Commit to your passion
Ryan and Kiel Scates
Ryan (AB ’10, JD ’13) and Kiel (BSED ’10, MED ’12) Scates give to UGA to promote autism awareness and treatment.
As students, Ryan (AB ’10, JD ’13) and Kiel (BSED ’10, MED ’12) Scates started AutismUGA.
The student-led organization helps families affected by autism in Northeast Georgia.
The Scates continue to support their cause by giving to UGA’s ABA clinic, which provides clinical treatment for individuals with autism.
They also are passionate supporters of the School of Law.
“I hope our gifts will help fund important research that will continue to impact how learners with autism access their environment successfully.”
While students at the University of Georgia, Ryan and Kiel Scates started AutismUGA, the first collegiate autism philanthropy in the South. Today, the student-led organization continues to work toward its founders’ goal: to help families affected by autism in Northeast Georgia.
Launching AutismUGA ignited a desire to help others that has followed Ryan and Kiel post-graduation. They continue to support their cause by giving to UGA’s Automatic for Autism Fund. They also give to several areas on campus to make “the next generation of students’ lives better.”
When the Scates started AutismUGA in 2008, many in the UGA community were unaware of the challenges faced by families with children with autism. Ryan and Kiel’s goals were to build awareness and raise funds so that local resources – like summer camps and support groups – could offer more assistance to families in need.
“Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 68 children have been identified with autism spectrum disorders,” Kiel said. “Chances are you know someone personally with autism or a family affected by an autism diagnosis.”
“People who were involved in AutismUGA went on to do wonderful things, including research on causes and treatments,” Ryan said. “It’s one of the things I’m proudest of from my time at UGA.”
Kiel pursued her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in special education from UGA. After graduation, she was certified in applied behavior analysis, a highly effective, evidence-based treatment method for individuals with autism. She now works as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst in Atlanta at Integrated Behavioral Solutions, Inc.
Today, the Scates continue to commit to their passion by giving to the Automatic for Autism Fund, which helps families utilize UGA’s Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Clinic. Due to the high cost of raising a child with autism, many families cannot afford the clinical support their children need. The Scates’ gifts provide greater access to treatment and allow students to train in applied behavior analysis.
“I hope our gifts will help fund important research that will continue to impact how learners with autism access their environments successfully,” said Kiel. “I also hope more families will learn about applied behavior analysis and evidence-based treatments through the ABA Clinic.”
In 2010, Ryan and Kiel celebrated their engagement on UGA’s picturesque North Campus.
Ryan and Kiel cheer on the Georgia Bulldogs with their son, Andy.
Ryan and Kiel are also passionate supporters of UGA’s School of Law. Growing up, Ryan recognized that many of the people he admired most attended UGA for law school. He was determined to attend too.
His law degree has resulted in a fulfilling career as a corporate attorney. His favorite aspect of the job is helping his clients solve challenging issues to ultimately reach their goals.
Ryan and Kiel choose to give to the School of Law’s Atlanta Semester in Practice program. This program affords students the opportunity to garner real world experience while in school and develop a network of relationships in practice areas of interest—truly, a catalyst for an impactful legal career.
“We really believe in Dean Rutledge. He was a mentor for me through law school, and has been a great mentor to me since then. I have tremendous belief in him,” Ryan said. “We give to the Dean’s discretionary fund so he can make the law school as good as it can be.”
Ryan also serves on UGA’s Metro Atlanta Young Alumni Leadership Council. As a member, he enjoys spending time with fellow Bulldogs and increasing awareness in Georgia’s capital of UGA’s work.
“We want to let young alumni know that we need them to invest in UGA. UGA is only as strong as the people who went there. We want to remind everybody how great UGA is for our state and how instrumental it is in alumni’s lives,” said Ryan.
What’s your cause? 100 percent of undesignated gifts to the Georgia Fund go to scholarships, allowing talented students in your field to pursue their education and discover how they can make an impact on the world.