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Share on Facebook Tweet this Blog Share on LinkedIn Google+ 01.14.2015

Alumna Spotlight: Brooke Anderson (ABJ '00)

Interviewing celebrities on the red carpet, attending prestigious award ceremonies and covering movie premieres - it's all in a day's work for Bulldog Brooke Anderson (ABJ ’00), who is a correspondant for "Entertainment Tonight." After studying Broadcast Journalism at UGA, Brooke worked her way up the ranks at CNN, eventually becoming co-anchor of HLN's "Showbiz Tonight," before heading to "The Insider" and eventually landing her current position at "Entertainment Tonight."

Brooke describes her professional journey: 

I had no intention of working in front of the camera at CNN. My goal was to become the best writer and producer I could be. I really enjoy the creativity inherent in those aspects of the job. I worked in general news and hard news initially and worked my way from VJ to production assistant to associate producer to associate writer to writer. I was deeply affected by 9/11 and the death and heartache associated with that tragedy. Soon after, I pursued something lighter—the entertainment side of news! I have always been a fan of film, TV, music, and theater, so I thought it was be a good fit! I worked as an entertainment writer/producer/booker and one day the president of the network asked me to fill in for the correspondent I produced for because she was sick. After she took a job at E!, I was offered the position of correspondent while initially writing, producing, and booking for myself, and ultimately I also became co-anchor of HLN’s “Showbiz Tonight”.

An award winning journalist, mother, full time correspondent and avid blogger, Anderson provdes hard work and Bulldog Spirit can take you anywhere in life.  

Source: The Every Girl


Share on Facebook Tweet this Blog Share on LinkedIn Google+ 01.07.2015

UGA alumna explores success of minorities in media

After earning her degree from UGA's Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, Tracie Powell (ABJ '93) spent years working in newspaper ad sales and circulation, including a stint in Detroit during the 1995 Detroit Newspaper Strike. Eventually, Tracie realized she belonged in the newsroom, not out on the street pushing ad sales. 

She launched All Digitocracy in 2013. The site delivers national and international news and information on technology, policy and politics and how communities access information. 

Currently, All Digitocracy is trying to raise money to produce a series of video interviews titled “How’d You Get That (Media) Job?" It will focus on women and journalists of color explaining how they got to where they are in their careers.

During an interview with Poynter, Tracie said "One of the things I hear constantly from journalists of color is they don’t understand how you get from Point A to Point B." Hopefully, this new video series will help solve this problem.

Powell was inspired to create the series after interning with Cox Media’s Washington bureau, where she witnessed the career success of TV One host Roland S. Martin, the series’ first subject.

“I saw how he took off in his career, and others don’t have the benefit of that knowledge,” said Powell. She hopes the interview series will help to share such knowledge with a larger audience.

The UGA Alumni Association wishes Tracie the best of luck on her newest endeavor! 

Click here to learn more about "How'd You Get That (Media) Job?" and watch the first video.


Share on Facebook Tweet this Blog Share on LinkedIn Google+ 01.02.2015

Alumna Spotlight: Antonina Lerch (MFA '06)

You’ve most likely seen Antonina Lerch’s (MFA ’06) work on TV. No, she’s not an actress, but the Belarus native is one of Hollywood’s leading costumers. Her designs have been featured on "Dexter" and "Mad Men" and the film "Night at the Museum: Battle at the Smithsonian."

UGA Alumni Association communications intern Bernadette Green ’15 had the opportunity to catch up with this outstanding alumna. Read below to find out more about Antonina’s impressive career.

How did you get into costuming?

I grew up in Belarus. Out of financial necessity, my mom taught me to sew and repair my own clothes. As an undergraduate at Brenau University, I realized I could leverage my skills and aim for a career in costuming. One of my professors at Brenau, Janet Smith Morley, encouraged me to work in the music, theater and dance departments. With her help, I got a job at the Gainesville Theater Alliance. I furthered my training in costume design and technology at UGA’s graduate school. After completing the program, I landed a job in Los Angeles.

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

At UGA, I was exposed to everything that relates to theater: costume, lighting and scene design, as well as directing and makeup. UGA offered me enormous resources, which helped develop my costuming and research skills. The library and research facilities are world-class. UGA’s Hargrett Library contains more than 6,000 original costume design renderings from Broadway shows and more. My major professor, Sylvia J. Hillyard Pannell, encouraged and facilitated my efforts to get internships, and I interned with the Georgia Museum of Art, Alliance TheaterSeaside Music Theater and Perpetual Motion Films.

  

What advice do you have for others wanting to get into costuming and fasion design?

You need to meet as many people as possible who are in the business. Connections can be made through internships, professors, or even reaching out directly to people in the industry. Persistence is important. Keep trying and don't be discouraged by rejection. Determination is viewed favorably and not seen as a sign of weakness. Do as many internships as you can. Be flexible about specializing, as there are many careers within the costume world: fabric artists, agers, dyers, costume illustrators, patternmakers, supervisors, etc.

What is your favorite part of your job? And what is your favorite memory so far from your career?

My favorite part of my job is building bespoke (custom-made) costumes. This requires expertise in a vast number of costume-building techniques, which can be complicated. You need to build multi-dimensional forms, make complex mathematical calculations and understand the chemical properties of all fabrics. It is incredibly challenging and rewarding to build bespoke costumes that are functional and beautiful. My favorite memory of my career was working on Joss Whedon’s show, Dollhouse. Joss and his team were incredibly nice, professional and respectful.

What has been your greatest accomplishment in your career so far?

Due to the project-to-project nature of the entertainment business, it is very difficult to maintain a stable career as a costumer. My greatest accomplishment thus far has been continuously securing work on great productions with great people.

You currently spend your time between Los Angeles and Tokyo. What is your favorite part of working internationally?

My favorite part is meeting interesting people in my field and learning new techniques from local artists, costumers, designers and manufacturers. I find Japanese artistry and craftsmanship superb, very intricate and incredibly unique. I met a world-renowned Japanese artist, Noriko Endo, who developed a unique quilting technique called Confetti Naturescapes. I met Seiji Naito, a fifth generation craftsman who makes traditional Japanese sandals called Zori. I visited Seiren Corporation’s state-of-the-art clothing production facility, which embraces all elements of manufacturing including research, fiber and fabric production, printing, pattern making, cutting and building. 

  

Do you have a favorite memory or experience from your time at UGA?

My favorite memory at UGA was spending time in my small office on the third floor of the Drama Building. It was at the very end of the long corridor next to the fire exit. I spent many hours doing my research or other homework there, and would prop the fire exit door that led outside to breathe some fresh air and listen to the birds in the huge trees outside. It was my favorite place on campus - I loved being there.


Share on Facebook Tweet this Blog Share on LinkedIn Google+ 12.04.2014

Introducing Executive Director Meredith Gurley Johnson (BSFCS '00)

The UGA Alumni Association is excited to announce that former Interim Executive Director Meredith Gurley Johnson (BSFCS '00) has been named executive director effective December 1. 

In this role, she oversees all alumni engagement activities and services, including student programs, young alumni outreach, regional programs, special events and collaborative projects on campus.

"In her capacity as interim executive director, Meredith has shown the leadership, vision, creativity, spirit and energy necessary to take the university to the next level in our efforts to closely engage our alumni and parents alike,” said Kelly Kerner, vice president for development and alumni relations. “After conducting a national search, it was clear that Meredith is the right leader for this time in our history.”

In 2001, Johnson joined the UGA Alumni Association as its first Atlanta programs coordinator based out of the new Atlanta Alumni Center in Buckhead. In 2006, she was named director of the Atlanta Alumni Center and managed the facility, Atlanta-area programming and special projects relating to alumni in Metro Atlanta. Seven years later, Johnson became associate director of alumni relations, the position she held prior to being named interim executive director.

Prior to joining the UGA Alumni Association, Johnson served as coordinator of annual giving and alumni relations for the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.

Since joining the UGA Alumni Association, she has helped launched various signature programs, including Bulldog 100 and UGA Days. In 2014, Meredith was awarded the Georgia Education Advancement Council’s Award for Excellence in Alumni Relations for her work at UGA.

  

“It is an honor to be selected as executive director of alumni relations for the University of Georgia. As a graduate of UGA, I have never been more proud of the hard work put forth by the administrators, faculty and students that make this place so special,” said Johnson. “I am thankful for the alumni and friends who support this university, and look forward to energizing my peers and the UGA community as we advance the institution together.”

The UGA Alumni Association looks forward to Johnson's continued leadership! 

Click here to read the official press release. 


Share on Facebook Tweet this Blog Share on LinkedIn Google+ 11.20.2014

Alumna Spotlight: Cheri Leavy (BSED '97)

After a childhood of frequent visits to Athens, Cheri Harden Leavy (BSED ’97) couldn’t resist the pull of the Classic City. During college, she transferred to UGA from Ole Miss and has been bleeding red and black ever since. Today, she is the founder of Bulldawg Illustrated, Guide2Athens and The Southern Coterie, three publications that cover the modern South.

UGA Alumni Association Assistant Director of Communications Jamie Lewis (AB '12, AB '12) spoke with Cheri about her experiences at the university that helped shape her career:

You started college at Ole Miss. What are your connections to UGA and what made you return to Georgia?

My father, Mac Harden (BBA ’77), graduated from UGA and his mother grew up in Watkinsville. We spent a lot of time on the family farm in Oconee County when I was growing up, so I have always loved the area and cheered for the Bulldogs. Generations of our family bleed red and black. I loved my time at Ole Miss; my father says I built my resume on classes that were interesting, but didn’t fit a degree (like "Anthropology of the Blues" and "Faulkner Studies"). I transferred to UGA and got serious. I stayed on the Dean’s List until I graduated from the College of Education, where I participated in the pilot year of the Collaborative Inquiry Teacher Education Program. I taught high school for several years, then joined The Brunswick News where I launched a Newspaper in Education program to showcase local student writing. 

Along with your husband Vance (AB '94), you’ve started Bulldawg Illustrated, Guide2Athens and The Southern Coterie. Explain a little bit about what those are, the inspiration behind them and how your time at UGA prepared you for an entrepreneurial career.

Vance and I created Bulldawg Illustrated, a print newspaper and website that covers UGA sports and the Bulldog lifestyle. Now in its 12th year covering the South’s beloved tailgating and football, it is still a ton of fun. Six years ago, we created Guide2Athens. The pocket-sized square book and blog captures the people and businesses that make America’s best college town so culturally rich. We have loved getting involved in the Athens community and have had a home here for the last five years. When Athens isn’t beckoning, you can find us at home in St. Simons with our two golden retrievers.

  

I founded The Southern Coterie with my friend Whitney Long; it is a resource for the entrepreneurial South. Designed to offer a community of passionate business owners the opportunity to connect, collaborate and create, the “Southern C” network is capturing the South’s entrepreneurial renaissance one post at a time. The Southern C Summit brings the online content to life with a unique multi-day conference where attendees network and connect with the best and brightest names in Southern business and branding. 

What is your most memorable UGA experience? Favorite UGA sports experience?

Meeting Herschel Walker for the first time at Vince Dooley’s home was pretty surreal. The Leavy Family/Brunswick News Publishing endowed a scholarship and we had brunch at the Dooley’s before the game. Vance, his brother, his brother’s wife and I went on the field that day to be recognized. Since we are all UGA graduates, that whole experience was pretty incredible. Herschel was on our Christmas card that year!

Since graduating, you and Vance have stayed involved with the university. Why do you think it’s important for alumni to stay connected to UGA once they’ve graduated?

Staying involved with the university provides you with an invaluable resource of connections to continue to support your growth personally and professionally. Vance and I enjoy supporting the philanthropic side of UGA. I attended the UGA Studies Abroad Program in Cortona, Italy, and now serve on the Georgia Museum of Art friend’s board. We also support our vibrant athletics programs.

I give back to students that are up-and-coming at the university. We have 15 interns from Grady. They bring me a tremendous amount of joy and I learn from them as much as I hope they do from me. I give them a great deal of responsibility and I have high expectations, but if they work hard, they can count on me after graduation.

I traveled recently to the West Coast and to Memphis, where I spent time with former interns. One even visited on her “engagement tour,” where she was introducing her future groom to family. We felt honored to be a stop on her travels. They turn into amazing friends as they get older and I couldn’t be prouder of their successes. The internships certainly feed the teacher side of me that was fostered while studying at UGA. I may not formally be in education any longer, but I am still using that skill set.

Can you give us a hint of what’s next for you?

Oh my goodness, there is no telling.

  

Vance and Cheri Leavy with Uga IX