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03.13.2014

Calling All Alumni: Southern Italy & Sicily Garden and Farm Tour

On behalf of the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, I invite you to join me on a tour of the gardens, orchards, and farms of Southern Italy from May 30 to June 6, 2014. We will start in Rome, drive the Amalfi Coast and finish our tour in Sicily. A local guide will share the complex history and culture of the region which has been ruled by the Greeks, Romans, Moors, Normans, French, and Spanish.

I am excited to share Sicily with you. “To have seen Italy without having seen Sicily is not to have seen Italy at all, for Sicily is the clue to everything,’’ according to Goethe. A special treat will be a private tour by the Countess of Villa San Marco of her home and gardens. Catania in eastern Sicily, with its Baroque architecture, relaxed pace, friendly people, and exquisite piazzas, is one of my favorite cities in all of Europe. During our visit, you will understand why it has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Our tour participants range from seasoned garden travelers to novices who have not yet tapped into their latent interest in gardens and farms. Tour group numbers are kept low and all the details are taken care of for you. We have five years of satisfied travelers on our trips. A past tour participant said, "I cannot begin to tell you how much I enjoyed your good company and erudition. It was a trip far better than anything I could have imagined - thank you so much for making it an adventure memories are made of."

You will be forever changed by this trip - I guarantee it! Reserve your spot as soon as possible by sending in your deposit. A complete itinerary can be found here.

I hope you will join us on our amazing educational journey!

Dr. Tim Smalley (MS '86, PHD '88)
Associate Professor, Horticulture Department
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

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09.02.2015

Bigger than me: Alumna remembers first game day

The 2015 football season is days away and the UGA Alumni Association couldn't be more excited! Many alumni look back fondly on their first game day experience at UGA, what it was like to wake up and find campus covered in a sea of red and black. Today, we are featuring an article from alumna and middle school teacher Rebecca Hendrix (BSED '08, ESD '14) wrote to teach her students about the concept of theme. 

Lonely.  Very lonely.  Will I make it here?  Do I fit in here?

“So, what are you going to wear to the football game on Saturday, Becca?” asked the pretty girl, Leigh, who lived across the hall from me in Creswell. I thought it was a really silly question. In my mind, football equated to hot dogs, hamburgers, sweat, shorts and T-shirts, and an all-around laid-back, exciting time.

“Um, I don’t know, I guess a Georgia shirt and shorts?” I didn’t have a creative answer to this one. Honestly, I hadn’t put that much thought into it.

“I heard that a lot of girls dress up for the games. I heard that they wear dresses and skirts and stuff,” mentioned Kimberly, another Creswell resident. Our group on the hall was a varied one, a mixed hodge-podge of ladies from all over the country, each very individual, but yet, somehow the same.

“Seriously?  I would never have thought that! Gosh, I don’t even like dressing up for church.” My response tried to shake off the fact that I was actually very nervous about the game on Saturday. This would be my first college football game, and I was beyond excited.  But this whole what-to-wear debate was just a smaller example of the larger issues I had faced during my first three weeks living on campus at UGA. I felt as if college was the middle school of my up-and-coming adult life. I didn’t know anyone, as I had come as the only person from my high school.  I was trying to figure out how to not get lost every day on the thick and twisted bus routes. And now, I was going to have to worry about wearing the wrong thing to a football game?

“I guess I could wear this black skirt I have, and I have a red tank top. That should be OK for the first game. But I’m not wearing heels. No way! There are too many hills; my feet will die!” We agreed in our little group that flip-flops were a definite must; I knew I could splurge on a pair of Georgia flip-flops I had seen at the bookstore just a couple of days ago.

Click here to continue reading Rebcca's story

Rebecca A. Hendrix (BSED '08, EDS '14) is a sixth grade English/language arts teacher at Ashworth Middle School in Calhoun, Georgia. She is also currently pursuing an Ed.D. in school improvement from the Univerisity of West Georgia.  Ms. Hendrix enjoys writing about her various experiences at UGA, particularly to share the importance of higher education with her students.

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08.26.2015

Alumna Spotlight: Ailsa Von Dobeneck (BS ’07)

Alumna Ailsa Von Dobeneck (BS ’07) has built a career on communications and world travel. She’s travelled extensively to locations such as London, Singapore, and Washington, D.C. for her developing government and international relations career. Most recently, however, Ailsa travelled to Los Angeles to display her passion for cooking on the Fox's MasterChef. 

University of Georgia Report Writer Erin Miller recently spoke with Ailsa regarding her experience on appearing on Masterchef’s rapidfire sixth season, her global travels and favorite memories of UGA. 

What motivated you to pursue cooking as a passion? Have you always spent a lot of time in the kitchen?

You know how there are some people that live to eat and some that eat to live? I am the former, through and through. After I graduating, I took a semester off before I started my masters at King’s College in London and decided I to spend the time really learning to cook. After all, if you love to eat, it is great to know your way around a kitchen. I enrolled in the advanced beginner’s class at the Le Cordon Bleu in London and learned the basics. I have been experimenting on those I love and travelling in search of new and exciting flavors ever since. My professional career took me to Singapore, where I worked in shipping, and I was able to travel extensively throughout the region. I now work in government affairs in Washington, D.C. and am doing more foodie time travel then travel. I spend my free time looking through old White House cookbooks at the Library of Congress. It is amazing the kind of gems you find in there. Next month I will be starting a weekly column on presidential recipes in my blog The Curious Tastebud, which will run through to the election next year.

On your Master Chef contestant page, you described yourself as a “unicorn” because no other contestant possessed your unique set of skills.  What are some of the unique skills that you acquired at UGA? 

I think UGA was the place where I truly started to learn about myself; I discovered what I’m great at, good at, and need to work on. I think the skill that I focused on developing first was time-management. Like in the kitchen, you need to really be prepared to pace yourself and use your time wisely at UGA. As an out-of-state student, my experience at UGA encouraged me to put myself out there: to introduce myself to people and take risks.

  

What is a positive Master Chef experience that you’d like to share with fellow UGA alumni?

I had so many positive experiences on the show. One of the highlights was getting to prepare a filet for Gordon Ramsay in his own restaurant, Gordon Ramsay Steak, in Las Vegas. I had never been to Vegas and the razzle dazzle of the whole experience was really special. Though my filet didn’t get me to the next round, I was proud of my dish. I also really enjoyed meeting the other talented contestants. One of my favorite fellow contestants went to LSU, so we had some great football banter. Go Dawgs!

You’re an extensive world traveler.  What countries have you visited and would recommend based on their cuisine?

I’ve been lucky with my travel options, as both of my parents are from Europe and I lived in Asia for a time. I am completely in love with Vietnamese cuisine and would recommend a trip to Ho Chi Minh City for anyone who enjoys street food and isn’t afraid to try bold flavors. Italy will always be close to my heart when it comes to edibles. My family spent a lot of time in Venice when I was a kid, where I learned the joy of a big bowl of pasta. For those who aren’t as adventurous, the Italian menu will give you familiar classics made with the best ingredients possible. Gelato anyone?

When you’re at home, what are some of the dishes you like to prepare?

My absolute favorite part of cooking is seeing people enjoy what I have made. I host dinner parties at my house and focus on making dishes you can prepare ahead of time so you have time with your guests. There is nothing worse than an absent hostess. Risotto is a favorite; it is refined and can come in a host of different varieties. I make a gorgeous manchego risotto with chorizo, red peppers, and arugula. 

What is your favorite memory of UGA?  Are there any specific places in Athens that you remember from days as a student?

With enough amazing memories to last a lifetime, I am struggling to pick a “favorite.” Watching the Dawgs win between the hedges was always amazing. We won the SEC championship my freshman year against LSU in Atlanta. I remember being so over the moon that I had chosen the “best university ever.”

Athens also has so many places that stick out in my mind. The Pi Beta Phi house on Milledge brings back a lot of fun memories, from getting ready for formals to decorating the front porch for every holiday imaginable. If we are talking foodie memories, I still dream about the grits from Last Resort. Hugh Acheson from Five and Ten is a real talent and always dished out the tastiest Southern dishes every season. I ran to the bookstore when Acheson's book, A New Turn in the South, was published. 

Is there anything else regarding your career experience that you’d like to share?

In both my careers (government relations and cooking), my education at UGA has held in me in amazing stead. My time in Athens gave me access to some of the best and brightest professors and allowed me to really channel my energy in positive ways. It is amazing the amount of UGA alums I have met across the world. It seems Georgia alums are all connected by a life-long love of learning and I am really proud to forever be a Bulldog.

To learn more about Ailsa and to see examples of her culinary work, please visit her blog.

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08.21.2015

UGA students row for hemophilia research

In June 2016, UGA students and avid rowers Jacob Pope '17 and Chris Lee '16 will be rowing 2,400 more, from California to Hawaii, in the Great Pacific Race. The campaign is called Row for Hemophilia and is designed to raise money and awareness for Hemophilia of Georgia (HoG). The UGA Alumni Association invited Jacob to guest blog about his upcoming adventure. 

HoG, a local-non-profit pharmacy, exists so people affected by bleeding disorders may live as normally and productively as possible. The only agency of its kind in Georgia, HoG sponsors outreach programs for the bleeding disorder community, such as Camp Wannaklot, leadership opportunities for those interested in community advocacy and legislative issues, as well as social support and services. 

Jacob and Chris didn't pick HoG simply because it was a good cause: they knew if they were going to take on a challenge as great as the Pacific Ocean, that they could also make lasting changes to a community that is close to their hearts. Jacob was born with hemophilia and has firsthand experience with the services HoG provides, like outreach nursing, attending Camp Wannaklot and participating in an exchange program to Germany to learn more about hemophilia across the globe. 

L-R: Jacob Pope and Chris Lee 

Row for Hemophilia hopes to raise $125,000 in total, which would be enough to gain access to the safest rowing boats and navigational equipment necessary to make the journey, as well as enough to fully sponsor Camp Wannaklot in 2016 - an impact that would provide more than 100 young children with hemophilia the opportunity to experience a great adventure. 

To learn more about Jacob and Chris, the Great Pacific Race and Row for Hemophilia, visit www.rowforhemophilia.com and follow the guys' story on Facebook

As always, Row Dawgs! 

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