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05.03.2013

UGA students receive Udall, Truman and Goldwater scholarships

When I meet with alumni and friends, I am always pleased to share updates on the quality of students attending UGA. This year, for the first time, more than 20,000 young people applied for 5,000 slots in UGA’s freshman class. This is impressive and shows just how much the University’s quality of education has improved over the past few decades.

While the overall quality of UGA students is very high, there are still a few that rise above the rest. Today, I’d like to acknowledge several UGA students who rival even the top Ivy Leaguers and have been awarded Udall, Truman and Goldwater scholarships for 2013.

2013 Udall Scholars

Congratulations to both Sara Black and Ian Karra for being awarded 2013 Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation Scholarships. Each scholarship, accompanied by up to $5,000, is awarded annually to outstanding sophomores and juniors pursuing careers focused on environmental or Native American public policy. Sara and Ian bring the University’s total number of Udall Scholars to 12 in the past ten years.

Sara is a junior in the UGA Foundation Fellows Program from Birmingham, Ala. who is pursuing degrees in anthropology from the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and in ecology from the Odum School of Ecology. She plans to pursue a career in the environmental or food justice nonprofit sector.

Ian is a junior from Roswell who is pursuing degrees in economics and finance from the Terry College of Business. He plans to pursue a career in grassroots environmental advocacy, influencing renewable energy policy at the state level and at institutions of higher education. He and Sara co-lead Georgia YES, a network of more than 75 student environmental leaders on more than a dozen campuses in Georgia. The organization promotes clean energy infrastructure and policy on college campuses throughout the state.

Matthew Tyler, a junior Honors student and Foundation Fellow from Atlanta received an honorable mention.

2013 Truman Scholar

Smitha Ganeshan, an Honors student majoring in anthropology, has received a 2013 Harry S. Truman Scholarship, which recognizes juniors with exceptional leadership potential who are committed to careers in government and elsewhere in public service.

She was one of 62 students to receive the scholarship, which offers up to $30,000 for graduate study. The Franklin College of Arts and Sciences student is the 18th UGA recipient of the scholarship since 1982 and the only recipient in Georgia this year.

Smitha, who aims to pursue a dual M.D. and Master in Public Policy degree, is active in health care and health policy issues in Athens and around the globe. She has been involved with UGA’s Roosevelt Institute, a student-run think tank, since her freshman year and currently directs its health policy center and its environmental policy center. Through the Roosevelt Institute, she developed a policy proposal to improve access to primary care services for low income and uninsured patients.

2013 Goldwater Scholar

Philip Grayeski, a junior Honors student majoring in genetics and chemistry, has been named a 2013 Barry M. Goldwater Scholar. The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation provides up to $7,500 per year for university expenses such as tuition, fees, books and room and board. UGA students have received the Goldwater Scholarship almost every year since the mid-1990s. Philip brings the University's total of Goldwater Scholars to 44.

Philip is among 271 recipients of the scholarship that recognizes exceptional sophomores and juniors in engineering, mathematics and the natural sciences. He intends to pursue a combined M.D. / Ph.D. degree with a focus on gene therapy and translating academic research into treatments for cancer and hereditary disorders.

Philip spent three months at Ludwig Maximilian University in Germany researching genetic approaches for targeting melanoma treatments. He has presented his research findings at the UGA Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities Symposium and at a meeting of the European Society of Gene and Cell Therapy in France. He is the co-founder and executive director of Whatever It Takes at UGA, where he coordinates a network of more than 300 student volunteers for educational and health and wellness programs targeting families in Athens Clarke-County.

Tuan Nguyen, a sophomore from Douglasville, Ga. earned an honorable mention.

I am proud of these amazing students’ outstanding academic and extracurricular achievements. Congratulations to Sara, Ian and Smitha on receiving these scholarships. Congratulations are also in order for Matthew and Tuan on their honorable mentions. You’ve all made the Bulldog Nation proud!

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07.28.2014

Father and son share a bond like no other

Craig Sager Jr. (ABJ '10), a member of UGA's 2008-2009 football team, and his father, legendary sartorialist and NBA and MLB sports announcer, Craig Sager Sr., have always shared a love of sports. They now share an even stronger connection - a connection that helped save Craig Sr.'s life.

On July 3, Craig Jr. donated bone marrow to his father who is battling acute myeloid leukemia.

“I was pretty confident I’d be the match,” Craig Jr. said. “But 10 out of 10? That’s pretty crazy.”

Craig Jr. was disappointed, though, to find out the surgery would take place on July 3. Like many Georgians, Craig Jr. looks forward to running the annual Peachtree Road Race each Fourth of July. The race has always served as a bonding experience for the entire Sager family. This would have been the first time in 32 years that Craig Sr. has missed the race and Craig Jr. was looking forward to running in his 10th consecutive Peachtree Road Race.

Despite warnings from his doctors that he forego the race this year, Craig Jr. opted to run the race alongside his mother and sisters - in honor of his father.

Less than 24 hours after donating 1.5 liters of bone marrow to his father, Craig Jr. lined up at the starting line with thousands of other runners.

“I wasn’t supposed to be doing this race,” Craig Jr. said. “I was supposed to stay overnight in the hospital but I left at 6:00 p.m. and then just went to bed.”

In the end, Craig Jr. completed the 2014 Peachtree Road Race in one hour and 17 minutes. He was realistic about his finishing time and did not expect to match his previous time of 42 minutes.

Congratulations to Craig Jr. for bravely helping his father's leukemia battle and for crossing the Peachtree Road Race finish line for the 10th year in a row. Best wishes to the entire Sager family for a future of good health!

Information for this blog was sourced from the Atlanta Journal Constitution and MLB.com

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07.25.2014

UGA alumna is on fire

In 2006, Disney produced a huge hit with Cars. It was a family-friendly, fun-filled animated adventure that led to a sequel and the successful spin-off Planes. This summer, a related film will grace the silver screen, Planes: Fire and Rescue, and in it, a successful UGA alumna.

Corri English (ABJ ’00) is well-known in her field as the star of numerous films, guest on iconic television shows, and lead singer for country band Brokedown Cadillac. Though her career began when she was quite young, hosting children’s shows on TBS in the 1980s, it really took off after graduating from UGA.

English has made a name for herself in horror films, winning Best Actress at the International Horror and Sci-Fi Film Festival for her role in Unrest. She also generated quite a following for her voice-over work in popular video games such as Mass Effect 3, Dragon Age: Origins and  Star Wars: The Old Republic. These character voicing skills were brought to life during Planes: Fire and Rescue

Her character, Pinecone, along with four other smokejumpers, bravely leaps from planes to put out fires. "Working alongside actors like Dane Cook, Ed Harris, and Regina King was a great experience," said English. 

The alumna is excited about the release of the film and hopes it leads to further voice acting opportunities in the future. 

Truly, for this star Bulldog, the sky is the limit.

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07.23.2014

Make miracles happen with Gwinnett Braves

As an Emmy-winning reporter for CBS, Adam Murphy (ABJ ’97) spends a large amount of time in the spotlight. He works as a consumer investigative reporter, cracking down on scam artists and tracking dollars involved in large projects. Recently, the alumnus has been focusing his off-screen efforts on helping people.

In 2013, Murphy decided to use his influence to launch the nonprofit ‘Miracle for Mom’. The organization is dedicated to his own mother, Janice Murphy, who was diagnosed in 2010 with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP). PSP is a progressive neurological disorder that causes complications with controlling balance, complex eye movements and upper-level thinking. Discovered in 1964, this relatively new disease has had little attention placed upon it by the scientific community due to its rarity. With no known cause, cure, or treatment procedure, the outlook for those suffering with PSP has looked bleak for the 1 in 100,000 Americans that will develop this neurological disorder. Miracle for Mom hopes to change that.

Miracle for Mom strives to find a cure for PSP and helps those living with the disease. In its four years, the charity has raised more than $10,000. This year alone, Miracle for Mom joined forces with the Atlanta Hawks to raise more than $4,000 in one night. Tonight (July 23), the charity is partnering with the Gwinnett Braves to hopefully raise even more to support the fight against PSP. 

Miracle for Mom Night with the Gwinnett Braves is being held tonight, July 23, 2014, at 6:30 p.m. A portion of ticket sales will be given to the organization. Attendees who purchase a "First Pitch Ticket," will be given and especially good seat in the stadium. And for $15, attendees can enjoy a delicious pre-game tailgate catered by Williamson Bros. BBQ.

Tonight's event is sure to be fun, but also important in the fight against PSP. 

Learn more about Miracle for Mom and/or purchase tickets for tonight's game at www.miracleformom.org

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