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06.09.2014

A whirlwind trip to the Peabody Awards in NYC

When I first heard about the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication Centennial T-shirt contest, I saw it more as an opportunity to practice my design skills than a chance to win a prize. Honestly, I was a little skeptical that I would receive such an honor, but I thought – why not?

And then it happened. I discovered that not only would my design be worn by hundreds of newly admitted Grady students in the Fall, but I would also be heading to the city of my dreams and attending the 73rd Annual Peabody Awards.

My trip to New York City was nothing short of amazing. I had the opportunity to navigate Manhattan - from Bryant Park to Times Square, and even the Brooklyn Bridge. Contrary to popular belief, I encountered many friendly natives in the city that made the experience even more enjoyable.

Aside from sightseeing, my favorite moments were those spent in the presence of fellow Bulldogs. There’s something about the Bulldog Nation that just makes you feel at home wherever you are. One moment that comes to mind was when my NYC roommate, Meredith Dean '15, and I met up with Jeff Jowdy (ABJ '83), and stood in the crowd for The Today Show. Not to sound corny, but it’s kind of an "exhale moment" when you run into someone from UGA. After standing in Rockefeller Plaza for an hour, we managed to get some airtime, which was pretty cool.

Afterward, Meredith and I passed by the Waldorf-Astoria, the location of the Peabody Awards, and felt a sudden surge of excitement for the events taking place the following day. We were even more excited when we attended the President's Reception for the Peabody Awards later that night. The reception was held at The Metropolitan Club, a venue that carried a certain level of elegance that oddly made me feel a bit unworthy. However that feeling quickly vanished as I began to mingle with UGA alumni. Our conversations ranged from my updating them on the state of campus (‘Any new renovations? Is it true there’s a new Bolton?') to my learning how their careers have progressed through the years.

Another detail from that night that blew my mind was how eager and open UGA alumni were when sharing stories about their college experiences. Essentially, their stories were forms of wisdom that I could use down the line. Those particular moments were greatly appreciated and provided more motivation than the surrounding alumni could imagine.

So after all the extra activities and pre-events, it was finally the time for the main event: the Peabody Awards!

The ceremony was amazing. Being in a room full of people passionate about their stories was inspiring. I'd often find myself developing goosebumps from their love of storytelling. Looking around the ballroom at the Waldorf-Astoria, I couldn’t help but be star struck by celebrities such as Bryan Cranston from Breaking Bad and the cast of Orange Is The New Black. I was at a distance, but from what I could tell, these people carried a certain sense of humility and honor from receiving the Peabody Award.

Three hours, two waters, and one delicious lunch later, I found myself at the final event of my trip: the Peabody Celebration Alumni Mixer. The mixer was located on the rooftop of the Hilton Garden Inn. The view was breathtaking! I’d often find myself tearing up because I was overwhelmed by how amazing everything was. At one point, I had the incredible opportunity to meet Henry W. Grady III, which was possibly the icing on the cake for the night.

Similar to the other Bulldogs I met during my Peabody experience, Mr. Grady was welcoming and we talked a great deal about the upcoming Grady Centennial festivities. Overall, I’d say the night was the perfect ending to a great weekend.

Since my return, I often find myself thinking about this trip. It has easily been a trip that will affect my life in ways I will not expect. I am forever grateful for the experience, and I thank the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications for the wonderful opportunity. The contest opened my eyes and allowed me to take note of how much this university provides and cares for its students. And for that, I am thankful.

Go Dawgs,
Noemie Tshinanga '14
Member, Student Alumni Council

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Recent Entries


07.29.2015

UGA to reduce class sizes by hiring faculty, adding more than 300 course sections

In the latest in a series of steps to enhance the learning environment, UGA is investing $4.4 million to reduce class sizes by hiring faculty and creating more than 300 new course sections.

"This major initiative demonstrates the University of Georgia's strong commitment to putting students first," said UGA President Jere W. Morehead (JD '80). "Reducing the number of large class sections in critical instruction areas will improve student learning and success and further enhance our world-class learning environment."

The first of the new faculty members will begin teaching this fall, and a total of 56 will be hired in the coming year. By fall 2016, a total of 319 new course sections in 81 majors will be added, the majority of which will have fewer than 20 students.

UGA currently has an 18-1 student/faculty ratio, and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Pamela Whitten noted that the new courses will help ensure students receive even more personalized attention from their professors.

She added that the push to decrease class sizes at UGA builds upon a series of academic enhancements the institution has implemented in recent years. Last fall, the university hired 10 new faculty to teach in 80 high-demand course sections. In the spring, the university approved a new graduation requirement that will make UGA the largest public university in the nation to require that each of its nearly 27,000 undergraduate students engage in experiential learning-such as internships, research, study abroad or service-learning-prior to graduation.

"UGA offers the broad range of resources and opportunities that a major research university provides as well as personalized and hands-on learning experiences that are typically associated with smaller universities," Whitten said. "It's the best of both worlds, and it's exactly what our world-class students deserve."

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07.27.2015

UGA Majorette is No. 1 College Twirler

While Nicole Jensen ’15 has lit up Sanford Stadium with her flaming batons and show-stopping gymnastics moves as a UGA feature twirler on game days, she is also making her mark on the national stage. She has garnered attention for UGA and continued the legacy of national champions after winning the highly coveted title of Miss College Majorette of America. This is the highest award given to a college twirler at the National Baton Twirling Championships, held each year in South Bend, Indiana.

Nicole has been a UGA feature twirler for the past four years. This is highly sought after position among top twirlers in the nation. Nicole, a senior marketing major from Iowa City, Iowa, was selected through an intense audition process and has enjoyed every minute of her time twirling between the hedges at UGA. 

Nicole is no stranger to success. She was on the USA World Team, where she was a silver medalist, and has traveled and performed in Peru as an ambassador. She has won hundreds of awards and titles in her twirling career, including the Collegiate Women’s Solo National Champion in 2012. 

Representing UGA as the reigning top college twirler, Nicole has been touring the country this spring and summer, performing at events and competitions as an ambassador of her sport. This past weekend by performing at Notre Dame in the National Baton Twirling Championships, Nicole performed her final duties as College Miss Majorette of America. Make sure to check out Nicole, in her final season, and the rest of the UGA Majorettes at every home football game this fall! 

UGA mascot Hairy Dawg joined Nicole for her final performance at Notre Dame

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07.23.2015

Alumna’s songs featured on HBO’s “True Detective”

If you watch HBO's popular series "True Detective," odds are you've heard Lera Lynn Buettner's (AB '08) songs. The Nashville-based singer-songwriter has had four songs featured on the show's soundtrack. The UGA Alumni Association recently sat down with Lera to learn more about her musical career and time spent studying anthropology at UGA.  

Tell me a little bit about yourself. Where did you grow up and what led you to UGA? 

I was born in Texas, but my parents left soon after and slowly made their way to Georgia, stopping in Louisiana for about five years first. We moved around a good bit in Georgia, and I finished high school in Woodstock. It was around that time I visited Athens for the first time, to hang out with friends and see live music. I fell in love with the town's energy and lively music scene. That's ultimately what led me to UGA. My family stressed the importance of college, though I had my sights dead-set on music. UGA and Athens were my ticket to satisfying both.

As a student, were you involved in any activities or student groups on campus? Did you have a favorite professor or any fond memories from your time in Athens?

I worked my way through college, waiting tables, bartending and saving up as much as I could between semesters so that I could work fewer hours and still survive when school was in session. That said, I didn't have a lot of extra time for student groups. What time I did have was always devoted to music. Attending UGA still endures as some of my most fond memories. What a luxury it is to go to college and just learn all day! My senior year was definitely my best, as the courses were digging deeper into the things that truly interested me. I loved study groups that were assembled by classmates. I loved sitting in the group and discussing the subject matter in-depth outside of the classroom. It's easy to take that for granted when you're so young, but those are some of the most important conversations you can have; just digging in and bouncing ideas off of other people who are dedicating so much energy to the same things as you.

One of my favorite memories was a beautiful and moving lecture by Dr. Peter Brosius. He was recounting time spent researching in the field and the relationships he'd developed there; the focus being love at the center of everything in life. His lecture brought the whole class (100+ students) to tears. I think he was in tears, too. I will never forget the passion he has for what he does. It reminds me to do what I do for the right reasons. 

  

Since graduating, you’ve moved to Nashville. How did you establish yourself as a musician in there?

I've yet to establish myself anywhere, really, because I'm trying to establish myself everywhere all the time. As an artist, you're often trying to establish yourself on a national level. There's a difference between a studio musician in Nashville and an "artist."

You’ve had several songs featured on the soundtrack for HBO’s True Detective. Tell me how that project came about and what doors it has opened for you

I've had four songs featured in the series so far. I was lucky to have my manager set up a meeting with legendary producer, T Bone Burnett, after he expressed an interest in using the title track from an EP I released last year called "Lying in the Sun." We got along well. Burnett asked if I wanted to collaborate on music for the show and the rest is history. I got to appear in the show several times and I've learned a lot about the business side of music and show business. The show has exposed my music to many new eager ears - that's been the best part of the whole thing.

Do you have any other big projects in the pipeline? Where do you envision your career in five years?

I'm currently writing and recording my next LP. I'm really enjoying the process. I feel like there are so many more possibilities to explore. I hope that in the next five years I can buy a sensible new car. That would be success!

Learn more about Lera Lynn

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