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08.29.2013

40 Under 40 Spotlight: Jessica McClellan (AB ’00, JD ’03)

In February, when Jessica McClellan (AB ’00, JD ’03) entered a federal courtroom in New Orleans for the trial of the largest oil spill and environmental disaster in U.S. history, she wore her finest black suit with a red shirt. According to this 40 Under 40 Class of 2013 honoree, “You can take the girl out of Athens, but you can’t take the Athens out of the girl.”

But McClellan isn’t your average UGA alumna – she is one of 11 Department of Justice trial attorneys involved with the BP oil spill litigation that involves hundreds of witnesses, thousands of lawyers, millions of documents, and billions of dollars. For those reasons, the trial has been dubbed “the trial of the century.”

McClellan graduated from UGA with a bachelor’s degree in political science in 2000. Three years later, she left Athens with her law degree and a fellow Double Dawg as a husband. The couple headed to Savannah, where McClellan became an associate at Hunter, Maclean, Exley & Dunn until 2008. Her specialty quickly became admiralty and maritime law – thanks to the guidance of her UGA mentor, Thomas Schoenbaum.

In 2008, McClellan was tapped to join the U.S. Attorney’s Office as an assistant United States attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. In 2010, the fourth-generation Bulldog moved to Washington, D.C., to become a trial attorney with the Department of Justice’s Civil Division. McClellan is the co-author of the 5th Edition of Admiralty and Maritime Law, the leading and most-cited treatise on the subject. She is the vice-chair of the Maritime Law Association’s Government Counsel Committee and has served as the chair of the American Bar Association’s Admiralty Committee.

During these years of incredible career growth, McClellan has found time to give back to her community. She is a former president-elect for the Junior League of Savannah, member of Leadership Savannah, a coach with the Georgia High School Assocation’s Mock Trial Team, and a founding board member of the Coastal Georgia Affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

It is fitting that McClellan is a featured 40 Under 40 honoree just as college football season begins. This season will mark the 14th UGA-Tennessee game for she and her husband, Chandler (AB ’02, MS ’03). The couple met during the UGA-Tennessee game in 2009 in Knoxville.

Congratulations to Jessica McClellan on being named to the 40 Under 40 Class of 2013. Registration is open if you would like to join hundreds of Bulldog Faithful in Atlanta on Thursday, September 19 as the Alumni Association recognizes talented alumni like Jessica for their professional and philanthropic endeavors.

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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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02.20.2015

Amazing Student: Sarah Huber '15

From the moment she stepped foot on the campus, Sarah Huber could tell that UGA was the perfect place for her. Nearly four years later, the future dentist calls the journey an “extraordinary experience.”

Throughout my four years at UGA, I have experienced significant development in my character and drastic change in my approach to life. I entered college with an outlook that was enthusiastic, yet full of uncertainty in my surroundings and in my hopes for the future. Today, my recent acceptance to dental school and each of the incredible relationships I have formed at UGA serve as reminders of the extraordinary experience that this university has provided me over these past four years.

Read more about Sarah's incredible four years at UGA.

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