Announcing the UGA Alumni Directory Project

The UGA Alumni Association has partnered with Publishing Concepts (PCI) to publish the first UGA alumni directory in more than five years. All graduates are encouraged to call PCI to update their information in the new directory.

The last UGA Alumni Directory was printed in 2010. A new directory will not only be of service to those graduates who are interested in reconnecting with fellow alumni, but the updated information will help us invite alumni to university events across the country. In a nutshell, this project will help your alma mater serve you better in the future.

For more information, please visit Thank you in advance for your support, Bulldogs!

To celebrate the launch of the new UGA Alumni Directory, PCI hosted a Bulldog-theme celebration in their Dallas office. We hope their team enjoyed a little taste of Athens in the office!

A Tale of Two Athens

Travelocity recently published a commercial where a traveler mistakenly ends up in Athens, Georgia instead of Athens, Greece. We couldn’t think of a better mistake to make! 

Founded in the late 18th century and named after Athens, Greece, a place known for its dedication to higher learning, Athens, Georgia is home to the University of Georgia, the state of Georgia’s flagship institution.

While many people might be disappointed if they meant to book a flight to Athens, Greece, but mistakenly found themselves in Athens, Georgia, Bulldogs know better.

We know that Athens is a thriving town full of great music, food, art and more. Most importantly, Athens is home to the University of Georgia, a place that embeds itself into the soul of anyone who attends.

As the saying goes, “you can leave it, but it never leaves you.” Many UGA alumni know how true that statement is, and often find themselves dreaming of days spent on North Campus studying on Herty Field or Saturdays ‘tween the Hedges.

While there’s no denying that Athens, Greece is an incredible vacation spot, we think Athens, Georgia is pretty special, too.

Wouldn’t you agree?

Are you a graduate of the University of Georgia? Please take a moment and update your information!


Interview with Kazuya Takahashi (MED ’07), a top 10 finalist of the prestigious Global Teacher Prize

Today, we are sharing an interview with alumnus Kazuya Takahashi. The interview was conducted by Kathryn Kao (ABJ ’13), content strategist for the College of Education. 

Kazuya Takahashi (MED ’07), an English teacher at Kogakuin University Junior and Senior High School in Tokyo, Japan and an alumnus of the University of Georgia’s College of Education, was selected as a top 10 finalist for the prestigious Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize for his innovative work in the classroom.

Takahashi was selected among 8,000 candidates around the world and is the first person from Japan to ever be nominated for the $1 million award. The Global Teacher Prize is the largest of its kind and is presented annually to an exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession.

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What was the biggest takeaway you gained from your studies at UGA’s College of Education? Are there any methods you’ve learned here that you currently apply to your everyday teaching? 

I owe a lot to the theory of instructional design. Although my degree is in instructional technology, I learned many useful things from friendly and knowledgeable teachers. They taught me cognitive science, instructional design, and cutting-edge technology in the academic world. They not only taught me the knowledge of subjects, but also how to use it in class. That’s why I could easily apply what I learned at UGA in my class when I came back to Japan.

Your Global Teacher Prize profile says you teach students using LEGO-based instruction. Can you give me a brief explanation of what this instruction focuses on and how it benefits students?

It’s based on the ideas of instructional design, Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences theory, and constructionism. I think I learned this in Dr. Reeve’s class. With LEGO, I want to see different aspects of students’ intelligences. Schools usually focus on language intelligence. Teachers talk and students have to listen and answer back on a test. That’s why students who are good at speaking, listening, and writing are regarded as good students. However, students who are not good at language, but good at expressing themselves in other ways are not labeled as “good” or “exemplary” students. With LEGO, students can express themselves with things other than language and learn how to manage time. I can benefit a lot of things with LEGO instruction. Students can try to make their own products many times and easily get engaged in what they are doing.

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 Why is it important for you to stress global citizenship in your teaching? How do students benefit from volunteer work?

My teaching style is based on learning science and constructionism. However, this kind of teaching philosophy is in vogue around the globe. There are a bunch of pedagogies and teaching curricula such as IB, Common Core, and national curricula. They compete with each other over which program is the most appropriate to educate the best and brightest kids and send them to prestigious colleges all over the world. I feel that this does not make any sense. Today, there are so many “smart” people with shining degrees, but the world has not gotten better. Wars are everywhere and the world economy is pretty messed up. I do believe we educators have to teach not only the subject, but also how students should take responsibility for their learning and contribute to others using what they learn.

So, I started a program in which students collaborate with a social entrepreneur in Indonesia and actually go work to solve social issues over there. In that sense, I think my teaching style is related to teaching global citizenship through daily classes. I want students to move around without paying attention to their borders.

The students who joined the Indonesia program said they learned a lot by doing something for others. They said they came to understand why they are learning and the importance of being responsible and serving others.

Can you tell me a bit about the space elevator competition you organized for your high school students? What has the response/results from this new initiative been like?

I only applied for the science promotion partnership fund and started the space elevator project. I got interested in this because I used LEGOs a lot in and outside of class, and I knew I could make a space elevator with LEGOs. I also wanted to introduce the students to college professors and some professionals at JAXA*. Results? I think students gained a more positive view on their learning and learned something real about space at JAXA.

*Note: JAXA, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, is Japan’s national aerospace agency designed to support the Japanese government’s overall aerospace development and utilization. 


What are some things you want to change or improve upon in the Japanese schooling system?

In Japan, students just study to go to a so-called good college and work for a good company. To put it in a simple way, they only study for themselves. That’s why they are afraid of making a mistake and dropping out of a single-track career path. However, I believe from this time on I have to educate kids who are passionate about both business and helping others. So, what I want to do is challenge their fixed mindsets.

As a teacher, what are you most proud of achieving or accomplishing?

I have not achieved anything yet. I am still working on being like the great teachers in my life. However, just one thing I can be proud of is that I have put the quality of Japanese education on the map through this prize.

Exercise Science: A Unique Discipline Comes of Age

Today, alumnus Phillip Sparling (MED ’76, EDD ’79) will be guest-blogging about his experience as an exercise science major at UGA in the 1970s. 


Phillip Sparling (MED ’76, EDD ’79)

To her dying day, my mother never fully understood what I did for a living.

She knew, of course, that I was a college professor. It was my field of study she was unable to explain to cousins and acquaintances. The questioning looks: what the heck is exercise science? Today, some 20 years after her death, my academic discipline is no longer unknown, although its scope and significance still remain fuzzy to some, on campus and off.

With apologies to Paul Simon, I’m still crazy about exercise science after all these years. With an undergraduate degree in the liberal arts from Duke, I pursued graduate training in exercise physiology at the University of Georgia in the Division of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (HPERD) in the mid-1970s. My career spanned the coming of age for exercise science. It wasn’t a straight-forward progression for me or the field. New trails were blazed as a new field took shape.

Relative to the venerable sciences of biology, chemistry and physics, exercise science is one of the newer kids on the block. It has grown from infancy to full maturity within a few short decades and is now one of the most popular majors on campuses nationwide. Similar to the rise of computer science, the development and application of technology have been central to the growth of exercise science. For example, tools and techniques from molecular biology, neuroscience and biomedical engineering are used to answer our research questions.

Questions span the continuum from the effects of complex high-intensity conditioning programs for top athletes to the effects of simply increasing daily walking on quality of life and reduction of chronic disease risk in sedentary adults. Exercise science is the theory-based, evidence led study of human movement. It comprises many emphasis areas, most notably exercise physiology, biomechanics, motor control and exercise psychology. Like the fields of medicine or psychology, exercise science is both broad and deep, with many specialties and subspecialties.

The roots of exercise science in academe can be traced to 1861 when Edward Hitchcock, Jr., M.D. initiated a program of gymnastics and physical training at Amherst College. The aim was to maintain health and relieve the strain associated with “academic courses.” A tenet of the college experience was mens sana in corpore sano (a sound mind in a healthy body). Over the next several decades, the Amherst model was widely replicated across the country and physical education became part of the general education curriculum at most colleges.

Following World War II, the boom in federal research funding and expansion of doctoral programs ushered in a golden age of scientific inquiry. By the 1950s and through the 1960s, a new breed of physical education faculty, led by scientists like Franklin Henry at UC Berkeley, advocated for an increased focus on rigorous research. Their contention was straightforward: physical education faculty should be systematically investigating the effects of exercise to advance the knowledge base, just as colleagues in the life sciences studied the nature of their respective disciplines. This set the course for what would become exercise science.

In the current taxonomy of academic fields, exercise science is a major branch of kinesiology, similar to the relationship of zoology to biology or biochemistry to chemistry. The discipline of kinesiology refers to the study of human movement in the broadest sense. In addition to exercise science (and its many specialties), other prominent branches (majors, tracks) are athletic training, physical education (teacher education), and sports management. The University of Georgia’s Department of Kinesiology is ranked among the best in the country.

Future financial security is not a given though. Kiplinger recently rated exercise science as among the “worst careers”, along with animal science, horticulture and music. This assessment was based solely on projected salaries following graduation. In making a career choice, reconciling passion versus salary is always difficult. Interestingly, some graduate students in exercise science have undergraduate degrees in engineering and business; many were well paid but dissatisfied with the day-to-day grind.

The world in 2015 is designed for sitting – our lives are dominated by cars, chairs, and screens – yet humans are wired to move. The positive impact of daily physical activity on growth and development in children and overall health and well-being in adults is undeniable. An increasingly important challenge is how to translate national guidelines into behavior change ( How do we better enable children, adults, families and communities to become more physically active?

Preparing professionals for careers in exercise science has never been more relevant or timely. No other aspect of our lifestyle has a more potent impact on our capacity to thrive than exercise. If my mother were alive today, I think she’d agree and understand my fervor as an exercise scientist.

And I trust that many of you – friends and alumni of the University of Georgia, folks from all walks of life – do as well.

Phillip B. Sparling is an alumnus of the University of Georgia, Professor Emeritus at Georgia Tech, and a Fellow of the National Academy of Kinesiology. He presented the 1st Distinguished Alumni Lecture in the Department of Kinesiology in October 2015. This essay is based on a viewpoint he published in the February 2016 issue of JOPERD.

Interview with The Washington Post’s Alex Laughlin (AB ’14) + Julia Carpenter (ABJ ’13, AB ’13)

The University of Georgia sends its graduates to a number of major metropolitan cities, including Washington, D.C. Two recent graduates, Alex Laughlin (AB ’14) and Julia Carpenter (ABJ ’13, AB ’13), now work for the Washington Post, one of America’s premier newspapers. Digital Specialist Jamie Lewis (AB ’12, AB ’12) recently interviewed Alex and Julia to learn about their paths to D.C.

Tell me a bit about your positions at the Washington Post. 

Alex: I’m a social media producer. Half the day I run the main social accounts (Facebook and Twitter), and the other half of the day I spend working on emerging platforms for the Post like InstagramSnapchat and List.

Julia: I’m an embedded social media editor. That means I work on the audience engagement team, but instead of focusing on the main accounts and the entire newsroom like Alex does, I’m narrowing my focus to two things: our features department, and our Tumblr presence. Our embed program (we’re still hiring for two gigs — in local and world — so tell your friends!) just launched this past fall. Before I started as an embed, I was a digital producer on the social media team. I worked on some wonderful projects, like our voicemails Tumblr This Year I Learned (y’all should call in!) and user-generated content and new platforms (just a year ago, that meant things like Snapchat, messaging apps and Tumblr — isn’t that weird?).


Alex Laughlin (AB ’14), social media producer at the Washington Post  

What pushed you to move to D.C. after graduation?

Alex: I had always been interested in moving to DC because it’s a major city, but not as massive as New York. I fell in love with it when I interned here in the summer of 2013, and then I moved here after graduation when I got a job at a small political magazine.

Julia: I was interviewing for two jobs at the same time — one was in D.C., and the other in New York. I’d interned in New York (twice!) and I’d lived there (twice!), so I decided to do the thing I hadn’t done before. I wanted to explore a new city, and I wanted to do journalism — the gig at The Post was the perfect opportunity to do both.


Julia Carpenter (ABJ ’13, AB ’13), embedded social media editor at the Washington Post 

How did your time at UGA prepare you for the professional world? Any particular professors, classes or organizations that affected you?

Alex: I was a women’s studies major, and the greatest preparation I got in the classroom for the “real” world was the ability to think critically about the systems around me and also know how to form an airtight argument and advocate for myself. The majority of my practical journalism experience came from my time at the Red & Black, where I was a reporter and then an editor (before our notorious walk-out in 2013!)I was also a member of a Panhellenic sorority, where I learned how to make small talk.

Julia: I was a total Red & Black junkie. I tried pretty much every job in that newsroom, and the friends I made there are now my strongest professional connections (and my dearest confidantes). I also can’t say enough how my double major — in magazine journalism and in English — and my Honors Program thesis work with Dr. Elizabeth Davis prepared me to think critically about new media storytelling. My thesis research was, seriously, just reading hundreds of characters worth of Twitter fiction — total dream, and something I bring up in work convos more often than is probably polite.

What advice would you give to a student interested in working on the digital side of journalism?

Alex: Make friends with the most ambitious people you know. Learn a lot about something that isn’t journalism. Always have a side project going — whether it’s an internship, a club leadership position, or a job. Trade them out each semester, and then take your last semester off. Don’t be scared to go to meetings for clubs you want to join — even if the people seem really cool and intimidating! They aren’t that cool, I promise.

Julia: Intern like a crazy person.

You’ve both got some pretty fun projects aside from your jobs at The Post – tell me about them!

Alex: I host and produce The Ladycastwhich is a podcast where I interview cool women about their lives and their careers. I also have a YouTube series called “Side Hustle” with Femsplain.

Julia: I love side hustles! I have way too many open Google docs of projects yet to see the light. Otherwise, I run two newsletters: A Woman to Know and Drunk Poetry Circle. Woman to Know is a daily missive about a woman from history, politics, art, science, you name it. I’ve written about Caresse Crosby, the inventor of the bra; Hazel Scott, a pioneering jazz musician; Tsuneko Sasamoto, a 90-year-old (still working!) photographer; the list goes on.

My friend (and fellow UGA alum!) Maura Friedman and I run Drunk Poetry Circle, a place for all happy hour poems to live (and also, sometimes, to die). We think everyone is capable of wonderful, moving, sad, hilarious poems — sometimes you just need a discount cocktail or two to stoke the creative flame. We ask people to submit the best of their work to us, and every week we send out a newsletter featuring the best (or funniest) verses.


Alex (left) and Julia (right) with Lindsey Rogers Cook (ABJ ’14), fellow Bulldog and Washington, D.C., resident 

What has been your biggest accomplishment since leaving UGA?

Alex: My biggest accomplishment is probably launching my podcast!

Julia: I’m proudest of This Year I Learned. I worked on it with one of my most favorite creative collaborators, Masuma Ahuja, and the whole thing — every message, the wave of responses — is just magic magic magic.

Best memory from your time at UGA?

Alex: Some of my favorite memories include walking from the SLC to North Campus in the fall, debating in my women’s studies classes, studying at Walker’s, and Take Back the Night with WSSO!

Julia: I have too many to pick one. Athens is one of those places I think about all the time — like whenever I have a bad day, or a good day, the first thing I think is “what’s happening in Athens right now?” Strolling up to Jackson Street Books after class in Park Hall. Ringing the Chapel Bell with my best friend on his graduation eve, after a night out at Blue Sky and Allgood. Studying at Walker’s with dirty chais. The thunder of “Touchdown, Georgia!” that echoed every Saturday. Walking down Bloomfield Street at night, surrounded by porches and twinkly lights. The apple and cheese sandwich at Marti’s. Staying late at The Red & Black and then walking home to my own (first!) apartment, where I lived next door to my bestest friends, where I could hear the crack of baseball bats practicing throughout September.

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Bulldogs turned documentary filmmakers

As students at UGA, Shauyan Saki (ABJ ’15) and Joseph Winkenwerder (BBA ’15, AB ’15) partnered together to shine the spotlight on fellow Bulldog and UGA basketball player Dusan Langura (AB ’15). Together, Saki and Winkenwerder produced a documentary that focused on Langura’s personal journey to UGA. Before coming to UGA, Langura, a native of Switzerland, served his country and was injured by a bomb, tearing his ACL among other injuries.

Jamie Lewis (AB ’12, AB ’12) recently interviewed Saki and Winkenwerder to learn more about this project and its inspiration.


Have you always been interested in documentary filmmaking? How did the two of you connect and discover your shared interest?

Saki: I’ve always loved sports documentaries and played multiple sports growing up. I’m the type of person that has to watch the new 30 for 30 specials on ESPN as soon as it airs. Joe and I have known each other since freshman year, and we both have a passion for sports and watching sports and movies. When we talked about Dusan’s story, I couldn’t think of anyone better to direct it

Winkenwerder: Documentary filmmaking has always been a field I wanted to explore. As a teenager, I was very fond of cinéma vérité – particularly skateboarding, music, and sports documentaries. When I arrived at UGA, I only wanted to pursue a business degree. During my sophomore year, I took an introductory film class and became passionate about the art again. Shuayan and I love sports. We both played varsity sports in high school. Because I was studying business and film, and Shuayan was pursuing his degree in journalism, the idea of a sports documentary was very fitting for the both of us.

Dusan Langura’s story is pretty incredible. How did you learn about him and get connected to work on the documentary? 

Saki: I had a class with Dusan in January 2014. We worked on a couple of projects and we over our shared love for basketball and how both our families come from outside the United States. When he told me his story, he was in the middle of his recovery and I was inspired by his positive attitude and determination. Most people who’ve been injured at Dusan’s level would give up their dreams, but Dusan was completely different. He told me that when he first arrived at UGA, he had multiple inquires by major news outlets to interview him and tell his story, but he didn’t want to distract the team or make himself stand out in any other way other than basketball and academics. So when he asked me to make a documentary that would preserve the integrity of his story, it was simply an offer I couldn’t refuse.

Winkenwerder: Shuayan first mentioned Dusan’s story to me after a class they had together in 2014. Shuayan went into great depth about Dusan’s background: growing up in Switzerland and Montenegro, his love for basketball, and most importantly, his comeback to the game after sustaining an injury in the military. I was immediately enthralled by the idea of making a documentary about Dusan’s journey to the states and the rehabilitation process he went through. Shuayan got in touch with university officials to get clearance and then we began to build the narrative.


For those that don’t know, can you give me a brief summary of Dusan’s story?

Saki: Dusan served in the Swiss military after completing high school with a walk-on offer from UGA. He was injured in an accident while serving and injured his knee (complete tear to his ACL and MCL) and fractured his skull. The story is about how Head Basketball Coach Mark Fox and staff honored their commitment to Dusan and his recovery.

What are your goals for the documentary? 

Saki: My goal is for people to enjoy the film. We worked hard on it and I hope people who watch it understand the process that Dusan went through and gain some insight and inspiration.

Winkenwerder: We originally drafted a script that incorporated more of Dusan’s teammates at UGA. Because we had a short amount of time to work with and players had rigorous schedules, we had to adjust and simplify the narrative, focusing more on Dusan, UGA, and his recovery. Overall, I was quite pleased with the results.

You both graduated from UGA in 2015. What are you working on now? 

Saki: I graduated with a degree in journalism. After we finished filming, I got a job offer with AT&T in their Leadership Development Program, had an opportunity to continue my career with AT&T and eventually relocated to Los Angeles in January 2016. I work with small businesses and it’s been a great experience so far. That being said, I am still interested in film and sports documentaries. It will always be a passion.

Winkenwerder: I am currently interning at Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB) on the Lawmakers political show. My goal is to eventually work my way up to producer and/or director position, but the business world remains a strong passion of mine, too.


Are you a graduate of the University of Georgia? Please take a moment and update your information!

Alumni Spotlight: Shimat V. Joseph (MS ’06, PHD ’10)

In 2012, Shimat Joseph was given the position of Integrated Pest Management Adviser from the University of California. In this job, Shimat has dealt with the task of working with local growers to combat pests, specifically the cabbage maggot. In the last few years though, he has focused on finding alternative approaches for combatting these pests and restoring the future of agriculture for the state of California.

Shimat Joseph

Shimat Joseph (MS ’06, PHD ’10)

Growing up in India, Shimat loved gardening, and chose to study agriculture in college. What began as a love for agriculture and gardening back home eventually led Shimat to study the field of entomology. In 2002, Shimat travelled halfway around the world to pursue a Master’s degree in entomology from the University of Georgia.

His past research areas have focused on turf control and pest management to deal with the hemlock woolly adelgid.

Congratulations on all of your success Shimat, and good luck with your future endeavors!

Read more about Shimat Joseph.

Double Dawg Maxine Burton honored with her own flower

Whenever you go out to look for flowers that can add a pop of color to your home or garden this spring, be sure to keep your eye out for the “Maxine” Dianthus, named after alumna and founder of burton + BURTON, Maxine Burton (BSED ’72, MED ’78).

In European culture, queens and heads of state have had flowers named after them in their honor. Because of this esteemed tradition, the International Floriculture Exposition (IFE) has only awarded 6 people, including Maxine, with their own flower.

With the help of her family, Maxine and her husband founded their company, burton + BURTON, in 1982. Today, it has grown into one of the largest distributors of balloons and coordinating gifts in the world and has helped the floral industry to flourish as well.

The “Maxine” Dianthus is a fun, solid pink colored dianthus, making it the perfect fit for a bright, go-getter who has dedicated 33 years to the balloon, hard goods, and décor industry.

The award was presented to her at this past year’s International Floriculture Exposition in Chicago. The award was kept a secret in order to surprise her at the exposition.

In light of receiving the award, Burton said, “To be recognized by people with whom I have so much history and so much respect is an incredible honor, not just for me, but for our entire burton + BURTON family.”

Congratulations Maxine on this outstanding honor!