From one boss to another

The value of a high-quality boss can’t be overstated. From advocate, counselor, teacher and friend–a great boss wears many hats!  

In honor of National Boss’s Day today, we asked some of our young alumni volunteers to share memories and lessons learned from their favorite bosses. Take a peek at their answers below … and remember to thank your boss(es) today!

Raj Shah (BSA ’06, MPA ’06, JD ’10)

UGA Alumni Board of Directors

Title: Senior Regulatory Attorney, MagMutual

Favorite Boss: Jon Rue, Parker Hudson Rainer & Dobbs

“Jon is the consummate professional and is extremely well-respected for both his professional achievements and community involvement. He taught me the importance of always finding time to listen, how to be actively present, and that humor is key to succeeding in the workplace.”

Jasmin N. Severino Hernandez (AB ’13, AB ’13)

Outreach Chair, UGA Young Alumni Leadership Council

Title: Associate Attorney, Davis, Matthews & Quigley, P.C.

Favorite Boss: Kevin Bowen, American Campus Communities

“Kevin took a chance on me when I was a new student at UGA who needed a job to make ends meet. Some of my favorite memories of Kevin include: tailgating for UGA games; when he made me work the leasing office during the ‘snowpocalypse’ of 2011 because I was the only employee snowed in on the property; and grabbing Firehouse Subs with him and his son Tyler. Kevin was a great friend and he taught me to be bold and stand for truth.”

[Jasmin and Kevin at one of their UGA tailgates, pictured top of page]

Hunter Knowles (JD ’12)

UGA Young Alumni Leadership Council

Title: Corporate Counsel and Assistant Secretary, Oxford Industries

Favorite Boss: Anonymous Law Firm Partner

“When asked if a more casual dress code could be implemented to match the attire of our clients, the partner responded ‘If our clients were the circus, would we dress like clowns?’”

Collier Hatchett Collier (BSED ’10, AB ’10)

UGA Young Alumni Leadership Council

Title: Director of State Board Operations, Technical College System of Georgia

Favorite Boss: Matt Arthur (BSED ’83, MED ’91), Technical College System of Georgia

“Matt and I are both graduates of the UGA College of Education and my favorite memory together is attending the 2018 awards ceremony where he received the COE Lifetime Achievement Award. Matt has taught me that it is never too late to show someone kindness and that becoming a good listener will allow you to understand others and help you become better at what you do. Plus, Matt also played on the 1980 National Championship football team (I have a pretty cool boss).”

Noel Hardin (BBA ’15, MACC ’16)

UGA Young Alumni Leadership Council

Title: Mergers and Acquisitions Senior Consultant, Deloitte

Favorite Boss: Travis Grody, Deloitte

“Travis and I started our careers in Audit at Deloitte. The most important thing he taught me was to take ownership of the quality of my work. Your brand is based on the quality of whatever you deliver. My favorite memory of Travis actually happened out of the office. A common trend for auditors during ‘busy season’ is to fall out of their exercise routines and gain 10-20 pounds (very similar to the ‘Freshman 15’). We spent a month traveling for a project in Toccoa, Georgia. Travis was getting married soon after our time in Toccoa, so he couldn’t afford to gain busy season weight right before his wedding. Toccoa is a very small town, but we found a gym online. We went the first morning before work, and the two of us worked out in the sketchiest old warehouse/gym you can imagine, with the sketchiest trainer you can imagine … and never went back. We found a different gym, had a great month in Toccoa, and Travis stayed in shape for his wedding!”

Even if you aren’t a boss, you can still help guide a fellow Bulldog’s professional journey – become a UGA Mentor today! You’ll be able to connect with a student who is seeking career advice on your time, on your schedule.

20 Questions with ENO’s Parker Browne on National Hammock Day

Parker Browne Fishing

July 22 is National Hammock Day–a day to celebrate the simple art of relaxation in the great outdoors. In honor of this holiday, we checked in with UGA grad Parker Browne (BBA ’08), the international sales manager for Eagles Nest Outfitters, Inc. (ENO) in Asheville, to learn more about him and his path since graduation. Parker is originally from Tifton, Georgia, and earned a bachelor’s degree in management from the Terry College of Business.


Why UGA?

Two reasons:
1) My paternal grandparents met while attending UGA (Billie Gaskins Baker and Louis Davis Browne). So, as many students could say, it runs in the family.
2) The caliber of the school. What better in-state school is there?

Favorite memory as a student?

Sitting on the front porch of the old Jittery Joe’s Roasting Plant, discussing music and books with my close friends.

Parker Browne in Hammock at Jittery Joes

After graduation, what was your first job?

Vail Resorts lift operator, then security.

What has been your career path since that point?

After the seasonal jobs, I got into sales. I started with Grassroots Coffee Company, then Agilum Healthcare Intelligence. After that, I combined my sales experience with my passion for the outdoors, and landed my first professional job in the outdoor industry with YETI.

What is ENO?

Twenty years ago, ENO became the catalyst that sparked the hammocking counter-culture. With the creation of the DoubleNest Hammock, and the first ever hammock suspension system, ENO revolutionized hammocking and cultivated a tribe of nomadic adventurers across the US (and now globally!).

What do you do for ENO?

As the international sales manager, I manage and cultivate the relationships with our international distributors.

What is great about working for ENO?

I have been a fan of their product since my days at UGA. Now I get to sell something I believe in, as well as travel globally and get exposed to different cultures and economies.

Why do you think people enjoy hammocks so much?

As lives have gotten more complicated and connected, we need a way to relax. What better way than in a hammock? ENO made the process of set up and take down easy (less than a minute).

Where is the craziest place you’ve seen someone take a hammock?

One of my recent favorites is a group that built their own hammock stand out of bamboo and slept on a sandbar in the middle of the ocean in Hawaii. I also love all of the epic shots we get from the National Parks, a cause close to the heart of ENO.

What is your favorite ENO product?

It’s still the DoubleNest Hammock and Atlas Straps.

ENO DoubleNest Hammock

OK, so transitioning to a little about UGA and Athens … who is a UGA grad that inspires you?

Alton Brown (AB ’04)

What makes you most proud to be a Georgia Bulldog?

The connections I’ve made with Bulldogs across the U.S.

Have you maintained a connection to UGA since graduation and if so, how?

I come back a few times a year, and try to get home for at least one football game each season.

Favorite place to eat in Athens:

Amici!

Favorite book:

Trout Bum by John Gierach

Favorite movie:

The Big Lebowski

Favorite musician/band:

Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit

Favorite podcast:

The Dollop or WTF with Marc Maron

If you had $1 million to donate to UGA, what would you help fund?

Sustainability research in food production/agriculture

If a student was interested in doing something like you in the future, what advice would you give them?

Start in retail. Working for a local business (like Half-Moon Outfitters) will get you exposure to the terminology and ‘feel’ of the outdoor industry. It is also a great way to network with people from the industry, which is the easiest way to get a foot in the door!

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

UGA Young Alumni Night at SweetWater: A timeline

There was excitement in the air. A sea of red and black. Loud voices Calling the Dawgs.

No, it wasn’t a fall Saturday in Athens. It was a hot summer evening in Atlanta. I was at my (ashamedly) very first UGA Young Alumni event. Three years post-graduation and I finally made it!

Here’s my night in review: 

5:05 p.m. Hit the road to Atlanta from Athens where I sing karaoke all the way down 316.

6:30 p.m. Take a power nap because I can’t hang like a college kid any more.

7:00 p.m. Put on my best red and black outfit.

7:30 p.m. Meet up with friends and fellow Dawgs — some of whom I hadn’t seen since English 1001.

8:30 p.m. Request my Uber to SweetWater.

8:31 p.m. Take an Uber selfie.

Uber Selfie
8:55 p.m. Arrive at SweetWater and stop by the registration table to check in. I pat myself on the back for registering early since tickets at the door were more expensive ;)

UGA Young Alumni Night at SweetWater

9:00 p.m. (okay, it was more like 8:56 p.m.) Grab my first beer. Cheers!

9:15 p.m. Catch up with a college friend who recently accepted a new job at Cox Enterprises.

9:30 p.m. Tour SweetWater’s newly renovated taproom and learn that there’s 24 (!) beers on tap. Time to try another!

9:45 p.m. The bartender pours my second local brew.

10:00 p.m. The band starts playing Backstreet Boys so I obviously hit the dance floor.

Atlanta Wedding Band

10:15 p.m. Indulge in some barbecue from SweetWater’s new in-house catering kitchen. It was delicious!

10:30 p.m. Lead a group in Calling the Dawgs! My bark still needs some work before football season begins.

10:45 p.m. Pose with friends and UGA props at the photobooth — no, I’m not sharing those photos.

11:00 p.m. I have another beer … or two.

12:00 p.m. Close down the joint and request another Uber because #responsible.

The Young Alumni Leadership Council meets regularly in Atlanta and hosts events and programs  like this throughout the year. Learn more about getting involved. 

And, be sure to mark your calendar for next year’s UGA Alumni Night at SweetWater. Not only is it an awesome night of reminiscing, drinks and dancing, but a portion of my ticket supported UGA scholarships so I also felt good about giving back to my favorite university.

Congratulations, 2019 40 Under 40!

40 Under 40 Logo

We’re proud to announce the 40 Under 40 Class of 2019 today! This program, in its ninth year, celebrates the achievements of successful UGA graduates under the age of 40–a set of alumni who are leading the pack in their industries and communities. These young leaders will be recognized during the ninth annual 40 Under 40 Awards Luncheon Sept. 13 in the Tate Student Center on campus. If you’re interested, please join us for this special event.

Each Honoree Stands Out

The 2019 class includes a few names you might recognize:

  • Allison R. Schmitt, a gold medal-winning Olympic swimmer
  • Malcolm Mitchell, Super Bowl champion and children’s author
  • Will Carr, a correspondent for ABC News on a national level

But even if you don’t know the names of everyone on the list, you’ll still be impressed at the caliber of these graduates working in everything from law and politics, to health care, nonprofit and food and beverage. For example, Tim Fleming is Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s chief of staff and Catherine Marti is a cardiologist at Piedmont Heart Institute focused on heart failure and transplant cardiology.

“We are excited to unveil this year’s class of 40 Under 40 and welcome them back home to Athens for the awards luncheon in September,” said Meredith Gurley Johnson, executive director of alumni relations. “I am always amazed by the excellence of our young alumni. These outstanding individuals exemplify leadership in their industries and communities.”

The Competition

Talk about a competitive selection process: nominations for 40 Under 40 were open from February to April, and more than 400 alumni were nominated for this year’s class. Honorees, of course, must have attended UGA and they have to uphold the Pillars of the Arch: wisdom, justice and moderation. Additional criteria are available on the 40 Under 40 webpage.

“The achievements of our nominated alumni each year make it hard to narrow down the list to just 40 honorees, and this year was no exception,” said Johnson. “We are proud of all of these outstanding young graduates. Their drive and focus inspires the UGA community.”

Ok, Ok, Show Me the List!

This year’s 40 Under 40 honorees, including their city, title and employer, are listed below in alphabetical order:

The Event

As we said earlier, if you’re interested in attending the 2019 40 Under 40 Awards Luncheon in Athens on Friday, September 13, please register today! *If you’re an honoree, please use the registration link provided to you by the Alumni Relations team.

Five punny reasons you don’t want to miss UGA Young Alumni Night at SweetWater

We know you don’t really need an excuse to go to SweetWaterit kind of sells itself. But indulge us anyway. Here are five reasons missing this annual event would be un-beer-able:    

  1. Don’t worry, beer hoppy. What better way to spend a summer Friday than surrounded by fellow Bulldogs? Reminisce about sunny afternoons on north campus, be grateful you’re not spending your evening cramming in the MLC and count down the days until football season returns ( … it’ll be 64 from Young Alumni Night).

    UGA Young Alumni Night at SweetWater
  2. New taproom? Ale yeah! Did you know that SweetWater recently renovated and reopened its much-anticipated taproom? The new space allows for 24 different beers to be available on tap. Yeah, you read that right. 
  3. Hip hops. A local Atlanta band will be performing some of your favorite songs all night long. Pretend you’re back in Athens at the 40 Watt, Georgia Theatre or Hendershots.

    UGA Young Alumni Night at SweetWater
  4. Pitcher perfect. Take a selfie, pose with friends and make the perfect boomerang glass clink. Your Instagram feed will thank you.

    UGA Young Alumni Night at SweetWater
  5. You’re supporting students – thank brew very much! A portion of your ticket price will help fund UGA student scholarships.  

Bonus reason: FOOD.  

Let’s be honest – you don’t have anything planned for next Friday anyway. Grab a friend (or five), request an Uber/Lyft/Bird/Lime and we’ll see you there. Cheers! 

 June 28
9 p.m. to midnight 

First Father’s Day: sharing UGA and Athens with my son

Dear Son,

As Father’s Day approaches, and the reality sets in that I will get to celebrate this year with you, my son, I can’t help but think about how much I’m looking forward to introducing you to everything I love about UGA and Athens. Like…

Walking past the Arch and playing frisbee in the shady grass of North Campus.


Taking you to Sanford Stadium and putting you on my shoulders to see over the crowd to watch the Dawgs run out of the tunnel for the first time.


Tailgating with our family and friends all season long.

Smelling the nutty aroma of coffee and splitting Fruity Pebbles donuts at Ike and Jane.


Playing Connect Four and eating (too many) hot dogs at HiLo.


Ordering the Hermit Crab sandwich at Seabear. Because it’s on the secret menu and that makes me seem like a cool Dad.


Taking you downtown during Twilight to watch the bikes speed by.


Walking fairways at the UGA Golf Course, and teaching you how to stick an iron close.


Taking you to the Farmers Market on Saturday mornings to stand in the Farm Cart line to wait for the best biscuits in town.


Climbing the hill on Baxter to show you Russell Hall – where Dad lived his freshman year. Then over to Gran Ellen where I lived as a junior and senior, just down the street from our favorite spot, Memorial Park and Bear Hollow Zoo.

 

Thanks for making me a father, buddy. You’re a Damn Good Dawg (and son).

 

 

Love, Dad

Alex Bezila (BBA ’10)

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.

Class of 2019 sets Senior Signature record

For the third year in a row, UGA’s graduating class has set a Senior Signature giving record.

Senior-Signature-Record-2540-Donors

2,540 graduating seniors collectively donated $127,000 to the university through this fundraising campaign spearheaded by the UGA Student Alumni Association. Each student donor’s name has been engraved on a plaque in Tate Plaza in honor of their commitment to UGA.

“I gave to the Senior Signature campaign because of those who have come before me and given, as well as for those who will come after me,” said Nash Davis, a member of the Class of 2019 and president of the Student Alumni Association. “Giving to UGA provides opportunities that I myself will never have the opportunity to gain anything from and I think that’s what makes giving so important.”

Senior Signature was established in 1991 with just several hundred donors in its first year. Since that time, over 35,000 students have donated more than $1.5 million to UGA through the program. Each year, graduating seniors are asked to “make their mark” on UGA by donating $50. Of that gift, $20 is directed to the Georga Fund and the other portion can be designated to a specific school, college, department, program, or scholarship that the donor wishes to support.

Join us in congratulating (and THANKING) the Class of 2019 for this record-breaking effort. RING THE BELL!

Megan Reeves (AB ’18) is working to preserve the future

We all have favorite destinations: the sunny Miami beaches, the picturesque Grand Teton Mountains, The Great American City of Chicago, charming Savannah and the buzzing Big Apple. We want to share these places we love with friends and family, and incorporating sustainability into our lives ensures we will always be able to do that.

Megan Reeves (AB ’18) grew up with Stone Mountain in her backyard. She and her family spent weekends hiking, visiting national parks, and enjoying the outdoors, all of which sparked an interest in sustainability. The value of sustainable practices solidified for Megan when, as a communication studies major, she worked towards earning the Certificate in Sustainability at the University of Georgia.

The Sustainability Certificate, created in 2016, was a response to requests by students for more sustainability education in the university’s curriculum. The program aligns with UGA’s 2020 Strategic Plan that declared leadership in sustainability research, education and service would become “hallmarks” of the university.

“The Certificate in Sustainability provides students with foundational knowledge and leadership skills to create systemic change, add value to businesses, and improve the world. Our students learn by doing: working in interdisciplinary teams to develop sustainable solutions to real-world challenges and community needs,” said Kevin Kirsche, director of the Office of Sustainability at the university.

Megan Reeves and colleagues

Left to right: Dr. Ron Balthazor, Megan Reeves, and Melissa Ray

In Megan’s opinion, the uniqueness of the Sustainability Certificate program comes from the diverse coursework and the differing educational backgrounds of students united by a common passion for sustainability. The interdisciplinary approach of the certificate, supported by 10 schools and colleges, provides a holistic education for students, who take courses in three spheres of sustainability—ecological, economic and social—taught in an array of departments. At the program’s conclusion, students complete hands-on capstone projects that tackle a variety of sustainability challenges.

Megan has had the privilege of watching the program flourish from the first small cohort of 20 students to 160 current students. The program opened many doors for Megan. The most influential experience Megan had during the program was working as the Sustainability Certificate Intern alongside Dr. Ron Balthazor and Melissa Ray, both of whom oversee the program. During the internship, Megan met with a wide variety of students, spreading the word on the new program, and she worked alongside people she calls “the most uplifting and outstanding individuals.”

Dr. Balthazor says Megan “embodies the very best of what we hope for in students in the Sustainability Certificate program.”

“Like so many of our students, she sees the challenges we face with clear eyes and diligently and enthusiastically works toward solutions,” said Dr. Balthazor. “Her interesting mix of sustainability-focused course work and her experience in internships and our capstone project all give her perspectives and skills that she brings to her ongoing work in sustainability.

“She is, in every way, an inspiration to me, and I know she will accomplish so many good things. She gives me great hope.”

Today, Megan works on the Recycling and Waste Division team at Cox Conserves. This branch of Cox Enterprises focuses on enhancing sustainability within all extensions of Cox and the communities they serve. The division, launched in 2007, has ambitious goals, including being zero-waste-to-landfill by 2024 and carbon- and water-neutral by 2044. Megan believes her time in the Sustainability Certificate program prepared her to be successful at Cox Conserves.

Megan and Hairy Dawg

Megan and Hairy Dawg pose for a photo on North Campus.

Dr. Balthazor and Melissa remind their Sustainability Certificate students to “remember the why” behind sustainability: people. As a part of the sustainability industry, Megan now sees the value of this wisdom. It’s easy to get caught up in debates around sustainability, but we must remember the end goal: preserving the places we love for the people we love.

Because of her experience in the Sustainability Certificate program, Megan has two pieces of advice to others hoping to follow a similar path. The first: don’t be afraid to pick people’s brains, because doors will open when you ask questions and show your curiosity. The second: always go back to the “why.”

If you are interested in giving to advance sustainability initiatives at the University of Georgia, please demonstrate your commitment to Sustainable UGA.