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Junior faculty prove you don’t need many years in academia to leave your mark. Here’s a recap of recent awards and honors that assistant professors at the University of Georgia won in recognition of their early career work.

Junior faculty prove you don’t need many years in academia to leave your mark. Here’s a recap of recent awards and honors that assistant professors at the University of Georgia won in recognition of their early career work.

APS Janet Taylor Spence Award

Katie Ehrlich, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, 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 looks at new ways to capture health outcomes in children, such as looking at how kids are responding to vaccines and whether this response is connected to other stressors going on in their lives.

Emphasizing the importance of mentorship in academia, Ehrlich said she was nominated for this award by a graduate school mentor. She also had some words of advice 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.”

Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship

Two UGA assistant professors won the 2019 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship. This fellowship is awarded to researchers in recognition of distinguished performance and a unique potential to make substantial 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 hopes understanding how this regeneration works in nature will improve treatments for neurological diseases in the future.

The other UGA recipient of the Sloan Fellowship is Elizabeth Harvey, an assistant professor at the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography in Savannah. Harvey said she hopes this fellowship would reflect positively on UGA as she highlighted 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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