Winter 14 - UGAGS Magazine

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The University of Georgia

Graduate School M A G A Z I N E


“That is what learning is. You suddenly understand something you've understood all your life, but in a new way.”—DORIS LESSING, AUTHOR

WIN T E R 2014 CON T E N TS Shannon Bonney 2 Anderson Lagoin Romero 10 Rachel Debuque 14 Sarah Smith 18 Emily Hanson Scofield 26 Robotics Lab 34 Back Cover: Fei Zhao

©2014 by the University of Georgia. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any way without the written permission of the editor.

me s s a g e f rom

Dean Maureen Grasso When our first magazine published in the fall of 2005, I wrote about the pleasure of being first. Maybe you are the first to attend the University of Georgia or the first in your family to attend graduate school. Now, eight years later, I want to be the first to thank you for responding with open hearts. I want to thank you for investing in graduate education, which is tantamount to investing in this country, and the shared future of our children and grandchildren. So many of you have said yes and supported the high endeavor that is represented by this great institution. In these pages, we once again share stories of extraordinary dreams, sometimes extraordinary struggles, too. These stories typify UGA. It is always gratifying to participate in graduation ceremonies each year. In so many ways, each student that crosses the stage on graduation day represents a story yet to be told, and an intellectual journey undertaken. As we imprint their names on the diploma, we enter their names into the roster of amazing alums that will further impact our collective futures. This year, we recognized the first recipients of Graduate School Alumni of Distinction Awards. I am honored to be shown below with some of the recipients.


2013 Graduate School Alumni of Distinction pictured in late 2013: Top Row (L-R): Carl E. Swearingen, Thomas L. Lyons, Richard J. Cebula, Philip G. Bartley Jr., Donald K. Ingram. Bottom Row (L-R): Maureen Grasso (Dean of the Graduate School), Libby Morris (Interim Senior Vice-President for Academic Affairs and Provost), J. Eugene Bottoms, Peter C. Griffith, Charles E. Hamner Jr., Ronald L. Vaughn, Maxine H. Burton, William B. Jones. Recipients Not Pictured: Norman Kirby Alton, Devron R. Averett, Richard T. Cupitt, Joel D. Haber, Karl E. Wycoff. For complete information on the first Alumni of Distinction Awards please visit the Graduate School online at:

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ARS WATER W ri-State Area the T H igh Stakes in



Soothe the Waters

and become part of the SOLUTION


hannon Bonney has worked with the ACF Stakeholders Group since beginning graduate studies at UGA in 2010. Although their name may suggest a racehorse cartel, that would be

wrong. This consortium concerns a vital resource, and the stakes are high and growing. The ACF represents the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint basin. Shannon Nichole Bonney is the most affable of environmental warriors, and her mission is to help negotiate a high-stakes matter: water rights. BY CYNTHIA ADAMS PHOTOS BY NANCY EVELYN


To the outer world, the raison d'etre for a tri-state group drawn from Georgia, Alabama, and Florida is to mediate an agreement for better water management. The involved players – governmental, educational, policy makers, environmental stewards and volunteer figures—have been at the core of a “water war”–a term graduate student Shannon Bonney winces over and dislikes. In fact, when the term, “water détente” is suggested, she moans and shakes her head no. “Please keep any war terminologies out,” she says. The factions, these previously warring factions who could not come to terms with teams of litigators in court, are now friendly foes, according to Bonney. She says the stakeholders are finding another, better way, to make resource policy. The intra-state dispute has been ongoing since at least 1990, according to the International Business Times. The three states of Georgia, Alabama, and Florida are affected by the AFC water basin, which is largely regulated by the Army Corps of Engineers. By the late 1990s, there were agreements brokered between Alabama, Florida, and Georgia—each impacted by the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint basin. And there was an agreement negotiated between Alabama and Georgia who share the ACT basin, the Alabama-Coosa-Tallapoosa.

The news, however, has been and continues to be, worrying. According to the Southern Environmental Law Center, or SELC, the states have now been battling over water resources for nearly 20 years—and counting. In June of 2013, Robert Kennedy Jr., president of the Waterkeeper Alliance, visited Georgia concerning the water usage conflict. Kennedy argued that the implications were larger than regional, affecting water issues hundreds of miles away in the Gulf of Mexico. "When Atlanta and the state of Georgia and Alabama and Florida struggle over competing claims to the water flows, we have to also consider the impacts on the aquatic ecosystem, not just for the sake of the oysters and fisheries... but also for the human populations and the giant economic engines,” Kennedy implored. While two major river basins affect all three states, Georgia has first dibs geographically. The stakes for all concerned grew greater as Atlanta’s population swelled, eclipsing the growth of other Georgia cities. According to the 2010 United States Census, Atlanta’s population was 420,003. Also, a severe, historic drought situation in 2007 gripped Atlanta, which intensified matters, and during which there were mere days of adequate water supply remaining.

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“As the upstream user, Georgia wants to have enough water to continue growing,” SELC points out. Therein lies the problem. By 2008, the Tri-State Conservation Coalition submitted a brief in federal court to intercede on behalf of Alabama and Florida. A drought contingency plan for the affected river basins has recently been under review by the Army Corps of Engineers. Downstream users, Alabama and Florida, are worried about how that has affected their power generation and fisheries. At the last stop, where the basins ultimately reach the ocean, the reduced flow of fresh water dramatically impacts their shellfish industry in the formerly shrimp and oyster-rich Apalachicola Bay. Oyster farming and shrimping is so threatened that operations are shutting down in historic numbers. Generations-old oyster harvesters entreated lawmakers for help as recently as this past summer. The International Business Times describes poignant demonstrations by fishing families and political demands by Florida lawmakers. Semantics may matter to peace-making mediators, but whether you call them water wars, battles, skirmishes or disputes, the Byzantine problems of fair water usage policies remain headline news. The ACF stakeholders are among the only groups that have stepped away from litigation—and the limelight. For Bonney, a tireless environmental volunteer and now University of Georgia doctoral student, that is their particular strength. She calls their efforts “monumental.” She began

working with ACF two years into the process, and draws inspiration from the ACF’s consensual work. “The ACF stakeholders are a group that started meeting, I would say, five years ago. It is composed of the water managers, water people, planners, the industry—the full spectrum. They formed as a way to work together after the failed lawsuits. They wanted to figure a better way than sitting in courtrooms.” ACF called for a sustainable, equitable water plan to be crafted with stakeholders doing the crafting. “The idea was to take hydrologic models, water use demands, and climatic models, and put everything together and find a plan everyone could live with,” Bonney says. The new trend is consensus-building she adds. “We meet in a different part of the basin each quarter, in order to experience the entire basin.” Early October of 2013, the ACF stakeholders met at Unicoi State Park, a mountainous, green, undeveloped area in northern Georgia that is popular with hikers. Bonney and others addressed the policy makers with intentions to move the plan forward. “There are people who oversee nonprofit organization, government people, etc. They have worked together to create a trust level that is unparalleled.” For Bonney, the unspoiled beauty of Unicoi was close to her first southern home in Asheville, N.C. The Blue Ridge Mountains were redolent of the Green Mountains she grew up with in Vermont—the ones that indirectly landed her in a UGA doctoral program in Integrative Conservation (ICON).



Left: Atlanta, Ga., is the ninth largest metropolitan area in the United States. The Chattahoochee River Basin supplies more than 70 percent of metro Atlanta's water for drinking and other needs—an annual average of about 450 million gallons per day. Source; Chattahoochee Riverkeeper. Right: Downriver, the oyster population has drastically declined in Apalachicola Bay, one of the country’s major estuaries and the cradle of Florida’s prized oyster industry.



A Shannon B


She sits with excellent posture on a squishy sofa. Not stiff, just composed. With her careful grooming, red hair, caramelcolored eyes, small frame, and open face, Bonney inspires, with surprising maturity, trust. And she is only 29. Here’s the thing: Despite the fact that Bonney is going after a doctorate with the same vigor that others might run a 5K, or away from a rabid dog, she gives a friendly vibe right from the get-go. She falls into conversation, especially environmental ones, easily. Intense. Smart. Reflective. All those adjectives apply, as Bonney listens, pauses, nods her head, and then shares. She may fit the earnest stereotype for a statistics crunching researcher, yet Bonney likes engagement with others, and a description of her work and career goals is punctuated with laughter. Her blended family is still in New England, though some have now migrated to Georgia. And, fitting another stereotype, Bonney is the typical, driven eldest child, with seven younger siblings. Her father, she says, is businessoriented. Her mom is an artist. She negotiated between the two poles and feels practical and yet visually moved by natural beauty. Growing up in the mountains of Vermont, she observed the natural world influenced by her artistic mother. She also recognized disturbing changes. “I do think I got into natural resources by having grown up in such a beautiful area. It was such an important part of my childhood. Watching unrestrained, unplanned development, I see how quickly it can turn into something not so natural and not so beautiful. Planned development is very important to have the best of both worlds.” So when Bonney says that she loves being outdoors and the natural world, and then when her major professor, Laurie Fowler, suggests she is the right person to talk to concerning water issues of the present day, it is immediately clear why.

TNS. BLUE RIDGE M Favorite onney

According to the New Georgia Encyclopedia, the THE BLUE RIDGE MOUNTAINS ancient

terrain and crest has a critical geophysical role. The Blue Ridge's crest forms the geographical divide known as the Eastern Continental Divide. As such, the divide routes affected rivers to flow either eastward or westward. Geophysical, geopolitical, and critical water matters are impacted by the Continental Divide, with implications for the Chattahoochee and Etowah Rivers. As an ICON doctoral student, Bonney says she was drawn to the Integrative Conservation and Ecology Program for a variety of reasons, but most importantly to its emphasis on both human and natural systems as interdependent. “The ICON program has given me a strong foundation in interdisciplinary research, and strategic communication with scientists, policy makers, professionals, and the wider water community.”

Of all the WATER on the earth, humans can use only about three tenths of a percent of this water. Such usable water is found in groundwater aquifers, rivers, and freshwater lakes. Source:

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“Shannon quickly became key in our work identifying options for sustainable transboundary water management in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee Flint,” says her advisor, Laurie Fowler. Fowler, an associate dean of administrative affairs in the School of Ecology, is also director for policy and managing director of UGA’s River Basin Center. “She helps coordinate students and faculty in six southeastern universities who are part of this effort, conducts cutting edge research by interviewing executive directors of transboundary institutions across the globe to identify successes and pitfalls and serves as first author on our summary report, helps define future research efforts and presents much of our work to our stakeholder clients. Nothing fazes her as she throws herself into this major issue— water wars—that will become more relevant around the world as a result of competing water uses and changing climate!” When Bonney is asked what her Big Idea is, as in why her work fits with the theme of this issue concerning Big Ideas, she doesn’t miss a beat. “My big idea,” Bonney firmly answers, “is we need a much bigger place for planning and collaboration. We have huge issues to tackle; but real good planning will get us through. It might be the optimist in me that we can tackle these things and be hopeful for the future.” She talks as quickly as a fast typist can type. Actually, she talks faster than 65 words per minute. “It’s sometimes hard to keep your morale up, but if you look for examples of people making positive change it is easier to keep your optimism.”


As an undergrad at Green Mountain College, she did a project on civic engagement. She says she looked at civic engagement and how sustainability relates, and she leaves no doubt she was ever anything less than a serious student. “The understudy part is, what does it mean to have a community you are part of, and involved in? The decline of civic engagement came with the rise of technologies.” Now that we have the ability to socialize only with our peers, in our same interest groups, she says we select interests and others who mirror ourselves. “Whereas before you were connected with people who had different points of view.” She says that different points of view are necessary and healthy. In fact, Bonney has been so entrenched in the concept of making differing voices part of a cohesive whole that this premise is quickly becoming the centerpiece of her work. “My project is a very regional, local project. I’ve always been driven to get involved with a community. I chose the conflict over water between Georgia/Alabama/Florida. When I came in, I was lucky to work with Laurie Fowler. She is connected with the River Basin Center at UGA, and studies water issues in a practical way.” How has Bonney’s all-consuming ACF research affected her doctoral focus? All for the good, she says. “It has been great to get to know the water community in a way I otherwise couldn’t have,” Bonney replies. The relationships she has made through ACF have provided a framework for her dissertation research. She explains her dissertation title, which is a mouthful, but reflects consensus

DEAN MAUREEN GRASSO says "Shannon's work is an excellent example of the kind of work that the Integrative Conservation program strives to promote, because it blends ecological knowledge with social science and emphasizes the need for effective communication with a wide range of partners."

and policymaking in managing natural resources. “I’m searching for a non-jargony way to say it,” she grins, and regroups. Bonney may not have finalized her dissertation title, but she knows her topic. It is, basically, the culmination of everything that attracted her from early days hiking and swimming in Vermont. She self-corrects: “Sustainable agricultural systems. I studied agro-ecological systems, with no pesticides, at Green Mountain College in Vermont.” She says that while growing up in New Hampshire and Vermont, she made the decision to move further south even before selecting a graduate school. “I never liked the cold,” she confesses. Her fascination with the natural world began in her childhood, when she says she swam in waters near the Green and White Mountains whenever possible. Those beautiful mountains fed streams, Bonney says reflectively. “I spent every day in the water, and didn’t think about it…just a personal connection to rivers, water.” In her first job after getting a bachelor's degree and spending a year abroad, she went to work for the Agency of Natural Resources in Rutland, V.T. “I was in departmental conservation and the river management program in Rutland in 2006 and 2007.” The department offered to extend her employment, but Bonney sought change. She made the move south alone. “I knew from previous trips that North Carolina and Asheville were a great place and I decided to move there. I chose

Asheville because of the mountains, and I wanted a place offering (alternative) culture and food.” Bonney trained as a sous chef in an Asheville restaurant for a while. She worked with the local foods movement and was a vegetarian for about 10 years. “I explored the ethics of it, then decided eating meat sourced from local farms was probably a good thing.” She flung herself into supporting local agriculture and farms. During her free time, she trained and worked with Asheville volunteers sampling water quality. “When something starts to affect you directly, then people get involved,” she observes. Through the North Carolina Adopt-A-Stream program Bonney grew more concerned with water issues. “It’s called ‘Citizen Scientist’, and by other names. They train you on chemical and biological monitoring, and if you pass the test, you pick a stream and collect data for it. We gave data to the organization, and if the data was good they gave it to their state version of the EPA.” She discusses drought/paucity, and the opposite: unlimited access to water. Bonney had become intensely interested in varying perspectives on water, which seemed dependent upon access. She says it is often hard to understand we are not above or beyond water shortages. “Here in the South, we have riparianism. The riparian law applies to equity in usage.” She became fascinated with Athens while living in Asheville. “I looked at research coming out of the School of

WATER dissolves more substances than any other liquid. Wherever it travels, water carries chemicals, minerals, and nutrients with it. Source:

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Ecology. Eugene Odom is a huge figure within ecology. I was drawn to UGA because of this…I knew I wanted to work with policy makers, projects, and sustainability.” Asheville, another rapid-growth region, has become wildly popular with retirees, and is often listed as a top retirement destination. The town was profiled on CBS in the newsmagazine “Sunday Morning” for its unusually thoughtful approach to urban growth. When she got into UGA, Bonney first did a project concerning integrative conservation and steep slope development. Steep slope development is a hallmark of Asheville and surrounding mountainous areas. It is famously complicated for community-building and accessibility. Bonney is now in her third year of doctoral study and working full time on her research under the tutelage of Fowler, through the River Basin Center. “Fowler has a great track record, working with students and connecting them with the local community,” says Bonney. “She had a huge laundry list of projects. When I heard about the multi-state project, I jumped in and I’m still working with it.” She says she is drawing from other basins for her research. “There’s real connection between ecosystems, humans, and a lot of momentum…balancing these things in this basin presents so much opportunity, to the highest levels


The Conasauga River in drought.

of government…working towards better and new ways to manage the watershed and explore my interests in a way that would be helpful.” The institutions that manage water across state boundaries have inherent difficulties. Bonney says that in order to balance the tradeoff between ecosystem health and economic prosperity, they must balance protection of natural resources. “But,” she notes, “doing so through an institutional lens.” There are many minefields to navigate in making water policies feasible. One is environmental flow. Environmental flows, she explains, is a new term for water left in streams for the sake of ecosystem health. “A lot of states have minimum flows to protect environmental life. This goes one step further to look at pulses of flows. How is that different? The field of environmental flows is a new field. In addition to minimum flows it would also be an additional layer such as pulses of water in the spring for spawning for fish…you can easily get into the weeds.” And there are other minefields. “How does it affect recreation and hydropower, for example. And, can we have a dialogue about the quality of water we are using?” The issues are not germane only to the tri-state area, Bonney reminds. “The Chesapeake Bay has been looking at their water quality for more than a decade.” But they differed, in that within the ACF basin, drought was the more pressing problem. “However, if you look within the basin, water quality issues are being addressed.” She mentions the Atlanta area, which is a big, multi-county area, with layers of government. “What they have been doing is to try and tackle these water quality issues head on. They are a good example of addressing water quality issues.” In the years ahead, in two and a half years or so when Bonney completes her doctorate, she sees herself still working on water-related issues, ideally in a planning position. She has developed a great love for the basin and the area—and for her, the way they have been parsing out a solution has been endearing and inspiring. For the average person, Bonney says, there are ways to be part of the solution, and she likes that. n

ABOUT ICON: The doctoral program in Integrative Conservation (ICON) is designed to allow the next generation to develop expertise in specific fields while gaining the conceptual tools to work across disciplines. Graduates will help find integrative solutions to the complex conservation challenges of our times. 8


IN PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN FROM SPACE, we can see that our planet has more water than land. Less than three percent of Earth's water is fresh water. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, most of that three percent is inaccessible. Only about 0.3 percent of our fresh water is found in the surface water of lakes, rivers, and swamps. Of all the water on Earth, more than 99 percent is unusable by humans and many other living things! It seems extraordinary that the water that supports all terrestrial, as well as aquatic, life on our planet is actually so scarce. With this stunning realization comes a recognition that we have to utilize this resource very wisely. Source: the National Geographic website

ISK R T A WATER New Culprits e

Identifying th

PROTECTING OUR WATER SUPPLIES SEEMS INTUITIVE. According to environmental protection entities ranging from the EPA, Riverkeeper, and Nature Conservancy, this is not quite the case. When historic droughts occur, attentions naturally turn to water. But in the absence of drought, attentions fade. Yet in 2013, the U.S. continues to experience water shortages.

According to Bonney and others, a looming problem is dealing with non-point source pollution. “We used to deal with a point source, for example, factories, etc. The EPA tackled that. There is a growing problem with non-point pollution; it is much harder to tackle. Every person plays a part in this.” Cooking grease is a lesser known culprit. "Cooking

The General Accounting Office issued a report a decade ago

grease has a huge impact on water quality­—it clogs the

predicting 36 states would clearly suffer.

water treatment plants. Athens Clarke County built a new

Organizations report myriad issues putting water at

sewage plant and already came to ask about how to deal

risk. Droughts, poor water management, and chemical

with the grease. It makes the problem so much more difficult

contamination are causes. Flushed drugs, such as antibiotics

to address, but it gives the average citizen the chance to

and antidepressants, commonly are detected in water

become part of the solution. Another problem is people

supplies. Fluoride is a controversial additive, which is

not maintaining their septic tanks—then it infiltrates the

considered by some scientists as a toxic fumigant.

streams—then E. coli can enter the water supply.”

Bonney says, “Risks to drinking water come in many forms, such as municipal and industrial discharges,

For Further Reading:

recreational activities or simply natural conditions and events. These can all, in one way or another, be considered a risk to the safety of our drinking water.” In an ideal situation, there is adequate, clean water for all. According to the EPA, the average household uses 94,000 gallons of water annually—and the number of households rises annually. So does consumption.

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NDERSON LAGOIN ROMERO, a doctoral student in the Hugh Hodgson School of Music, took the stage in the Concerto Competition Winner’s Concert late February 2013 at the

Hugh Hodgson Concert Hall. When the musician stood beneath the stage lights, he was far from his physical home. Yet Romero’s second home is on stage, at home there since an early age. The accomplished artist began his performance life as an 11-year-old living in São Paulo, Brazil. “I did not come from a musical family, but one of my older brothers, André Romero, started to play the trumpet two years before me. He was my inspiration to start learning music,” the trumpeter explains.

Since childhood, he has played with the São Paulo Youth Symphonic Band, the University of São Paulo (USP) Chamber Orchestra, and the USP Brass Quintet. He has since played throughout Europe and the United States. “My first music teacher was Horácio dos Santos Júnior,” he recalls. “I started


my undergraduate studies in Brazil in 2004 at the University of São Paulo. After finishing my undergrad I won an audition to play with the Conservatory of Tatui Symphony Orchestra (in Brazil).” Romero toured Italy and Switzerland playing Brazilian music with the USP Brass Quintet, and became the

principal trumpet for the Conservatory during the 2009 season. Romero left the conservatory when he won a scholarship from The University of Southern Mississippi. After completing preliminary English studies there he began graduate studies in trumpet performance and

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A FEW FAMOUS TRUMPETERS An abbreviated list of renowned trumpet players includes: Louis Armstrong, Bud Brisbois, Chet Baker, Chris Botti, Miles Davis, Roy Eldridge, Dizzy Gillespie, Tom Harrell, Adolph Herseth, Freddie Hubbard, Roger Ingram, Harry James, Wynton Marsalis, Blue Mitchell, Lee Morgan, Fats Navarro, Doc Severinsen, and Woody Shaw.


The earliest trumpets date back to 1500 BC and earlier. The bronze and silver trumpets from Tutankhamun's grave in Egypt, bronze lurs from Scandinavia, and metal trumpets from China date back to this period. Trumpets from the Oxus civilization (3rd millennium BC) of Central Asia have decorated swellings in the middle, yet are made out of one sheet of metal, which is considered a technical wonder. The Moche people of ancient Peru depicted trumpets in their art going back to 300 AD. The earliest trumpets were signaling instruments used for military or religious purposes, rather than music in the modern sense; and the modern bugle continues this signaling tradition. In medieval times, trumpet playing was a guarded craft, its instruction occurring only within highly selective guilds. The trumpet players were often among the most heavily guarded members of a troop, as they were relied upon to relay instructions to other sections of the army.


He is excited by the fact that Georgia benefits from the best in his profession. “UGA recently hired one of the best orchestral trumpet players in the world, Philip Smith,” says Romero. “He will be teaching in the UGA trumpet studio alongside professor Brandon Craswell. Mr. Smith will join the UGA faculty in the fall of 2014.” According to The New York Times, Smith recently retired as the New York Philharmonic’s principal trumpet after being a member of the orchestra for 36 years. He will leave his post to join the faculty of the Hugh Hodgson School of Music, well before Romero completes his doctoral studies. Currently a second-year doctoral student, Romero plans to graduate in May of 2015. Afterward, he intends to join a symphony orchestra or teach at college level. n


became a teaching assistant. He won the University of Southern Mississippi Wind Ensemble Concerto Competition in 2010, and was selected as a finalist in the USM Trumpet Ensemble during the 2011 National Trumpet Competition. He was named a semi-finalist in the solo division in 2012. And what outcome for that winter's night a year ago? Romero was named the winner of the 2012 UGA Concerto Competition, which was actually held on February 28, 2013. This past summer, he joined UGA’s Wind Ensemble in a European tour. He is also a member of the Bulldog Brass Quintet. “I always had the dream to study in the United States,” says Romero. “I am very happy at UGA and I really enjoy all the opportunities I am having in here. My main focus is trumpet performance. I really love playing and teaching music.”

Classical music is renowned in São Paulo, the largest city in Brazil. The São Paulo State Symphony is one of the world's outstanding orchestras. GO to

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: view_event.php?id=14655

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fervor to create change and manipulate space, Debuque later understood, reflected a childhood longing for the American ideal. She received a Willson Center Grant for Graduate Research to create a work titled “Cacti-Smash.” Dubuque presently teaches art courses at the New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas, N.M.


Your MFA installation, “Plant Room Revisited,” is a campy piece that suggests a space you might find in Domino or Elle Décor. What is really happening here?

is real has become the slippery territory. Notions of reality is the big idea. It sometimes makes my head want to explode, but keeps me questioning things about my life.

The concept/inspiration on the surface is colorful and playful…almost like a color overload. Pop culture is certainly an inspiration. I pay attention to color and trends. We walk into a Target, or read an Elle magazine, and are media saturated. Reality becomes a blurry notion. On an ingrained level, I have always been interested in spaces. I grew up living with my grandfather. He built his own house. It had tunnels. He made these patterns on the wall with paint and was into staging different objects. Romanesque, Athenian, and gilded things. When I got older, I thought his stuff was so tacky. Now I think, “Oh! That is completely why I am so fascinated!” His house is continually evolving, never complete. One of the things I realize as an adult is that my grandfather is an artist, but he would never identify himself as that. His house was his continual project. He names the rooms; so, one would be called the Florida room, and has fountains, with babies spilling water into the fountain.

What does the installation tell us we might not immediately note? One of the things I started thinking about was, I get obsessed with certain furniture or objects. Two years ago I had a chair obsession—why we use them and why they look like they do. This year I became obsessed with plants. Not just any plants but house plants. We create homes to keep nature out, and then we started bringing nature in…we started bringing objects in to symbolize nature inside our homes. The way we are about house plants reflect a lot about our culture. We like nature, but we want it neat, packaged, not messy. Look, I bring nature into my house. But for the most part, where I grew up in the Northeast, there is not a real connection to nature. You see it through a lens.

This is our Big Idea issue. What is the Big Idea behind your MFA piece.

Straight out of UGA’s MFA program, you segue to Georgia O’Keefe country. Was this by design? Did you know this was your destination when you created “Plant Room Revisited?”

I think the big idea is, what is real? What is authentic? This is the question we are constantly asking ourselves as things are so rapidly evolving we barely have time to adjust. What

No, not at all. I always end up in places—most of the time, I just end up. I lived in Taiwan, Croatia, Georgia, and I never thought I would wind up there. My partner got a full-time

faculty position, so we moved here. There is so much exactly like what I was talking about in the installation. Everything in Santa Fe has this regulation; it has to look a certain way, to comply with codes. So you have a giant Target that looks like adobe structure, but we know it didn’t exist 100 years ago. It’s like Disneyworld. There is what is really here, and what is here for the vacationers. This concept of apperception you mention in your artist’s statement—what does that mean? Concept of apperception—I came across that term—is the notion of the simulation and the simulacra. Kant describes the recognition of an object as concrete at first, then changing. I’m interested in that, in playing with those things. The cacti on the floor of my installation were real, but on the wall were castings. The very nature of the cacti is, as a moon cactus, it wouldn’t survive more than two weeks but it was grafted onto a hardy green piece. As a mutated plant, it doesn’t exist in nature. Even if nobody knows that, I do. And I think, this is a more slippery object than I thought it was. Everything I say about space is, I want to be in between places. Ambiguity is something we as humans have trouble with. We want to name things, for them to be neat and orderly.

And so what kind of person would own that plant room? I played with performance throughout my career. The performance (aspect) was to complete an action, to complete the space. The people/performers took the cacti and smashed them. They looked like throwback 50s models with blonde hair and Day-Glo eye shadow. That goes back to wanting things to be nostalgic and futuristic. World War II exemplified how sameness can be this evil thing. Video games and three-dimensional things look real, but something is uncanny. Not right; just not human. We have an incredible way of recognizing it. What is next, Rachel Debuque? I’ve had to adjust to a lot. I don’t have a big studio. You have to make things work. Working on a smaller scale; making weird alien versions of my own cacti plants. The Southwest is an inspiration; that is certainly influencing me. I am taking a class with David Lobdell. I am doing casting. Getting to know the community. We adjust, and interesting things come out of potential problems. I am excited, because it forces me to do that. n


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Controlled Brio: The Vigorous Enthusiasms of



FOR A YOUNG URBAN PROFESSIONAL, SARAH SMITH has enviable street cred. She did something enviable when only 24. She landed a job at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention straight out of school in 2001. Smith left Athens with a Master of Public Administration in one hand and a job contract in another. AND, NOT JUST ANY JOB. As a part of her Presidential Management fellowship experience, Smith worked for the chief operating officer and had responsibilities bearing repercussions for many. When she reported for work on the CDC campus in Atlanta, she joined a highly secure organization whose profile is quiet but whose name is cited as the top rated among all governmental agencies.


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COMMUNICATING THE MESSAGE In its infancy, the post-war era CDC was responsible for one thing alone: mosquito control and eradicating the malaria that ravaged the South. Today, the agency is also responsible for a list of public health threats, including those resulting from natural disasters, chemical and radiological materials, infectious disease, and biological threats. The CDC’s modern reach encompasses many other worrying issues and challenges. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is known best to the world simply by its acronym, CDC. Internally, it is known as “the agency." Today, Smith leads the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response’s Management Services Office. To the rest of us, this means Smith directs the office’s daily management and operations affecting more than 700 staff. (Her office, OPHPR, has an annual budget alone of $1.3 billion. And hold your horses, as there are more acronyms to come. And even horses.) “The Gallup poll just did a recent poll of the American public,” Smith says with visible pride. “The CDC was the most trusted public agency. We


have public trust—and we have to be trusted,” Smith says. She sips iced tea and talks about her work life, which takes her from the CDC’s Atlanta campus to far flung destinations such as Kenya and Tanzania. With a mandate for readiness around the clock, to known hot spots and disaster points, the CDC goes where many would fear most. “A lot of what I do is budget planning and streamlining operations to ensure we have appropriate resources available. In my previous role at the agency, we supported the Epidemic Intelligence Service. Often, the Epidemic Intelligence Service, EIS, may be first on the ground, say, during a salmonella outbreak. The operations side is so critical. We have to keep things specific to the needs—the temperatures that things have to be for scientists doing lab work. Support partners in nonprofit organizations. Partnership building—how do we make good investments and leverage that. And make sure we align resources for maximum health impact. Danger and tension are everyday possibilities in the 24/7 work of the CDC. Although equanimity is a requirement of CDC leadership, its complementary opposite is something

that Smith values. The qualities of passion and staying positive speak volumes to her. “It is an energy or a passion, an inner drive—a positive energy,” she answers decisively. “I got that insight from recruiting,” she adds, referencing one of her most rewarding work roles. “Skills can be learned; but that attitude and diligence is something that people report on appreciating–mastering the soft skills will (potentially) even get you further than subject matter expertise. She quickly admits that as she travels the globe on behalf of the CDC, she finds herself mindful of articulating ideas. Smith buys books in airports and bookstores that offer insights. In fact, the power of words and communicating ideas are so important that Smith encourages staffers to explore businesswriting books. She is reading Lean In, and especially liked Mireille Guiliano’s Women, Work, and the Art of Savoir Faire. “Face it,” writes Guiliano, who was CEO of a large French corporation, “in business, communication skills are the key to a successful career, more than intelligence, knowledge, or experience.” Smith says she found in her first year at the CDC that the distillation and presentation of ideas was going to be the most useful tool in her toolbox.



MALARIA According to the CDC’s website, malaria cases in the U.S.

travelers, for the first time, it is the individual country from

have hit the highest numbers in 40 years. As a public health

which the most cases were imported into the United States.

concern, the steep climb in reported cases caused the

However, all travelers to countries where malaria is present

center to offer suggestions in the event you might be at risk.

may be at risk for infection.”

“Increasing numbers of malaria cases reported in the

The CDC offers these five preemptive, cautionary

U.S. serve as a reminder to travelers to countries with malaria:

measures to protect yourself if visiting known malaria

think ahead and take steps to protect yourself from this

hot spots:

potentially fatal, but preventable disease,” reports the CDC. “CDC's latest malaria surveillance summary report

Visit your doctor four to six weeks before you travel.

shows that approximately 2,000 cases of malaria were

Buy your malaria pills before your trip.

diagnosed and treated in the United States in 2011—

Take your malaria pills exactly as prescribed.

almost all were acquired overseas in regions with malaria

Avoid mosquito bites by sleeping under an insecticide-

transmission. Five of the malaria victims died.

treated bed net, wearing long sleeves and long pants,

“Every year, millions of U.S. residents travel to countries where malaria is transmitted. Most travelers who contract

and using repellent. 

If you become sick with malaria symptoms such as

malaria either did not take an antimalarial drug to prevent

fever and chills during or after your travel, make sure it

the illness or did not take the appropriate drug or dose,”

is not malaria by seeing a doctor right away.

the site adds. Sub-Saharan Africa was the most common source of

CDC’s Web pages have information for travelers about

the disease, they report. Malaria victims in the U.S. had

malaria prevention measures and detailed information on

commonly contracted malaria while there. “Although India

countries of concern.

is often perceived as a place with low risk of malaria for

DO-IT-YOURSELF BUG REPELLENTS Your diet may have something to do with your popularity with the mosquitoes. To reduce your attractiveness, you may want to forgo bananas during mosquito season. According to alternative health nutritionist Janet Starr Hull, “there’s something about how your body processes the banana oil that attracts these female sugar-loving insects.” She also recommends supplementing with one vitamin B-1 tablet a day from April through October, and then adding 100 mg of B-1 to a B-100 Complex daily during the mosquito season to make you less attractive to mosquitoes. Regularly consuming garlic or garlic capsules may also help protect against both mosquito and tick bites. Bear in mind, the best way to avoid ticks is to make sure you tuck your pants into your socks and wear closed shoes and a hat—especially if venturing out into wooded areas. You can also make your own mosquito repellent using any of the following: 

Cinnamon leaf oil (one study found it was more effective at killing mosquitoes than DEET).

percent pure citronella essential oil on your skin. Java

Clear liquid vanilla extract mixed with olive oil.

Citronella is considered the highest quality citronella on

Catnip oil (according to one study, this oil is 10 times

the market.

Wash with citronella soap, and then put some 100

more effective than DEET.

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ADVICE TO CDC HOPEFULS IS SOMETHING SMITH OFFERS WITHOUT A SECOND THOUGHT. “Business writing would be the best class you could take,” advises Smith. “When I applied to become a Presidential Management Fellow, they had us take a scenario and break it down to one page. It was the most important thing I did when I first went to the CDC, and it probably got me further in my career. I had to fine tune the art of critical thinking, taking a document and distilling lots of information.” She insists that a mastery of business communication is a key aspect of success.

MASTERING THE ART OF SELF EXPRESSION Smith is more mature than her years, projecting calm capability. With her pale eyes and hair and modulated voice, she has the reassuringly professional polish of a television newscaster. The newsroom was, in fact, first home to her father, Stephen A. Smith, who recently retired from the Grady College after a second career as a popular UGA classroom presence. She has grown up understanding the value of communicating calmly in crisis. She grew up in Atlanta when her father still worked for ABC News and then ran the newsroom at NBC affiliate station WXIA Channel 11, and her mother worked in special education. It was the sort of background that left Smith with an awareness that was compassionate and objective at once. Her father tired of chasing hurricanes. “My dad accepted a professorship at his alma mater Indiana University, but my mom and I stayed in Atlanta while he commuted.” In addition to her consuming vocation, Smith has a lot of avocations which help her keep stress in check. She is a trained and certified mediator, a distance runner, rescues dogs, and keeps her horse on a friend’s property in Buckhead. Smith has been an equestrienne since she was five, and


rides a Spanish gaited horse known as a Paso Fino, meaning, “fine step." Similar to the skillful riding style known as dressage, a French term for a competitive sport, riding a Paso Fino requires disciplined control and horse training. She keeps a pair of riding boots in the trunk of her car, and whenever possible, joins her horse for a workout. “The Paso Fino is bred for endurance and its smooth gait which allows you to have a drink in your hand and you never spill a drop—‘controlled brio,’” Smith explains and smiles widely, her blue eyes intensifying as she relates the experience. With people, as with horses, there are natural, temperamental differences and cadences. By example, Smith discusses the inherent tensions between business and science. “My charge as a federal manager is to be a problem solver and teammate. I don’t want bad tension,” she explains. So she seeks a creative sort of stasis—a “controlled brio–mixing vitality and verve, enthusiasm and vigor. In times of response and disaster, reining in chaos is essential. While coming of age, Smith once thought of corporate law as her ultimate destination. Her high school friend’s parents were highly placed at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Early on, she noticed their unusual work attire and was curious, interested in their work.

“They wore uniforms, because the United States Public Health Service is one of the uniformed services. Commissioned Corps Officers are on duty 24/7, and are deployable during events, as first responders. Their example lingered in her mind, even as Smith enrolled in business classes at Presbyterian College in Clinton, S.C. Smith completed a double major in history and political science at Presbyterian College in 1999, with a minor in business. She liked business issues and was fascinated by Harvard Business case studies. For her, the next step had to synthesize all her favorite interests. “What was the perfect mesh? Business and politics,” she decided. Smith weighed human resources as a career path, but says she felt a greater passion for government and how it runs and works, and the necessary business aspect. “Public health gave me a chance to marry all those interests. She opted to enter graduate studies after one of Smith’s sorority sisters, Anne Marie Goldsmith, enrolled at the University of Georgia. “My small school experience was great but it was also great to go back to big. When Smith visited Georgia for an interview, she talked with Jerry Legge, assistant dean of the school of public and international affairs. It was a “small world” moment.



“My charge as a federal manager is to be a problem solver and teammate. I don’t want bad tension,” Sarah Smith explains. So she seeks a creative sort of stasis— a “controlled brio”—mixing vitality and verve, enthusiasm and vigor. In times of response and disaster, reining in chaos is essential. For Georgia alumni Sarah Smith, public health “was a real entrée into international work. She was a Presidential Management Fellow, and credits her UGA graduate degree and fellow experience as the critical link to a management track at CDC. “I am the point of contact on human resources issues, budget, procurement etc., and have to be a problem solver and teammate. That is something I have worked hard on.” Above: Smith on horseback in Dillard, Ga., and earlier while presenting there at the Graduate School’s Emerging Leaders Program.

“I had gone to Tucker High School (in DeKalb County) with his two children. He talked to me about Georgia, the degree, and assistantship opportunities. Being from Atlanta it was appealing to come back." Smith entered graduate school in 1999 as the first Dawg in the Smith family. “I went straight from undergrad to grad school, and had very little real world experience. Some of my peers had gone to the working world first. So

we learned from one another. It was a professional degree with many night classes, done to allow people who are full time to do that." Soon after she left UGA in 2001, her father followed her to Athens and began a second career as a popular lecturer at UGA. His daughter is rightly proud. “My dad, Steve, became a professor in the Grady School in 2003 and spent 10 years there. His students did a nightly televised newscast.”

Smith had found that public health “was a real entrée into international work." She applied to become a Presidential Management Fellow, and credits this and the School of Public and International Affairs, known as SPIA, as being the springboard to the CDC. “I did recruiting for the CDC and would engage SPIA’s Lisa Sperling to bring information on careers at CDC to undergraduate and graduate students. Lisa works for UGA’s SPIA

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as a marketing and outreach point of contact. Public health appeals to those who have a public interest/ social responsibility interest. You can have immediate direct impact, impact national policy, and gain international experience. It’s a good way to get there,” says Smith. “We are so fortunate to have Sarah as one of our alumni,” Sperling responds. “Throughout the past decade, Sarah has been an invaluable resource for the MPA program answering questions from students interested in pursuing careers with the federal government, especially the CDC. Additionally, she has been such a great support system to me personally as I assist students in applying to the prestigious Presidential Management Fellows program, the premier program for those entering the federal service, of which she is a graduate.” Over the past decade, Smith has since recruited many times at the UGA Career Fairs held at the Classic Center, and has become a popular figure at the fall Graduate School Emerging Leader’s program. Last October, Smith returned to the Emerging Leaders program held in Dillard, Ga., to speak to graduate students about her career path and experiences.

For several years, Judy Milton, assistant to the dean of the Graduate School, has asked Smith to serve as a panelist. “Sarah is a tremendous asset for the students in the Emerging Leaders program,” says Milton. “We are very glad to have one of our graduates come back to interact with the participants– she sets a great example for them. Sarah gives the students practical advice and helps them to think about new ways to achieve their career goals.” She serves as a powerful example, agrees Dean Maureen Grasso. The students see possibilities for someone with youthful drive, energy, and a graduate education. They also see a student interested in continually investing in Georgia’s intellectual talent pool. But Smith says she always enjoys hearing how the CDC name piques students’ interest. “I always say recruiting to a captive audience is very rewarding, because you hear how much excitement there is for the agency.” A TYPICAL DAY AT CDC Since arriving at the CDC 12 years ago, Smith has also worked on agency policy issues as well as her ongoing responsibilities. She assisted with

preparing internal leadership for the annual appropriations hearing held in Washington. Her boss at the time was the CDC’s chief operating officer. “That was a neat experience,” she recalls. For Smith, a typical work day involves intense amounts of face time with colleagues who may be in research, the civilian world, or the government. “It is a lot of meetings. A lot of interaction with scientists and subject matter experts. We work with business offices around the CDC. We work with human resources to bring new people on to the agency. More times than not, I have done a lot of outreach, discussing what it is like to be a manager. Our work involves a pipeline, bringing people in. The end goal of her recruitment and outreach, Smith says, is a healthier public and a healthy workforce. At the CDC, Smith says, they think of the public as one of their customers. They take service seriously, as representing the health of their own agency. And their customers, according to recent Gallup reports, are well satisfied. n

THE UGA GRADUATE SCHOOL EMERGING LEADERS PROGRAM is an invited leadership workshop sponsored by the Graduate School. The program is held off campus, which helps students learn from experts and fellow graduate students. Students attend sessions about professional development and leadership skills necessary for entering the workplace characterized by a diversity of people, career opportunities and ever-increasing responsibilities. Dean Maureen Grasso attended a similar program while a graduate student herself. "We have only a few days over fall break to expose students to a process that could illuminate the future for them. Self awareness is a process. We are able to give them a set of tools, contacts and relationships that they can deploy from this time forward," says Grasso.


"Sarah has been such a great support system to me personally as I assist students in applying to the prestigious Presidential Management Fellows program, the premier program for those entering the federal service, of which she is a graduate.” — ­ SPIA’S LISA SPERLING

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ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE is a multidisciplinary academic field that integrates physical and biological sciences to the study of the environment and the solution of environmental problems. It provides an integrated, quantitative, and interdisciplinary approach to the study of environmental systems. GREEN BUILDING refers to a structure and use process that is environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building's life-cycle: from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition. BY CYNTHIA ADAMS PHOTOS BY NANCY EVELYN


mily Hanson Scofield (MS '99), the Executive Director of the U.S. Green Building Council’s North Carolina Chapter, is surrounded by people at the meet-and-greet event for the Piedmont Triad

membership. Her blue eyes crinkle as she smiles and mingles with builders, vendors, and general members there to hear a regional presentation in Greensboro, N.C. Scofield wears a dark, pin-striped pantsuit with a strand of pearls, and her blonde curls are held back with a clip. Her vibe is sociable and warm, minus the corporate veneer. But she is USGBC’s executive director, and also a new inductee into UGA’s Forty Under Forty program. Since the award, media reports have cast her into the spotlight. On a summer evening, Scofield waits patiently to address the group, but the time runs over and she does not seem annoyed. In the audience is Katie King, a Winston-Salem attorney. King works for a firm whose client base includes a large coal mine corporation. Like Scofield, she has always been interested in environmental issues. “But I’m practical,” King says. A quality she also shares with Scofield.

A Magazine Subscription and an Expanding World When Scofield was 13 and growing up in Conyers, Ga., she purchased a magazine subscription to Greenpeace. Conyers was different then, she stresses, still a small town not yet part of metropolitan Atlanta. Her parents appreciated the environment and supported her learning. She identified herself as an environmental crusader from thereon, saying, “It’s the pebble in the lake effect.” Scofield read and traveled abroad while young, all of which gave her a broader, global viewpoint. In 1990, at the age of 15, she became attuned to the Earth Day revival around the country. “I listened…I heard that message,” she says. “It reinforced ideas of environmental awareness.” Scofield revisits the matter of that magazine subscription. “People form an opinion when you mention ‘Greenpeace.’ It made an impression on me. It’s not my personality to be so extreme or divisive." For a moment, she grows quiet. “But my eyes were opened to issues around the world.” Now wife, mother, and educator with a large platform,

Scofield’s world has widened still further. She pauses, her blue eyes filling. “I want to teach people to get outside their bubble. You have to think globally. Our world is not getting smaller, our world is global.” While Scofield was in high school, her mother began graduate studies at UGA. “I used to go with her when she was studying media science. I would sit outside, or go to the library.” Though she liked UGA, Scofield wound up attending Queens University in Charlotte, N.C., due to her involvement in college soccer and her famously independent streak. “I knew I wanted to go somewhere that I didn’t know anybody. I didn’t want to follow the crowd, and I was eager to expand my sphere of influence.” At Queens, she studied biology, noticing that all but a minor percentage of her fellow biology majors were in pre-med. Again, Scofield broke from the crowd—she remained true to her interest in environmental science. And she fully expected to continue her education in order to enter the field. A Queens’ professor bluntly asserted that “If you aren’t paid to be at grad school you are not good enough to go." Scofield was both stunned and energized by the remark, and

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Emily ScoďŹ eld at a Glance CURRENT JOB: Executive director, U.S. Green Building Council, Charlotte region chapter. EDUCATION: Queens University, bachelor's in biology, 1997; University of Georgia, MS in environmental health science, 1999. CAREER HISTORY: Mecklenburg County Environmental Protection, environmental hygienist, 1999-2004; ITT Wedeco, safety and environmental manager, 2004-07; RT Dooley/Balfour Beatty Construction, safety and environmental director, 2007-10. FAMILY: Husband, Tom; daughter, Chloe Virginia, 5; son, Dean Thomas, 3.



The Nebel Knitting Company was built in 1923 as a hosiery mill on West Worthington Avenue in Charlotte, N.C. It is a designated Charlotte-Mecklenburg historic landmark and has been preserved and adapted to house stores and restaurants. Today, it is across from a light rail center and houses Byron Design Center.

At South End, a Repurposed Charlotte Neighborhood Finds a Beginning Two decades later, and few weeks after her meeting in the Piedmont Triad of N.C., Scofield is back on her home turf in Charlotte. She works from a home office, but her work carries her throughout the state which she is changing. It was always, after all, her big idea to be a part of change making. She has shuttled her two young children to school and settles into a metal chair for a morning meeting outside Pike’s Old Fashioned Soda Shop in the South End industrial district of Charlotte. The choice of place was deliberate. She mentions Pike’s simplicity, which is reminiscent of its previous incarnation as a pharmacy with a sandwich and soda counter. “It’s an old fashioned restaurant to boot, not ‘fusion fancy.' Just an old soda shop…on the light rail line.


looked at both UNC-Chapel Hill and UGA. She identified a role model at UGA and soon made her decision to study environmental health there. “I became interested in Dr. Mary Alice Smith. I was intrigued by her research and went to campus before being admitted to the program to make sure she knew who I was. Maintaining contact after this introduction, I let it be known that I wanted to come to school there and work with her. Fortunately, I was accepted and invited to be her research assistant. And, I got school paid for by that, but I had to work for it." Smith became Scofield’s advising professor in the Environmental Health Science program. “She really sharpened my scientific research and critical thinking skills. She introduced me to so many important aspects of conducting a valid, peer-reviewed contribution to science. She was an amazing example of how a career woman could lead with confidence, intelligence, and approachability.” Scofield wanted to change the world, but from within. “Early on, I wanted to work on the regulatory side (like the EPA) and then parlay that knowledge to work with corporate America and help them comply.”

Then she adds, “Right next door is a construction company I worked for; when they renovated it they made it LEED silver." LEED silver is one of several designations awarded for having met green building standards. The USGBC creates the LEED rating’s metric. (See Sidebar on LEED.) Pike’s moved from its original location into a smartlooking refurbished building, part of a cluster that occupies several blocks in the shadow of Charlotte’s impressive sky scrapers and cityscape. It is a USGBC success, a model, in a star setting. Scofield gestures. “You’re looking at what the U.S. Green Building Council does,” she explains. “It’s about using smart and efficient technologies. This used to be the Nebel Knitting Mill. It has been preserved and adapted." The mill’s buildings had long languished, empty and purposeless. Nebel Knitting Company was formerly a major force in the textiles industry—and one of the largest manufacturers of its kind in the Southeast. The company once employed hundreds of people in the red brick buildings that line Camden Road. Nebel’s holdings were sold, but until the late 1980s various manufacturers had come and gone in the location near Dilworth, a popular and upscale neighborhood. Today, designers, service businesses and others have taken residence in the former textile plant’s site—at far remove from its days when hosiery was made here. Across the street is South End’s light rail station. Charlotte has also placed trolley cars back into service, to the delight of many downtown revitalization boosters.

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Scofield is youthfully outfitted in pink, with a multicolored nubby scarf wound around her neck. Again, her exuberant curls are clipped back from her face. She acknowledges many of the people who file past as she talks, colleagues from both present and past roles she has filled. Scofield has also taught environmental science classes in the Charlotte area. Keith Pehl, a former board USGBC member from Optima Engineering, stops by and engages her. “I definitely feel like I get to make an impact; it’s an exciting space to be in,” she sighs happily. “USGBC holds monthly lunch programs in the building one block over,” Scofield explains. “So I am in this part of town often." She and her family live in the south Charlotte area called Ballantyne. She points as a train approaches, noisily clattering. Soon a large group of equally noisy school children emerge from the station and pour into the street. From a dying part of town,


South End has been rejuvenated. Today, it is a destination for shopping and dining, and its weekday morning vitality is robust. There are fewer parking spaces as morning segues into noon and umbrellas dotting the patio open to shield diners. As the train overwhelms conversation, Scofield sips water and greets another passerby who calls a greeting to her. This portion of the South End area is popularly called the Design Center, she explains. “It’s known for home décor and unique places,” Scofield says, adding, “There is a creative vibe." The U.S. Green Building Council is a nonprofit organization that also has taken a creative path to growth. While it is not a government organization, it has a national parent based in D.C., and more than 70 chapters across the country.“ The North Carolina program is held up as a model program, she says. “Our annual fundraising campaign is used as a model for the chapters across the country.” A recent USGBC fundraising gala in downtown Charlotte sold out early, and Scofield says this is a nice problem to have. She explains that they are sharing what they have learned in Charlotte with fellow chapters and creating a “playbook” of sorts. “With the recession and continued struggles, especially in the construction industry, they (the national chapters) need a more structured program. Because we had this program in place before the recession, we have managed to increase the funds we have raised, so we are successful and financially stable at a time when other chapters are struggling.” Scofield’s obviously proud as she adds, “When you’re in the forest it is not always easy to see the path in front of you. When I landed the job with USGBC NC, I was able to look back at my career path and say, ‘Those were all correct steps. The experiences gave me more arrows in my quiver, to be ready for the executive director role.' I feel the job I have now is a perfect fit for my education and my passion. I am glad to be able to contribute and lead in this field.” Now only age 38, Scofield first became involved with USGBC as a member and volunteer with the Charlotte Region Chapter when she was 32. She volunteered with the council’s educational programs committee while working as safety and environmental director for a construction company. In 2010, she noticed a USGBC job posting while vacationing with her family in Hilton Head. The application was due that very day. Her husband gathered up their two children while she quickly prepared an application. Scofield was hired as executive director of the Charlotte region chapter for USGBC. Only a year and a half later, came discussions of merging all the state’s chapters. At the end of 2012, the merger was complete and Scofield took on the expanded, statewide role.

Taking the LEED Today, Charlotte has become a statewide model for innovations. The Queen City has won acclaim for its foresight in adapting light rail and also for its proactive stance on green building. “Asheville, too, is doing amazing things on the residential side,” Scofield says. “Cary, Raleigh, and Durham, have a strong educational presence. Charlotte is leading the way with its commercial LEED certifications and Energy Star. The universities across the state are incorporating fields of study— not just architecture and construction management, but also with the engineering field, interior design, and business management. Even the financial field.” Environmental science is where these interests intersect, Scofield says. “Some people say it’s not a new concept but it is becoming more mainstream. All of environmental science is completely interdisciplinary. You have to add in social sciences, hard sciences, policy makers—it’s a completely interdisciplinary field." People may wrongly think that environmental science is all about the great outdoors, but Scofield explains it is also about the great indoors. “We spend 90 percent of our time indoors, and (environmental science) becomes relevant to the population.”

Beyond Maslow's Theory… Every social cause has its moment, Scofield realizes. And there are frequently overlapping issues that may have to do with our environment, she says. One such example is obesity. We are increasingly aware of obesity now, and dietary choices, but what we overlook is that there may be an environmental component as well. An unhealthy work place may actually be a contributing factor. “If you are in a building that is not well built. with poor ventilation, trapping chemicals, you can tie that together to people not feeling well and not exercising—and then dealing with obesity,” says Scofield. She describes an exercise in which she has people close their eyes and imagine a favorite vacation spot, or a favorite “safe spot." The exercise makes her point for her. “Overwhelmingly, when you ask people to tell you where it was, they were outdoors. There is this basic desire to commune with nature; the benefit we receive from sunlight, and fresh air, all of this is of wonderful benefit to our

LEED STANDS FOR “LEADERSHIP IN ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN.” According to the website, LEED is a "comprehensive and flexible green building tool that addresses the entire building life cycle recognizing best-in-class building strategies.” Although USGBC created a rating system for LEED, they do not manage it. They only look at what Emily Scofield calls the “scorecard." A surprising number of builders understand the value of making a good score and want to make the grade. “You would think builders would have been the last to support it,” Scofield admits, “Yet they are leading the way.” While the scorecard is valuable, the awareness is more so. “The marketplace has been transformed,” she says. “You are hard pressed to build a building that is not more energy and water efficient, and cleaner than the way buildings were built 10 years ago. The products are available, competitively priced and the data is out there to support these enhancements.” Scofield points to many LEED benefits. Tenants are retained longer, she says, and landlords can charge higher lease rates. “Productivity increases, sickness decreases. In schools, asthma incidences go down. In hospital, stays go down and recovery is faster.” LEED buildings use less water and energy costs are lower. “The biggest battle is the antiquated argument that LEED costs too much. It doesn’t. What happens a lot is a project owner will say to the architect, ‘I want you to follow the LEED scorecard but not get the plaque. They want their building built that way but save a few thousand by not getting the plaque." All of which is just fine with Scofield. “In a sense, USGBC has accomplished its mission. The marketplace has transformed the way it designs and builds.

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bodies. If we sit the majority of the time in these dark, dank environments with poor indoor air, there are consequences. Let’s do what we can with these structures to bring the outdoors in…so many wonderful benefits.” She discusses Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and mentions a children’s story she wrote and titled, “The Incredible Shrinking Footprint.” “I communicate to audiences young and old that every little bit you do, small, or large, makes a big impact. I try to focus on this…it’s what USGBC does. The chapters across the country educate, advocate and promote these products, practices, ideas…(teaching) what you can do.” Her motivation, and modus operandi, is not the “shock jock” doctrine, Scofield says. But when she addresses an audience, she does question their chief motivation. “Is it money, is it your children. Is it your health. Let me meet you there. I don’t care what the motive; if it causes you to make this little improvement, we are getting there, and moving closer to the end goal.” Children will help drive change, she feels. To that end, Scofield discusses USGBC’s Center for Green Schools. “The Center created a ‘Green Apple Day of Service.' You go and do a one-day blitz of raising sustainability awareness in our schools. There were green apple projects across the state and country— over 2,000 in all,” she says happily. “I’m very happy with life right now," Scofield smiles. "But the stories, and my whole vision for reaching children in today’s world, that is where I want to be…running a multimedia conglomerate." She wants to carry the environmental message through children’s stories, cartoons, toys, books and school curriculum. On October 3 and 4, Scofield performed her own Green Apple service. She took her original story, “The Incredible Shrinking Footprint” and read it to her three-year-old son’s class and her daughter’s kindergarten class. She will do it again whenever she can, whether it’s a service day or not.

GO to

She says she will continue to write, something she enjoys as much as she enjoys reading. And, with a glimpse of the young girl who was enlightened to try and save the whales, Scofield again smiles broadly. She will keep her blue eyes open wide.

So What’s the Big Idea? “My big idea is for everyone to realize that they have a role in environmental protection, no matter what political party you are affiliated with, or your income status,” she says. The environment should not be politicized. “Every day, everyone uses resources from the planet, and we cannot continue taking, taking, taking without being concerned about sharing. Giving back." Scofield frowns. “It’s such a simple concept. Who wants to argue, ‘No, I don’t care about clean air,’ or, I’d rather drink dirty water? These are basic human needs, and our actions impact the ability of our planet to meet these needs.” She is quiet, and positive, but one thing makes her want to raise her voice. “Again, it stems from people thinking locally. The fact that we have such abundance, we are not forced to think about a shortage of anything. I would like to see us not get to the point of drastic need, drastic measures." n

FOR FURTHER STUDY To find out more about the LEED Rating Systems, including scorecards, go to To help children become better stewards of the planet, read True Green Kids: 100 Things You Can Do to Save the Planet at





By Emily Scofield “Huhhh!!!” gasped Chloe, “Mommy, I

breakfast compared to what was on

our neighbors?! Think about all at

can’t move my foot. It’s stuck!”

your plate, and how many lights you

school and church—they all need

turned on compared to what room

to drink, eat, use water and have

you were in and how much water

light. If we take more than we need

“No,” replied Chloe.

was in the tub compared to what

then there won’t be enough left for

“Is it stuck in cement?”

you needed.”

everyone,” said mommy.

Chloe’s Mommy rushed over. “Is your foot stuck in mud?”


The cardinal said, “We only use

Chloe made it back to her big

“In quick sand?”

water to drink and bathe, we only

footprint and looked down at her


eat enough seed and worms to fill

shoes. Magically, her footprint had

“In a hole?”

our tummy; and, our nest is just big

shrunk. Now that Chloe knew how


enough for our family. We have to

to take care of God’s resources, her

“It’s not? Well, then let me take

share our food and water with all

footprint was just the right size.

a look. Oh, Chloe, I see the problem.

the animals in the forest. If we take

That night, Chloe had a

It’s your footprint. It’s too big,” said

too much, there won’t be enough

wonderful dream. She dreamed of a


for our neighbors.”

school full of children and footprints

“Take a look at these footprints.

Chloe’s frown turned into a smile

of all sizes. As soon as she taught

Your footprint should be the same

and she said, “I think I get it. Let’s

them to use only what they need,

size as your foot."

go, Mommy. Thanks, Cardinal. See

the footprints began to shrink and

you later.”

there was enough food, water and

“Why is the bird track normal and mine so big?” Chloe asked. “Let’s go on an adventure. Leave

Walking back home, Chloe said,

your big shoe here for a while and

finish my milk and turn off the lights

let’s figure this out,” Mommy said.

and not waste water?”

Chloe took her Mommy’s hand

“Yes. It’s good to use what you

and off they went into the woods.

have and not take more than you

They found a good climbing tree

need. God gives us these resources

and scuttled up, Chloe first. At the

but we must use them responsibly,”

top, they perched on a strong limb.

said Mommy.

Nearby was a pair of cardinals. The

“Is this also why we give

female cardinal said, “Hi, Chloe.

away the toys and clothes we’ve

Whatcha doin’ today?”

outgrown?” asked Chloe.

“Look at my footprint,” Chloe said, pointing down. “Oh no,” the cardinal gasped. “I saw your tracks and they’re normal. What’s wrong with mine?” Chloe asked. Mommy tried to explain. “It has to do with how much you ate for

light for everyone!

“Mommy is this why you want me to

“Yes, exactly,” said Mommy. “Chloe, I’m so proud of you. You really do understand! “Soooo, to make your footprint shrink….” Mommy started. “I need to share,” finished Chloe. “That’s a great way to think. Look up and down our street, see

UGA Graduate School Magazine W I N T E R 2 014


UGA's Medical Robotics Lab


Stan Gregory and Alex Squires Charting New Destinations UGA’S MEDICAL ROBOTICS LAB at the end of a corridor is not large, nor as technically dazzling, as you might guess. But the researchers inside wearing jeans and tennis shoes—who work practically shoulder-to-shoulder in adjoining bays—toss out Space Age concepts and terminologies like cooks tossing pancakes at an IHOP. At least, it seems Space-Agey hearing terms and technologies concerning medical robotics and all that this conveys for us mortals. Terms such as biopsy robots. MRI-compatible, 12-lead electrocardiogram systems. Electrophysiology catheter designs for cardiovascular MRI-guided therapy. Tactile sensor arrays for tissue palpitation and MR imaging. Wires, probes, circuitry and components are arrayed on the lab surfaces—in the hands of these young researchers true alchemy begins. And despite its high-tech purposes it feels like this is also where fun things happen.



o walk through this lab is to witness the inventive and synergistic play of the very, very bright. It is also a chance to witness “scenius,” a term coined by Brian Eno for the blending of creativity and science. “When buoyed by scenius, you act like a genius. Your like-minded peers and the entire environment inspire you,” observes technologist Kevin Kelly. In such an environment, magnetic resonance imaging-compatible medicine is made finer and better. The UGA lab’s website describes various MRI-compatible technologies under development, including the brain biopsy model, catheters, robotic prostrate biopsy, and electrocardiogram systems. Dr. Minta Phillips was a Harvard Medical School fellow in MRI at one

of the first of three sites GE built for clinical MRI in the 1980s. She was the first author to observe that peripheral zone defect is suspicious for cancer. “MRI is better than open surgery,” says Phillips, recently retired from Greensboro Radiology in N.C. “Medical imaging is incredibly powerful. That is why it netted the Nobel Prize in medicine. We didn’t have to do exploratory surgery anymore.” Hearing about their relationship with her alma mater moves Phillips to comment. “This young group at Georgia is very sophisticated,” she says. “I look forward to their carrying the baton forward. The more we don’t use ionizing radiation for images, and having more diagnostic certainty with a clear picture—that is just great.”

STAN GREGORY Stan Gregory, a doctoral student in engineering, spends his morning in the University of Georgia’s College of Engineering Medical Robotics Lab whenever he isn’t teaching, and sometimes when he is. He’s especially fond of bringing students into the lab to combine both experiences. In fact, he says he gets such a charge from this that he is now thinking of becoming an academic full time. “Stan Gregory was one of the students in the first group that I assisted this past summer,” says Clodagh Phair Miller, who began working with the engineering graduate program in February of 2013. “You really get to know the students as individuals during

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SCENIUS is a term coined by Brian Eno for the blending of creativity and

science. “When buoyed by scenius, you act like a genius. Your like-minded peers and the entire environment inspire you,” observes technologist Kevin Kelly.

the application and admissions process. I think Stan is going to make a great researcher and his enthusiasm is selfevident. But on top of it he is a very nice young man. I think the college and the university are lucky to have him.” Young, lanky, and energetic, Gregory transferred to UGA after completing his master’s at Virginia Tech. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Before coming to UGA, he was focused on impact biomechanics and bioinstrumentation. For Gregory, who is surrounded by fascinating pieces of fabricated electronics and tools as he walks through the lab, that choice was specific and personal—not about the gadgetry. “It’s all about the advisor.” He headed to Georgia based upon one vital piece of information: the reputation of the lab manager, Zion Tse. Before transferring from Virginia, he visited the campus and interviewed the professor to confirm what he hoped—that Tse is visionary who supports his students. Tse previously worked for Harvard Medical School Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where he developed systems for cardiac MRI-guided catheter surgery, ECG and surgical navigation. Prior to coming to the United States, he developed a robotic system to


perform prostate cancer biopsy under MRI guidance at the Imperial College of London’s Mechanical Engineering Department. More recently, Tse was awarded UGA’s Innovative Instruction Grant for “Do-It-Yourself Approach for Learning Engineering Physiology.” Well-satisfied with their interview together, Gregory decided to finishing his graduate studies at Georgia. Tse says it is a pleasure to be his doctoral advisor. “Stan is new to my lab, but he is undoubtedly a talented researcher,” says Tse, who also calls Gregory a mature student researcher “who will become a top-notch scientist in medical robotics.” Tse adds that “due to his strong training and practical experience in building ‘cool’ gadgets, Stan is our lab guru in electronics and he is passionate in helping people around him.” Gregory is one of three doctoral students presently conducting engineering research in Tse’s lab. He comes from a line of engineers. “My grandfather (as well as my great-grandfather) was a mechanical engineer in New York,” he explains. “My grandfather did serve in the Army Corps of Engineers. My mother and father are both mechanical engineers. My mother worked on the thermal protection systems for Space Shuttle

Columbia for a period of time in the late '80s.” His parents now own Gregory Enterprises in Burlington, N.C., performing construction defect and forensic consulting as well as other engineering services. The research of the UGA Medical Robotics Lab is devoted to MRI. MRI technology employs a high-powered magnet in order to construct two and three dimensional images that are much more detailed. Also, they are safer, as they do not use ionizing radiation. Although Dr. Raymond Damadian is credited with doing a great deal of the earliest developmental work in magnetic resonance, two radiologists (working independently of one another) further developed his ideas and beat Damadian to the marketplace. Although commonly used today, MRI is a complex concept. “I think the best way to think about MRI is this,” Gregory explains. “Different parts of your body contain different amounts of water. The MRI magnetic field aligns the water molecules in your body so that they all point in the same direction, and then a pulse flips them in the opposite direction. The MRI then allows everything to relax; the water molecules flip back. Energy is released


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when this occurs. Different body parts with different amounts of water now release different amounts of energy. We can measure this energy if we get the timing right. The MRI more or less plots the energy levels over time to form an image. This is done over and over again to take images of your entire body.” Unlike CT scans, MRI does not break DNA nor cause DNA mutations. Although human cells nuclei are affected, or excited, by the electromagnetic field of an MRI machine, all evidence is that they return to a normal state afterward. The challenge, however, is in constricting motion during a scan. “The problem with the heart and MRI is the physiologic motion,” explains Phillips. She describes how blood flow and the contracting muscle of the heart create inherent problems in the production of an image. Think conventional photography, she says. “You don’t want to have motion blur.” Gregory is working with MRI compatible signal processing techniques to address this problem. He specifically studies moving blood flow and imaging via MRI machine. There is also the need for speed—MRI is famously slow. “Currently, I am studying methods to improve image quality and decrease scan time during cardiac MRI using electrocardiogram (recordings of the heart's electrical activity) synchronization. This led me to further investigate certain noise sources that appear in these recordings caused by


magnetic field interactions with patient blood flow (magneto hydrodynamic voltages). I work to understand the physiological significance behind these signals and translate them into tools for diagnosis of cardiovascular disorders.” “I remember as a young radiologist, I went to Quincy Mass (hospital)” recalls Phillips, and being shown a perfect scan. “There was a beautiful brain scan— because the patient had died and there was no motion.” For an even better understanding of clinical MRI technology, turn to physics, the radiologist advises. The physical law of thermodynamics governs MRI technology. Physics says matter acts at the lowest level of energy possible; operating at that lowest level is its natural state. Things can get energized, but matter likes to operate at the lowest energy level. In a clinical MRI, the large magnet makes more atoms align. A patient is magnetized and a radio wave is sent in at the resonant frequency of hydrogen. The hydrogen atoms get excited and spin. A receiver in the MRI machine receives the radio wave those atoms give off, she explains. Today, the UGA lab maintains a relationship with Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, through the hospital’s professional affiliation with Zion Tse. Brigham and Women’s

Hospital is next door to Harvard Medical School and is their largest teaching affiliate. While a graduate student at Virginia Tech, Gregory designed a better crash test dummy for use in testing the safety of child booster seats. But what he sought was to work in a collegial, supportive setting—the one he has now found in Tse’s lab. “I like working with students and teaching—I like it a lot,” says Gregory. Since teaching more classes he has found himself enjoying the teaching as much as the research he relishes. Gregory finds he especially likes employing smart phone technologies and other devices into a combination lab and lecture format. During a lab tour, while explaining various lab projects presently underway by his fellow researchers, Gregory demonstrates a 3-D printer within the lab, which has been used to produce a variety of objects. It created the basis for a model, which fellow researcher, Alex Squires, is working with to help pinpoint the exact location of tumors in veterinary medicine. Gregory is a good recruiter, says Miller, and offers an example. “During the (past) summer, a parent with two of her sons stopped by the Driftmier Engineering Center on the

“Stan is a mature student researcher who will become a top-notch scientist in medical robotics. Due to his strong training and practical experience in building ‘cool’ gadgets, Stan is our lab guru in electronics and he is passionate in helping people around him.” ­—ZION TSE

off chance they could look around and get some information on the undergraduate engineering programs. The boys were both in high school, but were beginning to explore the idea of colleges.” Miller offered to take them to Zion Tse’s laboratory, “hoping to find Alexander Squires, the lab manager and a graduate student.” Squires was not there, but Gregory was. “Stan stopped what he was doing and began talking. He explained his research, what he did, why he came to UGA and he and the young men got into a very lengthy, animated conversation.” Miller said it was perfect timing. “You see, when someone is excited about what they do, it shows. Stan came specifically to UGA to work with Dr. Tse in his research lab. By the end of the conversation the mother said they had been visiting other schools but they felt drawn to UGA, on several levels. I think Stan is going to make a great researcher and his enthusiasm is self-evident. But on top of it he is a very nice young man. I think the college and the University are lucky to have him.”

ALEXANDER SQUIRES It isn’t a requirement that your grandfather, mother, or father worked on a NASA mission to join Tse’s lab. But in the case of at least two of the current graduate students working at the College of Engineering Medical Robotics Lab, it was the fuel that propelled them to land where they are. Alexander Squires and Stan Gregory both have that in their repertoire. Gregory’s mother worked on the Space Shuttle Columbia. Squire’s grandfather worked for NASA. Squires, a master’s degree student in engineering, now attributes his path of study to his late grandfather. “He was an engineer as well, and worked on the lunar lander for the Apollo 11 mission.” As lab manager for the College of Engineering Medical Robotics Lab, Squires says, “I was the first hire of the new lab in May 2012.” He is a native of Richmond Hill, Ga., and received a Foundation Fellowship during his senior year as a UGA undergraduate. He received the Lisa Ann Coole award, which is awarded to a fourth-year Fellow by his or her peers. He will receive his master’s degree this spring. Like Gregory, he prefers high interaction with students and fellow

researchers. For fun, he advises the Athens Academy robotics team on fabrication and design as part of his community service. Squire’s advisor, Tse, says in praise, “Both Alex and Stan are among the top one percent students I have met in my academic career.” He describes with pride how Squires was profiled as an “amazing student” in the College of Engineering, and how he has become involved in the larger community. “Besides his research, Alex is a pro bono robotics teacher in Athens Academia, being involved in outreaching school students for STEM education. He is well-connected to LEGO education due to his passion in LEGO, and he has set up a good connection between our lab and LEGO education in Atlanta. Alex has the quality to become a well-rounded professor and an amazing teacher,” Tse wrote while attending a work conference. Squires volunteers as a judge for Odyssey of the Mind and the First LEGO League. The First Lego League pairs children and an adult coach with the challenge of building LEGO robots. If the effort works, it will serve to interest them in science. Both Gregory and Squires are

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“I came to the college of Engineering because it was a new college and I thought getting in on the ground floor would be great fun. It has been a very rewarding experience to date because I didn’t really understand engineering and how it touches every aspect of our lives.” — ­ CLODAGH PHAIR MILLER

inaugural Dawgs within their families. Squires writes on the lab website that he became a “double Dawg” when he earned dual bachelor degrees. He also first visited UGA as a high school student while attending the state science fair. “I toured campus and visited several labs. In my senior year, I returned to campus to interview for the Foundation Fellowship and decided that even if I didn’t receive the scholarship, UGA still felt the most like home out of all the colleges I had visited.” In an interview for the “amazing student” article, he described his pleasure in walking from Driftmier Engineering Center to the Creamery for ice cream and breaks. He also described his penchant for getting off the beaten path, discovering new paths and trails, and studying outdoors. But, if he could while away an afternoon with anyone, Squires wrote that it would be with “with my grandpa, who passed away while I was in high school….My dad and I have fun conversations, and I bet a threegeneration engineering discussion would be a riot (we’re all goofballs as well).” Kelly describes the aspects of scenius, from mutual appreciation, rapid


exchange of tools and techniques, and network effects of success. A fourth aspect of scenius, Kelly said, is a “local tolerance for novelties.” This means, he says, the creative group looks after one another, creating a buffer against conformity. Inside this “beaker” he says “strange reactions are allowed to take place.” Inside such a place like the Medical Robotics Lab, better medicine—faster, safer—can evolve. On the lab’s website, Squires’ project is described as a localizer box “made MRI compatible with a GE 3T MRI scanner, allowing the box to hold the subject’s head inside an MRI head coil during scanning while maintaining the same coordinate framework for subsequent needle therapy in the brain.” Officially, it is a stereotactic frame design for MRI-guided needle therapy in brain procedures. Here again, the old enemy of imaging and proton beam radio therapy, is motion. “Physiological motion—of arteries, or the patient moving, breathing, or stretching is the enemy. To have it fixed is extremely important. You can imagine if they are going for the brain,” says Phillips. “This idea of Squires’ is

an interesting, creative idea. If you image the patient and make a custom brace, then the dog, or the child, buys their custom “box”—then whatever intervention they do is going to be precisely focused…. this is much more refined.” The bottom line, says the retired radiologist, is the technological advances mean great precision for MRI diagnostics and surgeries. “MRI is the youngest of the imaging modalities, and there is still much to find. The two non-ionizing imaging techniques are ultrasound and MRI. Ultrasound does not have the contrast resolution to identify tissue type.” This, without a doubt, is a very big and valuable idea. n


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Taking it on the Chin! FEI ZHAO IS A UGA DOCTORAL STUDENT IN TOXICOLOGY. He was a finalist in the 2012 Three Minute Thesis (3MT™) Competition, and was selected for the 2013 Emerging Leaders Conference. He is a serious scholar, with a serious to-do list. When you decided to tackle doing a pull-up, what was the inspiration? Last year, I became unsatisfied with myself. Everything remained the same: I played the same sports I am good at; I spent my holiday in the same way: working or staying at home; I hang out with the same people I feel comfortable with. I was reaching 30. At 30 when many life challenges arise, I am supposed to be a real man, capable and confident. How do I possess the confidence to confront any challenges if I never try something new and difficult? How do I understand others and enjoy the colorful

world if I do not learn and try to do new things others are passionate about? I want to prove to myself that I am capable of handling challenges and I want to build up my confidence by achieving new and challenging tasks. So I decided to do something beyond my previous life pattern. I made a list of new things to do before 30; one of them is to do 10 pull-ups. You write that this effort required two months—and how proud you are. What did this teach you? What should others learn from your devotion to an ideal? You cannot imagine how proud I was at the moment of giving the first pull-up. I see it as the proudest achievement in my life. It is really a big deal for anyone who could not make a single pull-up during his previous 27 years. Currently, I have achieved the goal of doing 10 pull-ups. I learned the best lesson: No matter how bad you are at something and how diffident you are at the beginning, you will eventually achieve the goal by making efforts continuously, being persistent with a clear vision. My mentor, Dr. Xiaoqin Ye, also told me a similar story. Her goal was to become a professor. She had to work for more than seven and a half years as a post doc before being an independent professor at UGA. She said there were frustrations and depression, but she never gave up her goal. So, do not be intimidated by the time and efforts it will take to realize your dream in career, relationship and self-improvement. Everything must be achieved by hard work; and these achievements are most appreciated. n

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