Andrew McKown (BS ’07) fights COVID-19 in the ICU

Dr. Andrew McKown (BS ’07) walked into the intensive care unit of Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center one morning early in 2020 at 7 a.m. He reviewed patients’ charts, consulted with staff on overnight developments, visited patients and performed a litany of medical tasks that kept him busy until about 7 p.m.

That was three months ago. Today, McKown’s 12-hour day also includes multiple sets of gowns, masks and gloves he must wear all day long, phone calls providing updates to patients’ families who can no longer visit their loved ones, a hooded face shield blowing air in his face and the research required to keep up with a global pandemic.

“It’s … been interesting,” said McKown. “My work has changed dramatically.”

McKown is face-to-face with COVID-19, serving his community in a vital way few can, and his story began at the University of Georgia.

“It’s kind of a family thing”

McKown grew up in East Cobb, near Marietta. He excelled at George Walton Comprehensive High School and applied to several colleges, but after being offered a Foundation Fellowship, he decided on UGA—a decision that was met with strong familial approval.

Andrew McKown's UGA graduation photo, 2007

McKown’s UGA graduation photo

“I come from a huge UGA family: My parents, both of my sisters, two of my mom’s three siblings, my mom’s parents, my mom’s aunt—who studied and taught there—and five of my cousins attended UGA,” said McKown. “It’s kind of a family thing.”

The Foundation Fellowship that attracted him to UGA provided experiences that became the bedrock for the rest of his education and career. Foundation Fellowships are UGA’s foremost undergraduate scholarships, placing students in a community of similarly dedicated scholars and offering numerous grants for travel-study, which McKown used to study in Thailand and Uganda.

In Thailand, he aided and observed medical staff at a rural clinic, and the experience made an impression: When he returned to Athens, McKown directed his focus toward global health and began taking classes at the then-newly founded College of Public Health. His subsequent trip to work at a health center in Uganda built upon this, as did the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention internship that used data gathered in Uganda to study costs associated with medical sharps disposal.

A Bulldog in Boston

After graduating from UGA in 2007, McKown applied to and was accepted at Harvard Medical School. For the next four years, he studied at one of the world’s premier medical institutions, broadening his horizons in a big city and meeting people from around the world, including his wife, Ellen House.

The two native southerners—House is from North Carolina—grew their relationship while McKown completed medical school followed by a residency at Massachusetts General Hospital and while House completed a psychiatry residency and fellowship.

In his third year of med school, McKown took a critical care rotation, a choice that would prove pivotal in growing his interest in pulmonology.

“I’ve always been a math and science guy,” said McKown. “I liked the physics of how we could use a ventilator to breathe for people, how exactly it works and how we pick the right settings to use. It fascinated me, so I thought that’s where [my career] might be heading.”

House and McKown at the white coat ceremony marking the beginning of his residency at Mass General

House and McKown at the white coat ceremony marking the beginning of his residency at Mass General

That focus on pulmonology would play a role in McKown’s next step, but another event, in the final year of his residency, played an even bigger role: the birth of his daughter, Georgia.

“Boston was great, but it can be a tough place to raise a family when you’re a long way from [your own family],” said McKown. “We debated what to do, and we thought hard about staying, but we also thought about moving south.”

After some research, McKown, House, and Georgia made their way to Nashville and Vanderbilt University in 2014. This move placed them close to both extended families, and Vanderbilt presented unique opportunities for both young doctors. House joined the psychiatry faculty at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, and McKown took a pulmonary/critical care fellowship at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Returning to the Classic City

After completing the fellowship, McKown wanted to find a place he could practice medicine and teach. He enjoyed teaching resident physicians during his fellowship, and House wanted to continue teaching at a medical school. Also,  the family wanted to stay in the Southeast. Fortunately, a connection from McKown’s UGA past opened a door.

Andrew McKown and children on one of Athens' bulldog statues

McKown and children on one of Athens’ bulldog statues

“I reached out to Matt Crim (AB ’05, BS ’05)—someone I knew through the Foundation Fellowship who is now at Piedmont Athens Regional—to find out about his experience. He was positive about Athens, the growing medical community and medical school, and he put me in touch with Athens Pulmonary.”

With that, wheels went into motion. Today, House is a psychiatrist at UGA’s University Health Center and an assistant professor of psychiatry with the Augusta University/UGA Medical Partnership, and McKown is a physician with Athens Pulmonary. The family of four—they now have a young son, Baker—has now been in Athens for close to two years.

“After having been in Boston for seven years and Nashville for four, the first reaction was, ‘Oh wow, [Athens] is so much smaller than I remember,’” McKown joked. “But it’s a really great and positive community. We love where we live.”

In the two years since his return, McKown and his family have made Athens their home, turning neighbors into friends, finding restaurants they like and advancing in their work. House has received awards for her teaching at the medical school, and earlier this year, McKown was named the co-director of Piedmont Athens Regional’s intensive care unit.

“Normally, you know what to do”

But for McKown, the past two months may make the past two years seem much more distant. As COVID-19 swept across the planet, Athens Pulmonary doubled its daily commitment of physicians to affiliated hospitals and overhauled their doctors’ call schedules. And while having an unpredictable daily schedule creates a certain amount of stress, it pales in comparison to the work of treating this disease.

“Normally, when a patient comes in and they have respiratory failure, you know what to do,” said McKown. “[But] when a patient comes in with COVID-19? How we managed it three weeks ago is different from how we managed it last week. I mean, it’s crazy. The shift in medical opinion was great enough that it profoundly changed our management just in the last few weeks.”

McKown also cautions that the world is not out of the woods yet. If we don’t remain vigilant, things could still turn for the worse.

“We have been fortunate here, so far, to not have the crush that they have in New York, and that’s because we’ve had success with social distancing measures,” said McKown. “I’ve talked to friends who practice up there, and it is a whole different world. And it’s a bit of a fear of mine that people will look at our success up to now and still say, ‘why did we do what we did?’

“But I’ve seen people across the age spectrum critically ill, close to death, here in Athens from COVID-19. And if we don’t continue to take the necessary steps to slow the spread of infection, there could be so many of them that we will be strained to take care of them all.”

However, there are reasons to feel positive. McKown said that he’s been deeply impressed with Piedmont Athens Regional’s leadership, having been a part of the many meetings discussing plans and contingencies for the hospital.

“I’m also thankful for the huge outpouring of support from the community,” said McKown. “There are signs all over the hospital from the community that are, essentially, a cheering section for the hospitals. There’s been a number of gifts from the community, like hand-sewn face masks. UGA’s creating face shields. All of these things are amazing, and they are impactful.”

If you know a Bulldog on the front lines of the COVID-19 fight, share your story with the UGA Alumni Association.

The Jerry Tanner Show – Offseason Update

Quarantine’s got Jerry playing a six-week-long away game, but that’s not going to stop him from updating you on the Dawgs’ offseason as well as what Bulldog Nation can do to support each other and those around them during uncertain times.

We’re Calling All Dawgs, because Bulldogs know that our greatest strength is each other. Find out more at alumni.uga.edu/covid-19.

Jerry Tanner is everyone you’ve ever met at a UGA tailgate, everyone who’s ever talked about Georgia football by your cubicle, and every message board poster who claims to have a cousin who cut Vince Dooley’s grass. He’s a UGA alumnus, he’s a college football fanatic with a Twitter addiction, and he’s definitely a real person and not a character played by Clarke Schwabe.

Bulldogs come together during COVID-19 crisis

The University of Georgia virtually celebrated G-Day on Saturday, April 18, and Bulldogs around the country wore their red and black in a show of solidarity. UGA pride swelled as alumni set up at-home tailgates, posted photos and videos of their family, and once again cheered on the Dawgs in the 2019 UGA-Notre Dame game.

The day also marked the launch of the university’s #CallingAllDawgs alumni engagement campaign, a collective response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the widespread effects it has had on communities near and far. As of April 20, nearly 1,000 donors have answered the call, raising over $250,000.

“Bulldogs need one another now more than ever,” said Meredith Gurley-Johnson, executive director of the Alumni Association. “It’s inspiring to see our family come together to make a difference for those hit hardest by this pandemic.”

This critical funding will support pressing initiatives like the UGA student emergency support, which is assisting students facing significant financial hardships due to the COVID-19 crisis. Support was also raised to fund faculty-led research dedicated to developing and testing a vaccine for the coronavirus and other deadly diseases. And many donors chose to support their affiliated schools, colleges, and departments, helping them continue to deliver their important missions — from educating future leaders to serving Georgia’s small businesses.

Additionally, many alumni and friends are choosing to give their time and expertise by signing up for the UGA Mentor Program. These virtual mentorships will provide critical career and life advice to students and new graduates at an especially tumultuous time.

The #CallingAllDawgs campaign magnifies UGA’s ongoing efforts to combat COVID-19. Students, faculty, staff and alumni continue to make a difference in a myriad of ways — from tutoring young learners across the state to providing meals to food-insecure senior citizens.

To stay up-to-date on how Bulldogs everywhere are committing to helping others during this crisis, visit alumni.uga.edu/covid-19. Or to show your support, learn how you can answer the call by giving your time, money or energy to the cause.

Show your UGA spirit in your next virtual meeting

UGA Zoom Backgrounds

Let’s face it. Not all of us are blessed with swanky home offices that we are happy to show off on Zoom calls. However, with Zoom, you can swap your “home office” (wherever that may be) for a customized virtual background. For the UGA fan, we are proud to share some spirited options.

As a creative person, I have always downloaded fun background images to set as the desktop background on my computer. Now, to keep quarantine life from getting bland, I add some fun to meetings with virtual Zoom backgrounds.

Setting a virtual background is easy!

Most computers are compatible with Zoom backgrounds. If yours is, follow these steps to show your UGA spirit to your coworkers. *It may be easiest to start by selecting your favorite background image and saving it to your desktop to make it simple to find during this process.

  1. In Zoom, click your profile in the top right corner, then click Settings. *The icon for Settings is gray and looks like a gear.
  2. On the menu to the left, click Virtual Background. *The icon is turquoise and looks like a person on a computer monitor.
  3. Click the + icon next to where it says Choose Virtual Background. A box will pop up allowing you to upload a photo from your computer. Navigate to the one you’ve chosen, click on it, and it will appear alongside the other virtual background images in Zoom as an option for you to choose from. *Once you have saved the image, you can delete it from your desktop, since it is now stored in Zoom.

Participate in National Volunteer Week from home

It’s National Volunteer Week! No, this is not a reference to our friends living just northwest of the Georgia state line, but it is a great chance to stop and thank our passionate alumni volunteers, along with everyone who gives their time and talent to the University of Georgia. The engagement of the UGA’s 327,000 alumni and 38,000 graduates rely on the volunteer efforts of many loyal and dedicated individuals. Departments across campus also have awesome volunteers who help carry out important work for the university.

We’d like to highlight our own incredible DGD’s who support the Alumni Association in their communities:

Board members, including President Brian Dill (second from left) back in Athens for a home football game.

Alumni Board of Directors

These 40 graduates represent various class years and professional fields. They meet 3 times a year and attend many events hosted by our team. Board members share their leadership abilities, creative thinking, and access to their personal Bulldog networks to help engage UGA alumni. This group has been crucial to the successful launch of the UGA Mentor Program, taking on one, and sometimes two mentors each!

 

Members of the Black Alumni Leadership Council with Hairy Dawg during the 2020 Alumni Leadership Assembly in Athens.

Black Alumni Leadership Council

Over the last four years, these volunteers have spent countless hours building one of UGA’s most successful alumni giving campaigns: the 1961 Club. More importantly, though, this team has established a strong social media presence and an e-newsletter that keep constituents informed and connected to their alma mater. You also may have heard about our incredible annual Black Alumni Homecoming Tailgate that continues to grow. This is just one event that is completely run by our passionate volunteers from this council.

 

Women of UGA Leadership Council members alongside Luke Massee, our UGA Alumni Association staff members who serves as the liaison to this council.

Women of UGA Leadership Council

These volunteers engage our female graduates in the metro Atlanta area in making a difference and growing professionally. They host a signature event in Atlanta each fall that has garnered participation from some of our most beloved graduates: Cookies and Cocoa with Hairy Dawg. This annual holiday gathering completely run by Women of UGA volunteers and continues to grow each year. Women of UGA council members are passionate about making a difference for students and have created need-based scholarships to support students with financial need. Their semiannual Mentorship Mondays feature dynamic alumnae in an intimate classroom setting to share wisdom with fellow graduates.

 

Young Alumni Leadership Council members with special guest and UGA alumnus Chuck Bryant at an event hosted by the Young Alumni Council.

Young Alumni Council

This group of outstanding young leaders meets regularly to determine how to best engage graduates 40 and under in the Atlanta area, of which there are nearly 90,000. This group knows that young alumni are eager to get involved, and their efforts to produce events of all shapes and sizes to meet the social and networking needs of young graduates is commendable. From Trivia Nights, Young Alumni Night at Sweetwater, and Ponce City Market Rooftop Takeover, young alumni in their 20’s and 30’s are sure to find a way to remain connected to their alma mater.

 

Student Alumni Council members at an event the council hosted in Tate Plaza.

Student Alumni Council

There are 40 students volunteering hundreds of hours a year to teach UGA’s student body about UGA traditions, and how they can support their peers while also preparing for life as a UGA graduate. From Freshman Welcome to 1785 Day to the G Book App, these leaders meet weekly during the school year to strategize how they will engage the UGA student community. We are so thankful for all that they do—especially their commitment to serving as student ambassadors at many of our key events throughout the year.

 

Hundreds of alumni chapter leaders flock to Athens each year to attend our annual Alumni Leadership Assembly.

Alumni Chapter Leaders

These volunteers truly give their “all” to UGA! They organize and lead chapters across the world. Chapter leaders organized more than 900 events last year. They dedicate their Saturdays in the fall to welcoming the Bulldog faithful at game-watching parties, and they involve alumni in meaningful community service projects in their local communities. Chapters also raise much-needed scholarship funds for deserving students, plan elaborate social media campaigns, and make themselves available for guidance on city favorites and relocation to their fellow alumni.

 

Kim Metcalf is one of thousands of alumni who are mentoring students through the UGA Mentor Program.

UGA Mentors

This is one of the latest additions to UGA’s menu of alumni volunteer opportunities. More than 2,100 alumni have signed up in the system to mentor, resulting in more than 1,200 mentor-student relationships. We are thankful to these volunteers who take time to provide valuable career and life advice to students. There are countless other groups of alumni volunteers across campus, and we are thankful for every graduate who answers the call to get involved. How can you help? There is no better time than now.

 

As always, you can follow UGA and the Alumni Association on social media to stay informed of ways to volunteer and you can locate your local alumni chapter to meet fellow graduates and connect with them online. In the face of the current COVID-19 outbreak, we are making it easier than ever to give back without leaving your home–from simply sharing stories of alumni helping each other to making a gift to support student emergency funds or coronavirus research, there is something you can do to support our faculty and students.

And in the spirit of National Volunteer Week, we hope you’ll share stories and links to photos of you and your fellow graduates volunteering to support your local communities during this time. THANK YOU for everything that YOU are doing to help others – from your families to your communities.

The power of podcasts: inside the minds of UGA alumni and students

Find an escape from your daily routine with these podcasts created by some of the most influential minds (who just happened to attend UGA). Whether you are seeking inspiration, education or entertainment, there’s a reason podcasts are becoming a cultural staple: there’s something for everyone.

Society & Culture

Armchair Expert // Monica & Jess Love Boys
Monica & Jess Love Boys
Image: Monica & Jess Love Boys
Dax Shepard’s podcast, Armchair Expert, is co-created and produced by UGA alumna Monica Padman (AB ’09, AB ’09). It celebrates the “messiness of being human” and has been a popular listen since it premiered in 2018. In mid-February, Armchair Expert began a series called Monica & Jess Love Boys, which follows the dating life of Monica (in the straight community) and Jess (in the gay community). Although they date in different scenes, the pair encounters similar issues in individual and societal patterns.

Therapy for Black Girls
Therapy for Black Girls
Image: Stitcher
Therapy for Black Girls is a weekly chat about mental health, personal development and the decisions we make to become the best versions of ourselves. Host Joy Harden Bradford (PHD ’06) is a licensed psychologist who discusses mental health trends and tips.

The Bitter Southerner Podcast
The Bitter Southerner Podcast
Image: The Bitter Southerner
In each episode, Chuck Reese (ABJ ’94) paints a true picture of the South by exploring Southern culture and the South’s contributions to American life. The podcast tells the stories of people and organizations that don’t fit into Southern stereotypes.

The Melanin Mix
The Melanin Mix
Image: Apple Podcasts
The Melanin Mix is hosted by Amber Broughton (BSHP ’17) and Karly Smith (BBA ’17). Each Monday, they discuss a variety of topics, including adulthood, relationships, social media, beauty standards, and some of their craziest life experiences.

99% Invisible
99% Invisible
Image: Apple Podcasts
Have you ever wondered why there’s so little shade in Los Angeles? Or the origin of the fortune cookie? In 99% Invisible, Roman Mars (M ’96) delves into topics such as design and architecture that largely go unnoticed but have an impact on our world.

Stuff You Should Know
Stuff You Should Know
Image: Apple Podcasts
Co-hosts Chuck Bryant (AB ’95) and Josh Clark know a little about a lot of things. On this podcast, the two get to the bottom of odd questions.

Between The Lines
Between the Lines podcast
Image: Apple Podcasts
On Between the Lines, Lakeshia Poole (ABJ ’05) analyzes the latest reads, news stories, TV, and film.

Sports

The Steam Room
The Steam Room
Image: Apple Podcasts
Ernie Johnson (ABJ ’78) and former NBA great Charles Barkley host The Steam Room, a Turner Sports podcast covering new topics in the NBA as well as current events, pop culture and local news. Johnson is an iconic sports media personality best known as the host of Inside the NBA on TNT. Fun fact: Johnson delivered UGA’s 2017 commencement address.

The Game Changer
The Game Changer
Image: Apple Podcasts
The Game Changer with Rennie Curran (BBA ’17) shares the latest insights on leadership and personal development. Curran’s podcast tells listeners how to take their game to the next level in sports, business and life.

Illegal Motion
Illegal Motion
Image: Apple Podcasts
Illegal Motion is a college football podcast from the perspective of Corey Burton (AB ’06) and two other fellow fans. The trio discusses everything that surrounds the game they love.

33N83W
33N83W
Image: Apple Podcasts
33N83W was created by San Diego Alumni Chapter President Tara Shah (AB ’98) and is named for the coordinates of the UGA campus. The podcast features interviews with alumni, coaches and is perfect for the proud Bulldog fan.

Calling the Dawgs
Calling the Dawgs
Image: Apple Podcasts
Lifelong Georgia fan Patrick Chancy (PHARMD ’17) shares his commentary on UGA football on the podcast Calling the Dawgs.

The Hines Ward Show
The Hines Ward Show
Image: Stitcher
Super Bowl XL MVP and former UGA Bulldog Pittsburgh Steeler, Hines Ward (BSFCS ’98), teams up with Michael O’Neal to host The Hines Ward Show. The pair discusses what it’s like to be a professional athlete and living a celebrity life post-football career.

Punt + Pass
Punt + Pass
Image: Apple Podcasts
On Punt + Pass, former UGA football players Drew Butler (ABJ ’11, MS ’13) and Aaron Murray (BS ’12) break down college football match-ups across the SEC. The podcast brings the pair’s unique perspective and personal stories to the table to give college football fans all they need to know about college football. Each week, the podcast features a special guest.

News and Politics

20/20
20/20
Image: Apple Podcasts
ABC’s 20/20 features “interviews, hard-hitting investigative reports, exclusives, compelling features and medical mysteries.” Amy Robach (ABJ ’95) is the co-anchor of 20/20 and has conducted many headline interviews and reports across ABC News. She is well-known for her role on “Good Morning America.” Fun Fact: Robach delivered UGA’s 2015 commencement address.

Inside Edition
Inside Edition
Image: Apple Podcasts
Award-winning anchor Deborah Norville (ABJ ’79) is the host of  Inside Edition, the longest-running and top-rated daily news magazine audio podcast. Through Inside Edition, Norville exposes the truth with behind-the-scenes coverage of top national stories, human-interest stories, celebrity and pop culture features, exclusive interviews and hard-hitting investigations.

PeachPod
PeachPod
Image: Apple Podcasts
If you’re a Georgia politics junkie, then this is the podcast for you. UGA grads Kyle Hayes (BSED ’12, AB ’12) and Luke Boggs (AB ’15, AB ’15) along with Megan Payne host PeachPod, a Georgia-perspective political podcast that aims to inform people about the world around them. Hayes and Boggs have backgrounds in politics from their studies at UGA and experience in local Georgia politics.

Left Spin Right Spin
Left Spin Right Spin
Image: Left Spin Right Spin
If you’re searching for a way to understand today’s debate from both sides, then consider listening to Jonathan Wetherbee (AB ’12), who explores both sides of the news on Left Spin Right Spin. The podcast helps listeners grasp a more thoughtful understanding of the news.

Words Matter
Words Matter
Image: Apple Podcasts
Katie Barlow (ABJ ’11) is the host of Words Matter, a podcast that covers the changes in American politics and the importance of facts in today’s political arena. Along with co-host Joe Lockhart, Barlow explains recent events in historical context.

Business

Brown Ambition
Brown Ambition
Image: Apple Podcasts
Brown Ambition is a weekly podcast that discusses life, career, and building wealth. It is hosted by Tiffany Aliche and Mandi Woodruff (ABJ ’09), executive editor of MagnifyMoney.com and former personal finance reporter for Yahoo Finance.

The Journey with Blue
The Journey with Blue
Image: The Journey with Blue
On The Journey with Blue, Michelle Blue (BBA ’13) shares inspiring stories of entrepreneurs, including herself. The podcast shares the tools and resources to help grow a business and the importance of wellness as an entrepreneur.

What’s Your Story
What's Your Story
Image: Apple Podcasts
Master storyteller Sally Williamson (ABJ ’83), founder and president of Sally Williamson & Associates, shares stories of lsuccessful business leaders on her podcast, What’s Your Story. The podcast shows how storytelling can be used to motivate, position a brand, and make points that are repeatable and memorable. Fun fact: Williamson’s business has been on the Bulldog 100.

Minding My Black Business
Minding My Black Business
Image: Apple Podcasts
Started by JaNaè Taylor (Med ’03, PhD ’07), Minding My BLACK Business was created for black entrepreneurs and discusses the obstacles they experience on the road to self-employment. This professional and personal podcast creates a space for black entrepreneurs to turn to when they’re experiencing self-doubt, stress and worry. Fun fact: Taylor was a UGA 40 Under 40 honoree in 2018 and has been  featured in Georgia Magazine.

Food

The Alton Browncast
The Alton Browncast
Image: Apple Podcasts
Celebrity chef and TV personality Alton Brown (AB ‘04) hosts The Alton Browncast, which is known for its down-to-earth conversations with famous chefs, authors, scientists and makers.

Entertainment

Skytalkers
Skytalkers
Image: Apple Podcasts
Introducing the Star Wars podcast that you never “Chew” you needed: Skytalkers. Caitlin Plesher (AB ’15, AB ’15) is truly one with the Force. She and co-host Charlotte Errity discuss all things Star Wars on this bi-weekly podcat – from films and TV shows to novels and character analysis.

Bubbly Sesh
The Bubbly Sesh
Image: Apple Podcasts
The Bubbly Sesh is the official Hallmark Channel podcast and is hosted by Jacklyn Collier and Shawlini Manjunath-Holbrook (ABJ ’05). The podcast breaks down Hallmark movies and explores relationships and movie-making.

The Crossover
The Crossover
Image: Apple Podcasts
Chris Brame (ABJ ’98) co-hosts The Crossover, which touches on just about everything in Athens: local and national news, sports, pop culture and more.

Hear-Tell
Hear-Tell podcast
Image: Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication
Hear-Tell is a narrative nonfiction podcast that features writing from UGA students, alumni, faculty and lecturers in Grady’s Low-Residency MFA in Narrative Nonfiction program. André Gallant (MFA ’17) is the host, producer and a graduate of the program.

The Paste Podcast
Paste Podcast
Image: Apple Podcasts
On the Paste Podcast, Josh Jackson (ABJ ’94) and Allison Keene cover movies, TV, music, comedy, games, books, comics, drinks and politics. The podcast features interviews with artists and exclusive live musical performances.

Comedy

FOGO: Fear of Going Outside
FOGO: Fear of Going Outside
Image: FOGO: Fear of Going Outside
FOGO: Fear of Going Outside is a nature show hosted by Ivy Le (AB ’05). She seeks answers to questions about nature through her personal and humorous adventures.

Law

The Great Trials Podcast
Great Trials Podcast
Image: Apple Podcasts
Great Trials Podcast takes listeners behind the scenes of America’s greatest trials with acclaimed trial lawyers Yvonne Godrey (JD ’11) and Steve Lowry. The podcast is a series of laid-back conversations including interviews with top trial lawyers.

Lifestyle

Gals on the Go
Gals on the Go
Image: Apple Podcasts
What’s it like to be a full-time college student and an influencer? Third-year UGA student Danielle Carolan and recent graduate Brooke Miccio (BBA ’19) will give you the inside scoop on Gals on the Go. Carolan has 258,000 Instagram followers and 506,000 subscribers on YouTube. Miccio has 87,000 Instagram followers and 211,000 YouTube subscribers. Their lifestyle podcast covers everything from productivity tips to travel stories.

Unladylike
Unladylike
Image: Apple Podcasts
Join Cristen Conger (ABJ ’06) and Caroline Ervin (ABJ ’06) on Unladylike, a podcast about all things gender-related. These two are paving a path to help women better understand their identities and face the underlying injustices women face.

Grown Ass Dating
Grown Ass Dating Podcast
Image: Apple Podcasts
Rendi Moore (BSW ’05, MSW ’07) and LeShaundra Cordier (BS ’04, MPH ’07) are two complicated, single women who share their truths about dating over 30 on Grown Ass Dating. The two help listeners overcome obstacles, avoid dating pitfalls and find dating inspiration and guidance.

That Sounds Fun
That Sounds Fun
Image: Annie F. Downs
Released on Mondays and Thursdays, That Sounds Fun features discussions about Annie Downs’ (BSED ’02) favorite things, favorite people and anything coming under the umbrella of “that sounds fun.” Downs is a best-selling author and nationally known speaker.

UGA activity pages for the Bulldog family

Connect the dots. Find the words. Color in the lines. Escape the maze.

We know that every minute of distraction can be a blessing to a parent trying to get work done – and that every minute of entertainment for those passing the time alone is a welcome escape. Here are five activity pages for Bulldog fans of all ages as we shelter in place.

Looking for more fun?

Outside the lines: a UGA coloring page for quarantine

Coloring pages serve a multitude of purposes for all ages: a method of distraction and entertainment, a form of relaxation, an outlet for creativity, and/or a way to block out distractions and focus. We’re proud to share a UGA coloring page below that was designed by one of our interns, alongside a special message for her classmates as they transition from student to alumni during these uncertain times.

UGA coloring page PDF

Designed by Courtney Rutledge ’21

 

To my fellow Dawgs:
As a graduating senior at UGA, I’ve been met with an end to my extraordinary college experience much sooner than ever expected. While mourning the losses of all the ‘lasts’ and ‘could-have-beens,’ I’ve been learning to be still and be hopeful during this unprecedented and surprisingly slow season. While I dreamed of extravagant post-grad plans that included trips across the country, narrowing down a full-time job, and moving to a new city, I’ve realized what a blessing it is to have time to slow down. To reflect. To reignite my passions and discover new ones. To be appreciative of the little things. To connect and love better than ever before–6 feet apart, of course. To take the pressure off of ourselves for once. And while we adjust to our “new normals,” I’m hopeful and fully expect that we will emerge from this chapter more ready than ever for the next. I hope you are too.
-Courtney Rutledge
Graphic Design Major, Class of 2020
*Read a Q&A in the Red & Black with Courtney

 

Other coloring pages you should try next:

COVID-19 Illustration by UGA grads

Dawgs design CDC’s COVID-19 graphic

For Dan Higgins (BFA ’93) and Alissa Eckert (BFA ’04), their days sheltering in place aren’t that different than those of their friends and neighbors in Atlanta or for their fellow Dawgs throughout the Bulldog Nation. They are balancing teleworking with homeschooling children and calming older relatives they can no longer visit. For Dan, that means creating a ballet studio where the sofa once sat. For Alissa, it means becoming a kindergarten and third grade teacher. What does set them apart is that they also make time for interviews with The New York Times. That’s because this dynamic duo created the ominous image of the COVID-19 virus that appears on nearly every news broadcast, in countless publications, internet outlets and splashed across social media feeds.

You see, in addition to being University of Georgia Franklin College of Arts and Sciences Lamar Dodd School of Art alumni, Dan and Alissa are medical illustrators with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta. Alissa remembers receiving a phone call on a Tuesday in January. A new virus that originated in China was spreading rapidly and the public needed to understand the gravity of the situation. An arresting visual would give the virus a face, making tangible something people can’t see with the naked eye. Dan and Alissa worked together to research and pose questions to the subject matter experts in the lab at the CDC. Armed with that information, Dan jumped on the World Protein Data Bank and downloaded images of each of the three main proteins that make up the virus. Pulling those files into a data visualization tool, he was able to export them as three-dimensional (3D) images.

S Protein Process

Process of turning the S protein from the World Protein Data Bank into a 3D image. (Alissa Eckert, Dan Higgins/CDC)

It was Alissa who combined those pieces together to begin to form the image that is so familiar today. With input from CDC scientists, they identified how many of each protein to show, how the spatial distancing should appear and where the lighting should come from in order to establish the proper depths. Dan and Alissa muted the colors to convey the seriousness of the situation. They were careful not to make the virus look playful.

As Alissa explains, “We didn’t want it to look like a toy.”

They created a high contrast image with strong details and textures, elements that bring the virus to life and make it seem real and touchable. After an intense seven straight days of work, the pair finalized the now-famous image for approvals on the following Monday morning.

COVID-19 Illustration by UGA grads

“Beauty Shot” of the novel coronavirus, aka COVID-19 (Alissa Eckert, Dan Higgins/CDC)

Since then, they have animated the virus image, creating a version that rotates in hopes of giving it more life. They have also lent their talents to symptom illustrations and the creation of graphics for social media to further help the public understand the virus and its impact. [Two PDF fliers – Prevention & Symptoms] During an outbreak, it’s an all-hands-on-deck situation that finds Dan and Alissa alternating with others on their team to be on call for evening and weekends.

The Dawg Squad

Speaking of their team, it’s a group of eight members (six medical illustrators and two non-medical illustrators), five of whom are UGA alumni. Alissa explains that the world of medical illustration is a small one. A master’s degree in medical illustration is only offered by three accredited medical universities in the United States, and one in Canada. The path for many begins with the University of Georgia, specifically in the Lamar Dodd School of Art.

The CDC Dawg Squad

The CDC Dawg Squad of scientific/medical visualization experts – Front row: Stephanie Pfeiffer Rossow (BSA ’13), Alissa Hogan Eckert (BFA ’04), Jennifer Hulsey Oosthuizen (BFA ’05); Back Row: Dan Higgins (BFA ’93), Meredith Boyter Newlove (BFA ’04) (photo provided by Dan Higgins)

The UGA Connection

When Dan and Alissa attended the University of Georgia, the art school was in the mid-century modern building that now houses the College of Environment + Design on North Campus. (The art school’s main building is now located on East Campus.) Although they graduated more than a decade apart, they both reminiscence about late nights in the studio and walking through North Campus to go downtown to the art store.

Dan always had a passion for art and science. He took many undergraduate sciences courses and majored in graphic design through the art school, which wasn’t named for Lamar Dodd until 1996. He said his graphic design coursework prepared him for his role at the CDC because of its emphasis on layout and design to tell a story. His advice for students who wish to pursue a career like his? Pair graphic design courses with medical illustration to better understand the importance of establishing a hierarchy to the flow of information and learn how to lead the eye to help convey a story. He mentions Alex Murawski as a UGA professor who had a positive impact on him. After UGA, Dan enrolled at the University of Illinois in Chicago to pursue a Master in Biomedical Visualization. There, he took art classes, of course, but also courses like Gross Anatomy and Physiology alongside medical students.

Dan Higgins UGA CDC

Dan with his parents at the UGA Art School’s Graphic Design Show his senior year in 1993. (photo provided by Dan Higgins)

Alissa majored in scientific illustration at UGA. She cites professor Gene Wright as a major influence in her time at Lamar Dodd. She credits the program with preparing her for graduate school and her eventual career at the CDC by emphasizing professionalism, presentation skills and directed studies that required hands-on work. She began at the CDC in 2006, right after completing her master’s degree in medical illustration from Medical College of Georgia. Her advice for anyone who wants to follow in her path? Get a background in both traditional and digital arts and become adept in two- and three-dimensional animation.

Alissa Eckert UGA CDC

Alissa hanging with Hairy Dawg in Athens (photo provided by Alissa Eckert)

Dan and Alissa have worked together for 14 years. They sit across from one another at the CDC and collaborate on many projects, although it is rare that their images are turned around as fast as the COVID-19 one—or garner as much international attention.

In an email exchange, Lamar Dodd’s Kate Arnold conveyed to Alissa that the iconic image is now burned into her consciousness. She says she pictures it when deciding whether to touch something in the grocery store. Alissa loved hearing that. “That’s a perfect example of why we do this,” she says.

Asked if there was one message they would like to get out to the Bulldog Nation, Alissa said, “Hunker Down. Wait it out.” Dan adds, “Staying home is the most important thing.”

COVID-19 Insights

The Goal is Education
Helping people visualize the virus isn’t so much about accurately representing what it would look like under a microscope, but more about conveying why it is dangerous.

The virus can’t reproduce on its own. The virus hijacks healthy host cells, and it is these pirated cells that reproduce the virus. The image is intended to visually explain how that occurs.

Spike or S proteins – these are the spikey red protrusions in the image. These clumps of proteins attach the virus onto the host cell. It is these spikes that create the halo, or corona, around the virus. Alissa and Dan decided to highlight the S protein with the red color and plentiful number in the image because the barbs best communicate how the virus latches onto a healthy cell.

Envelope or E Proteins – these are the yellow specks in the image. They represent the smallest of the three main proteins that make up the virus. It is these proteins that channel through the membrane to gain access into the healthy cell.

Membrane or M Proteins – these are the orange crumbs in the image. They are the most abundant of the three proteins, they give form to the virus. This protein fuses with the membrane of the healthy cell.

Body – the gray surface in the image. This represents the envelope that surrounds the nucleus of the virus. Dan and Alissa decided to create a shadowy, highly textured surface that almost invites touch. Implying a tactile experience helps an abstract concept seem more concrete.

The most important thing to know about the virus is that it cannot spread on its own. People spread it.

Visit the CDC website to learn more. Discover more about UGA’s role in battling COVID-19, and visit UGA’s COVID-19 Information and Resources page to access a wealth of information gathered in one place.

What to watch: UGA quarantine edition

During times of uncertainty, we know one thing for sure: Dawgs always come out on top. We’ve compiled a list of 10 binge-worthy TV and movie options that feature some of our very own UGA grads to help you adjust to this ‘new normal.’

1. Power

Power

 

Image: IMDb

Power is an American crime drama television series starring former UGA football defensive back, Omari Hardwick (AB ’96). Hardwick plays James St. Patrick, a wealthy New York night club owner who lives a double life as a ruthless drug-dealer under the street name “Ghost.”

2. Batman

Batman

 

Image: IMDb

Kim Basinger (M ’75) plays Vicki Vale, a photojournalist and Batman’s love interest, in this 1989 superhero film. This was a breakout role for the actress. Did you know? Basinger donated to the UGA men’s tennis team to help the Dan Magill Tennis Complex get its lights in 1991.

3. The Walking Dead

Walking Dead

 

Image: IMDb

Don’t miss former UGA football player Hines Ward (BSFCS ’98) on The Walking Dead as a rotting zombie in the episode “The Suicide King.” After graduating from UGA, Ward went on to play for the Pittsburgh Steelers and later became a “Dancing with the Stars” champ.

4. Squidbillies

Squidbillies

 

Image: Wikipedia

Squibillies is an adult animated television series on Cartoon Network’s late-night programming block, Adult Swim. Before completing the degree he started in the early 1970s, Bobby Ellerbee (AB ’16) became the voice of the sheriff on Squidbillies and led a successful 40+ year career on many radio and broadcast shows.

5. Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

 

Image: IMDb

Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil tells the tale of Savannah’s eccentricities and the murder trial of a local millionaire. Frank “Sonny” Seiler (BBA ’56, JD ’57) was Jim Williams’ attorney in three of his final four trials (in real life). In the movie, based on a best-selling novel by John Berendt, Seiler was cast as the judge during the trial. But that’s not Seiler’s only claim to fame: he and his family have been raising UGA’s beloved bulldogs for decades.

6. Seinfeld

Seinfeld

 

Image: IMDb

Wayne Knight (AB ’72) plays Newman, the antagonist on the sitcom Seinfeld. Newman is a recurring character that never gets along with stand-up comedian Jerry Seinfeld. The show highlights the humor in life’s mundane situations. Also catch Knight in Jurassic Park, playing the fumbling Dennis Nedry.

7. Friday Night Lights

Friday Night Lights

 

Image: Hulu

Friday Night Lights is set in a small Texas town and follows the life of a high school football coach, his family and the players. The head football coach, Eric Taylor, is played by Kyle Chandler (M ’88). Chandler is also known for his role in the Netflix drama series Bloodline.

8. Friends

Friends

 

Image: IMDb

Friends is a classic top-rated television program in the U.S. that many know and love. The show follows the lives of six twenty-somethings living in Manhattan. James Michael Taylor (MFA ’89) plays the recurring role of Gunther, a coffee shop worker in love with lead character Rachel Green.

9. QB1: Beyond the Lights

QB1: Beyond the Lights

 

Image: IMDb

QB1: Beyond the Lights stars former UGA quarterback Jake Fromm (M ’21). The series follows the lives of three high school quarterbacks in their season before they begin playing in Division I college football.

10. Iron Chef America

Iron Chef America

 

Image: TV Guide

This show is hosted by Alton Brown (AB ’04) and showcases chefs from around the world in one-hour culinary battles against “Iron Chefs.” Brown also hosts Good Eats, in which he shares the new cooking techniques behind his latest creations.