On March 2, 2016, the University of Georgia helped ARCS Foundation Atlanta Chapter kick off its yearlong 25th anniversary celebration in style by hosting Chapter members at its Athens, Georgia campus. The day started with visits to the Special Collections Libraries in the Richard B. Russell Building. Docents were available to enhance members' appreciation of the Hargrett Rare Book & Manuscript Library, the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, and the Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection.
Next, Provost Pamela Whitten welcomed the group and expressed UGA's appreciation of the support provided by ARCS Foundation over the years. Although the Atlanta Chapter was chartered in 1992, UGA received its first scholar awards in 2000. Since then, almost $850,000 has been awarded to 83 graduate students pursuing their studies at the Paul D. Coverdell Biomedical and Health Sciences Institute of UGA. Three ARCS Scholar presentations followed:
Anastasia Bobilev, a Franklin Foundation Neuroimaging Fellow and Ph.D. candidate in Neuroscience, discussed the PAX6 gene, a transcription factor in brain and eye development, and its role in human brain structure and auditory processing function.
Kerri Coon, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Entomology, presented her research on how gut bacteria contribute to the development and reproduction of disease-transmitting mosquitoes. Comments related to the Zika virus were especially timely.
Jeremy Yatvin, a Ph.D. candidate in Chemistry, introduced his work on antimicrobial surfaces and their mechanism of action, as well as the grafting of fire retardant materials.
Another highlight of the day occurred when President Jere Morehead hosted everyone at an elegant luncheon that included remarks from ARCS Atlanta Chapter President Jane Dolinger and Dr. Toby Graham, University Librarian and Associate Provost. Following lunch, Dr. Graham led interested attendees down to Potters Vault, a 30,000 square foot high density storage facility maintained at 50 degrees and 30 percent humidity for optimal preservation of archival materials.
Celebration events are being planned on the campuses of Atlanta Chapter's other academic partners over the coming year. Attendees to this event all agree, however, that UGA has set the bar quite high for future events and wish to thank all involved for their time and generosity, and the wildflower honey from the UGA Honey Bee Farm!