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08.26.2014

Five questions with wedding planner Maren Clarke White (AB ‘09)

Maren Clarke White (AB ’09) may be Athens-bred, but she is taking the Golden Isles by storm, one wedding at a time. After growing up in Athens and graduating from UGA with a degree in English, Maren packed her bags for St. Simons Island to work with the Sea Island Company’s esteemed wedding planning team.

Maren has been with the Sea Island Company for over four years and currently serves as the company’s wedding manager. As the wedding manager at this exclusive 5-Star Resort, Maren has the opportunity to plan high-end wedding events for an elite group of clients. Throughout her time at Sea Island, Maren has planned over 200 weddings and events and has worked with celebrity planners and couples. Maren will always hold Athens and her alma mater close to her heart as she is the daughter of Rebecca White, Dean of UGA’s School of Law, and Dan White, Director of Production at UGA’s Institute of Continuing Legal Education, and sister to Brendan White (JD ’11), a 2011 graduate of UGA’s School of Law.

Recently, Margaret Sullivan (BSFCS ’11, MA ’12) had the opportunity to catch up with this outstanding alumna. Read below to find out more about Maren’s amazing career.

How did you get into the wedding planning business?  

My first job after college was at a boutique hotel, and my favorite part of the job was working on weddings and events. So when I saw the opening for a wedding coordinator at Sea Island, I knew that was the right move for me.

What advice do you have for others wanting to get into wedding planning?

Planning weddings, particularly at a resort like Sea Island, is in many ways a glamorous job. But what many people don’t realize about wedding planning is that you must be highly focused, able to pay close attention to detail, be very organized, able to adapt quickly to changes, as well as being able to think creatively and stylishly. And you need to be prepared for some blistered feet from long wedding days!

How did your time at UGA prepare you for your career?

As an English major at UGA, I learned the true strength of written and verbal communication. I have found this knowledge to be vital in communicating with my brides. Every bride has her own vision, and through words we find a way to translate her dreams into reality!

Have you planned many weddings for your friends or other fellow UGA alumni?

We do have a number of UGA alumni weddings, and that is always special to me! While I may not have known some of my UGA brides in college, they become fast friends during the planning process due to having UGA in common with one another! Sea Island’s wedding clientele comes from throughout the entire country, not just the southeast.

What’s your favorite wedding tradition?

When the groom first sees the bride.  It brings tears to my eyes every time.

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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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10.24.2014

UGA Graduate School honors 2014 Alumni of Distinction

The University of Georgia Graduate School has honored 10 graduates with the 2014 Alumni of Distinction Award for achieving exceptional success in their professional careers and in service to their communities. 

As the Director of the Emory Institute for Drug Development of Bioanalytical Chemistry, Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics Group, Richard F. Arrendale (BSEH '74, MS '80, PHD '88) has played a lead role in the preclinical and early clinical development of new treatments for tumors in tobacco users. Additionally, he co-chaired the 2012 UGA Symposium on Pharmaceutical Development.

Phillip J. Brantley (MS '77, PHD '80) is the associate executive director for scientific education at Louisiana State University's Pennington Biomedical Research Center. More than 30 years of research grants, mostly from the National Institutes of Health, have funded his research in weight loss and long-term weight management. Brantley is a member of the executive council of the Obesity Society and has served on the executive boards of the Louisiana Psychological Association and the Society of Behavioral Medicine.

UGA professor Perry W. Buffington (MA '73) is a bestselling author, speaker, media personality and licensed applied psychologist. He teaches clinical psychopharmacology in UGA's Franklin College of Arts and Sciences' program on the Griffin campus and was awarded the Teaching Excellence Award by the UGA psychology department in 2014. In addition to lecturing worldwide on ways to reduce drug errors, he is also a former contributing editor to Delta Air Lines' in-flight magazine, Sky.

Christopher Francis D'Elia (PHD '74) is the dean of the School of the Coast and Environment at Louisiana State University. His research is centered on the nutrient dynamics of estuaries and coral reefs. D'Elia is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, has served on numerous advisory panels to the National Science Foundation, and previously directed the International Ocean Institute-USA and the Center for Science and Policy Applications for the Coastal Environment.

Brain cancer survivor Michael Feuerstein (MS '75, PHD '77) is a professor of medical and clinical psychology and preventative medicine/biometrics at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. In 1994, he developed and directed a clinical psychology Ph.D. program for the Department of Defense to train clinical providers and military leaders in behavioral health and medicine. Feurstein has dedicated his career to improving the health, health care, function and well being of other cancer survivors.

Pamela Flattau (MS '72, PHD '74) has  served as a senior staff officer and task leader in Washington, D.C. for 40 years with the National Research Council, National Science Foundation, and Institute for Defense Analyses' Science and Technology Policy Institute. This year, she launched the nonprofit business venture, The PsySiP Project, to advance behavioral measures associated with sustainable consumption for integration into the U.S. System of National Accounts for the U.N.'s post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda.

Triple Dawg and Athens resident Kurt C. Lawrence (BSAE '85, MS '87, PHD '97) is  a supervisory research agricultural engineer and research leader of the quality and safety assessment research unit within the agricultural research service division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He is recognized internationally as an expert in radio-frequency moisture sensing in cereal grains, crack detection in shell eggs, and imaging systems used to detect poultry contamination.

Roland McElroy (AB '65, MA '69) is president of McElroy & Associates, a public relations firm focused on providing strategic advice for corporate and public policy clients. In Washington, D.C. he served U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn for 15 years, first as press secretary and later as chief-of-staff. In 2001, he wrote a history of the Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Georgia, entitled "Georgia Blue." His next project, a political memoir of his time with Nunn, is due to be released in 2015.

Kathleen Slevin (MA '74, PHD '75) is the former vice provost for academic affairs and Chancellor Professor of Sociology at the College of William and Mary. Her scholarship centered on age and gender inequalities. In 1990, she was appointed by the Governor of Virginia to serve on the Affirmative Action Monitoring and Advisor Committee. She currently serves as the president of the Southern Sociological Society and is the faculty advisor for the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.

Deborah Williams (MS '83, PHD '85) is the president and CEO of the apparel and event productions company, Her Game 2. Through an exclusive merchandise licensing agreement with the National Basketball Association, she supplies apparel for NBA fans across the country. She is also the Founder of Behind the Bench: The National Basketball Wives Association. She was also selected as one of the 25 Most Influential African American Women in Business by The Network Journal and was crowned Mrs. USA in 1990.

The UGA Alumni Association congratulates you all on your success!

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