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11.01.2012

Franklin College honors six graduates with inaugural outstanding alumni award

The University of Georgia Franklin College of Arts and Sciences honored six of its alumni, who work in fields as diverse as evolutionary genetics, film, and design and space exploration, at its inaugural Alumni Awards Ceremony October 18th.

The winners of the 2012 Franklin College Outstanding Alumni Award are:

Jennifer Holloway ’00 of Athens, a mezzo-soprano vocalist, earned her bachelor’s degree in music from UGA and a specialist degree in vocal performance from the Manhattan School of Music. She has performed significant leading roles in major opera houses in North America, South America and Europe, including the Metropolitan Opera in New York and the Maggio Musicale in Florence, Italy. 

Roger Hunter ’78 of San Jose, California, is a project manager for NASA’s Kepler Project. Hunter, who earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics, is leading NASA’s mission to determine the frequency of planets that have the potential to harbor life. The mission began in 2009 and already has led to the identification of hundreds of Earth-size planet candidates.

James N. Ihle ’71 of Memphis, Tennessee, is the Edward F. Barry Endowed Chair in Biochemistry at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Ihle, who earned his doctorate from the department of biochemistry and molecular biology, is a highly cited researcher who has published more than 350 scientific articles, including a landmark paper in Nature that revealed a key step in the process the body uses to rid itself of faulty or unneeded cells.

Melissa Kirkpatrick ’89 of Hidden Hills, California, is a noted fabric designer. Kirkpatrick, who received her bachelor’s degree in printmaking, launched her MK Collection line of fabrics, rugs and wall coverings in 2011. Her work has been featured in publications such as Elle Decoration, Interior Design and House Beautiful.

Judith Mank ’06 of London, England, is a professor who holds the chair of evolutionary and comparative biology at University College London. Mank, who earned her doctorate in genetics, is working to understand how evolutionary pressures differ between females and males and how this ultimately results in the differing observable characteristics that so many animals exhibit based on sex.

Christopher Todd Wells ’10 of Playa Del Rey, California, is a filmographer known for his visual effects work. Wells, who earned his bachelor’s degree in theatre and film studies in 2010, has created visual effects for more than 50 major movies, in many cases serving as visual effects supervisor. Among his credits are “The Amazing Spider-Man,” “Toy Story 3,” “Avatar,” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” “300” and “X-Men: The Last Stand.”

Please join me in congratulating these amazing graduates of the University. As the largest and oldest college on campus, Franklin’s far reach is illustrated by the breadth of the fields covered by the 2012 Franklin College Outstanding Alumni Award winners. Their impact can be seen everywhere from Athens to California to London. These are truly outstanding alumni and I wish them all the best. Go Dawgs!

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11.21.2014

International Education Week

This week, the UGA Alumni Association joined the campus community and celebrated International Education Week. 

"International Education Week gives us the opportunity to recognize and celebrate the role of international education in providing a well-rounded education and equipping students with the competencies for living and working in an intercultural environment," said Kavita Pandit, associate provost for international education. Not only does UGA encourage its students to travel and study abroad, the university also welcomes international students to call UGA home. Interacting with students from other countries - working on class projects, living in the same dorm, sharing a meal in the dining hall - creates a greater cultural and global awareness in students and helps prepare them for whatever life after UGA holds. 

The UGA Alumni Association believes in the transformative power of international educational opportunities and is proud to support various study abroad scholarships across campus. Since 2006, we have provided more than $50,000 in study abroad scholarships, including to UGA's residential study abroad programs in Cortona, Costa Rica and Oxford.

We recognize the ability of a study abroad experience to change someone's life, help them choose a career path or discover an unknown passion. 

The summer after my sophomore year I received funding from the Honors International Scholarship Program and spent 12 weeks in Cape Town, South Africa, volunteering in a township clinic and conducting research on antiretroviral HIV treatment adherence. The work culminated in an article published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes and, more importantly, the implementation of a more effective and efficient treatment program in the community. The experience confirmed my goal of pursuing an MD/MPH and a career in global health. - Joey Sharp '15, UGA Amazing Student

Each year, nearly 6% of the UGA student population participates in a study abroad program, with an additional 150-200 students from other universities transient enrolling. These statistics testify to UGA's reputation for providing high quality international academic experiences. 

Click here to read more particpation statistics from the Office of International Education. 

Interested in supporting UGA study abroad programs and helping students like Joey Sharp? Click here.

Do you have a favorite memory from a UGA study abroad experience? We'd love to hear it! Email your story to Assistant Director of Communications Jamie Lewis (AB '12, AB '12) at jelewis@uga.edu

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11.20.2014

Alumna Spotlight: Cheri Leavy (BSED '97)

After a childhood of frequent visits to Athens, Cheri Harden Leavy (BSED ’97) couldn’t resist the pull of the Classic City. During college, she transferred to UGA from Ole Miss and has been bleeding red and black ever since. Today, she is the founder of Bulldawg Illustrated, Guide2Athens and The Southern Coterie, three publications that cover the modern South.

UGA Alumni Association Assistant Director of Communications Jamie Lewis (AB '12, AB '12) spoke with Cheri about her experiences at the university that helped shape her career:

You started college at Ole Miss. What are your connections to UGA and what made you return to Georgia?

My father, Mac Harden (BBA ’77), graduated from UGA and his mother grew up in Watkinsville. We spent a lot of time on the family farm in Oconee County when I was growing up, so I have always loved the area and cheered for the Bulldogs. Generations of our family bleed red and black. I loved my time at Ole Miss; my father says I built my resume on classes that were interesting, but didn’t fit a degree (like "Anthropology of the Blues" and "Faulkner Studies"). I transferred to UGA and got serious. I stayed on the Dean’s List until I graduated from the College of Education, where I participated in the pilot year of the Collaborative Inquiry Teacher Education Program. I taught high school for several years, then joined The Brunswick News where I launched a Newspaper in Education program to showcase local student writing. 

Along with your husband Vance (AB '94), you’ve started Bulldawg Illustrated, Guide2Athens and The Southern Coterie. Explain a little bit about what those are, the inspiration behind them and how your time at UGA prepared you for an entrepreneurial career.

Vance and I created Bulldawg Illustrated, a print newspaper and website that covers UGA sports and the Bulldog lifestyle. Now in its 12th year covering the South’s beloved tailgating and football, it is still a ton of fun. Six years ago, we created Guide2Athens. The pocket-sized square book and blog captures the people and businesses that make America’s best college town so culturally rich. We have loved getting involved in the Athens community and have had a home here for the last five years. When Athens isn’t beckoning, you can find us at home in St. Simons with our two golden retrievers.

  

I founded The Southern Coterie with my friend Whitney Long; it is a resource for the entrepreneurial South. Designed to offer a community of passionate business owners the opportunity to connect, collaborate and create, the “Southern C” network is capturing the South’s entrepreneurial renaissance one post at a time. The Southern C Summit brings the online content to life with a unique multi-day conference where attendees network and connect with the best and brightest names in Southern business and branding. 

What is your most memorable UGA experience? Favorite UGA sports experience?

Meeting Herschel Walker for the first time at Vince Dooley’s home was pretty surreal. The Leavy Family/Brunswick News Publishing endowed a scholarship and we had brunch at the Dooley’s before the game. Vance, his brother, his brother’s wife and I went on the field that day to be recognized. Since we are all UGA graduates, that whole experience was pretty incredible. Herschel was on our Christmas card that year!

Since graduating, you and Vance have stayed involved with the university. Why do you think it’s important for alumni to stay connected to UGA once they’ve graduated?

Staying involved with the university provides you with an invaluable resource of connections to continue to support your growth personally and professionally. Vance and I enjoy supporting the philanthropic side of UGA. I attended the UGA Studies Abroad Program in Cortona, Italy, and now serve on the Georgia Museum of Art friend’s board. We also support our vibrant athletics programs.

I give back to students that are up-and-coming at the university. We have 15 interns from Grady. They bring me a tremendous amount of joy and I learn from them as much as I hope they do from me. I give them a great deal of responsibility and I have high expectations, but if they work hard, they can count on me after graduation.

I traveled recently to the West Coast and to Memphis, where I spent time with former interns. One even visited on her “engagement tour,” where she was introducing her future groom to family. We felt honored to be a stop on her travels. They turn into amazing friends as they get older and I couldn’t be prouder of their successes. The internships certainly feed the teacher side of me that was fostered while studying at UGA. I may not formally be in education any longer, but I am still using that skill set.

Can you give us a hint of what’s next for you?

Oh my goodness, there is no telling.

  

Vance and Cheri Leavy with Uga IX

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11.19.2014

From the Desk of Provost Whitten: Food for Thought

This blog was sourced from Written by Whitten, Provost Whitten's blog. Click here to read the original post. 

Food and food processing are big business in Georgia, so it should come as no surprise that the University of Georgia is using its expertise to strengthen one of the top growth industries in the state.

Recently, UGA broke ground on the UGA Griffin Food Technology Center, a state-of-the-art facility that will house the university’s Food Product Innovation and Commercialization (FoodPIC) Center. FoodPIC is a unit of the university's College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences that assists new and existing companies in product development, packaging, food safety, consumer acceptance and marketing. It is staffed by faculty from the department of food science and technology, as well as research chefs from within the university and from private industry.

Food processing is the state’s leading manufacturing sector—with an estimated $3.5 billion in annual wages—and it is a rapidly growing industry. Over the past six years, 7,400 jobs in Georgia were created by new and expanding food processing companies, according to data from Georgia Power’s Community and Economic Development division. Large companies that have moved to Georgia or expanded their operations here include household names such as Kellogg’s and Starbucks, and FoodPIC has helped farmers and small companies produce niche products such as frozen desserts made from Georgia fruits as well as sauces and ethnic foods.

FoodPIC is the only project of its kind in the Southeast, and it is one of many examples of the role that UGA plays in economic development. The UGA Griffin Food Technology Center is strategically located just 30 miles south of the world’s busiest airport, and it will help attract food-related businesses to the nearby Lakes at Green Valley Industrial Park.

The entire campus community is grateful to Governor Nathan Deal, the General Assembly, University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby, the Board of Regents, the Griffin-Spalding Development Authority and the U.S. Economic Development Administration for their support and partnership on this important project.

UGA's faculty in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences have helped make Georgia the nation’s top state for blueberry production, and FoodPIC is putting Georgia on course to become a national leader in food processing.

  

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