Home Carrollton Bettering the World UWG Recognizes Outstanding Alumni in Annual Thriving Under 30...

Bettering the World UWG Recognizes Outstanding Alumni in Annual Thriving Under 30 Event

The University of West Georgia Alumni Association will host a virtual Thriving Under 30 ceremony later this month to recognize young alumni who have made a significant impact in their career industry while exhibiting dedication to UWG and representing the university well.

Built on solid foundations gained at UWG, this year’s honorees are doing amazing things for the betterment of their communities and the world. From the founder of a  non-profit organization to educators, marketing professionals and business leaders, UWG is honored and proud to recognize these phenomenal Wolves.“It is important to recognize and showcase the contributions of our young alumni,” said Allyson Bretch, interim executive director of alumni relations. “It is inspiring for current students as well as our broader alumni community of nearly 70,000 across the world.”

Since 2013, hundreds of outstanding graduates have been nominated by their peers for this honor. This year, the awards committee of the UWG Alumni Association Board of Directors selected 17 honorees from a pool of incredible alumni. 

Members of the UWG Blue Coats – a select group of student leaders from across campus who serve as ambassadors for the university – will introduce the honorees at the virtual ceremony, to be hosted on the UWG Alumni Association Facebook page on Saturday, Jan. 30, at 7 p.m.

Nominations for the Thriving Under 30 Class of 2021 will open in February 2021. To learn more about the program, visit alumni.westga.edu/thriving.


  • Leri Antonio Argueta ’14 ’17, Associate Director for Diversity Recruitment at the University of North Georgia
  • McKenzie Benefield ’18, On-Air Personality and Production Director for Dick Broadcasting Company  
  • Gabrielle Beteag ’16, Classical Musician 
  • Julian Brown ’15, Executive Director of the Grady County Joint Development Authority
  • Emani Collins ’17 ’18, English Literature Teacher at the Academy for Advanced Studies
  • Brady Cook ’15 ’17, Third-Grade Teacher at Temple Elementary School
  • Keith T. Crawford ’17, Owner and Event Manager for 2020 Events and Marketing Co. and Founder of The Young Executives Foundation
  • Christopher M. Crittenden ’12, Scientist at Genentech
  • Donté Gilbert ’13 ’15, Fifth-Grade Teacher in the Fulton County School System
  • Kristin Victoria Hall ’13 ’14, Seventh-Grade Math Teacher 
  • Andrew Johnson ’14 ’18, Financial Controller at Southwire 
  • Brooke Elizabeth Lane ’13 ’15, Program Manager of the Fulton County Misdemeanor Mental Health Court Program
  • Kelsey Matthews ’13, Branding and Advertising Professional 
  • Michael Joel McDowell ’14 ’17, Police Officer for the city of Carrollton Police Department
  • Sarah A. Sulski ’16, Marketing Programs Manager at Brightree
  • DeAna Tyler ’13, Director of Athletic Development and Major Gifts at Lamar University 
  • Dana Tzegaegbe ’15, Project Manager and Operations Lead for the Algorithmic Justice League
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Sam Gentry is a lifelong resident of Carroll County, Georgia. In August of 2007, while enrolled at the University of West Georgia, Sam worked at University Communications and Marketing for two semesters as a student assistant. He began writing for a local newspaper that same year. After graduating from UWG in 2010, Sam continued working for the same paper, where he made his way through the ranks, eventually becoming General Manager in 2017. Sam joined the UCM team again in January of 2020 where he serves as Manager of Media Relations. Besides being a liaison to media outlets, Sam’s writing efforts are focused on the Richards College of Business. In his free time, Sam enjoys writing songs, woodworking, and traveling with his wife, Becky, and four children: Samantha, Will, Audrey, and Gracie.