Campus News

UGA graduate student wins scholarship for technology to change the world

  Grady College of Journalism graduate student Brinkley Warren has won a scholarship to Singularity University

Athens, Ga. – A proposal for a mobile software application that promotes sustainable agricultural and local food consumption has won Brinkley Warren, a University of Georgia graduate student in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications, a $25,000 scholarship to Singularity University, a Silicon Valley ideas incubator.

As a participant in SU’s intensive 10-week graduate studies program, held this summer at the NASA Ames Research Park, Warren will work with other graduate students from around the world who are proven leaders and entrepreneurs. Their goal is to use world-changing technologies in fostering solutions that will positively impact a billion people within 10 years.

“I see Singularity U as being like space camp for tech entrepreneurs,” said Warren, who is originally from Alpharetta, but now calls Athens “home.” “I’ve always been interested in the big picture trends about where the world is heading, and I truly believe that advancing technologies can help us make the world a better place.”

Warren’s winning entry in the UGA competition turns buying local food into a social game. The mobile platform scans barcodes on food, providing a score based on how local the product is.Scores are posted to social networks so that users can compete. In addition, the mobile software solution serves public safety by acting as a product traceability tool in the event of a food-borne illness or product recall.

The scholarship competition is the product of a new partnership between UGA and SU. UGA is one of only two U.S. universities to hold competitions for the SU program. Warren is the second UGA graduate student to attend the SU program; Kausar Samli, a graduate student in biochemistry and molecular biology, participated in the SU program last year.

“We are genuinely excited about our budding partnership with Singularity University,” said UGA Vice President for Research David Lee. “We see it as a unique opportunity to encourage entrepreneurship among our graduate students around grand challenge themes, such as water, food, environment and climate change, and we believe it will further UGA’s goal of enhancing our graduate programs, as outlined by (UGA) President (Michael F.) Adams in his most recent university address.”

Warren’s entrepreneurial and creative thinking was praised by Grady College professor Nathaniel Kohn, who nominated him for the scholarship competition, and professor Paul Brooks, College of Pharmacy, where Warren produces digital media projects for the college’s outreach department.

“Brinkley is a keen observer and creative thinker who always comes at things from oblique angles,” said Kohn. “He takes an entrepreneurial approach to projects and works with absolute determination to make new things happen. He embraces multi-disciplined strategies, employing methods from engineering, design, the arts, social science, marketing and business in order to surround and attack large questions. His approach, interests, curiosity and tenacity parallel Singularity U’s mission to apply cutting-edge technologies to humanity’s most pressing challenges.”

Brooks described Warren as “…a true out-of-the-box thinker, having a terrific mix of creativity, smarts and entrepreneurial spirit. Brinkley has the unique ability to look at big project concepts and determine how to operationalize them in a way that is accessible to multiple audiences.As the digital media associate, he has been our division’s go-to person to brainstorm and implement new media approaches for delivering content, interacting with our learners, and helping us lead in distance education for health and biomedical industry professionals.”

Warren is blogging about his experience this summer at SU. The blog address is

For more information about Singularity University, see