Alumni Association events and other events involving UGA

A good mentor is simple to find

The UGA Mentor Program offers connection and inspiration to participants in a variety of professional fields, including those who serve or plan to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces. 

The ease of finding a mentor with his exact dream job was the first among many pleasant surprises for Cadet Chase Martel ’25 when he first began to use the Mentor Program’s online platform. An ambitious undergraduate in the Terry College of Business, Chase’s expectations were exceeded soon after he first engaged with the program. His professional goal is to become a Judge Advocate General in the United States Air Force, and he thought the likelihood of finding a UGA alum in that career who was also a mentor was low. Enter: a “major” surprise. 

“It’s been really impactful to have someone who is working my dream job to offer his perspective and experience by looking back to when he was in my shoes,” Chase describes. “It’s sort of like looking at myself years down the road.” 

Major Kevin Mitchell (AB ’05) joined the Mentor Program thinking that if today’s students were anything like he was, a little extra guidance would be helpful as they navigate college and the job market. When Major Mitchell was a first-generation rural student, there were many times that he had a network of people to help him navigate his career path. In the spirit of a true Bulldog, Major Mitchell decided then to pay it forward to the next generation by serving as a UGA mentor.  

The mentor-mentee pair mainly meets through Zoom calls and emails given Major Mitchell’s station in Hawaii, but they were able to meet face-to-face when Major Mitchell returned to Athens as one of the UGA Alumni Association’s 40 Under 40 honorees in 2023. The duo met up for coffee and a walk around campus. From Candler Hall, where Major Mitchell studied as a student, to Sanford Stadium, where Chase remembered his experience watching the 2022 College Football Playoff National Championship his freshman year, the pair discussed their respective memories at UGA. Despite being decades apart in age and experience, the two had similar college experiences.  

Cadet Martel and Major Mitchell used virtual meetings to overcome time and distance.

A benefit for both 

Chase is not the only one who benefited from participation in the mentor program; Major Mitchell did, too.  

“Not only does it allow you to provide advice to someone who is passionate about what you do, but it also allows you the space to reflect on the aspects of your job that really fulfill you,” Major Mitchell says.  

That reflection is invaluable to professionals who may not initially think they have anything to offer the next generation. “It’s inspiring for me to see someone Chase’s age be so excited and thoughtful about the future,” Major Mitchell describes. “It’s a comforting thought to have Chase as an example of how the next generation will navigate the world.” 

“It’s almost like recharging your batteries,” he continues. “It’s energizing to know that what you do matters to people and that the future is in good hands because of it.” 

It should come as no surprise then that the two encourage both potential mentors and mentees to try the program for themselves. Even if a potential mentee has a less-than-clear idea of their dream job, the Mentor Program can help mentees receive a practical perspective that may be difficult to access in a classroom. As for potential mentors, it can provide an inspiring and energizing opportunity for reflection.  

“I couldn’t ask for a better college or post-grad experience than the one I’ve had with UGA,” Major Mitchell says. “Not just with a successful football team and all the joy that entails, but participating in this program and meeting Chase has been a really meaningful way to stay engaged with the university.” 

Whether it’s being a part of Bulldog Nation, or being a part of a greater collective in the armed forces, Major Mitchell and Chase’s experience in UGA’s Mentor Program highlights the importance of connecting with fellow Bulldogs who share your passions and values.

Happy 239th birthday, UGA!

How do you celebrate 239 successful years as the country’s first public institution of higher education? With a 239th birthday party, of course!  

More than 1,150 students celebrated the University of Georgia’s 239th birthday in style during this year’s Founders Day event held in the Tate Student Center on January 26. The event, which was organized by the Student Alumni Council with generous support from the Office of the President, brought together 11 of the university’s 18 schools and colleges to celebrate UGA’s academic excellence and the incredible campus we call home. 

Student attendees received a “passport” for the event and earned stamps for completing activities organized by those schools and colleges in attendance. Those who filled their passport received a special Founders Day memento.

Attendees also had the opportunity to take home other UGA swag, write thank you notes to UGA faculty and staff, take photos with Hairy Dawg, and enjoy UGA-themed birthday treats.

View photos from the event — and see if you spot yourself!

Three Alumnae and a Dawg

This story was written by Rosalyn Dunn.

When Molly Dunn (BS ’23) signed up for UGA’s Mentor Program, she figured it would be a good way to find out more about careers in her major and a get a head start on making professional contacts.

Looking through the lists of potential mentors, she felt drawn to Tonya Freeman (AB ’86). And it became clear from the first phone call that the choice was a good one.

“I have mentored for over 30 years—all age groups from elementary school to college to peers and friends and family,” Tonya said. She started as a mentor at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, partnering with Tilson Elementary School—which she attended—and went on to develop formal and informal programs for CDC employees. It only seemed natural to get involved with the UGA Mentor Program, where she has mentored multiple young women at UGA who are studying Statistics.

“These young ladies are breaking the glass ceiling in the field and have made their impact known,” she said. “It is the best feeling of giving back.”

For many UGA Mentorship pairs, the program lasts about 4 months. Tonya, however, told Molly that if she wanted to continue working together, they could.

And they did, meeting faithfully over Zoom calls once a month, even on vacation. They scheduled in-person meetings when possible, including an afternoon in Athens when Tonya brought her daughter, Tai, for a tour of UGA. Tonya also helped Molly make connections with the CDC’s surveillance unit for a summer internship.

“There is so much that’s uncertain, so many directions to go and a little fear about what’s coming after school,” Molly said. “Seeing someone as vibrant and confident as Tonya in a competitive field—especially as a woman in STEM—who went through the same program I did and is now leading a happy and successful life was inspiring and encouraging.”

That success is exactly what both the UGA Mentor Program and Tonya seek to achieve.

“In mentoring, I aim to celebrate, connect, educate, and support my mentees,” Tonya said. “It is so rewarding to see others excel.”

Molly’s senior year at UGA paralleled Tonya’s daughter Tai’s senior year of high school and brought about an ironic twist to the mentoring relationship.

“I finally got the chance to do something in return,” said Molly’s mother, Rosalyn Dunn (ABJ ’92), first by giving Tai some writing advice on her application essays, and later, after the fireworks email erupted in Tai’s inbox and announced her acceptance, by helping Tonya navigate tuition payments and sources for campus information.

“I also checked in to see how she was holding up, because it wasn’t that long ago that I knew the feeling of missing a daughter at home and worrying about how she was doing at school,” Rosalyn said.

The mentoring relationship also expanded to the younger generation, with Molly advising Tai on housing choices, dorm essentials and campus navigation tips.

In June, “three alumnae and a Dawg” met at The Battery in Atlanta to share a meal and celebrate Tai’s UGA acceptance and Molly’s graduation. A couple of months later, Tonya and Rosalyn met for a Braves game at Truist Park, where they texted their girls and reveled in an unexpected benefit to the UGA Mentor Program.

“It’s been an amazing relationship turned friendship,” Tonya said. “We are looking forward to more great times.”


University of Georgia reveals 2024 Bulldog 100 businesses

The UGA Alumni Association has released the 2024 Bulldog 100, a list of the 100 fastest-growing businesses owned or led by UGA graduates.  

This year, businesses are headquartered in a total of 7 states, with 89 of the businesses located in the state of Georgia. In total, 139 alumni representing over a dozen industries, including health care, financial services, agriculture and real estate are being recognized as a part of this year’s list.  

This year’s fastest-growing businesses, in alphabetical order, include:  

  • A Signature Welcome, Raleigh, NC 
  • Abound Wealth Management, LLC, Franklin, TN 
  • Agora Vintage, Athens, GA 
  • Alexander & Alexander Attorneys at Law, Barnwell, SC 
  • Altera Investments, Atlanta, GA 
  • Art of Floors, Cartersville, GA 
  • ASW Distillery, Atlanta, GA 
  • Atkinson Ferguson, LLC, Monroe, GA 
  • Ben Stout Construction, Fayetteville, NC 
  • BIOLYTE, Marietta, GA 
  • Biren Patel Engineering, Macon, GA 
  • Bitcoin Depot, Atlanta, GA 
  • Bitstream, Dawsonville, GA 
  • BlueBear Solutions, Inc., Atlanta, GA 
  • Builders Specialty Contractors, Boynton Beach, FL 
  • Capital Real Estate Group, Atlanta, GA 
  • Castleberry Veterinary Hospital, Cumming, GA 
  • Chad Weesner Insurance Agency, Vienna, GA 
  • Clark Drug Company, Waynesboro, GA 
  • Classic City Consulting, Snellville, GA 
  • Codesmith Development, Hurricane, UT 
  • Complexion, Nashville, TN 
  • Comprehensive Behavior Change, LLC, Duluth, GA 
  • Consume Media, Norcross, GA 
  • Corps Team, Marietta, GA 
  • Culinary Solution Centers, LLC, Zebulon, GA 
  • Dental Claim Support, Savannah, GA 
  • Detritus, LLC, Savannah, GA 
  • Dovetail Civil Design, Inc., Watkinsville, GA 
  • Eagle Christian Tours, Rome, GA 
  • Ellsworth Cleaning & Facility Services, Atlanta, GA 
  • enewton design, Atlanta, GA 
  • Erica Davis Lowcountry, Savannah, GA 
  • Express Vets, Jasper, GA  
  • FI Navigator Corporation, Atlanta, GA 
  • Freight Control, Inc., St. Simons Island, GA 
  • From Sir With Love, Marietta, GA 
  • Gibson, Johnson & Company Inc., Atlanta, GA 
  • Glass & Robson, LLC, Atlanta, GA 
  • Good Dog Veterinary Care, Marietta, GA 
  • Greater Athens Properties, Athens, GA 
  • Healthcare IT Leaders, Alpharetta, GA 
  • i9 Sports of North & Central Gwinnett County, Suwanee, GA 
  • Imperial Fence Supply, East Point, GA 
  • Ryan Brown Law, LLC, Newnan, GA
  • Jetset World Travel, Atlanta, GA 
  • Johnson & Alday, LLC, Marietta, GA 
  • KBH Industrial, Smyrna, GA 
  • Kempt, Athens, GA 
  • Kevin Patrick Law, Atlanta, GA 
  • King’s Hometown Pharmacy, Blairsville, GA 
  • KRG Fuel + Energy, Roswell, GA 
  • Lake City Chiropractic, Acworth, GA  
  • Lake Pine Animal Hospital, Apex, NC 
  • Lighting Pros, Jefferson, GA 
  • Macallan Real Estate, LLC, Marietta, GA 
  • Manly Shipley, LLP, Savannah, GA 
  • Marketwake, Atlanta, GA  
  • Mark Spain Real Estate, Alpharetta, GA 
  • Marlow Landscape Services, Cumming, GA 
  • Miller, Dawson, Sigal & Ward, LLC, North Charleston, SC 
  • Moore Civil Consulting, Inc., Perry, GA 
  • Morris Hardwood Distribution, Savannah, GA 
  • Neighborly Software, Atlanta, GA 
  • North Forsyth Animal Hospital, Cumming, GA 
  • Parker Executive Search, Atlanta, GA 
  • Pathwise CPA Group, Watkinsville, GA 
  • Pig Apple, Brooklyn, NY 
  • Pittman & Greer Engineering, Watkinsville, GA 
  • Powell Dentistry Group – The Georgia Smile Group, St. Simons Island, GA 
  • Prime Time Pediatrics, Watkinsville, GA 
  • Puppy Haven, Sandy Springs, GA 
  • Roam, Roswell, GA 
  • Roberts Civil Engineering, LLC, St. Simons Island, GA 
  • Ryals Brothers, LLC, Lula, GA 
  • Samet, Greensboro, NC 
  • Sapelo Skin Care, Savannah, GA 
  • Savannah Drywall Supply, Inc., Pooler, GA 
  • Scott Construction, LLC, Macon, GA 
  • Share the Magic Foundation, Atlanta, GA 
  • Shore Coaching Services, Athens, GA 
  • Siegel Construction & Design, LLC, Atlanta, GA 
  • SimplyTRUE Automotive Group, Norcross, GA 
  • Society 54, LLC, Charlotte, NC 
  • Southern Luxury Homes, Greensboro, GA 
  • Southern Reins Logistics, LLC, Alpharetta, GA 
  • Spark A Revolution, Roswell, GA 
  • SPG Planners + Engineers, Watkinsville, GA 
  • Stable Kernel, Atlanta, GA 
  • SynerGrx, Chamblee, GA
  • Telecom Innovations, LLC, Athens, GA 
  • teXga Farms, Clarkesville, GA 
  • The Baer Law Firm, Atlanta, GA 
  • The Grant Partners, Alpharetta, GA 
  • The Live Oak Agency, St. Simons Island, GA 
  • The Taco Stache, Pooler, GA 
  • Three Tree Coffee Roasters, Statesboro, GA 
  • Tier4 Group, Alpharetta, GA 
  • Whitemire Animal Hospital, Dawsonville, GA 
  • Yonder Yoga, Atlanta, GA 

Each year, Bulldog 100 applicants are measured by their business’ compounded annual growth rate during a three-year period. The Atlanta office of Warren Averett CPAs and Advisors, a Bulldog 100 partner since the program began in 2009, verified the information submitted by each company.

“We are proud to recognize our incredible alumni who are leaders and innovators in their industries,” said Lee Zell, president of the UGA Alumni Association. “These individuals embody the best of what UGA stands for and represent the value of a degree from our university. We’re excited to celebrate them and the work they are doing to build better communities.”

The university will host the annual Bulldog 100 Celebration in Athens Feb. 9, 2024, to celebrate these alumni business leaders and count down the ranked list to reveal the No. 1 fastest-growing business.

To view the alumni business leaders for each company and learn more about this program, see

Celebrating a legacy of giving

This year’s Heritage Society Tailgate (on November 4 prior to the UGA vs. Missouri game) was a tremendous success. It is always a great time when our members gather for food, drink and game day fun. Check out the photo gallery from this year’s festivities. As always, it’s great to be a Georgia Bulldog! 

Want to attend next year and celebrate your commitment to UGA? All it takes is becoming a member of the Heritage Society. Learn how you can help ensure UGA’s future, make a positive impact, cement your legacy and maybe even enjoy tax benefits. It’s easier than you might think! Contact the Office of Gift and Estate Planning for more information about joining the Heritage Society. As you can see from the photos, they’re a fun bunch. 


Nervous about the UGA Mentor Program? Just go for it!

Micayla Moffit ’24 and Cathy Fish (BSA ’93, DVM ’96) have a lot in common. They both love going to UGA football games. They’re both current or aspiring veterinarians. And they were both a little nervous about getting started in the UGA Mentor Program. 

Cathy was concerned that she may not have knowledge that would fit her mentee’s needs. Before meeting Cathy, Micayla was uneasy about how she would relate to a mentor older than her. 

“I don’t know how to talk to anyone like an adult!” Micayla joked. 

About the Program

The UGA Mentor Program is a digital platform which allows students to form mentoring relationships with UGA faculty, staff, and alumni, regardless of geographic location, who can help make their future a little clearer. Mentees also have the option to schedule 15-to-30-minute one-time conversations with mentors, called Quick Chats. 

Students and mentors create online profiles with their backgrounds, career interests and mentorship goals. The system offers potential matches or students can search for a mentor on their own before making plans to meet virtually or in person, depending on their schedule. Formal mentorships last for 16 weeks, and students can start one at any time through the program website. 

A Perfect Fit

Cathy’s mentoring relationship with Micayla was a perfect fit. The two hit it off from the start of their first lunch meeting, despite Micayla’s nerves. 

“Meeting someone for the first time, I always get butterflies in my stomach,” Micayla said. “What are we going to talk about?” 

Micayla was reassured by the numerous resources available on the Mentor Program website to help prepare her for their initial conversation. Because she knew why she had sought out a mentor and what she was hoping to learn, it was easy for her to focus their conversation on helpful topics. 

“The conversation just flowed really well,” Micayla said. “I was really comfortable.” 

Micayla joined the program because a student organization she was in had encouraged her to apply and find a mentor. Cathy had heard about the program through her service on the UGA Alumni Association Board of Directors and thought it might be a good opportunity to give back to students. 

Building a Meaningful Relationship

Over the course of their mentor relationship, Micayla and Cathy have gotten to know one another not just professionally, but personally. They talk about their personal lives and know one another outside of their career goals. 

“We can go to lunch and not talk about anything related to vet school or my major,” Micayla said. “We talk about football all the time.” 

Micayla, a member of the Redcoat Band, is a huge UGA football fan. When Cathy came back to Athens for a football game last fall, Micayla even arranged for the two to meet so Cathy could see her in her uniform. 

Micayla was pleasantly surprised by how she was able to build such a meaningful relationship with her mentor. If you’re nervous about reaching out, too, she has one piece of advice: “Just go for it. You’ll never know what that relationship could lead to if you don’t actually just go for it.”


Hear from your peers how rewarding it is to serve as a UGA Mentor

Why now? 

Students will be back soon and looking to connect with experienced Bulldogs like you. In the video above, you’ll hear why your fellow alumni find mentoring so rewarding they don’t want you to miss out. 

Connect anywhere and on your schedule. Getting started is easy. 

  • Create a profile at 
  • Accept a student request for mentorship.

What’s the commitment? 

  • 1-2 hours per month for four months (16 weeks).
  • Share knowledge, experiences and feedback (and, sometimes, just listen).

Quick Chats require even less of a time commitment. 

If a 16-week mentorship doesn’t suit your schedule, consider making yourself available for 15-to-30-minute Quick Chats with students instead. 

Help a student realize their potential. 

I feel that the UGA Mentor Program has allowed me to grow beyond being a student and I will be leaving here with more than just a degree.UGA Student

It may surprise you how much YOU get out of giving back in this way! 

On the fence? Want to learn more? 

To help new and potential mentors, the UGA Mentor Program is hosting a webinar, UGA Mentor Program 101, on Aug. 2 at 3:30 p.m. EDT. You will hear from successful mentor/mentee pairings, learn best practices for forming a strong connection, understand all the ways the program supports mentors, and discover tips to become an effective mentor. 

Alumni among new UGA Foundation leadership, members

Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia Foundation Board of Trustees approved changes in leadership and board positions during its annual June meeting in Greensboro, Georgia. These individuals’ terms began July 1. 

The board voted unanimously to elect Allison C. Ausband as chair for a two-year term running through June 30, 2025. She succeeds Neal J. Quirk Sr., whose term concluded June 30. The board also elected trustees E. Howard Young as executive vice-chair, Bonney S. Shuman as secretary, and James G. Cochran Jr. (Guyton) as treasurer. 

The UGA Foundation elected three new trustees who will join current members to comprise a 46-member board. Those individuals include Yvette K. Daniels, Edward R. Castro and Mark L. Jennings. 

The board also accorded emeritus status to six trustees: Eleanor F. Banister, Mark B. Chandler Sr., Jennifer D. Flanagan, Ted McMullan, John H. Crawford IV and Barry L. Storey. 

Two advisory trustees, Mark A. Kauffman and R. Scott Kingsfield, were elected to assist foundation committees in defining and achieving their strategic goals. 

Individuals with new positions or status in relation to the UGA Foundation are: 


  • Allison C. Ausband, of McDonough, chair, is the executive vice president and chief customer experience officer for Delta Air Lines. She previously served as vice-chair, chair of the foundation’s Nominating and Trusteeship Committee, and strategic vice-chair. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from UGA in 1983. 
  • E. Howard Young, of Atlanta, vice-chair, is president of General Wholesale Beer Company. He previously served as chair of the Student Scholarships and University Initiatives Committee, and strategic vice-chair, which oversaw the Development Committee, Student Scholarships and University Initiatives Committee, and Special Projects. He earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing from UGA in 1982. 
  • Bonney S. Shuman, of St. Simons Island, secretary, co-founded Stratix Corporation in 1983 and served as president and then CEO. She previously held the treasurer position, chaired the Finance Committee and, from 2017 to 2019, she was the UGA Alumni Association president. She earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from UGA in 1980. 
  • James G. Cochran Jr. (Guyton), of Carrollton, treasurer, is executive vice president and chief financial officer for Southwire Company, LLC. He earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from UGA in 1988. 

Elected Trustees

  • Yvette K. Daniels, of Stone Mountain, is the deputy director of workforce management for the Georgia Department of Public Health. Daniels is the immediate past president of the UGA Alumni Association. She earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from UGA in 1986 and a law degree from UGA in 1989. 
  • Edward R. Castro, of Atlanta, is the president of Ed Castro Landscaping in Roswell. He earned a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture from UGA in 1988. 
  • Mark L. Jennings, of Watkinsville, is the owner of Athens Construction Group, LLC. 

Advisory Trustees

  • Mark A. Kauffman, of Atlanta, is the retired former owner and president of Kauffman Tire, Inc., and Treadmaxx Tire Distributors, Inc. He earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from UGA in 1984. 
  • R. Scott Kingsfield, of Atlanta, is a partner with Luminate Capital Partners. 

Ex-Officio Voting Trustee

  • C. Lee Zell, of Atlanta, has succeeded Yvette K. Daniels as UGA Alumni Association president. Zell earned a bachelor’s degree from UGA in 1996, and is a national account executive with WBD Sports, the sports marketing and broadcast arm of Warner Bros Discovery. 


Three generations of UGA alumni celebrate their bond with class rings

UGA class rings are a wearable memento celebrating the enduring bond between the University of Georgia and its alumni. Alumni far and wide wear their rings as reminders of their memories and accomplishments at UGA and to identify themselves as lifelong Bulldogs.

For Class of 2023 graduate Hannah Skinner (AB ’23, AB ’23), wearing her class ring holds a special significance beyond her connection to UGA. Her ring celebrates not only her accomplishments at the university, but also honors the bond she shares with her father and grandfather.

Hannah is a third-generation Bulldog. Her father Geoffrey Skinner (AB ’93) and grandfather Kerry Skinner (BSA ’68, MS ’69) both attended UGA. When she put on her class ring for the first time at the Ring Ceremony this April, her father and grandfather were alongside her–wearing their own rings, of course.

Hannah was happy to have her father and grandfather there to celebrate her as she joined them in participating in the university’s tradition of wearing a class ring.

“It was a special day to sit there and commemorate,” she said.

After three generations, Geoffrey Skinner said he sees UGA as part of their family’s legacy and thinks that their tradition of wearing class rings celebrates their ties to the university and one another.

“UGA is home and the ring kind of represents that,” Geoffrey said.

History of the ring

The first official UGA “Senior-Alumna” ring was created in 1923 and redesigned in 2005 in a collaborative effort between students, administrators and alumni. The redesign, created in partnership with Balfour, preserved many of the visual elements of the original ring, including the university’s iconic Arch.

Class rings can be purchased by students with 60 or more credit hours and alumni of the university at any time. The rings are presented to their wearers at the annual Ring Ceremony held each April, and friends and family are invited to attend and celebrate with students and alumni as they put their rings on for the first time.

Make it your own

Each ring is unique to its owner and can be customized with different metals, optional designs to indicate one’s major and a custom engraved message on the inside. Hannah’s father chose the specifications of her ring as a gift to her and had the inside of the ring engraved with her name and sorority letters.

“Every single time I look down at it, it’s a reminder of the amazing four years that I had at UGA,” she said.

No matter the ring’s style or when it was purchased, a class ring’s significance to its wearer is more than mere jewelry. It connects them with their university family and allows them to bring a piece of UGA with them wherever they may go–reminding each alumnus that they Never Bark Alone.

Join fellow alumni in this century-old tradition and consider purchasing a ring today!

Buy a class ring

Mentorship isn’t scary!

National Mentoring Day, October 27, falls in the middle of “spooky season.” In honor of the day and the season, the UGA Mentor Program is debunking the myth that mentorship can be scary.

We spoke with UGA mentee and UGA Mentor Program Ambassador Sahar Joshi (Class of 2024) and her UGA mentor Will Caplan (AB ’16, AB ’16), senior wargaming analyst for Booz Allen Hamilton, about their experiences in the program and what they would say to ease the fears of potential participants.

Did you have any fears about joining the UGA Mentor Program?

S: I was a little intimated. Browsing through the profiles of potential mentors, I found they were all somebody I wanted to impress; somebody I wanted to be like. I was afraid I wasn’t worthy, and I’d be wasting their time. But the program emphasized that UGA Mentors are volunteering their time because they WANT to hear from students.

W: For me, I was afraid that I wasn’t far enough removed from being a student myself. What if my journey was too specific to be of help to anyone else? But I thought back to when I was in their shoes. This was before UGA had established this mentorship program, and people took time to help me out. I just knew I needed to pay it forward.

What inspired you to sign up?

S: I knew what I wanted to do. I was focused on national security and wanted to end up in D.C. I felt like the mentor program would be a great way to empower myself to learn from people who had been through the same process as me and had made it in this field.

W: I remember back when I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do, I wished for someone to talk to. I wanted to find someone established in their career but not so far along that they could no longer relate to college life or understand pop culture references. I signed up to serve in that role for a student looking for what I had been looking for at their age.

Were you nervous to meet for the first time?

W: Definitely. I have an eccentric sense of humor and I talk really fast. With my personality, you either really enjoy it or find it overwhelming. And not knowing this other person and what they’re looking to get out of mentorship brought up questions. Am I going to be able to do enough? Am I going to meet their expectations?

S: That comes as a complete shock to me. I didn’t pick up on that at all. When I first met Will, I was just so focused on digesting the information we were going through. Every time I thought of a question while he was talking, he’d move on with what he was saying and answer it, without me having to ask. Will came across as someone who was completely prepared and confident. But I am kind of glad to hear that we were actually in the same boat at that first meeting.

Is there a fear mentorship helped you overcome?

S: There are so many. Going for an internship in D.C. was scary. I had never been that far away from home and family. But Will helped me out in so many ways. I remember being scared of not being perfect in front of him, but, especially during mock interviews, Will helped me understand it was better to make a mistake in front of him than in the actual interview. I honestly think that’s a great example of what mentorship is like. A mentor is someone you can make mistakes in front of. You learn you don’t have to be perfect, just be prepared and be comfortable with yourself.

W: One of my favorite pieces of advice to give mentees is to not make perfect the enemy of good. I think the best part of the mentee/mentor relationship is being able to talk things through. I always tell mentees not to feel like they have to have everything figured out. No one has everything planned and in place. Ask questions. Be flexible. It’s okay not to feel totally in control of every aspect. That’s life.

What surprised you about mentorship?

Will and Sahar at Braves game in D.C.

W: I’d say I was most surprised about how the relationship is so much fuller and focused on topics beyond professionalism and career. For instance, Sahar and I have really bonded over our shared love of the Atlanta Braves baseball. When Sahar was in D.C. for her internship, we made it a point to go watch the Braves play the Nats. And being a part of the mentor program has made me feel more connected to UGA. It’s made me want to give back even more because I can see how rewarding and helpful it is.

S: I came into this with a vision of what I wanted my future to look like. Then Will played a part in destroying that vision in the best way possible. (She laughs.) But he also helped me build it back up in a more realistic way. There is so much you don’t know, can’t know, until you talk to someone who DOES know—especially with industries that are specialized or location-based. Mentorship is great for bridging that gap! It’s amazing the confidence you get from someone being your personal cheerleader and encouraging you every step of the way—whether it’s a rejection letter or an acceptance letter, and we’ve been through both.

W: When Sahar got that internship and was able to come to D.C., it was so satisfying like, “We did it!”

S: Yeah, I remember when we grabbed coffee in D.C. and I was sort of debriefing Will on my internship. We celebrated because we had set this goal and worked through all the steps, then we made it happen together.

So, if mentorship isn’t scary, what’s something that is?

S: Zombies.

W: Mannequins. (shudder)

Learn more about the totally non-scary UGA Mentor Program at