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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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09.17.2014

Class of 2014 40 Under 40 Honorees

Tomorrow is the big day, the 2014 40 Under 40 Awards Luncheon! With a combined 10 honorees, the School of Law and Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication are two of the most well-represented units at the event.

This year, the School of Law has produced four honorees:

While at UGA, David Adams (JD ’02) was a Moot Court board member, a member of Honor Court and a member of the Business Law Association. Today, David is a partner at Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz in Atlanta where he led the Georgia Financial institution practice for the firm and founded its Georgia State Public Policy practice. He also provides pro bono representation to terminally ill patients who need assistance with end-of-life planning.

With a focus on educational and disability law, Lisa Taylor (JD ’01) works in Washington, D.C. as a prominent civil rights attorney for the Department of Justice. In this role, she works throughout the country to enforce the Americans with Disabilities Act. Recently, she also helped launch a diversity and inclusion office in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

After enjoying classes about Georgia law, the legislative process of the Georgia General Assembly and the Executive Branch, Ryan Teague (JD ’03) decided to enter Georgia politics. He currently serves as executive counsel for Governor Nathan Deal. In this role, he has led key criminal justice reform, saving the state millions and allowing for extended rehabilitation opportunities for non-violent offenders.

Double Dawg Shannon Wallace (JD ’12) was the first female elected District Attorney of the Blue Ridge Judicial District in Georgia. She is also one of the youngest of the state’s 49 district attorneys, and recently led the formation of Cherokee County’s first felony drug accountability court. Outside the office, Shannon is involved with the Junior Service League of Woodstock, and travels around her county as a motivational speaker.

The Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication has six alumni who will be honored during the awards ceremony:

As the director of communications for Disney Channel Worldwide, Rachel Harper Fox (ABJ ’06) oversees all communication and media relations for the Disney Channel and Radio Disney. She also is in charge of Disney Channel’s internal corporate communications and national press outreach. Recently, Rachel served as a board member of the South Pasadena Educational Foundation, an organization that supports educational excellence in South Pasadena’s public schools.

A former Bulldog 100 honoree, Christy Hulsey (ABJ ’97) is the owner and creative director of the Colonial House of Flowers in Statesboro, Ga. Christy rebuilt and rebranded the 50-year-old shop, earning her the Chapel House Designer Designation. She was asked to decorate the White House for this past Fourth of July, and Pottery Barn has chosen the shop to help launch its summer brand. Outside her business, Christy is a member of the faculty at Ogeechee Technical Institute and the Distance Education Consortium.

A leader in his field, David Mowery (ABJ ’99) owns and operates his own lobbying and public relations firm, one of only two firms in the country that works with both Democrats and Republicans. David’s firm has helped to run successful congressional, senatorial and mayoral campaigns, including the first-ever election of an Independent to the Alabama Senate. Outside of the office, David serves as the president of the newly-formed Montgomery Chapter of the UGA Alumni Association.

Eric NeSmith (ABJ ’02) is the youngest publisher in the history of Community Newspapers, Inc. Currently, the alumnus is its vice president of business development and sits on the board of directors for the company. Most recently, Eric received the National Newspaper Association’s Daniel M. Phillips Award for outstanding leadership as a young professional in the journalism field. To give back to his alma mater, Eric serves as the chair of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication Alumni Board.

Elaine Reyes (ABJ ’97) works as an international news anchor for CCTV America, interviewing the likes of former presidents Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush. She also serves as the host for CCTV America’s flagship magazine program. Outside the office, Reyes is an active supporter of the March of Dimes, a passion that began when she was a member of Gamma Sigma Sigma at UGA, and continued when her daughter Mercer was born premature three years ago.

Emmy-winner Tracy Thomson (ABJ ’00) is the co-head writer of CBS’s The Young and the Restless, America’s top-rated daytime soap opera. In this role, she has been nominated for four Writers Guild Awards and six Daytime Emmy Awards. Tracy’s brother, Robert Thomson (BA ’02), is also a 40 Under 40 honoree this year, making them the award’s first sibling honorees.

Click here to see the rest of the 40 Under 40 Class of 2014. Information about others in this year's class will be posted to the UGA Alumni Association's blog between 9/12/14 and 9/18/14.

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09.16.2014

40 Under 40 Class of 2014: Advice to Students

Each 40 Under 40 honoree has an amazing success story that starts with their time at UGA. 

With this year's 40 Under 40 Awards Luncheon right around the corner, the UGA Alumni Association cannot think of a better group to give advice to current UGA students

Silvije (Sly) Barisic (MBA ’04), Founder & CEO, FotoIN Mobile Corporation

“Believe, for you and for those around you. Act on what you know and believe, for you and for those around you. Selflessly acting for others leases to the greatest personal gains. Faith, family, team – all successful when based on selfless action.”

Mark Butler (BBA ’02), Founder and President, CXO Staffing, Inc. and Pay It Forward Atlanta

“The world measures success often in numbers, whether it is people or dollars. Work hard with passion, drive and superior ethics for yourself, not others, because you are made of greatness. More importantly, try to be sensitive to, and available to meet the needs of, those around you.”

Toby Carr (BBA ’01), Director of Planning, Georgia Department of Transportation

“Be trustworthy. Live your passion. Seek mentors for guidance, and mentor those who need it. Do not be too proud to ask for help. Be curious, reading everything you can. Question every assumption. Balance life by keeping work in its place. Rest on Sundays, and practice humility.”

Ashley Diamond (BBA ’06), Global E-Commerce Leader, Procter & Gamble

“Take the opportunity to study abroad at least once during college. Immersing yourself in another culture and a foreign situation will challenge you from an emotional, mental and physical perspective, allowing you to grow and evolve in ways not possible in Athens, Georgia.”

Bynikini Frazier (BSED ’08), First Grade Teacher, Hodge Elementary School

“Always believe in your dreams and never give up on them. Develop a plan that aligns with your focal point and that allows you to discover your resources, make connections and get involved. Your actions determine your success and your experiences at UGA will guide you into your forever.”

Matthew Sawhill (BBA ‘01), Managing Director of External Affairs, AGL Resources

“Get out of your comfort zone and be involved with other students and organizations. The effort put into building relationships and understanding differing opinions will have an exponential return on your investment.”

Lindsey Harper (BSFCS ’99), Owner, Lindsey Coral Harper Interior Design

“Take advantage of all the opportunities around you. If you are able, study abroad. I participated in a work/study program in London. It definitely was a stepping stone in my career, and it gave me the confidence to move to New York City, the epicenter for interior design.”

Danielle Hosker (BS ’01), Founder and CEO, Dancefx, Inc., Antage Bleu and Baby Bleu

“College is about discovering your passions. Expose yourself, find out what you don’t like and uncover what you love. Read the UGA Bulletin and discover majors and minors you never knew existed. Get involved and pursue every interest: intern, volunteer, shadow, audit a class, join professional clubs, study abroad and have fun!”

Laura Jalbert (BSW ’99, MSW ’00), Owner & Clinical Director, Mindful Transitions, LLC

“Be mindful of the full experience of each moment you encounter. Experience every moment, now and forever, pleasant or unpleasant, with the curiosity and inquisitiveness of a child, but utilize the wisdom you are acquiring as an adult.”

Burt Jones (AB ’04), President, JP Capital & Insurance

“A lot of us have preconceived notions about whom and what we want to be. Knowledge is power! The more education and life experiences you have will create a better you. Make your own decisions, think for yourself and find your place in this world.”

Jody Young (AB ’99), Founding Principal Partner, Atlanta Capital Group

“Take risks, but don’t be a fool. Do your homework, learn as much as you can, so when you make that leap you have some idea of where you are going to land.”

Congratulations to all our 40 Under 40 honorees! The UGA Alumni Association supports you in all your current and future endeavors and can't wait to see you on Thursday, September 18, at the Georgia Aquarium! 

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09.15.2014

Class of 2014 40 Under 40 Honorees: Favorite UGA Memories

Though this year's 40 Under 40 honorees represent different colleges, work in various fields and live all over the world, each has fond memories of time spent at UGA. 

In celebration of the upcoming 40 Under 40 Awards Luncheon, the UGA Alumni Association asked a few honorees to share some of their favorite memories from their time in Athens.

Turmel Kindred (BBA ’02) 
Inspector General, United States Army

“I happened to run into this pretty, young freshman in the elevator and exchanged numbers [with her]. We became friends, and we later matured that friendship into a healthy relationship that spanned two continents. My chance meeting with this young lady led to that woman becoming mother of my two children, protector of my household and my lovely bride.”

Jon Ostenson (BBA ’02, MBA ’06)
Vice President of Sales, Carter’s/OshKosh B’Gosh

“The time I spent [as president] with the Banking and Finance Society […] We succeeded in nearly doubling the organization's 100-member base through bringing in top-notch Atlanta companies to present on a frequent basis and setting up networking nights in downtown Athens. It was very rewarding to be a part of this turnaround.”

Jon Pannell (BBA ’00)
Partner; Gray, Pannell & Woodward, LLP

“I was fortunate enough to be selected as a member of Arch Society as a student leader, and served during my junior and senior years as a member. Through the Arch Society, I was exposed to some incredible experiences as a student ambassador for UGA.”

Michael Patrick (BBA ’03)
Vice President of Capital Markets, Carroll Organization

“Representing my fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha, as a member of the winning team in the Greek step show that takes place annually at the Classic Center downtown. This memory touches one of the things I’m most passionate about: my fraternity brothers. The night we won the competition we all became that much closer.”

Godfrey Powell (BBA ’00)
Team Lead, Business Development and Partnerships, Samsung Electronics

“I worked as a roadie for the UGA event technical crew. We set up the stage and sound technology equipment at events all over campus […] I worked with the Harlem Ballet, met Destiny’s Child, picked up Bobby McFerrin from the airport, set up a drag queen ball and assembled a Rolling Stone Magazine exhibit. Each event exposed me to the rich diversity of UGA’s student body.”

Bakari Brock (BBA ’01)
Director of Business Development, Lyft, Inc.

“The Outkast concert at Soldier’s Field is one of my favorite memories from UGA. This was a time in their career before they were global megastars, and performing in a relatively small venue. Most importantly for me, however, it was the first time other than at a sporting event that I witnessed our multi-cultural student body truly interact with each other in a positive manner.”

Jared Schmidt (BBA ’04)
Vice President, Goldman, Sachs & Co.

“I learned so much about philanthropy and the importance of giving one's time through Mr. Earl Leonard and Terry's Leonard Leadership Scholars Program. One year at the closign banquet, I was honored to be sitting at a table with Mr. Leonard, his wife and my family. That moment was the culmination of pride, hard work, sacrifice and gratitude that I felt on that evening. 

Robert Thomson (BA ’02)
Major, United States Army Special Forces (Green Beret)

“My older sister, Tracy (ABJ ’00 and fellow 40 Under 40 honoree), gave me a personal tour of the campus and mapped where all my classes were located before my first day of class. During that campus tour, she not only gave me a UGA history lesson, but she shared all the great insights that a new student would surely need and put my nerves at ease as I embarked on my UGA journey.”

Eric Wearne (MA ’02)
Assistant Professor, Gwinnett College School of Education

“My first child was born while I was a student at UGA. Living in Gwinnett and commuting to Athens, I remember being ‘on call’ [while in class], waiting for my huge, stone-age cell phone to ring with my wife telling me to hurry back down 316. My professor, Sally Krisel, was very understanding, but that memory is a good one because it reminds me of the kindness of the faculty members who taught me during my time at UGA.”

Trey Wood (BBA ’08)
Partner/Vice President, Turner, Wood & Smith Insurance Agency

“One of my favorite memories is the final RMI project I completed in Dr. Robert Hoyt’s class. Our team of three met every single Monday afternoon for several months. At the time, I could not have had any idea that my teammates would soon thereafter transition from classmates to colleagues. Both now serve as underwriters for companies I work with daily. We often meet for lunch and reminisce about that project.”

Evangeline George (BA ’08)
Press Secretary, U.S. House of Representatives, Office of Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi

“The Washington Semester Program was an incredible experience. Differing political perspectives didn’t matter – we formed a bond over our love of UGA and excitement to be in the nation’s capital. The fall of 2008, lifelong friendship were formed through countless seminars, networking receptions, lunches on Capitol Hill, walks on the mall, football games, West Wing episodes, late-night talks about our futures, a near collapse of our financial system and a presidential election.”

Click here to see the rest of the 40 Under 40 Class of 2014. Information about others in this year's class will be posted to the UGA Alumni Association's blog between 9/15/14 and 9/18/14. 

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