This award is given to recent Ph.D.s for outstanding research at the university or immediately after graduating. It is named for the late Robert C. Anderson, who served as UGA’s vice president for research and president of the University of Georgia Research Foundation, Inc.
Brittney S. Harris, an MFA graduate of the Department of Theatre and Film Studies, is a visiting assistant professor of theatre at Old Dominion University. Her research assesses the psychological effects of violence in the media on the millennial African American community and the performance of redemption. In her disciplines of solo performance, race performance and theatre for the oppressed, she examines the concept of “race” as a celebration of self, culture and artistic expression. She explores how performing arts can point out attitudes and societal mindsets, and can be used to engage audiences and help them reflect on current conditions and potential for change. As a teacher, she is inventive and intuitive with a knowledge of and passion for the arts. She is noted for her organizational abilities, collaborative skills and core leadership values in expanding community service through the arts and her diversity outreach to young people of color.
Ania Majewska, who completed her Ph.D. in July 2019, is a postdoctoral research fellow at Emory University. She studies the evolution of pathogen virulence in response to imperfect vaccination. For her doctoral research, Majewska studied how the choices made by gardeners affect insect pollinators, which are declining globally due to habitat loss, pesticide use and other causes. Planting pollinator gardens to help reverse this decline is growing in popularity. Studies have shown these gardens can provide food and reproductive resources for pollinators, however some species can also be exposed to higher risks of predation, parasite infection and harmful chemicals. Majewska focused on the monarch butterfly and examined how garden habitats can influence monarch abundance, survival, reproduction and exposure to pathogens and other natural enemies. She integrated empirical field and lab work with mathematical modeling and meta-analysis, illuminating the potential benefits and unintended negative effects of providing pollinator habitats in human-modified landscapes.
Mauricio Seguel, who completed his Ph.D. in 2018 at the College of Veterinary Medicine, is a postdoctoral research associate in the Odum School of Ecology. He focused his doctoral research on a disease caused by a nematode parasite—the hookworm Uncinaria sp.—that kills fur seal pups in the Chilean region of Patagonia. Seguel conducted a field expedition to Patagonia’s Guafo Island, where the largest breeding colony of South American fur seals is located. He studied patterns of hookworm infection in South American fur seal pups over multiple years and linked this information to data on nutrition, immune reactivity, maternal attendance behavior and sea surface temperature. He also identified connections among warmer ocean temperatures, maternal behavior and pup mortality due to hookworm. By developing tools from ecology, immunology, physiology and statistics, Seguel illustrated the diverse mechanisms by which environmental change can negatively affect wildlife health and also revealed potential avenues for intervention.
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