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40 Under 40 Spotlight: Shunta Jordan (BSFCS ‘98, MED ‘03)

Shunta Jordan (BSFCS ’98, MED ’03) is not just any teacher. The alumna is the J.B. Fuqua Chair of Speech & Debate at Pace Academy in Atlanta.

According to Brenton Culpepper, a friend of Jordan’s, she “consistently fields some of the best high school debate teams in the country.” He has witnessed her unique ability to communicate her passion for debate to her students – something she learned while attending UGA.

“My experience as a student and debater at UGA gave me the background and knowledge to pursue my dream of being a teacher and coach,” says Jordan.  “I learned how to balance various workloads and to embrace something that I loved because of the coaches who supported me.”

And pursue her dream, she has. The alumna, who earned a Bachelor of Science in Child Development and a Master of Education in Adult Education from UGA, dedicates herself to developing young people’s debate skills.

Upon graduation, Jordan served as the debate coach and a girls’ basketball coach at D.M. Therrell High School in Atlanta until 2003. During that time, she was also an elementary paraprofessional at A.D. Williams Elementary School and a math teacher at West Fulton Middle School. In 2003, she joined Atlanta’s Pace Academy as a math teacher and assistant debate coach. By 2005, she’d been named the J.B. Fuqua Chair of Speech & Debate at Pace.

Since joining the school, Jordan has coached six state championship debate teams and one national championship team.

In her free time, Jordan volunteers with the Urban Debate League, which brings debate to underprivileged schools and students that otherwise would not have the opportunity to participate in the activity. She has served as an instructor at debate institutes at Emory University, Bates College, Stanford University and University of Michigan.

Congratulations to Shunta on this great honor! She is doing great work educating the next generation of debate students who will follow in her footsteps.

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Brothers make business a family affair

How do two brothers from tiny Hopeful, Georgia, manage to take Atlanta’s entrepreneurial spirit to a new level? Well, ask the Shirah brothers, Benjie (BSFR ’07, MFR ’10) and Jamey (BBA ’10). Since leaving Athens, the business-savvy brothers have embarked on a number of successful endeavors, including The Ivy Buckhead and Atlanta-based companies Kill Cliff – The Recovery Drink™ and Vida-Flo: The Hydration Station. Now, the brothers are heading in a new direction - your feet. 

This fall, Benjie and Jamey launched their latest project, JL The Brand, a flair-filled sock company. Together with friends, the brothers are working to add a little jazz to the mundane black and blue men’s suit with top-notch socks. 

Designed with unique patterns and colors, JL The Brand offers affordable high quality socks that add a subtle yet sophisticated pop to any outfit. JL The Brand socks are the perfect gift for any guy this holiday season! 

With the Shirah brothers’ keen eye for business development, these young alumni are sure make a lasting mark on Atlanta's entrepreneurial scene. 

Keep up with the Shirah's businesses on social media: 


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40 Under 40 honoree to direct UGA’s state government relations

Tobin R. "Toby" Carr (BBA '01, BSAE '01) was named associate vice president for government relations and director of state governmental relations at UGA. Vice President for Government Relations J. Griffin Doyle announced the appointment of Carr, who currently is planning director for the Georgia Department of Transportation.

Carr was appointed to his current DOT post in 2012, a position in which he has led a team of some 30 planning professionals in guiding strategic planning and project budget documents that direct state and federal resources to fund transportation projects. He graduated from the UGA Honors Program in 2001 with bachelor's degrees in business administration and agricultural engineering. Before assuming his DOT post, Carr served as Deal's transportation policy adviser and the governor's liaison to the Georgia House of Representatives. He previously was director of Deal's gubernatorial transition committee.

An active student leader while at UGA, Carr served as president of the Interfraternity Council and was named to Sphinx, Omicron Delta Kappa, Blue Key, Mortar Board, Phi Kappa Phi and the Arch Society. He currently serves on the UGA College of Engineering Alumni Advisory Board and was recognized in 2014 as a UGA 40 Under 40 and as the 2012 Blue Key Outstanding Young Alumnus Award winner.

"I'm humbled and thrilled to serve my alma mater in this role," Carr said. "I'm very grateful to Gov. Deal for his support of this new endeavor and to President Morehead and Vice President Doyle for giving me the opportunity to advance the mission of UGA."

Carr will serve as primary liaison between the university and state government officials, representing the university in all matters involving legislators, agencies, departments, and the other higher education institutions of Georgia. The transition will occur in early January.

Click here to read more. 

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UGA’s Thank-a-Teacher Program

Did a teacher at UGA enrich your life or create a spark that inspired you to pursue your dreams? Was there a professor or teaching assistant that pushed you to do your best and helped you discover your passion for a certain subject? 

Now is the time to let that teacher - and the university community - know how grateful you are for their effect on your life. UGA's Center for Teaching and Learning invites current UGA students and alumni to particpate in the Thank-a-Teacher program.

What is Thank-a-Teacher? It is a program that allows students and alumni to express gratitude for teachers who have impacted their lives in a profound and meaningful way. If a teacher (professor, instructor, teaching assistant) made a positive contribution to your experience at UGA, please consider sending them a brief note. You may choose to remain anonymous or have your name attached to the note. 

You will be asked to fill out a simple form and acknowledge your appreciation for your teacher's work, dedication and extra effort. Share a simple thank you or an anecdote to let that teacher know what you enjoyed about their class and why it was important to you. 

Click here to complete the Thank-a-Teacher form

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