UGA’s CURO recognizes 2009 Promising Scholars

UGA's Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities recognizes 2009 Promising Scholars

Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia has recognized a group of Georgia high school seniors for their stellar academic records for the fifth consecutive year. The 16 students were named 2009 Promising Scholars at the annual spring symposium sponsored by the Honors Program’s Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities in April.

During the two-day campus visit, the students gathered for informal and panel discussions about academics, research and campus life and interacted with current UGA students who participate in CURO’s Apprentice Program. They also gained a sneak peek at the world of undergraduate research at the 2009 CURO symposium where more than 210 UGA undergraduates presented their research projects in a variety of formats-from art exhibitions to oral and poster sessions.

“The CURO symposium serves as the major academic recruitment event for the CURO apprentice program,” said Pamela Kleiber, associate director of UGA’s Honors Program, who coordinates the CURO programs. “Georgia high school seniors may hear about opportunities to conduct research at UGA, but seeing is believing! We want these Promising Scholars to see and hear first-hand what UGA undergraduates are able to accomplish under the guidance of faculty mentors.”

The Promising Scholars Program, which began with support from two National Science Foundation grants in 2005 and 2006, is now a regular part of the CURO symposium.

The Promising Scholars broke into small groups led by CURO apprentices to meet for lunch and, for some, quick tours of campus. Promising Scholar Rachel Pérez appreciated the opportunity to have discussions with her group to learn more about the CURO program and life at UGA.

“I enjoyed going to lunch with current apprentices because I was able to speak one-on-one with people who had actually experienced the program as apprentices,” said Pérez, a senior at Savannah Christian Preparatory School. “I also enjoyed listening to some of the current apprentices’ presentations on their fields of research, as I was able to see the result of all their hard work in CURO.”

David Mitchell, a sophomore from Fayetteville who helped lead that group, says he welcomed the opportunity to get to know the students on a more personal level over lunch and be able to answer their individual questions.

“When I looked at the students, I remember all the anxious and daunting feelings associated with choosing a university,” said Mitchell, who is pursuing bachelor’s degrees in accounting and finance. “I found it rewarding to be able to tell these students that I was in their situation not so long ago, and now I am part of an experience with numerous opportunities to succeed.”

Promising Scholar Akil Piggott says he also valued the small group discussions so he would be more prepared for college life when he attends UGA in the fall. Piggott already has some idea from older brother Cleveland, a junior with majors in psychology and biology, who has been involved with CURO from the beginning. He also was a Promising Scholar.

“I look forward to the challenges awaiting me in the CURO apprentice program,” said Piggott, a senior at Peachtree Ridge High School. “Participating in undergraduate research will help me learn more about my career aspirations, and also, being a part of this community gives me an additional piece of the college experience that many will not be able to have.”

Kelli Canterbury, a sophomore English major from Hampton, says she enjoyed the chance to show the variety of fields that can be studied at the college level. Her group visited the Center for Integrative Conservation Research in UGA’s Franklin College of Arts and Sciences where Aalok Sanjanwala, a CURO apprentice who is a biology major, conducts research on the Penan people. He is studying under the guidance of anthropology professor Peter Brosius, the center director. The group also visited Park Hall, where most English and humanities majors spend their time for classes or research.

“Allowing the students to see some of the actual buildings gave them more of a sense of what student life is like,” said Canterbury. “As a humanities major, I enjoyed speaking to them about the importance of research outside the hard sciences and the effort the CURO program makes to include diverse fields and interests.”

The 2009 CURO Promising Scholars are:

Name Hometown High School

Christina Azahar Milledgeville Baldwin High School

Jason Bowman Kennesaw Kennesaw Mountain High School

Adriana del Valle Alpharetta Marist School

Vinh Dong Warner Robins Houston County High School

Eric Ekwueme Snellville South Gwinnett High School

JoyEllen Freeman Milton Milton High School

Shirley Hao Atlanta Lakeside High School

Rachel Johnson Dacula Central Gwinnett High School

David Mapp Union Point Greene County High School

Christopher Morehouse Atlanta North Springs High School

Stephanie Ogonor Lithia Springs Lithia Springs High School

Oluremi Ojo Stone Mountain The Paideia School

Rachel Pérez Savannah Savannah Christian Preparatory School

Akil Piggott Suwanee Peachtree Ridge High School

Eboni Vance Suwanee Norcross High School

Edward Wells Jr. Statesboro Statesboro High School

For more information on the Honors Program’s Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities, see http://www.uga.edu/honors/curo.