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$1.5 million gift honors legacy of late ecology student

After John Spencer’s 2016 death, his family and friends worked to establish a graduate fellowship in his name that provides a research assistantship to students in the master’s in ecology or conservation ecology and sustainable development degree programs who are interested in pursuing careers in management and conservation of aquatic ecosystems. A new gift hopes to continue Spencer’s legacy.

Commitment to fund fellowship in tribute to John Spencer

约翰斯潘塞,硕士学位的学生生态 at the 乔治亚大学, was passionate about freshwater ecology, conservation and ecological restoration. A graduate fellowship established through a $1.5 million commitment from John’s mother and stepfather, Kathelen and Dan Amos, is ensuring that his legacy will reach far into the future.

“Kathelen and Dan Amos are two of the most generous and devoted alumni of the university,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “Their establishment of the John K. Spencer Fellowship is a meaningful tribute to John that will help advance the important work he intended to carry out.”

John Spencer arrived at UGA in the fall of 2014 and immediately distinguished himself at the 要玩就玩最好的网站 for his hard work, ready laugh, enthusiasm and, most of all, his thoughtfulness. He cared deeply about people and the natural world. His untimely death in 2016 left his family, friends and colleagues devastated.

“John’s memory is with us every day—his smile, his optimism and passion for life,” said 约翰湖gittleman,院长 奥德姆学校 and UGA Foundation Professor in 生态. “John wanted us all to enjoy and conserve the natural world around us. This gracious and kind gift will ensure that future generations will have the chance to fulfill John’s passion.”

Spencer’s research focused on the health of urban streams.

“John wanted to study—and positively affect—how stream ecosystems respond to stressors associated with watershed land-use change, particularly urbanization,” said professor Amy Rosemond, who co-advised John with assistant professor Seth Wenger.

Spencer studied the effects of elevated conductivity—the amount of dissolved ions, or pollutants, in water—on invertebrate communities in urban streams as a way to measure stream health. In 2016年12月, the 乔治亚大学 awarded him a posthumous master’s degree in recognition of the work he had completed toward the requirements of his degree.

The John K. Spencer Fellowship was established that year with an initial gift from John’s family and contributions from more than 370 friends, classmates and colleagues. The two-year fellowship provides a research assistantship to students in the master’s in ecology or conservation ecology and sustainable development degree programs who are interested in pursuing careers in management and conservation of aquatic ecosystems.

To date, three students have received Spencer Fellowships, and their work is already having an impact. Inaugural Spencer Fellow 埃米莉·约翰逊 built upon the foundation of John’s research to identify particular disturbances impacting water quality in Athens-area streams and create a real-time monitoring system that makes it easy for municipal water managers to respond to issues quickly.

扎克管家 is studying the impacts of an invasive species, the nine-banded armadillo, on the ecosystems and native wildlife of the Georgia barrier islands. Zach’s research has upturned the conventional wisdom about this species, finding that they are helping to fill part of the ecological role of the gopher tortoise, a native species in decline across the Southeast. His findings are now informing coastal ecological management plans.

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“The John K. Spencer Graduate Fellowship honors John 通过 providing our outstanding graduate students the opportunity to pursue careers in aquatic conservation and management and make a positive difference, as John intended to do,” said Gittleman. “This gift ensures the continuation of John’s legacy, for which we are immensely grateful.”