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Young scholars mingle with UGA scientists

Scott Angle, dean of the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, talks to students in the Young Scholars program on Tuesday.

Scott Angle, dean of the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, talks to students in the Young Scholars program on Tuesday.

TIFTON — Scott Angle of the University of Georgia spent the past week on the Tifton UGA campus delivering scholarly advice to high school students.

Addressing members of this summer’s Young Scholars Internship Program on the Tifton campus, the dean and director of the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences talked about the benefits students who attend UGA have, such as the opportunity to study and learn from world-renowned scientists.

“We know these students are good because they’re in this competitive program, so this is a pretty good pool to be fishing out of,” Angle said.

This summer’s class of young scholars has been working alongside some of the top researchers in the world. As is the case with the program in Griffin and Athens, the young scholars in Tifton have learned in laboratories, in the field and in the water, which was the case with Irwin County sophomore Dacee Blawn, who is being mentored by CAES aquaculturist Gary Burtle.

“Our scientists on the Tifton campus are the world’s experts in whatever it is they do. One of the things that I think these students are seeing is, we often think about world-class scientists as being very ivory tower-oriented, difficult to intermingle with and difficult to talk to,” Angle said. “One of the things they’re seeing here is, by doing this, these scientists are just people. They’re here to help and want these young people to be successful. They can become their friends and their mentors.”

The program’s success is also contingent on the cooperation and willingness of the mentors. Tifton researchers Scott Tubbs, Craig Kvien, Glen Rains, Babu Srinivasan and George Vellidis are among the few who have given their time to mentor students in numerous areas of agriculture.

“When you’re a world-class scientist, you are that because you travel around the world teaching and researching, disseminating information. That’s how you get to be that world-class person. I think the fact that they’re willing to take the time to mentor these students just shows the quality of their character,” Angle said.

Tifton has 17 young scholars in its program this summer. The main UGA campus in Athens has the most with 33, while the UGA campus in Griffin enrolled 28.

“Quantitatively, we know almost all of these students are going to college,” Angle said. “We know this program pays off. But qualitatively, I still think being exposed to these scientists and learning that this is something they can actually be a part of, they can be just like one of their mentors. It’s opened up a door to them that they probably didn’t even know existed.”

For more on the UGA Young Scholars Internship Program, see the program’s website at www.caes.uga.edu/academics/internships/youngscholars/.