Federal legislative staffers get up close look at UGA, including the law school's Veterans Legal Clinic

Monday, September 16, 2019

About 50 federal staffers representing Georgia’s 16 congressional offices visited the University of Georgia to get a firsthand look at how UGA makes a positive impact on the state and nation through its teaching, research and service missions.

The retreat, held annually during the August congressional recess, is hosted by the UGA Office of Government Relations.

“This event provides an opportunity to demonstrate UGA’s stewardship of federal research dollars and our dedication to serving Georgians,” said Carly McCallie, UGA’s director of federal relations. “We are able to highlight the university’s academic and public service initiatives and feature research addressing grand challenges facing our society.”

One session highlighted UGA’s work to support Georgia’s veterans and the defense community. Anna Scheyett, dean of the School of Social Work, and Alex Scherr, director of the UGA School of Law Veterans Legal Clinic, demonstrated how UGA could collaborate with district offices’ constituent services staffers to support Georgia’s growing veteran population. Another session highlighted how UGA programs, including the UGA Student Veterans Resource Center, are serving veterans who are current students.

“Growing up in Georgia, it is easy to overlook the tremendous impact UGA has on so many of us,” said Dylan Nurse, retired Army officer and constituent services representative/grants coordinator to Rep. David Scott (GA-13). “As a veteran, I truly appreciated the opportunity to learn about the Veterans Legal Clinic at UGA and the services it could offer to help veterans get the benefits they deserve. It is inspiring and reassuring to see how the university uses its funding and partnerships with the federal government to build lasting change in the community.”

UGA’s teaching and research missions were also featured during the retreat. Recently appointed Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost S. Jack Hu provided an overview of UGA’s growing research enterprise and discussed his vision for the advancement of the university. Foundation Fellow and Honors undergraduate student researcher Satya Jella presented on his research in glycoimmunology and developing effective vaccines.

“I enjoy learning more about the university’s short- and long-term goals,” said Ryan Diffley, UGA alumnus and legislative assistant to Rep. Tom Graves (GA-14). “As a staffer who handles the appropriations portfolio, this retreat is a great opportunity to see how UGA maximizes its federal funding to expand opportunities for students, faculty and serve the state of Georgia.”

To see how UGA leverages facilities to provide hands-on teaching to students, staff visited sites across campus, including the Veterinary Teaching Hospital and the newly renovated Driftmier Engineering Center. At each location, faculty explained how their research improves lives around the globe.

“The transformative research taking place at the University of Georgia truly is extraordinary,” said Samantha Cadet, assistant director of federal relations at UGA. “Faculty members’ research significantly improves the quality of life not only for Georgians but also for everyone in the nation. We hope that the retreat showcased how federal investment plays an essential role in helping UGA solve global grand challenges.”