The University of Georgia
Graduate School M A G A Z I N E
S U M M E R 2 010 CO N T E N TS 1 Letter from the Dean 2 Terry Hunt 8 Su Yee Lim 17 Christin Schifano 22 Erin Colbert-White 28 Centennial 38 In Brief
m e s s a g e f ro m
Dean Maureen Grasso Many of you are reading a copy of the Graduate School Magazine for the first time for a special reason! This special edition celebrates the Graduate School’s centennial, and the growing momentum of our many, accomplished alumni. In honor of this, generous support from Verizon Wireless enabled us to send this centennial issue to every living alumnus/alumna who received a graduate degree from the University of Georgia. (That represents more than 60,000 readers!) The magazine highlights graduate research, announces new Graduate School initiatives, and showcases many of our outstanding alumni—readers such as you. Consider what the 100th anniversary of the formal establishment of the Graduate School means. For generations, our graduate students have made enormous contributions to education, law, medicine, business, government service, and many other fields. Our graduate students are the intellectual legacy of the University of Georgia—we must carefully nurture that legacy. In observation of this landmark event, we call for your help in ensuring outstanding scholars will continue to be attracted to our Graduate School. Since becoming dean of the Graduate School in 2002, my top priority has been to develop a robust, thriving endowment fund to support graduate fellowships at UGA. Top graduate students attract top faculty members, and vice versa. To attract and retain top students, we must offer competitive fellowships. As the quality of our graduate students improves, the quality of our graduate programs increases. We want to strengthen the programs across the board in every school, college, and unit at UGA. To truly support our centennial, write a check—small or large—and ensure that future scholars continue to build the reputation of your Graduate School. To invest in graduate education is to invest in the future of our university, our state, and our nation. Even more importantly, it is an investment in our shared future, in the world of our children and our grandchildren. Say “Yes!” to the Graduate School. Say “Yes!” to the University of Georgia—and open the door to another remarkable century of graduate education. Thank you, readers and alumni, for making everything we do possible.
Front Cover: Su Yee Lim symbolizes the spirit of the Graduate School's centennial. Diverse, curious, possessing an extraordinary sense of wonder, and poised to make a mark in the world, Lim joins legions of alumni in global endeavors. "Our world is small," says Dean Grasso. "Our graduates are changing the world's body of knowledge for the better." Photo by Nancy Evelyn
MAUREEN GRASSO Dean
Terry Hunt: Treading the Long Road to Hunt Industries,On Becoming “The American Dream” BY CYNTHIA ADAMS PHOTOS BY NANCY EVELYN
n January of this year, Terry Hunt (MS, ’69, ’71) was recognized at an exclusive UGA alumni gathering in Atlanta. As head of Hunt Industries, his business was honored among the 100 fastestgrowing, Bulldog-owned businesses. Hunt Industries, headquartered in Valdosta, Georgia, specializes in turnkey industrial construction and steel fabrication. “The event itself was done with dignity and class,” says his wife Mary Lynn Oliver Hunt, who is also a UGA alumnus. “I of course was very proud of Terry. He has always worked very hard, and there have been roller coaster rides. It (the award) was a high moment for both of us. I am grateful that UGA chose his business. He is truly an American dream story.” Thirty years ago, Terry Hunt began a small construction business in southwest Georgia. Today, the business is known as Hunt Industries and employs hundreds. There are two subsidiaries of Hunt Industries: Advanced Vessel & Alloy and Advanced Rental. The sprawling operation comprises nearly 60 acres in “Big Noise Industrial Park,” a tongue-in-cheek name Hunt dubbed the spread. It includes the engineering and construction firm, the equipment rental facility, and a 200,000 square foot steel fabrication plant. (The street leading into the facility is named for Hunt Industries, which still owns the business park.) Hunt Industries keystone is producing large-scale projects for clients such as Gold Kist, Occidental Chemical, Cellynne Paper, First United Ethanol, Georgia Pacific, Con Agra, Thysssen Krupp, PCS Phosphate, and Weyerhaeuser that are not only large, but highly specialized. Among the industries served—pulp and paper, chemical, alternative fuels, food and beverage, metals and mining—are the names of Fortune 500 standouts. Hunt says “our projects typically include complex piping, steel, and concrete work on an industrial scale.” The Hunt Industries construction management group “gives our clients confidence in completion on time and on budget,” Terry Hunt observes. “Construction timelines for projects of such a mammoth scale represent investments of millions of dollars and jobs and reputations are at stake.” By way of demonstrating this, Hunt Industries engineer Dan Deaver runs through a presentation of massive plants, silos, and facilities
completed in recent years, each requiring painstaking engineering, logistics, and skilled manpower to plan and execute. Hunt’s firm, known for achieving sometimes staggering deadlines without endangering their workers, has the safety awards to prove it. Terry Hunt grew up around the mining industry—he takes safety to heart. Yet Hunt arrived at this work via a circuitous route. His graduate study area was food chemistry, and it is this background which provided the foundation for construction projects that center upon highly technical manufacturing operations. As both the president and CEO, Hunt’s role continues to be central to daily operations of the business, which now employs over 300 people. Hunt is described as “a hands-on man” by Ralph Trevisone, a Hunt Industries colleague who has known Hunt for almost 20 years. Trevisone, formerly responsible for workplace safety programs, says Hunt knows operations “from the ground up,” saying he feels equally comfortable in the boardroom or jumping in with his men on the ground to solve a construction issue. “That’s just who he is,” says Trevisone. Hunt closely identifies with his men and promotes the integrity of skilled, physical work. This is respected by Trevisone and his fellow employees. As a case in point, Hunt discusses his UGA student years, where he worked full time in an Athens machine shop. There, he honed many of the technical skills that his Valdosta-based workers use today. “I’m still a good welder,” Hunt says, smiling. He is a pragmatist who admires a strong work ethic, still rising early and leaving work late. Hunt is fiercely proud that his company executes and manufactures a tangible product as increasing numbers of American businesses move manufacturing and production operations offshore. “That fact is extremely important to me,” he stresses. “We make a product.”
THE ROAD TAKEN: FROM COPPERHILL TO ATHENS The devoted Georgia fan heads a large family as well as a large company. His wife, Mary Lynn Oliver Hunt, and two of their four sons attended UGA. Mary Lynn Oliver Hunt shares her husband’s devotion to UGA. She vows the closer she gets to Athens, the younger she feels. “My mother died unexpectedly in February 1968 just before Terry and I were married
â€œWhen does a man become wealthy?â€? Terry Hunt questions young Scouts he mentors in his Valdosta troop. Hunt says he has found true wealth and it has nothing to do with a balance sheet.
in August of 1968,” she says. She gratefully recalls “the care and concern UGA showed me at that very difficult time in my life”. At present, Hunt is living the good life, though he is engaged with work as much as ever. He enjoys family gatherings, Georgia football, travel, community service and his work on the Graduate Education Advancement Board at UGA. But it was neither an easy or straightforward path to success for Hunt. His story unfolded in the poor mountain mining towns surrounding Copperhill in Tennessee, where mining eclipses all else. Hunt was born in 1946 in Epworth, Ga near Copperhill. “I was raised in a two-room, tar paper shack,” he recalls as he is seated behind a desk and surrounded by diplomas and honors on the office walls. Today, Hunt wears a crisp shirt and slacks, and is immaculately groomed, yet recalls, “When I graduated from high school, I had only a few items of clothing.” He also remembers how uncomfortable this made his school experience, but stresses, “This is not a hard-luck, poor me story.” Hunt held an ace in his hand: a powerful home influence. Though Hunt’s father abandoned the family in the late 1950s soon after a second child was born, his mother, Katherine Hunt, was made of stronger stuff. She earned a twoyear degree and a teaching certificate, teaching school while rearing her son and daughter alone. “My mother was a hard-working woman. She would not let us take welfare. Would not accept it! It was me and my sister, who was only a baby at the time,” Hunt says. The
mother’s drive and work ethic set a powerful example for her children. While Hunt felt stifled by the poverty and the desperation of the people surrounding Copperhill, he learned plenty of determination within his own small home. His mother insisted that her children could only better themselves by becoming well educated. They absorbed the lesson. Over time, Katherine Hunt “taught in some rough places in Appalachia,” Hunt recalls. The schools were cramped and ill-equipped, with a pot-bellied stove providing heat. “The kids came in, leaned their guns against the wall. They went hunting at recess,” Hunt explains, saying this was likely of necessity. “A rural community, Mobile, near Copperhill in Tennessee was the site of a particularly hard assignment for my mother.” Enraged by the school principal, a group of Mobile students burned down their public school. “The culture at the time did not stress education,” Hunt says. “It was a very different time then.” His mother, qualified as a teacher, was hired as the principal’s replacement. Even so, she took the students firmly in hand and turned the situation around. Hunt’s mother remains a strong and determined figure, he says. Her strength of character shaped his. After high school, Hunt left home and worked for a while in Atlanta. He saved money and attended college in Tennessee Wesleyan in Athens, Tenn. “My high school education was pretty poor. It didn’t give you much preparation for what came next. I wasn’t well prepared for college.” But Hunt had inherited a scientific side from his grandfather, who was a carpenter and a mason.
While most of his family worked in trades, Hunt fantasized about becoming a doctor. “I never would have thought I would have been capable of going to med school. I just didn’t think I could afford to get there. I was wrong, of course, but I didn’t have any counseling. I had to struggle.” While a student in Tennessee, Hunt met his future wife, a UGA coed from Jonesboro, Ga. “My freshman roommate was from Terry’s hometown,” says Mary Lynn Oliver Hunt. “Terry was home the same weekend in 1964, and we met. We began to correspond, and the next year Terry came to UGA.” In 1965, Hunt arrived in Athens and rented a room off campus. Tuition was $54 per quarter, and there were few available scholarships or fellowships. So, he ate one main meal a day at the Magnolia Boarding House and walked or hitchhiked for transportation. Hunt also began working full time in a local machine shop. Katherine Hunt’s dictum, to get an education, was burned into his mind, so he kept studying. He considered several sciences, and studied physics, pharmacy and chemistry before entering food science. “Then I found agricultural engineering, which really appealed to me. That’s where I stayed.”
A STRING OF FIRSTS… Rex Clark, who started the bio-engineering curriculum in the agricultural engineering department, became Hunt’s advisor. “I was his first undergraduate student—I graduated in 1969,” Hunt says. “Then, food sciences hired Romeo Toledo, a chemical
The American Dream. Before joining the ranks of the most successful Bulldog-owned companies, Hunt’s path was paved with hardship. A difficult childhood and a pivotal accident in 1996 welded Terry Hunt’s psyche into a resilient, creative form. But he credits graduate education at UGA with providing the underpinnings of his success. 4
engineer, who wanted to start food engineering. I became his first graduate student. I came over to food science and worked on spray drying milk. I also worked on smoke house conditions for smoking salmon. Both [Clark and Toledo] are retired now, but are the greatest people.” Hunt, persisted, working and studying. He vividly recalls wrecking a borrowed motorcycle the day before two exams in December of 1968. “I laid the bike down,” he says ruefully, and stayed overnight in the infirmary. The next morning, Hunt left the infirmary in order to take Wilbur Ratterree’s final. As he worked on the exam, his leg swelled so painfully he sliced open his pant leg with a pocket knife. Ratterree, Hunt says with a smile, allowed him to stay and complete his work. Hunt didn’t mind that the professor was a tough taskmaster—he understood and respected toughness. “Each class, you had to answer the roll and tell professor Ratterree about the problems you were able to work. I loved him. I learned to be an engineer; not just work problems.” At this, Hunt pulls out a yellow binder from inside a credenza and produces papers saved from Ratterree’s class. The year before graduating, Hunt married the woman who drew him to Georgia in the first place. As a new English teacher starting her career, marriage at a young age seemed the natural next step. “I loved him, and it was just the thing to do,” says Mary Lynn Oliver Hunt, now married 42 years. She recounts the carefree adventures of their early married life in Athens. With married housing filled, the young couple rented an apartment on Boulevard Street. Like other married friends, the Hunts lived simply and conserved costs. “We then moved to a basement apartment on Pope Street. We really got uptown when we moved into low income housing on Strickland Street,” Mary Lynn Oliver Hunt jokes. “The housing was new and fresh, and we enjoyed our friends there.” The young bride insisted her husband study full time, offering to support them with her earnings teaching in Commerce, Ga. It was the first year of his life Terry Hunt could recall not working full time, and his grades shot up. “I needed 72 hours to graduate when
Mary Lynn and I got married. I told her I could do it (finish his bachelor’s) in a year. My average was like a 2.3 or 2.4. I wasn’t even thinking of grad school. In the year that I didn’t work, I had a 3.9 and took 72 hours in four quarters.” With an improved grade average, Hunt took the GRE and scored well enough to earn a fellowship. He completed his master’s in food science in 1971. “I received a Public Health Service grant that paid for my graduate education and research.” Hunt studied soy isolates and soy concentrates. He researched ways to take the isolates and concentrates and make products that more closely resembled protein, “Giving them a textured appearance,” he says. He also worked to develop a way to extract the oil from peanuts without denaturing them. “You had to have a way to extract it. What happens is the cell collapses when you extract the oil, so you have to figure a way to stabilize the process. “I came to the university thinking education was assimilating facts and regurgitating this information. The faculty and staff at UGA taught me to reason. Whatever success I have achieved, it is this ability to analyze a situation or problem and develop a workable solution,” he says. But it was something that couldn’t be taught—tenacity—that would help Hunt compete in the world and excel. He joined a large corporation and rapidly worked his way into upper management. He estimates he eventually held “between 17-25 patents.” Education had earned Hunt entry into a different world. He began his own business in early 1980. The toughness of early life had worked to his benefit, shaping a formidable drive to succeed. By the age of 34, Hunt became an acknowledged and respected business and community leader in his adopted home of Valdosta, Ga. It was the stuff, as his wife says, “of the American dream.” And then, 16 years later, Terry Hunt faced a nightmare.
ON THE TRAIL OF THE EAGLE Twenty-eight years after his student motorcycle accident, Hunt faced a far worse one. On July 15, 1996 a logging truck ran a red light, hitting Hunt’s truck broadside. The
Big Wheel Keeps On Turning: Terry Hunt spends his days as the head of Hunt Industries moving tons of earth, erecting buildings and constructing enormous hoppers, vessels, stainless steel columns, ducts, conveyors and towers.
accident occurred less than a mile from his office. Hunt had removed his seatbelt just an instant earlier. He remembers every detail, saying he never lost consciousness. “Anything that was breakable in me broke,” he says. Hunt found himself face down on the ground, his nose and mouth filled with gravel and dirt. But he knew, as surely as if angels were whispering to him, he would survive. Paramedics happened on the accident scene with essential equipment that saved his life. “Before that I was sure I was ten feet tall and bullet proof.” At age 50, Hunt faced a devastating period of hospitalization and rehabilitation. He spent seven months in a wheelchair. To worsen matters, the trucker who hit Hunt was uninsured. The resulting recovery held some of the worst mental stresses Hunt says he had ever fought. But fight he did. Employees recall installing ramps so Hunt could come to work, and bringing his wheelchair in soon after he left the hospital. They hoisted him into a truck and took him to jobsites. “I don’t think I could have done it if I had been raised any differently. My mother always told me ‘tough times don’t last but tough people do,’” Hunt says simply.
UGA Graduate School Magazine S U M M E R 2 0 1 0
“I came to the university thinking education was assimilating facts and regurgitating this information. The faculty and staff at UGA taught me to reason. Whatever success I have achieved, it is due to this ability to analyze a situation or problem and develop a workable solution.” —Terry Hunt
It was life changing and affirming but Hunt says one thing didn’t change: He did not grow more cautious, despite the injuries and financial losses the accident brought. “I still take a lot of risks,” he admits. At his wife’s suggestion, the Hunt family observes the July accident date, gathering together each year for a special celebration. “I celebrate my life and what I can do with it every day. We have a family meal and we have a prayer,” he says. Hunt pays this and other lessons forward in the messages he shares with young people. He has been an active Boy Scout leader for many years, attending Jamborees and national scouting events. He became an Eagle Scout as a young man, as did each of his four sons, “And there were 52 more in my troops,” he adds. “To my Eagle Scouts, I tell every one, ‘You’re going to go through tough times in your life and you’re going to look back on the trail of the eagle and your scouting experience to gain strength. You’ll draw from this the rest of your life.’” Hunt looks ahead, considering the lessons past that have delivered him to what is now an enviable place. “Most kids don’t have the experience I’ve had. And in some ways you don’t want them to. But you’ve got to let them know they’ve got a basis they can grow on.” Today, Hunt continues full-time management at Hunt Industries. He is a doting grandparent and proud father, one at the center of family life. One of Hunt’s newest passions is his work with the Graduate School Advancement Board. Since joining the board he has become deeply interested in developing and providing scholarship opportunities for students. “We’re trying to develop funding for graduate
fellowships,” Hunt says, saying he is involved in setting up meetings in Albany and elsewhere throughout South Georgia towards that end. “The education I received helped me to become more accepting of other people and their ideas and goals,” he says, reflecting upon the Graduate School’s centennial year. “I think the greatest challenge for the Graduate School in the future is not to become elitist,” he adds. “UGA has set itself up as one of the premier research institutes. Our world is becoming more and more polarized and in education you must work with the masses. You must be able to communicate the developing technology. As the information curve steepens, the risk of new ideas being rejected by society will become greater. This will challenge the graduate program more than money or facilities. The future is very bright and I am sure UGA will make us very proud.” And with that, Terry Hunt squares his wire rim glasses, and his grey eyes look unblinkingly ahead, as if he can see that bright future already. G
Centennial Footnote: As Terry Hunt labored in a full time job in order to pay for his graduate studies in the mid 1960s, UGA was changing and so would fellowship opportunities. The new science complex and the Boyd Graduate Studies Research Center were being built, and 600 new faculty members were added by the end of the 1960s. In 1967, the National Science Foundation gave UGA $3.7 million to develop its
At Hunt Industries, the tools of the trade, such as lathes, dies and drills, cranes and bulldozers, are varied. But the object remains: "We are producers," Terry Hunt says.
biological science programs and expand funding for students. By 1970, 3,182 graduate students were enrolled at UGA.
BY CYNTHIA ADAMS PHOTOS BY NANCY EVELYN
u Yee Lim, an international doctoral student in entomology who will graduate this year, is completely immune to the “ew factor” of her work. Ants were her first love, but she moved on to new (albeit, lower) ground. Now, Lim can’t get enough of the digestive tracts of detritivores, especially subterranean ones, and has apparently never met an insect she didn’t like. She would also like to educate the uninformed that there is good reason for us to share her affection, as she points out the many benefits of insects and our interdependency. Lim guest lectures on the topic of “Urban Entomology,” featuring everything the layperson should know about urban pests including the notorious cockroaches, termites
and also lice, mites and ticks. She is also the teaching assistant for the class by that same name. She conducts her work in the Household and Structural Entomology lab in the Biological Sciences building under lead professor Brian T. Forschler. Being an educator is Lim’s greatest pleasure. Helping others get beyond their squeamishness about insects is something she does matter-of-factly and good naturedly— after all, it’s all for a good cause. She wants them to share in her love of bugs. Having a minor cockroach problem in student apartments? Lim’s take is: deal with it. Repulsed at reports of a growing bedbug problem in American hotels and homes? Lim tosses back her glossy black hair and laughs. Are you phobic? Composing her face into a serious expression, she wipes her wire rim glasses onto her pastel hoodie, and represses another smile. “Entomophobia is for anything insect.” She ponders. “Then there’s delusitory parasitosis—I think it’s a condition where you constantly think there are things on you and in you. Extension agents get calls from people who have a fear that bugs are all over them!”
She says she’s not very concerned, is even lackadaisical about ants and roaches, “Insofar as they don’t get into food or have an infestation,” she qualifies. “Maybe it’s because I’m from the tropics….” Her major professor, Forschler, spent extensive time in Malaysia last December, as a visiting scholar at Lim’s undergraduate school in Penang. Lim possesses an amazing ability to assimilate, Forschler says. Lim punctuates her sentences with cheerful laughter—she’s quite a cut-up for an otherwise serious scientist. This quality, as much as her love of research, should serve her well in her future as an educator. For if there’s anything Lim likes more than a good laugh, it’s learning and then sharing what she knows, especially with younger students. In Malaysia, she taught the biotechnology introduction program for rural schools. Her love, “was to nurture their interest in subjects pertaining to science and technology, especially biotechnology.” In fact, this Malaysian-born educator travels far in search of something many hope to never glimpse, especially at home. Lim routinely goes out of her way to scenic places—
This Entomologist-in-Training Has a Deep Connection with Creepy, Crawling Things Termites, sometimes referred to as a “white ant,” Su Yee Lim explains, aren’t ants at all. They are insects that employ a collective, or swarm intelligence. Not until the 1940s did man discover a way to control termites, and only then with extremely toxic pesticides. 8
antebellum plantations, old growth forests, and barrier islands along the Georgia coast—to observe very small, strong-willed creatures that inspire worry or dread in most of us.
(SPOILER WARNING FOR NONSCIENTISTS: INVOLUNTARY SHUDDER AHEAD.) Since leaving Malaysia and meeting entomologist and lead professor Brian T. Forschler at UGA, Lim grew even more deeply absorbed by his work. Forschler introduced her to using biological and DNA information to provide a fuller, more holistic approach for the taxonomy of the termite group Genus Reticulitermes. While Lim is fascinated by ants, mites and ticks, she is particularly delighted by one perplexing insect. Termites, the colorless and insatiable wood-eating insects, are Lim’s specialty. Her fixation, even. But not with a mind bent towards extermination of what most would identify as a dreaded pest. Lim logs hundreds of miles with a team of fellow researchers in order to obtain samples and to study termites, her research focus since 2007. The team includes principal investigator Forschler, lab technician Tabitha Hayes, graduate student Sonja Brannon, and undergraduate students Wesley Gresham, Ashley Roden and Bryce Wyatt. Lim presents research on subterranean termites, (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae) sampled from selected sites in Athens, Thomasville and Sapelo Island, Ga. Termites are worth the trouble. They have certain charms, Lim says. “They’re pretty cute,” she jokes. With enthusiasm, Lim adroitly launches into a discussion of her favorite insect, their genus, classification, genesis and behavior. Termites are intricately ordered into colonies that may comprise hundreds, thousands, even millions of members who are segregated by role and caste, she says. “Ants and termites arrived at different branches in terms of insect evolution; not related at all. Genetically, termites are more related to roaches.” Lim announces. “They found an old termite in Australia that is very
roach- like.” The termite, she says, is the very primitive Mastotermes darwiniensis. And so it happens that termites and roaches are practically kissing cousins. But the roach, unlike the termite, is less organized and not eusocial. And, most likely, they do not kiss. (Say what you will about termites, Lim makes the point that they are discrete when they mate, and commit to a long-term relationship beforehand by essentially sealing themselves into their own personal living space.) Surely, this is something to ponder. Lim pauses. “Does this make you uncomfortable?” she asks as an insect scurries across the floor. Lim helpfully mentions a psychosis that causes sufferers to feel insects are crawling all over them. Then, Lim the lighthearted researcher laughs merrily before recomposing her face. She continues. The mitochondrial genome for the native subterranean termites was fully sequenced in 2007. In the course of her work, Lim scrutinizes the termite genes via bioinformatics programs to decipher relationships between different samples. The work Lim is producing may be used very long term, predicts professor Forschler. “She’s pulling together information that no one else has had the courage to try and do,” says Forschler. “Despite the fact that this is one of the most economically important insects in the U.S., there’s a huge lack in our ability to know what it is. Most of the money spent (identifying termites) has come from the pest control industry...(but) they don’t really care what kind of species there are. They just want to kill them.” Forschler explains why Lim’s work is so tedious and difficult. “All of the workers from all of these species look the same, and the workers make up to 90 percent of the population. The other life form is the adult stage, but they’re only around about 20 minutes once a year; they’re very ephemeral,” Forschler explains. “You read the literature, and there are only three species. A fourth was recently named, identified in Athens.” Lim’s work will result in a new taxonomic key, says Forschler.
“There’s an undescribed species in Georgia, and she’s going to describe it. And she’s going to put together a key that you could pick up and describe what you’re dealing with. Her work is going to be the standard for a long time.” By looking at the termite’s morphology and taking measurements, as well as looking at other characters, such as weight and flight time, Lim will help verify if what she believes is an undescribed species is indeed a new species. Forschler adds, “The whole question of what is a species is a convoluted and topical area of scientific debate. It’s important to define what species concept is used to describe a new species.” “Before I came to UGA, I didn’t know many of the bioinformatics programs. Bioinformatics use software and information technologies to look at gene sequences and analyze those genes,” Lim says. Bioinformatics is a field that merges both information technologies with biological data and information (DNA/gene sequences) to give rise to better understanding of biological processes, she adds.
BUT FIRST, THERE WERE ANTS… Lim’s final year biotechnology dissertation concerned plant regenesis in an in vitro condition. “I was working with plants and had never given much thoughts about insects. But after consulting a few lecturers I was referred to an entomologist.” She soon found herself working on an ant project caring for huge boxes and trays of ant cultures. Lim was hooked. “Ants are really interesting. That was the spark. They would organize their things. They are very neat and clean. They even have piles of garbage.” She joined professor Chow Yang Lee’s laboratory to pursue a master’s degree with the Vector Control Research Unit at Universiti Sains Malaysia in Penang during the summer of 2006. Lee first met Lim while she was still a biotechnology major merely exploring an interest in entomology. Lim’s prior work had been in microbiology and molecular biology—
Urban Entomologist Su Yee Lim Feels Love for Eusocial Bugs Termites are eusocial insects, meaning they maintain a caste system and are considered to possess the highest level of social organization. The name “termite” is from the Latin: term-es, -in, -it,” which translates into terminal or terminate. Termites also possess a swarm, or collective intelligence, which enables them to be much more successful at food sourcing than if acting alone. They live in colonies, and a mature colony contains anywhere from several hundred to several million termites. The colony structure is complex and decentralized, and contains workers, soldiers and reproductive individuals of both genders. A colony sometimes contains more than one egg-laying queen. The main “reproductive” is the queen; others are called neotenics. The neotenic are immature termites with matured reproductive organs. The neotonics enable the queen to grow the size of the colony. Termites are monogamous, with few exceptions. Sometimes called "white ants", termites are not closely related to ants—and given their food of choice, they have no interest in your picnic hamper either.
so he was initially skeptical when she approached him. “I told her that I would let her work in my lab for three months just to ensure that that is exactly what she wanted to do.” He discovered Lim “was exceptionally motivated,” Lee says. He was impressed by Lim’s leadership. He noticed “her ‘smarts,’ her organizational skills, and dedication in conducting research and her meticulousness in data collection.” The three months told Lee what he needed to know about Lim’s promise as an entomologist. “Of course, I admit that I was impressed with her ability to comprehend the subject after the ‘trial period’. His mentorship is key. Lim was also invited to join professor Ahmad Sofiman Othman and other scientists teaching in rural Malaysian schools. Lim taught and presented with the team conducting science lessons and lab experiments for students and teachers. She continued that work into 2007, leaving for UGA at the year’s end.
“I was happy that Dr. Brian Forschler offered her a graduate assistantship that ensured her plan to study in the U.S. materialized,” writes Lee in an email. Her mentor Lee remained in close communication with Lim. “I owe him heaps,” says Lim. “She is undoubtedly an excellent candidate who will practice good science in the future,” Lee responds. At UGA, she was required to restart her studies again at a master’s level. “In Malaysia, graduate study is entirely research based, so there are no classes or coursework is required,” Lim explains. She made up for missing credits, and changed her degree objective to a doctorate in entomology. in Summer 2008. “I am actually very thankful I had to take classes,” she says, with a quick smile. “I am actually a person that loves going to classes. I find that I learn faster, better...when you have
a person to go to, to ask for help when you are in need of extra explanation. Also, because of the classes that I have taken, I have met lots of lecturers who have been very helpful and supportive of my quest in trying to learn phylogenetics and bioinformatics.” She also worked on a side project. The side project required Lim determine and take measurements of some morphological characters that would be informative and could be easily used to separate the different species of Reticulitermes spp. found in Georgia. “I was supposed to come up with a method to measure soldiers methodologically, to characterize them. Termites are as complex, if not more complex, than ants.” Lim says. She burrowed into study, consumed with knowing all that she could possibly learn. “I am very much interested because Dr. Brian T. Forschler is the world expert on termites. He is internationally recognized and often travels
“Lim is bringing together different disciplines. People will be able to go to her body of work and identify termite species—the work she’s doing will be used. The scientists—most people— throw up their hands trying to identify them. There’s a lot of published DNA data that is wrong.” —Brian T. Forschler
abroad to give seminars, lectures and talks. I wanted to learn all things termites from him. Of course, he also has a major collection of termites from many years, which we intended to use for the project.” Her prior work in Malaysia with ants proved a useful backdrop at UGA. “Termites were often misidentified as white ants. They are much more closely related to roaches. They are trying to sync the characteristics of the termite with roaches,” she adds. There were great similarities between ants and termites. But they bore a strong relation to another dreaded pest: the roach. “Termites are in the Order Isoptera (Isoequal, ptera-wings within the taxonomic hierarchy of classification. It’s possible that termites may be called roaches someday,” she observes. Organized and complex, both pose expensive problems for homeowners. Can either expensive pest be eliminated? “I don’t think so, actually,” Lim says. “They will outwit us,” she predicts. Some, but not all, termites build the aforementioned mud tubes, which protect them from desiccation. Only subterranean termites build mud tubes. Drywood termites attack dry wood and do not require a lot of moisture to survive, nor do they need to build mud tubes for movement and survival. Lim’s project concerned subterranean termites. In the woods, researchers plant baits and obtain samples, Lim explains. The subterranean termites are often found “in fallen logs usually touching the ground somehow. The termite-infested logs are sometimes rotten.”
A “LANGUAGE” OF THEIR OWN Termites communicate in various ways, much like ants. They “leave pheromone trails wherever they go,” says Lim. The pheromone trail is a significant tool, guiding their forays for food. Termites possess group intelligence, or swarm intelligence. “They communicate. Like ants, they have pheromones, and also, you see antennating.” The workers and soldiers are blind, she explains. “But, the adults do have sight besides
chemical communication. Thus chemical communication is very important. Beside chemical communication, mechanoreception is also very important—communication through vibration.” Lim describes head shaking, another characteristic of termites. “If you look at termites in a Petri dish and you blow on them, they kind of shake their heads. Termite head shaking is believed to be alarm behavior; to warn others of the possible dangers.” Lim found it intriguing that termites, also like ants, share food. “The thing that binds them is the trophollaxis behavior—the behavior of sharing food between different members of a population—you find that happening in termites where food can be shared from mouth to mouth or anus to mouth…ants also share this behavior.” Astoundingly, some research suggests termites actually estimate food source amounts. Lim says, “They can potentially measure the size of the wood using sound waves.” The complexity of the termite and its social order still grips Lim. “We know with termites there are castes such as workers, primary reproductives, secondary reproductives, etc., but there is plasticity within the life cycle. It’s not completely figured out; they are cryptic.” Not only are termites cryptic, Lim points out that they are highly adaptive. “These groups are mobile in the sense that they are believed to be able to locate food sources and they move.” Like it or not, Lim says that we actually need the very insects we seek to eliminate. She points out that that these pests are actually green: They play a role in conservation, converting plant cell wall matter into animal biomass. “Termites, like roaches, help decay and environmentally do what they should do; they have a role to play.”
PRESENT PROJECTS Lim’s doctoral work is two parts. The first concerns taxonomy and morphology. Traditionally, she says, taxonomy made use of only morphological characters.
“It was because these characters were easily seen, and can be characterized. Modern taxonomy/systematics also includes phylogenetics, which utilizes segments of the organisms’ DNA to help in separating and defining species.” Lim says, “There is a taxonomic key that was published to identify these termites in 1992, and since then, another species, Reticuliteremes malletei, has been described, and yet another in Georgia that hasn’t been described…so we’re hoping to describe the new species, and include it into the key we’re going to build.” This is both exacting and exasperating work, says Forschler. “For morphological characters, we focused on the soldier head capsule, and alate morphology, we have some characteristics we have teased out—length versus width of the head. That could allow us to identify two out of five species we believe are present in Georgia,” she explains. Secondly, Lim extracts worker’s DNA and searches for a genetic marker. Lim further describes how almost all the termite “workers” you see are identical (in the field). Forschler expresses frustration with false data, saying Lim’s work is clarifying and meticulous. “What Lim’s done is to lay the foundation from a practical perspective.” As she nears the end of her doctoral work, Lim is as optimistic as ever, but the clock is ticking. “I’m trying to learn as fast as I can, but time is running out,” she says, facing the famous ticking clock of doctoral studies. She’s optimistic, but even that characteristic has
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been tested. There is the three year separation from her family, who keep asking Lim when she will graduate. Making matters worse, the past winter in Athens was harsh and long; she is unaccustomed to the cold. Lim remains focused and busy, but her thoughts turn longingly to home and her parents, who are great advocates of education and who have nurtured her. They, too, have sacrificed to support her dreams. She tries to relax with occasional meals at her favorite Vietnamese or Thai restaurants. But she nearly always returns to the campus lab afterward for long hours of work; it is a compulsion, and she blushes at the admission. Now she finds she is always rushing across the great campus she has come to love, hurrying to a lecture or a lab. Even then, Lim uses the brief time in the natural world. “When I walk, I am always looking at the ground, and always see something…you find bugs if you look on the ground.” And she smiles. Some of the bugs she spies, most of them, in fact, are downright absorbing, even downright cute, Lim insists with a wide grin. G
Urban Entomologists: At right, Brian Forschler, principal investigator, with Lim.
Centennial Footnote: Su Yee Lim was doing graduate work in Malaysia in the year 2006. Meanwhile, the Graduate School was in the process of renovating its new home: the fourth floor of the former Michael Brothers Building downtown. Since 1968, the Graduate School had been housed in the George H. Boyd Graduate Studies Research Center, a state-of-the art facility
when completed. In 1910, only a handful of graduate students came to Dean Bocock’s office in Terrell Hall for counsel and information. In 2007, the Graduate School opened its doors at 320 East Clayton Street after 38 years in its outgrown accommodations.
Talking to the Termites “On a practical level, the more that is known about termites, the more we can use that information in practical ways,” says Lim’s professor Brian Forschler. Forschler is the lead investigator of Lim’s project, and teaches an outreach class titled, “Talking to the Termites.” He says,
“I tell the kids we’re going to learn a new language.”
"Before I started working with the entomology lab, I would not purposefully pick up something, or play with it, that's insect-like. Now, it's like, 'Hey!'"
a Blithe Fashion Spirit Takes Prague
raduate design student Christin Schifano will attend the 2011 Prague Quadrennial, an international design competition in April, according to University of Chicago professor Tom Burch. Burch is the mentor and coordinator for the EMERGE exhibition slated during the June 2011 event in Prague. “The Student Exhibit Committee received over 450 submissions from nearly 400 students representing over 70 American colleges and universities—the largest submission pool the student exhibit has ever had,” says Burch. Schifano was chosen among the hundreds of works submitted for the Quadrennial event. Schifano received a BSFCS in fashion merchandising at UGA in 2005. She will complete her MFA in theatrical design in May 2011. With the metaphoric surname Schifano, the up-and-coming costume designer’s name seems destined to be on the lips of the design world. Schifano herself is pulling from many streams for influences for her work. She plucks
garments from vintage racks, and channels the influences of Dior, Erte and Chanel. She says she has a particular penchant for the colors purple and red. More importantly, she has a dream that unfolds next year at the international “Olympics” of design. Graduate School Magazine: Describe the Prague Quadrennial and the EMERGE design competition—what are they, and why were winners announced a year ahead? Schifano: It’s like the Olympics, in that they plan so far ahead. It takes place every four years. It’s an international design exhibit and we have something similar in the US—they look at new methods in construction and design. This is the larger field, with an international audience. My professors encourage us to always apply for these competitions. When applying, I honestly didn’t think too much about it—it was during finals. My major professor, Ivan Ingermann,
BY CYNTHIA ADAMS PHOTOS BY NANCY EVELYN
looked at my portfolio, and he helped me choose. The exhibition is June 16-26, 2011 in Prague. There’s going to be a design competition (EMERGE) I’ll compete in, too. While my work is on display the people who are being exhibited will be given a script and given an hour to come up with a concept—and we would then do a rendering. Graduate School Magazine: Is rendering one of your strengths? Schifano: Yes. I work in watercolors, gouache, and ink. I also do a lot of artwork outside of that, too. I was in fashion, with an undergrad degree in fashion merchandising from the University in 2005. With this, I sort of stumbled into it; I moved to LA after my bachelor’s degree. I wasn’t quite ready for a move that financially big…I ended up moving back home and looking at programs. I found theatrical design; I had taken electives in this program and enjoyed it. I thought why not
Christin Schifano’s signature on her emails is the following quote from inspiration Coco Chanel:
“A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.” UGA Graduate School Magazine S U M M E R 2 0 1 0
give it a try? I was naïve; it almost killed me, but I loved it so much! I don’t know if it’s because I’m older, or because it’s a great fit… Graduate School Magazine: What age are you now?
watching the clothing, you see how they (the characters) are transforming. Good costuming will tell you at a glance what the person’s mind frame is. It’s a lot of character development; you can start with the historical research and then find a way to tell the story…
Schifano: I’m 27. Graduate School Magazine: For those of us who don’t know any better, we would think fashion and theatrical design are similar tracks. Schifano: They are similar. There are rules of color and design that pertain to fashion, interior design, studio arts…things that remain true as far as color, scale. But with stage, you have to amplify it, or it won’t be noticed. It helps tell the story better. For example, green is a color used a lot for someone who’s sick or untrustworthy. If you’re on a big stage, with a big audience, you have to be sure it’s exaggerated…but on film, you pull it back, and make it more subtle. The historical accuracy is just the beginning…you have to know what is to be worn, but you also have to get into the character. You have to think about who that woman is; what were her finances like, what could she afford? What are the priorities? Graduate School Magazine: Take a highly designed, lushly costumed film like Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette. What did you note? Schifano: Any historically tragic figure, if you are paying attention, if you watch from beginning to end—there’s a progression. There’s the heyday, and ‘Oh, that’s the life I want’; then, there’s an epiphany, and by
ABOVE: “The group of sailors are Pistol, Bardolph and Nim from Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor. They are under the command of Falstaff (the Napoleonic figure). Falstaff is writing a love letter to one of the merry wives in the rendering. I set this play in America during the 20s rather than keeping it in Elizabethan England,” says Schifano. She is shown at right working on a rendering.
Graduate School Magazine:. Do you approach what you wear personally as a costume as well? Schifano: (Laughs) On a day to day basis, I’m going to grab what is clean. What I pay attention to now is color; I like very dramatic colors. I try to stay current. I’ve also learned—I don’t wear jeans just because they’re popular or the height of the fashion. It’s finding what’s right for my shape, and my skin tone. I don’t try to wear what is popular, but what is appropriate… (But) I enjoy current trends. Graduate School Magazine: For instance? Schifano: I have certain brand loyalty; having said that, I’m a student (with little money). I really, really love Dior, past and present. I really admire Tom Ford…so much so, that if, I would meet him, I would not be able to speak. As far as affordable fashion, I stopped shopping when I entered grad school. There’s nowhere specific I go to for fashions, though. I find older clothes and I reinvent them. I shop for color more than anything. Graduate School Magazine: Huge designers, such as Jean Paul Gaultier, design for mass marketer Target, who says they’re making good design affordable. What do you think?
Schifano: They’re using cheaper materials, and they’re perhaps using lower quality, but I love that they are making design more affordable. I do like having more options. Graduate School Magazine: In an ideal world, what will happen for your career hopes post Prague? Schifano: I’m open to anything. I’ve been told by several designers that my work translates to opera; that’s something I’d never considered. I’m very interested in getting into the film industry. I just heard that we’re among the top three places for film: Louisiana, Michigan and Georgia…I’m going to LA this summer, hoping to break into the film world. Maybe one day I’ll get to work (costume design) on a nice historical drama—I don’t care if it’s stage, film, or a TV commercial. Graduate School Magazine: What were your larger influences? Schifano: A lot of mine are historical. The biggest are Christian Dior and Paul Poiret. Erte worked at the beginning of the 20th century, and was rediscovered in the 1970s. He designed gowns with a lot of graphic prints— there was a renewed interest in Art Deco when his work was “found”. There are bits and pieces I love…many are from the beginning of the 20th century. I love the Teens and early Twenties…they seem to be where I get most of my influence.
Graduate School Magazine: What are you most treasured pieces of clothing or accessory? Schifano: I’ll have favorites of the moment, but nothing at the moment comes to mind. I need to think. Graduate School Magazine: A color of the moment? Schifano: Bright blue. Last year it was purple. It changes… Graduate School Magazine:. What films had the most interesting designs in your view? Schifano: Bram Stoker’s Dracula…this was before I was even in the costume world…it was so dramatic, so in your face. This was a well thought out design. Sometimes when designers get all artsy with their costumes it can seem like thorough research wasn’t done, but this was not the case with Dracula. The costume designer, Eiko Ishioka, did an excellent job. Gangs of New York was another one. The designer, Sandy Powell. Is absolutely amazing. Everything looked so dirty, and costumers sometimes forget to make it that way. The people were living in poverty; making one of the gangs so dandy was brilliant! One I love isn’t modern—Rebel without a Cause. The costumes weren’t dramatic, but small things were. James Dean was striking, down to his red jacket. When he first sees
Other renderings drawn for The Madwoman of Chaillot and The Cherry Orchard. At Left: "The servant is Quickly from The Merry Wives of Windsor. The girl in pink is Anya from Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard. I imagined her to be a trophy for her frivolous money-spending mother to display, and this is why I chose this design for her dress,” says Schifano. "The lady in red with the feather boa and black shoes is the Madwoman of Chaillot. She is charming and cooky and lives in her own world."
“There are rules of color and design that pertain to fashion, interior design, studio arts…things that remain true as far as color, scale. But with stage, you have to amplify it, or it won’t be noticed.
It helps tell the story better.” 20
Natalie Wood, I thought that her green ensemble was an effective choice. You can tell when an actor owns the clothes like Natalie Wood and Grace Kelly, so poised and elegant. Audrey Hepburn was stylish and hip. Re-watching The Graduate, everything is black and white. Dustin Hoffman's parents are wearing all these busy designs, and (Dustin Hoffman’s character is wearing simple designs. Mrs. Robinson is wearing all black. (The effective costuming with Mrs. Robinson is yes, she is fitting into this black and white world…but she’s doing it with animal print…she’s not quite happy with this black and white world).
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Graduate School Magazine: As we speak it’s prime wedding time. Speaking of The Graduate—what did you make of Katherine Ross in the wedding gown? Schifano: It was—I don’t want to use the word simplistic—so it’s hard for me to talk about that intelligently. But, bridal fashion is its own thing. Lately I’ve been thinking about veils…how little thought is going into many, design-wise. I laugh when I hear people say they don’t care about how they look. You have money, you decide what you will spend your money on…you do care. It may not be your main priority, but you’re thinking about what you’re putting on your body.
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Schifano: Well, no, that’s a statement, too. A big statement. Graduate School Magazine: Are you a Georgia-born girl? Schifano: Oh yes, my grandfather, William Boyd, Sr., came to UGA after World War II. He was an accounting major, and went to work for Coca Cola afterwards. He knew I was going to come to UGA. My little sister Natalie Boyd graduated from Georgia. She was doing history, with pre law. She’s studying for the LSAT now. Working and saving. G
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Cosmo, a Fine Feathered Friend, Makes for Great Research into Language and Cognition for a UGA Psychology Student
According to Erin Colbert-White, “African Greys are extremely social with their flock mates. This feature of their natural history contributes to why studying a parrot/human ‘pair bond’ is so interesting. They’re both highly social species, so it would only make sense for Cosmo to adopt some system of communication that allows her to be able to maintain and regulate her social relationship with Betty Jean.”
For all the cries of mimicry, “bird brain” is a completely unfair charge. In effect, a talking bird is bi-lingual.
BY CYNTHIA ADAMS PHOTOS BY NANCY EVELYN
rin Colbert-White, a UGA graduate psychology student, used to work primarily with capuchin monkeys. Her work with monkeys concerned primates’ ability to discern quantities. Now, an impish, lively African Grey parrot named Cosmo has gained her full attention, and the work goes far beyond counting. For the past three years, ColbertWhite has been investigating Cosmo’s language-like abilities and her interactions with owner and UGA professor, Betty Jean Craige. Cosmo is a bird like none other—or not? Perhaps Cosmo’s abilities are a window into development and cross-species interaction for other talking birds, says Colbert-White’s major professor, Dorothy M. Fragaszy. Cosmo seems to engage socially and with gusto. Cosmo has considerable party skills—Craige’s term for her canny interactions and lively chat. “I think of it as speech on steroids; it’s definitely beyond just learning which words are associated with which outcomes," says Colbert-White.
AWK! the Travails of Child Stardom Long before the advent of the very chatty and clever bird Cosmo, there was Alex, an African Grey who died in 2007. Alex was the avian subject of Harvard researcher Irene M. Pepperberg. Like Cosmo, Alex was acquired at an ordinary pet shop and was a famously loquacious Congo African Grey. Alex’s speaking abilities made the bird a star and a well-known research subject, right up until Alex’s untimely death. (“Alex was able to use speech to answer questions in tasks designed to assess his cognitive abilities,” says Colbert-White.) Now Cosmo is an emerging reality star—the next “it” parrot—and a prodigy at only age eight. She makes occasional public appearances, has been scrutinized, filmed, taped, and written about, and she frequently appears online via Facebook and YouTube. Cosmo, it seems, does everything but Tweet. Like other child stars, Cosmo lacks firm boundaries between private and public life. Cosmo is a preening star, one who talks, sometimes obsessively, about the things she likes best. She’s a bit selfobsessed, openly sharing her fondness for cuddles, kisses, rides in cars, trips to the office, and the telephone, and she even comments on her bathroom habits. She poses and cocks her head coyly as a photographer snaps, artfully presenting her best side to the camera . As if aware of the effect she creates—those wide-set eyes, lovely gray feathers and stunning crimson tail!—Cosmo languidly stirs and stretches a leg backward in a yoga-like pose, demonstrating her nimble form. Or, possibly, Cosmo is merely using her good looks to net a cashew, her favorite treat.
“She’s showing off,” observes a smiling Betty Jean Craige. Craige, a professor of comparative literature and director of the Willson Center for Humanities and Arts at UGA, is an otherwise dignified and self-possessed woman. But she is often reduced to helpless laughter by Cosmo, who does a dead-on imitation of Craige’s precise, professorial speech.
A Different Sort of Pet Project: One Who Can Talk Back Erin Colbert-White, who studies animal communication and psychology, has a scientific interest in Cosmo. Her recent master’s thesis concerned the dynamic between parrot and human, particularly concerning Cosmo’s sophisticated use of speech. Her doctoral advisor is Dorothy M. Fragaszy. Fragaszy is a UGA professor and chair of the neuroscience and behavior program in the psychology department. “Some years ago, even before Erin applied to Graduate School, Irene Pepperberg came to UGA and spoke on campus. I went to Irene’s talk, and the next day had lunch with Betty Jean and Irene,” she recalls. “We had a nice long conversation. Betty Jean started telling me about her parrot Cosmo—that was our introduction to each other. Betty Jean was telling me all the interesting things that Cosmo did.” Fragaszy interviewed Craige about her history with Cosmo. She viewed the relationship between Cosmo and Craige as rich ground for further study of a different kind. Pepperberg’s interactions with Alex as a subject were research-driven and lab-controlled. In the case of Cosmo, there was great spontaneity and adaptation to a human household. “Irene is doing experimental work, examining features of reasoning and ways of labeling things—a whole elaborate program. But it isn’t about spontaneous social interactions. That’s what Betty Jean was talking about, and I knew this was something that had not been discussed in the animal behavior literature.” It was one thing for a human to have a sense of connection with a pet, but a pet with the ability to use human speech was completely unknown territory, research-wise. “I don’t know if Cosmo is unusual, but I know having access to Cosmo through someone like Betty Jean is unique—a very special opportunity. We don’t know about these bird/ human companionships,” Fragaszy explains. “There’s virtually no scientific literature about exactly what the nature of this is.” Fragaszy adds, “At present, the work with Cosmo is unique. It shouldn’t be unique.”
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Mimicry or Awareness? Colbert-White came to Athens three years ago, to do graduate research in language. An opportunity to investigate the interaction between Cosmo and Craige arose when Erin first applied to Graduate School, Fragaszy says. “One of the things Erin wrote in her personal essay was an explication of what she’s interested in doing. She wrote that she was interested in the evolution of language and communication issues. And I thought this was a perfect match.” The penny dropped. Fragaszy proposed a study concerning Cosmo to the first-year graduate student. Craige was delighted. She had been stunned by how quickly and
camera wasn’t zoomed in on Cosmo close enough to see her beak and know that she was the one speaking." Nor could the researcher tell the difference between Cosmo's and Betty Jean’s voices. “It would have been impossible to disambiguate the voices,” Colbert-White says ruefully. She filmed the bird with the camera zoomed in closely, “watching Cosmo during the daytime, when I was away.” Colbert-White observed Cosmo moving her beak when speaking. Analyzing footage and audiotapes, Colbert-White sought answers. “What is she (Cosmo) saying when no one is asking anything? Dogs don’t perform their repertoire of tricks without being commanded to do so, and yet, without being asked, Cosmo spontaneously talks and engages others with the ‘trick’ of speech that she’s learned.”
Colbert-White is continuing research with Cosmo in her doctoral studies. (Shown together, on pp 24-25.)
how intelligently her pet had progressed. Cosmo’s communication skills caused her to think of the parrot as “a feathery little person.” Craige recalls brainstorming with Colbert-White about delving further. “We talked about some possible ideas,” says Colbert-White. The student researcher designed varying contexts in which to study the bird, and set about recording her. Colbert-White notes that, "for my master’s thesis, I found that context changed what Cosmo talked about. The content of the speech was different depending upon whether Betty Jean was in the room or out of the room and available to reciprocate or not. She was dismayed when she reviewed initial recordings. "At first the
So the graduate student delineated four contexts within which to frame her research. For example, she looked at how Cosmo used speech and non-word sounds (like the telephone ring, whistles, etc.) when others were present versus when Cosmo was alone. She analyzed how Cosmo responded to these various contexts, her conversational features, and “how she is saying the things that she says.” Colbert-White notes, “It became obvious that Cosmo was talking differently with Betty Jean when she was in the room with her versus when (the owner was) not; there was a difference in her vocal production depending upon the social context.”
The bird’s unobserved self-speech became a second project, using data collected from Colbert-White’s thesis.
Three Years Later: The Matter of Squirrelly Colbert-White, a petite-sized student, neatly dressed in a safari-style jacket and khaki pants arrives at Craige’s home. Which is, of course, Cosmo’s home. She positions herself on a sofa in earshot of her favorite subject. An unusual form of bird-watching ensues, as four expectant people strain towards the bird attentively. Everyone waits for Cosmo to do what she does so well—to speak. The African Grey has command of over 150 words, a skill that has made her both a research subject and star of a new book by Craige (published this year by Sherman Asher Publishing.) Cosmo’s growing celebrity attracts online friends who hang upon Cosmo’s every utterance and antic. For all the cries of mimicry, “bird brain” is a completely unfair charge. In effect, a talking bird is bi-lingual. In Cosmo’s case, she employs a non-native communication system. A parrot’s native “language,” says Colbert-White, is comprised of “whistles, clicks, squawks, squeaks” and other sounds. As the owner and researcher chatted, Cosmo alternated between eavesdropping and nature watching. Beyond the picture windows a squadron of squirrels scampered along the deck railing. Cosmo cocked her head and watched. She can correctly identify animals such as dogs and squirrels, even in self-speech when alone. This was particularly significant to the researcher, who used this to explore intentionality. Craige noticed that Cosmo could generalize from words she already used to make new words. She knew that "dog" and "doggy" meant the same thing, and that "bird" and "birdy" meant the same thing. She routinely called the squirrels "squirrel," but on two occasions she said, "That's squirrelly!" Craige had never uttered the word "squirrelly," in her life. Is Cosmo aware of the world in some of the ways that humans are? Does she have an active inner life? Colbert-White wants to quantify the answer. “But it’s not just that she’s trained in using speech; I’m trying to
show empirically, with numbers and stats, that there’s no way her vocal production is random. She knows what she’s saying, definitely.” Does language development for a talking bird in any way parallel that of a human child? Colbert-White thinks it does. “There’s the possibility that the bird is commenting on things she is experiencing on a day to day basis in the way humans do.” She gives an example, pointing to the ever-present squirrels in plain view from Cosmo’s cage. “At one point, Cosmo said while by herself, ‘That’s squirrel.’ But it may be explained by coincidence or pronunciation practice that she said it, or there may have actually been a squirrel outside that she saw and was commenting on to herself aloud the way young children do when they’re learning new words.” Colbert-White discusses cognition and language as the bird suddenly turns her back to her visitors. It is a gambit for attention, says Craige.
Let,s Go Back Cosmo Be Back Okay Back Long before the parrot studies on Alex and Cosmo, there were welldocumented primate studies, like those centered upon Koko, a lowland gorilla. Born in a California zoo in the 1970s, Koko uses sign language and has a large repertoire of words. Koko also adopts pets of her own— keeping and caring for kittens. Yet research continues to disavow that mammalian or avian cognizance parallels humans’. At the heart of Colbert-White’s research is this issue of cognition and communication. She is pressing into a new frontier, one concerning not only the bird’s cognitive ability, but Cosmo’s specific use of speech at home with her human counterpart, or “pair mate,” who is Craige. "A majority of her (Cosmo’s) repertoire is fixed phrases that she puts together in novel ways. However, I have data that show she's capable of recombining words in those fixed phrases and creating her own, such as, "Let's go back Cosmo be back okay back," which is obviously something Betty Jean has never said to Cosmo. So, it clearly goes beyond mere mimicry," asserts Colbert-White. “For example, Cosmo mostly requested objects or treats when Betty Jean was in the room and was willing to talk back to her or to start whistling duets. When Betty Jean vocally ignored her, Cosmo asked predominantly for physical attention instead (cuddles). When Betty Jean was out of sight in the other room, Cosmo was more likely to talk about spatial locations like ‘Where are you?’ and ‘Here I am’ and ‘Come here.’”
Is Cosmo aware of the world in some of the ways that humans are? Does she have an active inner life? Colbert-White wants to quantify the answer.
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Colbert-White believes there’s great promise for further study. “It’s easy to know if Cosmo is repeating things and knows what she wants. If she’s asking for a peanut and stops asking when you give her one, but continues asking if you hand her a grape, she’s obviously using speech in a goal-directed manner. How far it goes beyond operant conditioning of ‘I know if I make this pattern of sounds I get this outcome’ and into a deeper realm of a concept of intention is what I am working toward discovering.” Which is why, she adds, “It’s safest to say Cosmo’s is speech with language-like features. We’re working on figuring out just how similar it is to language.” Fragaszy says, “Erin is investigating the give-and-take of Cosmo's communication with Betty Jean, and how Cosmo uses human speech and bird calls in that process.” She also provides an insight into Cosmo's communication. “I think the words used are, for Cosmo, a variation of singing. She makes them in the right times. We’re trying to sort out what Cosmo is doing—including the linguistics issues. Anyway, it’s a fascinating effort, and an interdisciplinary effort. Erin works closely with the people in the linguistics department. She has an interdisciplinary team,” says Fragaszy.
New Territory in Animal Communication What researchers knew little about was the behavior of a talking pet, versus a laboratory subject. Further, there is scant research concerning African Greys in the wild versus domesticated subjects upon which to draw for comparative study. African Greys primarily communicate via a variety of sounds, not just whistles like a songbird, and emulate other sounds— such as a buzz saw and dog bark. They do not use human speech unless specifically taught. In Cosmo’s case, it was a full year before she began to use human words selectively, and sometimes to the great surprise of her owner when she began repeating messages left on Craige’s answering machine. She learned Craige's home phone number from the answering machine. “There’s very little known about African Greys in the wild…we don’t know much about their vocalizations beyond describing the sounds we hear. There’s almost nothing in the literature,” says ColbertWhite. “With the primates and dolphins, we’ve gotten into it a lot more…but what are they (talking birds) saying when there’s no one asking them to count objects or answer direct questions?” Pepperberg was one of the few addressing African Grey research. She
wrote The Alex Studies based upon her laboratory work with the parrot Alex. “Dr. Pepperberg also wrote Alex and Me,” says Craige. “She’s the Jane Goodall for African Grey parrots.” Pepperberg, in her preface to Craige’s book, described Cosmo as possessing both intelligence and a striking personality, and providing insights into a brain that is reminiscent of a young child’s. Colbert-White notes that Cosmo sometimes behaves in a way that humans might interpret as sulking when research intrudes upon her interactions with Craige. This suggests the bird may be capable of complex emotion. At eight, Cosmo may have 50 years remaining. African Greys can live for 50-70 years. This, and the parrot’s complex socialization skills, makes for compelling, long-term research. “We know she’s not using language like humans do. But it is way beyond what we would attribute to animals, which is mimicry. But let’s see how they maintain relationships with a communication system that is not their own. Cosmo’s using it very well and efficiently,” says Colbert-White. Fragaszy adds, “I suppose if you had a model, and you use Betty Jean and Cosmo as an example, you could ask owners of African Greys, ‘Do you talk to your parrots, and do they talk to you? When you are at home do you have a social relationship with your parrots?’ I don’t know if Cosmo is unique,” Fragaszy muses. “I rather doubt it.” G For Further Reading: Conversations with Cosmo: At Home with an African Grey Parrot, by Betty Jean Craige. The Alex Studies, by Irene M. Pepperberg. Alex and Me, by Irene M. Pepperberg. Top left: Cosmo with Betty Jean Craige.
Centennial Footnote: Erin Colbert-White arrived in Athens to do graduate work in 2008 as the Graduate School attained record enrollments of 7,160 students. By the fall of 2008, nearly 300,000 people had graduated from UGA, and 63,256 had received graduate degrees since 1910—nearly equal to the population of Athens.
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Questions we asked our alumni
2010 is an auspicious year of assessing, documenting and taking stock during the Graduate
Schoolâ€™s centennial. This event does beg the question: What will 2110 be like? What might be said about the next century of graduate education at the University of Georgia when the bicentennial arrives in 2110?
resently, nearly 60,000 graduate school alumni actively engaged in their lives and careers possess their own particular perspectives and memories of life as a UGA graduate student. Doubtlessly, future writers will cite a list of erudite graduates, naming their critical research and contributions to society. Doubtlessly, too, the Graduate School will continue to foster a stunning number of exceptional professionals, scholars and artists. In 2110, there will be a recounting of accomplishments and a new timeline will be drawn. Extending from the auspicious beginning in 1910, it will pick up with the here and now and continue onward. There will be stories of great opportunities set against a backdrop of adversity, and the inevitable ebb and flow of wars, of breakthroughs as well as breakdowns, of economic reversals, technological advancements and dynamic shifts in the culture. For as the culture changes, education bears the imprimatur of America in a constant state of reinvention. There will be inevitable
stories of struggle, and heroic names of standard-bearers and barrier breakers. There will be the stories the students themselves tell, their own private histories, joys and sorrows. What did present alumni discuss most about the first century and their personal recollections of graduate education? Theirs were a wonderfully esoteric mix of memories. They have a definite sense of these memories as related to specific places. For graduate students, the arch is eclipsed by others: the Old Campus, specifically. They relate a great appreciation for these iconic campus landmarks, and many mention Founderâ€™s Garden and the library. Over the years, magazine subjects like Sarah Carlton Proctor take pleasure in memories of favorite mentors and classroom experiences (and she still returns at age 96). They have fondly discussed football games (present day NC museum director Larry Wheeler tells about wearing a coat and tie to cheer the Dawgs in the late 1960s.) They recall dormitories before air conditioning when dorms were cooled by
opened windows and the whirring blades of table fans. They mention de-stressing by swimming a few laps in the pool at Stegman Hall before it was demolished. They discuss breakfast downtown at The Bluebird (Brian Adler specifically relishes memories of Bluebird biscuits.) And dining at the now defunct Tonyâ€™s restaurant. They will talk about practically living in a carrel at the library in times preceding the Internet and personal computing. Alumna recounted hitchhiking to Atlanta for dates with students at Georgia Tech (Birmingham artist Donna Leigh Jackins was fearless). They howl about wearing raincoats over their gym suits in order to cross campus when a strict dress code still existed. They will talk about standing outside the Varsity for a hotdog to be handed to them, as women were once prohibited from entering the original location. Married alums share vastly different memories than single ones. The married students discuss married housing, and how much students vied for limited on-campus
accommodations. They discuss a time when there were few if any fellowships or teaching assistantships, and how sometimes they made choices between buying meals or books. Older alums recall Dean Tate, dean of students, with special admiration for steering a clear-headed course during pivotal Vietnam War years. They point out how, unlike undergraduates, they had little time or opportunity
for nightlife, so they missed a lot of the burgeoning music scene downtown. We asked twelve respondents, drawn from distinguished UGA graduate students, faculty, administration and alumni, to go on the record concerning their experiences and their view of graduate education. We also turned to more serious questions. Hereâ€™s what our respondents shared.
A hundred years hence, in the year 2110, what message would you like to send to future UGA graduate students?
TONY GONZALEZ, doctoral student, Learning, Design, and Technology: I received my master's degree at UGA in 2006 when I was 38 years old. At first I was hesitant to begin advanced studies after being away from formal education for so long, wondering if it was not a mistake to make such a commitment. I soon learned, however, that education is rewarding at any age. Such is perhaps particularly so for graduate educationâ€”the freedom to pursue one's interests and incorporate past experience into one's studies makes this a very different experience from what I remembered when getting my undergraduate degree. So much so that I returned in 2008 to begin work on my PhD! Considering how rapidly society and the nature of education are changing, this is a very difficult question. Were a UGA graduate
student from 1910 to be whisked one hundred years into the future and introduced to our school today, to say that he (since women were not allowed into the graduate school until 1911!) would be surprised at the changes would be an understatement. The changes that we will see through the remainder of the twenty-first century will be even more profound than those experienced during the twentieth. With that in mind, to preclude sounding foolish to readers of the 2110 special edition of this magazine I will avoid making specific suggestions, and simply request that they continue to strive for excellence in pursuit of academic and intellectual achievement for the betterment of our world. It is impossible to overstate the importance of the support of the faculty and other students in my department to my
experience as a graduate student, and I owe them greatly for their help. I can only hope that some day I can repay their kindness by becoming an equally valuable mentor to other students as I progress through my studies, and go on to an academic post in the future.
n DEAN GARNETT STOKES, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences: As a first generation college student, the world of graduate school was especially unfamiliar to me. Nevertheless, I believe the most important experiences in graduate education are the same for all students, regardless of background. The mentoring relationships that are formed with members of the faculty, who are on the cutting edge of the discipline students are engaged in mastering, are the
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1910-2010 G R A D UAT E S C H O O L C E N T E N N I A L S EC T I O N
Above, left to right: Tony Gonzalez, Dean Garnett Stokes, Jena Umakanta, Shana Gulley, James Hearn and Matthew Forsythe.
foundation of graduate education. My major professor was William A. Owens, a truly remarkable scholar, teacher, and colleague. My professional life has been profoundly influenced by his guidance, given so many years ago. A hundred years hence, I believe that it will continue to be the relationships with faculty that will have the greatest influence on the experience of graduate students. The mechanisms for acquiring and generating new knowledge may change, the forms of communication may be modified, but the value of faculty and graduate student relationships will likely always remain.
n JENA UMAKANTA, doctoral student, biological and agricultural engineering: When I started my PhD in biological and agricultural engineering at UGA, for quite some time like many other graduate students I remained focused in studies and confined myself to the classroom and research laboratory. Later on I started realizing the need to open up myself as I grow into a professional. I decided to make the best use of the available opportunities. It’s the UGA graduate school’s emerging leadership in 2008 that helped me in rediscovering myself. I decided to build on the opportunity and took participation in the emerging leaders workshop, which gave me ample scope to understand myself as an individual leader and develop my networking and interpersonal skills. I used to think myself a shy and introvert person. To my surprise after the personality assessment exercise (which was a part of the
leadership workshop), I found myself to be an extrovert and easily sociable person. It helped me to come a long way and I feel really happy that I could make it to the leadership program in 2008. With the advent of computers and information technology, we can definitely expect an enormous change in almost everything including science and technology, the educational system, global economic standards of people, and also the priorities and interests of the society as a whole. The minds of people would change and more likely there will be new forms of challenges. Multidisciplinary approach will be needed to resolve the issues in the coming days. For example, the global crisis on energy and environment cannot be resolved by the research and development of new technologies only; it would need better management practices, reformed policies, public awareness and flexibility. That will create a need for merging engineering and sciences with education, economics, sociology and psychology. Hence, the future professionals would need a high level of involvement with activities and community partners and hence higher level of efficiency of communication, networking, technology and strong attitudes. So the graduate students would need to blend their interests in several disciplines rather than a particular field of study. They do not have to choose and specialize in just one discipline when they have the opportunity to excel in many of them at the same time. Also leadership and community services will be enriching
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1913 experience to the degree program. They need to go out and help the community reach their goals, which will make the graduate school experience worth of time and energy. My fellow graduate students have been great source of inspiration to me. From some of my predecessors I have learned that leadership, interpersonal skills, networking and communication are as important as academic credentials that will play a major role in building an individual into a true professional in future careers. My participation as a student leader and a volunteer in community activities inside and outside UGA in different capacities gives me the confidence of becoming a future research professional.
n SHANA GULLEY, MPA, ‘09, currently working on a second master’s in Adult Education: Please become knowledgeable of and embrace the many accomplishments of the UGA Graduate School. There is a wealth of
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perseverance, knowledge, and varying experiences embedded in the history of UGA and as the old adage goes, "In order to truly understand where you are going, you must know where you have come from." The Graduate School has worked very hard to increase the diversity of the student and faculty populations and as a result, increase its prominence and distinction as a top research institution. Because of this, UGA continues to produce committed, hard working, high achievers with an unparalleled determination to succeed in any realm. Knowing these trails that have been paved by former graduate students, future UGA graduate students should expect to leave behind their own revolutionary footsteps for others to follow.
n JAMES C. HEARN, professor, Institute of Higher Education: The most essential piece of advice I could give to a current or prospective grad student is that he or she is ultimately responsible for the learning experience, not the faculty, not the program, not the courses, and not anyone or anything else. Students can make of their graduate educations what they will. The
brightest may sometimes get through their programs doing little more than is necessary, but that is a terrible waste, and very sad for faculty to see. These are rare years in one’s life, when an abundance of resources (knowledge, faculty, and friends) may be experienced at a depth usually unparalleled later in life. I always urge graduate students not to blow it—take as much advantage as possible of all that a great university can offer you. You’ll never regret “drinking deep” from those waters. Having been previously only to schools in the southern and eastern U.S., I headed to the Bay Area in California for my PhD with some anxiety. Those feelings were in no way eased by the palm trees I encountered lining the main drive as I first drove onto campus, nor by the local habit of calling faculty by their first names from the start. Could this place really be serious? But I settled in and came to love it more than I could have imagined. And it was serious in ways I would never have guessed on first arrival. Virtually every aspect of my graduate work there shaped me in profound and lasting ways. Going in, it’s hard to know what awaits in the grad-school years, but staying open to entirely new experiences and engaging from the start with the local intellectual culture almost inevitably brings great rewards.
60,000 students have enrolled in the graduate school since 1910.
MATTHEW FORSYTHE, PhD candidate in English: Approach your projects with vigor, humility, and imagination. Work with boldness. My growth as a student has stemmed from three sources: the wisdom and guidance of mentors; the self-discovery amid hours of solitary research and creation; and the inspiration from working alongside my talented and encouraging peers, colleagues engaged in their own rich investigations.
“Approach your projects with vigor, humility, and imagination. —Matthew Forsythe
n JAMES C. COBB, professor of history: The substance and reputation of a graduate program are mutually sustaining. A good reputation is critical to building and maintaining the flow of resources, both material and human, into the program. This, in turn, allows continuous improvement and adaptation of the content of the program so as to maintain the value of a UGA degree. Your contributions to the program as a student and your conduct and accomplishments after you receive your degree are critical to maintaining a tradition of excellence that has marked graduate study at the University of Georgia for well over a century. As the holder of both an MA and PhD from the University of Georgia, I can attest not only to the lasting influence of key members of the faculty on my career, but to the importance of the graduate student community to my intellectual and professional development. It is not a criticism, but rather the highest praise, to say of any program that its students learn as much from each other as from the faculty, because this happens only when faculty are inspiring their students to commit themselves to their studies and to confronting the questions and challenges facing their discipline outside the classroom. Ideally, the graduate student community should be sustainable throughout one’s professional career. In my case, continuing interaction with my former grad student colleagues has been invaluable. I entered graduate school at UGA when the program in history was just coming into its own in terms of size and the quality of students and faculty. The improvements in both during the years of my involvement (1969-1975) were truly astonishing, and quite gratifying, I might add.
Work with boldness.”
Above, left to right: James Cobb, Carly Jordan, Chris Hopkins, Alecia Septer, Sylvia Hutchinson and Ren Hullender.
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What do you take away from those who preceded you in the Graduate School at UGA? Any lessons from the past or present you would like to share?
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1940 n CARLY JORDAN, PhD candidate, cellular biology: Your graduate education is yours alone—take ownership. Customize your program to best prepare you for the career you want. Look beyond your home department for opportunities that will help you stand out from the crowd. My graduate experience here at UGA has been amazing. I have met so many people who were genuinely excited to help me learn and grow as a scholar. Try to find role models who share your interests and career goals. My first semester, I made a great friend in a senior student who
shared my passion for teaching. Having her as a role model helped me make good decisions about courses and committee members, and she inspires me now that she’s in a job she loves.
n R. CHRIS HOPKINS, PhD candidate, department of biochemistry and molecular biology: The University of Georgia graduate school boasts a plethora of resources. Especially in the life sciences, UGA faculty and facilities are world class. Many researchers are at the top of their field and the expertise they offer is invaluable. I feel privileged to have my name listed among them and to benefit from this wealth of knowledge (UGA biochemistry) . The transcendentalist Emerson states “… consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds… With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do.” But Emerson was oblivious to the scientific method. Be unswerving in your research and reaching your goals. Though tedious at times, a graduate education is a fruitful experience that will enrich any great soul. The foundation for almost all work was laid by many before you. Know the literature and listen to those with experience. Criticism is your friend. Your graduate schooling will be smoother and quicker if you do not reinvent the wheel.
n ALECIA SEPTER, doctoral student in microbiology: As a microbiology graduate student, I have greatly benefited from interacting with students and researchers in different scientific disciplines here on campus. I would recommend that future students take advantage of the wide range of expertise and collaborative spirit that exists here at UGA to grow as a scientist and expand their world view. My time in graduate school here at UGA has provided me with many opportunities to grow both professionally and personally. From teaching and mentoring undergraduates to working on interdisciplinary planning committees and participating in the Graduate School's Emerging Leaders Program, these experiences are among many from which I will draw on in the future. Senior graduate students have been very influential mentors for me, especially when I first began the Microbiology PhD program. They are always there to help solve a technical problem, provide objective feedback on a challenge, or offer praise for a job well done, something which certainly helps a growing scientist build confidence in their abilities.
and counting “There is a grand sense of collaboration and respect between students and faculty
as they research and teach. My wish is that students of the future will know this sense of
exhilaration and responsibility as they study and learn.” —Sylvia Hutchinson
n SYLVIA HUTCHINSON, professor emeritus, Honors Program: The University of Georgia provides exceptional opportunities for learning within a supportive and encouraging environment for graduate students. There is a grand sense of collaboration and respect between students and faculty as they research and teach. My wish is that students of the future will know this sense of exhilaration and responsibility as they study and learn. I think of UGA as an extension of my family and am very proud of institutional accomplishments. I hope future students will enjoy telling “the UGA story”. I attended the University of Georgia and my recollections continue to inform my teaching and mentoring. I had the finest faculty and peer support one could imagine. I retired from the University of Georgia faculty in 2002 and my major professor, Ira Aaron continues today to encourage and model scholarly respect for his students. This is a legacy beyond words. One of my professors was Bernice Cooper, the first woman to receive an Ed. D. from the University of Georgia. She was and is
7,160 graduate students enrolled in
a pioneer in higher education teaching, service, and research. She is an exceptional role model and I continue to learn from her. She and Dr. Ira Aaron exemplified the melding of high expectations and caring support for their students. I feel very grateful to my professors, mentors, and friends at the University of Georgia. I revel in telling others about my experiences as a graduate student on our campus. I hope future students will share this feeling of gratitude and joy in remembering UGA and Athens.
n REN HULLENDER, PhD, ’10: As a non-traditional graduate student, there are several aspects of my experience that might both resonate with grad students of similar experience and encourage others who may consider returning to grad school late in their careers. Twenty-five years spanned the milestones between working on a master’s in visual arts at Georgia State University and entering the PhD program in art education at the University of Georgia in 2006. Having taught high school for 30 years, returning to the classroom on the other side of the desk brought up no shortage of fears and anxieties. Can I meet the academic challenges of a PhD program? How awkward is it to have children older than most of my classmates? Or to be older than most of my professors? My study habits were a little rusty, I had to get up to speed on a few technologies, and I no longer had the stamina to hoof it across campus, pull all-nighters, or hangout downtown after evening classes. Entering the learning curve felt like stepping off a bridge onto a moving train. However, I found that my life experiences
served me well. There is much to be said for the patience and perseverance—not to mention organizational skills—developed in the day-today discipline of parenting and teaching to unlock the tomes and tropes of academia. The rigors of reading and writing and due dates that I had perceived as stressful and overwhelming in undergraduate school at Appalachian State University were really quite manageable. I learned so much in a short period of time; I feel like a different person. Not only that, I also realized that I had a lot to offer in the classroom as the hindsight of my teaching experience brought clarity to discussions of educational theory. Outside the classroom, I had the opportunity to mentor several young grad students, proofing their papers, listening to their concerns, and answering their questions as they finished their degrees and transitioned into the teaching profession. Teaching at the college level was another important part of my PhD learning experience –perhaps as meaningful and educational as any course for which I registered. A teaching assistantship allowed me the opportunity to understand the needs of the college student, design course materials, and gain practical experience in the college classroom in preparation for a tenure-track position. The art education faculty in the Lamar Dodd School of Art led the field in new, important directions and the intangible curriculum of their efficacy, mentorship, and collegiality was valuable to my thinking and learning as an instructor. Returning to graduate school was one of the best decisions I ever made. Having accepted an offer to teach at Central Michigan University this fall, I feel like an eager young graduate setting off on a new career. G
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Debra Stewart Headlines Centennial Kick-off Event at UGA
On January 28, the Graduate School officially began a year-long observation of its 100th anniversary with a series of speakers and awards at a kick-off event. Debra Stewart, president of the Council of Graduate Schools was the keynote speaker. UGA President Michael F. Adams and Graduate School Dean Maureen Grasso also spoke. Administrators, faculty and graduate students attended the kick off and reception which was held afterwards. President Adams underscored the value of higher education to the well being of the state as well as the individual, stating, “I firmly believe that the economic development of this state is tied, perhaps more than any other factor, to the graduate-level education at this institution, Georgia Tech, Georgia State University and others.” Stewart later supported this in adding, “Employers hire proven learners, and you demonstrate that you’re a proven learner by earning a graduate degree.” As head of the council for a decade, Stewart analyzes how social status predicts educational attainment and success, and tracks trends in higher education. “Socio-economic status breaks out how socioeconomic statistics affect student performance at a graduate level. The
growth (in the last decade within the United States) was greatest among women and international students entering graduate studies,” she noted. However, Stewart sounded several warnings concerning issues in graduate education in America, prefacing her remarks with a prescient comment from Abraham Lincoln. “The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time,” she quoted. She then shared an extensive overview of trends in higher education and outlined several areas where graduate education has suffered reversals nationwide. Stewart was particularly concerned that presently “Only 15 percent of high school students have also completed college and continued on to graduate school on review 10 years later.” She stressed that as African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans remain underrepresented in graduate school enrollments nationally, there is a positive trend within another minority group—nontraditional students. “There are more and more nontraditional students,” she observed. But she sounded a warning concerning graduate enrollments in areas known to offer the greatest employment opportunities. Where previously, “international students drove science, mathematics and engineering growth,” Stewart sounded a definitive warning: “But now, international students are going elsewhere.” She added, “And we have opportunities to improve graduate education. We can start by ensuring that all the students who start graduate school actually graduate. We can’t do much about the pipeline problem, but we can do something about making sure that these students we admit actually graduate.” During the kick off, the first Innovation in Graduate Education Award, which carried a cash prize of $1,000, was awarded to the Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Program by Dean Grasso. The interdisciplinary program was selected for its innovative practice of exposing doctoral students to nine different programs before students select their area of emphasis. G
The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time. —Abraham Lincoln
In January, Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue presented Maureen Grasso, dean of the Graduate School, with a proclamation recognizing the centennial of the founding and organization of the University of Georgia Graduate School. She in turn presented the governor with a copy of the new commemorative book, Centennial. "Whereas the Graduate School has grown from seven students in 1910 to more than 7,000 today," the proclamation reads, adding, "whereas the Graduate School has awarded master's, specialists, and doctoral degrees to more than 73,000 individuals who occupy leadership roles in school systems, institutions of higher learning, business government and non profit organizations." The governor's proclamation expressed appreciation for the students and administrators contributing to economic development and competitiveness in Georgia and beyond.
n A TREE IS PLANTED to commemorate the centennial near historic Terrell Hall. Terrell is where the Graduate School's first dean, Willis Henry Bocock, kept his office.
Centennial, Graduate Education tailgating heretailgating ad at the University ofadGeorgia,
With more than 7,160 graduate students attending UGA today, it’s hard to imagine a time when a graduate education was a true rarity. But a century ago, it was. From its inception, graduate education at the University of Georgia was a grand experiment in ambitious, expansive thinking and big ideas about the future. In 1910, the year of the UGA Graduate School’s official founding, graduate education was in the process of becoming formalized and stood on very wobbly legs. The Graduate School’s enrollment figure was modest: there were fewer than 10 students. This handful of students seeking a graduate education consulted with Willis Henry Bocock, the first dean of the Graduate School. Bocock was a classical scholar and Greek professor. The dean’s office in Terrell Hall was the entirety of the Graduate School a century ago. UGA graduate students are currently enrolled in more than 230 graduate programs. Centennial, Graduate Education at the University of Georgia, 1910-2010, chronicles the historical narrative of the Graduate School, including the admission of women, integration and the school’s expansion. Wars, hardship and social inequities are all a part of this narrative, which includes historic and contemporary photographs. Now you can share in this legacy by owning your own copy of Centennial! TO ORDER Centennial: Download the PDF order form on the Graduate School’s Web site: www.grad.uga.edu and mail it to the Graduate School with either check or money order for $29.95 plus $5 shipping and handling. Or, contact the Graduate School at 706/425-3025 to order a copy by phone. All proceeds from the sale of Centennial directly benefit the University of Georgia Graduate School.
SKIRTS in the Boardroom Author Speaks to the Issue of “A Woman’s Worth” During Women’s History Month In observation of Women’s History Month in March, the UGA Graduate School hosted an event with Marshawn Evans, author of SKIRTS in the Boardroom: A Woman’s Survival Guide to Success in Business and Life, which published in 2008. Her address, “A Woman’s Worth,” emphasized purpose, passion and persistence. SKIRTS is Evan’s acronym for sisterhood, knowledge, integrity, respect, tenacity and substance. According to Evans’ Web site, the Atlanta-based attorney was recently named one of Atlanta’s Power 30 under 30. Evans is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center and practiced as a commercial litigator and employment lawyer. In 2005, Evans was a participant on Donald Trump's The Apprentice TV program prior to the publication of her book. As media commentator, Evans has been featured
in Glamour Magazine, ESSENCE Magazine, USA Today, ABC, Fox News, MTV, NBC, and CNN. Melissa Barry, assistant dean of the Graduate School, said “Ms. Evans shared several strategies based on her wealth of professional experiences that could be implemented by anyone.” Attendee Shana Gully says Evans delivered an inspiring lecture that addressed relevant issues women face navigating male-dominated corporate and professional areas. Evans is the founder of Marshawn Evans Unlimited, a consulting firm, and also president of EDGE 3M Sports & Entertainment, a brand management agency. G
centennial Centennial Receives Bronze CASE Award and Photography Award from UPAA
In June, the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, CASE, chose the commemorative book, Centennial: Graduate Education at the University of Georgia for one of three awards made in a book competition. The three selected winners, one gold and two bronze, competed within CASE’s “institutional relations publications: books category”. Kent State University (Ohio) - 100 Years 100 Facts, won the Grand Gold Award. Centennial: Graduate Education at the University of Georgia” and the Lawrenceville School (NJ) The Lawrenceville School: A Bicentennial Portrait both received bronze awards. Also in June, the University Photographers Association of America, UPAA, selected Centennial for one of two awards made for publications of excellence.
Left to right: Provost Jere Morehead , Mary Frances Early, Ambassador Andrew Young, President Michael Adams and Dean Maureen Grasso.
Ambassador Andrew Young Delivers Mary Frances Early Lecture On April 6, Ambassador Andrew Young, the civil rights leader and former United Nations ambassador, delivered the 10th Annual Mary Frances Early Lecture in the UGA Chapel. The reception afterwards was held in Terrell Hall. Mary Frances Early, who was included in Centennial, the book concerning the Graduate School’s 100th anniversary, was on hand to autograph the profile about her experience desegregating the Graduate School. The annual lecture honors Mary Frances Early, the first African-American to earn a degree from UGA in 1961, and her continuing legacy at UGA. The lecture recognizes the progress that has been made in achieving Early's vision and focuses on the work remaining, says Graduate School Dean Maureen Grasso. “Ambassador Young first came to national prominence serving as a top aide to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the civil rights movement. He played an integral role as a negotiator in civil rights protests across the
South and an advocate for social change through non-violent resistance,” Grasso said in introducing the speaker. “In 1972, Ambassador Young was elected to the House of Representatives from Georgia's 5th District. After serving four years in Congress, President Jimmy Carter appointed him to be the United State's ambassador to the United Nations. He is the first African-American to hold this position.” In the 1980s, Ambassador Young served two terms as Atlanta's mayor and co-chaired the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games. As mayor, he concentrated on attracting jobs and business to the region while developing the local community. In recent years, Ambassador Young has built upon on his humanitarian efforts around the world. He is the co-founder and chair of GoodWorks International, an organization that promotes international business in Africa and the Caribbean. G
An early adherent to Reverend Martin Luther King, Early accepted this caveat: "We must serve (the civil rights movement) with love." UGA Graduate School Magazine S U M M E R 2 0 1 0
In Athens for Homecoming?
Graduate School Administration Maureen Grasso
Before the game, come by and meet Maureen Grasso, dean of the Graduate School, at the UGA Alumni Association house. The Graduate School will have a tent on the lawn where you can connect with other graduate alumni, learn about the innovative work that current graduate students are doing in all areas of research, and find out how you can help to enhance the reputation of UGA as a leading research institution. Grad Dawg, the newest bulldog, will attend.
Dean David Knauft Associate Dean
Melissa Barry Assistant Dean
Saturday, October 16, 2010 3 hours prior to kickoff (game time TBA) Wray-Nicholson House (UGA Alumni Association) 298 S. Hull Street
Judy Milton Assistant Dean
Tonia Gantt Business Krista Haynes Admissions Enrolled Student Services Tom Wilfong Development
photo credit: Rick oâ€™Quinn
BRYN ADAMSON is an Athens artist presently creating Grad Dawg for the centennial. "My goal for the dog is that he carry upon him the history of the first century of the Graduate School at the University of Georgia.... I want him to look wise... hopeful, and full of promise as he gazes into the the NEXT century. He looks a little grumpy and grim right now, so paint will improve his overall demeanor IMMENSELY!" Meet Grad Dawg for his first public appearance at the Homecoming! To see Adamson's work, visit www.brynadamsondesign.com.
The Graduate School at the University of Georgia has been enhancing learning environments and inspiring scholarly endeavors since its formal establishment in 1910. Through our professional development programs and funding opportunities, we promote excellence in graduate education in all disciplines.
THE FUTURE. OTHERS SIMPLY LIVE IT.
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The University of Georgia Graduate School 320 East Clayton Street, Suite 400 Athens, Georgia 30602-4401 706-425-3111, FAX 706-425-3096
www.grad.uga.edu Editor/Writer Cynthia Adams Design Julie Sanders Photo Editor Nancy Evelyn ÂŠ 2010 by the University of Georgia. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any way without the written permission of the editor.
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