Rishi (from the Burke lab) received the Wilbur Duncan Award for 2017. This award recognizes a PBIO graduate student's excellence in two of three areas: research, teaching and service to the department. Rishi's research on the genetic basis of drought resistance in sunflower has resulted in one publication, two manuscript submissions and presentations at national and international meetings. In addition to contributions to curriculum development on campus, his skill at teaching was recognized by an Outstanding Teaching Award in 2014. Rishi recognizes the importance of communicating science to the general public and has made many contributions in that regard. In brief, he has co-founded two groups (Athens Science Café, UGA Science Policy, Education, Advocacy & Research), partnered with another graduate student to launch a series of children’s books, and co-hosts a weekly science podcast. He was also recognized by the American Society of Plant Biologists with a Community Engagement Award in 2016.
Selection for the Duncan award is made by the PBIO Graduate Student Committee plus the PBGSA president. Duncan Award recipients are listed on a plaque in the Palfrey Room (2507). Noteworthy are the first two recipients, Adrienne Edwards (1996) and Robert Alba (1997) who played significant roles in promoting the culture of teaching in the department by encouraging faculty to become more involved in the scholarship of teaching and learning.
Wilbur H. Duncan (1910-2005) was a faculty member and Curator of the UGA Herbarium in what was then the Botany Department for 40 years (1938-1978). He increased the herbarium collection from 16,000 to 135,000 specimens, described 3 new plant species and published five books, three of them with his botanist wife, Marion, of 64 years and after he had officially retired. He is remembered by colleagues as a skilled field botanist, gifted teacher, field guide, author, plant photographer and friend.