Amazing Students Profiles

Brian Chernoff

Brian Chernoff

Brian Chernoff has studied in Australia, lived in Guatemala and volunteered in Mexico and New Orleans. Now, 12 years after finishing his undergraduate work, he has returned to the classroom for “…more formal training and education for a career solving global challenges in water and related sustainable practices.”


Reynoldsburg, Ohio (near Columbus)

High School:

Reynoldsburg High School

Degree objective:

master’s degree in environmental planning and design; water certificate

Other degrees:

B.A. in psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Expected graduation:

fall 2013

University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:

Along with working on my master’s in the College of Environment and Design, I am in the water studies program at the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, working on a water certificate.  My program is a studio-based integrative planning process grounded in environmental and ecological principles. The curriculum is amazing and incorporates history, cultural and design elements with law, real estate, hydrology and more while partnering with community leaders and groups to plan for real-time and future challenges for hands-on experience.
Other college highlights include:
…got to study in Wollongong, Australia for a semester. Australians are awesome.
…studied Spanish in San Diego at a small college and then lived in Guatemala for three months to become fluent.
…volunteered in Tijuana, Mexico at an orphanage. I recommend visiting another country and learning the language.
…spent four months learning at AISH Hatorah College in Jerusalem, Israel and volunteering on a kosher goat farm. Working on a farm is liberating.
…cleaned up part of New Orleans for a week with the help of Bernie Marcus’s Foundation.

Awards? When I get an award, I wonder if I can convince the award host to save the money intended for a plaque and donate the money somewhere?

Current Employment:

Athens-Clarke County Unified Government—transportation and public works department, Home Depot and UGA’s Fanning Institute

Family Ties to UGA:

No one in my family ever attended UGA. My brother attended school at one of our rivals—Ga. Tech.

I chose to attend UGA because…

I visited countries to fine-tune my Spanish and for exposure in emerging trends and technology in environmental and green practices.  It prompted me to seek more formal training and education for a career solving global challenges in water and related sustainable practices. Upon returning from Israel, Europe and Guatemala, I was referred to UGA’s environmental programs to formalize my education in the green world. I sought an interview with Jack Crowley, former dean of the College of Environment and Design, took the graduate school test, applied and here I am.

My favorite things to do on campus are…

jjoining the Refson family at the Chabad House and the Hillel for their popular Friday night Shabbas dinners and holiday occasions (hosted Friday nights weekly during the fall/spring semesters—all are welcomed!)
ultimate Frisbee at the intramural fields
enjoying some outdoor activities with GORP (Georgia Outdoor Recreation Program) at Ramsey

When I have free time, I like…

to bike with my pups, Monster and Skinny, at Lake Herrick next to the intramural fields. Neither Monster nor Skeeter can ride a bike though. They run by my side.

The craziest thing I’ve done is…

gone back to school 12 years after finishing an undergraduate degree and taking out a ridiculous amount of loans to pay for it.

My favorite place to study is…

any place where the lighting is good, the Wi-Fi is free and the coffee is bottomless. Thank you, Walker’s, for offering an exemplary location to process, review, absorb and cram knowledge.  Walker’s is located conveniently on College Avenue in downtown Athens across the street from The Grill, home to the best grill muffin your heart desires for breakfast; Five Guys, for a stupid good burger at lunchtime; not far from Yoguri Ice Cream, for sweet study break; and around the corner from Five Star Cafe, where you’ll finish your day with some comfort gourmet soul food.

My favorite professor is…

the one who engages with students, the one who reflects and responds to students instead of teaching from scripted lesson. Every professor I’ve had so far engages. They conduct discussions integrated with their lectures. My favorite professors teach real estate, history of planning, hydrology, research and law in the College of Environment and Design or the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources. Thank you, folks!

If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with…

David Ben-Gurion, the main founder and the first prime minister of Israel who believed the Negev desert offered a great opportunity for the settlement of Israel, which is part of my thesis/practicum work at UGA. He would probably have some helpful insight on land development.
Matthew Paul Miller, better known by his Hebrew and stage name Matisyahu
Michael Diamond, Adam Horovitz, and Adam Yauch, the Beastie Boys
Ronald Steven Lauder, four reasons: Forbes’ 100, Zionist, RWL Water Company owner and he has his own plane.

If I knew I could not fail, I would…

work for myself.

If money was not a consideration, I would love to…

use it to empower friends and family as best I could.

After graduation, I plan to…

find a way to remove money from my considerations.

The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…

writing my last check to payoff my student loans in full.  Anticipated date: 20 years from graduation.