Callaway gift will help make the State Botanical Garden more accessible

A $1 million gift from the Callaway Foundation will fund a new visitor entrance to the State Botanical Garden of Georgia at the University of Georgia, enhancing access to the galleries, classrooms, collections and displays.

The new entrance will be an official gateway to the garden from the parking lots to the Alice Hand Callaway Visitor Center and Conservatory and will include an elevator, which will improve access for individuals in wheelchairs, pushing strollers or who have difficulty maneuvering stairs. Alice Hand Callaway was the wife of Fuller E. Callaway Jr., who established the foundation in 1943.

“The Callaway Foundation is pleased to be a part of this effort to improve the experience for visitors to the garden,” said Speer Burdette, president of the Callaway Foundation Inc. “Mrs. Callaway loved flowers and plants, and especially the State Botanical Garden of Georgia. Her wish would be that every Georgian could experience the beauty of the garden and discover the many ways it benefits the state, through education and conservation.”

About 230,000 people visit the State Botanical Garden each year and Jennifer Cruse-Sanders, director of the State Botanical Garden of Georgia, believes that number will increase by about 50,000 once the Alice H. Richards Children’s Garden is completed later this year. From the new entrance, visitors would be able to see the children’s garden as they wait for the elevator.

“This will truly be a game changer for many visitors to the garden, who often come with young children and grandparents,” said Cruse-Sanders. “We are so grateful to the Callaway Foundation for its longtime support and for continuing to help us make the garden a destination for visitors from across the state.”

Construction of the new garden entrance is expected to begin in 2019. The total cost of the project is $2.01 million.

The Callaway Foundation Inc., based in LaGrange, Georgia, is a private foundation that supports the charitable, religious and educational efforts of nonprofit organizations.

Writer: Kelly Simmons,

Contact: Cheri Duggan, 706-542-6654,

2018-2018 PSO Student Scholars: Emmanuel Ayo

Hometown: Lawrenceville, Georgia

Year: Senior

College: Odum School of Ecology, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences

Major: Ecology and biology

Unit: State Botanical Garden of Georgia


Have you had any internships? 

I have interned with Dekalb Medical, Piedmont Automotive, Sweetwater Science Center and the Drake Lab of Population Dynamics.

Where do you see yourselves in 10 years? 

In 10 years, I’d like to be pursuing a career at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), advancing water management and new technology.

Why did you apply for PSO Scholars? 

To learn more about community service in Georgia, as well as how to better myself and become a leader.

What do you hope to get out of this experience? 

I hope to gain good connections and information I can use throughout my future.

Why is service and outreach important to you? 

It’s important to give back to your community. Plus, a healthy community starts with a strong base.

Fun fact: 

I love Marvel movies and watch them all the time, along with reading all the comics.


Ayo gave a speech to the Georgia chapter of the American Public Works Association this July at Jekyll Island.

The Public Service & Outreach Student Scholars program provides the opportunity for a select cohort of undergraduate students to explore and engage with the University of Georgia’s public service and outreach (PSO) mission. Supported by the Office of the Vice President for Public Service and Outreach, and administered through the Office of Service-Learning, this year-long program is intended to provide deeper understanding of PSO’s purpose, breadth, and depth through supervised service experiences with PSO and communities, to help students link their public service experiences with their career and educational goals, and to create a community of student scholars who understand the role of public service in Georgia and more broadly.

Learn More

Dogged determination results in veterinary practice for UGA graduate

When Jennifer Peterson was young, her father, an architect, would draw designs for the veterinary practice she hoped to own someday.

While enrolled in the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine, she participated in what was then a new program—an entrepreneurial rotation that teaches teach future vets how to run a business.

Peterson was among the first vet school students to enroll in the program, led by Jeff Sanford, director of entrepreneurial studies at UGA’s Small Business Development Center.

When she graduated, she went to work a practice in Monroe but kept her eye open for one she could own herself. She found one for sale in Hartwell, but after consulting with Sanford, decided it wasn’t the right option.

After working for a while in Royston, she considered buying in to the group practice there. But before making the decision she called Sanford to see if he knew of any practices for sale.

Firehall 4, a veterinary practice in Athens, was on the market and the owner was in a hurry to sell, Sanford told her.

“That turned into a five-year ordeal,” Sanford says. “It was a challenging time to transition the ownership to Jennifer, but she saw the opportunity and refused to give up.”

Peterson left Royston to work on a trial basis for the Athens practice.

“That transition was a struggle,” she says.

Although the owner wanted to sell, she was reluctant to let the business go. Peterson persisted, working there nearly five years while consulting with Sanford on the sale. Eventually, she realized it might not happen, so she moved into another business.

“We find that for owners who start and build their practices, it is a part of their identity. It’s hard for them to let go sometimes,” Sanford says. “The owner gave Jennifer enough hope to stay on, otherwise she would have left a lot earlier. Jennifer didn’t take her eyes off her goal. She birddogged it and wouldn’t give up.”

Three months later, Peterson received a call from Firehall 4’s owner. She was finally ready to sell. Peterson bought the practice in 2015.

Sanford continued to assist, sending Dr. Peterson to resources that would help her complete her loan documentation and get established in QuickBooks.

“Jeff did a lot of business counseling, but the most important thing I learned from him was the value of being a doctor,” she said. “He teaches us to depend on our skilled staff, so we can be doctors and focus on our value—diagnosing and speaking with clients—and not get lost in the business.”

Revenues have grown 10 percent annually since 2015. A former UGA classmate, Kelly Laas, joined Peterson to expand its veterinary dental practice. The business now has a staff of 13, with plans to add another full time veterinarian in the spring.

“Ownership came down to the fact that I wanted to be my own boss, make my own schedule and focus on quality care,” Peterson says. “I also wanted to have a team that felt the same way and have people around me who were encouraging, helpful and thoughtful.”

“Ever since I graduated, I’ve felt Jeff was rooting for me,” Peterson says. “It was awesome having his advice and counsel the whole time.”

UGA focuses on building a healthier Georgia through collaborative leadership

The Athens Community Council on Aging (ACCA) is a repository for services geared to help older adults and their families with issues like health and wellness, hunger and transportation. The building on Hoyt Street that houses the council sees a steady stream of partners that have been cultivated from nonprofit organizations, state agencies and the University of Georgia.

It can be difficult to manage groups with such a wide variety of interests and accompanying viewpoints.

As a participant in UGA’s Public Health Leadership Academy, ACCA director of operations Erin Beasley developed tools to help her more skillfully balance the role of each outside group so they can be better partners.

“The range of partnerships you manage in the public health sphere is so broad, to accomplish anything everyone has to come together and work towards common goals,” Beasley says. “That can sometimes pose a challenge.”

“The academy provided concrete tools I can apply each and every day at my job, both in managing our staff and our partnerships.”

The University of Georgia J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development and College of Public Health, with financial support from Georgia Power, created the Public Health Leadership Academy (PHLA) in 2015.

Twenty-two health professionals from across the state graduated from the 2018 program on Oct. 17.

By developing leaders focused on collaboration and transcending boundaries, the leadership academy aims to improve health outcomes in communities across the state.

“Today’s health challenges are influenced by many factors, from our access to educational and economic opportunities to our access of healthy foods and health care,” says Marsha Davis, associate dean for outreach and engagement in the College of Public Health.  “We need to support leaders from all sectors that have an influence on health, to create collaborative solutions that address inequalities and to transform communities where health is not determined by zip code, income or ethnicity.”

During the nine-month program, participants not only heard from public health experts on trends in the field and networked with their peers, they focused on understanding their own individual leadership styles and developing collaborative leadership skills.

“Collaborative leaders understand group dynamics and process, help people reach consensus, successfully manage conflict, build trust and understand the need to be flexible to react as circumstances among the group change or new opportunities emerge,” says Carolina Darbisi, a faculty member at the Fanning Institute, who designed the academy’s curriculum alongside fellow Fanning faculty member Louise Hill.

“These skills empower them to bring people from across spectrums together to solve complex problems.”

Groups often overlook the importance of collaborative leadership, Hill said.

“When groups come together around a project or task, they often focus solely on the work set before them,” Hill says. “Collaborative leadership development recognizes that understanding yourself and understanding how to build foundational relationships among the group is a key first step for any group to successfully complete the task at hand.”

For Beasley, learning new skills for managing conflict and fostering difficult conversations was particularly impactful, she said.

“Putting these skills into practice gives me a more complete view of situations, both within my agency and among our partners,” she says. “It builds trust and removes conflict as a barrier, allowing me to focus on building coalitions and moving everyone towards our common goal to ensure our community is living and aging well.”

The College of Public Health is currently accepting applications for the 2019 Public Health Leadership Academy, which starts in February.

2018-2019 PSO Student Scholar: Grace Anne Ingham

Hometown: Madison, Wisconsin.

Year: Junior

College: College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences 

Major: Environmental economics and management

Minors: Ecology and Spanish

Internship Unit: Carl Vinson Institute of Government


Have you participated in experiential learning? 

I took a strategies and life skills class during Freshman College that had a service-earning component. I went to Costa Rica to study Tropical Ecology with the Odum School of Ecology.

Have you had any internships? 

In May of 2018 I worked as an intern for Friends of Indian Lake in Dane County, Wisconsin. I was in charge of ecological and historical preservation and improvement in Indian Lake County Park for the month. It was an incredible experience—on my first day I burned 15 acres of land. I got to work a historical dig site, scout new trails and work on invasive species management.

Where do you see yourselves in 10 years? 

I want to be an environmental policy writer, advisor and activist for a Spanish-speaking community. I would love to work internationally somewhere like Peru, Costa Rica or Argentina, but I think that there is just as much potential to make a positive difference in communities in the American Southwest.

Why did you apply for PSO Scholars? 

I wanted to not only make a positive impact on Athens and the surrounding community, but make lasting connections with other students, faculty and staff who have that same passion.

What excites you most about your unit? 

The mission of the Carl Vinson Institute of Government is so impressive and critical in today’s political climate. We need politicians who are trained in how to do their job, and given scientific, accurate information from an unbiased source. The potential for positive change because of CVIOG is incredibly exciting.

What do you hope to get out of this experience? 

I hope to learn more about the inner workings of our governmental system—the behind-the-scenes things you can’t get from a book. I also hope that I will be able to contribute something unique to the institute so I can make an impact nobody else has made.

Why is service and outreach important to you? 

I find fulfillment in serving others. I have always felt that my purpose in life to work to make the world a better place for others.

Fun fact: 

I love cycling. I am the president of the club cycling team, work at a bike shop and teach indoor cycling at Ramsey.

The UGA cycling team visits elementary schools for Helmet Talks, a presentation that teaches good nutrition, bike safety and the importance of helmets.

Ingham traveled to Chattanooga, TN this summer to race the River Gorge Omnium, where she placed third.

The Public Service & Outreach Student Scholars program provides the opportunity for a select cohort of undergraduate students to explore and engage with the University of Georgia’s public service and outreach (PSO) mission. Supported by the Office of the Vice President for Public Service and Outreach, and administered through the Office of Service-Learning, this year-long program is intended to provide deeper understanding of PSO’s purpose, breadth, and depth through supervised service experiences with PSO and communities, to help students link their public service experiences with their career and educational goals, and to create a community of student scholars who understand the role of public service in Georgia and more broadly.

Learn More

UGA helps sustain the coastal economy

Diversifying and adapting to change with UGA experts to help is key for coastal businesses

Orders come in overnight by emails and through messages left on Charlie Phillips’ phone.

By 7:30 a.m., he’s behind the desk in his cramped office-its walls papered with maps of Georgia barrier islands and marshes-entering orders by hand on a paper spread sheet.

A restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina, wants about 1,600 clams, while a regular customer on Long Island orders 3,000 to 5,000. By midday Phillips has taken orders for tens of thousands of clams, all farm-raised in the mud flats adjacent to Sapelo Island.

While he logs in the orders, employees on the dock wash the small clams that have just been pulled from the marsh in their mesh grow-out bags. Other employees gently empty baskets of harvested clams into a machine that will sort and route them by size into color-coded bags that will be packaged in boxes lined with bubble wrap. Then the clams will be shipped to businesses from south Florida to Canada.

Pivoting with the market

A second-generation Georgia fisherman, Phillips began shrimping as a teenager alongside his father, and later captained the boat when he took over the business. When the shrimp industry began to take a hit in the 1980s, he explored other opportunities. He replaced Blackbeard, his shrimp boat that caught fire and sank, with snapper boats.

But then a study showed overfishing had severely diminished the red snapper population in the Atlantic Ocean, and government regulations effectively closed red snapper fishing.

Phillips already had been exploring aquaculture, and had taken UGA Marine Extension up on its offer of grow-out clam seed for fishers looking to diversify their investments.

By 2009, he was in full production, harvesting 500,000 clams annually. Last year, his harvest was 2 million.

A long history of struggle

Spend time with the boat captains who have worked the waters off the coast of Georgia for decades, and they’ll regale you with stories about the good old days, back in the 1960s and ’70s, when fuel was cheap and shrimp were plentiful. Back then, shrimp sold for up to $7 a pound.

In those days, there were more than 60 shrimp boats working the Georgia coast, bringing in upwards of 6 million pounds of shrimp a year, said Marty Higgins, a marine resource specialist for UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant and first mate on the R/V (Research/Vessel) Georgia Bulldog.

The industry struggled in the 1980s, as fuel prices increased and foreign countries began exporting farm raised shrimp that sold for much less than the fresh shrimp from the Atlantic. Boats went out of business, commercial docks closed. Businesses supported by the fishing industry left town.

From boat repairs to financial planning

UGA Marine Extension became the go-to stop for a variety of needs. Higgins, marine resources specialist Herbert “Truck” McIver and Lindsey Parker, captain of the R/V Georgia Bulldog, sewed holes in fishing nets, welded parts back onto boats, and fixed mechanical issues when they could, so that the shrimpers could get back on the water as quickly as possible.

Marine resources specialists in Brunswick held a net-mending class for shrimpers during the winter.

Consultants from the UGA Small Business Development Center offered workshops to help fishers make financial projections and plan for the future.

Looking toward the future, Bryan Fluech, associate director of Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant, and McIver are working with McIntosh County Academy and Coastal Pines Technical College to develop a career academy program for high school students who want to pursue a career in commercial fishing. The program will address essential subjects that will better prepare participants to serve as crew members aboard commercial fishing boats in the region or possibly work in other maritime-related industries.

New on the menu: jelly balls

Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant also helps fishers expand into other areas.

For example, Georgia shrimpers, who have boats with sturdy reinforced hulls, can make money by catching and selling cannonball jellyfish, a seafood delicacy in some Asian countries.

In 2002, entrepreneur Terry Chuang decided to take advantage of the abundant cannonball jellies in the south Atlantic, and he opened a jelly ball processing plant in Darien, about 40 miles north of Brunswick.

At 6 cents a pound, the shrimpers have to catch a lot of jellyfish to make money. But it’s fairly easy work. They scoop the jellies up in their nets and drop them off at the dock. An ambitious boat captain can catch 110,000 pounds, earning $6,600, every other day, said April Harper, who manages the plant where they dry and salt the jellies before exporting them to Japan and China.

“A boat that normally would be sitting at the dock for six months is now active 12 months out of the year,” Harper said.

The UGA Food Product Innovation and Commercialization Center (Food PIC) also bought some for product development on a project proposal using jelly balls, said Kirk Kealey, FoodPIC director.

Clams ready to be sorted by size at Sapelo Sea Farms.

Another option: oysters

UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant offered another opportunity to diversify in 2015 with the launch of an oyster hatchery on Skidaway Island. About 10 people working in the fishing industry were given oyster seed, or spat, created at the hatchery, to grow out to maturity as single shell oysters.

The 5 to 6 million spat, produced as of this year, are expected to have a harvest value of $1 million to $1.2 million.

At Sapelo Sea Farms, Charlie Phillips also is growing oysters. They take more time and effort than clams and so far he doesn’t make much money off it, but he’s open to learning more about.

After all, he found his niche in growing clams when UGA began introducing that option to Georgia fishers in the late 1990s. There was a learning curve then, too. Today, he can buy 1.3 million clam seeds from South Carolina for $15,000. With a 40-50 percent yield, the harvest value is roughly $100,000.

“I diversified, which most people did not,” Phillips said. “If you don’t, you’re toast. I would not be in the clam business if it weren’t for Marine Extension.”

Writer: Kelly Simmons,, 706-296-0855

Contact: Mark Risse,, 706-542-5956

UGA wins national award for helping rural community sustain local health care

The University of Georgia has received a national Award of Excellence from the University Economic Development Association for its work in rural Georgia to save a local hospital from closing and to improve medical service for community residents.

The Archway Partnership, a unit of UGA’s Division of Public Service and Outreach, won the top award during the UEDA’s annual summit in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Oct. 21-23. Summit participants from across the U.S. cast votes to determine the winners after finalists presented their award entries.

“It is truly an honor to be selected for this national award by a group of our peers,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. “This is well-deserved recognition for our public service and outreach faculty and staff, who fulfill this university’s land-grant and sea-grant mission by addressing critical issues across the state.”

Taylor Regional Hospital in Pulaski County, about 50 miles south of Macon, was within days of shutting down in December 2015 because it did not have enough funds to complete a Community Needs Health Assessment of the hospital, as required by the Affordable Care Act. Without the assessment, the hospital would lose its nonprofit status and be forced to close.

The Archway Partnership and the UGA College of Public Health partnered with Taylor Regional Hospital to complete the assessment, with then-CPH doctoral students Ayanna Robinson and Sabrina Tyndal Cherry, helping to define the community and service area, create a community profile, conduct focus groups and administer a survey to residents of the area. The results showed a significant need for the facility and for the addition of a walk-in clinic for non-life-threatening illnesses and injuries.

Since Taylor Express, a walk-in clinic next to the hospital, opened in June 2016, traffic in the emergency room has declined by 10 percent, saving the hospital money.

“The work of the Archway Partnership in Pulaski County truly stands out as exceptional,” said Dr. E.R. “Skip” McDannald, who retired as Taylor Regional administrator on Oct. 1 and accompanied Archway Partnership faculty and staff to the UEDA summit. “Our hospital benefited and the outlook improved as a direct result of this partnership with the university and our local stakeholders through the Archway Partnership.”

Archway Partnership Director Rob Gordon said that, following the success in Pulaski County, UGA faculty and students are working in other Archway communities to address health care concerns.

“This is a great example of how UGA’s commitment to rural Georgia through the Archway Partnership is directly helping Georgia’s communities,” Gordon said. “We appreciate the long-standing partnership that we have with the leaders of Hawkinsville and Pulaski County and are proud that our work has made a real and positive impact on their ability to keep Taylor Regional open and to continue providing quality health care for their citizens.”

Interim Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Libby V. Morris said the project exemplifies how the university’s public service and outreach programs connect students and faculty with communities across Georgia.

“Participation in the Archway Partnership and service-learning courses challenges students to apply their knowledge to addressing the critical needs of our state,” Morris said. “These are the kinds of lessons that resonate with students long after graduation.”

Writer: Kelly Simmons,, 706-296-0855

Contact: Michelle Elliott,, 478-697-4522

UGA Public Service and Outreach appoints two interim positions

Matthew Bishop, director of the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development and senior public service faculty member, was appointed by Vice President for Public Service and Outreach (PSO) Jennifer Frum to serve as interim associate vice president for PSO through the end of the calendar year.

Bishop temporarily replaces PSO Associate Vice President Steve Dempsey, who is on medical leave.

Maritza Soto Keen, a senior public service faculty member at the Fanning Institute, will serve as interim director of the Fanning Institute in Bishop’s absence.

“Matt has several years of significant senior administrative experience in Public Service and Outreach and will easily step into the associate vice president’s role in the interim,” Frum said. “Likewise, Maritza’s many senior roles at UGA and the Latin American Association make her perfect for our PSO leadership team.”

Bishop was named director of the Fanning Institute in December 2012. In that role, he is responsible for the institute’s statewide work to strengthen communities, organizations and individuals through leadership development, education and training.

Prior to that, he served as an operations coordinator for the UGA Archway Partnership from 2008-2012, assisting with the program’s overall strategic direction and day-to-day management. He oversaw startup and operations in several Archway communities.

As a public service faculty member from 2003-2008, Bishop served as the institutional coordinator for the UGA Initiative on Poverty and the Economy.

Bishop holds a Ph.D. in public administration and a Master of Public Administration from UGA, and a B.A. in political science from Presbyterian College.

Soto Keen has been a senior public service faculty member at the Fanning Institute since 2002, and served on the institute’s senior leadership team and as co-lead of the nonprofit team. Her work focuses on leadership for nonprofit organizations and communities.

She led several initiatives as a public service faulty member in the Office of the Vice President for Public Service and Outreach from 2005 to 2011. Soto Keen served as director of the Latin American Association in Atlanta from 1984 to 2002, where she managed a staff of 55 and an annual operating budget of $4.5 million.

Soto Keen holds a Ph.D. in higher education from UGA, an M.A. in psychology from the University of West Florida, and a B.A. in Spanish and psychology from Queens College, City University of New York.

Writer and contact: Kelly Simmons,, 706-296-0855

Campus Kitchen at UGA collecting food for Seventh Annual Turkeypalooza

Campus Kitchen at UGA (CKUGA) is holding a can drive to collect food to provide holiday meals for older adults and families and homebound individuals.

This is the seventh year of the event, Turkeypalooza, a partnership between CKUGA and the Athens Community Council on Aging (ACCA). Last year 30 campus and community organizations donated 2,588 cans, boxes and bags of food during the drive.

This year’s collection will run from Monday, Oct. 29, through Thursday, Nov. 15. UGA departments and student organizations, and Athens-Clarke County businesses and civic groups are invited to participate. CKUGA will provide posters, collection bins and transportation services for participating organizations.

To participate, organizations should register by 5 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 25, at

The public is invited to help make handmade cards for food recipients on Nov. 3, 10 and 17 at the Athens Farmer’s Market at Bishop Park.

The ACCA raises money to buy turkeys for the meals and the student-run UGArden supplies fresh produce.

On Friday, Nov. 16, UGA Public Service and Outreach Student Scholars will pack bags of groceries to deliver to recipients to prepare at home. CKUGA students and community volunteers will spend Nov. 17-18 cooking prepared meals for those who can’t cook.

On Nov. 19, CKUGA and the ACCA will distribute meals and groceries to households in Clarke, Barrow and Madison counties. Last year, 230 families received bags of groceries and 150 received prepared meals.


About the Campus Kitchen at UGA

The Campus Kitchen at UGA is the student-powered hunger relief program of the UGA Office of Service-Learning. Each week, students transform unused food from local grocery stores, gardens and farmers markets into meals and groceries that are delivered to older adults and service agencies in Athens, Georgia. The Campus Kitchen at UGA goes beyond meal service by using food as a tool to combat senior isolation, foster community connections, and engage UGA students and faculty in developing sustainable solutions to food waste and hunger.


Brad Turner,, 706-542-0891

Nirav Ilango,

President Morehead visits Griffin-Spalding County Archway Partnership, emphasizes benefits of partnership to students and community

University of Georgia President Jere W. Morehead learned firsthand last week about the work being done through the UGA Archway Partnership in Griffin-Spalding County, including student-driven design and engineering projects.

UGA Vice President for Public Service and Outreach Jennifer Frum and Vice President for Government Relations Griff Doyle accompanied Morehead to the meeting with Griffin-Spalding Archway Partnership Executive Committee Co-chairs Chuck Copeland and Stephanie Windham and UGA Archway Professional Kristen Miller.

Dr. Thomas Hopkins, a member of the University System of Georgia Board of Regents also attended the meeting, which highlighted work done by UGA students in the College of Environment and Design (CED) and the College of Engineering to address priorities identified by the community.

CED students helped design a 12-mile master trail, created new signage for an industrial park and drafted landscaping plans for the City of Griffin. Students in the College of Engineering followed the CED students, completing the site work for the trail, which has been incorporated into the city’s comprehensive plan. Engineering students also evaluated two potential sites for an aquatic center and developed plans for the center.

Archway Partnership communities often are ideal sites for UGA students’ service projects because those communities already have a strong connection with UGA. During the 2018-19 academic year, 10 percent of UGA engineering students’ capstone projects are situated in Archway Partnership communities.

“These students are a tremendous value to Georgia,” Morehead said during the meeting in Griffin. “I keep hearing that over and over. All of these projects that our students work on tend to be community-based, which is great.”

In addition to projects, community leaders say intergovernmental relations in Spalding County have improved since the partnership began.

Archway-facilitated retreats and leadership training have helped improve cooperation between the county government, development authority, school system and the five cities in Spalding County.

“I feel so proud every time we meet, to see the way the elected officials work together,” said Windham, an attorney in Griffin. “That’s been the high point for me, watching that group together.”

“I don’t think any of this would have happened without Archway,” added Copeland, president of First National Bank in Griffin.


The Archway Partnership is a unit of Public Service and Outreach at UGA. It connects Georgia communities to the full range of higher education resources available at the university to address critical community-identified needs. Griffin-Spalding is one of 13 communities selected for the Archway Partnership since the program began in 2005.

Writer: Baker Owens,, 706-510-9622
Rob Gordon,, 706-542-3268

UGA grows education across the southeast with new Alice H. Richards Children’s Garden

Celebrate the breathtaking world of nature with a journey into dark caves brimming with dinosaur fossils, climb through a larger-than-life overturned chestnut tree, and soar above the tree canopy in a magical treehouse in the woods.

The Alice H. Richards Children’s Garden, set to open in early 2019 at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia at UGA, will be a groundbreaking destination for children to learn more about the wonders of Georgia’s natural resources while planting, climbing, crawling and skipping through a two-and-a-half-acre accessible environment.

“The children’s garden is an exploration, a journey, not something you just walk through,” said Jenny Cruse-Sanders, director of the State Botanical Garden. “Everything is designed with attention to detail and an educational component.”

Director Jennifer Cruse-Sanders talks about the fossils in the new children’s garden.

Named for Alice H. Richards, a charter member of the State Botanical Garden’s Board of Advisors, the children’s garden will officially open on March 23, 2019. The new attraction is expected to draw more than 50,000 visitors a year.

The garden is an interactive outdoor classroom for hands-on education. Unlike any other in the southeast, it is an experience crafted in layers, for children to explore under, around and through.

Teams of designers, local artists, environmental construction firms, and even the Nassal Company—a theme park construction firm responsible for Universal Studios’ Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and the Georgia Aquarium, among others—have ensured that every stone, leaf and flower is placed with intention. From climbing walls, to the fossils of a mastodon—the ancient ancestor of the mammoth—to musical instruments resembling mushrooms and a tree house in the canopy, the children’s garden teleports children into a whimsical world where nature inspires and delights.

The giant treehouse overlooks the woods around the garden.

In addition to introducing children to nature, the children’s garden will be used to enhance and expand upon existing programs, including classes, summer camps, field trips and more.

“The Dig and Grow Gallery will be used for summer camps such as Bee Smart Eat Smart,” says Cora Keber, director of education at the garden. “Kids will get the chance to plant different things, as well as harvest fruits and vegetables that they can cook into healthy foods. It’s all about discovering how what we eat is linked to our health.”

Keber and Cruse-Sanders point out where the water will flow over the granite features.

The Georgia Discovery Plaza area showcases the state’s ecology, industries and history. By pressing a button, children can watch water erupt and trickle through a granite map of the state from the piedmont area to the coast. The granite highlights an important habitat and industry in Georgia, and was locally sourced from Elbert County.

Gardens filled with vegetables and sunflowers—the children’s garden signature plant—are atop an underground explorer area. Children can look through windows to study soil science and plant roots. When seasons change, the windows will be replaced with interchangeable panels designed by Lamar Dodd School of Art students.

Sunflowers are the signature plant for the children’s garden.

The journey through the garden takes children through a fallen, giant chestnut tree. Children can run their hands along the bones of the old chestnut tree (the once plentiful, economic-driver that was wiped out by the rapid and devastating chestnut blight infection) before climbing up into a tree house overlooking the State Botanical Garden’s tree canopy.

“Everything is connected. Every feature of the garden intersects and connects, allowing everyone to leave with a unique experience and feeling that much closer to nature,” Cruse-Sanders said.

Colorful flowers by the gazebo, pitcher plants by the Monet Bridge, and a variety of insect sculptures will help educate children to Georgia’s native plants and endangered pollinators.

The family of Alice H. Richards, who died in May 2007, donated the initial $2 million toward the $5 million children’s garden.

“She would be beaming with pride at this,” said Jim Richards, Alice H. Richards’ son. “She would be following the development with tremendous interest.”

Writer: Leah Moss,, 706-583-0962

Contact: Cora Keber,, 706-542-6158

UGA Public Service and Outreach names 2018-2019 Faculty Fellows

New Public Service and Outreach Faculty Fellows for 2018-19 include faculty members from the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, the College of Public Health, and the College of Engineering. Each will conduct research with a unit of Public Service and Outreach units over the course of the year.

The 2018-2019 Faculty Fellows are:

Sung-Hee Sonny Kim, a faculty member in the School of Environmental, Civil, Agriculture and Mechanical Engineering in the College of Engineering, will work with the Carl Vinson Institute of Government to implement cutting-edge research that predicts future problems in road networks. These methods have the potential to change the way local governments monitor road conditions, by predicting and assessing needs in roadways before they become hazardous to drivers. Kim uses nondestructive testing methods, such as the Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR), to assess layers, debonding, presence of moisture and other factors that contribute to the distress of roads. Using Athens-Clarke County as his model, Kim will publish his results in a database with help from the Institute of Government’s Geographic Information Systems department. He will also develop a Georgia Department of Transportation Forensic Guide Manual to help other counties implement his methods.

Jennifer L. Gay, a faculty member in Health Promotion and Behavior in the College of Public Health, will work with Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant to study how human health and physical fitness can be used to promote healthy ecosystems. She will identify ways to link physical fitness to activities such as citizen science, ecotourism and volunteer opportunities on Georgia’s coast. She will study how litter and debris influence physical activities in public areas, as well as quantify the type and amount of physical activity that individuals engage in during Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant programing. In addition, she will help develop educational materials linking physical activity to individual well-being and healthy ecosystems. This relationship between coastal conservation and human health is known as the “blue gym.”

James C. Anderson II, a faculty member in Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication in the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, will work with the State Botanical Garden of Georgia to help develop Learning by Leading at UGA (LxL@UGA). Learning by Leading is an inclusive and experiential learning community for students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) majors. The program gives students the opportunity to intern at the garden, participate in leadership training, become mentors, and rise through leadership ranks within the community. Anderson will design, implement and evaluate leadership curriculum and training for Learning by Leading. This program will provide leadership opportunities and a support network for STEM majors, specifically those studying biological and life sciences.

Launched in 2011, the Faculty Fellows program provides professors with an opportunity to connect their research and course curriculum to the needs of a specific PSO unit. The result of the program is a sustained relationship between the designated unit and the Faculty Fellows’ departments.

Writer: Leah Moss,, 706-583-0964

Contact: Paul Brooks,, 706-542-3946


Campus Kitchen at UGA expands service to seniors with a boost from UGA classes

When her daughter passed away nearly a decade ago, Rebecca Richardson became the primary caretaker for her three young grandchildren.

The additional mouths to feed strained her already-tight budget. Thankfully for her, Campus Kitchen at UGA (CKUGA) was able to help.

“They provide,” Richardson said. “They help out those in need so they can focus on other problems. People have many worries, and Campus Kitchen takes one of those off our minds.”

The program, established in 2012 by the Office of Service-Learning, serves more than 800 individuals. With the help of students across UGA in service-learning courses, CKUGA has doubled deliveries: clients receive a grocery bag of food and a family-size meal once a week, rather than every two weeks.

Haddad and Trisha Dalapati pickup food donations from Trader Joe’s. The food will be transported to the Talmage Terrace kitchen and made into meals for seniors.

“The issue of hunger among seniors is not going away,” said Shannon Wilder, director of the Office of Service-Learning. “Seniors are a silent majority facing great needs. This is how UGA can address those needs and fill in the gaps.”

Out of the clients receiving weekly deliveries, 75 percent are grandparents raising grandchildren.

“Grandparents live on limited incomes and they don’t expect to raise kids at this stage of their life,” said Paige Powell, who directs the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren program at the Athens Community Council on Aging (ACCA).

More than 2.5 million children in the U.S. are being raised by grandparents, older siblings and extended family, many who aren’t their legal guardians and therefore can’t access social service programs for children in need.

The risk of food insecurity for grandparents supporting grandchildren is 50 percent higher compared to seniors in Athens not raising grandchildren, according to the ACCA.

Students involved in CKUGA collect food from UGA’s student-run UGArden, as well as from area businesses, and repurpose it into meals that they distribute to seniors in need.

“I like that Campus Kitchen works specifically with senior citizens,” said Trisha Dalapati, a UGA senior studying anthropology and biochemistry. “You always hear about kids with food insecurity, but seniors are an overlooked part of the food insecure population.”

CKUGA is also an example of experiential learning. As a program that started as a service-learning course, CKUGA is now involved in 12 service-learning courses in the 2017-2018 school year.

“It’s a great vehicle to connect faculty with service-learning,” said Wilder. “This is one of the few programs that reaches seniors as a population, and the demand for jobs relating to seniors is growing.”

Eunice Lee, part of the UGA VISTA network, and Grant Beecher and Wes York, Trader Joe’s employees, help prepare meals for CKUGA deliveries at the Talmage Terrace kitchen.

A Terry College of Business systems analysis and design class created a cloud-based data bank to make tracking food donations and deliveries more efficient. The system served as a capstone project and provided real-world experience on how to develop a technology solution to solve a client’s problem.

“This was an opportunity to work with a real client who had specific needs,” said Elena Karahanna, the Terry College of Business L. Edmund Rast Professor of Business and UGA Distinguished Research Professor. “We wanted to be sure this was not just a class project, but something that was sustainable and could actually be used by Campus Kitchen and the community.”

A new class of students continues to work with CKUGA, now designing a system to keep track of food donations, types of food being donated, and how food is distributed.

While CKUGA is addressing the problem, there are still families in the Athens area that need food, said Brad Turner, who directs CKUGA in the Office of Service-Learning.

“There’s still a great need in terms of senior hunger,” Turner said. “The amount of resources out there is not proportionate to the need.”


About Campus Kitchen at UGA



Writer: Leah Moss,, 706-612-0063

Photographer: Shannah Montgomery,, 706-542-3638

Contact: Brad Turner,

A UGA-assisted doggy day care and dog treat bakery in Savannah is thriving

When Tonya and Nick Rintye decided to open a day care and boarding facility for dogs, they went to the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for assistance.

They learned right away that they needed more than an idea to start a business.

“I didn’t have any money to put down on a business and didn’t know what I’d need to get it,” Tonya Rintye says. “They told me no bank would just hand us the money, that we’d have to prove we have experience and are worthy of getting the loan. We’d also need a business plan and financial projections.”

To generate funding, Rintye pursued another option: Making homemade dog treats.

“We called all the local farmers markets and found out no one sold locally made dog treats and grooming products,” Rintye says. “That’s how we got started.”

During the next year, Rintye read a lot of recipes for dog treats, and researched what people wanted for their pets. She began making dog treats, baking and bagging them in her kitchen. The couple launched their line of Hipster Hound treats at local farmers markets, and later sold them through Savannah-area stores.

Customers asked if they provided pet-sitting services, so they became licensed and insured and opened Hipster Hound @ Home Pet Sitting services.

In August 2015, Rintye returned to the SBDC and met with consultant Becky Brownlee, who is now the area director.

“I told Becky, ‘Here’s the money I put into this business. Here’s the profit we’ve made. I did all this in my spare time while working a full-time job,” Rintye says. “ ‘Imagine what I could do if a bank gave me a loan to build a much-needed doggie day care facility.’ ”

Brownlee helped Rintye apply for a loan from the federal Small Business Administration (SBA).

“We spent a considerable amount of time working on Tonya’s market research, business plan, financial projections, project costs and construction estimates for her loan request,” Brownlee says. “Zoning was also an important consideration.”

Within two weeks of finding the ideal location, the Rintyes signed a lease. On opening day in March 2016, there were two employees caring for 15 dogs.

Today, Hipster Hound Doggy Day Care houses up to 75 dogs a day and has 20 employees. A national grocer and retail outlets around the country are selling their natural dog treats. The business’ six-figure sales revenues have doubled each of the last two years.

A catalog company recently ordered 150 boxes of treats a month, prompting Rintye to look for a bigger kitchen. She is working with Brownlee to find a site and to establish a business plan.

“What’s the most important thing I learned?” Rintye says. “Just about everything. Like having a budget for building repairs and payroll taxes, and all the insurance products you need, like workmen’s compensation. Becky and the SBDC force you to do an extremely realistic projection.”

“I don’t know how people start a small business without the SBDC.”

UGA digital marketing boot camp helps rural businesses compete in global economy


A digital marketing workshop to help South Georgia entrepreneurs and small business owners expand their client base is scheduled Tuesday, Sept. 25, in Douglas, Georgia.

The UGA Small Business Development Center’s (SBDC’s) Digital Marketing Boot Camp is an interactive workshop where small business owners learn how to build their digital brands, expand their market and acquire new customers through social channels.

“The great thing for small firms with the advent of social media is their footprint can be much larger than just their local marketplace,” said Allan Adams, SBDC director. “Customers don’t have to be right there in town, or even in driving distance. The region, the state, the country and beyond can become their customer base.”

At the digital marketing training, participants learn the basics of SEO.

Participants learn how to leverage social media channels into sales, use search engine optimization (SEO) to gain a larger audience on the web and learn what tools are available to help them grow engagement on Facebook and Instagram.

Most importantly, business owners will understand how to create and implement a digital strategy, a must-have for small businesses to succeed in today’s digital world.

“(Digital) is part of marketing today,” said Debbie Finney, director of the UGA SBDC office in Albany. “You can’t ignore it. You have to have a digital strategy.”

For Bruce Roberts, the owner of ShotKing, a company based in Adel, Ga. that manufactures machines needed in heavy industry, he knew there was no way he could just sell his product locally.

Bruce Roberts, owner of machine manufacture Shot King in Adel, Ga. The SBDC helped him take his small town business to 22 countries around the world.

“It’s absolutely necessary for us to cover the planet,” said Roberts “I literally had no clue about selling internationally.”

With the SBDC’s help, Roberts was able to revitalize ShotKing, which builds machines pioneered after World War II to clean metal parts. The machines use shot blasting, a technique similar to sand blasting, where small steel pellets are fired at high speeds to clean metal surfaces. Today, nearly half of ShotKing’s sales come from exports to 22 countries.

“Having these folks at the SBDC to call on is great,” Roberts said. “We would’ve just muddled through without them. We’d be a lot smaller operation.”

This social media marketing program is sponsored by the Douglas-Coffee County Chamber of Commerce.

“For most chambers, especially in rural communities, the majority of their membership is small businesses,” Adams said. “We both had an interest in helping small businesses thrive. It’s a natural connection.”

In the last five years, SBDC-assisted clients have:

  • Opened 1,700 new businesses.
  • Created 12,000 jobs.
  • Generated over 9 billion in sales.

For more information or to register for the Digital Marketing Boot Camp in Douglas:


Photographer: Shannah Montgomery,, 706-542-3638

Lefty returns to the wild; UGA Aquarium gets new sea turtle ambassador

After spending his first three years at the UGA Aquarium, Lefty the loggerhead sea turtle was released earlier this month into the Wassaw Sound from the shore of the Wassaw National Wildlife Refuge on Skidaway Island, near Savannah.

Lefty hatched on Ossabaw Island in September 2015. The turtle was discovered as a straggler in the nest and given by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant to serve as an ambassador sea turtle until he was big and strong enough to return to the wild.

“When we first got him we immediately noticed that it was having trouble using its left front flipper,” says Devin Dumont, head curator at the UGA Aquarium on Skidaway Island. That, and the fact that the hatchling was left behind in the nest, inspired his name.

For three years, the charismatic sea turtle helped educate thousands of visitors to the UGA Aquarium about the importance of the Georgia coast to nesting sea turtles.

“Looking at a photo of a sea turtle or listening to someone talk about them doesn’t have the same impact as watching a live animal swim in the tank,” said Lisa Olenderski, aquarium curator and educator at UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant. “People are always amazed by how graceful they are in the water or how agile they are when going after blue crabs. Seeing them in person helps establish that connection and leaves a lasting impression.”

Lefty also helped advance scientific research by serving as a study subject in a project by researchers at Savannah State University that focused on improving environmental enrichment for loggerheads in captivity.

“We gained a little bit of insight into sea turtle color preference and food preference through the study,” Dumont said. “We learned information that could help us enhance their stay while they’re here.”

Undergraduate students at Savannah State University assisted with the study, conducting behavior analysis experiments designed to test whether sea turtles showed color preference among blue, green orange and yellow objects.

While preparing him for release, the aquarium staff fed him live food, such as blue crabs and mussels, so he could practice active foraging and hunting. With DNR’s approval, the director of the Georgia Sea Turtle Center on Jekyll Island attached number coded tags and a passive integrated transmitter to Lefty before the release. Both can be used to identify Lefty in the future.

On Wassaw, Dumont and Olenderski carried Lefty to the surf and gave him some gentle nudges before he swam into the water and disappeared.

Back at the aquarium, Neptune, a new straggler hatchling discovered by DNR in August, will make its public debut on Sept. 22 at Estuary Extravaganza, an event celebrating National Estuaries Week at the UGA Aquarium.


Four species of sea turtles nest along the Georgia coast. While loggerheads are the most common, they are listed as threatened by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Georgia DNR. After almost 40 years of conservation efforts at the federal and state level, DNR reports nesting numbers on the Georgia coast have been increasing dramatically over the last several years.

Writer: Emily Woodward,, 912-598-2348 ext. 107

State Botanical Garden of Georgia celebrates longtime donors at Giving Tree Tribute

Six longtime supporters of the State Botanical Garden of Georgia were honored recently during the biennial “Giving Tree” celebration that recognizes patrons who have given their time and money to the garden.

“We are fortunate to have a strong group of supporters who are so generous with their time and financial resources,” said Jennifer Cruse-Sanders, director of the State Botanical Garden of Georgia, a unit of UGA Public Service and Outreach. “They recognize the importance of the garden and its contribution to education, conservation and research for the university and across the state.”

James B. Miller Jr., a charter member of the State Botanical Garden board of advisors, was the 2018 Distinguished Honoree, the garden’s highest honor bestowed on donors. Miller, who helped establish the board, has shown generosity to the garden personally and through Fidelity Southern Corporation, where he serves as chairman and CEO. Miller lives in Atlanta.

In addition to supporting the International Garden, Heritage Garden, Flower Garden and Alice H. Richards Children’s Garden and the annual balls, Miller was one of the first to contribute to the accessibility initiative at the garden. He co-chaired the 1989 Gardens of the World Ball with former UGA Vice President for Services S. Eugene Younts, who recently passed away.

Three board members received the 2018 Southern Magnolia Award, which honors philanthropic contributions of more than $100,000 and continued service to the garden. The 2018 honorees are Martha Brumley Ellis, Brenda Magill and Sissie Morris.

Ellis has been on the garden’s board of advisors for 17 years, supporting the Gardens of the World Ball each of those years in addition to the Flower Garden and children’s garden campaigns. Ellis lives in in Sea Island, Georgia, and Highlands, North Carolina.

Magill has served on the board for 21 years, championing Orchid Madness, the Gardens of the World Balls, the children’s garden campaign, the Heritage Garden campaign as well as the horticulture and conservation funds. She co-chaired the 2011 ball with Betsy Ellison. Magill lives in Athens, Georgia.

Morris has been active on the board for 29 years. Her support includes the International Garden, Heritage Garden, Flower Garden and children’s garden campaigns, as well as the conservation funds and Gardens of the World Balls. Along with Charlotte Merry, Morris co-chaired the 1990 Gardens of the World Ball. Morris lives in Augusta, Georgia.

Kathy and Neely Young received the Garden of Georgia medal, the highest award for service and support. Kathy Young previously served as chair of the board and spearheaded the development committee of the garden’s most recent campaign, the Alice H. Richards Children’s Garden. In addition, Kathy Young co-chaired the 2009 Gardens of the World Ball with Betty Sponcler, celebrating the ball’s 25th anniversary with a book chronicling its history. Kathy Young and her husband Neely Young have also demonstrated support of the garden through the voice of Georgia Trend, a statewide business publication they owned and managed until 2017. The Youngs live in Marietta, Georgia, and Cashiers, North Carolina.

The Giving Tree event recognizes individuals committed to outstanding philanthropic contributions and dedicated service supporting the mission of the State Botanical Garden. This year, the Giving Tree Tribute is part of the yearlong 50th anniversary celebration of the State Botanical Garden. The 50th anniversary celebration also includes a signature plant, the native Southern flame azalea, known for its pleasant fragrance and fiery colors.

Writer: Leah Moss,, 706-612-0063

Photographer: Shannah Montgomery,, 706-542-3638

Contact: Jennifer Cruse-Sanders,, 706-542-6131


The State Botanical Garden of Georgia, a unit of the University of Georgia’s Office of Public Service and Outreach, has served the citizens of Georgia for 50 years. The garden attracts more than 230,000 visitors annually. With walking trails, garden displays and educational initiatives, the State Botanical Garden of Georgia is dedicated to inspiring, educating and conserving.

UGA’s interpreter programs help improve non-English speaking residents access to healthcare


For some Georgia residents, the key to quality healthcare isn’t dependent upon the doctor or facility.

It’s dependent upon the interpreter.

“What’s happening here is often a life and death situation,” said Michele Pirkle, executive director of patient family experience at Grady Health System.  “We must ensure that the interpreter can not only have a conversation with someone in another language, but they convey very technical medical terminology with no room for error.”

About 50,000 native Koreans live in Gwinnett County. In response to this growing population, the UGA Center for Continuing Education & Hotel, a unit of UGA Public Service and Outreach, began offering the Korean/English Medical Interpreter Certificate (KEMI) in 2012. This 40-hour course meets five Saturdays at the UGA Gwinnett Campus.

Participation in the program allows students to work as an interpreter for a year before taking the National Council on Interpretation in Health Care exam. The KEMI was modeled after the highly successful Spanish/English Medical Interpreter Certificate, which has been offered by the Georgia Center for more than a decade.

Medical interpretation is often an overlooked part of healthcare, said Grace Cruz, a Korean-English freelance medical interpreter.

“Often, I interpret between children and parents,” Cruz said. “Parents don’t know English, children don’t know Korean. They can get by in day-to-day conversations, but the actual diagnosis cannot be interpreted by children. When people use a family member, assumptions are made, mistakes are made.”

“The most important thing I teach my students is ethics and culture,” said Cruz. “In sensitive fields like mental health, untrained interpreters don’t know how to convey the questions in a way someone from Korea would understand.”

During the course, Cruz (left) uses role-playing to act out scenarios like a medical examination.

KEMI is unique because it offers one-on-one instruction instead of an online course, like other programs. Students roleplay different scenarios, participate in interactive activities and discuss challenges with Cruz, who’s been practicing as a medical interpreter for 12 years.

While healthcare systems like Grady may rely on video or phone sessions when in-person interpreters aren’t available, the effectiveness of face-to-face interpreters can’t be stressed enough for languages like Korean (languages that rely on visual cues, such as American Sign Language, benefit from having a video option).

“In-person is much different than video, especially if it’s a situation in trauma,” said David Lee, a Spanish and Korean interpreter for Grady Health System. “You need to be really quick and express very clearly what is going on.”

“There are language apps, but we cannot depend on that,” Cruz said. “I’ve seen worst-case scenarios come out of that.”

Cruz and Lee believe the need for this training will increase with the influx of Korean residents.

“The demand is here,” Cruz said. “More and more people are coming over here from Korea, and when they go to the hospital, they will need an interpreter.”

So far 450 people have enrolled in the Korean interpreter program, more than half from Gwinnett County. Others have been from counties near Gwinnett, including Athens-Clarke County.

“Medical interpretation is a facet of healthcare that needs more attention,” Pirkle said. “What interpreters do is a vital piece of the healthcare industry.”

The next Korean-English Medical Certificate program will be offered Sept. 29 – Oct. 27, 2018, at the UGA Gwinnett Campus.


Learn more about the KEMI

Find out about other interpreter programs:


Writer: Leah Moss,, 706-612-0063

Photographer: Shannah Montgomery,, 706-542-3638