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2017 Summer Graduate Student Research Assistantship at the ICPS

ICPS Summer 2017 Research Assistantships

The James H. Oliver, Jr. Institute for Coastal Plain Science (ICPS) invites Georgia Southern University graduate students in any scientific discipline to apply for a $4,000 summer research assistantship to support his/her thesis research efforts. Two such awards will be made on a competitive basis in summer 2017 with priority given to projects of high quality that fulfill the mission of the ICPS.


Students in scientific disciplines who are in good academic standing in the master’s program in the Jack N. Averitt College of Graduate Studies are eligible. BS or BA students who have been accepted into the Master of Science program at Georgia Southern and will clearly be in the graduate portion of their degree program during the summer of support are also eligible. The research proposed should be directly related to the applicant’s completion of degree requirements and a student may receive this form of support only once.

Application and additional details: ICPS Graduate Student Summer Fellowship 2017 Application
All applications should be emailed to

Deadline to apply is February 28, 2017. Applications will not be accepted after the deadline.

Physics Major Reed Hodges: Blue Waters Student Internship Update

Reed Hodges

Reed Hodges coding at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications in Illinois

Last spring, Physics Major Reed Hodges received a prestigious NSF-funded Blue Waters Student Internship, which included spending two-weeks at the Petascale Institute, at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign in May 2016.

This year-long internship is hosted by Dr. Durach’s group at Georgia Southern University. The work on the project involves two stages: (a) development of Mie theory codes, which will allow calculation of electromagnetic fields and scattering properties of spherical particles. (b) consideration of spherical particles coupled to planar interfaces and calculation of electromagnetic fields in such structures.

The first part of the project is complete. Mie theory codes were developed in Mathematica and Fortran and tested on metamaterial metal-dielectric spheres, for which fields and cross-sections can be calculated for arbitrary metal fractions from pure dielectric to pure metal reproducing results from the literature.

As an extremely pleasant and important by-product of this part of the project it was established that wavelength-scale metamaterial spheres with metal fractions ~5% exhibit invisibility. Previous work on invisibility invariably separated invisible objects into hidden and cloaking sections. In the invisibility scheme which we propose it is not possible to determine what is cloak, since the object is a homogeneous sphere. Therefore our work opens up an important research direction in optics – invisibility without cloaking and demonstrates that this approach is possible in principle. The corresponding manuscript is written and is currently in the editing phase and soon will be submitted to a high-impact peer-refereed journal and to arxiv.

Invisible Metamaterial Spheres

Poster 1. R. Hodges, M. Durach, Invisible Metamaterial Spheres

Developing Fortran Codes for Photonics Research

Poster 2. K. Rosado, R. Hodges, M. Durach, Developing Fortram Codes for Photonics Research

This work was submitted to Georgia Undergraduate Research Conference in Milledgeville, GA in the form of two posters (posters 1 and 2), in which the invisibility mechanism was described and the work in Mathematica and Fortran programming environments was compared. Both posters were accepted and one received an outstanding review, suggesting that the work should be presented as a talk. Reed Hodges and his collaborator Kelvin Rosado will travel to Milledgeville to present this work.

After the presentation, Dr. Durach and Reed we will turn to the second phase of the project.

Biology Professor Receives Grant

From the Georgia Southern Newsroom:

John Schenk

John Schenk, Ph.D.

John Schenk, Ph.D., curator of the Georgia Southern Herbarium in the Georgia Southern University Department of Biology, received notification that his National Science Foundation (NSF) Biological Research Collections grant has been funded in the amount of $280,798 to integrate uncatalogued plants into the Herbarium.

Schenk’s proposal is titled “Making a large impact on a small herbarium: Integration of un-accessioned and orphaned specimens to secure and promote wider use of the collection.”

A Herbarium houses libraries of botanical diversity that catalog plant species’ occurrences in the past and present, and they consequently serve as the foundation for biological science and science policy.

The Georgia Southern Herbarium is located in the Biological Sciences building, and houses 21,000 catalogued specimen representing 236 families, 1,511 genera and 5,258 species of plants. In addition to the catalogued specimen, the herbarium houses 26,000 uncatalogued specimen, which represents local plant diversity – including many endangered species.

By funding the proposal, the NSF recognizes the value of natural history collections, a goal that strongly overlaps with the University’s Department of Biology. The funded project will allow the Georgia Southern Herbarium to double its holdings over the next two years, a feat that is rarely accomplished in natural history collections. As the collections become catalogued, they will be accessible to students and researchers throughout the world.


Alumnus receives 2016 National Space Club Lifetime Achievement Award

Georgia Southern University alumnus Charles A. Abner (‘67) , right, was one of four recipients of the 2016 National Space Club Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Space Florida Committee

Georgia Southern University alumnus Charles A. Abner (‘67) , right, was one of four recipients of the 2016 National Space Club Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Space Florida Committee


From the Georgia Southern Newsroom:

Georgia Southern University alumnus Charles A. Abner (‘67) was presented the 2016 National Space Club Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Space Florida Committee.

Abner is the Chief Engineer of the Shuttle Processing Directorate at NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida. He is responsible for all engineering aspects related to processing flight hardware elements and facility/ground support equipment, and for the integration of technical decisions made by both engineering and management personnel before and during launch. He makes recommendations for final go/no go launch decisions.

He began his career with NASA at KSC in 1967 as an Apollo spacecraft ground station system engineer. He served as an Apollo spacecraft ground station manager until joining the Air Force in 1968. He returned to KSC In 1974 to work on the Shuttle team, eventually serving as project engineer, assistant launch director and chief engineer.

Throughout his career, Abner supervised teams responsible for the development of ground launch sequence software and group application software, managed the construction and development of the Space Shuttle Vandenberg Launch Site, became the Launch Team Shuttle Project Engineer from 1991 to 1997 providing engineering integration for 47 missions, was assigned to the position of Assistant Launch Director at KSC and more.

In addition to holding a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Georgia Southern, Abner holds an additional degree in physics and has obtained post-graduate credits in space technology from Florida Institute of Technology. He served five and a half years of active duty in the United States Air Force from 1968 to 1974, and remained in the United States Air Force Reserves for an additional 16 years, attaining the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. While in the Air Force, he served as a pilot flying strategic and combat military airlift worldwide.

The Committee recognizes people each year for their lifelong achievements and contributions to the U.S. space program while living in Florida. To be selected for the award, the nominee must have made significant contributions to the space industry through technical advancement, education or the management of aerospace related activities as a government, military, commercial or government contractor employee.

Biology Alumnus Elected American Statistical Association Vice President

Alexandria, VA – Georgia Southern Alum G. David Williamson was recently elected as the Vice President of the American Statistical Association (ASA).

Williamson is senior science adviser and executive director of the Statistical Advisory Group at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as an adjunct professor in the department of biostatistics and bioinformatics in the school of public health at Emory University and at Georgia Southern University. Prior to that, he was the associate director of science at the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control; chief science officer in the Office of Surveillance, Epidemiology and Laboratory Services; and director of the Division of Health Studies.

Williamson earned his PhD in biostatistics from Emory University in 1987; two master’s degrees in statistics and biology from Virginia Tech and Georgia Southern, respectively; and an undergraduate degree in biology from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1973.

Among his appointments with the ASA, Williamson became a fellow in 2004 and was Joint Program Committee chair of JSM in 2000. Active in ASA awards and committees, he also served as vice chair of the Committee on Meetings from 1999–2002; chair (and member) of the Karl Peace Award from 2012–2015; member of the Strategic Initiative on Visibility and Impact in Policy Task Force in 2009–2010; and program chair of the Statistics in Epidemiology Section in

About the American Statistical Association

The ASA is the world’s largest community of statisticians and the oldest continuously operating professional science society in the United States. Its members serve in industry, government and academia in more than 90 countries, advancing research and promoting sound statistical practice to inform public policy and improve human welfare. For additional information, please visit the ASA website at