Training wheels

Allyson Mann


Allyson Mann
Photo by Kathryn Juras

How do I replace the irreplaceable? That’s one question I’ve been pondering during my first two weeks at Odum.

Those who know my predecessor, Beth Gavrilles, know that she was a powerhouse in terms of her writing and her passion for Odum’s mission. Beth left an important legacy as she cycled off into the sunset of retirement. As Ecology’s new Communications Director, I’m keen to continue the positive momentum in connecting with the Odum community and telling Ecology’s story.

My time at Odum has been a whirlwind of meeting people and absorbing information. Dean Altizer and everyone else have been so welcoming, and I’m lucky to have the support of my communications colleagues, Cheryth Youngmann and Ben Taylor, to ease my transition.

I’ve been writing and editing at UGA for 25 years—first in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication (where I earned a master’s degree), then at Marketing and Communications (where I worked primarily on Georgia Magazine), and most recently in the Office of Research. Over the years, I’ve found that each department, school, college and division has its own unique personality. Though the tasks may be similar, it takes time to understand the culture.

For me, that’s the fun part, because I’m a storyteller at heart. In addition to working as a writer and editor, I photographed weddings for five years. In my spare time, I teach and perform aerial arts. Telling stories is at the core of each.

I’m so excited to have joined the Odum team, and I’m looking forward to telling its stories as I learn its culture and history. Please feel free to get in touch if you have an idea for a story, a photo, a social media post or anything else. I can’t wait to meet you. In the meantime, you can probably find me in the courtyard or, if it’s a Wednesday, eating waffles with the undergrads.