Former UGA students returned to campus on Feb. 9 to talk about their experience with the Archway Partnership and how it helped them along their career paths.

“I probably can not speak enough to how beneficial my experience at Archway has been,” said Katie Wargo, who now works at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. “While I was here at UGA I was able to put into practice what I was learning in the classroom with my Archway projects. … I believe the skills and experience I gained from my Archway projects, I’ve been able to contribute on a greater scale at the CDC and it’s definitely allowed me to be successful in my role.”

Wargo and alumnus Charlie Simpson joined Lenie George, now a doctoral student at UGA, for a panel discussion during the annual Archway Partnership Summit, which brings together Archway professionals and community leaders to discuss projects in Archway Partnership counties.

The summit, held at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education Hotel and Conference Center, highlighted student projects, and provided a setting for group discussions on topics including workforce development, community leadership, tourism, and health and wellness.

Archway Partnership Director Rob Gordon said the summit is designed to help Archway participants from across the state share best practices and discuss ways in which they successfully tackle common problems in their communities. It also provides an opportunity to showcase the impact Archway has on people throughout the state and on UGA students.

“It’s wonderful to hear that (the students’) experience in Archway Partnership both enhanced their instruction while they’re a student at the University of Georgia but also translates to their success in their careers,” Gordon said. “They can use the lessons they learned in the Archway Partnership and apply them directly to what they’re doing now.”

The Archway Partnership, a unit of Public Service and Outreach, began in 2005 as a way to connect the resources of UGA with areas of the state that had economic and community development needs. Archway Partnerships have been formed in 12 Georgia counties with nine still active.