When she graduates this fall, Elizabeth Allan will have traveled to six different continents thanks to various UGA study abroad programs. But that’s not her only accomplishment. She will also have three degrees—in Arabic, economics and international affairs and international policy.
The Westminster Schools
AB/BA International Affairs and International Policy, AB Arabic, AB Economics
University highlights, achievements and awards:
I have been involved in the Roosevelt Institute and the Thomas Lay After School Tutoring Program since my first semester at UGA.
Through the Roosevelt Institute and the Roosevelt Scholars class, I have written papers about energy policy and education that were published in three journals by the national Roosevelt campus network. I have been on the board of Roosevelt since winter 2010 as the director of the local center and now as a teaching assistant for the Roosevelt Scholar’s class. Through Roosevelt, I became an intern at the Carl Vinson Institute of Government. Among my experiences with the Carl Vinson Institute was traveling to China for one week during an annual training program the institute conducts in Beijing.
I am also involved in Roosevelt’s national campus network in which I have been an editor of the journal “Solutions for the South.” And I am currently the director one of three incubator projects to nationally expand the concept of a Roosevelt policy course.
Tutoring at Thomas Lay has been a crucial part of my experience at UGA. I have been the co-director of the organization since 2010, and along with Abby Wong, I have been pleased to see the program (and the students that it aims to serve!) flourish.
I have been involved with several other programs and initiatives. I was an Honors teaching assistant and a member of the (winning!) UGA vs. Oxford debate team. I am involved with Whatever It Takes Athens, having researched early childhood education in Athens during WIT’s formation. I am enrolled in UGA’s AB/MA program in international affairs and international policy. These new skills have supported research on employment dynamics in developing countries that I presented at conferences in Notre Dame and Chicago. I am also honored to be the recipient of scholarships and distinctions such as the Foundation Fellowship, National Merit Scholarship, Blue Key Society, Phi Kappa Phi and the Critical Language Scholarship that took me to Fes, Morocco, during the summer of 2011.
Finally, the opportunities made available to me at UGA have helped me have meaningful experiences on six continents since entering UGA in 2008. From studying modernist literature at Oxford to scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef to seeing wonders such as Machu Picchu, the Sahara Desert, the Taj Mahal and the Great Wall of China, each of these opportunities has been truly unique. I am unbelievably excited to venture to South Korea during spring break of 2012!
Family Ties to UGA:
My family ties to UGA are fairly extensive. My dad is a “triple dawg,” and he received his B.A. in history, masters in accounting and J.D. from UGA. My mom also received her teaching certificate from UGA. Before my parents, and following them, I have a long list of family members who have come to Athens for their education. My mother’s great aunt was married to Dr. Steadman Vincent Sanford, and I’ve heard stories of relatives staying with the Sanfords while they attended UGA. The tradition continues, and I think that it is sufficient to say that I’m never without a fellow Georgia fan at family reunions.
I chose to attend UGA because...
I was extremely drawn to the diversity of opportunities that UGA offers. Not many universities offer undergraduates the chance to simultaneously pursue master’s degrees and conduct faculty-mentored research while being located in a town recently ranked the “No. 3 Hipster Town” and having one of the best music scenes in the nation. This juxtaposition of different strengths and characteristics attracts a wide variety of students, and I was eager to immerse myself in a variety of communities and activities.
My favorite things to do on campus are...
...spending an excessive amount of time chatting, reading the paper or studying in the Miller Learning Center with a cup of Jittery Joe’s medium roast in my hand. Despite these fond memories in the MLC, I’d have to say that my favorite memories of the UGA campus are of reading on North Campus during beautiful, crisp days in spring and fall.
When I have free time, I like...
Free time? What free time? I’m lucky that most of the “obligations” that occupy the vast majority of my time are close to what I would be doing if I had an infinite amount of free time. Volunteering, reading about international affairs and discussing ideas are immensely valuable to me and also occupy the vast majority of my time. However, if I really take time for myself, I try to find a way to be outdoors. Running, hiking and rock climbing are among my favorite activities, but some days I’m satisfied with simply climbing a tree and reading a book in it.
The craziest thing I've done is...
Right now the craziest thing I’ve done is take up spinning. But thinking back, I’d also have to point to when I climbed onto the roof of a 550-year-old tower in India to achieve a better view of the landscape below. Dating back to the 15th century, the Kumbalgarh Fort essentially fortified an entire city with a perimeter of about 36 kilometers. Obviously, I wanted to get the best view possible of the fort, and the rooftop of one of the towers looked like the best place to take in the vast and rugged extension of the fort’s enclosure. Achieving this view placed me on the edge of a 100-foot precipice on the roof of a 550-year-old building from which I literally had to jump to get back down. The view was definitely worth it!
My favorite place to study is...
...Walker’s. When I study, I enjoy being in locations where I can hear happy people chatting in the background. Walker’s has this feature perfected. The combination of this ambiance, delicious coffee and a location convenient to North Campus has led me to complete some of my longest papers and most difficult Arabic assignments in Walker’s booths.
My favorite professor is...
I don’t like choosing favorite teachers. How can I choose a favorite when I have been lucky enough to work with Middle Eastern experts such as Dr. Sherry Lowrance, leaders in the field of national security such as Dr. Loch Johnson, and Dr. Honerkamp who lived in Morocco for 20 years and dedicates one month every year to lead a group of students on a trip to Morocco? So many professors at UGA are truly amazing, and I recognize how extremely lucky I am to have worked personally with many of them.
If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with...
...I would share it with Jesus. My Christian faith is not something I display very frequently, but it is a core component of my life that directs much of my behavior. I can’t imagine a more life-changing afternoon than discussing religious, philosophical, moral and spiritual ideas with Jesus Christ.
If I knew I could not fail, I would...
...empower every person on the planet with the capabilities and opportunity to determine their own future. This would include providing each person with a political system that grants them political rights and civil liberties; reforming social norms so that no person faces unwarranted discrimination; providing people with an education that empowers them to think independently and gives them a useful skill set; and, finally, establishing an economic system that rewards hard work and creativity. My ideal world is one of freedom and opportunity in which great aspirations are encouraged and every person has a reasonable chance of achieving their aspirations.
If money was not a consideration, I would love to...
...summit Mt. Everest. If I could afford to take a year off from life and train for a Mt. Everest ascent (and then summit Mt. Everest), I would jump at that opportunity in an instant!
After graduation, I plan to...
live in the Middle East until I become fluent in Arabic. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that living in the Middle East for at least a year will help me find my niche in the region so that I can pursue a career that advances the cause of human opportunity.
The one UGA experience I will always remember will be...
gazing at the stars of the Sahara Desert during the UGA Maymester in Morocco. Our Maymester group rode camels into the Sahara Desert and then slept under the stars in a location far from artificial light. We literally had to wait for the moon to set in order to view the stars at their brightest. With the light of an infinite number of stars and the soft wind of the Sahara rushing across the sand, I experienced one of the most spiritual moments of my life that night in the desert.