Five UGA College of Education graduates were recognized for their career achievements and community leadership with 2014 Distinguished Alumni Awards at the college’s second annual Donor Appreciation and Alumni Awards Dinner held earlier this month at the UGA Center for Continuing Education.
Lifetime Achievement Award
Whitney Myers (EDD '91) was awarded the COE’s 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award for his success and significant impact in education.
A doctoral graduate from Sylvania, Myers spent his career teaching and working with children, starting in Effingham County and the Marvin Pittman Laboratory School at Georgia Southern University, and then in Griffin-Spalding County Schools. He spent his summers on staff at the state FFA-FHA camp in Covington and became assistant camp director in 1984.
Myers later returned to Griffin-Spalding schools as an assistant principal, then moved to Screven County as principal of the elementary school there.
Myers’ leadership experience has taken him to present at conferences and legislative hearings. After retiring from Screven County, Myers became the half-time executive director of Georgia’s First District Regional Education Service Agency, which helps schools share and enhance resources.
Crystal Apple Award
Double Dawg Ian Altman (AB '04, MED '06) was recognized for making a significant impact on student, school and school district performance with a 2014 Crystal Apple Award.
After enrolling at UGA to pursue a degree in philosophy, Altman delayed his graduation for several years in order to take extra classes in English, comparative literature and classics. After completing his master’s degree in education in 2006, he began teaching English at Clarke Central High School in Athens, where he remains today. Four years ago he moved from the freshman academy to teaching American literature and Advanced Placement English, where he incorporates philosophical perspectives on intellectual history and rhetoric into his lessons.
Professional Achievement Award
Kimber Shelton (PHD '09)
Two COE graduates—Kimber Shelton (PHD '09) and Tonya Harris Cornileus (MED '04, PHD '10)—were recognized for their significant achievements in the midpoint of their careers with 2014 Professional Achievement Awards.
Shelton focuses on empowering individuals and couples through private, one-on-one counseling and creating systemic change at large-scale university settings, where she trained hundreds of students, faculty and staff.
As a staff psychologist and coordinator of diversity programming at the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Counseling Center, Shelton, a 2009 doctoral graduate, helped improve the mood and functioning of students while also developing diversity programs that had effects throughout the campus. She developed and led monthly staff cultural competence trainings, created the counseling center’s diversity and inclusivity mission statement, created training materials for the school’s Office of Minority Education Peer Tutor program, created diversity-related outreach aimed at reducing mental health stigma and revamped Georgia Tech’s Safe Space training program, which involved training more than 200 staff, students and faculty on sexual and gender minority awareness issues.
While at Georgia Tech and also in private practice, Shelton stayed active in several professional organizations, including co-chairing the Early Career Psychologist Transition Project for the American Psychological Association Society of Counseling Psychology. Shelton co-authored a textbook on university counseling that will be published in December 2014 and has about 20 other publications focused on diversity and social justice. In her private practice, Shelton specializes in working with underserved populations including ethnic minorities and sexual/gender minority clients. She said her interest in working with underserved populations grew while she was a UGA student, where courses on diversity and gender, her work with women in a local homeless shelter, and experience leading a gender-issues group pushed her own self-exploration of culture and responsibility.
Tonya Harris Cornelius (MED '04, PHD '10)
Cornileus, a 2004 master’s graduate and 2010 doctoral graduate, is the vice president for learning and organizational development at ESPN, where she is part of the sports network’s human resources leadership team. She is responsible for the global learning, talent management and organizational development strategies for ESPN employees around the world.
Teaching was a passion for Cornileus when, armed with a degree in telecommunications, she spent eight years working in various school districts. She transitioned from teaching to the corporate setting when she became the manager of training and quality assurance for the telecommunications company Innotrac Corporation. After becoming vice president for training and organizational development for Aegis Communications Group, she earned her master’s degree and moved to Turner Broadcasting System as director of executive development and organizational effectiveness. She returned to UGA for a doctorate in adult education/human resources and organizational development before moving to her current job at ESPN.
For his service to the community and commitment to education, Mark Slonaker (BSED '80) was recognized with the 2014 Service Award.
Along with his role as head of the UGA Athletic Association’s fundraising arm, he shares his sports knowledge as a guest lecturer for sport management majors. This experience has led him to mentor several students and even take on a student as part of his practicum.
Slonaker, of Watkinsville, took over the Georgia Bulldog Club in 2011, and since then has started several programs, including a young alumni ticketing program, an endowment program, fundraising plans for Foley Field and the Equestrian Center facility, and a restructured scholarship program.
Click here to learn more about these honorees.
A former Bulldog is working hard to provide arts education to students in underserved public schools and communities in the Southern California area.
Amy Shapiro (BSED ’00) is the executive director of advancement and operations for the nonprofit organization, P.S. ARTS, where she leads a team of passionate individuals in their efforts to keep arts in the schools. P.S. ARTS “provides yearlong arts education in dance, the visual arts, music, and theater to every child in a school during the regular school day.”
Through her role, Shapiro leads fundraising initiatives that keep P.S. ARTS running. She plays a large role in running the administrative side of the organization, while staying involved with the activities that are at the heart of the organization’s mission.
The organization is heavily funded by individuals in Hollywood that share P.S. ARTS' passion for fostering a love of the arts. With a board of trustees made up of educators, television producers, artists, and other committed individuals, P.S. ARTS continues to expand its services, reaching nearly 20,000 students that need art education in their schools.
To learn more about the program, visit www.psarts.org.
After spending two years learning about Georgia’s largest industry and developing leadership skills, the inaugural class of Advancing Georgia’s Leaders in Agriculture and Forestry has graduated from the program.
University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences faculty launched Advancing Georgia’s Leaders in Agriculture and Forestry, or AGL, in 2012. The program is designed to educate and empower Georgia’s agricultural and natural resource industry leaders to become effective advocates for the largest economic drivers in Georgia—the state’s agricultural and forestry industries.
Thirteen industry leaders, including six UGA graduates and one current student, spent the last two years touring farms and processing plants, traveling throughout the state and across the nation. They also spent two weeks in India learning about Georgia agriculture’s role in the global economy.
“This class has shared in a journey that has covered many counties in Georgia, multiple states and a foreign country,” said Elliot Marsh, a precision agriculture coordinator at Southern States Cooperative and the AGL advisory board chairman. “These graduates are already making an impact in our communities and the state of Georgia. I believe that their experiences will play a tremendous role in Georgia’s agriculture community for many years to come.”
AGL program participants are from all segments of the state’s agriculture and forestry industries.
“My experience with AGL made me a better leader and citizen,” said AGL graduate Mark Risse (BSAE '87, MS '89), the UGA Georgia Power Professor of Water Resources and director of the UGA Marine Extension Service. “I met hundreds of leaders across Georgia, and my interactions with them taught me that leadership comes in many forms. The experiences that I had, the people that I met and what I learned about myself put me in a better position to accomplish my goals as well as to advocate for those things that I think are important.”
The AGL program is coordinated by faculty in the college’s department of agricultural leadership, education and communication.
“Adult non-formal educational opportunities sponsored by the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences like AGL are helping Georgia become a top agricultural state in the nation and world,” said Kay Kelsey, head of the department of agricultural leadership, education and communication. “It’s an experience that will be a game changer for participants.”
The inaugural class of UGA’s Advancing Georgia’s Leaders in Agriculture and Forestry program, are, front row from left to right, Jutt Howard, Sarah M. Cook '15, Amanda Tedrow (BSA '03, MPPPM '10), Derick Wooten, Jenni Harris and Steve Gibson (MPA '97); middle row, AGL assistant director Kristi Farner, Brandon Ashley (BSA '07), Jesse Johnson (BSFR '00) and Rebecca Thomas and, back row, Duane Myers, AGL director Rochelle Strickland, Tate Izlar O’Rouke (ABJ '05, AB '05), Mark Risse (BSAE '87, MS '89) and Brent Allen. (Credit: Paul Efland/UGA)
The second AGL class will begin in early 2015. For more information, see http://www.agl.caes.uga.edu/.
After a collision with a teammate during a 2011 UGA baseball game left him paralyzed from the waist down, three-year letterman Johnathan Taylor (BSFCS ’13) didn’t lose his fighting spirit.
Following extensive rehabilitation, Taylor returned to UGA to finish his degree in consumer economics and passed his exam to become a qualified life insurance agent. Despite his injury, he was drafted by the Texas Rangers in 2011 and, most recently, was appointed to the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Services (GVRS) Board by Governor Nathan Deal.
L-R: Chairman of the GVRS Board James DeFoor (BSED '69, MED '73), Johnathan Taylor (BSFCS '13), Governor Nathan Deal
“I hope to be a big support for the disability community and all the citizens of Georgia who look to us for help,” Taylor said of his new role with the board.
The board is part of the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency, an entity made up of six rehabilitation programs that collaborate with other state agencies to assist individuals with disabilities achieve employment and independence.
Taylor has also received the Courage Award from the Tempe Sports Foundation and the 2013 UGA Inspiration Award.
Congratulations on your new position, Johnathan! The UGA Alumni Association looks forward to hearing about your positive impact on the state.
The University of Georgia Graduate School has honored 10 graduates with the 2014 Alumni of Distinction Award for achieving exceptional success in their professional careers and in service to their communities.
As the Director of the Emory Institute for Drug Development of Bioanalytical Chemistry, Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics Group, Richard F. Arrendale (BSEH '74, MS '80, PHD '88) has played a lead role in the preclinical and early clinical development of new treatments for tumors in tobacco users. Additionally, he co-chaired the 2012 UGA Symposium on Pharmaceutical Development.
Phillip J. Brantley (MS '77, PHD '80) is the associate executive director for scientific education at Louisiana State University's Pennington Biomedical Research Center. More than 30 years of research grants, mostly from the National Institutes of Health, have funded his research in weight loss and long-term weight management. Brantley is a member of the executive council of the Obesity Society and has served on the executive boards of the Louisiana Psychological Association and the Society of Behavioral Medicine.
UGA professor Perry W. Buffington (MA '73) is a bestselling author, speaker, media personality and licensed applied psychologist. He teaches clinical psychopharmacology in UGA's Franklin College of Arts and Sciences' program on the Griffin campus and was awarded the Teaching Excellence Award by the UGA psychology department in 2014. In addition to lecturing worldwide on ways to reduce drug errors, he is also a former contributing editor to Delta Air Lines' in-flight magazine, Sky.
Christopher Francis D'Elia (PHD '74) is the dean of the School of the Coast and Environment at Louisiana State University. His research is centered on the nutrient dynamics of estuaries and coral reefs. D'Elia is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, has served on numerous advisory panels to the National Science Foundation, and previously directed the International Ocean Institute-USA and the Center for Science and Policy Applications for the Coastal Environment.
Brain cancer survivor Michael Feuerstein (MS '75, PHD '77) is a professor of medical and clinical psychology and preventative medicine/biometrics at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. In 1994, he developed and directed a clinical psychology Ph.D. program for the Department of Defense to train clinical providers and military leaders in behavioral health and medicine. Feurstein has dedicated his career to improving the health, health care, function and well being of other cancer survivors.
Pamela Flattau (MS '72, PHD '74) has served as a senior staff officer and task leader in Washington, D.C. for 40 years with the National Research Council, National Science Foundation, and Institute for Defense Analyses' Science and Technology Policy Institute. This year, she launched the nonprofit business venture, The PsySiP Project, to advance behavioral measures associated with sustainable consumption for integration into the U.S. System of National Accounts for the U.N.'s post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda.
Triple Dawg and Athens resident Kurt C. Lawrence (BSAE '85, MS '87, PHD '97) is a supervisory research agricultural engineer and research leader of the quality and safety assessment research unit within the agricultural research service division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He is recognized internationally as an expert in radio-frequency moisture sensing in cereal grains, crack detection in shell eggs, and imaging systems used to detect poultry contamination.
Roland McElroy (AB '65, MA '69) is president of McElroy & Associates, a public relations firm focused on providing strategic advice for corporate and public policy clients. In Washington, D.C. he served U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn for 15 years, first as press secretary and later as chief-of-staff. In 2001, he wrote a history of the Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Georgia, entitled "Georgia Blue." His next project, a political memoir of his time with Nunn, is due to be released in 2015.
Kathleen Slevin (MA '74, PHD '75) is the former vice provost for academic affairs and Chancellor Professor of Sociology at the College of William and Mary. Her scholarship centered on age and gender inequalities. In 1990, she was appointed by the Governor of Virginia to serve on the Affirmative Action Monitoring and Advisor Committee. She currently serves as the president of the Southern Sociological Society and is the faculty advisor for the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.
Deborah Williams (MS '83, PHD '85) is the president and CEO of the apparel and event productions company, Her Game 2. Through an exclusive merchandise licensing agreement with the National Basketball Association, she supplies apparel for NBA fans across the country. She is also the Founder of Behind the Bench: The National Basketball Wives Association. She was also selected as one of the 25 Most Influential African American Women in Business by The Network Journal and was crowned Mrs. USA in 1990.
The UGA Alumni Association congratulates you all on your success!