The University of Georgia
Graduate School M A G A Z I N E
“The best way to predict the future is to create it yourself.” —Peter Diamandis, scientist
W I N T E R 2 011 CO N T E N TS 1 Letter from the Dean 2 UGA’s First Historic Preservationist, Donna Butler 8 Kausar Samli: Global Nomad and Intellectual Adventurer 18 Kyung Hee Kim’s Creative Mission 26 Daniel Streicker Fights Rabies 30 An IDEAL Science Project
m e s s a g e f ro m
Dean Maureen Grasso
Front Cover: A summer at Singularity University coalesced Samli's thinking about technologies
Comedian Sid Caesar joked that whoever invented the first wheel was smart, but the person who invented the other three was a genius. I have a deep sense that inspired thinkers look closely at innovation surrounding them. Our job at the Graduate School is to be sure that we create the greatest possible intellectual talent pool. Like you, our graduate students and faculty are innovative members of a growing intellectual academy. Thank you for having responded to our appeals. I am so proud of you, our graduate alumni, joining me in the effort to elevate graduate education. The reputations of our programs strengthen as we attract increasingly gifted students. You have made it easier for graduate students to afford an education at a critical time. Our Graduate School is where knowledge passes from one generation to the next—where we construct the other three wheels. Here, advances in science and technology are made that drive a global economy. We nurture interdisciplinary research and competitiveness—read about the NIH grant that was made for those very reasons. It may seem to you that we are constantly asking for money. I am not embarrassed by this because graduate students always need our help. For example, the young man featured in our cover story, Kausar Samli, who is working on a PhD in biochemistry at the Complex Carbohydrate Research Center, asked for our help to attend Singularity University in Silicon Valley last summer. As you will see in the article, this proved to be an invaluable experience for him. Because of your generosity, we were able to respond positively to his request. We have sent out a record number of emails, letters, and copies of our magazine this year. We are making this effort in order to expand our constituency to include every single graduate alumnus/alumna. We are also reaching out to corporations, foundations, and government agencies. For us to attain the level of the top public research universities in the United States, we must have your help. Please stop for a minute and consider how graduate education affects your lives: from new start-up companies that create jobs to the preparation of K-12 teachers; from groundbreaking scientific research that benefits our daily lives to the promotion of public health initiatives. I could go on and on, but you understand where I’m going with this. Please continue to help us. We enclose an envelope in each issue of the Graduate School Magazine to make it convenient for our alumni and friends to support our students. Tear out that envelope; write that check; do what you can to support the institution that made your success possible. Say “Yes!” to the Graduate School. Say “Yes!” to UGA. Your children and grandchildren will thank you. We are today creating the world they will inherit. Be generous in your support.
in a new millennium. He holds a “printed” mask of his face. Photo by Nancy Evelyn.
MAUREEN GRASSO Dean
behind the Velvet Ropes
HISTORIC PRESERVATIONIST n DONNA BUTLER
BY CYNTHIA ADAMS PHOTOS BY NANCY EVELYN
n a steaming Savannah morning, Donna Butler rushes around the historic Harper Fowlkes home, green eyes roving as the grand antebellum house is readied for visitors just before the clock strikes 10 a.m. These visitors are paying tourists gathering at the bottom of circular steps, who will be as warmly received as personal guests. Heel strikes echo off the gray and white Georgia marble hallway as Butler crosses the airy passageway. A staff member begins a guided tour, and Butler checks that her faithful companion, a dog named Belle, minds her Southern manners and remains politely outside on the four-columned porch.
It is a rarity that this historic property manages to actually feel like a real home. A pleasant ambiguity. Somehow, the proudly pedigreed Greek Revival house, built in 1842, does that. Not even the grandeur of a three-story stairway or an oculus at the top causes visitors to shrink back in amazement—this is a house that was occupied by a loving few who used the house as a home until it was donated to the Society of the Cincinnati, America’s oldest political organization and fraternity. (George Washington was the first president. Alexander Hamilton was the second.) “You can sit down on the sofa,” a cheerful docent urges. “Go ahead!” Film producer and actor Robert Redford was especially delighted that the house was so accessible when they used it as an important
film set last year. Redford’s crew was respectful, staffers say, taking great care to treat the property and contents cautiously and properly. The docent, Pat Moore, helpfully adds, “It has survived over a century—and it will probably survive another.” The Harper Fowlkes House’s executive director, Donna Butler, was the very first student to receive a graduate degree in historic preservation at the University of Georgia in 1985. She even earned it during an historic year: UGA’s bicentennial. She stood out in the crowd, too. “I was the only graduate (of the new program) that year,” she says with an easy laugh. Butler, who remains involved with the University of Georgia’s historic preservation program, invites graduate students to the
house each fall, along with professor John C. Waters. Waters, the director of graduate studies in historic preservation in the College of Environment and Design, remains a mentor and friend. “In the end, Donna epitomized my often-repeated description of the type of student we look for, (1) they have a passion for preservation; (2) they are not disturbed by the word ‘no’ and; (3) they know how to turn a ‘no’ situation into a ‘yes,’” says Waters. “So, she is an inspiration and I never get tired of
telling people what they can do through citation of her example.” Waters wrote a personal aside to Butler: “You have actually inspired me by providing, through your own efforts, an excellent example of what an individual can do when they commit themselves to a course of action and have the determination to follow through on that commitment.” He continued his praise, adding, “That statement applied to you brings back memories of how you were able to tailor your
MHP studies to complete them when your husband graduated from law school and even completed your thesis and incorporated a trip to California for a wedding in that last quarter without missing a beat. Then, your decision to utilize your thesis topic as a springboard for work as a property appraiser which quickly led you to the point of being the go-to person for appraisal of the value of historic properties for easement donations was an example of how you can create your own job when there appear to be no opportunities within a community.” Waters added a footnote: “And, actually, you would be surprised how many students have been inspired, or dared, to repeat your performance!” Like the woman who acquired the Harper Fowlkes house, Alida Harper, Butler has a passion for restoration. There the semblance ends. Harper, who once ran a tea room in the Olde Pink House (still in operation on Reynolds Square) purchased what was then called the Champion-McAlpin House in 1939 and moved there with her mother. For many years, Harper remained single. She later married one of her tenants and became Alida Harper Fowlkes. After her death, the house itself bore her name alone, although technically it is the ChampionMcAlpin-Harper-Fowlkes House. Butler initially studied journalism as a UGA undergraduate. She credits this for the ease with which she later slipped into a new profession. “I thought it would be a good general degree—and it has helped in the writing of (historic) appraisals. They’re very detailed.” Before attending UGA Graduate School, Butler worked in Atlanta in advertising. “Then, I went to France to learn French and have an adventure.” On return, she married a Duke graduate named Malcom Butler, who was about to enter UGA’s law school. She chose to return to UGA to Graduate School, entering a brand new program in historic preservation. Butler blazed through
UGA Graduate School Magazine W I N T E R 2 0 1 1
her studies. While completing her thesis, she interviewed an appraiser about how historic properties are assessed. “I asked him to hire me on the spot, and he said ‘Yes!’” Butler recalls. She had something different to offer the job. “I wrote a thesis based upon studying easement holding organizations in the Southeast.” Wittingly or not, she launched a preservation career before the thesis was finished. “I was sure I was going to practice historic preservation in the private sector. I wanted to make some money and travel to Charleston. I just wanted to be able to go there,” Butler recalls. For the next 20 years, she worked as a real estate appraiser with the specialized task of appraising historic properties. It was a difficult, demanding job, leading Butler to unexpected places, including battlegrounds, but Butler loved the research it required. She also enjoyed being a pioneering new professional. As her expertise grew, so did opportunities. “There weren’t that many people doing it.” Butler frowns, thinking. “There was one woman out of D.C., Judith Reynolds, who wrote a book on the appraisal of preservation
easements. She referred me to do an appraisal of a Frank Lloyd Wright estate in Yemassee, South Carolina.” Wright named the coastal estate “Auldbrass.” Butler smiles brightly. “Google that property; I did that!” In 1985, Butler’s growing knowledge of architecture first led her to Auldbrass, a massive low country estate. Here she undertook an historic appraisal of epic proportions. The appraisal was essential to getting the property included in the National Register of Historic Places. “I did that entire appraisal and mostly learned on the job,” Butler says. “I had this boss, David Chapman, and read a lot of appraisals, and wrote ones he was involved in. When I started this Frank Lloyd Wright thing, I had my doubts. But he said, ‘You can do this!’ Sadly for me, he has since died.” And so, Butler labored and did research for nearly 100 days. The property, which had passed from private to corporate hands and then back to a group of hunters, was in danger. “It took me three months to do the Auldbrass property…I had to almost make a new language. I had to look at it as shelter; I considered it as art.”
Appraising Wright properties “sent me on a big adventure,” Butler says. It also landed her on a prestigious board devoted to conserving Wright-related properties. This led to yet another professional adventure. “There was an entity preserving Frank Lloyd Wright properties. I started a database of Wright sales and ended up on the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy. It’s for people with a love of architecture.” Yet love of architecture could only get Butler so far. It was her due diligence—tireless research and record work—that made her a name in preservation circles. Butler called the property to the attentions of another Wright devotee, film producer Joel Silver. Silver had already
The Society of the Cincinnati’s history and membership do the house proud. Yet there is a subtle irony: its membership is comprised solely of males. Specifically, members must be male descendants of officers of the Continental Army, Navy, and its French counterparts. As such, this is the oldest fraternity in the United States.
Paying it Forward...Butler annually invites John C. Waters and historic preservation students to the Harper Fowlkes House.
restored another Wright property on the West Coast. In 1987, Silver renovated Auldbrass. To this day, he allows Butler to hold an annual fundraiser at Auldbrass to benefit the Conservancy. Another of her well-connected clients is Frank Lloyd Wright’s grandson, Tom Wright, who has a house in Maryland. “He lives in his Wright-designed house with his beautiful Japanese wife,” says Butler. She has visited and consulted on many Frank Lloyd Wright properties. Due to successful ventures like Auldbrass, Butler went on to do a fundraiser in Carmel, California, at the Walker House, another Wright design she had long admired. She continues occasional Frank Lloyd Wright consultations, even as she oversees the iconic Harper Fowlkes House. “I sell them the data and tell them how to use it. I do it with owners of Wright buildings in conjunction with local appraisers.”
LIFTING THE VELVET ROPES The perks of preservation-related work are deeper than superficial access. Sometimes when Butler appraises properties she gets to live there. The sense of history can be haunting, especially when she has spent time at battle sites. Butler did one appraisal in Mississippi where the Battle of Vicksburg was fought. “I got to stay in General Pemberton’s headquarters while there.” Immersion lends another dimension, she explains.
As for appraising historic properties, it remains a highly specialized, difficult pursuit, an uncrowded field. “Appraisers are generally not interested,” Butler explains. Nor are they often qualified. She did the appraisal of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s childhood church in Atlanta as it was being valued for acquisition by the National Park Service. She met with the congregation and told them “I’m not going to let the Park Service take advantage of you!” “It’s so hard when you can’t find good comparable properties. When I went to Atlanta to appraise MLK’s church, Ebenezer Baptist, they threw the doors wide open. People helped me because they said ‘This is an impossible thing to do!’ I would just nod and smile and nod and smile. That’s part of the fun for me. “I thought it was comical—I have heard ‘You can’t!’ all the time and I thought, ‘Yes, I can! And it was in 1986. I was 29 or 30 yrs old.” Butler’s old professor, Waters, continues an annual trek to see his protégé. “He brings a group down to the Harper Fowlkes house each year and I meet them. I see them in the fall,” she says. The group includes “graduate students, law students and everybody.” Law students? “Yes!” Butler explains how law studies have launched impressive historic preservation careers. She offers a fellow UGA alum, Mark McDonald, as a prime example. “Mark McDonald took his intro preservation class when in law school at UGA, and ended up being the director of Historic
Savannah for 10 years. He’s an attorney who got interested in historic preservation and now Mark’s the head of the Georgia Trust.” Preservation work is a lot like jumping aboard a ride without a destination in clear sight. For years, Butler says she was “tangentially involved” with the Harper Fowlkes House. This shifted in 1999. The executive director of the property at the time was approaching the age of 80, and wished to slow down. Butler volunteered to lend a hand, and worked with the property’s gardens and expansions. She was put in charge of the gardens and formed a volunteer committee. Her work included creating an historically sympathetic exterior building with a professional kitchen and meeting space. The time spent at Harper Fowlkes was absorbing and seductive. Meanwhile, she continued her consulting engagements, doing historic appraisals, while putting in time at the house as she could. Butler says it was natural for her to become more immersed in the activities of the house, as the former director lacked the stamina required to take it through to its next phase as a more public space. The Society wished for the property to become available as a public meeting place, a wedding and event destination. The additional income would help support further restoration and ensure its future. In 2004 Butler moved with her two daughters to the heart of historic Savannah into a cheerful turquoise clapboard house with yellow shutters, dating to the year 1852. “My house was in the closing shot of the film, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,”
Butler says. The historic antebellum home, formerly owned by a law group, was mere blocks away from the Harper Fowlkes House, which faces Orleans Square. Soon after moving downtown, Butler was asked to consider becoming executive director at Harper Fowlkes, but she resisted. Her resistance slowly dissolved, as she loved the fine property, the place, and the opportunity. Also, tradition demanded that the house be directed by a woman. Since Alida Harper Fowlkes, a self-taught preservationist, set her cap to purchase the house, it has largely been overseen by women. Fortunately, after the house became headquarters to the Society of the Cincinnati in 1985, it steadily raised its public profile. It has enjoyed extensive rejuvenation since being bequeathed to the Society. The house was more recently featured in Robert Redford’s period film The Conspirator, which is timed for release in the spring of 2011. The film was screened during the Savannah Film Festival in November of 2010. “It’s about the conviction of Mary Surrat, the first woman to be executed in the United States,” says Butler. Film production rentals are lucrative, she explains, and historic properties demand infusions of cash to remain viable and strong. Butler offers the house as a preservationist learning tool to the general public, but also specifically to UGA graduate students. Butler exposes them to some of the finest of antebellum architecture at Harper Fowlkes House. The house, designed by Irish architect Charles B. Clusky, features a mansard roof, stuccoed and scored brick facade and a Temple of the Wind portico. Inside the fine house, faux painted walls and ceilings mimic grained wood. Period mirrors, original furnishings and bronze lights are all preserved. Savannah’s historic district is the largest in the United States. The Harper Fowlkes house is surely among Savannah’s greatest beauties.
TWENTY FIVE YEARS LATER Today, conservators and preservationist professionals are au courant. It was not the case when Butler completed her graduate studies in the 1980s. “I remember talking to a woman about getting a graduate degree in preservation. She
discouraged doing it unless I knew exactly what I was going to do with it. I am a big believer in college. I wanted to do what I loved, and I valued this—learning to learn. I am glad I didn’t listen to her.” She inculcates this idea in her two daughters. Her youngest is considering colleges, and Butler hopes UGA will be high on the list. But it is a long way from Savannah to Athens; Butler knows this journey well, as her older daughter is completing her senior year there and will graduate in 2011. For now, she hopes her daughter is enjoying the process without a narrow view to the end goal. Like history, the end point of education
unfolds and reveals itself of its own volition. “Graduate school should especially be that way; I always tell my daughters how I loved graduate study.” G
For further information: The Harper Fowlkes House is located at 230 Barnard Street on Orleans Square. It is open for tours Wednesday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Guided tours are offered every 45 minutes or by appointment. For additional background see: www.harper fowlkeshouse.com or phone: 912-234-2180.
HISTORIC PRESERVATION, THE SOCIETY OF THE CINCINNATI IN THE STATE OF GEORGIA AND ALIDA HARPER FOWLKES “Alida was a visionary and a preservationist,” says Donna Butler, who directs the Harper Fowlkes House. By the time Alida Harper purchased the pre-Civil War house in 1939, the house had stood in the shade of stately magnolia trees overlooking the Orleans Square for almost a century. The house sold for the Depression-era bargain price of $9,000. Although a bargain, Harper, a single, working woman, was forced to take in boarders in order to meet the costs of upkeep. One of those boarders, Hunter McGuire Fowlkes became Alida Harper’s husband, but predeceased her by many years. She occupied the home until her death in the mid 1980s. Fowlkes was also an antiques collector and based an antiques shop in one of her renovated properties. She became as tireless in her zeal to save Savannah’s historic district as another famous Savannah resident, fellow antiques dealer and preservationist Jim Williams. (Jim Williams and his historic home at 430 Whitaker Street, the Mercer Williams House, were made equally famous by the John Berendt book, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, and the film by that name.) According to published reports, Alida Harper Fowlkes joined the Society for the Preservation of Savannah Landmarks while still managing a tea room (known as the Olde Pink House on East Congress Street, which she is also credited with saving. The owner at the time had reportedly threatened to demolish the house, which faces Reynolds Square. That property survives today as a popular Savannah restaurant.) And so, Fowlkes's work as a preservationist even preceded her purchase and ownership of the Harper Fowlkes home, formerly known as the Champion-McAlpin House. According to Morgan Harrison, who wrote a master’s thesis on Fowlkes, the dedicated restorationist went on to improve a total of 11 historic Savannah properties. Ironically enough, Fowlkes died in 1985, the same year that Donna Butler earned the first degree in historic preservation at UGA. At Fowlkes’ death, she entrusted her lifelong home to the Society of the Cincinnati in the State of Georgia. The bequest was made to honor her father, William Edward Harper. Hereafter, the bequeathed home was known as the Champion-McAlpin-Harper-Fowlkes House, usually shortened to the Harper Fowlkes House. The Society immediately began improvements to preserve both the interior and exterior. The mechanical systems were redone. Once again, the resourceful woman had found a way to secure the home’s future.
UGA Graduate School Magazine W I N T E R 2 0 1 1
Meet Kausar Samli, Singularity University Alum and UGA Doctoral Student: A Global Nomad and Singularity University Thinker BY CYNTHIA ADAMS PHOTOS BY NANCY EVELYN
POINT OF EMBARKMENT Intellectual adventure offers millions of departures daily: Travelers leave their comfort zones for destinations unknown. Many lose unwanted baggage en route to the unfamiliar; some find themselves transported to a foreign outpost, a discovery place. Social science suggests that the journey outside our point of reference, the “comfort zone” most of us inhabit, allows us to map a new perspective. Neurologists say this kind of discomfiture is good for us. It can even stimulate the growth of neural pathways inside the brain, making us smarter, more resilient and adaptive—a quantum shift. So can cross-cultural exposures make for a more integrative or innovative scholar? Research indicates it does. This bodes well for international students like Kausar Samli, a University of Georgia doctoral student who crosses continents to slake an intellectual thirst for mental refreshment.
his year, Samli’s adventuring took him to a revolutionary new campus in Silicon Valley. Samli’s summer was spent in California attending the Graduate Studies Program at Singularity University, SU, which is hosted at NASA’s Ames Research Center, where geniuses, gadgetry, gumption and gazillionaires mixed it up for some Singularity-styled problem solving. At SU, the curricula concerns artificial intelligence and robotics, biotechnology and bioinformatics, nanotechnology, networks and computing systems, space and physical sciences, medicine and neuroscience, policy, law and ethics, future studies and forecasting, energy and environmental systems, finance, entrepreneurship and economics. In essence, the curriculum concerns the future, which is being ushered fast and hard, driven by exponential advances in technologies. Some at SU believe technological advances are on track to reach a critical point with great consequence by the year 2045. They call this the Singularity, which inspired the university’s name. However, SU prefers to focus upon the near future and its immediate, undisputed challenges. Those challenges are news-making ones: drought, water shortage, energy challenges, poverty, health and pollution, says Peter Diamandis in SU’s literature. Diamandis is a physician and is best known as an inventor, rather than an academic. “Going into the program, my object was transformation, and that transformation is in process,” says Samli. “We see the trajectory of problems and technologies and identify their future intersection where the solutions and opportunities are created. That is the biggest thing the
program did for us. How do you look three, four, five years down the road? You have to shoot for a target based upon tomorrow’s technologies.” Samli knows: he’s spent a summer submerged within what Walt Disney might have called Future World. Disney himself couldn’t have designed a better setting for SU.
Kausar Samli has experienced ancient cultures where education and scientific advances are regarded differently, even suspiciously. “As my global perspective has matured and broadened over the years, I've focused on technology and how it influences communities,” he says. Singularity University focused Samli’s thinking about technologies in a new millennium. “We’re eroding culture and communities; we cannot quantify this. When I came across Singularity’s program, I recognized this is where we need to be. How do we look at global solutions? How do we think about technology considering global matters?”
“When I came across Singularity’s program, I recognized this is where we need to be. How do we look at global solutions? How do we think about technology considering global matters?” —Kausar Samli
KAUSAR N. SAMLI
Singularity University’s Graduate Studies Program has the goal of assembling experts and students from widely divergent backgrounds. The students who attended SU came from 35 countries, and ranged in age from a 19-year-old PhD student to a 51-year-old. This divergence was precisely what they sought in creating what the co-founders, Ray Kurzweil and Peter Diamandis, call “an unparalleled convergence learning environment. We also challenge our students with our 10 to the 9th Team Projects, asking them how they can positively affect the lives of a billion people within 10 years.”
Created by Congress in 1939, the Ames Research Center occupies 500 acres at Moffett Field. This area, better known as Silicon Valley, is the locus for one third of the nation’s technology companies. It is also closely affiliated with many of the most forward-thinking scientists and research institutions in the world. Some former SU students who attended the inaugural session last year have reportedly settled in nearby Cupertino, California, to continue their work and maintain access to the resources open to them nearby. SU is also founded upon the premise that interdisciplinary approaches make for achievements far greater than the sum of an isolated discipline. Thus far, that premise seems to work—thousands of accomplished applicants vie for fewer than 100 seats each SU session. “In 2009, Singularity University did their first graduate studies program,” Samli says. “There were more than 1,200 applicants.” Their visionary curriculum reflects the
educational experience of the future, say supporters like Maureen Grasso, dean of the UGA Graduate School. “There are academicians within the Academy who are talking about the fact that the educational model is changing,” notes Grasso. She says it was exciting to send a promising UGA doctoral student like Kausar Samli to such a dynamic experience. Inspired and challenged by the world’s most progressive thinkers, SU engenders a sea-change in future leaders, researchers and educators. It provides them with an entirely new skill set—turning the top-down model on its head. To do that, SU chooses a particular mix of gender, skills, education, leadership potential and exposures. Samli recognizes that the experience of a different educational model such as SU’s was life changing. The sheer intensity and innovative nature of the Singularity-designed curricula created something unanticipated.
Tackling nearly impossible things, en masse, for hours on end, led to a collective sense of possibilities and a surprising sense of mental refreshment. It also led to a new community among the SU scholars, Samli says. “Once you are part of the SU community, you are part of the SU family,” he adds. “At SU you are a family member the day you get there. A lot of that is because they screen you very thoroughly—they pin you. It’s a very different way.” The momentum isn’t lost when the 10week program ends. Singularity graduates blog online with problems and ideas. Team members continue working on their chosen projects in one of five core areas, which include water, food, energy, space and Upcycling, after they leave Singularity University and resume their respective graduate work. Before leaving campus last summer, SU reunions were planned in the United States and in Paris over Thanksgiving.
“The pairing of high-tech tools with innovation underscores one SU ideal. The other piece of the dynamic at SU emphasizes employing these advancements in benefiting humankind.” —Kausar Samli
“At SU, the scholars set to work in earnest on urgent projects of global concern. They also worked with access to people of scientific and technological renown. This focus differed from traditional approaches—it is the interdisciplinary model others will embrace.” —Dean Maureen Grasso
A SCHOLAR’S BEGINNINGS: POSSESSING CURIOSITY, A PASSPORT AND A PASSION FOR STUDY Kausar Samli had a rite of passage to adulthood that taught him opportunity must be earned. He describes descending from a family of humble beginnings who valued scholarship and also practicality. “So preserving and using resources in an efficient manner has always been impressed,” he explains. He has logged thousands of miles from early life in an Indian village to the University of Georgia and Singularity University in the new millennium. Samli was born in India during his parents’ vacation. He was raised in Saudi Arabia and educated at the United States Consulate, and sent to an American boarding school as a 13-year-old. Along the way, Samli became a “third culture kid,” and punched his ticket for a life of exploration.
OUT WEST, NOBEL LAUREATES, GRADUATE STUDENTS, BRAINIACS AND SPACEMEN GATHER TO SAVE THE WORLD In the interest of full disclosure, Singularity University isn’t a traditional university at all. The summer program for exceptional graduate students is a futuristic creation with a dazzling infusion of intellectual star power. SU is also an intellectual think-tank, the brainchild of futurist Kurzweil and Diamandis, who is also the founder of X Prize. Kurzweil and Diamandis partnered in the pursuit of a better future world at a time of epochal change. BBC Focus magazine calls Kurzweil “the Singularity University chancellor on the future of technology.” Where else but at SU would an astronaut head up faculty matters? Dan Barry is a former NASA astronaut and Singularity’s faculty head. SU, based on NASA’s Ames campus, fulfills a
NASA/Ames Congressional initiative to further research and development. Barry is both an MD and PhD. (Diamandis holds an MD and an honorary doctorate.) The SU campus has a relationship with Google, who also leased property at the Ames Research Park in a joint initiative with NASA. Larry Page, a Google co-founder, interacts with SU’s participants. Samli met Page while attending SU. “Google, ePlanet Ventures, Autodesk, the Ewing Marion Kaufmann Foundation and Nokia are SU’s corporate founders,” says Samli. “In addition to Page, I met Jeff Kowalski (CTO, Autodesk); Shehzad Naqvi (Silicon Valley Managing Director, ePlanet Ventures); and Bo Fishback (Vice President of Entrepreneurship, Kaufmann Foundation). Nokia signed on as a corporate founder in October 2010, after I left SU.” X Prize, the private foundation Diamandis created, is devoted to “radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity” according to their website. X Prize offers innovators financial incentives and offers awards. Diamandis, who earned advanced degrees from MIT and Harvard, is known for daring feats of technological entrepreneurship. He has, among other businesses, developed space flight and zero gravity experiences for private citizens. The NASA setting for SU is prime real estate for such a luminous gathering. It makes a fitting launching pad for big ideas—and an excellent landing spot for international scholars like Samli. Samli’s perspective, both before and beyond SU, is enriched by multiple exposures. He trains a wide lens upon problems. “Growing up in such a multicultural environment, one of the things I’m intrigued by is how do communities and cultures and societies look at technology. How do they accept it and reject it? Why do they believe what they have come to believe?” Samli asks. Influenced by his mechanical engineer
A third culture kid, or TCK, is a term coined by American sociologist Ruth Hill Useem. TCKs are born to adventure. The term “third culture kid” describes those like Samli who matured and were educated outside their birth cultures. Such children were uprooted from their birth country, subsequently evolving within various influences and cultures. TCKs are usually multilingual and multicultural. (Samli speaks several languages.) TCK’s develop an acceptance and affinity for other cultures. Being a TCK served Samli especially well when he applied to attend Singularity University with thinkers, inventors, innovators and scholars drawn from a multitude of ethnicities and cultures. Here, SU’s Diamandis, and co-founder and futurist, Raymond Kurzweil, gathered an international assemblage to concern themselves with solutions for the betterment of the world. Shoulder-toshoulder, students, billionaires, inventors and Nobel Laureates sought solutions to some of the world’s great questions. Without doubt, there were many TCKs among the nationalities represented at SU.
UGA Graduate School Magazine W I N T E R 2 0 1 1
“My experience reinvigorated my determination to finish my PhD work. What was reinforced was, to have a lasting, global impact, you have to have a depth of expertise and knowledge you translate on a global scale.” —Kausar Samli
father, who grew up in a small Indian village with inadequate water supply, Samli says such awareness was an enormous influence in his studies. “Water has always been a very big issue,” Samli says. “My parents are from India. To this day, there is a lack of clean running water in the town my family came from. Municipal water supply is lacking. Most residents drink water from wells they’ve drilled down into the aquifer…which is running low.” Samli has not only pursued high educational goals, but also philanthropic and social ones.
CHANGE MAKING AND TRANSFORMATION
“Basic research is at the core of discovery,” says Samli. Steeped in the sciences, he also has a strong grounding in philosophical and theological studies, as well as multicultural experiences on three continents.
Samli, intensely analytical, is also affable. He talks fast and smiles easily. As an adolescent, he recalls experiencing the inevitable identity crisis. Perhaps cultures themselves go through a parallel upheaval, he wonders. He is given to interdisciplinary thinking. Samli studied philosophy and theology as well as science and found himself “attracted to the possibility of enacting global change through people, interactions, and projects such as SU,” Samli explains. Graduate students attending Singularity are set to work on team projects of their own choosing—that is, five ambitious team projects, concerning such topic areas as waste (Upcycle), energy, food, water and space. Samli was pegged as team leader for the project he chose, working with waste and recycling issues, on a project called Upcycle. “Upcycling allows maximizing the re-use of products in a closed-loop manufacturing process and positively impacts the environment by minimizing waste, reducing the demand for natural resource mining, and returning materials with higher environmental value,” says Samli.
“Upcycling seeks to convert trash into useful products—a more ambitious concept than mere recycling. The Upcycle aim is zero waste. Samli says, “Of all the team projects, Upcycle was the one that had to look at water, food, energy and space junk—waste in space. The university selected these projects knowing they had overlap.” During a webinar in September, Kurzweil described how SU’s students bring academic and entrepreneurial thinking to bear upon these and other topics of global concern. Afterward, student teams develop a commercial or nonprofit idea that can be implemented for broad application. The design challenge for the 10 to the 9th Team Projects is to develop a solution to positively impact a billion people over 10 years. In preparation for the team work, Kurzweil says, students initially received an overview for the first phase of the program, in something like an intellectual boot camp that runs for long hours. In the early phase of nonstop work, Kurzweil says graduate students from various disciplines “are getting a cutting edge understanding of robotics, space, environmental systems, etc.” SU students give it more than the old college try. SU demands students give it the new college try. Attendees see and hear the very people devising the brave new world of the future. The students get to query and pitch their ideas to luminaries—gaining the networking opportunity of a lifetime. In the process of matriculating at SU, students interact with innovators and inventors of products like the Segway’s Dean Kamen, as well as Nobel Laureates. (Though the Segway is well known, Kamen is hardly a gadgeteer. He created innovations like a mobile dialysis machine and an all-terrain wheelchair.) Students at SU heard from 160 such people during SU lectures, says Samli. Many famous name presenters were in the field of
UGA Graduate School Magazine W I N T E R 2 0 1 1
SOLVING THE WORLD'S BIG PROBLEMS AT SU SU’s graduate summer program is an intense, highly selective one. Chosen students, entrepreneurs and experts attempt to “understand and facilitate the development of exponentially advancing technologies” for the greater good. The underlying matrix of the shared experience is that of intellectual discovery. “Ask yourself, how are you going to positively affect the lives of a billion people?” asked Larry Brilliant, president of Skoll Global Threats Fund. “If I were a student, this is where I would want to be,” says Larry Page, founder of Google, about SU. There’s a lot to digest in the curriculum before setting out to do what a British journalist called “saving the world.” The first week at SU addresses an overview of the fields of endeavor the assembled scholars will study. (“What has been tried? What has worked? What is the primary challenge? What technology is needed?”) The second, third, fourth and fifth weeks look at the impact of exponential technologies. (“Students learn all about the fields in exponential growth and strive to understand what is in the lab today. Where are we heading for the next 5-10 years?”) By the sixth week, SU students consider what changes can be put into action in addressing grand challenges.
information technologies. However, a range of scientific notables were on hand. Samli recalls being given the chance to question Nobel Laureate Daniel Kammen. Kammen, who works at Berkley, is a climate advisor to the Obama administration. “Dan was just appointed as the World Banks’ Chief Technical Specialist for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency,” Samli adds. Samli is still awestruck by Kammen making himself available to students, saying, “that is the type of access you don’t normally have.” Access is one of SU’s greatest benefits— the internal network, Samli says, is unprecedented. He mentions with awe in his voice, “I met Dr. Larry Brilliant, who was on the team that eradicated smallpox.” Samli keeps Brilliant’s business card on his UGA desk like a talisman. The traditional lecture structure is complemented by the vast human network of SU. Samli believes such an integrative approach is SU’s brilliant advantage. “This teaches us the history of the past but also future studies and forecasting, not just technologies but challenges.” Students also received an experientially charged education:
They experienced zero gravity, visited a robotics research lab, and made a three dimensional mask of their own faces on a three dimensional printer. The mask, which Samli also keeps on his desk, is an ABS polymer. “High-end versions of the printer can do rapid prototyping,” says Samli. “Printers are being developed that mix and integrate up to eight different materials.” Maker Bot produces printers for as little as $1,000, he adds, though higher end ones like the Dimension uPrint 3D printer are $15,000. “Manufacturing dynamic changes with this,” Samli says, cupping the stunning polymer mask of his face in his hand. “If you unleash tools (such as this) imagine what that will do. It will spur innovation and creativity.” The ultimate intent of the 10 weeks is as much humanistic as it is intellectual, Kurzweil explains. SU’s core purpose is that of changing the world for the better. Diamandis and his XPrize foundation supported the same premise before he paired up with Kurzweil. He founded an International Space University in 1987. Kurzweil and Diamandis are committed, according to hundreds of press accounts, to supporting creativity and humanism alike.
“Innovators in education are acknowledging how quantum leaps of technology are going to demand educational changes. We are talking about this very thing—shifting from drilling down within one discipline, the way education has traditionally worked, to approaches that reach across disciplines, weaving broader, lateral views.” —Dean Maureen Grasso
SINGULARITY UNIVERSITY: TURNING THE LEARNING MODEL UPSIDE DOWN
Kausar Samli first learned about Singularity University in 2009 as a UGA graduate student. He applied, along with 1,200 others, for the inaugural session. “I was chosen as one of 50,” Samli says. “When I came across Singularity’s program, I recognized this is where we need to be. How do we look at global solutions? How do we think about technology considering global matters?” Samli asks. “As my global perspective has matured and broadened over the years, I’ve focused on technology and how it influences community.” But the program was new, and couldn’t accommodate all that were admitted. Samli was wait-listed and attended in 2010 instead. He joined 80 graduate students representing 35 countries. (The BBC reported that the 80 students in the 2010 session held 180 degrees, with more than half of them heading start-up companies.) Two UGA alums, Susan Fonseca-Klein and Bruce Klein, are founding architects of SU. Samli explains that SU’s educational premise
shifts from drilling down to drilling wide. During traditional graduate study, the approach is to drill deeply within one’s discipline. SU turns that model upside down. Members of academia, or the Academy, feel this is the future wave, says Maureen Grasso, dean of the UGA Graduate School. “What this young man, Samli, did was to find applications for entrepreneurship and applied his discipline. That is what is so interesting about Singularity University’s intense seminar,” Grasso notes. SU students explored interdisciplinary approaches that best leveraged rapidly accelerating technologies to address real world needs. Samli received a partial scholarship from SU and financial assistance from UGA’s Graduate School, the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the Complex Carbohydrate Research Center, Glycosensors & Diagnostics, LLC and his PhD advisor, Robert Woods.
UGA Graduate School Magazine W I N T E R 2 0 1 1
“Translational research asks, ‘How can I manipulate the natural biochemical system to do something that can be application-oriented?’” Samli says his experience last summer at Singularity University imparted a greater comfort with the process of broad intellectual and self discovery.
Kurzweil says Singularity is “hoping to solve problems that seem unsolvable.” The resulting team assignments at SU seek viable solutions for the incredibly complex. Meeting the world’s food, water and resource needs, are on their targeted to-do list, among others. And, Kurzweil adds, they are seeking to accomplish their goals expeditiously and affordably. Following immersion in topics including such things as commercial space flight, artificial intelligence initiatives, nanotechnologies and water desalination, students then choose teams focused upon what Kurzweil calls “10 to the 9th projects.” Teams working on 10 to the 9th Team Projects are charged with finding realistic solutions for the potential benefit of a billion people within a decade.
The project areas assigned to SU students included: food, water, energy, space, and Upcycle. At first, Samli wanted to work with the water team. “Upcycle and water were my first choices.” He is keenly aware that water is one of the defining geopolitical issues of this century. Yet Samli quickly shifted gears after one week. He decided waste issues were fundamental to resolving water issues. Samli moved over to the Upcycle team, addressing waste. Chosen as his team’s leader, Samli made a tightly-scripted, seven-minute presentation at the session’s end to an SU audience including venture capitalists. He says the audience included billionaires, inventors and Nobel Laureates. The presentation he gave was videotaped and used in a web cast.
Samli’s PhD advisor, Robert J. Woods, came to SU for a visit during Samli’s tenure there. Woods lent his research assistant strong support to attend the program. Woods, a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology in UGA’s Complex Carbohydrate Research Center, is also chair of computational glycosciences in the School of Chemistry at the National University of Ireland in Galway.
THIRD CULTURE KIDS: AT HOME WITH THE INTERFACE OF CULTURES Samli’s adult perspective is shaped by the blended influences of the ancient and the futuristic. “I left home when I was 13,” he says, “but the story begins well before that.”
“The caliber of the faculty and students I met at SU was remarkable, in terms of their enthusiasm, their diversity, and the broadness and depth of their knowledge and individual experience. It is an intellectual environment that is not constrained by the mundane, fostering blue-sky thinking in order to stimulate innovative solutions to global issues.” —Robert J. Woods, PhD, FRSC
He describes himself today as a global nomad, who shares an affinity with many world cultures. “My background is varied,” Samli says. “Part of this is [essential to understanding] the type of person I am.” Samli has studied and worked in places as diverse as Saudi Arabia, India, Ireland, Texas, and Arizona. Today, his extended family resides in Texas, Oklahoma, Washington, Toronto, Paris and Delhi. Third culture kids can also be intellectually restless, hence Samli’s reference to himself as a nomad. “Change is something I almost run after,” Samli explains. “In some ways, I need that. This is connected to my professional development.” TCKs such as Samli are well suited to life on a shrinking planet. Given their ease in moving across cultures, they do not become ethnocentric adults, but become global citizens. “All of my siblings grew up as third culture kids….We had a hybrid culture,” he says. “These ‘TCK’ children find that home for them is at the interface of these communities.” A year ago, Samli found home at the University of Georgia studying at the Center for Complex Carbohydrate Research. Prior to this, he attended graduate school in Arizona and abroad. Last summer, when another portal opened, it synthesized all aspects of Samli’s intellectual and emotional education. That door was SU. G
www.arc.nasa.gov (NASA Ames Research Center) www.kurzweilai.net/singularity-universitywebinar-today-sneak-preview www.progressivetimes.wordpress.com/2010 /02/17/recycling-vs-upcycling-what-is-thedifference/
THE FASTEST, MOST ADVANCED 4G NETWORK IN AMERICA
For Further Information: www.ksamli.myweb.uga.edu www.singularityu.org www.glycam.ccrc.uga.edu (Robert Woods' research site) www.ccrc.uga.edu (CCRC website) www.bmb.uga.edu (Dept of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology)
UGA Graduate School Magazine W I N T E R 2 0 1 1
Creativity in Crisis? For Expert Kyung Hee Kim, Creativity Flowers in America as a Byproduct of Crisis
BY CYNTHIA ADAMS PHOTOS BY NANCY EVELYN
SHE SPRINGS UP from her standard-issue swivel office chair as the door swings open. Then Kyung Hee Kim warmly hugs a guest from UGA— a place that became a haven for her a decade ago—as if a little bit of Athens could be absorbed in that exchange. Athens’ dust might as well be fairy dust, as far as Kim is concerned. “Athens—I felt like it was my home. When I went to Athens in the College of Education, there were a lot of yellow flowers called forsythia. It looked like my home. It’s similar to Korea.” At UGA, Kim earned (her second) doctorate in educational psychology in 2005. “I got full support, academically and mentally.” This is Kim’s story. It is as much about a journey of personal freedom as it is about creativity. As Kim says, quoting a poet, “If I accept you as you are, then I make you worse. If I see you as the person I know you are capable of being, then I make you better.”
n a simple green and white card, Kyung Hee Kim’s academic credentials are crisply, simply arranged. She is an educational psychologist. She works at the nation’s second oldest university—The College of William & Mary—in one of our nation’s oldest cities. Both town and university date to the 1600s. Yet Kim is very much a modern woman of this time. She is a tiny, youthful woman with glossy, shoulder length hair, and shining dark eyes. She settles behind her desk, wearing a tasteful black suit with silk shirt, radiating the poised authority of someone seasoned, older. Assorted awards from national and international organizations lining the walls betray the fact that Kim has been working in her field far longer than seems possible. Kim, at 43, looks a decade younger. But she has now earned two doctorates and raised two children. A daughter, Onyu (Harmony) Lee, is a freshman at Northwestern University. Her son Jiseok (Ji) Lee is a ninth grader. When Newsweek broke a story on Kim’s work in the July 19, 2010 edition, the headline screamed, “The Creativity Crisis.” The subhead intoned: “For the first time, research shows that American creativity is declining. What went wrong—and how can we fix it?” Kim published findings using E. Paul Torrance’s creativity scoring system, developed 50 years ago at UGA. The study of children and adults weighed nearly 300,000 individual scores. Seven pages in Newsweek dedicated to Kim’s work captured media attention, raising alarms in the U.S., and heckling abroad. A British newspaper trumpeted, “New Study Says America is Losing its Innovative Edge.” Ouch, thought Kim. Not what she intended, at all. Kim swivels in her chair and says with great candor she turned down a request to appear on The Charlie Rose Show. Primetime Charlie Rose, the interviewer of world-renowned politicians, writers, actors— everybody who is anybody in pop culture—also wanted time with Kim. The thing was, Kim didn’t want time with another interviewer. Why would she refuse Rose? She was succinct. “I believe everybody is creative.” She adds, “I don’t believe in finger pointing.” It took a while for her to appreciate just how much of a slap-down the Newsweek headline was, especially given Americans still lay claim to the world’s creativity franchise. The news that American creativity was
Kyung Hee Kim is a headline-making researcher at the nation’s second oldest university, the College of William & Mary. She credits UGA with handing her the keys to drive her own future for the first time, since immigrating to America from a small Korean village. Since publishing a much-acclaimed research piece on creativity last summer, Kim’s phone has not stopped ringing. National and international media continue to pursue prized interviews with the UGA alum. Although she’s highly sought after, Kim shies away from the media. The persistent attention disquieted her. Yet Kim granted an interview with The Graduate School Magazine, even as she was barraged with requests from unanticipated sources.
UGA Graduate School Magazine W I N T E R 2 0 1 1
“Parents think I’m a fortune teller. “They’re sending me their children’s drawings. I’m getting questions whenever I go outside. Restaurant owners, they even ask me. They want to know about their own creativity!” —Kyung Hee Kim
slipping and had been for over 50 years left readers either defensive or deeply alarmed. Kim grew upset at a reporter’s insistence she isolate the culprit. She was forced to begin screening media calls. “People asked me how we can foster children having more creativity,” Kim says. She points out there’s no single, simple answer, or handy sound bite that satisfies this question. Parent education is needed, she says. “Parent education must be mandatory for every single parent,” Kim believes, for parents can smother the spark that burns in all children. “I have been in this country for only 10 years. I haven’t been here long enough to criticize. That is not what my research is about. I don’t study politics. I just want to help creative people, and children who are creative, so that parents don’t kill their creativity and their lives become miserable. I just want to help those people, but no reporter has been interested in that so far,” she stresses.
THE CREATIVITY OBSESSION “She is a member of the Center for Gifted Education and teaches research methodology classes,” says Bruce Bracken, a William & Mary colleague and fellow UGA alum. “She is a rising star at the College, coming to us with a mature, well-developed line of research, which is unusual for assistant professors. Her research has already brought considerable attention to us through her Newsweek citations, as well as her other notable research (e.g., meta-analyses) and presentations.” “The term ‘creativity’ is understood by everyone,” says Tracy L. Cross, executive director of the Center for Gifted Education at William & Mary. Perhaps, Cross says, that’s why the public’s so interested, he writes in an email. “Of course, that means that there are nearly an infinite number of tacit definitions operating. Moreover, most people enjoy talent domains such as art and in those domains one can easily tell when they are witnessing something that they cannot do themselves. So, creativity is in everyone’s world from the practical arts to the high arts. It makes sense that so many people are interested in it.” And interested they were. As a scientist, colleague, friend and parent, Kim said 500 emails daily filled her inbox since that headline and others like it broke. The emails carried entreating subject lines, and Kim remained under siege to give interviews months later. Kim sighs, swiveling away from a PC screen that pings with incoming email alerts, that she could longer do her research. “Finger pointing,” she says, her eyes blazing. “Whose fault is that? It focuses on blaming people and I don’t want to do that. Also, they
don’t know. People don’t appreciate their air right now; it’s just there. I came from a different culture and then I came to America.” Here, the air allowed her to breathe as a free thinker. She wants the blame-game to cease. “I believe it is the land of opportunity. Even if they want to blame, I don’t blame—I want to thank the country, and the American people!” As days wore on after the research became public, panicked parents accosted Kim, asking if their child, or they themselves, were uncreative. “Parents think I’m a fortune teller,” Kim says. “They’re sending me their children’s drawings. I’m getting questions whenever I go outside. Restaurant owners, they even ask me. They want to know about their own creativity!” Americans are panicked at the news that we are either growing more dumb or less creative or both. Kim isn’t happy about that response, either, and gestures with a stop sign by holding up her hand. America, she says seriously, is where she found opportunity and personal freedom. “Being creative is being mentally healthy,” Kim asserts. “Since I came here, I let out my creative energies. I’m healthier; I’m happier and more independent.” With an intake of breath, Kim gathers herself. “This country has saved my life! It’s the best country on earth!” she explodes. “You know that. Don’t you?” Since leaving Korea for the United States 10 years ago, Kim has become devotedly American. She tells how she was once bound by a traditional culture in which family and village elders held complete sway. “There is no other place on earth like the United States. No other country. Compared to any other country in the world, it is the best.” On this point, Kim is adamant. To know how great her clarity, one must go with Kim to the journey that has made this known. But Kim warms to the creativity topic slowly. First, she reveals how she jumpstarted her own creative life, and, finally, how she wound up at the epicenter of a creativity maelstrom.
A PHD, WIFE AND MOTHER, ONCE HOPELESSLY CAUGHT IN A WEB OF TRADITION… Kim is a native of Bugye-myon, Gunwi-gun, which she compares to a province, in Kyungsangpook, which she further explains, is like a state, in the country of Korea. “It is really deep South. Remote countryside. Mountainous—a small village,” Kim explains. Village elders weighed in on all matters, along with family. When Kim, the second of four children, was identified as a promising student, her relatives discouraged her attending school, saying it might make her disobedient. Her parents finally relented, allowing Kim
UGA Graduate School Magazine W I N T E R 2 0 1 1
Kim at age 14 with her Korean teacher, Mr. Cho.
to become the first female person from the town of Bugye to go to high school and, with a full scholarship, college. “They were right,” Kim smiles ruefully. “I became disobedient.” Every other girl went to work in a local sock factory. “Most people were and are very Confucian, but my parents were and are Christian, and Christianity was brought to my country by a lot of missionaries from the U.S. who taught my parents that girls and boys should be treated equally.” She met her husband in college. He became a dentist known as Dr. Lee, and she was an educator teaching in a Korean high school. Lee was accomplished, kind, and a member of the Korean upper class—and also subject to caste imperatives. “You don’t marry the man, you marry the family,” Kim notes. Though Kim became rich and possessed an education herself, once
installed in the upper caste via marriage, she was trapped within centuries of ancient traditions. Her modern ambitions were unwelcome in her new social place. “Three years, you are mute; three years, deaf; three years blind. For nine years, you suffer,” Kim says about traditional Korean marriage. “I did anything I could for my husband’s family and his parents. What my parents told me to do, I did.” She took up knitting and art as distractions, but her hopelessness grew deeper. Kim was devalued by her in-laws, and pressured to produce an heir for her high-born husband. When she gave birth to a daughter instead, she was chided and punished by her in-laws. Kim says only a male heir, to carry on the Lee’s bloodline, was acceptable. She dreamed of sheltering her daughter from the dominant Asian gender bias, and to use her own education. For a while, Kim continued teaching until forced to quit. Public employment of a wealthy wife was indication of financial inadequacy. “It was embarrassing to them—my inlaws,” Kim says. “Viewed by them as suggesting that my husband was not being substantial enough.” Kim lost her work and her identity, explaining, “After that, I didn’t want to live there.” She looked for and found a temporary exit from the Lee family’s control: self-improvement was acceptable. “It looks fancy,” Kim says with a tight smile. She moved with her daughter to Seoul City to attend graduate school. “She didn’t see her dad,” Kim recalls, and her daughter cried out for him at night. Yet Kim persevered towards earning a doctorate. She had a second pregnancy, also a girl, which terminated. Thereafter, Kim’s father visited her in Seoul, bearing expensive Chinese herbs he hoped might produce a male heir, thereby restoring harmony within Kim’s new family. She reluctantly followed her father’s wishes, bowing low to the East at sunrise, and swallowing the roots and herbs as her father entreated. “He paid a lot of money, so I could have a boy,” she says. “In Asia, the blood line is all important.” Kim gave birth to a son in the fall of 1995, and the formerly hostile mother-in-law, now appeased, bowed low to her. Ostensibly, peace was restored in the Lee household. Kim’s husband encouraged her to spend money, and she redecorated their house, filling it with a grand piano and expensive symbols of wealth. Increasingly despondent, Kim withdrew. “I didn’t have any hope, any future,” she says. “I felt like a marionette, controlled by my culture.” She sought psychiatric help. “He said that there was only one thing I could do. Open my heart. He told me to open my heart, but he didn’t tell me how.” Instead, Kim opened her mind wide; one idea contained a flicker
“Mr. Cho convinced my parents to send me to an academic high school instead of the factory that made socks. On May 15, Teacher's Day, I used to call him and talk. But, on May 15, 2001, I called from Florida, USA, to Korea, and found from his wife that he had passed away a month before. That day was one of my saddest days in my life."—Kyung Hee Kim 22
“The gifted are of three kinds: One, high intelligence and low creativity; two, high creativity and low intelligence; three, high intelligence and high creativity. A person can possess the third type, although it’s unusual. But it’s extremely rare; if you are innovative you try to collect people who are adaptive. If you are adaptive, you work for innovative people.” —Kyung Hee Kim
of hope. “Maybe I can go to America,” she thought. “Why America? I was an English teacher, and America is land of freedom and land of opportunity, right?” She told her husband’s family that “an important male son, who was the first born of their first born, needed to master English.” But the Lees balked at this. She pressed the case with the support of her kindly husband. “Especially for a valuable grandson, speaking English before puberty was really important.” Aided by her husband, Kim forged ahead. “In June of 2000, I decided to come here, and then I started to get a visa.” On August 1, two months later, she chose San Diego as her new destination. “There are a lot of Asian people there, so I wouldn’t look different,” Kim decided. She found an apartment on the Internet for herself and two small children in La Jolla, Ca. They arrived in California August 8, 2000, without any preparation, she recalls. In Korea, where she earned her first doctorate in education, Kim was taught to read and write English, but not to speak it. She felt paralytic at first, relying upon the kindness of strangers to communicate in buying groceries and pay bills. Paying debts by check was unheard of to her. She was bilked out of thousands of dollars by a new “friend” when the family settled briefly outside San Diego. “If you want to go to Korea and buy a house and open your own business, no way. But here, if you work hard, you can do anything. Of course, there is racism. I know it very well. There are people who think if you cannot speak fluently, you are ignorant. But it is still better than any country for foreigners.” Badly shaken by the theft, Kim packed up the family and retreated to Tampa, Florida. “Okay,” she amends. “There were people who took advantage of me and were bad, but this is the most accepting country in the world. It is the land of opportunity and of freedom.” She came to the States “to run away from her culture” and was never tempted to return to Korea. Even so, Kim had recurring nightmares and felt desperately lonely when her marriage ended amicably. Yet there was something else on her mind. Kim was obsessed with creativity and how it is nurtured. In Korea, Kim’s creativity was treated as an aberration. She returned to academics to occupy herself with her
husband’s support. At the University of South Florida, or USF, she met a professor from Ghana named Kofi Marfo, who became a mentor. Kim aced USF graduate classes, some of which she had already taken en route to her doctorate in education. She became known as “Miss Statistics” after signing up for beginning, intermediate and advanced statistics all at once. “They thought I was brilliant,” she jokes. Very quickly, Marfo told Kim where her future lay—to the north of Florida in a small Georgia town. “He kicked me out and told me I had to go to the University of Georgia because Dr. Torrance was there.” What Kim truly wanted to know was why she was so different from her fellow Koreans. At the Torrance Center for Creativity and Talent Development, Marfo believed Kim might find answers, and a renewed focus. “I never, ever thought I could study in a foreign culture. This is not my country. I didn’t intend to have another PhD,” she wondered. Athens that spring was in full bloom. The yellow forsythia, reminded Kim of Korea’s physical beauty. She decided to take courses and resettle the children in Athens, a safe, smaller town she loved at first sight. Then a vitally important thing happened to Kim. She met Bonnie Cramond, a professor of educational psychology and then the director of the Torrance Center. There was an immediate sense of connection, and an appreciation for one another. “Kyung Hee Kim came to see me before applying to UGA. I could see that she was looking for something that she had not found at the other universities she had attended. She was very open, something I am not used to seeing in students at that stage,” says Bonnie Cramond, professor of educational psychology and instructional technology. “Bonnie Cramond saved my life,” Kim says gratefully. “She was different from anybody in the world. She accepted differences. Being different is being deficient to others. She values differences.” Cramond recognized Kim’s differences as an indication of her gifts. “Most people are trained to believe that students who are different are problematic, but I know that it is also a sign of creativity. So, I took a chance and agreed to be her advisor, and it was one of the best professional decisions I made. She has really helped me as much or more than I have helped her, and that is the basis of a true mentorship," says Cramond.
UGA Graduate School Magazine W I N T E R 2 0 1 1
Kim’s research was inspired by the work of UGA professor E. Paul Torrance, which began some 50 years ago. Since Torrance’s death, his former student and colleague, Bonnie Cramond, also continues his work. Kim prizes photographs and letters from both professors and emulates their student-focused approach.
For the first time in Kim’s life, she found external validation and affirmation in being original, which she used to think of as being negative. Her life took a radical shift. The nightmares she had suffered ended. “I saw I was different, but it is good, and I can use that!” she exclaims. So Kim began to research Asian culture, Confucianism, and their characteristics. “Risk-taking, open-minded, nonconformist, being a minority, persistent, sometimes very introverted and sometimes very extroverted, feminine but masculine. To Bonnie, everything was okay. I could talk about anything!” Cramond guided Kim, whose life flourished and opened as UGA faculty recognized and nurtured her talents. “Fostering creativity is everywhere,” she says. “I wanted to do parent education, and that was my first dissertation.” She connected psychology with culture and creativity and forged a new path. “Before I used to think, why am I different? I could have been a perfect wife, or a happy wife, but I couldn’t fit in. Since I met Bonnie, I thought, ‘I am different, I should not try to fit in…why should I care why other people like me or accept me?’”
Kim earned a second doctorate at UGA. She discovered a new identity, along with a new adopted family, at UGA. Inspired by Torrance’s work, and especially by Cramond's personal attentions to her, she knew she would repay their kindnesses with others.
COMING HOME… Kim’s office is in a new building on the W&M campus which abuts historic Williamsburg. The place is a singular confluence of the past and future. Williamsburg is to W&M what Athens is to UGA; except, Athens is a shrine to the South’s liveliest musical scene, whereas Williamsburg is a shrine to democracy. Old line Rockefeller money has infused Williamsburg with museum-quality relevance. Some of W&M’s preRevolutionary campus looks like the backdrop for a Ken Burns documentary. (In fact, an HBO biopic on John Adams was filmed here.) Photogenic W&M straddles the line between town and gown, managing the admirable balancing act of museum-quality spiffiness and academic relevance. Kim’s presence on campus speaks to just how relevant: her academic star remains high, and is rising.
“Before I used to think, why am I different? I could have been a perfect wife, or a happy wife, but I couldn’t fit in. Since I met Bonnie, I thought, ‘I am different, I should not try to fit in…why should I care why other people like me or accept me?’” —Kyung Hee Kim
Bracken muses, “it is nice to have a young UGA colleague joining the faculty as I am edging ever closer to retirement myself. It is also wonderful having a colleague who was fortunate enough to get to know Dr. Torrance—I had the pleasure to serve as his graduate assistant in the late ‘70s.” Now Kim, a thoroughly modern academic, burns with twin purposes: carrying on her UGA mentors’ work in creativity and honoring the host country that she has adopted as her emotional and creative home. As for creativity, this is the buzzword that keeps the media’s attention focused on the professor. What supports creativity is at the core of her ongoing research and the starting place of everything that has happened to her professionally. “The gifted are of three kinds: one, high intelligence and low creativity; two, high creativity and low intelligence; three, high intelligence and high creativity,” Kim explains. A person can possess the third type, although it’s unusual. “But it’s extremely rare; if you are innovative, you try to collect people who are adaptive. If you are adaptive, you work for innovative people.” Kim’s phone rings often and her email notification continues pinging, but she remains focused on identifying the “markers” of creativity. Kim stresses that relevance is not on the top of the list when it comes to creativity markers. Divergence and convergence are. This is what UGA’s Torrance set out to prove decades ago. Divergences and convergences—that is the sort of language through which Kim’s work is revealed. It has found a new audience as America’s creativity appears to be in a free fall. This has made Kim a reluctant interviewee.
ally arrogant. She came to the States for the freedom she craved, and found it. Now, Kim says she simply loves America. And she doesn’t want to disparage it or assign blame for America’s plunging creativity scores. “No finger pointing,” Kim says firmly. “I want to do research and help creative people who cannot fit in,” Kim says. This is her chosen work. “Bonnie Cramond was Paul Torrance’s favorite student. So she is like this for me (I was one of her favorites). Now I have students, one at Michigan State University, and other at the University of Virginia and several here to mentor.” She pauses and counts. “Actually, nine students—four females and five males.” Kim calls these students and offers support. She invites them to dinners, shares holidays, and remains in close touch, as long as they need. “Because of my connections, emotional attachment, I am continuing Torrance’s work.” Her colleague, Bracken, says admiringly that Kim “is very high-energy, actively involved, and intellectually curious beyond her years in education. I am certain she will make significant contributions to the field throughout her career and will rise to a level of recognition reserved for the few.” G
For further information: www.wm.edu/news/stories/2010/out-of-context-faculty-inform-themedia007.php
RELUCTANT TO GIVE SOUND BITES Setting the record straight when reporters abandon objectivity in favor of a screaming headline, or a false conjecture, is as time consuming as giving interviews, so Kim is beginning to think there is just no winning in the media chase. So she quit trying. When we spoke, she had just given an interview to U.S. News and World Report, but only after some serious prodding from higher ups. Kim really, really dislikes interviews, she says. Here’s the real reason why. Kim is neither petulant nor intellectu-
UGA Graduate School Magazine W I N T E R 2 0 1 1
aniel Streicker is one part Indiana Jones, one part academic, and 100 percent intrepid. Endangered lizards, parasites and vampire bats plunge him into adventurous research sites as far flung as South America. Vampire bats? The very mention of vampire bats conjures a few centuries worth of folklore, superstition and very bad Bela Lugosi movies. But we learned a real vampire bat-stalking researcher doesn’t bother wearing necklaces of garlic, nor carrying a wooden stake. Just. In. Case. Streicker is a doctoral student in the University of Georgia’s Odum School of Ecology, whose adventures recently included leading a rabies research team. The journal Science published the results this past summer. The research, co-authored with scientists from the University of Tennessee, Western Michigan University, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, provides a window into how rabies is transmitted across different species. Tracking patterns of disease transmission has led Streicker from mountains in the eastern U.S., to live animal markets in China, and to remote, low-tech villages in Peru. Streicker’s recent work with vampire
bats took him deep into the Amazon, to locales far away from faxes, modems, computers and cellular connectivity. His scientific sleuthing seems straight out of an adventure drama, one for which Streicker seems well equipped. He is not a stranger to this work, having first begun it while attending the University of Virginia. “At UVA, I worked with Amy Pedersen and Janis Antonovics on the transmission of parasites in wild, small-mammal communities. After that, I worked briefly as an intern at the Consortium for Conservation Medicine, where I studied parasites of endangered lizards with Dr. Peter Daszak. Next, I worked in the CDC rabies lab with Dr. Charles Rupprecht for two years as an Emerging Infectious Diseases Fellow,” says Streicker. “As a child I was fascinated by animals, but bats held no special place in my heart until I started studying them at the CDC. Basically, I was really interested in how differences in the behavior or life history of species might influence the transmission of their diseases.” But bats have an extreme ick factor, which Streicker is immune to, apparently, in the interest of clear-headed science. To wit: “Bats present a unique case study for these types of questions
Vaccination of dogs and cats in the 1950s really changed the face of rabies in the United States. Now, the vast majority of rabies cases are diagnosed in wild animals. Of the wild animal species that are commonly found to have rabies, bats emerged somewhat unexpectedly as the primary source of human rabies infections acquired in the U.S., and they are now the most frequently tested wild animal species.
because their communities are so diverse, both taxonomically and ecologically. For example, if you pick two random bats flying around at night, one might live as a solitary individual and migrate thousands of kilometers every year and the second might live in a colony of tens of thousands and hibernate within a few miles of where you caught it. These differences could have profound effects on disease transmission, but there are few systems where it would be possible to study them because most single taxonomic groups lack the diversity that is present within bats. After working with South American bats, I have gained an even broader perspective on bats, especially their critical functions in ecosystems for seed dispersal, pollination and insect control.â€? Mere coincidence? You be the judge. Streicker is originally from Richmond, Virginia, and attended the University of Virginia as an undergraduate. (Note to reader: Famously gothic writer Edgar Allen Poe also attended UVA.) The Graduate School Magazine recently posed some burning questions to Streicker.
Graduate School Magazine: â€œRabiesâ€? is one of those emotionally loaded words. It evokes terrifying scenes like the (fictional) one in To Kill a Mockingbird when Atticus Finch is forced to shoot a rabid dog. In the South, rabies is synonymous with "mad dogs." However, your research looked at bats, specifically cross-transmission. Why bats? Streicker: Vaccination of dogs and cats in the 1950s really changed the face of rabies in the United States. Now, the vast majority of rabies cases are diagnosed in wild animals. Of the wild animal species that are commonly found to have rabies, bats emerged somewhat unexpectedly as the primary source of human rabies infections acquired in the U.S., and they are now the most frequently tested wild animal species. It is also important to note that bats have been associated in recent years with the emergence of several other deadly human viruses, including SARS and Ebola; but studies of the transmission of viruses or any other infectious diseases within bat communities are few. The public health importance of bat rabies and the existence of an efficient surveillance network comprised of state and local public health
UGA Graduate School Magazine W I N T E R 2 0 1 1
laboratories across the U.S. allowed us to assemble an unprecedented dataset for a wildlife disease. This dataset was comprised of hundreds of viruses from many different bat species from geographically widespread regions of the country across a 10-year period. We chose to focus the research on crossspecies transmission because it is the most important mechanism by which new diseases emerge in both humans and wildlife, but surprisingly little is known about how often it happens in nature, between which species it happens and whether transmission is likely to lead to a single isolated case or the next pandemic. In short, we saw the bat and rabies as a tractable system to address critical basic questions about how viruses emerge, while contributing to our understanding of an important zoonotic disease. Graduate School Magazine: Your database was enormous. What did the rabies study reveal about transmission? Streicker: First, we found that cross-species transmission is actually a surprisingly common event in the North American bat community, but one that from the virus’s perspective is almost always doomed to failure–most crossspecies transmissions fail to establish ongoing infections in the recipient species. Second, when we examined which species were most likely to infect each other, we found that the most important factor was not the ecological or geographic overlap of species, but rather how closely related the bat species were. In essence, the virus is much more likely to be transmitted between closely related bat species than distantly related bat species and
once that initial transmission happens, permanent viral establishment is much more likely between close relatives. These results suggest that the biological or ecological similarity of closely related species effectively reduces the barriers that viruses must traverse in order to emerge in new species. At least for the bat rabies system, these results predict that the most likely source of a new virus for a bat is not its ecological neighbor, but its evolutionary relative. Graduate School Magazine: Can you tell us something about how you used gene sequencing? Streicker: Sequencing of both bat DNA and rabies virus RNA was absolutely critical to the success of this study. Bats can be difficult to identify to species based on morphology alone and we didn’t always have the complete specimen to verify that the initial species identification was correct. Obviously, if you don’t know what species you are dealing with, you can’t say much about cross-species transmission, so we sequenced the DNA of the bats to confirm their species identities. Our use of molecular sequence data from rabies virus was a totally novel way to quantify cross-species transmission. This represents a substantial advantage over historical methods to quantify cross-species transmission because of the declining cost of producing genetic sequence data and the growth of surveillance programs for wildlife diseases, which will produce more datasets like ours in the near future. My co-authors and I think that this framework holds great promise for describing the frequency of cross-species transmission in a variety of natural systems, many of which, like rabies, have important implications for human and animal health. Graduate School Magazine: You subsequently co-authored the paper on cross-species transmission of rabies that published in Science magazine last August. Were any of your fellow researchers doctoral students? Streicker: When the project was initiated, one of my co-authors, Amy Turmelle, was a graduate student at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville who was also doing her
In the case of rabies, the folklore is so surprisingly similar to the biology that it has been suggested that rabies was actually a driving factor in the development of the Eastern European vampire legends.
dissertation research in the CDC Rabies Laboratory; however, Amy graduated before the paper came out and is now a postdoctoral fellow in the CDC Rabies Laboratory. Graduate School Magazine: Exterminators warn that bats can gain entry to home attics via unsealed louvers. Should the general public be concerned about bats as a public safety issue? Streicker: Bats are reservoirs of rabies throughout the country, so contacts between bats and humans should be minimized. The rabies risk that bats pose to the general public is typically very low; however, if bats are entering the living space of a house this risk is heightened, particularly when the household includes young children or other people who might not recognize or report contact with a bat. If bat bites are detected and postexposure treatment is initiated in a timely manner, the risk of developing rabies is almost non-existent; however, rabies is a fatal disease when left untreated, either through ignorance of the risk associated with a bite or through failure to recognize a bite. Graduate School Magazine: Through a grant recently awarded by the National Science Foundation, your work continues with vampire bats in Peru in conjunction with the Peruvian Ministries of Health and Agriculture and the University of San Marcos. Does the old vampire and bat folklore only serve to trivialize a serious issue? Does this intrigue or irritate you? Streicker: Both rabies and folkloric vampires are associated with cycles of biting, aggression, hypersensitivity, disrupted sleeping patterns and other changes in behavior, so the symptoms of each mirrors the other. To me, these interactions between infectious disease and popular culture are much more a fascinating testament to the importance of infectious diseases in historical and modern
societies than a trivialization of their effects on public health or veterinary medicine. Graduate School Magazine: What has transpired since the Science article ran? Is your phone ringing off the hook? Streicker: I was actually working in the Peruvian Amazon during the week that the paper came out, so that led to some interesting interview scenarios, such as trying to find a corner of a busy jungle town that was not inundated by motorcycle horns to talk on my cell phone or searching to find a satellite internet connection that could support Skype, but overall it has been extremely rewarding to see some interest in my work from the general public. More importantly, the publication of this paper has opened up some great professional opportunities for me, such as invitations to give presentations at other universities and to participate in workshops. I am really grateful for these opportunities and I think they will be invaluable training for my development as a scientist.
Graduate School Magazine: Do vampire bats have anything to worry about themselves? Are there any predators, apart from stake-wielding actors in old vampire movies?
Bat Man! Daniel Striecker Stalks Bats. Heâ€™s on a mission to help prevent infectious disease.
Streicker: There is the white nose syndrome, which is devastating North American bat populations. Vampire bats do have natural predators including owls, hawks and occasionally snakes. None of those species are susceptible to rabies. Cats have also been reported to hunt vampire bats and are actually used as a strategy by people living in some parts of the Amazon to keep the bats from biting them; however, cats are susceptible to rabies and there have been many cases of cats getting infected by bats and exposing their owners. Infectious diseases can also represent a substantial threat to bats themselves. For example, North American cave-dwelling bats are currently experiencing dramatic population declines due to White Nose Syndrome, a disease associated with a fungal pathogen. At present, it is estimated that over 1 million bats have already been killed and
regional extinction of some species seems like a real possibility. This new disease threat to bats, which may represent the worst die off for any wild animal species in North American history, provides a renewed sense of urgency to understand the dynamics of disease transmission within wildlife communities. G
For further reading, see Daniel Streickerâ€™s website: http://dstrike.myweb.uga.edu/ Link to National Geographic article: http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video /player/news/animals-news/vam Link to Science article: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/329/5 992/676.abstract?sid=c0f51069-d213-465bb2a5-9511097698ca
UGA Graduate School Magazine W I N T E R 2 0 1 1
“If every picture is worth a thousand words,” explains Flint Buchanan, an instructional designer working on the visionary educational animation project, “And animations run at 30 frames per second, then every second is worth 30,000 words.” Buchanan is credited by the team in helping keep the project focused on making science engaging for students.
“Jim Moore is the magnet who has pulled the team together,” says colleague Steve Oliver, the group’s principal investigator on its unique Science Education Partnership Awards grant from the National Institutes of Health. Moore involved UGA 3-D animation expert Mike Hussey early on in the process, and Hussey has involved his undergraduate and graduate artists andstudents ever since.
a uga team of professors, students, scientists brings to bear an astonishing array of inter“I claim no credit for assembling the team,” Oliver insists. disciplinary talents and good will. Some of the team are “I am the school guy, or perhaps it is better to say, I am the former parents, others not. Some are students or faculty, and somebiology teacher in the group who high school helps direct the aspects of the project that are staff. They have one essential commonality: intentions impact the teachers/students/schools.” to change high school education by making the process fun. And they darned well may do it.
Can scientific principles be taught in a meaningful yet exciting way? This distilled into a singular thought: If the group can conceptualize something students have trouble understanding and can teach it 3dimensionally, will the students become engaged and learn the material better?
Becomes an Ideal Science Project ENGAGING STUDENTS
for Students, Faculty and Staff
BY CYNTHIA ADAMS PHOTOS BY NANCY EVELYN ILLUSTRATIONS BY JARED JACKSON , B . J . WIMPEY, RENEE STANDER , STEVEN ARNOLD , AND JEF FREYDLE
white horse gets a morning workout in a ring at the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine’s Complex, as onlookers evaluate, closely monitoring the horse’s movements as it’s taken through its paces. The sun hesitates behind a puffy cloud, signifying something inexorable to the horse. The horse respires in the morning air. With nostrils flared wide, flank and hooves shifting, muscles rippling, the horse’s tail dusts the motes of sunlight that dance along in its wake. It’s a marvelous thing observed, the delicate configuration of musculature, sinew, cartilage and bone supporting the horse’s 1,200 pounds. The systems contained within this great beast provide clues that only an educated onlooker can visually discern. To a trained eye the horse is nearly transparent as glass, and nearly as delicately configured. The observers lean in, eyes trained, following each swishing movement of a horse
that is not glass, but visceral, quivering, and elegant kinetic energy in motion. The ringside cluster includes professors, scientists and veterinary students, trained upon something which only they observe and evaluate.
ONLY YARDS AWAY… Meanwhile, a gathering of men and women huddle nearby in a different ring. Twenty three men and women circle a conference room table and line the walls inside the large animal research building. They, too, observe in order to teach, employing a virtual 3-D world at their fingertips. There’s not much personal space in the darkened room, but no one appears to mind. The observers are close enough that you can hear breaths expelled in exasperation or a sharp intake when caught by happy surprise. There’s only one reference point for this captive group—the large TV on the wall. They stare, all absorbed by a graphic. They have named a teenager in a virtual world “Chip” and his diabetic cat “Dip.” Chip and Dip are a
case study premise, describing processes in type II diabetes that are “crazily complex,” according to one student seated at the table. A laptop keyboard key strike causes a 3dimensional muscle cell to wriggle, and there is a collective murmur. Here, too, there is a twitchy, kinetic energy, an air of anticipation inside the room. The group discusses Chip’s muscle fibers, glucose transporters and mitochondria, and “parsing out exactly what we’re doing.” The animation of Chip’s body structure and musculature is debated as Jared Jackson, the project’s lead animator, interacts with the “Thingy” he has created. “Thingy” is the
1. Can you guess who they are? Answers on page 40.
UGA Graduate School Magazine W I N T E R 2 0 1 1
group’s term for a game demonstrating a biological processes—games with analogous situations that visually demonstrate the important part of a case study. “For example, the games explain physiologic processes like osmosis. In order to do this, the group must re-create, and animate, things such as the membranes of a cell wall, or how glucose enters cells and drives functions on a cellular level,” says Moore, a professor of large animal medicine. “Anything that spits things across the membrane, the kids will love,” chortles Moore, as the group dissolves into laughter. These people are also going through paces, getting the weekly workout that is their habit for more than two years now. As a matter of fact, the germ of the idea for their group project was about a horse—that now famous Glass Horse, one which Moore and others brought to fruition as a teaching tool 10 years ago. In the 1990s, Moore first turned to UGA colleagues to figure out how to articulate scientific processes in a more dynamic way than with words-connected-by-
arrows, dry charts and graphs. “From my experiences,” he says, “those ways simply weren’t working.” The quest to find a new model led Moore to a UGA computer graphics artist named Thel Melton. “In 1996 I started working with Thel, who works in the College. Thel was interested in learning how to use the software programs used to create 3-D models and animations, and I wanted to pursue new ways to teach the vet students about equine abdominal diseases. It was a great match, and we were joined by an excellent instructional designer/programmer, named Mac Smith. We finished the first Glass Horse CD in 2001.” Moore explains how the genesis for future animations was in the production of those transparent horse videos. “Our next project was the anatomy of the horse’s leg, an area that veterinary students have difficulty mastering. Flint Buchanan joined the three of us, and we finished the Elements of the Equine Distal Limb CD in 2004,” he says. The CD won the Dr. Frank H. Netter Award for Special Contributions to Medical Education in 2005. These early projects spun off into much larger group experimentation with animations.
3. Colleagues from other disciplines became involved. Collaborations expanded. But the chronology thereon is intertwined and complex. Each piece of the group’s evolution was a case of “group mind,” Moore says. The very idea of creating animated games was “kick started by Casey O’Donnell, a professor in journalism who studies how kids learn from videogames,” Moore explains. “This is all a group venture,” he says.
”WE JUST CLICKED”
But Moore was the magnetic center, insists Steve Oliver. Moore went to the College of Education and met Oliver for the first time 10 years ago. Oliver is a professor of science education and associate head of mathematics and science education. He has also become the principal investigator for the group, and a fellow fanatic for their cause. “We just clicked,” Moore recalls. He asked Oliver what he was asking other colleagues in various departments on campus: Could science and math be fun—as much fun, as say, the computer games kids love? Oliver well remembers the day in 2000, and the first impression he had of Moore’s concept. “I met Jim Moore about 10 years ago
entirely by chance. He showed me some of the animations he had been building for the Glass Horse project and I said ‘Science teachers would love stuff like that!’—and I have been involved ever since.” They started by assembling an interdisciplinary creative team. The team was tasked with all the things 3-D productions required to come to life: writing the scripts, ensuring the scientific content was accurate, shooting video footage, recording narratives, creating original music and art, then designing and programming the computer interface. This proved to be as exhausting and as exhilarating as anything Oliver and Moore could have conceived. Over the next few years, people from the arts, theater, sciences, and other disciplines came together, agreeing to volunteer their time and talents.
INSIDE A CROWDED CONFERENCE ROOM, SOMETHING MAGICAL HAPPENS There’s something in common here among the animation group in the conference room with the group gathered outdoors—a taut attention to what is transpiring. Outdoors, the group monitors a living entity; the group indoors seeks to replicate a living process in an interactive virtual world. Though they gather on the veterinary school’s turf, the collaborative team “includes faculty in education, veterinary medicine, biological sciences, engineering, physics, journalism, theater, music, as well as local high school teachers,” says Oliver. Moore adds, “There are nine graduate students, three recent graduates, and 12 undergraduate students involved in this project.” “The best thing about it,” says Moore, with characteristic zeal, “is we have people who come week after week…the group has grown. There’s a higher good—a higher ground.” The current interactive case study about filtration demonstrates hemodialysis in a
“the games explain physiologic processes
In order to do this, the group must
and animate things such as the membranes of a cell wall, or how glucose enters cells and drives functions on a cellular level.
—James Moore, professor of Large Animal Medicine, UGA
5. UGA Graduate School Magazine W I N T E R 2 0 1 1
6. 7. 8.
“If every picture is worth a thousand words,” explains Flint Buchanan, an instructional designer working on the visionary educational animation project, “And animations run at 30 frames per second, then every second is worth 30,000 words.” Buchanan is credited by the team in helping keep the project focused on making science engaging for students.
“Jim Moore is the magnet who has pulled the team together,” says colleague Steve Oliver, the group’s principal investigator on its unique Science Education Partnership Awards grant from the National Institutes of Health. Moore involved UGA 3-D animation expert Mike Hussey early on in the process, and Hussey has involved his undergraduate and graduate students ever since.
The IDEAL team have created an
“I claim no credit for assembling the team,” Oliver insists. “I am the school guy, or to this article for perhaps it is better to say, I am the former high school biology teacher in the group who experience their animated helps direct the aspects of the project that impact the teachers/students/schools.”
site and direct link School Magazine readers. To
learning tools directly, please go to:
www.idealbiology.com Can scientific principles be taught in a meaningful yet exciting way? This distilled into a singular thought: If the group can conceptualize something students have trouble understanding and can teach it 3dimensionally, will the students become engaged and learn the material better?
“ I think that the students will be able to grasp concepts more readily when they are able to visualize the effects of a disease process, for example, and the effectiveness of treatment modalities. THE RATIONALE for your treatment
is shown to you.”
10. patient suffering kidney failure. This case study requires that a student assist a virtual doctor in a dialysis clinic, in order to learn how the artificial kidney filter works. “Check the patient’s urea, potassium and albumin,” states Dr. Phil Tration, the virtual doctor who acts as the student's guide in the case study. The creators of this particular case study are demonstrating visually a process of
—Stacey Toben, critical care neonatal nurse, pediatric emergency department, Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital,Greensboro, N.C.
counter current exchange, “something firstyear vet students still struggle to fully understand,” Moore says pointedly. “They struggle with the concept largely because of the way it is presented in textbooks—we’re pretty sure that this new, interactive and immersive approach will make this concept understandable at the high school level. If we are right, it’ll be an incredible move forward.” Backs straighten among the game’s designers and programmers, and the case study proceeds with another set of keyboard manipulations. Comments erupt around the room. Someone in the group murmurs, “Like Nintendo’s platform!” This inside joke causes quiet laughter—there’s a palpable camaraderie. Glasses are shoved up the bridges of noses, as a guy at an Apple keyboard strikes it again—it’s too dark to know precisely who is doing what. On screen, the keyboarding activates pulsing, lively pinging, and a gyrating image, which merits excited interruptions, fist pumping, guffaws, and cheers from the group. Occasionally, too, there is a groan. The assembled group of geeks and nerds, by modest self-description, bring considerable star power to the table. The team venture brings to bear an astonishing array of inter-disciplinary talents, and good will. Some of the team are parents, others not. Some are students or faculty, and some are staff. They have one essential commonality: intentions to change high school education by making the process fun.
And they darned well may do it. It’s complex work, certainly, yet because the cases under scrutiny are designed to be entertaining, the creators frequently erupt into laughter. The laughter is a good sign, they say. They should make the work of learning interactive and innovative, just as the experts counsel. “This group has grown up around our current NIH Science Education Partnership Awards project in which we are creating interactive, inquiry-based 3-D educational materials for high school science courses,” says
Tom Robertson, a professor of veterinary physiology and pharmacology. “Using clinical case study material as the focus, we develop 3-D models of the structures involved in basic biological processes (i.e., osmosis, filtration, diffusion, etc.) and then incorporate these models into a videogame engine that allows the students to move about in the environment, form and test hypotheses, and hopefully see the impact of these processes on their lives,” Robertson explains. Now the group is exploring other avenues and applications beyond 3-D and videos. Robertson reports that the group has another creative project they hope to launch with the Atlanta Girls’ School. “In the computer science classes in that school, the girls learn to program for their iPhone and iPod Touch. To create games and case studies that appeal equally to boys and girls, we are planning to partner with them to design some of our future games and case studies.”
MEANWHILE, 330 MILES NORTH OF GEORGIA… The interactive case studies may have relevance beyond what the group anticipated. Stacey Toben is a critical care neonatal nurse in the pediatric emergency department at Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital in Greensboro, N.C. Toben graduated from UGA in 1989, where she once studied veterinary science. (“I changed my major because so many of the undergraduate courses were b-o-r-i-n-g!”) She obtained one of the animated games in the “Engaging Students in Science” series. Toben, also a parent of two young children, thought of her children playing Wii or computer games for hours. When she saw how games demystified science, she thought excitedly, “This rocks!” Toben took one of the case studies that demonstrate osmosis via a newborn calf in crisis to her hospital. As her colleagues tried different treatment protocols, she watched, intrigued, as they interacted with the virtual world. “I had the medical director of the pediatric emergency department play with the
14. 15. UGA Graduate School Magazine W I N T E R 2 0 1 1
science and math be funas much fun, as say, the computer games Could
kids love? program. He enjoyed the graphics and choosing his treatments. He also enjoyed choosing the wrong treatment to see what would happen to the calf.” She was excited that seasoned medical colleagues found the 3-D case study absorbing. “He agrees with me that this is a very good teaching tool. I think that the students will be able to grasp concepts more readily when they are able to visualize the effects of a disease process, for example, and the effectiveness of treatment modalities. The rationale for your treatment is shown to you.” Toben looks forward to the next program. Case studies about filtration, diffusion and synapses are in development now. “I hope the UGA group will send me the new case study for kidney dialysis. These things are fun.” That was the intention, say Moore and Oliver. O’Donnell agrees. “Find out for yourself,” he invites. “We’ve created a special link so that readers of the Graduate School Magazine can see examples of one of our games and our case studies.” Some of the developers believe their games will work with younger students. “I think we need to target elementary school students,” says Jenna Jambeck, a professor of engineering. Jambeck is working with O'Donnell, Robertson and elementary school teachers to introduce engineering principles to third graders. “Interest and enthusiasm needs to be sparked in elementary school. If we make science fun and engaging, they’ll learn. That’s our mantra.”
The old cliché holds. A mind is a terrible thing to waste—especially a young one. From the get-go, the passion that Oliver and Moore shared has spilled over into other areas, infecting other people. They all come together – to pull more students into science. It is as simple, yet as difficult, as that. Yet money—a lot of it—was needed to bring those ambitions to life. Oliver knew how to navigate through grant applications. He soon became the project’s principal investigator. Oliver laughs. “I am not completely sure why I became the PI other than Jim's modesty and the fact that I had written lots of science education grants prior to this one.” The tenacious professors wrote an endless stream of grant applications over five years. They gave the collaborative venture a new, snazzier name and kept tweaking the language. “The project’s official title on the NIH grant is Learning Biological Processes Through Animations and Inquiry: A New Approach,” says Oliver. “On some occasions we refer to it as IDEAL Biology: Interactive 3 Dimensional Education and Learning.” Moore and Oliver met nights and weekends in a campus office, putting new
16. touches on each grant application. Repeatedly turned down for funding, Oliver laughs wryly that neither gave up. “Jim and I were the two primary writers of the funded grant. We had submitted many grants prior to getting funded—probably two or three per year for more than five years. We just believed that the project was important and we were both sufficiently senior that we could spend the time doing that,” Oliver recalls. “Tom Robertson has been incredibly involved in this project as well. He helped fine tune the funded grant as well as many of the proposals submitted prior to and after that one. Cindi Ward and Scott Brown also were very important in the scientific conceptualization of what we would be attempting to build. But there are lots of other people who played a role.”
“Anything that spits things across the membrane, kids will love.” —James Moore, professor of Large Animal Medicine, UGA
MONEY, MONEY, MONEY— WHERE TO GET IT?
Five years on, sourcing funds had grown more challenging than the work of writing, planning, and executing the project itself. Then, a grant application to the National Institutes of Health’s Science Education Partnership Awards program finally struck a vein of gold. How large was this vein, Moore and Oliver wondered? “We started getting hints that we might get funded about six months after we submitted the grant in September of 2007,” Oliver recalls. “In February we got a hint that we had passed the first level of review. In May we got a second hint that we had passed the second level of review. The hints generally came as a change of status on the website used by NIH to monitor grant activity.” Twice—in August and September of 2008—the group was asked to make proposal modifications, Oliver says. “The folks at NIH wanted something a little different in the budget and with the human subject’s plan.” Oliver and Moore obsessively tweaked. “Each time I talked to someone the response was always, ‘Well we can't promise anything, but we need to see this change.’” Finally, Oliver received an email from an NIH program officer. He read it, stumped. “As soon as one more little thing was done they would issue the NOGA. I called Kim Wright, who manages the grants office in the College of Education, and said, ‘What is a NOGA?’
Oliver laughs. “I spelled it to Kim: ‘N-O-GA,’ over the phone. And she very excitedly said, 'NOTIFICATION OF GRANT AWARD!' and at that moment I felt like the scene in Tom Hanks' movie about the rock and roll band from Erie, Pennsylvania (That Thing You Do) when they first hear their song on the radio….Getting funded by NIH just seemed (and still does seem) really special because it is pretty rare.” By the fall of 2008, the NIH grant award came through. For five years, the group finally had the funding needed to provide salary support for the graduate student animators and programmers essential to the project, and to purchase the necessary equipment and software. Most of the faculty members involved volunteered convinced of the project’s impact. Today, three local high schools use and help critique their animations. Oliver and Moore estimate more than 400 school children have tested their case studies and games. In the last two years of the project, the effectiveness of this new approach will be tested, comparing how well students learn taught using traditional methods against students taught with the 3-D interactive materials. Oliver says, “I know the science teachers and schools around Athens and I take the materials to the students and teachers as my biggest responsibility.” The personnel, equipment and data storage needs are immense, consuming much of the project’s funding. “Dean Maureen Grasso of the Graduate School has been incredibly supportive, both financially and with her encouragement,” says Moore. “Her support has also allowed us to purchase newer, faster, more powerful computers and state-ofthe-art computer graphics software programs, both for our building and for Mike Hussey’s animation courses (where our next generation of 3-D animators are being trained). These funds are moving us forward at a faster clip than we’d ever thought possible.” Hussey, an associate professor of drama and
UGA Graduate School Magazine W I N T E R 2 0 1 1
theater, has a coterie of students who are nationally known for animation projects. He, along with his graduate students, has worked on animations for nationally televised documentaries. Hussey was a cover subject for the Graduate School Magazine’s inaugural issue in 2005. “This is precisely the type of project that you’d like to see go on forever,” says Dean Grasso of the Graduate School. “In this case, faculty, staff and students from all over campus, working together, enjoying themselves, and creating something to engage Georgia’s children in science. This should be of interest to anyone with a son, daughter or grandchild.” G
For further information see the link: www.3-Dglasshorse.com/
1. Kyung-A Kwon, Education, graduate student, and J. Steve Oliver, Education, faculty member 2. David Mitchell and Aaron Carter, Music, graduate students 3. Ji Shen, Education, faculty member 4. James Moore, Veterinary Medicine, faculty member 5. Jenna Jambeck, Engineering, faculty member 6. Craig Weigert, Physics, faculty member 7. Flint Buchanan, Veterinary Medicine, instructional designer 8. Jared Jackson, Veterinary Medicine, digital artist (previous student in Dramatic Media), and B.J. Wimpey, Computer Science, graduate student 9. Cindy Ward, Veterinary Medicine, faculty member 10. Renee Stander, Veterinary Medicine, digital artist, (previous graduate student in Dramatic Media) 11. Georgia Hodges, Education, graduate student 12. Lauren Ivans, Education, graduate student 13. Casey O'Donnell, Telecommunications, faculty member 14. Katherine Stanger-Hall, Biological Sciences, faculty member 15. Kelsey Hart, Veterinary Medicine, graduate student 16. Richard Patterson, Athens Academy, science teacher 17. Tom Robertson, Veterinary Medicine, faculty member 18. Steven Arnold, Veterinary Medicine,digital artist, (previous graduate student in Dramatic Media) 19. Mike Hussey, Dramatic Media, faculty member, and Dominique Edwards, Scientific Illustration, undergraduate student 20. Jef Freydl, Veterinary Medicine, digital artist, (previous graduate student in Dramatic Media)
S T R A E H D N E S L THEY'L . E V I R D R E V O -Speed h ig O H t T s e g N I the L ar l DROID on r fu Get a powe America. in k r o w t e Wireless N
• Android ™ 2.2 with Google™ Experience • Adobe® Flash® Player 10.1 for rich Internet applications • 1 GHz Snapdragon™ processor
Hi-def video capture and a 4.3" display
Global ready with superfast 1.2 GHz processor
800.256.4646 | droiddoes.com
Activation fee/line: $35. IMPORTANT CONSUMER INFORMATION: Subject to Cust. Agmt, Calling Plan, rebate form & credit approval. Up to $350 early termination fee/line & add’l charges apply to device capabilities. Offers & coverage, varying by svc, not available everywhere; see vzw.com. Limited-time offer. Restocking fee may apply. Rebate debit card takes up to 6 wks & expires in 12 months. DROID is a trademark of Lucasfilm Ltd. and its related companies. Used under license. © 2011 Verizon Wireless. UGA1
U.S. POSTAGE The University of Georgia Graduate School
320 East Clayton Street, Suite 400 Athens, Georgia 30602-4401
ATLANTA, GA. PERMIT 2295
706-425-3111, FAX 706-425-3096
www.grad.uga.edu Editor/Writer Cynthia Adams Design Julie Sanders Photo Editor Nancy Evelyn © 2011 by the University of Georgia. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any way without the written permission of the editor.
This publication was printed by gifts from Verizon Wireless.
Graduate School Administration Maureen Grasso Dean David Knauft Associate Dean
L A ST WO R D This Newest Dawg Has Fight Aplenty
Tom Wilfong Development
Grad Dawg is at home at the Graduate School entrance in the Michael Brothers Building in Athens.
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.
Grad Dawg, Bryn Adamson, artist
Judy Milton Assistant Dean
Mark Twain died in 1910, the year the UGA Graduate School was born. The great humorist consented to have his rousing autobiography released in full on the centennial of his death. Twain knew something about dogs. “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” —Mark Twain.
Melissa Barry Assistant Dean
UGA’s Graduate School By the Numbers
National Ranking in U.S. News & World Report’s America’s Best
Number of master’s degrees awarded in 2010
Fall 2010 graduate student enrollment
Percentage increase of Hispanic graduate students since 2005
National ranking for doctoral degrees awarded to African American students
25.8 Percentage increase of African American graduate students since 2005
417 Number of doctoral degrees awarded in 2010