The University of Georgia
Spear, Kate

UGA's Amazing Students

Kate Spear

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November 19, 2007

Master’s degree student Kate Spear knows that everything is connected. She has been all around the world and though her study of numerous cultures and the natural environment, she has found that relationships matter. She has received numerous scholarships and awards including the Warnell Earl Jenkins - Gladys Beach Memorial Award which celebrates the integration of art and literature and science and technology and an Honorable Mention from the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program for her orinthological research in Central Balkan National Park, Bulgaria this past summer. She has written numerous articles including those that appeared in UGA’s Research Magazine and The Log. Her undergraduate senior thesis was published in the scientific journal, Southeastern Naturalist, and she has been published in Pheasants Forever Journal. After graduation, she plans to devote herself to environmental conservation work and women’s rights. On a smaller scale, she would like to move closer to the ocean and gain more experience working in marine and coastal ecosystems.

Expected graduation:

Spring 2009

Degree objective:

M.S. in Wildlife Ecology and Management with a graduate certificate in Women’s Studies

University highlights, achievements and awards:

I received an Individual Advanced Research Opportunities Fellowship from the International Research & Exchanges Board; an H. Branche Howe Jr. Graduate Student Research Grant from the Georgia Ornithological Society; and an Honorable Mention from the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program for my research in Central Balkan National Park, Bulgaria this past summer. I am also assisting my advisor in the development of a natural and cultural resources conservation service-learning program in Bulgaria for undergraduate students. I have written several articles for Research Magazine and the Warnell School’s magazine, The Log. My undergraduate senior thesis was published in the scientific journal, Southeastern Naturalist, and I have been published in Pheasants Forever Journal. Much of my writing concerns international issues and natural resources, as I have participated in several international programs at UGA, including study abroad in Avignon, France and different wildlife ecology research projects in the country Georgia, Costa Rica, and Bulgaria. In addition to my graduate assistantship, I have received the Graduate School Alfred E. Brown Scholarship, the Warnell Earl Jenkins - Gladys Beach Memorial Award which celebrates the integration of art and literature and science and technology, the Warnell William Tyler Ray Scholarship, a Georgia Board of Regents Study Abroad Scholarship, a Modern Foreign Languages Study Abroad Travel Award, and a National Merit Scholarship. I am a member of Phi Beta Kappa. I am also serving as president of the Warnell Graduate Student Association for the 2007-08 academic year.

Hometown:

Roswell, Ga.

High School:

Roswell High School

Current Employment:

I am currently a research and teaching assistant in the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources. For my master’s degree research, I am creating an avian population monitoring program for Central Balkan National Park in Bulgaria, and I am assisting in the development of a study abroad/service-learning program in Bulgaria. I TA a “Techniques in Wildlife Population Management” class and an “Issues in International Wildlife Conservation” class in Bulgaria. I also do research on issues related to the participation and encouragement of women and girls in science.

Family Ties to UGA:

My father, David, attended UGA from 1968-72. He graduated from the Grady College. Whenever he visits me, we drive past the church steeple on Oconee St. where he once lived, when the church was abandoned, but still standing. My great-uncle, Louis McGee, also attended UGA and played on the basketball team in the late 1940s.

I chose to attend UGA because...

...UGA provides a world of financial, academic, cultural, and social opportunities. The scholarships and support I have received here have enabled me to pursue a higher education. Georgia’s premier university provides students with great resources and access to many facilities and contacts throughout the state. I was also impressed by the diverse array of programs available at the university. During my time at UGA, I have been fortunate to earn an interdisciplinary education in French, Wildlife Ecology and Management and Women’s Studies. Outside of my major studies, I’ve taken classes in everything from anthropology to ballet to mathematics to religion to marine sciences. I think my education is much more well-rounded and complete having been exposed to so many different types of knowledge.

My favorite things to do on campus are...

...to walk through the gardens, visit the art and natural history museums, go to music and dance performances and hang out at the intramural fields.

When I have free time, I like...

...to spend time outside, whether hiking, camping, cycling, swimming or scuba diving. I love to cook vegetarian food, read, travel, and play with my cats. When I had more free time than I do now, I spent it in ballet and Pilates.

The craziest thing I've done is...

...jump out of an airplane at 13,000 feet! A friend talked me into going skydiving with her. I was terrified the whole time, but in the end I was happy I did it. It is an amazing sight and feeling. My mother went skydiving when she was my age because she was told that women couldn’t do it, so I was excited to continue the tradition!

My favorite place to study is...

...next to the lake at the Intramural Fields. When I start to get restless with my work, being surrounded by the people, animals, and nature helps me regain focus. I enjoy getting a little sun too!

My favorite professor is...

...Sara Schweitzer, my professor and advisor in wildlife ecology and management at Warnell. Sara has been a great friend, boss, mentor, and travel companion to me, and I couldn’t have achieved everything that I have without her constant support and guidance. She has inspired me with her strong work ethic and her ability to balance the pursuit of a career and raising a family. I’m proud to be working with the first woman to become a full professor in the history of the Warnell School! Chris Cuomo and all the professors in Women’s Studies have also opened my eyes to new ways of thinking, and I’ve been very appreciative and inspired by them and their program.

If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with...

...J.P. Bond, who has crossed continents with me and supported me with all his heart. We’ve spent many wonderful days together already, and I hope for many more in the future.

If I knew I could not fail, I would...

...use literature and the arts to change the way people think about ocean conservation and the importance of protecting marine and coastal habitats and wildlife. Science can be beautiful but often feels unapproachable to general audiences. By integrating the knowledge gained through scientific research and the inspiration invoked by literature and art, we are better able to appreciate the complexity and beauty of nature, as well as recognize the interconnectivity of environmental processes, understand the tools of conservation, and respect the life we are trying to preserve.

After graduation, I plan to...

...devote myself to environmental conservation work and women’s rights. On a smaller scale, I’d like to move closer to the ocean and gain more experience working in marine and coastal ecosystems.

The one UGA experience I will always remember will be...

...the many international study and research trips in which I have been so fortunate to participate. From studying French literature among the lavender fields and olive groves of Provence, to conducting pheasant call-counts in the Alazani River Valley in Khaketi, Georgia, to mist-netting and banding tropical birds in the Costa Rican cloud forest, to hiking the majestic Balkan Mountains with Bulgarian biologists, I have not only gained invaluable research experience, but my understanding of the world, its many cultures, all it has to offer, and the interconnectivity and closeness of people everywhere has been infinitely enriched.