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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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03.04.2015

Alumnus Spotlight: Alex Crevar (AB '93)

The University of Georgia, which ranks among the top 20 public universities by U.S. News & World Report, has a student body of more than 34,000. While many students arrive at UGA right out of high school, many do not. For example, consider journalist Alex Crevar (AB '93). After graduating from UGA in the early 1990s, Alex spent nearly 20 years traveling abroad and working as a freelance journalist, contributing to The New York Times, Men's Journal, National Geographic and more.

Alex has returned to UGA to pursue a masters degree from the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. He still works full time as a travel editor for Paste Magazine and part time as a spin instructor at the Ramsey Student Center. Assistant Director of Communications Jamie Lewis (AB '12, AB '12) sat down with Alex to discuss the biggest changes he's noticed at UGA since his undergraduate years and what it's like to return as a non-traditional student. 

What prompted you to first attend UGA? What was your major and were you involved in any students activities?

UGA was one of the only schools I applied to and it was where all my friends were. Frankly, in those days, it was not a hard place to be accepted. I knew I would have fun. As a student, I was a communications major. I ran triathalons and played ultimate frisbee for UGA. I took a semester off to ski. I had a great time and still graduated with fairly good grades. 

What did you do between graduating from UGA the first time and returning to earn your masters? How did your time at UGA prepare you for your career?

For the last 18, I have been a journalist. I lived between Europe and the U.S., covering travel for a variety of newspapers and magazines. 

During my time at UGA, I became an adult -- of sorts -- and someone who was confident that he could try new things and visit new places. UGA and Athens have always been comfortable for me and because of those roots, I could live elsewhere knowing I always had a place to return, which is no small thing for any person. 

  

Alex during his undergraduate years at UGA in the early 1990s

What made you want to return to Athens and UGA?

I came back to earn a masters in journalism. I want to eventually teach journalism at the college level while continuing to freelance. 

Briefly discuss some of the biggest differences between your first time at UGA and now? How has campus changed, biggest difference in the student body, etc.

The biggest difference, without question, is technology. There was no Internet when I attended UGA. Now, of course, people are on their phones and laptops all the time. I find myself a little frustrated by the constant need to be in touch by device and the Internet.

The students today seem to be much more focused on school than I was ... or my friends were. But again, UGA wasn't the kind of place you had to fight to get into back then. Having said that, my generation loved Athens for Athens. Largely we were here because of the town. It seems that students are here now more for the school, which is appropriate, of course.

Are you interested in returning to UGA to earn a graduate degree? Click here to learn more about opportunities with UGA's Graduate School, which has many nationally ranked programs.

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02.25.2015

Alumna Spotlight: Sara Alread (BFA ’09)

Sara Alread (BFA '09) of Saint Simons Island, Georgia successfully launched her business, Little River Designs, in April 2013. The web-based business features rustic hand-crafted, wooden designs for the Southern home. Litter River Designs is a family business in every sense of the word. Sara's father is a carpenter, while her mother and sister serve as constant inspirations for new designs. The idea to create Little River Designs came in the form of a new family member. 

Sara shares how Litter River Designs got its name, "On November 30, 2011, my nephew, River, was born. He became our inspiration and official mascot. We were already making signs, planning weddings and building furniture for ourselves when friends became interested in what we were creating. Soon after River was born, Little River Designs began."

Little River Designs centers around a timeless family tradition: tracking grandchildrens' growth-spurts on the wall at grandma's house. Little River Designs' most popular item is the wooden Grow Chart Rulers.

      

Grow Chart Rulers by Litter River Designs

Today, Little River Designs continues to develop its online business and clientele. A recent expansion includes a line of wedding signs and the personalization of all Litter River Design products. As Sara and her team grow the Little River Designs line, they have gained the attention of a few big crafting and design websites. The business has been featured on SwissMiss, Sweet Peach, 100 Layer Cake, Rustic Wedding Chic, Golden Isles Magazine, and in the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

To learn more about Sara and Little River Designs, check out the website and Facebook page.

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02.23.2015

Sisters Rethink “Something Borrowed”

Sisters Ashley Steele (ABJ ’06), of Charlottesville, Virginia., and Cali Brutz (AB ’08), of Athens, Georgia., own and operate two businesses that are modernizing the wedding industry. Steele and Brutz began working together in 2008 at the ages of 24 and 22, respectively. At the time, Steele was planning her own wedding and Brutz was a photographer. During the wedding planning process, the pair identified a number of issues that arise for the soon-to-be brides. Looking to solve those issues sparked several entrepreneurial projects.

The duo's latest venture, Borrowing Magnolia, uses a concept similar to that of Rent the Runway and Warby Parker in that brides will be able to rent wedding dresses for their big day directly from Borrowing Magnolia. The dresses available for rental will be provided by former brides who are interested in earning extra cash by lending their gown to another individual. Borrowing Magnolia ensures that the dresses are in good quality by limiting each dress to three rentals annually and five total. Sizes range from 0 to 24 and alterations are available as long as the changes are reversible

Borrowing Magnolia lives to serve the bride. The sisters ensure the brides-to-be that, "Borrowing Magnolia is committed to helping you find your dream gown, the way the modern bride does the dress. We make it easy for you to buy or borrow a designer gorgeous gown at a fraction of the retail cost, while still having a white-glove personalized boutique experience from start-to-finish. Look fabulous in your dream dress, save some cash, go green, and focus on what really matters on your wedding day. That’s what we’re all about."

The sisters have obviously been bitten by the entrepreneurial bug and show no signs of stopping. This year, Borrowing Magnolia is expected to have over 800 dresses in their collection by the end of the year; the business was featured in the New York Times’ Style Section; and reality show producers are in talks of covering their business endeavors.

Congratulation to Ashley and Cali on their stellar sucess and best wishes as they continue to help women live their dream weddings. 

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