UGA Mentor Program – LeBria Casher

Photo of student typing on computer with mentor.

Mentors and mentees communicate via email, text messages, phone calls and in-person meetings.

The UGA Mentor Program is the first comprehensive mentorship initiative at the University of Georgia. It will launch publicly on Wednesday, June 12. Alumni, including staff and faculty, are invited to create a profile at mentor.uga.edu if they are interested in mentoring a student. When students return to campus in August, they will begin pairing with alumni so that mentoring can begin this fall.

LeBria Casher

A successful pilot of the program was executed this spring with over 115 mentor pairs, including LeBria Casher, a rising senior majoring in English and comparative literature. LeBria’s mentor was Allison Ausband (ABJ ’83), who graduated with a journalism degree, serves on the UGA Board of Trustees and is the senior vice president of in-flight service at Delta Air Lines. LeBria shared a little about her experience piloting the new UGA Mentor Program…

What made you want to be a mentee?

When I heard about the UGA Mentor Program, I knew without a doubt what a wonderful opportunity it was and that I should apply immediately. Various organizations at UGA have shown me what it’s like to be a student mentor or mentee, but the UGA Mentor Program offered me a chance to connect with an alumnus on a personal level. I was able to choose a mentor that would share my major, interests, or experience at UGA. Also, I wanted to have a mentor who would support my goals and help me develop them.

What was your biggest fear?

I was scared that I would have a mentor who didn’t care, but I was quickly put at ease. My mentor, Allison, genuinely supported my ambitions and talked me through my goals. Also, I’ve seen and heard how the alumni who participate in the UGA Mentor Program want to see students succeed.

What has been the biggest surprise?

The biggest surprise was the flexibility of the UGA Mentor Program. It wasn’t time-consuming. It didn’t interfere with my class schedule, work, or any other obligations. I got to establish how frequently I wanted to communicate with my mentor, and we communicated monthly via email, telephone, and in-person.

Why has this been so meaningful for you?

I enjoyed having someone in my corner who wants the best for me. Despite the official mentoring relationship ending, I feel comfortable contacting my mentor and knowing she is still willing to offer me advice.

Describe the UGA Mentor Program in three words.

Investment. Significant. Worthwhile.

What would you tell someone considering UGA Mentor Program?

Don’t hesitate to apply! It really is a great program because there’s a mentor and commitment that’s right for everybody. Having a mentor is a great chance to look at someone else’s journey from UGA to where they are now — especially if it aligns with your interests. Mentors are a valuable source of information, and you get out of the mentoring relationship what you put into it. You never know what good will come from the relationship. Everyone should take the time to look at the website, the FAQs, and contact the UGA Mentor Program team if they are unsure of anything.

 

Interested in learning more about the UGA Mentor Program?

Representatives Aaron Konnick, Samantha Green and Isobel Egbarin from UPS accept the UGA Top 25 Employer Award. (Photo credit: Justin Evans Photography)

UGA recognizes companies that hired the most grads

The UGA Career Center and our Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations honored the top 25 employers of the Class of 2018 on May 9 at the Buckhead Club in Atlanta. These employers hired 14% of Class of 2018 graduates who now have full-time jobs.

According to UGA’s Career Outcomes Survey, the top 25 employers hired 757 graduates from the Class of 2018.

The top 25 employers for the Class of 2018 (in alphabetical order) are:

Alight Solutions
Amazon
AT&T
Chick-fil-A
Deloitte
Delta Air Lines
Emory University
EY
Georgia-Pacific
IBM
Insight Global
KPMG US LLP
NCR Corporation
Newell Brands
Oracle Corporation
PricewaterhouseCoopers
State Farm
SunTrust Banks
Teach for America
The Home Depot
The Vanguard Group
The Walt Disney Company
United Parcel Service (UPS)
United States Army
University of Georgia

Delta Air Lines hired Sarah Wobrock, a 2018 Terry College of Business graduate. “I am thankful for the support I received at UGA and for Delta’s commitment to hire recent graduates,” Wobrock said. “Delta Air Lines has challenged my ability to think outside the box.”

Employers also benefit from the partnership between UGA and companies. Kevin Carmichael directs corporate university relations for NCR.

“This recognition allows us to strengthen our partnerships on campus, highlight our amazing university recruitment team and further show how new hires, community partners and customers are part of our company story.”

These companies hire UGA graduates because they know how well the university prepares students for their careers.

“My high school dream of working for Delta Air Lines was made possible by the UGA-sponsored opportunities outside of the classroom,” said Wobrock. “I was a member of the Institute for Leadership Advancement, where we practiced goal setting and studied leadership qualities. I was a regular attendee of the UGA career fairs, where I had practice crafting my resume and speaking with employers.”

Companies can post a job or internship, register for a career fair, or schedule campus interviews through HireUGA, reaching over 70,000 UGA alumni and current students. In addition, there are multiple other opportunities for partnering with UGA. Companies can fund scholarships or professorships and offer matching gift opportunities to their employees who donate to the university. These companies also offer internships and mentoring programs for students. Several companies even host UGA corporate alumni events.

Commemorating the 75th Anniversary of D-Day

Joseph Lee Parker, Jr.

Dr. Joseph Lee Parker Jr. served in the 6th Beach Battalion. Photo via the U.S. 6th Naval Beach Battalion.

75 years ago today, over 160,000 Allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy, France, to fight Nazi Germany. Known as “D-Day”, thousands of soldiers were killed and wounded, but Allied victory allowed for the beginning of the end of Hitler’s regime.

The UGA Alumni Association would like to share the story of Dr. Joseph Parker Jr. (BS ’38), an alumnus originally from Waycross, Georgia, who served as a United States Naval physician and was a part of the invasion of Omaha Beach on D-Day.

Parker was a member of the 6th Naval Beach Battalion. After the invasion, he treated wounded Allied and German troops for 21 days on the beach. In 2011, alongside 16 fellow World War II veterans, Parker was presented with the Legion of Honor medal from the French government.

Prior to joining the U.S. Navy, Parker earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia and went on to earn a medical degree from the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta. While at UGA, Parker lettered in swimming, and was a member of Sigma Nu fraternity. His children and grandchildren continued his Bulldog legacy and also attended the University of Georgia.

When Parker passed away in Greensboro, Georgia, on September 27, 2012, at the age of 95, he was the longest surviving Navy physician who served at Omaha Beach.

Dr. Parker in 2004. Shot by Allen Sullivan of the Athens Banner-Herald.

A Bureau of Medicine and Surgery interview from 1999 with Dr. Parker is available.

On this anniversary of an important day in our history, the Bulldog family would like to thank those who have served in the United States military, living or deceased.

We appreciate your service and we will never forget the sacrifices you made.

Endowment honors UGA Press Advisory Council member Peggy Heard Galis (AB ’68)

Peggy Heard Galis

The Peggy Heard Galis History Ph.D. Apprenticeship will allow history Ph.D. candidates to gain insight into and experience in the scholarly publishing process.

The University of Georgia Press created an endowment to fund a publishing apprenticeship program for students from UGA’s graduate history program. The Peggy Heard Galis History Ph.D. Apprenticeship will allow history Ph.D. candidates to gain insight into and experience in the scholarly publishing process.

A giving campaign organized by the UGA Press funded the endowment. UGA Press Advisory Council member Charley Tarver made the lead gift and served as the fundraising chairperson, while Lucy Allen served as the fundraising co-chair and helped connect local and out-of-state contributors with the endowment. Because of Tarver and Allen’s efforts, the campaign received nationwide donations now totaling over $100,000.

The endowment honors Galis for her many years of service to the press, the history department, and UGA. A resident of Athens, Galis and her husband Denny Galis are both graduates of UGA. She is a founding member and current vice chair of the UGA Press Advisory Council. She has long been actively involved in community, cultural and educational organizations, including the Clarke County School District, the Georgia Museum of Art, the Athens Clarke Heritage Foundation, the Southern Historical Association and the Southern Foodways Alliance.

“Peggy Galis is a human super-connector. We are thrilled to announce this teaching and learning program that honors her intellectual curiosity, her love of history and books, embodied in her deep commitment to UGA students and the UGA Press,” said UGA Press Director Lisa Bayer.

The Peggy Heard Galis apprentices will be Ph.D. students in the UGA history department. The apprentices will receive an in-depth introduction to university-press publishing and participate in the process by which scholarly books are acquired, peer reviewed, developed, edited and approved for publication. In addition, they will learn how to communicate professionally with various parties in the industry, juggle multiple tasks at once and manage a project’s status long-term.

“Peggy Galis is the history graduate program’s secret weapon. She fundraises, hosts and promotes events, and asks astute questions of every speaker who darkens our door. Peggy is a PR department, development office, and Ph.D. dissertation committee rolled into one,” said Cindy Hahamovitch, B. Phinizy Spalding Distinguished Professor of History at UGA. “How perfect is it that an apprenticeship designed to teach history graduate students how publishing works will be named in Peggy’s honor?”

Apprenticeships like these enhance the UGA learning environment, a primary goal of the Commit to Georgia Campaign. With over $1.2 billion raised, the campaign has already transformed UGA by way of new scholarships, learning opportunities, facilities and more. To find out how to help build on the campaign’s success in its final year, visit give.uga.edu.

Eric Baker: Out of This World

Eric Baker

Eric Baker (ABJ ’90) is an Imagineer for The Walt Disney Company, with credits including just-opened Galaxy’s Edge.

*In honor of Galaxy’s Edge officially opening in Disneyland on May 31, UGA is highlighting Eric Baker (ABJ ’90), a Grady graduate and creative director with Walt Disney Imagineering.

This story originally ran in the Summer 2019 issue of Georgia Magazine.

A long time ago in a galaxy not so far, far away …

A young Eric Baker ABJ ’90 was making his own Star Wars playsets because store-bought versions weren’t good enough. The son of an art teacher and a building contractor, Baker made his own Yoda masks from forms he sculpted, molded, and casted with help from his mom.

Now, he’s a creative director with Walt Disney Imagineering, working on the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge-themed lands opening in Disneyland this summer and Walt Disney World this fall.

“I love taking these worlds and bringing them from film to something people can actually go see and touch and really be a part of,” he says.

Baker attended the University of Georgia where he studied telecommunications and theatrical design. He knew he wanted to make films, so he learned model building, special effects, and set design through his course work. As a student, his first job in the industry was at Cable 13 doing Larry Munson’s makeup for his Tuesday night show.

TV Career
From the Earth to the Moon

Baker’s work on the Tom Hank’s mini-series “From the Earth to the Moon” earned him an Emmy nomination.

After graduation, Baker found work at Nickelodeon doing props on the hit show Clarissa Explains it All, coming up with games to gross people out for Double Dare, and testing pool games for Nickelodeon Guts.

That led to other film and TV work including The Mickey Mouse ClubSesame Street 3D MovieBad Boys 2, and the Tom Hanks mini-series From the Earth to the Moon  (which earned Baker an Emmy nomination).

But after 20 years in film production, the industry was changing, so Baker took an entry level model-building job with Universal Studios’ creative department.

 

 

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Baker built concept models for Universal’s Harry Potter theme parks in Florida, California, and Japan.

They asked him to build a castle—which turned out to be Hogwarts. For the next two years, Baker built concept models for Universal’s Harry Potter theme parks in Orlando, California, and Japan.

The worlds are fully immersive, from taking the Hogwarts Express train from Platform 9 ¾ to drinking a cold butterbeer on the giant benches of the Leaky Cauldron. The worlds are layer upon layer, from haunted portraits to fountains that come alive with a souvenir wand.

The work Baker did for Diagon Alley in Orlando (which has 106,000 props) was such a game changer that the Themed Entertainment Association created a new award for it: the Paragon award, which won’t be awarded again until someone tops the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

And Baker is up to the challenge.

Star Wars
Galaxy's Edge

Galaxy’s Edge opened in Disneyland on May 30, and Disney World’s version will open August 29.

Disney took notice of Baker’s work and offered him the job he’d dreamed of since he was a young Padawan: Star Wars. Now he’s overseeing construction of thousands of pieces of props and set dressing for the immersive Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, which means a lot of flying between Florida and California (commercial, not on an X-wing).

He’s visited the Star Wars film sets and Skywalker Ranch where he photographed some of the original props from the film, which was another dream come true for him. “Star Wars changed my life,” he says.

But ultimately, his job comes down to using the Force for good.

“I love going to work in the morning to see the look on kids’ faces the first time they come into the park. That’s the most rewarding thing I do: making people happy.”

 

Chickens in Backyard

Backyard Flock Tips on National Egg Day

June 3 is National Egg Day according to an ever-growing list of “holiday websites” on the internet. Whether or not it’s officially backed by organizations like the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association or the American Egg Board, we’re going to take it as an opportunity to share a few “backyard flock tips” from the UGA Cooperative Extension. These tips are A+ for anyone interested in raising backyard chickens or seeking to increase the egg production of their current flock.

Background

Many people keep poultry for egg production. Interest in homegrown products has made locally produced eggs more popular and consumers are more quality conscious than ever before. Escalating costs for poultry feed, though, can increase the costs of egg production for both small and large producers. Therefore, it’s important that the quality of “homegrown” eggs is maintained and egg spoilage is minimized.

Sanitation is an important factor in maintaining egg quality. The exterior of the egg shell is usually clean and sterile when the egg is first laid. From the time the egg is laid, however, it is exposed to microorganisms, which can penetrate the shell and contaminate the egg. This can lower egg quality or even loss of the egg as an edible product.

Thank you to Anne Anglin, an Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator with UGA Extension in Carroll County, for sharing a few things to consider for those of you who are raising poultry for egg production.

6 Considerations to Maintain Egg Quality

Keep nests clean.

Maintaining clean nesting material will reduce microbial exposure when the egg is first laid. Replace nesting material as needed. Clean material will also encourage the hen to use the nest rather than laying the egg on dirt or in weeds.

Collect eggs frequently.

Eggs should be collected at least daily and preferably twice a day to prevent breakage and possible contamination from fecal material and dirt. The longer the eggs are left in the hen house or pen, the more likely they are to be broken and exposed to bacteria.

Wash eggs.

Washing the eggs after collection can also improve egg quality if done properly. Water temperature for washing is very important. Eggs should be washed in water that is warmer than the eggs. Warm eggs washed in cool water will contract and draw bacteria into the egg. Temperatures ranging from 100 to 120 degrees F. are recommended. Wash water can become contaminated if used too long, therefore, the wash water should be changed as dirt and fecal material build up in the solution.

Dry eggs.

Once the eggs are washed, they should be dried as soon as possible. Moisture fosters bacterial growth and a method of microbial entrance through the egg shell. A clean dry cloth or air drying can be used as methods of drying eggs.

Use clean packaging materials.

If egg flats or cartons are used for storage, these materials should be clean and free of contaminated matter such as egg yolk and albumen (the egg white – yep, I had to Google that).

Store in appropriate conditions.

After washing and drying, eggs should be stored within appropriate temperature and humidity conditions. The appropriate temperature is 45-55 degrees F. and relative humidity between 60-80 %.

If you follow these principles for egg handling, you’ll assuredly improve the quality of eggs that your backyard flock provides you. Interested in learning more? Check out UGA Extension’s “Management Guide for Backyard Flock” or contact Claudia Dunkley, a public service associate located on UGA’s Tifton campus who specializes in poultry science.