients. The earlier lung cancer is found, the more treatment options exist – and the more likely it is that the disease can be cured.

In honor of Angela, I’ve committed to raising awareness and funds for lung cancer research. One of the ways I’ll do this is by participating in the Atlanta Free to Breathe Run/Walk August 22. Free to Breathe is dedicated to doubling lung cancer survival by 2022.

  

I encourage the UGA community to get involved with a cause you are passionate about, and if you’re able, please consider supporting Free to Breathe. You can sign up for the Run/Walk event at freetobreathe.org as an individual or start a team. Additionally, come play in a memorial golf tournament for Angela on Friday, September 4, before UGA kicks off its football season. A portion of the proceeds will go to Free to Breathe.

Everyone at UGA is welcome to join my 5K team, Built Ange Tough, or participate in the golf tournament. Registration and additional information regarding the golf tournament can be found here. We’d love to have the Bulldog Nation join us in the fight against lung cancer.

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