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06.06.2014

Former UGA Orientation Leader hopes to inspire others to serve their country

Seventy years ago, 160,000 Allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy, France. To pay our respects today, we bring you a story from just one of the many Bulldogs currently serving in our Armed Forces.

During each UGA football game, dozens of students and alumni feel something “extra” when the Redcoat Band triumphantly plays the Star-Spangled Banner. They are the ones telling friends to take off their hats. The song takes grip, and by the time the trumpet hits the octave jump on “land of the FREEEE,” many hearts have skipped a beat.

As a newly commissioned 2nd lieutenant of the medical corps for the United States Air Force, I am excited to join the ranks of Bulldogs currently serving our nation. This fall, I begin medical school at Emory University on a full military scholarship. After graduation, I will have the privilege of serving the soldiers defending our country and its values. We owe service members our eternal gratitude, and it will be an honor to one day provide them medical care.

UGA students are surrounded by peers who plan to serve their communities after graduation. I was influenced by many of my friends and professors who seemed to be motivated by a higher calling. One such friend was recently selected to join Teach for America in New Orleans. He could talk for hours about how excited he was to help close the achievement gap. My professors, in addition to educating the next generation, spend their days conducting research that will benefit future generations. There’s not a lot of money in teaching in underserved areas or in researching “orphan diseases” like malaria, but the atmosphere at UGA is not one that measures success in dollar bills. Rather, Bulldogs are directed toward service and the betterment of our communities.

As a senior, I was granted a certain degree of influence after serving as a 2013 Orientation Leader, executive director of University Judiciary, and member of the 2013 Homecoming Court. I hope that by using my world-class education to serve my country, I will inspire others to do the same. I hope that, as more of my generation joins the Armed Forces, the word “veteran” will no longer bring to mind our grandparents.

Let us remember that we have friends, roommates, lab partners, teammates, and classmates answering the call to serve each year. So the next time you get goose-bumps in Sanford Stadium as the trumpets declare us the land of the free, remember all of our devoted alumni working to ensure its continuity.

Go Dawgs and God Bless the United States of America!

Conner Blackwell (BS '14)
2nd Lieutenant, United States Air Force

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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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