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09.11.2013

40 Under 40 Spotlight: Logan Smalley (BS ’06)

Logan Smalley (BS ’06) is doing big things – and has been for quite some time.

The Athens native first put himself on the map as a future leader during his time as an undergraduate at UGA. Inspired by his experiences at the Cannes Film Festival, Smalley decided to create a feature-length film about his close friend and hero, Darius Weems. In 2005, he directed, edited and composed the soundtrack for Darius Goes West, which documents Weems and several friends on a cross-country quest to get Weem’s wheelchair customized on the MTV show “Pimp My Ride.”

Along the way, the film crew raises awareness about Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which led to Weems being in a wheelchair, and to test for wheelchair accessibility across the country.

Since that time, Darius Goes West has been shown in 1,000 venues and 30 film festivals. More than 100,000 DVDs are in circulation and the film has won more than 25 awards. Smalley even appeared on TV shows such as Ellen DeGeneres, The Today Show, and The CBS Early Show. He continues to serve as president of the Darius Goes West nonprofit organization, which has raised $2.3 million for Duchenne muscular dystrophy research since the film was launched. 2013 marks the ninth annual Darius Goes West Day.

Smalley has not slowed down, though, following those successes. He earned a master’s degree in technology, innovation and education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2008. That same year, he was one of 30 applicants selected to become a TED Fellow.

The alumnus capitalized on that experience and went on to create TED-Ed to push the popular TED Talks into K-12 education. Since 2010, he has served as the TED-Ed director, overseeing and managing the TED-ED team of teachers, animators and web specialists. TED-Ed recently won three Webby awards, including “Best Education Website,” and the first 150 TED-Ed lessons have been viewed more than 20 million times in the last year.

When asked about his advice for current UGA students, Smalley responded, saying, “Participate in making the world, by using every tool available to you to tell your story, and to help tell the story of others.”

Through his work with Darius Goes West and now, through TED-Ed, it’s clear that Smalley takes his own advice to heart. Thank you for continuing to inspire us, Logan, and welcome to the 40 Under 40 Class of 2013!

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07.30.2014

Former Bulldog Making “Chic Comfort Food” on MasterChef

Combining southern charm with a New York edge can be tricky, but former Bulldog, Elizabeth Cauvel (ABJ '04), has done just that in her time in the kitchen. Cauvel has stepped into the cooking spotlight as one of 30 contestants on season 5 of “MasterChef."

Known for tantalizing recipes and wild expressions, Cauvel is in the running for the coveted prize: a cookbook deal, $250,000 and the title of MasterChef. We caught up with Cauvel to see how she made the journey from Athens to Los Angeles for MasterChef.

Tell us a little about yourself, and how you came across joining this season of "MasterChef"?

I'm an Associate Creative Director at MRY, a digital and social advertising agency in New York. After graduating from UGA, I attended the Creative Circus, a creative advertising portfolio school in Atlanta. I started working in Chicago as a copywriter in 2007 and moved to New York in 2010.

I am a huge fan of MasterChef and while watching the show, I saw an ad for open auditions in New York. Despite the fact that auditions were a mere two weeks after my wedding, I decided to try out for the show. I brought homemade lasagna as my audition dish, and after making it through the initial rounds, I learned that I'd be flying to Los Angeles with the final 100 contestants. From there, we were narrowed down to a group of 30. I'm proud to say I'm still in the running and have won 6 individual competitions this season. 

What has been your greatest accomplishment as a chef so far during or outside of the show?

My greatest accomplishment since filming the show is being invited to Lexington to cook for a group of chefs and journalists with my MasterChef co-contestant and real life friend, Dan Wu. The meal was styled, photographed and hosted by Tiffany Mitchell, creator of www.offbeatandinspired.com. It was a huge honor to work with a talented content creator like Tiffany as well as work alongside a competitor and friend I deeply respect.

How did your time at UGA influence your interest in becoming a chef?

Living in Athens exposed me to cooking styles, ethnic cuisines and restaurants that I'd never had access to in my hometown. I tried new foods and started to expand my palate. I realized I loved experiencing different cuisines, which inspired me to dabble in the kitchen.

I started off slow, mostly cooking with pre-made ingredients, but soon learned to conceptualize dishes and follow basic recipes. As I began to learn practice, I experimented with cooking from scratch. Cooking brings me so much joy – I think I might actually be addicted to it! Cooking is meditative for me; it's truly my therapy. I want everyone to be able to experience the joy of cooking at home and sharing a meal with loved ones.

What is one of your favorite things to cook?

I love to cook pasta! I have been perfecting my lasagna recipe for about three years, and it got me on MasterChef, so I think it's pretty solid! I love making pasta from scratch and I'll spend an entire Saturday simmering a tomato sauce. I'm not Italian, but I still aspire to be an Italian grandma.

What are your plans for after the show is over?

I'm still working in advertising, but I'm also doing small catering gigs private dinners and events. I'm working on food photography, styling and writing, too. I blog about my cooking adventures and I frequently post food pictures on my Instagram account

Ultimately, my dream is to inspire people to cook at home, by showing them it’s easier and more accessible than they think. I'll go wherever that mission leads me.

With such passion for cooking, we expect Cauvel to go far in her culinary journey and wish her luck as she continues throughout the competition. To catch Cauvel in action, watch Season 5 of MasterChef on Monday nights at 8 p.m. on FOX. To find out more about her journey to the show watch her contestant video here.

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07.28.2014

Father and son share a bond like no other

Craig Sager Jr. (ABJ '10), a member of UGA's 2008-2009 football team, and his father, legendary sartorialist and NBA and MLB sports announcer, Craig Sager Sr., have always shared a love of sports. They now share an even stronger connection - a connection that helped save Craig Sr.'s life.

On July 3, Craig Jr. donated bone marrow to his father who is battling acute myeloid leukemia.

“I was pretty confident I’d be the match,” Craig Jr. said. “But 10 out of 10? That’s pretty crazy.”

Craig Jr. was disappointed, though, to find out the surgery would take place on July 3. Like many Georgians, Craig Jr. looks forward to running the annual Peachtree Road Race each Fourth of July. The race has always served as a bonding experience for the entire Sager family. This would have been the first time in 32 years that Craig Sr. has missed the race and Craig Jr. was looking forward to running in his 10th consecutive Peachtree Road Race.

Despite warnings from his doctors that he forego the race this year, Craig Jr. opted to run the race alongside his mother and sisters - in honor of his father.

Less than 24 hours after donating 1.5 liters of bone marrow to his father, Craig Jr. lined up at the starting line with thousands of other runners.

“I wasn’t supposed to be doing this race,” Craig Jr. said. “I was supposed to stay overnight in the hospital but I left at 6:00 p.m. and then just went to bed.”

In the end, Craig Jr. completed the 2014 Peachtree Road Race in one hour and 17 minutes. He was realistic about his finishing time and did not expect to match his previous time of 42 minutes.

Congratulations to Craig Jr. for bravely helping his father's leukemia battle and for crossing the Peachtree Road Race finish line for the 10th year in a row. Best wishes to the entire Sager family for a future of good health!

Information for this blog was sourced from the Atlanta Journal Constitution and MLB.com

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07.25.2014

UGA alumna is on fire

In 2006, Disney produced a huge hit with Cars. It was a family-friendly, fun-filled animated adventure that led to a sequel and the successful spin-off Planes. This summer, a related film will grace the silver screen, Planes: Fire and Rescue, and in it, a successful UGA alumna.

Corri English (ABJ ’00) is well-known in her field as the star of numerous films, guest on iconic television shows, and lead singer for country band Brokedown Cadillac. Though her career began when she was quite young, hosting children’s shows on TBS in the 1980s, it really took off after graduating from UGA.

English has made a name for herself in horror films, winning Best Actress at the International Horror and Sci-Fi Film Festival for her role in Unrest. She also generated quite a following for her voice-over work in popular video games such as Mass Effect 3, Dragon Age: Origins and  Star Wars: The Old Republic. These character voicing skills were brought to life during Planes: Fire and Rescue

Her character, Pinecone, along with four other smokejumpers, bravely leaps from planes to put out fires. "Working alongside actors like Dane Cook, Ed Harris, and Regina King was a great experience," said English. 

The alumna is excited about the release of the film and hopes it leads to further voice acting opportunities in the future. 

Truly, for this star Bulldog, the sky is the limit.

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