Campus News

UGA undergraduates named 2011 summer fellows by the Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities

Athens, Ga. – Thirty-five University of Georgia undergraduates are gaining investigative experience in a faculty-guided research environment thanks to UGA’s Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities. They have been awarded 2011 CURO summer fellowships.

With support and advice from their faculty research mentors, the students spend the summer engaged in intensive, hands-on research projects in a variety of disciplines, including ecology, microbiology and history. The students also earn academic credit and are invited to submit their research for presentation at the CURO Symposium, the annual undergraduate research event held each spring.

“CURO Summer Fellows have the benefit of an intensive, immersive research opportunity, and through interaction with each other, they discover how research is approached in different disciplines,” said David S. Williams, associate provost and director of UGA’s Honors Program. “We are grateful for the strong support of the faculty members who will be mentoring the students this summer.”

Theresa Stratmann, a rising junior pursuing a bachelor’s degree in ecology, has had the opportunity to experience different phases of the research process since her freshman year at UGA. She started out as a research assistant and then participated in a faculty-designed project. Now Stratmann is in the middle of her own inquiry under the guidance of vertebrate ecologist John Maerz. She is developing techniques for detecting and monitoring the federally threatened bog turtle. Combined with a species distribution model she also is developing, she hopes to help survey for and monitor bog turtle populations in South Carolina and Georgia.

“Research lets you explore the world, chase down the answers to your questions, and help make the world a better place,” said Stratmann, who is from Irmo, S.C. “It’s so exciting. It makes all the work you do in college relevant-you start to see why you are learning what you are learning in class and what you can do with that knowledge.”

Abid Fazal, a rising senior pursuing a bachelor’s degree in microbiology, said that his research experiences have influenced him in combining a career in medicine and research in new anesthetics. He is currently studying an aspect of the biomass conversion process that produces biofuel, a renewable energy resource, so that the process is more efficient and cost effective. His research mentor is microbiologist Joy Doran Peterson.

“The greatest advantage is being exposed to this kind of setting and to experience, learn and apply the skills and techniques it takes to conduct highly acclaimed and world altering research,” said Fazal, who is from Athens.

On the humanities side, Ransom Jackson, a senior pursuing a bachelor’s degree in history, said that he hopes his summer work will turn into a project he can focus on in graduate school where he would like to pursue a Ph.D. in history and teach at the college level. Jackson is investigating antebellum society through the eyes of three female writers by comparing and contrasting their novels that depict the plantation South in the 1850s. History professor John Inscoe serves as Jackson’s research faculty mentor for the summer.

“This opportunity is wonderful and I’m very thankful that the University of Georgia offers something like this,” said Jackson, who also is from Athens. “It’s good for the students to reach for academic goals that come from their own understanding of their field and not a position paper or experiment designed by the faculty. It shows the knowledge that each student has gained from their participation in the individual programs, but allows the individual to shine.”

The 2011 CURO fellowships are sponsored by UGA’s Office of the Provost, Office of the Vice President for Instruction, Office of the Vice President for Research, the Alumni Association, the Honors Program, and the Jane and Bill Young Summer Research Fellowship.

For more information on the Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities, see

The 2011 CURO summer fellows are:

Name / Hometown / Major(s)

From Georgia

Lauren Anderson / Macon / international affairs

Joshua Trey Barnett / Nicholson / communication studies

Melissa Brown / Avondale / psychology

William Costanzo / Roswell / biochemical engineering

Dervin Cunningham / Albany / biological sciences

Abid Fazal / Athens / microbiology

Melanie Fratto / Peachtree City / ecology, biology

Nisha George / Martinez / biological sciences

Erin Giglio / Milton / psychology, genetics

Osama Hashmi / Martinez / biology

Anna Beth Havenar / Statesboro / English

Ransom Jackson / Athens / history

Elena James / Suwanee / biochemistry and molecular biology

Kellie Laity / Atlanta / fisheries and wildlife

Katie Manrodt / Statesboro / physics, mathematics

Lindsey Megow / Valdosta / health promotion, public health (M.P.H.)

Farres Obeidin / Athens / mathematics, genetics

Joshua Parker / Fayetteville / biochemistry and molecular biology, applied biotechnology

Lea Rackley / Athens / English

Luben Raytchev / Marietta / biology

Daniel Smith / Atlanta / art (photography)

Justin Smith / Roswell / genetics

Christopher Sudduth / Peachtree City / exercise and sport science

Connor Sweetnam / Suwanee / cellular biology

Nick Talathi / Alpharetta / genetics, psychology

Korry Tauber / Cumming / biochemistry and molecular biology, public health (M.P.H.)

Nathan Usselman / Atlanta / geology, chemistry

Star Ye / Marietta / nutrition science

From Out-of-State

Brooke Bauer / Charlotte, N.C. / international business, management

Marianne Ligon / Clemson, S.C. / cellular biology

Tuiumkan Nishanova / Denver, Colo. / biochemistry and molecular biology

Mark Rolfsen / Baton Rouge, La. / microbiology

Dana Schroeder / Knoxville, Tenn. / environmental economics and management

Daniel Sharbel / Nashville, Tenn. / biology

Theresa Stratmann / Irmo, S.C. / ecology