Gabby Dukes

Gabby Dukes

Alumni Office, Human Development and Family Science

HDFS course changed the trajectory of Dukes' career


Human Development and Family Science, 2015 

Current occupation/Location

Executive Director of the Atlanta Cancer Care Foundation. I live in Watkinsville and work remotely.

What has been your proudest accomplishment since graduating?

My proudest accomplishment since graduating is becoming an executive director. While I was in school, becoming an executive director was something that I thought I may achieve one day, but I really was not sure if I could ever be up to the task. I took a leap of faith in becoming the Atlanta Cancer Care Foundation's executive director and it has been extremely rewarding and taught me so much about myself and my abilities. 

What was your favorite class in FACS?

HDFS 3110 - Professional Development. This class completely changed my career path. I am a rare student that actually came to UGA as a Human Development and Family Science major and I had intended to go on to grad school to pursue marriage and family therapy as a career path. However, while in this class I realized that I felt my skill set might better lend itself to the nonprofit sector and I decided to pursue that path instead. 

Did you have a favorite – or most memorable – faculty member?

Dr. Melissa Kozak. She was both an excellent teacher as well as mentor. In college, I was incredibly appreciative of her ability to listen and help provide advice without pushing you in any one direction. I am also grateful for her willingness to continue to mentor me post-college and I have enjoyed both our mentorship and friendship post-grad. 

How do you think FACS prepared you for your career success?

FACS prepared me for my career success in so many different ways. In a very practical sense, I was prepared by the rigor of my coursework and the challenge from my professors to think about problems in new, unique ways in order to find a solution. I was also prepared by the people I was surrounded by - FACS is a place where I feel everyone can go to be welcomed and accepted and this is a skill I work to practice each and every day in my life so that everyone I encounter feels that same welcome and acceptance with me. 

What inspires or motivates you?

Helping others - this is the main reason why I decided to study Human Development and Family Science as an undergrad. I had always known that I wanted a career path where I could help others, and I felt HDFS could set me on that path. I am so grateful to FACS for giving me the tools to critically think about the world in all kinds of ways I had never thought of before. I love that every department in our college helps others in their own unique ways - I think this is a huge part of what makes FACS so special! 

What advice would you give a current FACS student looking to pursue a career in your field?

Strongly consider what you are passionate about and what you enjoy doing on a daily basis - there will always be bits and pieces of a job that you do not like, but if you can find a career that lights you up inside and touches your skill set, I believe you can find work that doesn't always feel like work. Also, talk to your professors and create personal relationships with them! They are incredibly knowledgeable and can certainly connect you with alumni that are pursuing career paths that interest you. Finally, connect with alumni - we absolutely LOVE to help students who are interested in our fields!

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