Meredith Gurley-Johnson has been a proud Dawg since the fall of 1993. After graduating with an undergraduate degree in Child and Family Development, Gurley-Johnson continued her relationship with the University of Georgia as an Alumni Relations Coordinator.
In 2001, Gurley-Johnson moved to Atlanta to work for the UGA Alumni Association as its first Atlanta program coordinator and was then named the executive director of alumni relations in late 2014. She oversees all UGA Alumni Association engagement activities, including student programs, young alumni outreach, regional programs, communications, and collaborative projects around campus. In this time, Adrian Bailey, a UGA online alumnus, encouraged Gurley-Johnson to go back to school to earn her Master’s of Adult Education online at UGA.
“Meredith mentioned to me that she was a new mother, raising her very young daughter at the time,” said Bailey. “I told her about my experiences and how I felt that it was a very flexible thing — that she could do her course work while she was traveling or in her spare time. So she was very interested about that and got involved about a year later.”
Gurley-Johnson chose to enter the online Adult Ed program in order to develop knowledge and abilities in the social context of adult education, program development and management processes, and the teaching and learning processes. Since then, UGA’s Adult Education program has been revitalized and renamed the online M.Ed. in Learning, Leadership and Organizational Development.
“I didn’t know what to expect being an online student. As I started my classes and started to post and start this conversation about the topic online, I was amazed at how free I felt to say anything that I wanted to say,” she says. “It’s a unique experience because I felt I could truly be myself and I was truly focused on the subject matter. The sharing, the learning, and the real life experience that we were able to contribute– I learned from it, and I learned from my peers in a way that I had not before as an undergraduate student.”
Gurley-Johnson is now an advocate for UGA’s online programs, inspiring others balancing life, jobs, and families to take online courses. She also encourages all UGA graduates to leverage the UGA Alumni network and continue to stay involved by attending alumni events across the country and even around the world.