Bill Gregory 2015-11-03 03:45:15
CLINT CONNARD When pursuing a major in turfgrass management at the University of Georgia you don’t say you’re in class. In fact, Moncrief Scholar Clint Connard of Loganville says he has spent about half of the past three years outside class. “The thing I like the most about this major is the hands-on work we get outside the classroom,” he says. “It’s like interactive labs when you get to go out and grow things.” The experience fired him up from the beginning. “My first classes as a freshman exposed me to agriculture and how we apply the science,” he recalls. “The more I learned, the more my passion grew.” One of his favorite classes was Soils and Hydrology in his sophomore year. He says the class did experiments along the Broad River and traveled around Athens reading soil pits and different types of soil. In his final year, Connard says classes now are either a review of what has been learned or putting final points and details on the knowledge he has gained. For him, this is to help him find a position as a golf course superintendent after graduation. “My focus is soil fertility and plant nutrition,” he says, “but it gets very specific as to the type of nutrient to use or the type of nitrogen to use.” He’s had practical application of this in his internships at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, The Landings Club in Savannah, Cedar Lake Golf Club in Loganville and Summit Chase Country Club in Snellville. It hasn’t all been playing in the dirt, however. Connard remembers coming to the Georgia campus from a small high school and the culture shock that brought. “It wasn’t just the size of the student population that threw me at first,” he says, “there was so much diversity here it gave me a different world view. One guy on my hall was from Seattle and here I was from the outskirts of Athens.” Time management was a new skill to be developed for the new arrival, especially given his demanding extracurricular activity. Connard played cymbals on the UGA drumline through his junior year. It not only was a creative passion of his, but it also gave him a greater sense of community at this level. “I’ve played music since I was a kid, but to do it at the college level was a real thrill,” he says. “But being a part of this group of musicians also gave me some intimacy away from the overall student population.” As for the Moncrief scholarship, Connard has certainly found some added value to it. “The money has definitely helped to reduce my debt after graduation, but just as important to me is the network of people this has given me,” he says. “I’ll have a bond with current and former Moncrief Scholars that will last a lifetime. It’s a real brotherhood.” And where are they now? OLIVER PEAT When he began his higher education in 2009 at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, Oliver Peat admits he found the first two years there very difficult. “My computer science classes were hard to understand those years,” he says, “but in the junior and senior years things really began to make sense.” In fact, in his junior year, Peat began making apps for Android phones. Peat credits his Yates Scholarship for making it possible for him to have the time to work on apps, and he credits that work with getting him the invaluable internships he needed to succeed after graduation. “Internships are so important in the computer science field,” he says, “and they are so hard to get.” Peat did well to land one at Intel in Sacramento, Calif., during the summer of his junior year. Inhis senior year he was finding clients to create products for in Milledgeville. Two weeks after his graduation, Peat was on his way to Indiana to work for the Raytheon Company. While he admits to wanting to leave Georgia and see other parts of the country, his motives for choosing Raytheon were more substantial indeed. “I wanted to give something back to my country,” says Peat, and at Raytheon he would be able to develop software that would help save soldiers’ lives on the battlefield. In 2014, Peat was transferred to the company’s facility in Denver, Colo. To develop products for NASA. “I’ve been in love with space since I was a kid,” he says. “I grew up watching shuttle launches. So, I love what I’m doing now.” In his free time, Peat plays in three different sports leagues; basketball, kickball and a baseball/whiffleball league. Another pastime for the 25-year-old is producing music tracks. He says he’s not ready to try and take it seriously enough to be published, but he has been able to use his skills with the guitar and trumpet. From gaining his eligibility for the Yates Scholarship by working at the Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek, to making apps in his junior year of college, to creating technology to help the nation, Oliver Peat is more than giving back what was given to him by the GSGA Foundation. Donations to the GSGA Foundation can be made online at www.gsgafoundation.org or mailed to 121 Village Parkway, Building 3, Marietta, GA 30067. Thank you for chipping in for our scholars! The Georgia BMW Dealers congratulate Clint and Oliver on their GSGAF scholarships and wish them continued success.
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