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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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05.28.2015

Young alumnus publishes novel for young adults

Book-seller by day at Athens' Avid Bookshop and published author by night, former English major Will Walton (AB '13) released his debut novel, Anything Could Happen, earlier this week. The book is being published by PUSH, an imprint of Scholastic. Jamie Lewis (AB '12, AB '12), assistant director of communications, recently sat down with Will to discuss the path to becoming a writer and his experiences at UGA. 

Tell me a little bit about yourself. Did you always want to attend UGA? When did you decide to be a writer?

Both of my parents are Georgia Tech grads and initially, I always thought I'd follow in their footsteps. Lucky for me, I decided I wanted to be a writer in the eighth grade and chose to attend UGA.

What was your book writing process? Did any experiences at UGA (inside or outside the classroom) help prepare you for the experience?

I wrote a lot in the Jittery Joe's downtown on my breaks between classes. I also took workshops with poet Sabrina Orah Mark (PHD '08) and author and UGA professor Reginald McKnight. Reg and Sabrina helped me tremendously. I could not have made the book what it is without their early advice and encouragements. For that reason, they are the first two people to be named in my acknowledgments.

What were some of your most memorable experiences at UGA? Did you have a favorite class or professor?

I'll never forget how excited I was to get into UGA's Stillpoint Literary Magazine my freshman year, for a poem I wrote called "Bird's Grandmother Discovers a Dead Calf." (Ha!) I wrote it while sitting in the first floor laundry room of Creswell. As far as professors go, Reg McKnight is my hero. I loved basically every English class I took. Richard Menke, Chris Pizzino, and Douglas Anderson are amazing instructors.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to write a book?

I think the best advice is simply, "just write it." I know that sounds a little annoying, but it's sort of how you trick yourself. First you tell yourself, "just write it," then, heroically, you do. Most likely, the result is terrible. But you just keep tricking yourself by saying, "just write it," draft after draft, and eventually the result is okay!

  

Will and Jamie at his book launch party at Avid Bookshop

Who are some of your favorite authors?

Libba Bray, Anne Carson, Amber Dermont, Miranda July, David Levithan, Sabrina Orah Mark, Reginald McKnight, Annie Proulx, Jane Smiley, Andrew Smith, and Laurel Snyder. 

Many grads only return to Athens once every few years. Where are 3 places you think someone should check out when they return to Athens? 

AVID BOOKSHOP (in all caps because it is my favorite place), Senor Sol on Oglethorpe Avenue for Micheladas and empanadas and Vision Video for the five-for-$5 movie rental deal. 

The UGA Alumni Associations wishes Will the best of luck in all his future endeavors! 

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05.21.2015

Once a Dawg, Always a Dawg

"Mine was the best seat in the house at the 2015 UGA graduation exercises last Saturday in Sanford Stadium.  Not because I was a special speaker or honored guest but because I was sitting next to my youngest daughter as a member of the graduating class of 2015." 

Bulldog 100 business owner Frank Raiford's (BBA '15) story is a bit unique. Originally a student in the late 1970s, Frank left UGA to start his business career - just three credits shy of graduating. He intended to return and finish his degree, but months turned into years and the family (Frank's wife, Melanie, is a member of UGA's Class of 1984) and business continued to grow. 

Flash forward to the fall of 2011. Frank's youngest daughter, Meredith (BFA '15), is a freshman at UGA and tells her father how much it would mean to her if they could graduate together. 

"I had promised Meredith that I would "finish" the last class that I needed to graduate and walk with her during her graduation. I will always remember this brief and unique time spent with "my" graduating class. I could feel the energy of youth and sense their expectations as they moved across the field and transitioned from being students to graduates."

After graduation, Meredith said "I was so proud and honored to graduate with my dad. It's because of his hard work and dedication over the past 30 years that I have been able to succeed today. It was only fitting that we got to celebrate our accomplishments together Between the Hedges. We both enjoyed every minute of it."

  

Earlier this year, Frank's company, Police & Sheriff's Press, Inc. was recognized by the UGA Alumni Association as a member of the Bulldog 100 Class of 2015. The business was also recognized in 2014. 

Frank had this to say about this unorthodox path to a degree, "Graduation was a long time in coming. My peers from '76-'82 are ordering senior coffee, receiving letters from AARP and showing off pictures of grandchildren. My new peers have the world before them and are ready to begin their journey. My hope for each of them is to dream big, work hard, cherish the friends they have made at UGA and enjoy the journey." 

Whether you consider him a member of the Class of 1982 or 2015, we know that Frank, as well as Meredith, will represent the Bulldog family with pride wherever they go. Congratulations on graduating! 

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05.18.2015

UGA Executive MBA ranks in top 10 in the U.S., according to The Economist

The Executive MBA Program at the University of Georgia Terry College of Business was ranked No. 14 worldwide by The Economist in its latest assessment.

The new ranking is a step up for Terry's EMBA program, which was No. 22 worldwide in the previous scoring by The Economist.

"I am certainly proud that the excellence of this degree is being recognized in Georgia and around the world," said Benjamin C. Ayers, dean of the Terry College. "This ranking is a reflection of the investment and quality that our faculty put into our EMBA program, and a good indication that it truly enhances the careers of our students."

The Economist's rankings reflect each EMBA program's performance in two broad categories: personal development/education experience and career development, with each category weighted equally. Terry's EMBA program received the highest ranking among schools in Georgia and was eighth among programs based solely in the U.S.

"We are honored to once again be recognized as one of the very best Executive MBA programs in the world," said Rich Daniels, director of Executive and Professional MBA Programs at the Terry College. "Our focus on leadership development, international experience and harnessing the Terry College network has proven to be particularly effective in ensuring that our graduates are successful."

The Terry College's Executive MBA degree is an 18-month program geared toward mid- to senior-level managers. The format combines weekend class sessions with asynchronous interaction using distance learning technologies. The program also offers individual leadership coaching, valuable opportunities to network and an international residency.

For more information about Terry's Executive MBA, Professional MBA (offered in Buckhead and Gwinnett County) and Full-Time MBA (in Athens), see terry.uga.edu/mba.

Source: UGA Today

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