UGA News

‘Moon Rocks!’ marks Apollo 11 anniversary

This story was written by Sara Freeland and was originally posted to UGA Today on July 7, 2019.


Fifty years ago, on July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin landed on the moon–the first time humans set foot on another celestial body. As the nation and the world celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, the University of Georgia is taking an in-depth look at this historic milestone and the future of space exploration. 

Fifty years ago, people around the world stopped what they were doing to watch Apollo 11 land on the moon.

Today, most of the world’s population wasn’t even born when the moon landing took place.

But the significance of this historic milestone still resonates.

“It is fascinating that people feel such a connection to the moon landing and it still inspires curiosity,” said Sarah Anderson, a University of Georgia graduate student in history. “Everyone has a story about their viewing experience.”

Anderson curated “Moon Rocks!,” an exhibition hosted by UGA’s Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies to mark the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11. Anderson previously worked for two years at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

“Space inspires a sense of adventure and excitement. Astronauts were portrayed as All-American, hard-working, accessible heroes—a person that children could aspire to be. Astronauts provided hope of advancement and achievement for average Americans,” Anderson noted. “The exhibit explores this a little more, as well.”

Ultimately, what she hopes to accomplish with the exhibition is to bring generations together—those who witnessed the moon landing and have their own story of watching it on the television while holding rabbit ears with those who were born afterward and grew up with astronauts live-streaming space station experiments.

“Bringing in an exhibition that can provide that intergenerational experience is really important,” she said. “Something that people can reminisce and visit with their families and learn from their families is really important to do as an institution.”

On display in the galleries in the Richard B. Russell Special Collections Library through December, the exhibition features magazines, political cartoons, satellite models and photos taken from space of the Earth and the lunar landing. The display also includes a piece of the Apollo 9 spacecraft and a medallion that went to the moon and back.

The “Moon Rocks!” exhibition is on display at the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries through December. (Photo by Peter Frey/UGA)

Moon rocks on display

On July 16, 50 years after the Apollo 11 launch from Cape Canaveral (formerly known as Cape Kennedy), the libraries will host an event with moon rocks on loan from the Georgia Capitol Collection for one day only. The rocks, along with a state of Georgia flag that went to the moon and back, were given to Georgia by former President Richard Nixon, who gave every state moon rocks and small fragments from the Apollo 11 and Apollo 17 lunar missions after the landing.

The event will also show archival footage of the July 20, 1969, moon landing and have space-themed snacks, including astronaut ice cream and Tang.

To create the exhibition, Anderson found artifacts related to space travel in two collections: the Richard B. Russell Jr. Collection and the Herman E. Talmadge Collection.

Russell, namesake of the libraries building, was on the Senate Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences from its conception in 1958 until his death in 1971. The collections include gifts to Russell, magazines he collected, photographs, political cartoons, and letters between Sen. Talmadge and NASA. The exhibition also includes satellite and spacecraft models that Russell displayed in his office. Talmadge was the main advocate in bringing moon rocks collected on the Apollo 16 mission from the Lunar Stone Mountain to Stone Mountain in Georgia.

The Moon Rocks! exhibition features magazines, political cartoons, satellite models and photos taken from space of the Earth and the lunar landing. The exhibition was curated by Sarah Anderson, a UGA graduate student. (Photo by Peter Frey/UGA)

Behind the scenes

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, the Access and Outreach Unit of the Russell Library wanted an exhibition related to the historic event. Anderson, who was interning there, had experience handling spacecraft artifacts from her work at the Air and Space Museum.

A graduate student in the museum studies certificate program, Anderson graduated from UGA with a bachelor’s degree in history in 2013 and then worked at both the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum and Cape Henlopen State Park in Delaware.

A history buff, she initially took the National Air and Space Museum job to learn about World War II and Air Force history. Family history was part of the inspiration—her grandfather served as a radio operator on a B-17 in the U.S. Air Force during World War II.

At the Air and Space Museum, she worked command module hatches that went into space as well as spacecraft models. She worked with the parachutes deployed for landings after the Apollo command modules reentered Earth’s atmosphere and slowed the modules down to lessen the impact of the water landing. Working with these objects made her want to learn more about the history behind the space race and space travel.

Along with other staff at the Air and Space Museum, she began watching Space-X launches on NASA TV and watch NASA send cargo to the International Space Station.

“Seeing these objects that went into space gives you this connection to history that you wouldn’t have otherwise. It makes history more tangible and relatable. It makes you want to learn more about them,” she said. “I had the opportunity to see a multitude of objects that had traveled to an area that I will never be able to explore. I get to see and touch artifacts that have been on true adventures and have inspired awe through generations.”

Her internship at the Paul E. Garber Facility turned into a job and she also served as lead contractor for the medium artifact team. She learned about archival photography, the care of artifacts and how to maintain the integrity of pieces “so that they can be observed and analyzed for generations,” she said. “We would work with pieces that hadn’t been looked at in a while, and providing a stable housing environment for these artifacts is crucial.”

Her team created custom long-term storage structures for the parachutes, which are 25 meters wide. They also worked on ensuring care of artifacts not on display in the warehouses. Her team was in charge of medium artifacts, which means artifacts between 50 and 5,000 pounds. “I drove a forklift every day, which was a unique skill to learn, one that you don’t expect when you decide to work in museums,” Anderson said. “Collections work is delicate and detailed but moving large objects requires heavy machinery.”

Alumni create a theater experience for the deaf and the hearing

This story was written by Heather Skyler and was originally posted to UGA Today on July 8, 2019.

Have you ever watched a movie with subtitles and gotten frustrated by reading lines of dialogue at the bottom of the screen while you’re missing the action above the text? This is somewhat akin to how a deaf person has to watch a live show with a sign language interpreter. Constantly looking off to the side while the drama takes place on stage can ruin the immersive quality of theater.

Two University of Georgia alumni sought to remedy that problem when they founded a theater in Athens called Hands In!, an educational nonprofit that produces original works in American Sign Language (ASL) with a special interest in theater and jukebox musicals.

Here’s how a Hands In! production works: Both Deaf and hearing actors perform, but everyone signs their lines (a capital “D” signifies deaf culture as a whole, rather than the clinical term “deaf”). Voicers offstage speak the lines as they are being signed, so the hearing audience can understand what’s happening as well.

Christopher Carpenter (AB ’16) and Jordan Richey ’19 are both hearing members of the Hands In! cast.

Hands In! isn’t a new idea. The first Deaf theater company, National Theater for the Deaf, was founded in London in 1967 and others exist around the world, but they are not yet on the radar of most theatergoers and Hands In! is the only theater of its kind in Athens.

Haley Beach (BSED ’19) was earning her degree in communication sciences and disorders at UGA when she and UGA alumna Amara Ede (BSA ’14) co-founded the theater company in March 2018. Beach graduated from UGA in May 2019 and is currently pursuing certification to become a sign language interpreter.

In 2017, Beach and Ede put on their first show, which they wrote and directed, at UGA’s Baptist Collegiate Ministries. When the ministries shut down for renovations, Beach and Ede lost the use of their stage. Despite having no budget, they decided to start their own theater company because they had recognized a need that wasn’t being met.

“There was no community for Deaf arts in Athens,” said Beach. “And they really just needed a platform. And I think the hearing community needs this type of theater experience too. The whole point of what we do is to bring ASL awareness to the hearing community and provide a platform for the Deaf community.”

Beach isn’t deaf, but she got interested in ASL when she interpreted for a dinner theater performance of “The Little Mermaid” at the Baptist Collegiate Ministries. “A woman there suggested I be a counselor at Deaf camp. I fell backwards into it really and just fell in love with the language and the culture and the people. I feel privileged to be a part of their community. I took four ASL classes at UGA and joined ASL Dawgs.

Luke Bundrum ’19 is Deaf and is the president of ASL Dawgs, an organization that helps connect UGA students with the Deaf community. He is also an actor in Hands In!’s next show, “Wanderland,” which is based on “Alice in Wonderland.” Luke has two roles: Tommy and the March Hare.

A fourth-year social studies education and history major at UGA, Bundrum helped with the early conception of Hands In! and performed in their first show, “Nottingham.” Bundrum was born deaf and got a cochlear implant at age 3. “Being Deaf is a challenge in life, but with supportive friends and community, I am able to succeed on my own,” he said. “It’s rare for a Deaf student to attend a rigorous liberal four-year college such as UGA, and I have been blessed to get this far in life.”

Most of the performers in Hands In! productions, however, are hearing, such as UGA student Jordan Richey ’19, who got involved when Beach reached out to her about auditioning. After sending Beach videos of past performances, Richey was asked to play the lead, Maid Marian, in the theater’s reinterpretation of “Robin Hood.” She learned ASL while she learned her lines for the show.

Jordan Richey didn’t know ASL when she was cast as the lead in “Nottingham.”

“I would video Haley and Amara doing the signs then I could go home and practice making the shapes,” said Richey. “It was different than how I would normally approach memorizing lines.

“It’s not word-for-word translated to English. A lot of it is context based. For example: ‘Let’s go to the car’ might be changed to be ‘Me, you, go car.’ Four signs. You use your body and face to show the urgency.” She now considers herself conversationally fluent in sign. “By the end I could carry on a conversation with the Deaf kids in the show.”

Richey grew up in Royston, Georgia, and moved to Athens in eighth grade. She began UGA in the vocal performance program at the School of Music but said it wasn’t the right fit for her because she leans toward musical theater.

She switched to the speech therapy program in the College of Education, and realized it was a perfect fit. Currently a senior at UGA, she also teaches voice lessons at Oconee Youth School of Performance.

Hands In! has an ASL consultation board comprised of Deaf members only, and they strive to incorporate Deaf actors in their shows. Their next show, “Wanderland” will play July 11, 12, 13 and 14 at UGA’s Cellar Theater.

UGA Career Center wins Technology Excellence Award from NACE

Whitney Prescott, associate director of external engagement and communications at the UGA Career Center, received the Technology Excellence Award from NACE.

Whitney Prescott, associate director of external engagement and communications at the UGA Career Center, received the Technology Excellence Award from NACE.

Our very own UGA Career Center was recognized by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) for its technological achievement for excellence in best practices using technology and/or social media outlets.

NACE represents 9,100+ four-year and two-year college career services and 3,000 HR professionals across the country. NACE awarded Whitney Prescott, the Career Center’s associate director of external engagement and communications, for their team’s use of Instagram based on program needs, relevance and creativity. The Career Center has grown its Instagram followers from 297 to over 11,000 in just three years—the most of any college career center in the country.

“Whitney has done an incredible job connecting with students by producing innovative, captivating and useful content,” said Scott Williams, executive director of the UGA Career Center.

The UGA Career Center creates a two-way communication channel capable of increasing engagement among students, alumni and employers. Its massive 2,365% increase in Instagram followers can be attributed to effective calls-to-action like attending a career fair, story takeovers by employers to give behind-the-scenes look at companies and giveaways for students responding to requests.

“From an employee engagement perspective, the Instagram takeover was a huge hit,” said Kirby Miles, campus lead for talent acquisition for Newell Brands. “Not only did we have great exposure to current students, we were also able to reach future UGA students and even alumni, creating great brand awareness and a potential pipeline of talent to come.”

You can follow along as the Career Center continues to generate award-winning content on Instagram @UGACareerCenter.

UGA students, alumni receive NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

This story was written by Sam Fahmy and was originally posted to UGA Today on June 17, 2019.

Doctoral student Jordan Chapman said he was attracted to the University of Georgia by the opportunity to conduct research at the intersection of geoscience and archeology, while Morgan Ashcraft chose to pursue her Ph.D. at UGA so that she could apply nanotechnology to drug delivery systems. Isabella Ragonese is studying the interactions between global climate change and animal behavior through the Interdisciplinary Disease Ecology Across Scales Program.

These doctoral students are among seven UGA graduate students to earn highly competitive National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships this year, and six UGA alumni also have earned the fellowship, which includes three years of financial support that includes an annual stipend of $34,000 plus a $12,000 cost of education allowance and networking and professional development opportunities.

“The NSF Graduate Research Fellowships recognize the best and the brightest,” said Graduate School Dean Suzanne Barbour. “That so many UGA graduate students have been and continue to be recipients of the NSF GRF is a testament to the outstanding training environment that our institution provides at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.”

Chapman is pursuing doctorates in geology as well as in anthropology under the mentorship of Jeff Speakman, director of the university’s Center for Applied Isotope Studies, and professor Victor Thompson in the department of anthropology, part of the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. His research combines archaeology and cutting-edge technologies to explore historical power dynamics on plantations along the Georgia coast. “As I began to take courses, I realized that archaeology was a broad and interdisciplinary field,” he said. “This eventually led to my interest in geology—and, hoping to pursue both—my focus settled on the subfield of geoarchaeology.”

After graduation, he plans to continue to conduct research and to inspire members of underrepresented groups to pursue careers in science through the Black Science Coalition and Institute, a nonprofit he founded.

Ashcraft, who earned her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Cleveland State University, is pursuing a Ph.D. in pharmaceutical and biomedical sciences in the College of Pharmacy. “I chose UGA for graduate school because there were a number of research projects here that I was interested in, primarily Dr. May Xiong’s work in nanomedicine,” she said, adding that she is currently working to create new antibiotic therapies for the treatment of bacterial infections.

Ragonese is pursuing her doctorate in ecology through the IDEAS program, which trains scientists to view infectious diseases through scales that range from the cellular to the global.

“The Odum School of Ecology is a great place to study infectious disease ecology,” Ragonese said, “and there is a wonderful sense of community here.” After graduation, she plans to conduct applied research at a government agency or non-governmental organization.

Like Chapman, Ashcraft and Ragonese, the additional NSF Graduate Research Fellows pursuing degrees at UGA come from highly regarded universities that range from nearby Emory to Whittier College in California and the University of Michigan, among other institutions.

Outstanding alumni

UGA’s recipients of NSF Graduate Research Fellowships also include alumni who used their UGA educations as foundations for graduate studies at some of America’s most highly regarded universities.

Patrick Griffin, who earned his B.S. in genetics, was an Honors student during his time at UGA and is currently studying aging in the department of genetics at Harvard Medical School. “My mentor at UGA was (associate professor) Bob Schmitz,” he said, “and I was also greatly helped by (professor) Janet Westpheling. UGA was a wonderful environment to learn about basic science and gain experience presenting my research to others through events like the CURO Symposium.”

Like Griffin, Aleia Bellcross credits faculty mentors and opportunities such as CURO with preparing her for success in graduate school. Bellcross is pursuing a Ph.D. in chemistry at Northwestern University with a focus on atmospheric chemistry.

“UGA prepared me in a lot of ways for graduate school,” she said. “I was very fortunate to gain early research experience with professor Geoffrey Smith and his group, where I benefited from strong mentorship and a supportive environment. UGA provided all the resources of a large R1 institution, but still felt like a small and close-knit community.”

Hayley Schroeder, who earned bachelor’s degrees in ecology and entomology at UGA, is pursuing a doctorate in entomology at Cornell and ultimately plans to focus her career on the conservation of insects that are important to agriculture. She earned the CURO graduation distinction and coordinated Project Monarch Health, a citizen science project based at UGA through which volunteers across North America sample wild monarch butterflies to help track the spread of a parasite that can harm monarchs.

“At UGA, I was pushed not only to ask my own research questions and develop my own ideas, but also to communicate them as well through outreach events, conferences and citizen science,” she said. “Incorporating the general public can strengthen the data you collect and increase the impact of your results. This is a lesson I will carry with me throughout my career as a scientist.”

A complete list of UGA’s 2019 recipients of NSF Graduate Research Fellowships and their fields of study is below:

UGA graduate students

Morgan Ashcraft, bioengineering, Cleveland State University
Philip Michael Newberry, ecology, Emory University
Jordan Chapman, archaeology, Penn State University
Isabella Ragonese, ecology, Skidmore College
Cydney Seigerman, cultural anthropology, University of Michigan
Trevor Tuma, science education, Whittier College

UGA alumni

Gwendolyn Watson (BS ’17), industrial/organizational psychology, Clemson University
Patrick Griffin (BS ’15), genetics, Harvard University
Aleia Bellcross (BSES ’17, BSCHEM ’17), environmental chemical systems, Northwestern University
Hayley Schroeder (BS ’18, BSES ’18), ecology, Cornell
Emma Brannon (BSBCHE ’18), chemical engineering, University of Michigan
Sarah Robinson (BS ’17), biostatistics, Rice University
Dionnet Bhatti (BS ’15, BS ’15), neurosciences, The Rockefeller University

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

UGA recognizes companies that hired the most grads

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

400+ Georgia Commitment Scholarships serve state

Georgia Commitment Scholarships top goal more than a year early

The Georgia Commitment Scholarship Program has reached its initial goal—creating more than 400 need-based scholarships—13 months ahead of schedule. Through this program, donors are helping to support University of Georgia students with the greatest financial need, one of the top priorities of the university’s Commit to Georgia Campaign.

“I am deeply grateful to all of the donors who have made this program a success,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. “Increasing scholarship support for students has a positive ripple effect on our state and the world. UGA alumni go on to become leaders in all sectors—from business and education to technology and health care—and it all starts with access to a UGA education.”

The GCS Program was announced by Morehead in January 2017. Through the program, the UGA Foundation matches—dollar for dollar—any gift in the amount of $50,000, $75,000 or $100,000 to establish an endowed, need-based scholarship for undergraduate students—creating new, permanent pathways to higher education.

Over 270 donors, including individuals, families, corporations and private foundations, have taken advantage of this opportunity to date. Among them are award-winning correspondent and UGA alumna Deborah Roberts; Georgia business leaders Arthur Blank, Tom Cousins and Pete Correll; UGA Foundation trustees; UGA faculty and staff; and UGA alumni groups.

More than $3 million in match money is still available to create additional scholarships. *As of 5/10/19, this is closer to $2.5 million

“I’m excited that we’ve reached our goal, but I’m more excited to see how many more people will get involved,” said Bill Douglas, chair of the UGA Foundation Board of Trustees. “UGA’s alumni and friends have proven themselves extremely generous through this program, and I have no doubt that they will continue to support students through Georgia Commitment Scholarships until every last matching dollar is spoken for.”

Georgia Commitment Scholarships are awarded by the Office of Student Financial Aid. From that point forward, the endowment grows perpetually, increasing the size of the scholarship award over time and helping generations of students earn UGA degrees.

Many of those students are already benefiting from the GCS Program: over 240 scholarship recipients were on campus in the past year.

“If it weren’t for the kindness and generosity of the donors to my Georgia Commitment Scholarship, I wouldn’t be at UGA,” said one GCS student from Moultrie, Georgia. “This scholarship also has allowed me to grow in my major and get more involved at UGA.”

Providing a well-rounded college experience is a key component of the GCS Program. As a partner in the program, the Division of Academic Enhancement offers tutoring, workshops, academic coaching and other support to help GCS students transition to college life, achieve academic success while on campus and plan for life after graduation.

As a major component of the Commit to Georgia Campaign’s effort to remove barriers for students, the GCS Program is a critical element of UGA’s fundraising success over the past two years.

UGA-RaceTrac partnership creates new career paths for student-athletes

Student-athletes in high-profile college football programs might be thought of as the enviable “big men on campus,” but their positions come with a price measured in hours and minutes.

“During the fall, you have football obligations every day of the week including weekends,” said Daniel Harper (BBA ’18), a University of Georgia football player from 2016-2018. “Spring is a little easier, and by easier I mean you get Sunday off.”

If they’re not in class, they’re at practice. And if they’re not at practice, they’re at weight training. Or in team meetings. Or tutoring. Or volunteering at community events. And with whatever time is left, they try to carve out a personal life.

Those time commitments are more than worthwhile for the lucky few who land a career as a professional athlete, but what about those who will hang up their pads after graduation? Most employers want someone with relevant work experience, and when you only have three weeks a year to yourself, internships are hard to come by.

They used to be, anyway.

 

A NEW KIND OF INTERNSHIP

Last year, UGA’s Corporate and Foundation Relations (CFR) team partnered with RaceTrac and UGA Athletics to develop a new opportunity for football players: two-week “micro-internships” at RaceTrac’s home office in Atlanta.

“The purpose of the micro-internship is twofold,” said Rachel Patton (ABJ ’13), RaceTrac’s university relations specialist. “One, for the student-athletes to gain exposure into the workforce and build their network. Two, for companies to see how transferable student-athletes’ skills are from their sport to a full-time corporate job.”

RaceTrac and UGA have had a fruitful relationship for a number of years—UGA has the highest representation among college alumni at RaceTrac’s home office, known as the Store Support Center—so the door was already open for further collaboration. After a January 2018 conversation between Patton and UGA’s CFR team about RaceTrac’s micro-internship idea, things began to move quickly.

“When CFR reached out about this opportunity, I was excited about the innovative program structure and the possibility of partnering with such a large company,” said Leigh Futch (ABJ ’05), director of student development for the UGA Athletic Association.

Futch created The Georgia Way, a comprehensive career development program aimed at preparing student-athletes for success after athletics, regardless of when that time comes.  An integral part of the program is connecting UGA student-athletes to resources that will enable a smooth transition to the professional world.  RaceTrac’s micro-internships seemed to be a perfect fit.

“We were able to pull this together very quickly. It was truly a team effort,” said Patton. “From the initial conversation with CFR to planning interviews of UGA’s football players in April 2018, we moved fast.”

 

THE FIRST INTERNS

Futch and UGA Athletics worked with RaceTrac to identify upperclassmen football players who were majoring in areas related to four of RaceTrac’s departments: Reporting and Insights, Financial Planning and Analysis, Human Resources and Operations. That list totaled 16 student-athletes—including Harper—who were each interviewed by a panel of RaceTrac senior/executive-level staff.

“It was a little intimidating at first, but they were all so friendly and easygoing,” said Harper. “Later that day, I got a call that I was one of the players selected for the internship.”

Harper and three others became RaceTrac interns, working at the Store Support Center in May 2018. The four UGA student-athletes were joined by six Clemson University student-athletes, and each intern was assigned to one of the aforementioned departments for their two-week stint.

The interns were tasked with projects they’d have to present to RaceTrac staff at the end of the program, and they were immersed in RaceTrac’s corporate environment by way of orientation sessions, networking events, assessment workshops and more.

“I spoke with each player about their experience, and they were all grateful for the opportunity and more confident in their abilities to perform outside of the athletics environment, which was music to my ears,” said Futch.

For one of UGA’s student-athletes, the internship was more than just a valuable learning experience: Daniel Harper is now a full-time operations analyst for RaceTrac.

“I knew if I wanted a career at RaceTrac then I would need to treat my internship as a two-week interview,” said Harper. “I worked my butt off, made connections, and made myself known.”

 

BUILDING ON SUCCESS

Plans are in place to repeat the program with more schools involved and more student-athletes from all sports. Futch is fielding micro-internship inquiries from many of UGA’s athletics programs. And other companies are taking notice of RaceTrac’s creativity.

“RaceTrac has been an engaged and innovative partner,” said Jill Walton (BSA ’99, MPA ’03), UGA’s CFR executive director. “They’ve done things that other companies haven’t done before. They took the lead with micro-internships, and now there are other companies asking about how they can participate.”

The program’s success also speaks to the strength of the RaceTrac-UGA partnership and of UGA’s alumni network. Patton’s relationship with RaceTrac began when a UGA sorority sister made a connection for her at the company, and now, through these micro-internships, she can do the same.

“Working on this program as a UGA graduate means the world to me,” said Patton. “And to be a part of a company like RaceTrac, where our leadership and team members value the type of students that UGA helps to grow, is amazing.”

Harper, too, takes pride in his ability to “pay it forward” by opening doors for UGA alumni in his new position.

“Being a UGA alumnus was a dream of mine for many years, and I am extremely blessed to have had the opportunity to play ball and graduate from such a great school,” said Harper. “The doors that UGA has opened for me are limitless, so it is an honor to represent my school in any capacity. I wear my ‘G’ with pride every day.”

UGA alumni help set 5 fundraising records in 5 years

For the fifth consecutive year, UGA donors have set a new record in fundraising, contributing a total of $242 million in new gifts and pledges to the Commit to Georgia Campaign. This is the second consecutive year that the total has surpassed $200 million.

 


 

“I am overwhelmed with gratitude,” said President Jere W. Morehead, “and I want to thank each and every donor who contributed to this historic achievement. They are changing lives with their generosity and loyalty to the University of Georgia, and I am deeply grateful.”

More than 140,000 donors have contributed to the Commit to Georgia Campaign, which has raised over $1 billion toward its ultimate goal of $1.2 billion by 2020. The priorities of the campaign are to increase scholarship support, enhance the learning environment, and solve grand challenges through research and service.

“Bulldogs always answer the call to support other Bulldogs, and this record-breaking year of giving is proof of that,” said Bonney Shuman, president of the UGA Alumni Association Board of Directors. “We are creating the kind of future we want to see, and I am excited about the next two years and what it holds for us as we work to strengthen our alumni community. As the Commit to Georgia Campaign narrative says so eloquently, ‘Some call it going the extra mile, we call it being a Bulldog.'”

Through the UGA Alumni Association, 11 students are currently receiving $40,000 of support from the Alumni Association’s general endowed scholarship, Black Alumni Scholarship and study abroad scholarships. Through The 1961 Club giving society, donors to the Black Alumni Scholarship gave more than $112,000 this year to increase the amount of funding those scholarship recipients receive as well as the number of students receiving the scholarship. The Women of UGA affinity group is close to their $50,000 goal to establish a Georgia Commitment Scholarship, and the Chapters Scholarship Fund is expected to reach its endowment goal by the end of the calendar year. We asked some of our alumni volunteers why they give to their alma mater. Here is what they had to say:


Anne BeckwithAnne Beckwith (BBA ’90), Secretary, Women of UGA Leadership Council – “I want to help UGA students to experience the entirety of college–attending a university is more than just going to class. It’s socializing with your peers, but also with adults. It’s making good friends. It’s learning to give a hand to those who need it. I feel strongly that as a successful UGA graduate, I should try to help others to have the space in their college lives to do those outside things, which I can do by increasing UGA’s ability to address financial need. It’s hard to do more than go to class when you are worried about your next meal or where you will sleep next week.”


Derek Hammock (BBA ’15, MACC ’16), Member, Young Alumni Leadership Council – “The value of my education was not on my own merit. So many alumni will tell you their degrees are worth more now. That’s partly a result of private giving, which provides greater opportunities to students to attract the best and brightest. I give back to help current students have even better experiences than the incredible ones I had.”


Ericka Davis (AB ’93), Fundraising Chair, Black Alumni Leadership Council – “The impact didn’t hit me until I recently met a recipient of the Black Alumni Scholarship. Hearing from him about the impact the scholarship was making on his time at UGA, it was really moving.”


Todd Phinney (BBA ’88) Member, UGA Alumni Association Board of Directors – “My wife and I share our time, talent and treasure with UGA because this is our state, our university and UGA continues to give back to us, and our two children, who are also graduates. We are tremendously proud of our Dawg heritage, and for what this incredible institution does every day in Georgia, for the nation and internationally.”


Jessica Wallace Gray (ABJ ’11), President, Jacksonville Alumni Chapter – “I give back because I want present and future students to be able to experience all that UGA has to offer. I was so fortunate to have four amazing years at UGA, and feel so blessed at the opportunities I’ve had because of my time there. I want UGA to continue growing as an institution and to make sure that the best and brightest students have every opportunity that I was given.”


T.J. Snowden (BSED ’04) President, Black Alumni Leadership Council – “I’m committed to increasing diversity and black philanthropy at UGA. UGA has only been integrated for a little more than 57 years, so there is a need to develop and sustain philanthropic efforts among black students and alumni to aid UGA in its support of students of color.”


 

UGA gardens recognized as some of Georgia’s most charming landscapes

One of the finest things about UGA is its breathtaking landscapes. The book “Seeking Eden: A Collection of Georgia’s Historic Gardens” features three of UGA’s most recognized green spaces — the President’s House and Garden, the Founders Memorial Garden and North Campus.

Seeking Eden Authors

“Seeking Eden,” written by Staci L. Catron and Mary Ann Eaddy, takes readers through the rich history and current appearance of 30 Georgia gardens in detail and alongside beautiful imagery, photographed by James R. Lockhart. The highlighted landscapes were first recognized in the early 20th century publication, “Historic Gardens of Georgia, 1733-1933,” published by Peachtree Garden Club.

Seeking Eden book cover

The publishing of “Seeking Eden” was supported by a $75,000 gift from the Mildred Miller Fort Foundation in Columbus, Georgia. All proceeds from the book sales will benefit the Garden Club of Georgia’s Historic Landscape Preservation grants and scholarship program.

Order your copy of “Seeking Eden: A Collection of Georgia’s Historic Gardens” on UGA Press today.

Lady Antebellum members to deliver Commencement address

This article was originally published on UGA Today on March 6, 2018.

Writer: Emily Webb

University of Georgia alumni Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood of multi-platinum trio Lady Antebellum will deliver the spring undergraduate Commencement address May 4 at 7 p.m. in Sanford Stadium.

Denise Spangler, the Bebe Aderhold Professor in Early Childhood Education in UGA’s College of Education, will deliver the graduate Commencement address that same day at 9:30 a.m. in Stegeman Coliseum. Tickets are not required for either ceremony.

Hunter Smith, who will receive his bachelor’s degree in political science, is the student speaker for the undergraduate ceremony.

“We are excited to welcome Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood back to their alma mater,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. “They are multi-talented musicians who have impressed the world, and the University of Georgia is very proud of all they have accomplished. We look forward to their inspiring comments.”

Dave Haywood Lady Antebellum

Dave Haywood

Georgia natives Kelley and Haywood of the seven-time Grammy Award-winning trio have launched their latest single “Heart Break,” serving as the title track from their No. 1 sixth studio album, “Heart Break.” Their current release follows more than 18 million units, nine No. 1 hits, ACM and CMA “Vocal Group of the Year” trophies three years in a row and other honors including seven Grammys, Billboard Music Awards, People’s Choice Awards and Teen Choice Awards.

Charles Kelley Lady Antebellum

Charles Kelley

Both Kelley and Haywood received Bachelor of Business Administration degrees from UGA in 2004.Along with his success as part of Lady Antebellum, Kelley also earned a Grammy nomination for “Best Country Duo/Group Performance” for the title track of his solo record “The Driver,” and has penned No. 1 hits recorded by artists including Luke Bryan and Darius Rucker. In addition to multi-instrumentalist and producer Haywood co-writing four chart-topping Lady Antebellum hits, including the six-times platinum hit “Need You Now,” Haywood has also written for artists such as Miranda Lambert and Luke Bryan. The multi-platinum trio will team with Darius Rucker this summer for their co-headlining Summer Plays On Tour, which kicks off July 19.

A professor of mathematics education, Spangler also currently is interim dean of the College of Education. She holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in mathematics, both from Illinois State University. She earned her doctoral degree in mathematics education at the University of Georgia.

Denise Spangler

Denise Spangler

An award-winning instructor, Spangler is a member of the UGA Teaching Academy and is a recipient of the Richard B. Russell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. The majority of her career has involved helping elementary education majors learn to teach mathematics to children in ways that build on the numerical and spatial thinking that they develop from interacting with the world. She also teaches graduate courses on mathematics teaching and teacher education. She has graduated more than 30 doctoral students during her time at UGA.

Spangler’s research is tightly integrated with her teaching. She seeks to understand how novice teachers put into practice what they have learned from their teacher education programs, their experiences in schools and their own experiences as students—and how they balance these sometimes competing influences. The author of approximately 100 publications, including journal articles, book chapters and books, she has received continuous funding for her work since joining the UGA faculty in 1995.

“Dr. Spangler is an exemplary professor and administrator who has made a positive impact on the lives of countless numbers of students—from elementary school to the university level—through her teaching, research and service,” Morehead said. “She will provide a compelling message to our graduates.”

In addition to her teaching and research, Spangler has served on and chaired a number of committees and task forces at UGA. Additionally, she was an elected member of the board of education for the Clarke County School District for 12 years and served two terms as vice president of the board. Her national service includes chairing editorial panels for journals in mathematics education and serving on the board of directors for the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

For more information on UGA’s Commencement ceremonies, visit https://commencement.uga.edu/.