"Future U" Conference

UGA Future U Virtual Event

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Join us Thursday, March 18th for “Future U.”  If you’re wondering where a UGA degree might take you, this virtual event offers you the opportunity to hear firsthand from UGA - Griffin alumni about their educational paths and experiences and about how their UGA degree has helped them along their career path. 


J’Lynn Baker Bachelor of Science (BS), Microbiology; Bachelor of Science (BS), Psychology

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J'Lynn graduated from the University of Georgia Fall 2017, doing the last 1 and 1/2 years of her undergraduate studies at the UGA Griffin Campus. She double majored in Microbiology and Psychology. J'Lynn is currently a second-year student at the Mercer University School of Medicine. When she graduates, she hopes to match into an Orthopedic Surgery residency. In her free time, J’Lynn likes to spend time with her husband and family.  She also volunteers with animal rescue organizations.


Avery Bray Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), General Business; Bachelor of Science in Family and Consumer Sciences (BSFCS), Consumer Economics

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In 2018, Avery graduated from two bachelor’s degree programs at the UGA Griffin Campus: the BBA General Business program, and the BSFCS in Consumer Economics program. While earning these degrees from UGA, Avery worked full time and was a member of the UGA Griffin Ambassadors, serving as President of the Ambassadors during his senior year. Avery also completed the William E. and Barbara H. Beckham Jr. Workforce Diversity Certificate offered by the Terry College of Business. After graduation, Avery has continued his education through UGA’s Terry College of Business’ Master of Business and Technology (MBT) program, which he will complete in May 2021. He is currently employed as an IT Professional on the UGA Griffin Campus.


Shelby Brown Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), General Business

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Shelby graduated from the UGA Griffin Campus in 2019 with a BBA in General Business.  Shortly after graduating, she moved from her hometown in McDonough, GA, to San Diego, CA.  She is currently the scheduler and a team lead at Chick-fil-A.  She plans to pursue becoming a Chick-fil-A Operator in the years to come. She is also a communications intern at her church, and in her free time, she soaks up the sun any way she can in sunny San Diego!


Daniel Callahan Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), General Business

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Daniel graduated from the University of Georgia - Griffin Campus in 2014 with a BBA in General Business. Upon graduating, he began pursuing a career as a Physician Assistant (PA).  After 2.5 years of working in the medical field and completing his pre-requisite courses, he was accepted to the South University PA program in Savannah, GA. After 27 rigorous months, he graduated with his Master of Science in Physician Assistant degree in March 2019. He then returned to his hometown of Peachtree City, GA, where he accepted a position in family medicine.  Family medicine allows Daniel the opportunity to care for patients of all ages and with varying complaints. He has been able to form close relationships with his patients while closely following their various acute and chronic conditions. Daniel is grateful for the education he received at the UGA Griffin Campus and the foundation it provided. This foundation allowed him to be successful not only in his medical training, but also in his current role as a practicing medical provider.


Emily Cesar Bachelor of Arts (AB), Interdisciplinary Studies; Bachelor of Science (BS), Psychology; Master of Social Work (MSW), Social Work

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A lifelong Georgia resident, Emily is a “Triple Dawg,” having earned three UGA degrees. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology in 2017 and earned her Master of Social Work degree in 2020. She is passionate about helping people and spending time with her friends and family.


Gina Duffey Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science (BSES), Environmental Resource Science

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Gina Duffey is a proud alumna of the UGA Griffin Campus, who earned her BSES in Environmental Resource Science in 2016. Currently, Gina is the Regional Food Safety Manager for McDonald’s, where she oversees food quality and safety protocols for seven locations.  Prior to her current position, she was an Environmental Health Specialist for the Department of Public Health for four years.  When she is not working or cheering the Dawgs on to football victory, she enjoys concerts, bird watching, and exploring the great Georgia outdoors.


Kevin Fidati Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), General Business

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Kevin grew up in Fayetteville, GA, and attended Gordon State College before transferring to the University of Georgia Griffin Campus to complete his last two years of college.  Thanks to the efforts of his Terry College of Business academic advisor at UGA - Griffin, Dr. Sonya Okoli, Kevin spent three summers interning at a BAE Systems, a multinational arms, security, and aerospace company. Now living in Canton, GA, and married to his high school sweetheart, Mackenzie, Kevin is employed as a Senior Sales Consultant with Infinity, a company in Roswell, GA, that specializes in exterior home renovations in the greater Atlanta area. In 2020, Kevin finished as the #1 sales rep at Infinity, selling over $2.2M dollars’ worth of products; he also finished #7 in the nation out of 3,341 reps nationwide.  Because it is crucial to learn the psychology of consumers and to understand how people think and how they make financial decisions, Kevin attributes much of his sales success to the psychology and consumer economic classes he took at UGA.  Kevin is so proud of his UGA roots that he and his wife rescued an English Bulldog and named him Herschel, in honor of UGA football great Herschel Walker.

Nicole Fox Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), General Business; Bachelor of Science in Family and Consumer Sciences (BSFCS), Consumer Economics

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Nicole attended the UGA Griffin Campus from 2016 to 2017 and completed two bachelor’s degrees: the BBA in  General Business, and the BSFCS in Consumer Economics. After graduating, she started working as a budget analyst for Pathways Center, a company providing mental health and intellectual and developmental disabilities services. This past January, she started working on her master’s degree in finance at Auburn University. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and playing disk golf.


Wendy Griffin Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science (BSES), Environmental Resource Science; Master of Science (MS), Crop and Soil Science

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Wendy earned her BSES in Environmental Resource Science in 2017 and her MS in Crop and Soil Sciences in 2020. While working toward her undergraduate degree, Wendy began working in the soil microbiology lab of Dr. Mussie Habteselassie and continued working under him when she was in graduate school pursuing her master’s degree. Her research focused on evaluating the impacts of turf care products on soil biological health. Wendy had many opportunities while at UGA, such as serving for two years as a mentor for the high school students in the Young Scholars program and working as a teaching assistant in Soil Microbiology for three years. Wendy believes that her time at UGA not only prepared her for her current position, but also prepared her to take risks and be persistent in her passion for research. In her current position as a biological scientist for the University of Florida’s Soil and Water Sciences Department, Wendy is working with an amazing team and finds every day to be learning experience. 

Abigail (Abby) Grubbs Bachelor of Arts (AB), Interdisciplinary Studies; Master of Social Work (MSW), Social Work

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Abby is a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) working with Brightmoor Hospice in Griffin, GA. Born and raised in Griffin, she always felt a desire to give back to the community. However, Abby did not find her calling until, as a undergraduate student at the UGA Griffin Campus, she was exposed to the profession of social work. Abby earned her bachelor’s with high academic honors (Magna Cum Laude) in 2017 and went on to attain a Master of Social Work (MSW) from the University of Georgia School of Social Work in 2019.  Abby has experience working with individuals of all ages in a variety of specialties, such as substance abuse, academics, and healthcare. As a hospice social worker, Abby helps patients and families navigate the hospice process, which includes providing education and emotional support, advocating for patient rights, connecting patients to community resources (like food stamps) and legal resources, and assisting with nursing home placement and funeral arrangements. 

Dr. Bethany Harris Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science (BSES), Environmental Resource Science; Master of Science (MS), Entomology; Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Horticulture

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Dr. Harris graduated from the University of Georgia with her BSES in Environmental Resource Science in 2013 and completed her MS degree in Entomology in 2015. While an undergraduate at UGA – Griffin, Bethany was also a member of the UGA Griffin Ambassadors program. Her master’s degree research focused on the importance and conservation of pollinators and the beneficial insects in southeastern landscapes. She completed her PhD in Horticulture in 2018; thus, she is a “Triple Dawg.” During her time as a PhD student, she focused her research on the use of biodegradable containers and their decomposition in landscapes. As Director of Education at Callaway Gardens, Bethany oversees the Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center and Callaway Gardens Discovery Center. In addition to serving as Director of the Callaway Gardens Volunteer Program, Bethany is also responsible for leading educational and horticultural programs and workshops for visiting guests, including K5-12th grade students. Her passions include teaching about pollinators and their role in our environment as well as educating all who visit Callaway Gardens about horticulture and the use of floral resources for insects.  


Katie Hooks Bachelor of Science in Agriculture (BSA), Agribusiness

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Katie graduated from the UGA Griffin Campus in 2017 with a BSA in Agribusiness, a degree that allowed her to enter the business world to explore her passion for working with people and her passion for agriculture.  After a few years, she realized that her greatest passion is teaching and agriculture, so she returned to college and enrolled at Mercer University, where she earned her Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) in Elementary Education.  She now plans to return to UGA within the next few years to start work toward a doctoral degree.

Christine Kelly Bachelor of Science (BS), Microbiology

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Christine is a Lab Manager at Speed Laboratory, Inc.  Christine trains and leads a small team of microbiologists in the Quality Assurance laboratory.  Christine has a firm belief in what she does for a living and in how important her job is to helping the community.  She has a BS of Microbiology from UGA.  Before becoming a microbiologist, Christine was a stay-at-home mother and wife.  She spent her time raising her son until he started school and decided to go back to school herself.



Paola Lopez Bachelor of Science (BS), Microbiology: Bachelor of Science in Agriculture (BSA), Biological Science

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Paola is a proud graduate of the University of Georgia, who moved to the United States from Colombia as a teenager.  Not long after the murder of Paola’s father in her home country, her mother decided to move Paola and her sister to the USA so that they could have a better life.  As a young child, Paola always found herself fascinated with medicine and science, so it is no surprise that she ultimately decided to pursue a career in medicine, knowing it would afford her a challenging and rewarding vocation.  To achieve her goal of becoming an anesthesiology assistant, Paola spent many years studying various science curricula and strengthening her resume with two years of laboratory research experience. While at UGA, Paola worked in two different research laboratories. At UGA – Griffin, she spent a year researching human intestinal parasites in the lab of Dr. Ynes Ortega in the Center for Food Safety. Paola then spent a year on the UGA Athens Campus in the lab of Dr. Vincent Starai, working on the study of E. coli and yeast.  Continuing her pursuit of her passion, Paola is currently a full-time operating room volunteer at the North Crescent Medical Center in Alpharetta, GA, assisting anesthesiologists, anesthetists, and nurses with operating room tasks.

Jessica Mills Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), General Business; Bachelor of Science in Family and Consumer Sciences (BSFCS), Consumer Economics

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Moving to Georgia during high school, Jessica stumbled across one of the hidden gems of Griffin, GA: The University of Georgia Griffin Campus. While completing her associate’s degree at Gordon State College, Jessica made plans to complete her bachelor’s degree at the UGA Griffin Campus. Her time spent at the Griffin Campus was invaluable, allowing her access to a scholarship, an internship, and many student leadership opportunities. Since completing her two bachelor’s degrees in 2018, she now works as the Executive Director of the local United Way and is setting her sights on earning her masters.


Colby Nordstrom Bachelor of Science in Education (BSEd), Special Education

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Colby is an alumna of the University of Georgia Griffin Campus, where she majored in Special Education. She is currently a stay-at-home mom who will return to work once her son is older.


Paige Peterson Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), General Business; Minor – Consumer Economics

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Paige (UGA Class of 2016) is currently a Trust Administrator for United Bank’s Wealth Management Department in Griffin, GA. Prior to this position, she was an Office Manager for her family’s small dairy distribution business in Thomaston, GA. In 2016, she was awarded the Iris Chapter of the American Business Women’s Association Scholarship. While a student at UGA – Griffin, Paige was also a member of the UGA Griffin Ambassadors program.


Jordan Piland Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), General Business

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Jordan was born and raised in Griffin, GA. He spent his first two years of college at Kennesaw State University. He was then accepted into UGA's Terry College of Business and completed the coursework for the BBA at the Griffin Campus. Upon graduation in May 2015, he accepted a job with IBM. Shortly afterward, he met the woman of his dreams and proposed within 45 days of the day they met. After three years at IBM, he took a leap of faith to pursue ownership in a well-established business. He is now a partner with an insurance agency located in Griffin, GA, that covers over 5 states across the Southeast. He considers himself a fortunate man as husband to a wonderful wife and father to two beautiful daughters: Sadie Grace, 3; and Finley Reese, 1.  His good fortunate will soon be even greater as baby number 3 is due in August. In addition to mentoring UGA Athens Campus students through their RMIN 5100S Commercial Property and Liability Insurance final project, he currently serves as a board member of IIAG (Independent Agents of Georgia), a board member of the Rotary Club of Griffin, a deacon at Community Church Griffin, and a member of the Commercial Lines Technical Committee for the state of Georgia.


Emilee Poole Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science (BSES)

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A Griffin native who is passionate about making scientific research accessible, Emilee is a PhD student on the Athens Campus of the University of Georgia in the Department of Entomology, where she researches emerging forest health pests and tree decline in the southeastern US. Before pursuing graduate work, she completed her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Resource Science at the UGA Griffin Campus in 2017. While pursuing her undergraduate degree, Emilee worked with researchers in the fields of horticulture and entomology to gain experience for her career. As a graduate student, she now maintains multiple research projects and teaches undergraduate lab courses while pursuing her PhD degree.  In her free time, Emilee enjoys gardening, hiking with her basset hound Freckles, and wandering through thrift stores. 

Septima Riley Bachelor of Arts (AB), Interdisciplinary Studies; Master of Social Work (MSW), Social Work

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Septima Riley, Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW), currently serves as Clinical Evaluator for Dekalb County Misdemeanor Mental Health Court. Ms. Riley is a “Double Dawg,” having received both a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies with a Psychology Concentration and a Master of Social Work from the University of Georgia. Septima believes the opportunities she had as an undergraduate on the Griffin Campus--participating in the Griffin Campus’ Psych Day and Criminal Justice Day conferences, engaging in service learning projects, conducting research, and learning in intimate classroom settings—played a large part in her success in grad school and beyond. While earning her MSW, Septima was named the 2019 MSW Student of the Year, co-chaired the Athens Social Justice Symposium, served as VP of Students of Global Social Work, and served as the research manager for Doing T.I.M.E. in Athens, a photovoice experience that explores with adolescents how to enact social change through the use of photography. Septima has taught Sociology at Gordon State College and served populations presenting a range of neurological and psychological disorders as well as emotional, behavioral, substance abuse, and developmental challenges. She continues to study how complex trauma impacts every aspect of our lives, primarily the physiological wellbeing of Black people whose lived experience involves systemic racism, poverty, and/or abuse.


Anna Studebaker Bachelor of Science (BS), Microbiology: Bachelor of Science in Agriculture (BSA), Biological Science

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Anna, currently a senior veterinary student at the University of Georgia’s College of Veterinary Medicine, will graduate in May 2021 with her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree.  She will then go straight into small animal general practice. Anna earned her Associate of Science (AS) in Biology at Georgia Perimeter College, which is now part of Georgia State University, before transferring to UGA – Griffin, where she completed her BS in Microbiology and BSA in Biological Science in 2016. Anna always wanted to be a veterinarian, so her goal throughout her high school and undergraduate years was to get where she is today!

Lee Taylor Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), General Business; Master of Business and Technology (MBT)

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Lee is a graduate of the UGA-Griffin campus’ Terry College of Business. He graduated in 2010 with a BBA in General Business. As a student at the Griffin Campus, Lee served as a member of the Student Advisory Council and worked as a student worker in the IT department. After graduating, he accepted a job with the Academic IT Department on the Griffin Campus as an Instructional Technology Systems Professional. In 2015, Lee was promoted to his current position as IT Manager for Academic Programs. In 2018, Lee was nominated for Employee of the Year for the Griffin Campus and also began pursuing a master’s degree. He graduated from UGA’s Terry College of Business with a Master of Business and Technology (MBT) degree in June of 2020. Beyond his role as IT Manager, Lee also works at his family’s local business, helping manage the accounting and providing IT support, as well as volunteering as a leader on the IT team at his church.