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07.30.2014

Former Bulldog making “Chic Comfort Food” on MasterChef

Combining southern charm with a New York edge can be tricky, but former Bulldog, Elizabeth Cauvel (ABJ '04), has done just that in her time in the kitchen. Cauvel has stepped into the spotlight as one of 30 contestants on season 5 of “MasterChef."

Known for tantalizing recipes and wild expressions, Cauvel is in the running for the coveted prize: a cookbook deal, $250,000 and the title of MasterChef. We caught up with Cauvel to see how she made the journey from Athens to Los Angeles for the show. 

Tell us a little about yourself, and how you came across joining this season of "MasterChef"?

I'm an associate creative director at MRY, a digital and social advertising agency in New York. After graduating from UGA, I attended Creative Circus, a creative advertising portfolio school in Atlanta. I started working in Chicago as a copywriter in 2007 and moved to New York in 2010.

I am a huge fan of MasterChef and while watching the show, I saw an ad for open auditions in New York. Despite the fact that auditions were a mere two weeks after my wedding, I decided to try out for the show. I brought homemade lasagna as my audition dish, and after making it through the initial rounds, I learned that I'd be flying to Los Angeles with the final 100 contestants. From there, we were narrowed down to a group of 30. I'm proud to say I'm still in the running and have won six individual competitions this season. 

What has been your greatest accomplishment as a chef so far during or outside of the show?

My greatest accomplishment since filming the show is being invited to Lexington to cook for a group of chefs and journalists with my MasterChef co-contestant and real life friend, Dan Wu. The meal was styled, photographed and hosted by Tiffany Mitchell, creator of www.offbeatandinspired.com. It was a huge honor to work with a talented content creator like Tiffany as well as work alongside a competitor and friend I deeply respect.

How did your time at UGA influence your interest in becoming a chef?

Living in Athens exposed me to cooking styles, ethnic cuisines and restaurants that I'd never had access to in my hometown. I tried new foods and started to expand my palate. I realized I loved experiencing different cuisines, which inspired me to dabble in the kitchen.

I started off slow, mostly cooking with pre-made ingredients, but soon learned to conceptualize dishes and follow basic recipes. As I began to learn practice, I experimented with cooking from scratch. Cooking brings me so much joy – I think I might actually be addicted to it! Cooking is meditative for me; it's truly my therapy. I want everyone to be able to experience the joy of cooking at home and sharing a meal with loved ones.

What is one of your favorite things to cook?

I love to cook pasta! I have been perfecting my lasagna recipe for about three years, and it got me on MasterChef, so I think it's pretty solid! I love making pasta from scratch and I'll spend an entire Saturday simmering a tomato sauce. I'm not Italian, but I still aspire to be an Italian grandma.

What are your plans for after the show is over?

I'm still working in advertising, but I'm also doing small catering gigs, private dinners and events. I'm working on food photography, styling and writing, too. I blog about my cooking adventures and I frequently post food pictures on my Instagram account

Ultimately, my dream is to inspire people to cook at home, by showing them it’s easier and more accessible than they think. I'll go wherever that mission leads me.

With such passion for cooking, we expect Cauvel to go far in her culinary journey and wish her luck on the show. To catch Cauvel in action, watch Season 5 of MasterChef on Monday nights at 8 p.m. on FOX. To find out more about her journey to the show watch her contestant video here.

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10.30.2014

Former Bulldog Advocates for Arts Education

A former Bulldog is working hard to provide arts education to students in underserved public schools and communities in the Southern California area.

Amy Shapiro (BSED ’00) is the executive director of advancement and operations for the nonprofit organization, P.S. ARTS, where she leads a team of passionate individuals in their efforts to keep arts in the schools. P.S. ARTS “provides yearlong arts education in dance, the visual arts, music, and theater to every child in a school during the regular school day.”

Through her role, Shapiro leads fundraising initiatives that keep P.S. ARTS running. She plays a large role in running the administrative side of the organization, while staying involved with the activities that are at the heart of the organization’s mission. 

The organization is heavily funded by individuals in Hollywood that share P.S. ARTS' passion for fostering a love of the arts. With a board of trustees made up of educators, television producers, artists, and other committed individuals, P.S. ARTS continues to expand its services, reaching nearly 20,000 students that need art education in their schools.

To learn more about the program, visit www.psarts.org.  

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10.29.2014

Georgia agricultural leadership program graduates inaugural class

After spending two years learning about Georgia’s largest industry and developing leadership skills, the inaugural class of Advancing Georgia’s Leaders in Agriculture and Forestry has graduated from the program.

University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences faculty launched Advancing Georgia’s Leaders in Agriculture and Forestry, or AGL, in 2012. The program is designed to educate and empower Georgia’s agricultural and natural resource industry leaders to become effective advocates for the largest economic drivers in Georgia—the state’s agricultural and forestry industries.

Thirteen industry leaders, including six UGA graduates and one current student, spent the last two years touring farms and processing plants, traveling throughout the state and across the nation. They also spent two weeks in India learning about Georgia agriculture’s role in the global economy.

“This class has shared in a journey that has covered many counties in Georgia, multiple states and a foreign country,” said Elliot Marsh, a precision agriculture coordinator at Southern States Cooperative and the AGL advisory board chairman. “These graduates are already making an impact in our communities and the state of Georgia. I believe that their experiences will play a tremendous role in Georgia’s agriculture community for many years to come.”

AGL program participants are from all segments of the state’s agriculture and forestry industries.

“My experience with AGL made me a better leader and citizen,” said AGL graduate Mark Risse (BSAE '87, MS '89), the UGA Georgia Power Professor of Water Resources and director of the UGA Marine Extension Service. “I met hundreds of leaders across Georgia, and my interactions with them taught me that leadership comes in many forms. The experiences that I had, the people that I met and what I learned about myself put me in a better position to accomplish my goals as well as to advocate for those things that I think are important.”

The AGL program is coordinated by faculty in the college’s department of agricultural leadership, education and communication.

“Adult non-formal educational opportunities sponsored by the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences like AGL are helping Georgia become a top agricultural state in the nation and world,” said Kay Kelsey, head of the department of agricultural leadership, education and communication. “It’s an experience that will be a game changer for participants.”

    

The inaugural class of UGA’s Advancing Georgia’s Leaders in Agriculture and Forestry program, are, front row from left to right, Jutt Howard, Sarah M. Cook '15, Amanda Tedrow (BSA '03, MPPPM '10), Derick Wooten, Jenni Harris and Steve Gibson (MPA '97); middle row, AGL assistant director Kristi Farner, Brandon Ashley (BSA '07), Jesse Johnson (BSFR '00) and Rebecca Thomas and, back row, Duane Myers, AGL director Rochelle Strickland, Tate Izlar O’Rouke (ABJ '05, AB '05), Mark Risse (BSAE '87, MS '89) and Brent Allen. (Credit: Paul Efland/UGA)

The second AGL class will begin in early 2015. For more information, see http://www.agl.caes.uga.edu/.

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10.27.2014

Former Diamond Dawg makes a difference for individuals with disabilities

After a collision with a teammate during a 2011 UGA baseball game left him paralyzed from the waist down, three-year letterman Johnathan Taylor (BSFCS ’13) didn’t lose his fighting spirit.

Following extensive rehabilitation, Taylor returned to UGA to finish his degree in consumer economics and passed his exam to become a qualified life insurance agent. Despite his injury, he was drafted by the Texas Rangers in 2011 and, most recently, was appointed to the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Services (GVRS) Board by Governor Nathan Deal.

L-R: Chairman of the GVRS Board James DeFoor (BSED '69, MED '73), Johnathan Taylor (BSFCS '13), Governor Nathan Deal

“I hope to be a big support for the disability community and all the citizens of Georgia who look to us for help,” Taylor said of his new role with the board.

The board is part of the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency, an entity made up of six rehabilitation programs that collaborate with other state agencies to assist individuals with disabilities achieve employment and independence.

Taylor has also received the Courage Award from the Tempe Sports Foundation and the 2013 UGA Inspiration Award.

Congratulations on your new position, Johnathan! The UGA Alumni Association looks forward to hearing about your positive impact on the state.

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