MHP Alumni Perspectives
We always love to here from our alumni and feature their accomplishments and stories when we can. Please update us by sending your testimonial to Donna Gabriel via email: email@example.com.
Since graduating in 2013, I have coordinated the Alabama Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program and the Alabama Register of Landmarks & Heritage for the Alabama Historical Commission and State Historic Preservation Office. I hold a unique position to help shape the future of the preservation in ethic in Alabama and the Southeast, which would not have been possible without my training at UGA. The MHP program provided me with a strong academic base, a vast alumni network, and a brimming toolbox of strategies to use in the real-world application of preservation principles. The program’s reputation for producing quality professionals is unsurpassed and the skills I obtained have proven invaluable.
Most recently, I have been able to join the City of Columbia, SC as a Preservation Planner. I use the basis of my education at UGA daily to make interpretations of our city design guidelines, ordinances and other city planning issues to guide the preservation of the city. I cannot think of a single day of work that I do not rely on some skill that I gained at UGA.
If I’m being honest, I had no idea what to expect out of UGA’s MHP program. With an undergrad major in history with minors in art and English, I was hunting for a practical application of those interests. The built environment and historic preservation has been a natural fit for my background and passions. I love my job as Executive Director of Historic Macon Foundation, largely because it’s always interesting and an impossible blend of all of my disciplines. Simply put, without my experience at UGA I would not be in the position I’m in and likely would have never known that a career dedicated to saving old buildings is possible.
My time in UGA’s MHP program provided a firm foundation in the fundamentals of National Register evaluations and Section 106 compliance. I’ve been able to use that knowledge and build upon it while performing work for a major engineering firm. From surveying the remnants of an 1800’s mill town on the Canadian border in Maine to assessing project impacts to a historic district exemplifying the National Park Service’s trademark rustic design in California to developing a historic building management plan at Fort Des Moines National Historic Landmark in Iowa, my work is always interesting and has taken me to 20 states. Meanwhile, I’ve been able to stay connected to my former UGA MHP classmates. Whether it’s asking for help with a technical question or just meeting up for a drink when in town, I’m grateful to have the friends I made during my time in the program.
My career in cultural resource management began just after completing the MHP program at UGA. The combination of program coursework and my internship and assistantship as a FindIT field surveyor for the Center for Community Design & Preservation were essential to my employment. The preparation I received through the program helped me establish myself as an architectural historian in Georgia and led to continued work throughout the southeast and beyond.
The MHP program at UGA gave me the knowledge and practical skills that allowed me to transition from being an electrical engineer to running two local historic preservation non-profits. I always tell people that what I learned in the two-year program prepared me for almost any job in the cultural heritage field. The most valuable part of the experience was the interaction with others, many of whom were also transitioning from other disciplines. It is a well-rounded program for well-rounded learners of any age or background.