Three alumni of the College of Education were recently named to the University of Georgia’s 40 Under 40 Class of 2019. Established in 2011, the program celebrates the personal, professional and philanthropic achievements of UGA graduates who are under the age of 40.
With more than 400 alumni nominated, this year's honorees are Colin Muething (BSEd ’07, MEd ’09), licensed psychologist at the Marcus Autism Center in Atlanta, program manager of day treatment in the Center's Severe Behavior Program and assistant professor in Emory University's Department of Pediatrics; Cindy Quinlan (BBA ’02, MEd ’03, EdS ’09), integrated entrepreneurship teacher in Gwinnett County; and JaNaè Taylor (MEd ’03, PhD ’07), psychotherapist and owner of Taylor Counseling and Consulting Services.
All three honorees exemplify leadership in their industries and communities and uphold the Pillars of the Arch, which are wisdom, justice and moderation.
Muething received both his bachelor's and master's degrees in special education from the College of Education in 2007 and 2009, respectively, and later earned his doctoral degree in school psychology from the University of Texas at Austin in 2016.
At the Marcus Autism Center—one of only five National Institutes of Health Autism Centers of Excellence in the country—he specializes in treating the most severe forms of problem behavior, such as aggression, self-injury and destructive behaviors. In some cases, he treats children from across the country if other practitioners are unwilling or unable to work with them.
“My time in the College of Education was where I found my passion for working with children with disabilities who engage in problem behavior,” said Muething. “The faculty I worked with helped foster this passion into a career that I truly love. The work I do every day gives me joy and without UGA and the faculty in the College of Education, I am not sure if I would be where I am today.”
Quinlan, who earned both her master's and specialist's degree from the College of Education, is a marketing education teacher at Brookwood High School in Gwinnett County, where she teaches entrepreneurship and work-based learning.
Her passion for education inspired her to teach with a non-profit organization called REAL LEDGE, whose mission is to advance and promote change to create economic development opportunities. Over the years, Quinlan has trained and consulted over 200 educators from all over the world, including Bulgaria, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Greece, Honduras, Norway and Spain.
Inspired by this experience, she launched her own business with her colleagues called EntrepreNOWship, which focuses on improving student performance, engagement and growth by infusing the entrepreneurial mindset in K-12 education with mindset training for educators, high quality experiential learning and rigorous curricula.
“This type of work is important to grow communities and increase economic development, thus providing more opportunities for all,” said Quinlan. “As always, the positive impact entrepreneurship has on the lives of others, both teachers and students, can make any difficult journey one of life’s best adventures while helping others along the way.”
Taylor, who received both her master’s and doctoral degrees from the College of Education, works with clients with a wide range of mental and behavioral issues, including anxiety, depression, anger and race-based trauma. As a licensed professional counselor, Taylor provides culturally-sensitive services tailored to the needs of all people with a focus on the black community.
To invest in her community, Taylor serves as vice chair on both the Hampton Roads Black Area Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors and the Iota Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated. The latter organization is a nonprofit that promotes group economics through professional development and community empowerment, while the former is a Greek sorority established by African American college women.
“UGA has played such an instrumental role in the trajectory of my professional life,” said Taylor. “I've learned how to hone my creativity, innovation and motivation into a career I'm proud of today. The lessons I've learned in graduate school helped me launch my current mental health private practice.”
Muething, Quinlan and Taylor will be recognized during the ninth annual 40 Under 40 Awards Luncheon on Sept. 13 in the Tate Student Center on campus.
Related links: Office of Development and Alumni Relations, Department of Communication Sciences and Special Education, Special Education Program, Department of Educational Theory and Practice, Department of Counseling and Human Development Services