Department of Plant Biology, 120 Carlton St
University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602 - 7271
Grants and Awards
Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant, The University of Georgia Graduate School
Graduate Teaching Portfolio Program, The University of Georgia Graduate School
Best Graduate Poster Presentation, Southeastern Ecology and Evolution Conference
Grand Prize Winner and Biology Category Winner, AAAS Dance Your PhD Contest
Best Graduate Student Presentation, Plant Biology 3 Minute Thesis Competition
NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program
Haines Family Field Botany Award, $915 over 12 months, Title: “Disturbed relationships: plant-soil interactions in a changing world”
Plant Biology Graduate Student Association Research Assistance Award, $250 over 12 months, Title: "Does disturbance alter plant-soil feedbacks?"
Presidential Fellowship, University of Georgia Graduate School
Honorable Mention, NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program
Robert ’53 and Ellin Grossman Scholar
HHMI Summer Research Fellowship for Undergraduates
2010 - present
2010 - present
Nagendra UJ and Peterson CJ. 2016. Plant-soil feedbacks differ in intact and tornado-damaged areas of the Southern Appalachian Mountains, USA. Plant and Soil, 402, 103-116.
Nagendra UJ. Toe-tapping Science: A folk dance for photosynthesis. Workshop led at: Interdisciplinary Research Conference; 2015 February 11; Athens, GA.
Nagendra UJ. Changing winds, shifting soil: dancing through the PhD. Invited talk presented remotely at: DANscienCE Festival; 2015 August 21-23; Brisbane, Australia.
Nagendra UJ and Peterson CJ. Plant-soil feedbacks in tornado-damaged Southern Appalachian forests: field and greenhouse studies. Oral talk presented at: The Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting; 2015 August 9-14; Baltimore, MD.
Nagendra UJ. Tornadoes and trapeze: an experience in communicating science through aerial dance. Oral talk presented at: HighWire Academic Publishing Conference; 2015 April 12-14; Palo Alto, CA.
Nagendra UJ and Ishibashi CDA. Science Communication Workshop. Workshop led at: Southeastern Ecology and Evolution Conference; 2015 March 13-15; Athens, GA.
Nagendra UJ and Peterson CJ. Guided Nature Trails: Teaching natural history online with project-based curriculum. Poster presented at: Southeastern Ecology and Evolution Conference; 2015 March 13-15; Athens, GA.
Nagendra UJ. Tornadoes and trapeze: an experience in communicating science through aerial dance. Oral talk presented at: Interdisciplinary Research Conference; 2015 February 27; Athens, GA.
Nagendra UJ and Peterson, CJ. Resilient earth: Rapid soil recovery following tornado disturbance, regardless of disturbance severity. Oral talk presented at: IUFRO 2014 – Wind and Trees International Conference; 2014 August 3-8; Sao Pedro, Brazil.
Nagendra UJ and Peterson, CJ. Resilient earth: Rapid soil recovery following tornado disturbance, regardless of disturbance severity. Oral talk presented at: Southeastern Ecology and Evolution Conference; 2014 March 14-16; Statesboro, GA.
Nagendra UJ and Peterson, CJ. Not so hot: Rapid recovery of soil temperature and respiration following tornado disturbance, regardless of disturbance severity. Poster session presented at: American Geophysical Union Annual Meeting; 2013 Dec 9-13; San Francisco, CA.
Nagendra UJ and Peterson, CJ. Shifts in plant-soil feedbacks after severe wind disturbance for two southern appalachian tree species. Oral talk presented at: Southeastern Ecology and Evolution Conference; 2013 March 2; Orlando, FL.
Nagendra UJ and Peterson CJ . Potential alterations to plant-soil feedbacks following wind disturbance. Poster session presented at: Plant Biology Graduate Student Symposium; 2012 Aug 20; UGA, Athens, GA
Nagendra UJ and Peterson CJ. Potential alterations to plant-soil feedbacks following wind disturbance. Poster session presented at: Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting; 2012 Aug 5-10; Portland, OR.
Jan - Apr 2010
Volunteer Field Technician: Luquillo Forest Dynamics Plots, Luquillo LTER, El Verde, PR
Supervisor: Chris Nytch
Census of tropical tree seedlings in plots recovering from human and hurricane damage
June - Dec 2009
Field Research Technician: The Corridor Project, Savannah River Site, SC
Supervisors: Ellen Damschen, Nick Haddad, Doug Levey, Josh Tewksbury, Lars Brudvig
Effects of connectivity on plant-animal interactions in fragmented landscapes
June - Aug 2006
Student Researcher: Biology Department, Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA
Advisor: Jose-Luis Machado
Student-run project monitoring effects of deer and invasive species on native plants
June-July 2011 and May-Sept 2010
Wetland Delineation Vegetation Technician: Fort Wainright, Fairbanks, AK
Supervisor: Sarah Runck
Mapped and categorized wetlands on military-owned lands
Sept 2005 - May 2009
Plant Records Assistant: Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA
Supervisor: Rhoda Maurer
Conducted inventory for all woody plants in over 300-acre arboretum
Sept 2006 - Dec 2008
Writing Associate, Writing Associate Program, Swarthmore College
Supervisor: Jill Gladstein
Led peer conferences with introductory Biology students to improve lab reports
2005 - 2009
Biology, Comparative Literature
2011 - present
University of Georgia
Academic Publications and Presentations
Relevant Work Experience
Previous Research Experience
Outreach and Engagement
Teaching and Mentoring
Organizer: “Toe-tapping Science: a folk dance for photosynthesis”
Developed a traditional-style contra dance to illustrate concepts in photosynthesis
Presented at Athens Folk Music and Dance Society monthly contra dance, UGA Interdisciplinary Research Conference, and (upcoming) Ecological Society of America.
Programming board, Graphic designer: Athens Science Café
Assists in planning and organizing monthly public science discussions (Science Cafés)
Designs eye-catching and informative posters to advertise events
Spearheaded science storytelling event in collaboration with local storytelling series for April 2015
Writer and Editor: Athens Science Café Student Section Blogs
Writes periodic blog posts on science, ecology, and recent research for a general audience
Critiques undergraduate and graduate student blogs for clarity, structure, and tone
Creates webcomics to combine creative visuals, storytelling, and scientific concepts
Director, Choreographer, Performer: AAAS’ International Dance Your PhD Contest
Collaborated with aerialists and scientists to present research through dance for award-winning video
Edited final video that competed with 21 submissions from researchers across the world
Modified and performed dance for a three-act production in the Atlanta Science Festival titled “Emergence in Motion: Dancing with Evolution”
Answered audience questions on ecology and natural disasters as part of a post-performance panel
Co-chair, organizing committee, Southeastern Ecology and Evolution Conference
Led organizing committee for a small regional conference geared towards early-career ecologists and evolutionary biologists (undergraduates, graduate students, and post-docs)
Recruited high-profile plenary speaker (Dr. Nalini Nadkarni) for opening lecture on public engagement with ecological science
Co-wrote a successful NSF proposal ($10,000) to fund diversity scholarships for students underrepresented in ecological sciences
Increased overall conference participation by 50%, from 150 in previous years to 225
Co-Organizer: “Science Communication Workshop” at Southeastern Ecology and Evolution Conference
Led 20 undergraduate and graduate students in 45-minute workshop on science communication
Used hands-on activities to practice science communication, open dialogue and share ideas
Guided workshop participants towards broader science communication resources
Spring 2011 – Spring 2015
Co-Organizer: Hilsman Middle School AgriScience Outreach
Taught weekly hands-on plant science lessons in local middle school during Spring semester
designed original lesson plans: Biomes of the World, Biodiversity, Intro to Soils
Summer 2013 - present
Co-instructor: Independent Research for Undergraduates BIOL/PBIO 4960
Mentors 1-3 undergraduates in independent ecological research each semester
Guides students on project design, data collection, data analysis, and project writeup
Coaches students to present project results at regional conference or symposium
Project topics: Soil respiration after disturbances, seedling demography, leaf litter decomposition, plant-soil interactions
Spring 2013, Fall 2014-15
Co-developer: Natural History of Georgia Plants PBIO 2500E
Re-designed existing course for an online format
Developed interactive online lessons and project-based assessments
Handled day-to-day communications, tech support, and weekly assessments
Writing Workshop Assistant
Provided bi-weekly feedback to 5 international post-docs and research professionals
Reviewed manuscripts for structure, exposition, and continuity
Co-led bi-weekly group workshop sessions
Teaching Assistant: Soil Biology and Ecology ECOL 8660
Managed laboratory sections
Reviewed and guided students in team-based research projects
Co-led bi-weekly paper discussions
Teaching Assistant: Plant Population and Community Ecology PBIO 8410
Co-led weekly paper discussions
Addressed student concerns during both field and computer-based lab sessions
Guest lecture on Feedbacks in Plant Ecology