UGA’s junior faculty has a lot to be proud of as they have reached milestones to be celebrated early in their careers in academia.
As reported in The Red & Black, three assistant professors have recently received awards and honors in recognition of their early career work at the university.
Assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, Katie Ehrlich, is one of eight recipients of the Association for Psychological Science Janet Taylor Spence Award, which recognizes researchers early in their careers who cross traditional sub-disciplinary lines in psychological sciences.
Ehrlich’s work explores new methods to attain health outcomes in children including seeing how kids are responding to vaccines and if this response is connected to other stressors going on in their lives.
Emphasizing the value of mentorship in academia, Ehrlich said she was nominated for this award by a graduate school mentor. She also had advice to share for young scientists and graduate students.
“You never know what projects are going to work out and which things are going to be a dud,” Ehrlich said. “Persevering through some of those challenges is important. So you really can’t get discouraged by those.”
There was also two UGA assistant professors who won an award, which was the 2019 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship. This fellowship is awarded to researchers as recognition for distinguished performance and a potential to make major contributions to their field, according to the Sloan Foundation.
Rachel Roberts-Galbraith is an assistant professor at the Department of Cellular Biology and the first UGA faculty member to win this prestigious award in the field of neuroscience.
“It’s really exciting as a junior faculty because this really shows that people are valuing the work that we’re trying to do,” Roberts-Galbraith said.
Roberts-Galbraith’s lab studies flatworms with regenerative abilities. She wishes to understand how this regeneration works in nature will improve treatments for neurological diseases in the future.
The other UGA recipient of the Sloan Fellowship was Elizabeth Harvey, an assistant professor at the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography in Savannah. Harvey said she hopes this fellowship would bring positive things to UGA as she mentioned the importance of the university’s support to her research.
“I’ve … felt supported all along the way in doing my research and I hope it encourages other people to apply for fellowships like this,” Harvey said.
Harvey studies how a single-celled plant called phytoplankton dies in the ocean. Harvey said phytoplankton are important because they act as the base of the marine food web, and they contribute to almost half the oxygen humans breathe.
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