News



Gift to UGA will boost prairie project at State Botanical Garden

 

Native prairie restorations will continue to transform a utility right-of-way at the State Botanical Garden, with support from Georgia Power.

The $50,000 gift from Georgia Power will go toward the garden’s prairie project, which is creating about 10 acres of native Georgia grasslands and pitcher plant bogs along the stretch of right-of-way that cuts through the garden.

The native prairies and plant bogs have been identified as high priority by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and will provide climate-adaptive habitat for ground-nesting birds, small mammals and reptiles.

“We are extremely grateful for the generous gift from Georgia Power Foundation, and we believe this is a great opportunity for us to transform underutilized areas of the garden into natural Georgia habitats. Most importantly, we intend to educate people on the important role rights-of-way can play in rare species and habitat conservation,” said Jennifer Cruse-Sanders, director of the State Botanical Garden, a UGA Public Service and Outreach unit. “We hope to use this project as a model for cost-effectively creating and managing diverse and functioning habitats in rights-of-way across the Southeast.”

The project is in three phases, with the initial phase restoring the northern two-thirds of the right-of-way into Piedmont grasslands.

Later, the garden will develop Coastal Plain pitcher plant bogs in the remaining right-of-way that lies in the floodplain of the Middle Oconee River. Native plant displays and a pedestrian loop highlighting the prairie habitats will be added.

As part of the project, the garden staff will prepare a series of workshops on prairie restoration for Georgia Power, other utility companies and the public. The Wildlife Conservation Society also contributed to the project, which is estimated to cost about $141,000.


Writer: Aaron Cox, aaron.cox@uga.edu, 706-542-3631

Contact: Jenny Cruse-Sanders, crusesanders@uga.edu, 706-542-6131

2018-2019 PSO Student Scholar: Eashaa Velamuri

Hometown: Johns Creek, GA

Year: Senior

College: Franklin College of Arts and Sciences 

Major: Psychology with an emphasis in neuroscience

Minor: Women’s studies

Internship Unit: J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development 

 

Have you had any internships? 

In Atlanta, I interned with the Georgia House Democratic Caucus and helped with campaigning, event planning and data entry for the office of Stacey Abrams.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? 

I’m not sure where exactly I will be in 10 years but that is the beautiful part of life. By that time, I’m hoping to have been finished with graduate school and working towards my goals. Regardless of what I’ll be doing, I want to be able to combine my interests for the sciences, women’s studies and politics in a socially conscious career and devote my life to helping others in the United States and abroad.

Why did you apply for PSO Scholars? 

I applied for PSO Scholars because I heard about it from friends and thought it would be a great way to learn more about how UGA serves different communities, and I want to be part of that change through my internship in the spring. I wanted to apply for this program as I thought it would aid me in maintaining a focus on public service and outreach in my future academic and professional endeavors!

What excites you most about your unit? 
I am excited to be part of J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development to learn from individuals who are helping bring about change in communities across Georgia and other states. The work of the Fanning Institute is important because it strengthens communities through leadership development for youth, community and professional programs. Positive tangible change can come from leadership, and being able to learn from and lead others is exciting. I’m excited to see the different ways in which Fanning can aid groups with diversity, leadership and conflict resolution initiatives.

What do you hope to get out of this experience? 

Since I have become a part of the PSO Scholars, I have already learned so much more about UGA and programs I never knew about. I’m excited to learn more about the many ways in which UGA works with and helps different communities achieve their goals. I am also glad that I am able to be surrounded by the students in my cohort because they are diverse and motivated to enact change which inspires me. I hope to be able take what I learn about leadership during my time at the Fanning Institute and apply it into my own life to become a more effective and conscientious leader for the future.

Why is service and outreach important to you? 

Service and outreach is important to me because from a young age, I have been involved in a variety of programs and activities ranging from the sciences to politics and social justice work which fostered a passion for service within me. As a women’s studies minor, I have learned about the importance of doing service work in a socially conscious way which is what I aim to do with my involvements now. Service and outreach is important in my life as I am able to help enact change but also learn from the communities I am working with.

Fun fact: 

I love the arts because I grew up singing and dancing since I was five years old! When I was younger, I was trained in Classical Indian Carnatic music and Kuchipudi dance. Though I stopped my training for both a few years ago, I still try to sing whenever I can!

Velamuri at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia, one of her favorite places to visit and another unit of PSO.

 


The Public Service & Outreach Student Scholars program provides the opportunity for a select cohort of undergraduate students to explore and engage with the University of Georgia’s public service and outreach (PSO) mission. Supported by the Office of the Vice President for Public Service and Outreach, and administered through the Office of Service-Learning, this year-long program is intended to provide deeper understanding of PSO’s purpose, breadth, and depth through supervised service experiences with PSO and communities, to help students link their public service experiences with their career and educational goals, and to create a community of student scholars who understand the role of public service in Georgia and more broadly.

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2018-2019 PSO Student Scholar: Matt Melatti

Hometown: Fayetteville, Georgia

Year: Senior

College: College of Public Health

Majors: Health Promotion

Internship Unit: Public Service and Outreach

 

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? 

In 10 years, I hope to be working as a general dentist in south Georgia.

Why did you apply for PSO Scholars? 

I applied for PSO Scholars because I wanted to learn about UGA’s connection with the state and how I can best serve those in need throughout Georgia.

What excites you most about your unit? 

I will be interning in the Office of the Vice President for Public Service and Outreach. I am excited for this opportunity because I will learn about each of the PSO units and how to organize large scale efforts for community outreach and service.

What do you hope to get out of this experience? 

I am hoping to learn how to best serve my future community utilizing both my profession as well as my time away from dental work.

Why is service and outreach important to you? 

I recognize that, whether I am conscious of it or not, I am always benefiting from the people around me. I believe it is necessary and right to reciprocate all of the kindness and support that is given to me so that the community can continue to grow and benefit others.

Fun fact: 

I have lived in all three UGA freshman high-rises! I am also a Service Ambassador for ServeUGA.

Melatti hiked through the Grand Canyon.


The Public Service & Outreach Student Scholars program provides the opportunity for a select cohort of undergraduate students to explore and engage with the University of Georgia’s public service and outreach (PSO) mission. Supported by the Office of the Vice President for Public Service and Outreach, and administered through the Office of Service-Learning, this year-long program is intended to provide deeper understanding of PSO’s purpose, breadth, and depth through supervised service experiences with PSO and communities, to help students link their public service experiences with their career and educational goals, and to create a community of student scholars who understand the role of public service in Georgia and more broadly.

Learn More

SBDC helps Middle Georgia textile company get back on its feet after hurricane

MF&H Textiles is Taylor County’s largest single-point private employer with nearly 50 employees. Its 19-acre campus between Columbus and Macon was right in the path of Hurricane Irma on September 11, 2017.

Irma’s gale force winds ripped off 20 percent of MF&H’s main production facility’s roof, exposing insulation to the heavy rain. After $79,000 in emergency repairs the waterlogged insulation remained in place. While insurance negotiations extended from days to weeks, the moisture continued to seep into the insulation.

“We were devastated,” said Bob Wade MF&H’s chief financial officer. “The deductible for the initial repair was swift, catastrophic and buckled our financial knees. The long recovery was going to grind our nose into the dirt. Our financial survival was imperiled—our employees’ jobs threatened with extinction.”

In his search for assistance, Wade contacted the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBA directed him to consultant Mark Lupo at the University of Georgia’s Small Business Development Center.

“Mark came out to the plant right away and conferred with us and took the ball from there,” Wade said.

President Trump had issued a disaster declaration for central and southern Georgia counties affected by Hurricane Irma. However, the disaster assistance emergency loans were not applicable to inland counties. Despite that, Lupo advised Wade to register MF&H with FEMA.

“Any company affected by a disaster must be registered to validate its damage and promote the fact there is sufficient damage for the county to be declared a disaster area,” Lupo said.

Lupo researched the disaster declarations for Taylor County, reviewing how to apply and secure a disaster loan from the SBA. He then explained his research to Wade, including the paperwork he’d need.

By November, Lupo had coordinated on-site meetings at MF&H with Rick Martin of the UGA SBDC International Trade Division, Derek Woodham of Georgia Tech’s Manufacturing Extension Program, and Kerry Barnett, international trade manager for the Georgia Department of Economic Development. They helped Wade explore additional international resources and opportunities for MF&H’s unique commission-dyed mineral and flame-retardant treated industrial weight cotton fabrics.

“We were looking at ways to boost revenue,” Lupo said. “If MF&H wasn’t able to get the loan through a disaster declaration, an increase in international trade could create the cash flow they needed to take care of the roof repairs.”

Wade also contacted U.S. Sen. David Purdue’s office.

Purdue directed his staff to the area. Also there was the state director of U.S Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development in Georgia. With Lupo, the federal representatives stayed on top of FEMA to get something done.

By November, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue had added Taylor County to the U.S.D.A. Disaster Declaration. Lupo walked Wade through the recoding of his application for aid and contact the SBA Office of Disaster Assistance in Atlanta. Lupo then also introduced Wade to several banks and bankers and advised him on his loan applications.

By December, MF&H’s application had been accepted, reviewed and approved. The loan closed in early 2018. MF&H continues to review opportunities with Georgia Tech and the GDEDC’s International Trade Division.

“It was a fight every day trying to recover from that disaster,” Wade said. “We found in Mark Lupo someone genuinely interested in working with us and helping us cut through the red tape. That’s what the SBDC does, it serves as a point person in securing help from the government.”

Endowed gift to support Fanning community leadership efforts in Georgia

 

At the fall 2018 meeting of the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development advisory board, board members and institute faculty and staff honored board chair and longtime supporter Jimmy Allgood and his family for an endowed gift that will fund community leadership development efforts throughout the state.

The Allgood family has pledged an endowed gift of $250,000 to support the Fanning Institute’s Community Leadership Initiative.

Through this initiative, the Fanning Institute will provide support to communities across Georgia that aspire to begin, restart or revamp their adult community leadership programs using the institute’s Community Leadership Program curriculum.

“Chairman Allgood has given graciously of his time and resources to the advancement of the University of Georgia over many years,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “His family’s generous gift will help the Fanning Institute continue to develop leaders throughout our state for generations to come.”

Allgood has served as a member of the institute’s advisory board since its creation in 2014 and has been the advisory board chair since fall 2016.

At the meeting, Matt Bishop, interim associate vice president for public service and outreach, and Maritza Soto Keen, interim director of the Fanning Institute, updated the board on the institute’s ongoing programs. They focused on multi-county regional leadership programs and customized leadership programs such as the Lynda Brannen Williamson Women’s Leadership Academy in Statesboro, the Cultivating Hispanic Leaders Institute in metro Atlanta and the statewide Public Health Leadership Academy.

In addition, Bishop and Keen summarized the institute’s recent accomplishments and updated the board on the development of a five-year strategic plan.

“Our faculty are helping communities and organizations across Georgia develop the next generation of leaders,” Bishop says. “The input our advisory board provides helps to shape our work moving forward. We are grateful for their ongoing support of our leadership development mission.”

The advisory board helps guide the strategic direction of the Fanning Institute. Through advisement and guidance, the board helps the institute fulfill its mission to strengthen communities and organizations through leadership development, training and education.

Learn more about the institute’s advisory board: fanning.uga.edu/about/advisory-board.


Writer: Charlie Bauder, charlie.bauder@fanning.uga.edu, 706-542-7039

Contact: Maritza Soto Keen, soto@uga.edu, 706-542-6201

Art students design immersive and interactive exhibit for the Alice H. Richards Children’s Garden

 

The seasonal gardens in the Alice H. Richards Children’s Garden will feature sunflowers, zucchini and other eye-catching plants. But look closer to learn more.

Below the garden beds is an underground cavern filled with colorful, interactive panels created in partnership with students from the Lamar Dodd School of Art.

The interchangeable, see-through panels introduce visitors to Georgia’s agricultural industry, soil science, the nitrogen cycle and composting. Through windows, the root systems of the plants above are visible.

Brandon Dudley, Amy Gunby and Kristina Mundt presented panel designs at the children’s garden.

“This just makes the future more realistic by getting to see what it’s like working with a client,” said Brandon Dudley, a fourth-year undergraduate studying graphic design in the School of Art. “Seeing things in the actual site makes everything more tangible.”

The students are part of an environmental graphic design course taught by Cameron Berglund, a landscape designer at Koons Environmental Design Inc., the design firm currently developing the children’s garden. The team at Koons is responsible for making the children’s garden a whimsical  journey through misting mushrooms, ancient fossils, water features and a towering treehouse.

“The State Botanical Garden of Georgia is one of my favorite places,” said Berglund, who as part of the design team, help to develop many of the initial concepts for the children’s garden. “In creating the concepts, we really wanted to make this a statewide experience and tell people all the stories we could about Georgia, from the granite in Elbert County, to chestnut trees that have been lost from our forests, to the fossils of creatures that roamed prehistoric Georgia eons ago.”

The UGA students’ designs include interactive elements, fun illustrations and colorful palettes. Visitors can seek and find different stages of plant life and discover which composting materials make cartoon worms happy or mad.

“Our series of panels were on growing and processing peanuts, so we had to learn a lot about them, then we put that information in a kid-friendly format,” said Tyler Duhon, a senior graphic design student.  “Having an outside view helped us learn more, too.”

Tyler Duhon and Meg Pruitt presented interpretive signage on peanut butter production.

Meg Pruitt, a junior graphic design major, said being a part of the process makes her excited about visiting the completed garden.

“I feel more invested in the project,” Pruitt said.

Getting people excited to learn is the goal.

“The Alice H. Richards Children’s Garden is a great place to play, but also a place to learn and come back to again and again,” said Jenny Cruse-Sanders, director of the State Botanical Garden. “Specifically, these panels will be incorporated into interpretive signage and used to help future visitors, field trips and summer camps realize the importance of healthy soil.”

 

Writer: Leah Moss, leahmoss@uga.edu, 706-583-0964

Contact: Jenny Cruse-Sanders, crusesanders@uga.edu, 706-542-6131

Photographer: Shannah Montgomery

UGA middle school garden program expands beyond Athens-Clarke County

An award-winning interactive Clarke County school program that teaches students about science and nutrition is now underway in Barrow County, thanks to the University of Georgia.

The Grow It Know It program, established in 2013 by the Office of Service-Learning, UGA Cooperative Extension, UGArden and the Clarke County School District (CCSD) is designed to support teachers involved in farm-to-school programming.

UGA alumnus Alyssa Flanders, now a teacher at Russell Middle School in Barrow County, volunteered at Clarke Middle School when she was at UGA studying agricultural education. There she helped in the school garden, growing fresh fruits and vegetables to offer in the cafeteria and helping students learn about agriculture and healthy eating.

When she learned that Grow It Know It was expanding to counties outside of Clarke County, she jumped at the chance to work with the program once again.

“You can’t have a school garden by yourself. It really takes a village,” Flanders says. “You need expert knowledge, materials, construction, all the support you can get.”

School gardens are living, breathing outdoor classrooms for students to apply what they learn in science classes to real life. Through Grow It Know It students better understand animal science, wildlife management, mechanics, and the many processes behind not only growing food, but what it takes to get food on shelves at the grocery store.

“You don’t only have a school garden one or two teachers utilize, but a school garden that is part of everything you do at the school,” says Alicia Holloway, UGA Cooperative Extension agent in Barrow County. “All the students and teachers utilize it, and the education isn’t just about gardening, but everything associated with it, like sustainability, health, and careers in agriculture.”

Andie Bisceglia, the USDA grant coordinator for Grow It Know It, said the idea to expand the program beyond Clarke County began taking shape about a year ago. Holloway’s established relationships with the school’s teachers, local farmers and businesses made Barrow County a natural fit for the program.

“When we received a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, we started planning and asking questions” she says. “Would the model work as well somewhere else? Could we spread it through the state?”

At Clarke Middle School, students learn about animal science with help from goats and chickens.

In Clarke County, the Office of Service-Learning places AmeriCorps VISTAs at each of the four middle schools to oversee the Grow It Know It programs. This year, AmeriCorps VISTA Joshua Truitt, was placed at Russell Middle School in Barrow County.

“After graduating, I was torn between teaching and extension work,” Truitt says. “This is the perfect fit for me because I get to work with kids and agriculture.”

He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural education and master’s degree in agriculture and environmental education from the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences in spring 2018. He recently helped the students in Flanders’ class use a drill to make raised beds for vegetable gardens.

Joshua Truitt, VISTA member, helps Flanders’ eighth grade class assemble a frame for a garden bed.

“It was my first time using a drill,” said Iyanna Green, eighth grader. “It was super satisfying to actually make something with my hands.”

The plant beds will house spinach, chard, radishes and collard greens—vegetables that could be served in the school cafeteria. Flanders believes students are more likely to sample healthy options if they were involved in planting them.

“Now more than ever, people want to know where their food is coming from,” she says. “It’s important to teach students food doesn’t just magically appear at Wal-Mart or Publix. It takes so much knowledge and resources to grow food properly and safely.”

In a summer camp, students in Clarke Middle School work in the school garden to harvest, plan, prep and serve lunch once a week.

In October, CCSD was awarded the Golden Radish Innovative Partnership Award from Georgia Organics, for its partnership with Grow It Know It in Clarke County middle schools. Diana Cole, a Barrow County school teacher involved in the Grow It Know It program, won the Golden Radish Teacher of the Year award. Georgia Organics is a statewide organization that raises awareness of the benefit of organic farming and connects organic food from Georgia farms to Georgia families.


Writer: Leah Moss, leahmoss@uga.edu 706-583-964

Contact: Andie Bisceglia abiscegl@uga.eu  706-542-2461

Photographer: Shannah Montgomery

UGA students conceptualize and analyze a potential kaolin museum in Sandersville

 

University of Georgia faculty and students are helping Washington County determine the feasibility of a museum to preserve the history of kaolin, one of Georgia’s top exports, and what such a place would look like.

Through the Washington County Archway partnership, students from the Terry College of Business Institute for Leadership Advancement and the College of Environment and Design visited Sandersville, touring the sites where the chalky white substance is mined. They also held community work sessions with local residents and explored Washington County.

“The size and character of each site presented unique opportunities and challenges and ultimately helped define educational exhibits that would work best at each site,” said Jennifer Lewis, outreach coordinator for the College of Environment and Design (CED).  “The team worked with local citizens to define what qualities make a museum experience memorable, toured kaolin mine pits, explored Sandersville, and created maps and illustrations to bring several museum concepts into focus.”

Interest in a museum about kaolin was piqued last year when David Dallmeyer, professor emeritus of geology at UGA, and spouse Dorinda Dallmeyer, director of the environmental ethics certificate program at CED, talked about the history of kaolin with Washington County and Sandersville leaders.

Kaolin is type of clay found in nature but can also be created in a laboratory. Often called white gold or chalk, it is used is a wide range of products including cosmetics and medicine as well as in in the manufacturing of china and pottery and as a paper coating.

Students from the CED explored conceptual designs for a museum, which could be located at a historic school, on vacant land in downtown Sandersville or on an open tract along the Fall Line Freeway.

The ILA students analyzed the feasibility of the project. The group presented plans that would work at each if the three sites identified.

“I loved the way a lot of separate, seemingly unconnected ideas funneled down into three excellent presentations at the end of the weekend,” said Kelly Cronin, who is finishing her Ph.D. in geology.

The Archway Partnership executive committee, which includes local leaders, will consider the next steps in the project.

Jayson Johnston, Director of the Development Authority in Washington County and Chair of the Archway Executive Committee, spoke a little about what the project, and Archway overall, means to the community.

“Everything the Archway Partnership does impacts my ability as an economic developer to be competitive and successful,” said Jayson Johnston, director of the Washington County Development Authority and chair of the Archway Executive Committee. “We have a team here with Archway. It’s not just local collaboration, but it’s state collaboration too.”


Writer: Baker Owens, baker.owens@uga.edu, 706-510-9622

Photographer: Shannah Montgomery

Fanning faculty member honored for work in dispute resolution

 

Raye Rawls, a senior public service faculty member in the J.W. Fanning Institute of Leadership Development at UGA, received the 2018 Chief Justice Harold G. Clarke Award from the Georgia Supreme Court Commission on Dispute Resolution and the Dispute Resolution Section of the State Bar of Georgia in recognition of her outstanding contributions to the field of alternative dispute resolution in Georgia.

Rawls has worked in the field of dispute resolution since receiving mediation training in 1982, providing ADR neutral and training services to numerous court programs and private organizations. She is a long standing approved trainer through the Georgia Office of Dispute Resolution and has served as a mediator, arbitrator and facilitator in thousands of cases throughout the United States and internationally.

In the early 1990s, she worked with a team of experts in domestic violence to craft the first set of guidelines on mediating when domestic violence is identified among parties. Over the past three years, she helped facilitate a domestic violence working group to transition these guidelines into rules, which were approved by both the Commission on Dispute Resolution and the Commission on Family Violence this year. She was appointed by the Georgia Supreme Court to serve the Commission on Dispute Resolution from 2002-07.

“I am honored to receive this award,” Rawls says. “Throughout my career, my focus has remained on helping to provide access to justice. I am so appreciative of the Georgia Supreme Court Commission on Dispute Resolution and the Dispute Resolution Section of the State Bar of Georgia and their leadership in this arena. I look forward to continuing to work with them for years to come.”

Rawls is the fifth recipient of the award, which was first presented in 2013.

“Throughout her career, Raye has stayed at the forefront of dispute resolution, working across Georgia and beyond to train individuals in mediation and dialogue skills,” says Maritza Soto Keen, Fanning Institute Interim Director. “Her work has helped countless communities, organizations and individuals around the state, and we are proud of her accomplishments. This award is a well-deserved honor for Raye.”

The Commission and the Dispute Resolution Section created the Clarke Award in 2013 to honor the memory of the late Supreme Court Chief Justice Harold G. Clarke. From 1990 to 1994, when Clarke served as Chief Justice, he led the Supreme Court and the State Bar in creating a system of processes, such as mediation, arbitration and early neutral evaluation, that helped courts manage their heavy dockets and offered litigants productive ways to resolve their legal disputes outside of litigation.

Rawls, a member of the Fanning Institute faculty since 2004, provides training and services in alternative dispute resolution processes such as mediation, arbitration and early neutral evaluation to communities, individuals and organizations. She also convenes large group processes using facilitation and dialogue to address conflict and diversity issues that prevent a community or organization from achieving its goals. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1974, master’s degree in human resources in 1981 and her law degree in 1985, all from Georgia State University.

 

2018-2019 PSO Student Scholar: Emma Bay Dickinson

Hometown: Decatur, Georgia

Year: Sophomore

College: Odum School of EcologyHugh Hodgson School of Music 

Majors: Ecology and music

Internship Unit: State Botanical Garden of Georgia

 

Have you participated in experiential learning? 

I went on the UGA Interdisciplinary Field Program, taking classes in introductory geology, anthropology and ecology while traveling through the western U.S. in the summer.

Have you had any internships? 

I was recently an intern with the Upper Oconee Watershed Network, where I worked on the 2018 Upper Oconee Science and Policy Summit that occurred this September. My job was to make the abstract book for the summit, organize the presenters and advertise the event.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? 

While my career plan could do a complete 180 degree turn, I plan to pursue a track in research by getting a Ph.D. in ecology and focusing on freshwater ecology. I want to work towards being a professor at a research university or being a civil servant in the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Why did you apply for PSO Scholars? 

I was not aware of the UGA Public Service and Outreach units, and I want to learn more about UGA’s role in Athens and other Georgia communities. I want the opportunity to work on a project at one of the units that aligns with my ecology or music majors and embeds me in the Athens community outside of my academic bubble at UGA.

What excites you most about your unit? 

The State Botanical Garden of Georgia has always been a special place for me on campus, and I love to bird-watch there and explore the flora and fauna of the garden. I am very excited to work on a project that can reach out to communities in Athens that have never been to the State Botanical Garden or do not know about the programs and awesome educational events that happen there.

What do you hope to get out of this experience? 

I hope to start a project that can coincide with my research in freshwater ecology, or can direct me towards an interest and love within the environmental sciences that I have never thought about before. I also want to focus on promoting and building educational programs that engage families and students in Athens that are typically under-served.

Why is service and outreach important to you? 

As a researcher, I understand that research is meaningless unless it is communicated and new knowledge is used to service public projects, solve real-world problems or inform the public. I would like to see how my research and work with Public Service and Outreach will be used in the Athens community and the Georgia community.

Fun fact: 

I would like to mention that I am a huge nerd. I love cartoons produced by Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Netflix, and Disney XD. My favorites (right now) are Voltron: Legendary Defender and Gravity Falls.

Dickinson on the UGA Interdisciplinary Field Program, an eight-week course in introductory geology, anthropology and ecology that travels throughout the western U.S. in the summer semester.


The Public Service & Outreach Student Scholars program provides the opportunity for a select cohort of undergraduate students to explore and engage with the University of Georgia’s public service and outreach (PSO) mission. Supported by the Office of the Vice President for Public Service and Outreach, and administered through the Office of Service-Learning, this year-long program is intended to provide deeper understanding of PSO’s purpose, breadth, and depth through supervised service experiences with PSO and communities, to help students link their public service experiences with their career and educational goals, and to create a community of student scholars who understand the role of public service in Georgia and more broadly.

Learn More

2018-2019 PSO Student Scholar: Elizabeth Carter

Hometown: Augusta, Georgia

Year: Sophomore

College: School of Public and International Affairs

Major: Duel bachelor’s and master’s, in international affairs and international policy

Internship Unit: Carl Vinson Institute of Government

 

Have you had any internships? 

During my time with the MED Program (Microenterprise Development Intern at the International Rescue Committee, a global humanitarian aid, relief, and development nongovernmental organization), I designed and conducted qualitative field research to assess the business climate in Clarkston, GA among refugee- and immigrant-owned business. From this research, I crafted an internal report with policy recommendations to inform and cultivate new partnerships with the city government in Clarkston.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? 

In ten years, I see myself living in D.C. working in United States Agency for International Development’s Center for Innovation and Impact to improve development programs through public-private partnerships. Alternately, I would like to work with the Government and Public Services sector of Deloitte, or a similar consulting organization, to advise government agencies on development program improvement.

Why did you apply for PSO Scholars? 

While my studies are international in scope, the development programs I study mirror that of UGA’s Public Service and Outreach efforts. Learning about the initiative and impact of UGA PSO will strengthen my understanding of what makes development successful and how to intentionally invest in one’s community.

What excites you most about your unit? 

The Carl Vinson Institute of Government’s International Center has research and programs with a measured impact around the world. I am enthusiastic to start research of my own with seasoned mentors and colleagues with the same excitement and plenty of experience.

What do you hope to get out of this experience? 

I hope to strengthen my researching skills and learn from the experiences of my colleagues and their projects.

Why is service and outreach important to you? 

Service and outreach is what builds community. It is important to me to be a part of giving back to Athens, since UGA is such a large part of the lives of everyday Athenians, whether intentional or not. I think the UGA experience should be about more; it should be about the Athens community.

Fun fact: 

I have never made a bad batch of brownies. I have perfected the cook time, and I know the exact moment to take them out of the oven.

Carter visited the Volcán de Fuego, the volcano of fire, in Guatemala.


The Public Service & Outreach Student Scholars program provides the opportunity for a select cohort of undergraduate students to explore and engage with the University of Georgia’s public service and outreach (PSO) mission. Supported by the Office of the Vice President for Public Service and Outreach, and administered through the Office of Service-Learning, this year-long program is intended to provide deeper understanding of PSO’s purpose, breadth, and depth through supervised service experiences with PSO and communities, to help students link their public service experiences with their career and educational goals, and to create a community of student scholars who understand the role of public service in Georgia and more broadly.

Learn More

Annual Day of Service connects UGA employees to local nonprofits

 

About 200 UGA employees spread out across Athens-Clarke County—some even further beyond—on Nov. 16 for the third annual Public Service and Outreach Day of Service.

Volunteers contributed 350 hours beautifying trails and clearing invasive species at Sandy Creek Nature Conservatory, installing shelves for hardware at the Keep Athens-Clarke County Beauty community toolshed, planting daffodil bulbs along the Athens Loop and constructing pollinator gardens at Clarke Central High School.

Public Service and Outreach employees based in other Georgia cities, such as Chatham County and Grady County, participated in the Day of Service in those communities.

The annual event even attracted employees outside Public Service and Outreach.

Franklin Leach, an assistant research scientist in the department of chemistry, spent the day sawing and spraying invasive, unwanted plant species at Sandy Creek Nature Conservatory’s Pine Ridge Trail. Leach first learned about UGA’s land- and sea-grant mission when he participated in the 2018 New Faculty Tour in August.

Franklin Leach helped PSO students, faculty and staff clear unwanted plant species at Sandy Creek Nature Conservatory’s Pine Ridge Trail.

“My family comes to Sandy Creek a lot, so I think it’s important to contribute to the upkeep in any way possible,” Leach said. “It’s a nice way to get out and give back.”

David Meyers, public service associate in the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development, hung up shelves, hooks and pegboards for equipment in the Keep Athens-Clarke County Beautiful community toolshed, used by nonprofit organizations across town to build and repair projects.

“Public service is in our name, so it’s good to live it out,” Meyers said. “Projects like this can help other groups do their jobs better, and organization lends itself to effectiveness.”

Making the toolshed a place for fast and easy access to supplies helps other nonprofits use their limited time and resources more efficiently, rather than digging through piles of tools.

The Keep Athens-Clarke County Beautiful community toolshed, used by nonprofit organizations across the community, is organized and ready to be utilized. 

“A lot of groups around town, like schools, community gardens, other nonprofits, wouldn’t have access to shovels or tools to complete projects without this toolshed,” explained Stacey Smith, Keep Athens-Clarke County Beautiful education specialist. “It’s amazing PSO helped organize it and installed our new sign. It will create a ripple effect across Athens for other nonprofits.”

Employees also donated to a supply drive to benefit families and communities affected by Hurricane Michael. PSO collected more than 900 diapers, 151 bars of soap, 84 toothbrushes and many other essential supplies during the drive.

The Archway Partnership, a unit of Public Service and Outreach, set up a donations closet in Cairo, GA for those impacted by Hurricane Michael. 

“I know that every day, we are making a difference in people’s lives and creating a lasting impact. The Day of Service is a time for all of us to come together and tangibly meet the needs of our communities,” said Jennifer Frum vice president for Public Service and Outreach. “I am honored to work with colleagues who live out the land- and sea-grant mission of the University of Georgia.”

Vice President Jennifer Frum joined volunteers in writing cards to accompany Turkeypalooza food donations.

The Office of Service-Learning, one of the eight units of Public Service and Outreach, identified site locations, registration details and logistics for the Day of Service.


Writer: Leah Moss, leahmoss@uga.edu, 706-583-0962

Contact: Josh Podvin, jhpodvin@uga.edu, 706-542-4511

Gov.-elect Kemp addresses lawmakers at 2018 Biennial Institute

 

Gov.-elect Brian Kemp emphasized continuity and hard work to maintain Georgia’s prosperity in his luncheon address Tuesday to conclude the 31st Biennial Institute for Georgia Legislators.

Members of the Georgia General Assembly convened at the University of Georgia Dec. 9­–11 for the Biennial, coordinated by UGA’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government to help lawmakers prepare for the next legislative cycle.

More than 200 incumbent and newly elected members of the Georgia House of Representatives and Senate attended presentations at the UGA Center for Continuing Education & Hotel on topics such as rural development, school safety and transportation.

The three-day event culminated with Kemp’s luncheon address. In his first public policy speech since being elected Nov. 6, Kemp said he will appoint a Georgians First Committee to provide private-sector input on ways to keep Georgia’s economy growing and will strive to promote public safety, strengthen education and expand health care—particularly in the state’s rural heartland.

“We all want what’s best for the families we serve,” he said. “We will create a lasting legacy of success when we put hardworking Georgians first.”

The Carl Vinson Institute of Government has coordinated the Biennial Institute since its inception in 1958 and it continues to be an anticipated event on the Georgia political calendar. As in past years, the 2018 Biennial offered the first opportunity following the elections for veteran and freshman legislators to come together as a group in advance of the legislative session, which begins Jan. 14.

The Biennial officially began Dec. 9 with welcoming remarks from Speaker of the House David Ralston, Lt. Gov.-elect Geoff Duncan, UGA President Jere W. Morehead and Institute of Government Director Laura Meadows. Maria Taylor, an analyst and host with sports network ESPN and a UGA graduate, delivered the keynote address regarding leadership, drawing on her classroom experiences and sports career at Georgia.

Over the subsequent two days, the Biennial sessions explored a diverse set of state priorities, including rural economic development initiatives throughout the state, public-private workforce development programs and critical issues in healthcare. Legislators attended a number of informative policy sessions featuring panels of state agency executives, legislative committee chairs and experts from industry, business and universities. Additional speakers included University System of Georgia Chancellor Steve W. Wrigley and UGA political science professor Charles S. Bullock.

Almost all of the state’s 56 senators and 180 representatives attended the Biennial Institute, including more than three dozen who will begin serving their first terms in the legislature in January. The Biennial offered these freshmen legislators the chance to network with their new colleagues and learn more about key matters they will face as they begin to represent their constituents in Atlanta.

The Carl Vinson Institute of Government, a UGA Public Service and Outreach unit, has coordinated the Biennial for 60 years, working with the Georgia General Assembly to organize and assemble the resources and expertise needed to carry out the planned events. The Institute provides customized assistance, applied research and professional development for government leaders and employees across Georgia and internationally.

The Biennial has always been held at the UGA Center for Continuing Education & Hotel, also a UGA public service and outreach unit.


Writer:   Roger Nielsen, 706-542-2524, nielsen@uga.edu

Contact: Jana Wiggins, 706-542-6221, wigginsj@uga.edu

 

Certification Leads to Larger Orders, Greater Growth for Macon Fabrication Shop

When Stan Greene was ready to retire from his business, Greene Machine and Manufacturing in Macon, he asked Larry Collins, with whom he had worked for about 20 years, if he would be interested in purchasing the business. 

Before making a decision, Larry and his wife, Gwen, attended a class for start-ups offered by the University of Georgia SBDC and began working with an SBDC consultant to review the purchase agreement and options for funding.

“Our consultant was helpful in reviewing the agreement and talking about cash flow,” said Larry Collins. “He presented us with information on SBA loan products. We did the paperwork for an SBA express loan for working capital, submitted it the day after we signed the purchase agreement and were able to get funding within 30 days.”

“In just two months, we owned the company,” said Gwen Collins. “If it wasn’t for the SBDC, we wouldn’t have known about the SBA loan. It was pretty phenomenal how quickly that transpired.”

They continued meeting regularly with the SBDC. A few years later, when they began looking into ways to expand their work on government contracts they enlisted the help of SBDC Consultant Lisa Rackley to begin evaluating SBA certification programs.

Rackley worked with them on the WBENC (Women’s Business Enterprise National Council) and 8(a) Business Development certifications.

“The 8(a) application process is pretty intense,” said Rackley. “The U.S. Small Business Administration does a thorough review of the application to determine if the business should receive 8(a) certification. Gwen worked very hard to make it happen.”

Greene Machine was awarded its certification in 2013. Sales growth remained steady until 2015, when the Department of Defense came calling.

“We got a call out of the blue from the Navy asking if we could manufacture ground support equipment for the H-1 helicopter. They found us in the government’s dynamic small business search engine, and that opened the door,” said Larry Collins.

The contract required the Collins find financing quickly to buy equipment and expand their physical plant. They turned to Rackley again for help in updating their financial analysis. She introduced them to consultant Josh Walton.

“Josh is a good sounding board,” Gwen Collins said. “He offered us alternate ideas that have since been instrumental to our growth.”

The Collins purchased a 33,000-square-foot building for their fabrication shop in late 2017. They also expanded their facility by 15,000 square feet to support a growing precision machine shop. They will soon incorporate a new quality lab and establish new offices to support more employees. Gwen Collins also attended the SBDC’s GrowSMART® program, where she learned the importance of networking.

“In our industry, traditional marketing isn’t that effective,” she said. “The SBDC brings larger commercial prime companies into their networking events. This provides a matchmaking forum for small businesses to connect with procurement representatives from the large primes and has given us exposure we would not have had otherwise.”

Greene Machine’s sales have increase by 44 percent each year for the past three years and employment has grown from 5 to 25. Reflecting this growth, Greene Machine recently filed a DBA name change to Collins Manufacturing Company, further establishing a family legacy for their sons to carry on.

“We plan to continue to grow and support the Department of Defense as best we can while also focusing our efforts on expanding our commercial customer base,” said Larry Collins. “And we’ll keep in touch with Lisa and the SBDC.”

2018-2019 PSO Student Scholar: Anthony Potts

Hometown: Athens, GA

Year: Sophomore

College: School of Public and International Affairs, Terry College of Business

Major: Political science and economics

Internship Unit: J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development

 

Have you taken a service-learning course before? 

I participated in World Leaders, the first official welcome to all new international University of Georgia students.

Have you participated in a study abroad program? 

At the London School of Economics, I took a class on International Political Economics, where we studied the effects of international organizations on building a more interconnected and supportive world system.

Have you had any internship before?

As a Vinson Fellow at the Carl Vinson Institute of Government, I performed a qualitative analysis of teaching innovations used by charter schools in order to sort these developments into a more systematic grouping.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? 

In 10 years, I want to have a civil rights firm that fights for the rights of victims of the criminal justice system, who have been wrongfully convicted or are experiencing unjust treatment in prison.

Why did you apply for PSO Scholars? 

I applied so that I could get a more hands-on experience within my community through the exciting and innovative opportunities that the University of Georgia provides.

What excites you most about your unit? 

I am most excited about working directly with people to help them be better leaders within their community, so that they can create the change that they seek.

What do you hope to get out of this experience? 

I want to learn about the ways in which the University of Georgia reaches out to others, and to be a part of something that is bigger than me in a sense that it is devoted to serving others.

Why is service and outreach important to you? 

One of the most valuable parts of my life is being connected to others in my community, and I see service and outreach as the best way to be engaged with others in a way that develops a stronger, more connected community.

Fun fact: 

During the fall and late summer, I sometimes pick mushrooms from woods around Athens, and sell them to restaurants in Athens.

Potts loved his visit to the New York Botanical Garden.


The Public Service & Outreach Student Scholars program provides the opportunity for a select cohort of undergraduate students to explore and engage with the University of Georgia’s public service and outreach (PSO) mission. Supported by the Office of the Vice President for Public Service and Outreach, and administered through the Office of Service-Learning, this year-long program is intended to provide deeper understanding of PSO’s purpose, breadth, and depth through supervised service experiences with PSO and communities, to help students link their public service experiences with their career and educational goals, and to create a community of student scholars who understand the role of public service in Georgia and more broadly.

Learn More

2018-2019 PSO Student Scholar: Taylor Black

Hometown: Nashville, Tennessee

Year: Senior

College: School of Public and International Affairs, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences

Major: International affairs and French

Internship Unit: Office of Service-Learning

 

Have you participated in experiential learning? 

I participated in an exchange program with the Institut d’études politiques de Paris (or Sciences Po) in Paris, France for the fall semester. Half of my classes were taught in French with native French students, and I studied climate change security, UN peacekeeping, French politics, and French linguistics.

Have you had any internships? 

In the spring last year I was a Legislative Intern with the Judicial Council of Georgia. I tracked bills pertaining to Georgia’s judiciary through the state House and Senate. I also co-wrote and edited the 2018 Summary of Enacted Legislation featured on the website that details all of the judicial bills that passed during the 2018 Legislative Session for Georgia residents to see.

Also, during the summer I was the Youth Summer Programs Intern with Athens Land Trust. While there, I designed curriculum, planned educational excursions, and served as a counselor in their programs aimed at teaching children from lower socioeconomic backgrounds about sustainable agriculture, nutrition, environmental stewardship, plant identification, community development, leadership, and entrepreneurship.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? 

My dream is to work for the Nature Conservancy, one of the leading global conservation organizations. I am particularly interested in the intersection between international development and environmental sustainability, so I would love to work with local indigenous populations around the world, focusing on preserving their environmental relationships and minimizing the influence of large corporations on natural resources and ecological landmarks.

Why did you apply for PSO Scholars? 

I have worked with a variety of service organizations within UGA and Athens, but I am particularly interested in how the university benefits the state as a whole. I hope that this experience will further enrich my understanding of the university and, as an out-of-state student, of Georgia.

What excites you most about your unit? 

I have always felt that education and service can be directly linked, so when I learned that there is an Office of Service-Learning at UGA that promotes just that, I was excited to join. I have already worked with Campus Kitchen at UGA over the summer, but I am eager to begin my own personal project with them. I also hope to utilize some of the skills I have obtained from my Certificate in Nonprofit Management towards researching organizational practices of Campus Kitchen.

What do you hope to get out of this experience? 

I hope to implement the skills I have learned from my nonprofit management and program evaluation classes into a real-world setting. I also hope to develop a stronger relationship with Campus Kitchen. After attending their national conference in Washington, D.C. over the summer, I am eager to learn more about such a wonderful organization.

Why is service and outreach important to you? 

I believe it is important to form a deeper connection with all parts of Athens, rather than just the university and campus. Through service and outreach, I feel like I know Athens much more than when I moved here as a freshman.

Fun fact: 

When I was in high school, I visited Tula, Russia with some students, and we dined with an ex-KGB agent in her living room. I am also a Service Ambassador with ServeUGA and part of the UGA Honors Program.

Taylor Black in Annecy, France.


The Public Service & Outreach Student Scholars program provides the opportunity for a select cohort of undergraduate students to explore and engage with the University of Georgia’s public service and outreach (PSO) mission. Supported by the Office of the Vice President for Public Service and Outreach, and administered through the Office of Service-Learning, this year-long program is intended to provide deeper understanding of PSO’s purpose, breadth, and depth through supervised service experiences with PSO and communities, to help students link their public service experiences with their career and educational goals, and to create a community of student scholars who understand the role of public service in Georgia and more broadly.

Learn More

Growing Georgia Wine

When the Boegner family found the property that would become Wolf Mountain Vineyards and Winery in the mid-1990s, it was 30 acres of pine trees located 60 miles from downtown Atlanta. 

Today, it’s a thriving vineyard. On a given Saturday, Wolf Mountain hosts 350 wine tasters and 200 people for lunch, followed by a wedding for 200 more at night. The vineyard actually had to start turning cars away one weekend because the facility had reached its fire capacity.

But it took a while for the Boegners to reach this point.

Buying the Dahlonega property, building the structures and investing both time and money in the vines and tools they needed to make quality wine was a risk, but the Boegners weren’t exactly new to the wine industry. Family patriarch Karl Boegner had served as an executive vice president at Chateau Elan in Braselton, and the family had invested in one of the area’s first vineyards, Blackstock Vineyards (now Kaya Vineyards and Winery).

It took about four years to grade the soil, plant the vines, harvest a useable crop, and open Wolf Mountain to the public, but the time was well worth the wait.

“We went from a 1,000 case production to 6,500 and continue to grow from there, with whites, reds and sparkling wine,” said Karl’s son, Brannon Boegner, the vineyard manager and chief winemaker. Those wines have gone on to win Wolf Mountain over 200 medals—including gold, double gold and best of medals—in The San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, the largest competition of North American wines and also one of the most prestigious, and the San Francisco International Wine Competition, among others.

Help From the SBDC

The startup costs of a winery alone are enough to put some vineyards out of business, said Richard Montanaro, director of the UGA Small Business Development Center’s (SBDC) Rome office. “One vineyard in my area invested over $2.5 million in the first two and a half years. That was land, building, construction, planting, a tremendous investment. We try to make sure that they go into it knowing full well what their full capital need is going to be. A lot of businesses go in and don’t seek the proper amount of capital on the front side, and they run a higher risk of failure if they’re under-funded.”

The SBDC partners with the Georgia Wine Producers, a statewide organization with the mission of growing the Georgia wine industry, to host conferences to convey this information.

“I think it’s a fabulous resource,” said Emily DeFoor, president of Georgia Wine Producers. “Putting on this wine business conference in June really lets people know that UGA and SBDC really see the wine industry as an industry on the radar and see that it’s something that is good for the economy in Georgia and for tourism in Georgia.”

Dahlonega was also recently designated as Georgia’s first entirely in-state American Viticultural Area, a title bestowed by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau that marks the area as a unique region to produce quality wines. Other more well-known AVAs include Sonoma and Napa Valley. They’re difficult and expensive to get, but the area’s new title, the Dahlonega Plateau, lends prestige to the wines created there.

It also makes the area more of a tourist destination, said Matthew Garner, the tourism chair of the Dahlonega-Lumpkin County Chamber of Commerce.

“The appetite for artisanal products in general is growing, and we’re certainly a part of that,” said Garner, who also manages Montaluce Winery.

“Wineries in Georgia, and particularly in our area, provide a unique experience and, more importantly, an authentic experience. You get to see where it’s grown, how it’s made and taste the fruits. It’s Georgia’s wineries; this is something that the entire state can be proud of.”

The influx of visitors also spawned what Montanaro calls “wine-adjacent” or “wine-related” businesses that cater to or benefit from the burgeoning wine destination. These include Bed and Breakfasts that host overnight guests visiting wineries, local restaurants where visitors eat on their trips, tourism companies that tote guests from one vineyard to the next and more.

Partnering with UGA Extension

When people think “Georgia wine,” they tend to think muscadine, that sweet, fruity wine that’s best served cold and doesn’t age well. And it is true that Georgia does produce fine muscadine wines. But that’s not what Dahlonega winemakers are growing. The mountain town has experienced a surge in wineries in the past couple of decades, becoming a hot bed for grapes traditionally grown in Europe like Cabernet, Chardonnay and Merlot. The town’s climate isn’t exactly a mirror image of the Mediterranean, though. Fungal diseases, early- or late-season frosts, and heavy rains all introduce challenges to growing grapes.

That’s where Cain Hickey comes in.

The inaugural University of Georgia Cooperative Extension viticulturist, Hickey partners with vineyards across the state to run trials in their already established vineyards, testing new pruning, canopy management and trellising techniques, among other things, to see their effect on not just the yield but also the grapes’ composition and wine quality potential.

“I joke about the fact that Cain landed here in March, and by the end of March we probably had our first grant. It was written and awarded by then because he just took off running,” DeFoor said.

One of those studies showed that some advanced trellising and training methods could increase crop yield of the thick-skinned white wine grape Petit Manseng by as much as 70 percent. “When we crunch the numbers, that could result in $15 to $20 K more return revenue per acre when that crop is turned into wine and sold,” said Hickey.

Oftentimes when yield increases, the quality of the grape decreases, but that wasn’t the case with the Petit Manseng trial. There was no remarkable difference in grape composition at harvest.

The results of a similar trial on removing leaves around grape clusters to improve air flow, thereby decreasing the chance of rot or fungal diseases, left a winemaker so impressed that he invested in a mechanical leaf removal machine, which cost $30,000.

Hickey’s work isn’t confined to just the fields. Through UGA Extension, he facilitates regional and statewide conferences, seminars and workshops for growers geared toward helping those who are just dipping their toes into the industry to those who’ve been growing and making wine for decades. His research plays an integral part in that.

“There’s never any advancement in anything unless you do research and trials,” said Ken VanDusen, the manager of Three Sisters Vineyards and Winery. “Cain’s already doing a lot of trials in the area, trying to help us grow better grapes. And it’s through that work that we can make better wines.”

Cain Hickey, UGA Extension viticulture specialist, helps harvest grapes at CeNita Vineyard and Winery near Cleveland, Georgia.

Not Slowing Down

What is often described as a relatively young industry in the state has now grown to 60 wineries.

And the appetite for locally produced wine doesn’t appear to be waning any time soon.

Georgia’s wineries generated $88 million in annual tourism expenses in 2017, according to The National Association of American Wineries, and contributed a whopping $4.1 billion to the economy through its related industries.

“What’s perhaps most exciting to me is the growth potential,” Hickey said. “It seems like every month or two, I get someone calling to ask, ‘Hey, can you come look at this site? I want to plant grapes here.’”

2018-2019 PSO Student Scholar: Margaret Schrayer

Hometown: Princeton, New Jersey

Year: Sophomore

College: Franklin College of Arts and Sciences

Major: Computer science and biology

Internship Unit: University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education and Hotel 

 

Have you had any internships? 

During summer 2018, I received the Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities (CURO) Summer Fellowship and worked in the Sensorimotor Neuroscience Laboratory on campus. I attended a week-long intensive training in Canada, then spent the summer programming experimental protocols on a robot.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? 

In ten years, I will be shaping the future of technology as a research engineer. I want to use neuroscience to develop technology that optimizes health and productivity. As a research faculty member at a university, I will have the opportunity to apply the outcomes of my research to public service.

Why did you apply for PSO Scholars? 

I applied for PSO Scholars because others who completed the program said it contributed positively to their professional development and helped them get to know the university better.

What excites you most about your unit? 

Organizing the Georgia Science and Engineering Fair will be a great way to engage with students all over the state and introduce them to the scientific research process and the endless career possibilities in science and engineering. I’m grateful for the opportunity to gain experience helping coordinate such a large-scale event.

What do you hope to get out of this experience? 

I hope to learn about the relationship between the research and scholarship of UGA and the rest of the state. Experiencing the exchange of university resources will the state of Georgia will prepare me to focus on public service in graduate school and an academic career.

Why is service and outreach important to you? 

Service and outreach are important to me because society can benefit from the skills and knowledge of others, and we stronger as a society when we share those resources and empower everyone to succeed.

Fun fact: 

I really like blimps and airships!

Schrayer participated in a team-building workshop at the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development.


The Public Service & Outreach Student Scholars program provides the opportunity for a select cohort of undergraduate students to explore and engage with the University of Georgia’s public service and outreach (PSO) mission. Supported by the Office of the Vice President for Public Service and Outreach, and administered through the Office of Service-Learning, this year-long program is intended to provide deeper understanding of PSO’s purpose, breadth, and depth through supervised service experiences with PSO and communities, to help students link their public service experiences with their career and educational goals, and to create a community of student scholars who understand the role of public service in Georgia and more broadly.

Learn More