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UGA Honors student receives Scholarship


For the second consecutive year, a University of Georgia undergraduate is among the nationally selected recipients of the George J. Mitchell Postgraduate Scholarship. Stephen Dorner, an Honors student from Alpharetta, will use his fellowship to earn a master's degree in global health at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland during the 2010-2011 academic year.

Dorner, who is one of nine Mitchell Scholars announced Nov. 23, will graduate in spring 2010 with a bachelor's degree in microbiology from UGA's Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and a bachelor's degree in environmental health from UGA's College of Public Health. He is a graduate of Chattahoochee High School.

Dorner was selected from a pool of almost 300 applicants from more than 150 colleges and universities across the U.S. He is the second UGA student to receive the award. Christina Faust, who graduated in May 2009 with bachelor's and master's degrees in ecology, was the first recipient last year and among the 10th anniversary class of Mitchell Scholars.

"I am very proud of Stephen for this significant accomplishment. This recognition is an acknowledgment of his talent and hard work," said UGA President Michael F. Adams. "It also validates the efforts of the faculty with whom Stephen has worked and studied while a student at the University of Georgia. When great students like Stephen earn these national accolades, it demonstrates the quality of the educational experience provided at this institution."

The Mitchell Postgraduate Scholarship, sponsored by the U.S.-Ireland Alliance, is a competitive one-year post-graduate fellowship for any discipline offered by institutions in Ireland and Northern Ireland. The award is named in honor of George J. Mitchell, the former U.S. senator who served as chairman of the historic peace negotiations in Northern Ireland. Applicants are judged on three criteria: academic excellence, leadership, and a sustained commitment to service and community. The Mitchell Scholars Program provides tuition, housing, a living expenses stipend, and an international travel stipend.

"I am thrilled for Stephen, who richly deserves this recognition," said David S. Williams, director of UGA's Honors Program. "Like Christina Faust before him, Stephen took full advantage of all that the Honors Program provides, including undergraduate research, study abroad, internship, and civic engagement opportunities. It has been very rewarding to watch his development as a scholar and leader."

As a recipient of an Honors International Scholarship at UGA, Dorner worked in health clinics in Costa Rica and Nicaragua for two weeks in summer 2008. He then spent three months in Santiago de Chuco, Peru, studying the health effects of smoke exposure from wood-burning stoves under the guidance of UGA environmental health science professor Luke Naeher. He is co-author of an upcoming paper on the research.

Upon his return, Dorner founded UGA Without Borders in fall 2008, a student organization that addresses public health and economic development challenges facing underserved local and global communities. About 50 UGA Without Borders students volunteered in health clinics in Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic and Tanzania this past summer. Another 300 students have been involved in service-learning projects around Athens.

Dan Colley, director of UGA's Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases, also has mentored Dorner during his academic career. "Stephen is an example of the type of pre-med student the world needs in the 21st century," he said. "While focused on learning and earning the grades needed to be accepted into medical school, he has held fast to a vision of the world and its future needs. Stephen has real empathy for those in poverty and sees medicine and health as the way forward in changing their plight."

Dorner also was a participant in UGA's Honors in Washington Internship Program this past summer. Working in the D.C. office of Rep. Hank Johnson, Dorner assisted in developing legislation to provide funding for neglected parasitic diseases that disproportionately impact impoverished global communities.

Among his other leadership roles on campus, Dorner is executive director of Volunteer UGA, a campus center for about 35 of UGA's service-based student groups. He also has been actively involved with the campus chapter of Habitat for Humanity.

"I'm extremely honored to be named a Mitchell Scholar," said Dorner. "I am very humbled to be considered among that prestigious group and look forward to enhancing my understanding of global health issues at Trinity College in Dublin."