brightest Over the past decade UGA has developed programs for freshmen that keep them engaged so they stay enrolled and graduate
by Kelly Simmons
14 GEORGIA MAGAZINE • www.uga.edu/gm
ANDREW DAVIS TUCKER
hen Austin Garner leaves UGA in May he’ll have completed a research project in genetics and have presented his work at several regional and national scholarly conferences. In addition to his degree, he’ll take with him the confidence he developed in running his own research project and working alongside UGA’s team of geneticists. Not bad for an undergraduate. “I’ve learned so much about who I am as a person, who I am as a scientist. It really changes how you think about things,” says Garner, who is majoring in genetics and hopes to pursue graduate degrees in evolutionary ecology. Garner is taking advantage of CURO, the Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities, which allows students to work alongside UGA’s top faculty members on research projects often afforded only to students in graduate programs. The CURO program began as an opportunity for students in the Honors Program, but since 2010 has officially been offered to all undergraduate students, across all majors and disciplines.
Austin Garner works in the lab of genetics Assistant Professor Andrea Sweigart, studying the reproduction issues of the Mimulus wildflower. Garner is one of a growing number of students taking advantage of undergraduate research opportunities.