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2023 Executive Board

 

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Alex Arevalo, Executive Director

HometownMarietta, Georgia

Year: 3rd Year

Majors: Political Science and International Affairs

Email: executivedirector@swabuga.org

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: 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 into my life, and everyone involved in the organization is so overwhelmingly kind and welcoming.

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Elizabeth Moshiri, Internal Director

Hometown: Marietta, Georgia

Year: 3rd Year

Major: Math and Science Middle Grades Education 

Email: internaldirector@swabuga.org

Position Description: I ensure that SWAB’s internal groups run smoothly and support internal co-directors in any way that they need. 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. 

Why I SWAB: I SWAB because the children of Athens put a smile on my face like no other people can. Being in local schools for my major has opened my eyes to what the children of Athens are interested in, successful in, and what their struggles are. I love seeing the kids happy, and showing up for them, whether it be in the classroom, with SWAB, or at any other community event, puts a smile on all of their faces.

Ava Grace Samford, External Director

Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia

Year: 3rd Year

Major: Applied Biotech, emphasis in Animal Science 

Email: externaldirector@swabuga.org

Position Description: I oversee all of the external positions, including Campus Outreach, Community Outreach, and Recruitment. I am responsible for supervising their communication with people outside of SWAB and helping them with anything they need. I am also in charge of planning any events besides Event Day, including out spring fundraising event.

Why I SWAB: I started SWAB because it seemed like a great opportunity to get involved with the Athens community outside of UGA. I continued SWAB after seeing how happy the kids get when they get to pick out the presents they want. In addition to celebrating the children of Athens, I will forever love SWAB because of the SWAB family.

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Lindsay Kilpatrick, Director of Event Operations

Hometown: Marietta, Georgia

Year: 3rd Year

Majors: Business Management, Management Information Systems and International Business

Email: eventops@swabuga.org

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: 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.

Kaimet Haile, Director of Mentees

Hometown: Clarkston, Georgia 

Year: 2nd Year 

Majors: Economics and Cognitive Science

Email: mentees@swabuga.org

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: I SWAB to give back to the Athens community, the city which I now call home. Coming into UGA I knew I wanted to get involved in local community service, as I know how much of an impact such organizations had in my own hometown. After joining SWAB’s First Year Council my freshman year 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 has afforded me the opportunity to get to know the community around my campus and work with the diligent people within SWAB that create and maintain the connection. Since my first one freshman year, SWAB’s event day has been a day I look forward to every Fall Semester. Spreading and sharing holiday joy and cheer with the children of Athens is one of those experiences where you just have to be there. I am beyond excited to be serving on the Executive Board this year to further SWAB’s mission.

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Abby Cushing, Director of Mentors

Hometown: Marietta, Georgia

Year: 3rd Year

Majors: Sociology and Criminal Justice

Email: mentors@swabuga.org

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. 

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 at UGA, and I fell in love with the organization and its purpose. My goal in life is to be a help to others in any way I can and SWAB allows me to give back to the amazing community surrounding UGA. 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. The people in SWAB are not only hard-working and dedicated but the most lovely group of people I have ever met. It is a pleasure to work alongside such an amazing team.

Jackey Gao, Director of Finance

Hometown: Marietta, Georgia

Year: 2nd Year

Majors: Accounting and Management Information Systems

Email: finance@swabuga.org

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 SWAB because it is an amazing opportunity to give back to the Athens community. SWAB was the first club I joined during my freshman year and it has introduced me to some of my closest friends at UGA. It has given me friendships with like-minded people who are hardworking, service-oriented, kind-hearted and goal-driven. I believe that every child deserves to have memories of celebrating the holidays and it is a pleasure to be in an organization that aims to achieve that mission. It is amazing to see the impact that we, as students, can make when we work together. Being a part 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.

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Jin Lee, Director of Mass Media

Hometown: Johns Creek, Georgia

Year:  3rd Year

Major: Public Relations

Email: media@swabuga.org

Position Description: As the Director of Mass Media, I collaborate with the director of PR to communicate SWAB's mission and values through a variety of mediums. Some of my responsibilities entail creating social media graphics, designing merchandise, and ensuring a cohesive overall digital presence that reflects SWAB's work in the community.

Why I SWAB: I SWAB for the kids. I love celebrating the children of Athens whilst cultivating meaningful relationships with other students at UGA who share the same passion for service. From Event Day to other auxiliary service opportunities throughout the year, there are so many ways to give back. I am constantly in awe of the tenacity of other members and they inspire me to be a better leader in my community.

Caroline Kostuch, Director of Public Relations

Hometown: Hamilton, Georgia

Year:  2nd Year

Majors: Journalism and Communication Studies

Email: pr@swabuga.org

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

Why I SWAB: I first joined SWAB on first-year council and quickly realized that SWAB is much more than an organization, it is a community. Not only does SWAB connect me to a tight knit community on campus, but it has also encouraged me to reach parts of the Athens-Clarke County community that I would not have without SWAB. Everyone involved in SWAB is truly passionate about giving back to Athens during their time at UGA and it shows in everything they do. This organization is filled with people who not only find happiness in serving their community, but who also are grateful for the opportunity to give back and engage through SWAB's mission.

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Alexa Miskel, Director of Fundraising

Hometown: Marietta, Georgia

Year:  2nd Year

Major: Finance and International Business

Email: fundraising@swabuga.org

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 we fundraise as an organization, the more children we can invite to our event day.

Why I SWAB: At Event Day 2022, I had the absolute best time helping out with wrapping and shopping with a mentee. After being an Ambassador, I knew that I wanted to be involved with SWAB as much as I could because of how much I enjoyed serving at Event Day. I am so honored to be helping this year in the Director of Fundraising role because I am determined to try my best to make raising money for mentors as easy as possible. SWAB is the most amazing organization, and I am so happy to be serving in any way I can.

Emily Theisen, Director of Event Creativity

Hometown: Suwanee, Georgia

Year: 3rd Year

Major: Biology

Email: creativity@swabuga.org

Position Description: As Director of Event Creativity, it is my responsibility to create the theme and decorations for all things SWAB. I work with other internal SWAB members to bring our creative vision to life. By coordinating with other executive board members and vendors, I aim to bring spirit and creativity to our Event Day so that all of our mentees have a memorable experience.

Why I SWAB: Starting my first year at UGA, I knew I wanted to join an organization that directly gave back to the Athens community. When I heard about SWAB, I knew this was a great way to foster relationships between the students of UGA and the students in Athens. After joining First Year Council, I saw just how invested the people of internal SWAB are in this organization. I'm so thankful for the amazing memories and fulfillment SWAB has provided me so far in my college experience.

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Julianne Patterson, Co-Director of Recruitment

Hometown: Concord, North Carolina

Year: 2nd Year

Major: Applied Biotech, emphasis in Plant Sciences

Email: recruitment@swabuga.org

Position Description: As a Co-Director of recruitment, it is my responsibility to plan and organize effective recruitment events around campus to increase our Mentor numbers. I work together with Co-Director Ria Doshi to ensure that we reach all of the clubs, groups, classes and individuals on campus while communicating our mission of serving the children of Athens and spreading the joy of the holidays to everyone.

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 I knew I made the right 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. I have cherished every second in this org and have found a family within it, all from a shared love of Athens.

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Ria Doshi, Co-Director of Recruitment

Hometown: Columbus, Georgia

Year: 2nd Year

Majors: Biology and Psychology

Email: recruitment@swabuga.org

Position Description: As Co-Director of recruitment, I work together with Julianne Patterson to plan recruitment events to encourage students to become involved with SWAB. I aim to expand this organization as much as possible by recruiting diverse and dedicated students.

Why I SWAB: Throughout my life, the value of community has been of great importance to me. When I came to UGA, I wanted to find a way to get involved with Athens, a community that has given me so much. SWAB was one of my first involvements at UGA and introduced me to such a welcoming and loving family. Seeing the joy and excitement during Event Day has encouraged me to continue getting more involved with SWAB and our mission.

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Sam Thompson, Co-Director of Committee

Hometown: Roswell, Georgia

Year: 3rd Year

Majors: English and Comparative Literature

Email: committee@swabuga.org

Position Description: Committee is a small group of passionate, dedicated individuals that brainstorms, fundraises, and plans for Event Day. My goal is to serve alongside Bella McLaren to encourage Committee members to work closely with each other as well as with the Executive Board to foster a stronger connection with the Athens Community, with internal SWAB, and with each other. Leading Committee is a great way to bridge internal SWAB members who care about SWAB more deeply, and who are looking to get more involved with the details that go into planning and executing a successful Event Day, with the SWAB Executive Board and SWAB's future.

Why I SWAB: I SWAB because SWAB was there for me when I was new to UGA during the pandemic, and when I didn't have anything else to look forward to. SWAB was the first organization at UGA that I found and chose because I love the mission of SWAB and everything that the organization stands for. I've always felt the need to work with and to encourage the kids in my community, whatever community I'm in. SWAB values children and creating a meaningful experience to ensure that children feel loved and appreciated. I love everything SWAB stands for, I love everyone who makes SWAB the deeply caring organization that it is, and I love the opportunity to make an impact on my community in Athens.

Bella McLaren, Co-Director of Committee

Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia

Year: 2nd Year

Major: Biology

Email: committee@swabuga.org

Position Description: As co-director of committee, I get to work Sam Thompson to lead the amazing SWAB Committee and as we plan our event day. We work to plan fundraisers, weekly meetings and sub-committees that work closely with the Executive Board members, There are so many pieces that go into SWAB's event day and Committee really serves as the backbone that supports everyone. 

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Why I SWAB: I SWAB because SWAB is truly an amazing organization that has brought so much love and joy into my life. Being able to give back to the extraordinary community that we have here in Athens is a huge privilege and I'm honored to have a part in it. Growing up, giving back to those who helped to support me in my community has always played a major part in my life and is where I find fulfilment and joy. Joining an organization that combines my passion for service as well as planning a super fun day that so many kids get to enjoy right here in Athens was a no brainer.

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Brooke Mangano, Co-Director of First Year
Council

Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio

Year: 2nd Year

Majors: Chemistry and Biomedical Physiology

Email: fyc@swabuga.org

Position Description: As Co-Director of First Year Council, I work alongside my Co-Director Leighton Wehrlin to mentor a group of first year students in their transition into Shop With A Bulldawg. We introduce them to the different aspects of our organization, teach them collaboration and leadership skills, and connect them with the Athens-Clarke County community.

Why I SWAB: Being from out of state, I joined FYC as a first year to connect myself to Athens, a new unfamiliar community. Now being a part a SWAB for two years, I SWAB to give back to the community that has given me so much. SWAB allows me to continue to build my relationships with like-minded people who strive to have fun and serve their community in a positive light. It brings me so much happiness to witness the positive impact we have on the children and families of Athens.

Leighton Wehrlin, Co-Director of First Year Council

Hometown: Santa Rosa Beach, Florida

Year: 1st Year

Major: International Affairs

Email: fyc@swabuga.org

Position Description: I will lead FYC, along with my Co-Director, Brooke Mangano, in fulfilling the needs of event day through deciding who will serve on FYC, leading meetings, planning events, organizing fundraisers ensuring we play our part to a tee. Additionally, I will hopefully inspire those on the FYC to continue forward with swab in the future.

Why I SWAB: The thing that initially stood out to me about SWAB, and why I decided to join it rather than other similar organizations was because of how close the SWAB community felt. I wanted that type of togetherness because I knew it would help us to complete our mission as effectively as possible. As I continue with SWAB, I truly believe in what we are trying to achieve and I know that this is an organization that I want to be a part of for the remainder of my college career and beyond. I hope that being a part of SWAB will help its value to rub off on me and that I will also leave my mark on the organization as well.

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Swetha Pendela, Co-Director of Ambassadors

Hometown: Cumming, Georgia 

Year: 1st Year

Majors: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and International Affairs

Email: ambassadors@swabuga.org

Position Description: As a Co-Director of Ambassadors, I work with my Co-Director, Madden Lundy, to further SWABs mission by leading the internal group of Ambassadors. Throughout the year we work towards SWAB's mission of helping the Athens-Clarke County community through fundraising, promoting events, creating new opportunities for SWAB, and most importantly raising the spirit and joy of SWAB! We prepare our Ambassadors to make event day special and memorable for everyone involved.

Why I SWAB: I originally chose to be involved in SWAB because it sounded like a fun organization on campus. However, not only is SWAB extremely spirit filled and enthusiastic, but it also serves such an important purpose. Through being on First Year Council and now on the Executive Board, I have truly felt the impact that SWAB makes on the community and the impact it has left on me. The relationships I have made with people in this passionate community are like none other, and the interactions with children and their families on Event Day is extremely rewarding. SWAB is one of the most involved organizations on campus whether it be fundraising, activities or internal cooperation. This organization has become something much bigger than I ever thought it could be to me, and I am so excited to continue working towards its initiatives.

Madden Lundy, Co-Director of Ambassadors

Hometown: Athens, Georgia

Year: 1st Year

Majors: Political Science and Psychology

Email: ambassadors@swabuga.org

Position Description: As a Co- Director of Ambassadors, I work closely with my Co-Director, Swetha Pendela, to oversee Ambassadors, an internal group committed to spreading SWAB's mission. Ambassadors work towards celebrating the value of community and the children of Athens through fundraising, recruitment, and spreading the spirit of SWAB throughout UGA campus and the Athens- Clarke County community. Swetha and I specifically work to prepare our Ambassadors for event day as well as meet their personal goals within SWAB.

Why I SWAB: Being from Athens, I knew I wanted to be a part of a service organization at UGA that would allow me to give back to my own community. SWAB's mission caused me to apply to First Year Council, where I met so many incredible individuals that were dedicated to service work. I knew immediately I had found my people. Celebrating the value of community and the children of Athens with some of my closest friends is something I truly enjoy being a part of.

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Kate Balian, Director of Community Outreach

Hometown: Alpharetta, Georgia

Year: 2nd Year

Major: Accounting

Email: communityoutreach@swabuga.org

Position Description: As the Director of Community Outreach, I work to create lasting relationships with businesses and organizations through SWAB's sponsorship program and community service opportunities. My goal is to have SWAB celebrate the importance of community and connect with local businesses all year long. I help coordinate service opportunities for all internal members to serve in Athens-Clarke County in a variety of ways. I also create outreach initiatives for sponsorship programs in the community and organize raffles to further SWAB’s fundraising efforts.

Why I SWAB: I SWAB to give back to the community and celebrate the excitement and joy of the holiday time. From joining SWAB during my first year at UGA, it has been such a fun way to connect and learn more about Athens-Clarke County. Being a part of SWAB has been a very rewarding experience to meet such motivated, service-oriented, and passionate people. I am excited to continue serving the families and children of a community I now call home.

Josh Sandler, Director of Campus Outreach

Hometown: Cornwall, New York

Year: 2nd Year

Major: Economics

Email: camousoutreach@swabuga.org

Position Description: As Director of Campus Outreach, I facilitate relationships with other organizations on campus. I help coordinate opportunities for SWAB members to participate in other organizations’ events, and I foster relationships with organizations that want to participate in SWAB's Event Day. My main goal is to unite SWAB with our UGA community, progressing our mission of serving the children of Athens.

Why I SWAB: SWAB's mission and impact is a joy that is unmatched to me. Ever since eighth grade, I've celebrated the joy of the holidays through serving the children of my community, so when I entered UGA, SWAB was a perfect fit. But, while I was drawn to SWAB because of the holiday joy it spreads to the children of Athens, the relationships I've developed within SWAB have solidified my commitment to this organization and my love of its members. The leadership this Executive Board has shown in the past is truly remarkable, and the fact that it accomplishes so much while cultivating a true and lasting community reminds me how blessed and lucky I feel to serve on the Executive Board.

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