Maria Augutis (BS’14, MA ’15) has been named to the UGA Alumni Association’s 40 under 40

40 for 40 headshot of Maria Augutis

Ever since she was a child, Maria Augutis (BS ’14, MA ’15) dreamed of being a meteorologist.

Now, as a lead weather and climate broadcaster with SVT and StormGeo, one of the most popular television networks in her homeland of Sweden, she’s doing her part to share her wisdom to best educate and prepare future generations around the world for a changing climate.

Augutis, a graduate of the University of Georgia School of Social Work who was recently named to the prestigious 40 Under 40 list by the UGA Alumni Association, has received funding to further develop and implement a comprehensive, interactive curriculum aimed at teaching students about climate change.

“Maria is a testament to the spirit and skill of our students and alumni, focused on making a positive difference in the world,” said Phillip Hong, dean of the UGA School of Social Work. “Her passion to better equip the next generation to understand and address the challenges associated with climate change is essential, needed work. Her inclusion on the 40 Under 40 list is a recognition that she is at the forefront of driving the change we need.”

Augutis worked with New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, crafting a curriculum for middle-school teacher across the country that focused on weather and climate. It was designed to give students a more engaging way to understand the country’s climate, potentially encouraging them to pursue careers in a STEM-related field.

“I have learned not just how to be mission driven in everything I do, but the classes in Fundraising, Social Entrepreneurship and Program Evaluation – to name a few – have been a tremendous help in my work at StormGeo where I design weather services to different weather sensitive industries around the world,” said Augutis.

She credited the education and experience she got from SSW for uniquely equipping her with the skills and tools needed to because successful.

For instance, Augutis pointed out that she spent some time working as a fundraiser for Oxam, an organization focused on climate change advocacy in New Zealand. She was able to effectively engage with donors and prepare grant proposals, noting she would have been “lost” without her training from SSW.

“Maria was one of the most self-directed students I’ve ever encountered; very focused on her goals while also being very easy-going and extremely collegial with her classmates, instructors and nonprofit professional in the community,” said Tony Mallon, a clinical associate professor at SSW and the director of the Institute for Nonprofit Organizations. “Since graduating, she has clearly gone on to great success but has remained in touch with us and has frequently provided career guidance to MA NML students with similar professional interests.”

At Georgia, Augutis excelled as a member of the Bulldogs’ track and field team, balancing the demands of being a student-athlete with the academic rigors associated with the pursuit of a degree at SSW.

She said the time spent in the Classic City proved to be wholly formative for her, preparing her for the opportunities and challenges that would come in her professional journey.

“My years in Athens were wonderful with so many memories I will cherish forever,” Agutis said. “I met my husband, made friends that became family, and found a home in a country far away in a state I have never been. My happiest place in Athens was without doubt Spec Towns Track where I spent endless number of hours doing what I loved the most, training and competing with my best friends.”

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