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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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Drumroll, please ... announcing the 2016 Bulldog 100!

The UGA Alumni Association is pleased to reveal the 2016 Bulldog 100! Bulldog 100 celebrates the 100 fastest-growing Bulldog businesses owned or operated by UGA alumni. This year, the university is excited to not only unveil a new group of honorees, but a new logo for the Bulldog 100 program - check it out!

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UGA to launch inclusive, post-secondary education program in 2017

Students with intellectual or developmental disabilities will soon be able to enjoy the full UGA experience with the launch of a new inclusive post-secondary education program, Destination Dawgs, beginning in spring 2017.

The program, housed within the College of Family and Consumer Sciences' Institute on Human Development and Disability, aims to assist those students' transition into adulthood by fully immersing them in UGA life.

Destination Dawgs, still in development, aspires to have students reside in on-campus housing, audit classes and be supported by peer mentors who will assist the students in courses and on campus to improve their independent living skills.

"The goal is for Destination Dawgs participants to come out of the program with a platform for getting a good job and for leading a good adult life," said Carol Britton Laws, an assistant clinical professor and coordinator of UGA's Disability Studies Certificate program within the institute. "The unemployment rate for people with disabilities nationally is about 75 percent, and we're trying to help students build skills and gain experiences that are marketable."

Laws envisions a five-semester model with a small cohort of five students enrolling in the program in spring 2017.

Because students won't enter the program through the regular admissions process, they will receive a certificate of completion rather than a degree.

The emphasis on developing and expanding post-secondary education opportunities in the state can be traced back to the founding of the Georgia Inclusive Postsecondary Education Consortium in 2011, which seeks to create opportunities for students who historically have not had access to postsecondary educational opportunities. The consortium is partly funded by the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities.

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Acknowledging disability is really about understanding diversity, Laws said.

"Disability is just one characteristic that is possible in human beings, but it is often a characteristic that is used to discriminate against a person or to limit their opportunities," Laws said. "FACS has created a plan to increase the diversity of students within the college, and this program will fit with that."

Continue reading this story.

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