Campus News Science & Technology

AAAS elects 3 more UGA faculty as Fellows

(L to R) Marguerite “Peggy” Brickman, Olin “Gene” Rhodes Jr. and Victor Thompson.

This year honorees are Marguerite “Peggy” Brickman, Olin “Gene” Rhodes Jr. and Victor Thompson

Three University of Georgia faculty have been named Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the organization announced on April 18, bringing the university to 45 total members of the exclusive group.

Fellows are elected each year by the AAAS Council to recognize achievements that lead to scientific progress. This year, UGA’s new Fellows are Victor Thompson and Marguerite “Peggy” Brickman from the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, and Olin “Gene” Rhodes Jr., from the Savannah River Ecology Lab and the Odum School of Ecology.

“Our faculty dedicate their careers to advancing their respective technical fields, making discoveries that have broad, positive impacts to society,” said Karen Burg, vice president for research at UGA. “This recognition for their work, made by their own peers, is incredibly gratifying and well deserved.”

The three new Fellows were recognized for a range of scientific contributions, achieving novel discovery in plant biology and science education, archaeology, and wildlife ecology and genetics.

While a professor in the Department of Plant Biology, Brickman’s primary contributions come in the development of innovative teaching materials for college students. Her major objective in preparing and assessing the effectiveness of these materials is to ensure that students develop basic science literacy skills.

Brickman’s published work includes online case studies, inquiry-based lab exercises and interactive media. Her recent work has examined collaborative team science and resources for equitable evaluation of STEM teaching.

“I have taught over 30,000 students since joining the university 28 years ago,” Brickman said. “I have made science literacy a life’s work, so it is incredibly gratifying to earn this distinction from AAAS.”

Thompson, a Distinguished Research Professor in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences Department of Anthropology, studies significant transitions in human history, specializing in the application of archaeological science to the study of collective social formations and the historical ecology of wetland coastal environments.

His recent work focuses on the United States Atlantic and Gulf coasts, investigating histories of human-climate dynamics.

“I believe that AAAS is one of most important forces for the advocacy of science,” Thompson said. “I encourage everyone—students and the interested public— to become a member of this association that has so much to offer the world.”

Rhodes, a UGA Athletic Association Professor in Odum and SREL director, conducts a range of research that informs the management and conservation of wildlife. From wildlife ecology and genetics to application of genetic tools, his work has been used worldwide in conservation efforts for endangered species, to refine and optimize reintroduction programs, and to improve the mitigation of wildlife diseases and human wildlife conflicts.

“I am thrilled and honored to have received this recognition from my peers, and appreciative of the opportunity that being at UGA has given me to advance my career and be recognized in this fashion,” Rhodes said.