Down to Earth: How one alumnus found his passion in soil research

Frank Henning (PhD ’10) currently works as a senior scientist in the Duluth, Georgia, office of Woodard & Curran, an integrated engineering, science and operations company. Dr. Henning graduated from the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences with a PhD in Horticulture. He coordinates environmental field studies, scientific investigations, Clean Water Act (CWA) permitting, environmental policy (NEPA) studies, restoration projects and environmental construction management.

When asked, Dr. Henning says he chose to study soil because “soil is the ultimate recycling bin – it has the most amazing capacity to transform wastes into life.”

While many think of soil as critical in the agricultural realm, he said it is important to study soil for conservation as well.

His appreciation for soil grows with every project, he says. These include restoring native vegetation along the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, developing geospatial tools to reduce erosion in fire stricken areas of California and monitoring changes in salinity along the coast of Georgia.

He has also worked on preventative projects to protect water resources from erosion during development and has designed urban landscapes that treat pollutants and infiltrate runoff.

If you’re interested in solving grand challenges that face our agricultural and environmental futures, consider giving to the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Fund.

Meet Kelly Kautz, Events Chair of Women of UGA Leadership Council

Women of UGA’s mission is to foster a lifelong commitment to the University of Georgia by creating opportunities for personal and professional development, instilling a spirt of giving, and investing in the future of the university, its students and alumnae. We recently got the chance to interview Kelly Kautz (AB’ 99, JD’02), in order to learn more about her experience at UGA and what drives her to stay involved with her alma mater. Here’s what she had to say! 

Kelly Kautz

What year did you graduate from UGA? What was your major?

I was a double dawg. I graduated in 1999 as a political science/criminal justice major, then I graduated from the School of Law in 2002.

Why did you choose to attend UGA?

I knew I wanted to go into law and possibly politics. If you look at the leaders of our state in that time, everyone was a University of Georgia graduate. If you looked at the governor, justice on the supreme court, secretary of state or speaker of the house, all of them were UGA graduates. It was the most influential university in our state, so I chose to come to UGA.

What path led you to establishing your own law firm/practice?

At the time, I wanted to run for elected office. I opened up my own practice so I could have the time and flexibility to do that.

How did you get involved with the Women of UGA Leadership Council?

I’m passionate about the University of Georgia. I’m a huge fan of not just sports, but the university itself. I wanted to give back to the university in ways that would continue to touch peoples’ lives, even after they have left school. When I heard that Women of UGA was being formed, I thought it would be a great opportunity to do what I wanted to do.

What are you enjoying most about serving on the Women of UGA Leadership Council?

I think there is a great group of women on the council. Everyone is equally passionate about our school. I’m chair of the events committee, so I work on planning and events, such as our Cookies and Cocoa, event we having coming up. Just being able to have outreach with not only women on the council, but other alumni coming back is really exciting.

What is the most valuable piece of career advice someone gave to you?

In the 8th-grade I had an attorney say, “If you take away one person’s rights, what’s to stop you from having the domino effect on others?” Another time, someone told me, “you can’t say anything about things unless you’re willing to make a difference.” That’s when I decided to go into criminal law and politics.

What advice would you give to graduating seniors or recent college graduates?

I would tell them that it’s difficult out there. It’s a different place and especially finding a job can be difficult sometimes. However, you all (students) have a great network of alumni, and you can’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help. You can’t give up. You have to keep trying.

What’s your favorite thing to do when you visit Athens?

As funny as it sounds, I really love coming back to Athens to eat. There are so many great restaurants in Athens. I love going back to the different restaurants. I really love to come back and have Cecilia’s Cakes. I think they sell them in a couple of restaurants, but they have a location on Milledge Avenue that I love to visit when I come back to Athens. I have a little 3-year-old who just got to ring the Chapel bell last time we visited Athens, so I can’t wait to start making these same memories with him.

How has being part of the Women of UGA Leadership Council benefitted you?

It has helped me reform a connection and attachment with the university. I feel like a lot of times when we leave the university, we lose that connection we had with the university. I have loved coming back to where I belong and feeling that attachment with the university.

What is your favorite UGA memory?

I spent eight years in Athens, and I don’t have any bad memories. I met my husband in Athens. I made lifelong friendships there. They’re all great memories. I used to be in charge of parade for homecoming in Athens. Working with the older cheerleaders that come back for the games, parade and pep rallies was such a blast and always a great time. Sharing that enthusiasm was them is one of my fondest memories.

Refined Talents: A story of firsts for Bulldog alumni

The University of Georgia and a passion for quality whiskey brought five alumni together to create one of the most successful young distilleries in the country and win the highly coveted Double Gold medal for a whiskey from the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. This is the first such award for a Georgia whiskey.

Jim Chasteen (BBA ’98) and Charlie Thompson (AB ’99, MBA ’03, JD ’03) met at UGA while pursuing degrees in business and law. Jim and Charlie connected over their passion and interest in whiskey, which eventually spurred a desire to craft their own recipe. They founded ASW Distillery (ASW) in 2011, and eventually hired fellow alumni, Justin Manglitz (BBA ’04) as head distiller, and Chad Ralston as Chief Marketing Officer (BBA ’08), in 2015. Today, five out of six partners (including Kelly Chasteen (BSED, ’00) in ASW hold degrees from UGA.

Since ASW’s inception, it has won multiple awards, including the first Double Gold medal from the San Francisco World Spirits Competition for a one-year-old whiskey. Their award-winning Duality whiskey was also the first to combine malted rye and malted barley in the same batch.

Learn more about ASW in a recent Garden and Gun magazine feature.

Charlie is breaking down barriers outside of the beverage world, too—most recently by establishing a scholarship to support students in UGA’s MBA/JD dual program. Just like their award-winning whiskies, this scholarship is the first of its kind. Most importantly, though, it will support UGA students in perpetuity.

Meet Terri Polk, member of Women of UGA Leadership Council

Women of UGA’s mission is to foster a lifelong commitment to the University of Georgia by creating opportunities for personal and professional development, instilling a spirt of giving, and investing in the future of the university, its students and alumnae. We recently got the chance to interview Terri Polk (BBA’86) in order to learn more about her experience at UGA and what drives her to stay involved with her alma mater. Here’s what she had to say! 

 

In what year did you graduate from UGA and what was your major?

I graduated in 1986, and my major was finance.

What are you up to now?

As the director of brand development at The Coca-Cola Co., I help to drive brand awareness of our tea and coffee portfolio brands across the U.S. The tea and coffee brands include Gold Peak Tea, FUZE Tea, Honest Tea and Peace Tea. 

What is the most important thing that you learned in college?

I ran track at Georgia, so I would say the most important thing I learned was time management. Time management in terms of being able to accomplish my academic and athletic goals, manage friendships, have time to be student (as in being crazy), have fun and be a kid. So, the greatest thing I learned was how to manage my time to accomplish the things I wanted to accomplish. I was also able to add on additional skills in being persistent, relentless and hyper-focused. Those traits help me now.

How did you get involved with the Women of UGA Leadership Council?

You know, it’s so random how things happen. I wasn’t engaged with UGA for a number of years. About five years ago, I ran into Yvette Daniels, the current secretary UGA Alumni Association (AB ’86, JD ’89) and she asked if I was ready to get engaged with Georgia. I asked to think on it a little bit. I thought on it for about a year, and I called her back about it about four years ago. I started just attending events that were sponsored in Atlanta and seeing exactly was the university was up to from an academic perspective. Then, I became involved a little later.

Why is the Women of UGA Leadership Council important to you?

You get to a point in your life when you want to start giving back for what you have received. That point has come for me in terms of being able to serve the university in a way that’s helpful for future students. Doing work to support the scholarship that Women of UGA has endowed is one way to do that for me. Being able to help students with an academic need was really intriguing for me.

 

What is your favorite UGA memory?

One of my professors gave me absolute support and was actually interested in my success. He would even come to track meets! It meant the world to me to see a professor at our track meets. That was phenomenal and a good memory for me. Another good memory for me was going to all of the sorority and fraternity parties in Memorial Hall back in the day. It was really hot, but fun. It was the only thing going on so if you weren’t at the party in Memorial, what were you doing?

What about the Women of UGA Leadership Council excites you the most?

The fact that the council includes women with diverse backgrounds and interesting things that they do. From their experiences at Georgia to what they do professionally now, that is quite motivating. From a separate perspective, being able to look around the room and see the success that these women bring to the table. Overall, it’s the ability and excitement to create programs that bring alumni together and bring opportunities to raise funds for the Women of UGA Scholarship Fund. That really excites me. 

What’s the biggest change you’ve seen at UGA since you were in school?

The way the campus has expanded, the majors being offered and the competitiveness of getting into the school. I also like the emphasis on global education and experiences. Seeing the opportunities to study abroad makes me happy. When I was going to school, the thought of going abroad was out of reach to even think about. Now to see it as generally part of the curriculum to go out of the country and get a global perspective is awesome and one of the best changes I’ve seen.

Where was your favorite place to eat when you were a UGA student?

I was a poor student, so my favorite place to eat was O-House. I lived at O-House. I ate at O-House. I studied at O-House. I swam at O-House. I walked out the door and went to Sunday brunch at O-House. My food was already paid for, so I went to O-House. The food was really good!

Maria Taylor shares her experiences with future leaders

Maria Taylor (ABJ ’09, MBA ’13) is an alumna who models what it means to be committed to the University of Georgia. Most recently, Maria participated in the Terry Leadership Speaker Series where she shared her wisdom and experiences with UGA students 

A breakthrough reporter on the national stage, Maria became the first black female to co-host ESPN’s College Gameday, and she is currently in her second season. Maria has a passion for developing leaders–whether it is through her charity, The Winning Edge Leadership Academy, or by serving on the Grady Society Alumni Board 

As a double Dawg, Maria earned her bachelor’s degree in broadcast news in 2009, and her MBA in 2013. She was a student athlete in two sports: basketball and volleyball. During the Terry event in the UGA Chapel, Maria was interviewed by Kendall Kazor (BBA ’19), a fellow UGA volleyball alumna.

Opportunities are nearly endless for graduates to return to campus–like Maria–and share their advice and experiences with fellow students. Interested? The UGA Alumni Association can help connect you with the right person on campus.

Mary Frances Early honored with official UGA portrait

Original article posted on Oct. 11, 2018 by Heather Skyler on UGA Today.

The University of Georgia celebrated the life and achievements of Mary Frances Early the first African American to earn a degree from the University of Georgia, by unveiling her portrait in the Administration Building at a ceremony on Oct. 10.

The portrait, by artist Richard Wilson, was installed in The Gordon Jones Gallery of the Administration Building to honor Early, who went on to become the director of music for Atlanta Public Schools and the first African American president of the Georgia Music Educators Association in 1981.

“Ms. Early is a distinguished educator, and it is clear that she has made a profound impact on the lives of countless individuals,” President Jere W. Morehead said at the ceremony. “Her portrait will serve as a lasting tribute to her dignified courage and her commitment to educational excellence.”

Ms. Early saw the finished portrait for the first time at the ceremony, and she was obviously pleased. “It’s very beautifully done as you can see, because it looks better than me,” she said, drawing appreciative laughter from the audience. “It always means so much to have the support of so many.

The installation of Early’s portrait is part of a series of accolades celebrating her life and career. In January 2018, Early received one of UGA’s highest honors, the President’s Medal. On Sept. 11, the documentary “Mary Frances Early: The Quiet Trailblazer”premiered in Atlanta.

A native of Atlanta, Early came to UGA in the summer of 1961. Earlier that year, Charlayne Hunter-Gault and Hamilton Holmes became the first African American students to enroll at UGA. Early had started postgraduate work at the University of Michigan when she transferred to UGA to complete her studies. She became the first African American to earn a degree from the University of Georgia when she graduated on Aug. 16, 1962, with a master’s degree in music education. She returned in 1964 to continue her education, earning a Specialist in Education degree in 1967.

Early, who was class valedictorian at Henry McNeal Turner High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in music education from Clark Atlanta University in 1957, became a music teacher in the Atlanta Public Schools and was eventually promoted to music director of the entire school system. Early worked with teachers in the system’s 100-plus schools, and was in charge of the music curriculum, budget, textbooks and more.

Early retired in 1994 after working for 37 years in public schools. She has since taught at Morehouse College, Spelman College and Clark Atlanta University as head of the music department.

Calling the Dawgs in the Big Easy

More than 150 UGA alumni and friends assembled in New Orleans on Oct. 11 at Brennan’s to celebrate the university.

In the city’s famous French Quarter and two days before the much anticipated UGA-LSU football game, guests ate, drank and reveled in all things red-and-black, more than 500 miles from the Classic City.

NOLA event

Alumni chapter leadership from New Orleans and Colorado, Alumni Association Board of Directors members and UGA Foundation trustees numbered among the event’s guests who enjoyed food, drink and a jazz band in the Brennan’s courtyard.

NOLA event

You can see more of the festivities in this photo gallery.

Events like these are happening all the time and around the world, thanks to the passionate alumni volunteers who help lead UGA’s 80+ alumni chapters. No matter where you travel, there is often an alumni chapter nearby or a way to connect online—find yours today!

Saddler siblings among 40 Under 40 Class of 2018 honorees

Saddler family

The University of Georgia Alumni Association’s 40 Under 40 program annually recognizes alumni who have made significant impacts in their careers. After receiving more than 550 nominees, the Alumni Association recognized this year’s honorees during an awards luncheon at the Georgia Aquarium on Sept. 13. Among the honorees were brother-sister duo, Latham Saddler (BBA ’05) and Lauren Saddler Pearson (ABJ ’02).

Lauren graduated from UGA with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism in 2002 and is now a managing director and partner at HighTower Somerset in Birmingham, Alabama. She was named to the 2017 list of Forbes America’s Next Generation Wealth Advisors and named one of the Birmingham Business Chronicle’s “Women to Watch.” Lauren is also committed to The Advent, Cornerstone Schools, United Way of Central Alabama, Rotary and several other nonprofits in the Birmingham area.

Lauren with award

Latham graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration in 2005 and is the director of intelligence programs for the National Security Council in Washington, D.C., and is also a Navy SEAL in the U.S. Navy. After becoming a Navy SEAL, he led a 25-person element in a remote outstation in Iraq responsible for targeting ISIS.  Inspired by his twin brother, who was born with Down syndrome, he is an advocate for the National Down Syndrome Society. After being crowned 2003 UGA Homecoming king, he presented the crown to his brother.

After learning that they were both being inducted into the 40 Under 40 Class of 2018, Lauren and Latham shared how proud they were to be honored by their alma mater and represent their family.

Lathem with award

“Special day for our family,” Lauren shared on her LinkedIn profile, “honored to be honored with my brother and proud to be a Bulldog!

Lauren and Latham’s parents were able to attend the luncheon and see the accomplishments of their children highlighted by the university. Click here to read more about their heartfelt reactions to the news of their children being inducted into the 40 Under 40 Class of 2018 in a blog post by Peter Stoddard.

Want to see who else made this year’s 40 Under 40 list? Click here for the full list and highlights from the awards luncheon.

Will you take the #CalltheDawgs Challenge?

Calling the Dawgs is one of the ultimate traditions that unifies Bulldogs all over the world. This chant is most commonly recited in unison at football games, but most recently proud alumni have been calling the Dawgs in a crowded Times Square, outside Windsor Castle, at the College Football Hall of Fame and on the beaches of Amelia Island.

Why? These alumni are participating in the Young Alumni Leadership Council’s challenge to the entire Bulldog family to support the causes they are most passionate about. The #CalltheDawgs challenge is simple: donate to a cause that you care about, call the Dawgs in creative and fun way and then challenge your friends to do the same. Even if you can’t donate, you can still demonstrate your Bulldog pride by recording yourself calling the Dawgs and challenge others to join you.

Aaron Murray (BS ’12) and Drew Butler (ABJ ’11), co-hosts of Punt and Pass podcast called the Dawgs at Atlanta’s College Football Hall of Fame (above) where they donated to the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications.

TJ Callaway (BBA ’07), founder and CEO of Onward Reserve, found space in a crowded Times Square to call the Dawgs.


Caleb Nicholson (BSED ’09), President of the Young Alumni Council, called the Dawgs in front of Windsor Castle in Windsor, England, and also chose to give to the Let the Big Dawgs Eat fund dedicated to eliminating student food insecurity.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bmb3vUVlEzk/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet

Will you join these alumni and take the #CalltheDawgs challenge?

You know the drill. GOOOOOOOOO DAWGS, SIC ‘EM, WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF!

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As a University of Georgia Triple Dawg and a member of the UGA Alumni Association's Young Alumni Leadership Council, I’m participating in the Call the Dawgs Challenge! I give to the Black Alumni Scholarship Endowment because in 1961 Hamilton E. Holmes and Charlayne Hunter-Gault paved the way for me. I am passionate about helping to provide resources for African-American students to attend my beloved alma mater. There are so many causes that you can give to and ways to further the mission of UGA. What's your passion? Every donation matters no matter how big or small. I’m challenging Cara Turano Snow, Carla C. Smith, Maranie Brown and other alums, fans, and friends to show their UGA spirit and Call the Dawgs! You’re up next! GOOOO DAWGS! #CalltheDawgs #GoDawgs #AlwaysADawg #RedAndBlack #UGA  Donate ➡️ https://gail.uga.edu/callthedawgs

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Meet Alissa Vickery, Fundraising Chair for the Women of UGA Leadership Council

Women of UGA’s mission is to foster a lifelong commitment to the University of Georgia by creating opportunities for personal and professional development, instilling a spirt of giving, and investing in the future of the university, its students and alumnae. We recently got the chance to interview Alissa Vickery (BBA ’01, MACC ‘01), fundraising chair for the Women of UGA Leadership Council in order to learn more about her experience at UGA and what drives her to stay involved with her alma mater. Here’s what she had to say! 

What kind of advice would you give to a current UGA student?

Work hard and appreciate the fact that, whether you’re paying for it or your parents are paying for it or you have scholarship money, that what you’re doing day-to-day matters, embrace what you’re doing, the classes you’re taking and what they’re trying to teach you because the more immersed in the content you can become the more relatable it will be. Your grades matter!

The other thing I would say is to figure out something other than school to become a part of because when you come out of school, you don’t want all you have on your resume to be your GPA. People are looking for someone well-rounded, especially with the current job market. If you want to set yourself apart, figure out how to make sure you’re a well-rounded individual.

What’s the most important thing you learned while at UGA?

I was that kid in high school who never had to study that hard so I think I came to Georgia not really knowing how to study as a result, and I got slapped in the face pretty hard my freshman year first quarter. I failed my first test. It was a calculus test and I thought “I had this class before. It’s fine.” It wasn’t fine because I just didn’t know how to be a student, but I turned it around pretty quick. I figured out how to study, and I did come out of that class with an A even though I failed that first exam. So I learned how important hard work and perseverance are, whether you get the A or the B.

How did you get involved with Women of UGA?

A women I had met through work had mentioned that the Alumni Association was looking to create a new women’s affiliation group similar to young alumni and black alumni, specifically geared towards women, and she thought that I would be great so I applied.

For me, UGA continues to be a part of who I am and what we do in our free time. We come up for football game, come up for gymnastic meets occasionally. We love the town and try to come back every chance we get, and this was just sort of one more way to still be engaged with the university and at the same time giving back my time and trying to make a little bit of a difference.

What about the Women of UGA Council excites you the most?

For me, it’s all about outreach to the alumni community. It’s a lot of networking and getting to know new people but through that our end goal is that we want to raise money for scholarships for students in need. We want to close the gap for students who need a scholarship to be able to attend UGA. You can really make a difference in someone’s life that way. We want alumni to feel engaged and impacted enough that they’ll want to give back.

So what’s your favorite memory from UGA?

My freshmen year we played Auburn at Auburn, and it was a really cool game. It was the first time any game had gone to four overtimes with the new rules. It was at Auburn and some of my friends from high school went to Auburn and obviously, I had friends at Georgia too. We were all together and sitting in the second row, in front of the band with the students. It was the game that Uga actually leapt up at the Auburn player and tried to bite him because the Auburn player was taunting him. I’m actually in that picture that you see everywhere of Uga jumping up at the guy! We also won that game so Georgia fans rushed the field afterwards. It was one of those things that looking back at is such a cool experience! Go Dawgs!