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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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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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