Professors Rebecca Nesbit, Marin Talbot Brewer, and Jenna R. Jambeck were selected as 2016-2017 Public Service and Outreach Fellows.
Three UGA faculty members were selected as 2016-17 Public Service and Outreach Fellows and will spend the fall conducting research with one of the university's eight public service and outreach units.
• Rebecca Nesbit, in the department of public administration and policy at the School of Public and International Affairs, will be working with the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development to determine the effectiveness of the institute's capacity-building efforts with nonprofit organizations in Northeast Georgia. Nesbit's goals include identifying long-term impacts of capacity-building training, developing an online tool to measure impacts for future clients and setting up an electronic repository of key nonprofit management documents, so that they may be easily accessed by Fanning and public administration and policy faculty.
• Marin Talbot Brewer, in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, will work with the State Botanical Garden of Georgia to develop materials and programs focused on identifying mushrooms and other fungi located throughout the garden. Brewer, her students and lab staff will also conduct a pilot study on the effects of the removal of an invasive plant, Chinese privet, that has disturbed parts of the garden. She hopes to initiate ongoing activities that will result in sustainable partnerships between the garden and her lab.
• Jenna R. Jambeck, in the College of Engineering, will work with UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant to continue her research into plastic pollution, including building a database of information about marine debris collected by the public and reported through a marine debris tracking app that she developed several years ago. In collaboration with Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant faculty, Jambeck will develop educational materials to use in her environmental engineering courses and outreach and education materials for K-12 schools.
"We are fortunate to have these dedicated faculty working within our public service and outreach units to address critical challenges to Georgia," said Jennifer Frum, vice president for public service and outreach at UGA. "Merging their academic expertise with the public service mission of a land- and sea-grant university can only help make our state stronger."
Public Service and Outreach launched its Faculty Fellows programs in 2011 to give tenure-track and tenured professors an opportunity to connect their research and course curriculum to the objectives of specific PSO units. Fellows also use this immersive experience to create outreach initiatives that call for a sustained relationship between the designated unit and their department.