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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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Alumna Spotlight: Emily Scofield (MS '99)

Emily Scofield (MS '99) published her first book, Coco & Dean: Explorers of the World, in April. The book is the first in a series of adventures Scofield is writing to educate children about environmental awareness. Scofield is the executive director for the U.S. Green Building Council's North Carolina Chapter. She leads members, volunteers and staff members across the state to promote sustainable construction practices under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. In the past few years, she has been named to the UGA Alumni Association's 40 Under 40 Class of 2013, and was a Charlotte Top Woman in Business in 2014.

Scofield lives in North Carolina with her husband, Tom, and their two children. She is an avid volunteer in the community working with organizations such as the American Heart Association, Providence United Methodist Church, Calvary Child Development Center, Communities in Schools and Habitat for Humanity.

Coco & Dean: Explorers of the World takes readers on three adventures with Coco and Dean. Readers learn how to conserve resources, the benefits of recycling and the importance of keeping oceans clean. Scofield exposes complex topics like ‘carbon footprints’ and ‘renewable resources' through each adventure. Not only is the reader engaged in learning about these topics in the story, there are study questions and links to environmental organizations in each chapter. 

The UGA Alumni Association is proud of this Bulldog and the work she is doing to improve the world around her! 

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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!

The 2016 Bulldog 100 includes businesses of all sizes and from industries such as veterinary medicine, IT consulting and pest control. Several areas of the country are represented, including companies from as far north as New York and as far west as California. Of the 100 businesses, 80 are located within the state of Georgia, and only two business have made the list all seven years: Mom Corps and Vino Venue/Atlanta Wine School.

The ranked Bulldog 100 list will be revealed at the awards celebration on Saturday, January 30 at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis. Registration for this event will open soon.

The awards ceremony will feature a keynote address by Jeff Dunn, CEO and president of C-Fresh, a division of Campbell Soup Company that includes Bolthouse Farms, Campbell’s retail fresh soup unit, and Garden Fresh Gourmet. Dunn earned a bachelor’s degree in 1980 from UGA’s Terry College of Business.

Please view the complete list and congratulate the honorees on social media using #Bulldog100

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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.

"What's changing is that the students we have here now are what we call the ADA generation," she said. "They're the first generation of Americans born after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, and due to that and other legislation, they grew up with peers with intellectual differences in their classrooms to a greater extent than any of us did."

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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