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07.11.2014

Atlanta Alumni Spotlight: Jennifer Bradley Franklin

While at an Atlanta Women of UGA Luncheon recently, I had the chance to meet and chat with alumna Jennifer Bradley Franklin. Jennifer is a 2002 graduate of the University of Georgia’s Grady School for Journalism and Mass Communication. Self-described as a “writer, traveler, lover of life and endlessly curious,” Jennifer gets the opportunity to write about everything from food and travel to celebrity weddings. Fascinated by her stories, I was inspired by how she developed her passion into a fulltime career as a freelance writer. Jennifer was kind enough to answer some additional questions for me to share for this UGA Atlanta Alumni Spotlight!

FB: How did you start your career as a freelance writer?

JBF: I've known that writing was my passion since I was a child. But, the terror attacks on 9-11 happened during my senior year at UGA, so it was challenging to find a job in journalism after graduation. I spent almost nine years in marketing for some of Atlanta's most acclaimed restaurants (it was a great education in both the culinary world and business), but breaking into writing professionally was always my goal. I started doing some freelance writing on the side and by the time I broke out on my own in 2011, I had a full roster of clients - both magazine and corporate - to keep me busy. Since then, I've written for People, Time.com, American Way (for American Airlines), Alaska Airlines Magazine, Vacation Agent, The Atlantan, Southbound, Flavors, Simply Buckhead, Southern Seasons and for brands like Newell-Rubbermaid (Graco), Warren Averett Turnaround Advisors, Bella Cucina and others. It's fun and I love being my own boss! 

FB: You have written for some very well-known and established publications. In your opinion, what has been the most exciting assignment you have had? 

JBF: It's been cool to help break celebrity stories for People - including being on the ground reporting Princes William and Harry's visit to Memphis this year and Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds' Charleston wedding. Truly, though, my favorite stories to work on are travel features. In the last several years, I've had the privilege to visit Morocco, Mexico, England, Scotland, the Canadian Rockies, Switzerland, The Dominican Republic and others. It's hard to pick a favorite! 

FB: When you think back on your world travels, what has been the most memorable and why?   

JBF: It's hard to choose! One of the standouts from the last year was a visit to La Mamounia in Marrakech, Morocco. The resort is steeped in luxury, has a storied 90+ year history (it was a playground for President Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Sophia Loren and Alfred Hitchcock, to name only a few) and sits in the shadow of the High Atlas Mountains. I'm heading to Shanghai in July - I can't wait for the next adventure! 

FB: Let’s take a look back at your days at UGA. How do you think your degree from UGA has benefited you in your profession?

JBF: I feel like my entire experience at UGA was so rich. Certainly, I think that my journalism training at the Grady College has been invaluable - the professors are terrific and the opportunities to get real experience (like writing for UGAzine and The Red & Black or working at WUOG and around Newsource 15) definitely helped me lay a foundation for a successful career. Beyond that, though, I think being in a place that made it easy to pursue a wide variety of interests - like ballroom dancing, for instance - has helped propel me on my way. 

FB: Who was your favorite professor while attending UGA?

JBF: My time in Dr. Ann Hollifield's classes at Grady always stand out in my memory. I took her media management class my junior year, and as a journalism major, it was one of the only business-oriented classes I was able to take. She is so smart, strong and passionate about teaching. I learned so much from her! 

Want to learn more about Jennifer? Check out her website at  www.jenniferbradleyfranklin.com  or follower her on Twitter and Instagram @JennBFranklin.

Frances Beusse (BS '06)
Interim Assistant Director of Alumni Programs

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Recent Entries


04.27.2015

Spotlight on UGA’s recent award recipients

Recently, UGA several faculty students have been in the spotlight for prestigious scholarships and awards. The UGA Alumni Association is proud of these outstanding award recipients and all that they do to further the university's mission and increase its reputation. 

Torre Lavelle '16 has been named a 2015 Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation Scholar which is awarded to an undergraduate pursuing a career focused on environmental or Native American policy. Lavelle is a third-year student majoring in ecology and plans to pursue a master’s degree in environmental management as well as a Juris Doctor in hopes of becoming a conservation policymaker. Read more.

Juanita Johnson-Bailey (MED '93, EDD '94), director of the Institute for the Women’s Studies at UGA, is the recipient of the Eleanor Roosevelt Fund Award, an honor given by the American Association of University Women for outstanding contribution to equality and education for women and girls. Johnson-Bailey has authored and co-authored more than 100 journal articles, book reviews, book chapters and monographic. She has also delivered nearly 120 conference presentations and chaired nearly 30 completed doctoral dissertations. Read more.  

 

Kathleen Wilson '16 was named a 2015 Truman Scholar receiving a $30,000 scholarship toward graduate school. Wilson is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in economics and a bachelor’s degree in international affairs. She plans to continue her education by pursuing a master’s in public policy and Middle Eastern studies after graduation in 2016. Read more.

   

Megan Ernst '15 was awarded the James Madison Graduate Fellowship which provides up to $24,000 for individuals who desire to become outstanding teachers at the secondary school level. Ernst will graduate in May with Bachelor of Arts in journalism, Bachelor of Arts in political science, and a Master of Public Administration from SPIA. She plans to pursue a master’s degree in teaching from the UGA College of Education. Read more

Lauren Dennison '15, Erin Hollander '15, and Karishma Sriram '15 received 2015 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships, the exclusive undergraduate scholarship in the field of mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering. The scholarships cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year. All three students are enrolled in Franklin College and plan to earn doctoral degrees related to biomedical research. Read more

Ayan Hussein (BS ’12) is one of the winners of the 2015 Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans. This fellowship supports the graduate education of students who were born abroad but have become permanent residents or naturalized citizens of the United States. Hussein, a 2012 UGA graduate, is now a Ph.D. student at Yale University studying biological and biomedical student. Selected from a pool of 1,200 applicants, she will receive tuition and stipend assistance of up to $90,000 in support of graduate education. Read more

Sixteen UGA students have been awarded the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. The highly competitive awards recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines.These fellows were selected from more than 16,000 applicants nationwide for the 2015 competition. Read more

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04.23.2015

Meet the UGA alumna behind the Georgia Trail Summit: Tracie Sanchez (AB '88, MPA '11)

The Georgia Trail Summit is excited to announce the schedule for its second annual event, which will take place in Athens, Georgia, June 4-6 at The Graduate. Continue reading to learn more about Georgia Trail Summit's founder, Double Dawg Tracie Sanchez (AB '88, MPA '11), and the inspiration behind this organization. 

I’ve been riding bikes, hiking mountains and paddling rivers all my life. Being on a trail makes for wonderful escapes, new adventures and challenges, new friends, staying healthy and connecting with nature. And great photo memories.

Earning my Masters of Public Administration at UGA late in life allowed me to focus on which public policy I wanted to champion. Being part of the effort to build a world-class network of connected trails in every corner of Georgia is a cause I believe in deeply.

The first thing I did as an undergrad in 1985 was sell my car and become a bicycle commuter to campus. I still had that bike 24 years later when I returned to UGA for my masters’ in public administration. I caught trail fever in Athens biking the greenway, helping the Firefly Trail incorporate as a non-profit, and collaborating on a graduate project in Hartwell that led to inventorying regional greenspaces with UGA landscape architecture students.

Clearly, alternative transportation solutions involving active living are my passion. Eight years at UGA as a program coordinator for the Leonard Leadership Scholars and one-on-one chats with mentor Earl Leonard taught me a thing or two about leading an effort. So with a background in graphic design, leadership development, a public policy degree, and spare time during the job search, I reached out to all the trail hounds I knew in Georgia, and began to build a network.

Research in 2011 revealed there are 82 trail and greenway projects proposed or underway in Georgia. I was familiar with many of them from my own explorations and serving as a mobility manager for a regional commission. I learned of others while attending Smart Growth conferences, Transportation Camp, the Georgia Bike Summit and transit and mobility workshops. But something was missing. No one knew about anyone else’s project; no one seemed to be sharing lessons learned. Why wasn’t there an easy opportunity to convene Georgia’s entire community of trail experts in one place? 

The Department of Natural Resources admitted they didn’t have staff capacity to update a 15-year-old comprehensive trail plan. With so much to learn from each other, I felt compelled to connect the dots…and the people.

  

The solution came when attending the National Bike Summit in DC. While visiting Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s development director, Kelly Pack, she inspired me with great advice, “Round everyone up and hold a Georgia Trail Summit.”  I pitched the idea that spring and have been recruiting and collaborating with trail, greenway and blueway partners ever since. The time was right and I visualized myself as the champion for the effort. UGA taught me how and now I'm on a roll.

Today, I lead a dedicated team of volunteer trailblazers planning the second annual Georgia Trail Summit. So far, we’ve raised $20,000 with 35 sponsors, including UGA College of Public Health, UGA Office of Sustainability, UGA Warnell School of Forestry, Athens-Clarke County Leisure Services Department, Athens-Clarke County Mayor’s Office and Athens Convention & Visitors Bureau. More importantly, we're connecting people.

The Georgia Trail Summit has seen a drastic increase in presenters since its creation. You all know Athens is an ideal, walkable city with hotels right on the Greenway and other nearby trails for biking, hiking and paddling, which will be featured during 10 mobile workshops.

I remain committed to my vision for Georgia’s trail movement to grow into an established and influential organization helping non-profits, governments and communities focus on connectivity, conservation and comprehensive planning. 

UGA alumni are personally invited to attend this timely conversation on the future of Georgia’s trails June 4, 5 and 6 in Athens at the Graduate Hotel. For a closer look, stroll on over to georgiatrailsummit.com.

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04.15.2015

Alumni Spotlight: Josh Collins (BSEH '97, MS '99)

Josh Collins (BSEH '97, MS '99) is the proud owner of Athen's newest juke-joint style restaurant, Champy's Famous Fried Chicken. Located at 1120 Baxter Steet, Athen, GA, the restarunt stives to bring together traditional, southern-family recipes with an atmosphere that will attract a diverse crowd. 

The UGA Alumni Association’s Strategic Communications intern, Emilie Clarke ’15, had the opportunity to catch up with this outstanding alumnus. Read below to find out more about Josh’s entrpreneurial endeavors.

You recently opened Champy’s Famous Fried Chicken, tell me a little bit about the restaurant. What steps did you take to open your own business? What accomplishments are you most proud of?

Champy's was founded in Chattanooga in 2009 by a good friend of ours, Seth Champion, who was raised on the Mississippi Delta.  Although Champy's of Athens is the fifth location, which also includes Daphne, Alabaster and Muscle Shoals, AL, we are not a franchise. We refer to ourselves as a "friendchise" between buddies that enjoy great food in a fun atmosphere. The atmosphere is fun for all ages. 

My wife, Amy, and I have talked about moving to Athens for the past 10 years and I knew that Athens was a Champy's explosion waiting to happen. We worked on selling the idea of Athens to Seth for over two years then invested everything we had into opening, including having to go all the way to Mississippi to get a business loan because local banks wouldn't work with us. We cashed in our 401Ks, are still living in an RV and continue to invest all of the elbow grease we have every day.     

 

  

Interior of Chmapy's Famous Fried Chicken

Where do you see the company in five years?

For the Athens Champy's, I can see a destination spot that draws customers from all over Georgia and visiting sports rivals, a thriving catering business for everyone that wants good southern food, and a restaurant full of locals that are drawn to our bluesy atmosphere. As for expansion, I definitely see a second location in five years, maybe an hour or two from Athens. 

What chefs or types of cuisines are your biggest food influences?

Flavors from the Deep South - Mississippi Delta hot tamales, fresh fried chicken and homemade sides. Our recipes were handed down from Seth Champion's grandfather over 40 years ago.  

How did your time at UGA help you achieve your personal and professional goals? Did you have a favorite professor or class that really stuck with you? Favorite memory from your time at UGA?

My environmental health sciences degree kick-started my corporate career and provided me with 15 years of business experience that I lean on every day to run the restaurant.   

I would have to go with two professors, Dr. David MacIntosh and Dean Phil Williams of the Health Science Campus. You didn't ask, but I couldn't forget about Ms. Sandra McPeake who was the department's assistant in the late 1990s. She couldn't always keep me out of trouble, but she tried her best! 

Football Saturdays in Athens are my favorite memory.  All of them...

What advice would you give to future graduates or young alumni who aspire to own their own business?

Just do it.  No one is going to make it happen, but you. 

To learn more about Josh Collins (BSEH '97, MS '99) and Champy's Famous Fried Chicken visit ChampysChicken.com.

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