Campus News

UGA graduate students receive Excellence in Research Awards

Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia Graduate School recently honored four students with 2011 Graduate Student Excellence in Research Awards.

Denita Williams received the award in Professional and Applied Sciences. Williams received her master’s and doctoral degrees in toxicology from UGA in 2006 and 2010, respectively.Her research focused on understanding the adverse effects of a food-borne bacterium, Listeria monocytogenes, in pregnant women. Specifically, she examined how the microorganism causes stillbirths. The results have been requested by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The federal agency may use the data to revise its risk assessment for L. monocytogenes. Williams currently works in the UGA department of environmental health science completing her projects, finishing a final manuscript and mentoring students. After finishing her projects at UGA, Williams plans to accept a postdoctoral research position at either the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or Creighton University.

Gaston “Chip” Small received the award in Life Sciences. Small received his doctorate from the Odum School of Ecology in 2010. His dissertation focused on nutrient recycling in tropical stream food webs. One study from his dissertation research will be published in the journal Ecology. In the study, Small examined twelve fish species in a tropical stream in Costa Rica. He discovered that one species of fish plays a disproportionate and vital role in recycling phosphorus. His results demonstrated how certain species are vital for the ecological health in food webs. Furthermore, his research demonstrates how a healthy ecosystem maintains an intricate balance of nutrients. In total, Small’s graduate work has resulted in 10 manuscripts that are published, submitted to journals, or being prepared for submission. After graduating from UGA, Small accepted a postdoctoral research position at the University of Minnesota where he is studying how microbes affect the long-term levels of nitrogen in Lake Superior.

Christopher Manganiello received the award in Humanities and Social Sciences. Manganiello received his doctorate from the UGA department of history in 2010. He is developing his dissertation into a book under the working title Southern Water, SouthernPower. His research illuminates the importance of water management in the South’s growth from 1845 to 1990. Using the Savannah River as a case study, Manganiello examined the political, economic, and environmental factors that shaped Southern water development.For example, his dissertation demonstrated how water development led to the industrialization of the Piedmont region and how water resources shaped the South’s economy. His dissertation further explored the environmental movement to protect the Chattooga River by designating it as a Wild and Scenic River. Manganiello is currently a part-time instructor at UGA, teaching courses on U.S. history and world civilization.

Shannon Pritchard received the award in Fine Arts. Pritchard received her doctorate from UGA in art history in 2010. Her dissertation studied the sixteenth century artist Giambologna, a renowned sculptor who worked in Florence, Italy. She used political and cultural perspectives to examine Giambologna’s bronze artwork from the Counter-Reformation period. Her dissertation also studied his influence on the debate, or paragone, between the superiority of painting or sculpture. Pritchard argued that his style of sculpture created a symbiotic relationship between painting and sculpture without declaring one art form superior to the other. In addition to her scholarly research on Giambologna, Pritchard is actively researching Caravaggio, a sixteenth century Italian painter. Caravaggio’s paintings had a major influence on the Baroque art movement. Pritchard currently teaches three sections of art history courses in the Lamar Dodd School of Art.

The Graduate School began the Graduate Student Excellence in Research Awards in 1999 to recognize the quality and significance of graduate student research. The awards recognize research in five areas: Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, Mathematical and Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, and Professional and Applied Sciences.