2022 Executive Board

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Sara Balian, Executive Director

Hometown: Alpharetta, Georgia

Year: 4th Year

Major: Finance and Management Information Systems

Email: swab.executivedirector@gmail.com

Position Description: As Executive Director, I oversee the organization, working to ensure all of the moving parts of SWAB come together for a successful event day. I work closely with each member of the executive board to help their ideas come to life and help with any problems they might face. I oversee our weekly meetings and serve as the main point of contact for all things SWAB related.

Why I SWAB: SWAB has been an incredible way to give back to the community we get to call home. After joining First Year Council, I knew that SWAB was not only an amazing way to get involved but would make UGA feel more like home. This organization has given me the opportunity to experience the Athens community and meet some of the most passionate and generous students on campus that have become lifelong friends. Through challenges, SWAB's members have continued to work together to promote this organization and stay connected with students and our community partners. I love being part of an organization that creates an event full of joy and am so excited to see what the future holds for SWAB!

Ally Whiteis, Director of Event Operations

Hometown: Dallas, Georgia

Year: 3rd Year

Major: Ecology

Email: swab.eventoperations@gmail.com

Position Description: As Director of Event Operations, I am responsible for planning the logistics of SWAB's Event Day. I work with our venues, transportation, internal members, and volunteers to make Event Day as seamless as possible. My job is to make sure that everyone is coordinated so that Event Day runs smoothly and that our organization follows safety guidelines to protect the mentors and mentees we serve.

Why I SWAB: After joining the first year council my first semester at UGA, I knew that SWAB was going to be an organization I would continue to serve with for the rest of my college career. This organization connected me with some of my closest friends and made Athens feel like home! I SWAB because it allows me to give back to an amazing community that gives so much to us as UGA students. It is amazing to see the impact that we, as students, can make when we work together. The genuine smiles and laughter that come from both the mentees and mentors on event day is something amazing to witness, and I hope that this holiday joy continues for many years to come!

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Drew Hoffman, Director of Finance

Hometown: Johns Creek, Georgia

Year: 4th Year

Major: Finance 

Email: swab.finance@gmail.com

Position Description: As the director of Finance, my responsibility is to make sure that SWAB remains financially sound. I manage the organization's overall budget and allocate funds to other executive directors. I am responsible for applying for grants and seeking sponsorship opportunities.

Why I SWAB: I looked into many organizations when I first came to campus, but I felt like SWAB stood out to me because of its involvement in the local community. I could see the members genuinely wanted to become a part of their new home in Athens. The work we do affects not only our mentors but also their families and schools, and really incorporates the student body of UGA into the surrounding population. Also, I have a deep passion for working with youth and want to serve as a positive role model.

Sydney Cottle, Director of Mentees

Hometown: Sugar Hill, Georgia 

Year: 3rd Year 

Major: Psychology

Email: swab.countyrelations@gmail.com

Position Description: I work closely with the 15 Clarke County schools that SWAB partners with to ensure that our mentees have the opportunity to participate in our event. I also communicate with the Family Engagement Specialists to help determine items that the children may need or want for the holidays from their UGA mentors!

Why I SWAB: SWAB was the first thing I did at UGA as a freshman that encouraged connection with the Athens community. My year on the First Year Council introduced me to an organization full of people that I love, and I have grown in my commitment to it and the Athens community every year! Though SWAB has had to grow and change with the demands of public safety over the last two years, I am still so enthusiastic about serving families and children in Athens in whatever way we can. Celebrating the community and seeing how UGA students can contribute to it has been one of the greatest joys of my college career!

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Kate Smith, Director of Mentors

Hometown: Dunwoody, Georgia

Year: 3rd Year

Major: Accounting

Email: swab.mentors@gmail.com

Position Description: As the Director of Mentors, I serve as the primary contact for our UGA students who serve as our organization's mentors. I am responsible for all things regarding mentor applications and background checks, mentor training, and mentor's role on Event Day. I send out emails keeping mentors in the loop about Event Day and anything else happening in our organization. Our mentors are so important to our organization and I am so excited to serve them all year!

Why I SWAB: I SWAB to give back to the local community that has become my home for the past three years. It's such a pleasure to be able to interact with the children of Athens who deserve to be celebrated not only during the holidays, but throughout the entire year. When I first joined the organization my freshman year, I instantly felt like I had found a place at UGA where I belonged. It has given me friendships with likeminded people who are hardworking, service oriented, kind hearted, and goal-driven. Being apart of SWAB is easily my favorite part of my college experience so far, and I am so excited to serve on the Executive Board again this year!

Brandon Pioso, Director of Internal Affairs

Hometown: Lilburn, Georgia

Year: Grad Student

Major: Accounting 

Email: swab.internalaffairs@gmail.com

Position Description: My position aims to facilitate efficient, intentional communication amongst the internal groups within SWAB including Committee, Ambassadors, and First-Year Council. I organize meetings to discuss internal affairs ranging from service events, fundraising goals, and bonding opportunities so that all member voices can be shared, heard, and celebrated. Fostering a community of open and honest communication ensures that positive leadership across internal SWAB grows. Clear plans, expectations, calendar items, and commitments are encapsulated via a new weekly SWAB-wide newsletter that spans our entire internal organization.

Why I SWAB: I SWAB to give back to the community and to celebrate the joy of the holidays with the children of Athens. I've been a part of SWAB for all four years that I've been at UGA. I started during my freshman year as a mentor; after seeing the amazing impact this organization has, I became more involved with SWAB by joining Committee. I am now in my third year on the Executive Board. I look forward to making this year's event day the best it can be. I know that we are still facing challenges brought on by the pandemic, but I will work hard to fulfill SWAB's mission and leave a positive impact on UGA students and the children of Athens.

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Riley Heitmann, Director of Mass Media

Hometown: Vienna, Virginia

Year:  2nd Year

Major: Management Information Systems

Email: swab.media@gmail.com

Position Description: As the Director of Mass Media, I am responsible for managing all social networking and design for SWAB. I create graphics, flyers, and merchandise that reflect the SWAB brand and mission. I assist in organizing photography and videography for our events as well. Also, I work closely with the Director of Public Relations to create a cohesive brand. Together, we strive to represent SWAB in a way that builds a sustainable organization for future Bulldawgs.

Why I SWAB: As a freshman, I came in from out of state not knowing anyone. I tried to get involved in multiple organizations to help establish a home away from home. However, SWAB stuck out to me. From the first minute of my first FYC meeting to now, I have found myself surrounded by like-minded, passionate students that have helped me create this home away from home that I had been seeking ever since I stepped foot in Athens. Being a part of the SWAB family and being able to give back to the community that has given me so much these past few years is truly rewarding to say the least.

Lindsay Kilpatrick, Director of Public Relations

Hometown: Marietta, Georgia

Year:  2nd Year

Major: Business Management and International Business

Email: swab.publicrelations@gmail.com

Position Description: As the Director of Public Relations for SWAB, I work alongside the Director of Mass Media to effectively convey SWAB's thoughts and goals to both UGA and the larger Athens community. I aim to promote the values of SWAB through writing statements, communicating with students, and utilizing our website and social media accounts. I help to maintain SWAB's presence in a manner that highlights our thoughts and goals as a growing service organization.

Why I SWAB: When I came to UGA in the middle of a pandemic my freshman year, I was in a rut. I was overwhelmed by the large array of campus organizations and this was especially hard to navigate during a pandemic where seemingly everything had shifted online. After my first meeting with First-Year Council, I knew that SWAB was home. The combination of the hard-working and compassionate friends that I made alongside the love for the Athens community confirmed to me that SWAB was special. I am so lucky to have found an organization that I consider to be family and I am so excited to continue to put forward our best effort to make Athens children smile this holiday season.

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Gabriela Johnson, Director of Fundraising

Hometown: Woodstock, Georgia

Year:  1st Year

Major: Finance

Email: swab.fundraising@gmail.com

Position Description: My job is to coordinate all things fundraising for SWAB! This includes organizing percentage nights and partnerships with local businesses, as well as fundraising events with other student organizations, coming up with creative, new fundraising ideas, and helping mentors with their fundraising in any way I can. The more money we bring in, the more children we can invite to our event day, so I am open to any feedback and all questions you have for me, in order for us to pull off the best event day possible!

Why I SWAB: I SWAB because it is a wonderful opportunity to make a big campus feel small. The best way to make any feel place feel like home is to give to those around you, and that is precisely what SWAB is all about. This organization is a constant reminder to be that the most fulfilling communities are based on service, as well as respect and compassion for one another. Connecting with other SWAB members, student organizations, and kids at event day have led me to amazing friendships and memories that I will cherish forever. I SWAB to uphold these values of service, respect, and connection in my new home, and to help others embrace the Athens community that I love so much!

Jackey Gao, Director of Recruitment

Hometown: Marietta, Georgia

Year: 1st Year

Major: Accounting

Email: swab.recruitment@gmail.com

Position Description: As director of recruitment, it is my responsibility to plan and organize effective recruitment events. I want to fulfill SWAB's mission of serving the Athens community and spreading the joy of the holidays. It is my goal to get as many students as possible to be involved in SWAB and serve this community we call our home together.

Why I SWAB: I SWAB because this organization gives me a chance to give back to the community that I am able to call home. Serving on the First Year Council was such a rewarding experience and it introduced me to some of my closest friends at UGA. I want to continue to spread the joy of the holidays to this community with the connections I have made through SWAB. I know there has been struggles with the pandemic, but I will continue to work to see the smiles of this community.

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Sejal Gandhi, Director of Event Creativity

Hometown:  Tyrone, Georgia

Year: 3rd Year

Major: Biology and Phycology

Email: swab.eventcreativity@gmail.com

Position Description: As the Director of Event Creativity, I work to create the theme and décor for any of SWAB's events. Throughout the year, I work with other members of the executive board to make sure our energy and passion shines. Through working with vendors and internal SWAB, I aim to give each mentee a memorable experience at our events.

Why I SWAB: When I came to UGA freshman year, I felt overwhelmed by the amount of people, clubs, and events. In a community so large, it is sometimes hard to be able to find your place. It was after my first SWAB Event Day that I realized I had found a little home in a giant campus. I have been committed to this organization since then, and I am constantly amazed at how generous, hard-working, and loving the SWAB family is. Each year brings a new level of joy and accomplishments, and I am so lucky to be able to work alongside such amazing people in order to give our sincerest efforts to the Athens community year after year.

Abby Cushing, Co-Director of Committee

Hometown:  Marietta, Georgia

Year: 2nd Year

Major: Criminal Justice and Sociology

Email: swab.committee@gmail.com

Position Description: As one of the Co-Directors of Committee, I work with Zoe Bunch to help lead a group of intelligent and outstanding individuals through planning and operating SWAB’s Event Day. This position entails interviewing members, writing emails, leading weekly meetings, and communicating between the executive board and committee. I am able to mentor and assist those on committee as well as share my love of SWAB with all of them!

Why I SWAB: I SWAB because I am passionate about serving the community around me. SWAB was the first club I became a part of and I fell in love with the organization and the purpose. My goal in life is to be a help to others in any way I can and SWAB allows me to work with others to give back to the amazing community of Athens. It gives me the ability to look outside the college bubble and feel a connection to Athens like no other. I love SWAB not only for its goal but for the people in it.

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Zoe Bunch, Co-Director of Committee

Hometown: Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Year: 3rd Year

Major: Genetics and Psychology

Email: swab.committee@gmail.com

Position Description: I work with Abby Cushing to lead a group of about 20 members of internal SWAB that are passionate about celebrating the children of Athens and broadening the impact of our organization. We conduct the selection process, hold weekly Committee meetings and serves a liaisons of information from the executive board to committee members. I love this position because I get to work with my Co-Director to lead and support a creative and driven group of students that show me what it means to be part of the SWAB Family.

Why I SWAB: I SWAB because when I served as mentor freshman year I realized how little I knew about the greater Athens community that I has just joined. Through my day at the SWAB event I saw the joy it brought so many children and the way UGA students were integrated into Athens, often for the first time. I knew it was an organization that I wanted to have a greater role in. SWAB has always been a mission driven organization and it is clear that there is intention behind every decision made. Over the past two years I have served on Committee and I have seen SWAB transition to new models to accommodate the pandemic while still living into their values of celebrating the children of Athens. The internal members of SWAB have created a strong culture of belonging that I look forward to continuing and being a part of.

Alex Arevalo, Co-Director of First Year Council

Hometown: Marietta, Georgia 

Year: 2nd Year

Major: International Affairs and Political Science

Email: swab.freshcochair@gmail.com

Position Description: As Co-Director of First Year Council, I work in cooperation with my Co-Director Sally Bae to welcome a group of first year students to Shop With A Bulldawg. Over the course of the fall semester, we guide them through the different aspects of our organization while simultaneously allowing them to gain leadership skills, become connected to the Athens-Clarke county children and community, and find their place within the SWAB family.

Why I SWAB: I SWAB to give back to the families of the Athens-Clarke county that have become a part of my community over the past couple of years. Seeing all of the joy and happiness that SWAB brings to so many people is truly incredible, and I love being part of an organization that has such a positive impact on the community. SWAB has brought so many amazing people to my life, and everyone involved in the organization is so overwhelmingly kind and welcoming.

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Sally Bae, Co-Director of First Year Council

Hometown: Suwon, South Korea

Year: 1st Year

Major: Business Management

Email: swab.freshcochair@gmail.com

Position Description: As a co-director of FYC, I am in charge of recruitment and directing First-year-council which is a part of internal group in Swab. I also work with committee, ambassador, and other exec board members for for event day and other fundraising event to be successful throughout semester as well.

Why I SWAB: When I first joined FYC, I had no idea what to do and how to start getting involved with Campus. Being in Swab, especially FYC helped me walk out of my first semester with many great friendship and amazing community where I gained confidence and support to start getting out my comfort zone and prepare myself for many different activities in campus. Also, after FYC I realized how much I fell in love with swab and wanted to stay in this organization which led me to apply for the leading position.

Elizabeth Moshiri, Co-Director of Ambassadors

Hometown: Marietta, Georgia 

Year: 2nd Year

Major: Middle Grades Education

Email: swab.ambassadors@gmail.com

Position Description: As a Co-Director of Ambassadors, I️ work with Josie to oversee 35 ambassadors with the goal of furthering SWAB's mission and fostering passion for the children of Athens. Ambassadors are the spirit of SWAB, as they fundraise, recruit, and spread our mission throughout UGA's campus and beyond. Josie and I help our ambassadors reach their goals within SWAB and make SWAB as joyful as it can be!

Why I SWAB: I SWAB because I wholeheartedly believe that the children of Athens deserve the world and more. As an after school coach at the Athens YMCA, I've gotten to know the children of Athens in a way that I never have before, and interacting with the kids has made SWAB's mission feel more personal than ever. I️ have been involved in SWAB since fall of my freshman year and was a part of my high school's Shop With A Wildcat all four years, and being involved with an organization that lights up the kids' faces so well even for just a few hours is such an incredible privilege. I️ am excited to share that privilege with everyone I️ can and hope to leave a positive mark on Athens!

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Josie Dennis, Co-Director of Ambassadors

Hometown: Charleston, South Carolina

Year: 3rd Year

Major: Marketing

Email: swab.ambassadors@gmail.com

Position Description: As Co-Director of Ambassadors, I work with my amazing Co-Director, Elizabeth, to organize and lead the internal group, Ambassadors. Ambassadors help SWAB throughout the year with fundraising, recruiting, and properly executing Event Day. Along with the leadership in Ambassadors, I also work with my fellow members of Executive Board to plan Event Day and ensure that SWAB represents our mission throughout the community.

Why I SWAB: SWAB has been an essential part of my college experience since I first stepped on UGA's campus. I felt an immediate connection to this organization and its mission to celebrate the children of Athens. In 2019, I was on First Year Council and was able to help plan and participate in my first Event Day. I loved every moment of that day and have cherished my time with this organization. Even throughout COVID, SWAB never failed to carry out their mission, and I am very lucky to be a part of this Executive Board. SWAB has truly changed my life, and that is why I SWAB.

Julianne Patterson, Director of Community Outreach

Hometown: Concord, North Carolina 

Year: 1st Year

Major: Applied Biotechnology

Email: swab.communityoutreach@gmail.com

Position Description: As Director of Community Outreach, I work to keep SWAB involved with the Athens-Clarke County community throughout the year. My goal is to ensure that SWAB celebrates the value and importance of community year-round through coordinating volunteer opportunities for our members and connecting them with our greater community. I am also in charge of organizing and leading corporate outreach initiatives and sponsorship programs for all of our events. This includes working with the community to obtain merchandise for raffles, receive monetary support, and gain donations for outreach drives specific to event day.

Why I SWAB: Coming to UGA from out of state, I was desperate to dive into an organization where I felt like I could be connected to my community and serve the people in it. Getting involved in SWAB my fall semester of my first year as a FYC member, I was able to meet so many incredible people who share my love of volunteering and knew I made an awesome decision to join. Celebrating the children of Athens-Clarke county allows me to feel a true connection with my new college-town home, and I feel so lucky to be a part of it all.

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Ava Grace Samford, Director of Campus Outreach

Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia

Year: 2nd Year

Major: Applied Biotechnology

Email: swab.campusoutreach@gmail.com

Position Description: My job as director of campus outreach is to facilitate relationships with other organizations on campus. I help coordinate opportunities for swab members to participate in other organizations’ events. I also serve as a resource for other organizations that want to get involved with swab, especially around event day. My main goal is to unite swab and it’s members with UGA as a whole and to team up with anyone who shares our mission of serving the children of Athens.

Why I SWAB: Coming into college, I knew I wanted to be a part of a service organization in order to appreciate Athens community for allowing me and all other UGA students to call it home. I was drawn to swab because of the mission to spread holiday joy to the children of Athens, but I stayed because of the people. The relationships I made with other members of swab is truly amazing. Event day has looked very different the past two years, and I was so impressed by swab and the kids’ ability to adapt and make the best of a difficult situation.