Amazing Students

Mindy Bartleson

Mindy Bartleson, a senior majoring in social work, wanted to do advocacy work for diabetes education and social work ever since she was in high school and has found UGA to be the perfect place to carry out her mission.

Hometown:

Flowery Branch, Ga.

High School:

West Hall High School

Degree objective:

Bachelor of Social Work, minor in sociology

Expected graduation:

Spring 2015

University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:

Through my time at UGA I have been able to capitalize on all the opportunities and resources available to me while also expanding in activities in which I was already involved or strengthening my passions. I am proud to say that I have done well in my classes while juggling a busy schedule. I have been passionate about advocacy, speaking and much more since before college, but through my major and experiences at UGA I have already been able to do work and gain experience and knowledge with these.

I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when I was 7 years old, and I have been involved in the diabetes community since then. I became more involved and interested in working with children with special needs and life challenges after my dad passed away from cancer when I was 12. Although diabetes is not all of who I am, it is a major part of my life and has played a significant and positive role in my college experience.

On campus, I have received several scholarships through the Disability Resource Center and the School of Social Work. I have also received other various scholarships and awards through outside groups. I studied abroad with UGA à Paris in the summer of 2013.

I have been involved with the Disability Resource Center’s Speakers Bureau since the fall of my sophomore year in 2012. I have been able to speak on and off campus at trainings, conferences, meetings, classes, videos/filming and much more. Through the Speakers Bureau, I was selected to represent the Disability Resource Center on the Division of Student Affairs Student Advisory Board, and through that board I am now on one of the student affairs strategic planning committees.

I have been involved in several student organizations through various capacities, but my focus has been on Dawgs for Diabetes. I have been involved with Dawgs for Diabetes, a chapter of the College Diabetes Network, since my freshman year. I became president in the spring of 2013. Our goals are to educate and raise awareness about diabetes; get involved in the community and provide support for people impacted by diabetes; and to raise money for Camp Kudzu and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Since I became president, we have become more involved in the diabetes community. We held the campus tour for families with teens who have diabetes in the fall of 2014, and we provide social events for our members. Dawgs for Diabetes also recently represented the College Diabetes Network on a news segment that aired on several local news outlets. These are just a few of the many activities we do.

I also have remained very involved off campus. I have been involved with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation since I was diagnosed in the spring of 2000. I have served as team captain for my own walk team in Atlanta since I was in elementary school, and at the Athens walk for Dawgs for Diabetes. Since college, I have become a certified support group leader and volunteer. I now assist with JDRF’s Type 1 Nation in Atlanta. I lead the teen breakout sessions. This winter will be my second year in Atlanta, and this winter I also will attend the South Summit in Tennessee for the teen breakout session.

I have been involved in Camp Kudzu, a camp in Georgia for kids with diabetes, since I was diagnosed. I was a camper until I was old enough to be a volunteer, and I haven’t missed a year since. Through Camp Kudzu, I was introduced to Camp Twin Lakes, and this past summer I volunteered for five weeks of summer camp: three at Camp Kudzu, one at Camp Twitch and Shout, and one at Camp to Belong. Camp Twitch and Shout is for children with Tourette’s syndrome. Camp to Belong reunites brothers and sisters separated in foster care.

In the fall of 2013, I became a court appointed special advocate, or CASA, for a child in foster care. I also speak and blog about diabetes and chronic illnesses on my own.

Current Employment:

I am a B.S.W. intern at Hope Haven. I work with adults with developmental disabilities. For most of college, I have worked part time either as a server, babysitter or speaker. For my senior year, I decided to not work on top of my internship and already full schedule so that I could also enjoy my last year at UGA.

Family Ties to UGA:

I am a first generation Bulldog! Since attending UGA, my family has become UGA fans and supporters.

I chose to attend UGA because…

I wanted to attend UGA since I was 10. I fell in love with the campus when I visited the vet school as a child. It was love at first sight. As I got older, I fell in love with it even more. I changed my career path in high school from wanting to be a vet to wanting to do advocacy work and major in social work. Luckily for me, UGA had both of those! I had explored other schools, but the moment I was accepted nothing else compared to me. I fell in love with UGA even more once I arrived.

My favorite things to do on campus are…

… participate in the student organizations I am a part of, especially Dawgs for Diabetes. I also thoroughly enjoy people watching while I am taking a break from studying.

When I have free time, I like…

… to read, write, watch movies, sleep, explore, travel, hang with friends, try new restaurants, get on Pinterest and craft. I especially enjoy binge watching on Netflix. Truthfully, I struggle with free time, and I attempt to fill it up.

The craziest thing I've done is…

… studied abroad with the UGA à Paris program in the summer of 2013. Traveling to a foreign country was a life changing (and scary) experience. I feel like it was even crazier when I traveled to London and I was on my own for the majority of the weekend. I also traveled to Norway and met family.

My favorite place to study is…

… almost anywhere. It depends on what work I am doing, and what mood I am in. I enjoy coffee shops of any kind, the outdoors in good weather, the Miller Learning Center, and of course my apartment! I like coffee shops for papers and assignments. I prefer the MLC or my apartment to study material and work on extra-curriculars and outside work. I prefer to study with friends anywhere because I thrive off a productive environment.

My favorite professor is…

… Dr. Linda Hughes. I had her for ECHD 4050, “Child Medical Conditions,” in the spring of 2014. Besides enjoying her class, and the speakers she brought in so we could learn firsthand about children with special needs and chronic illnesses, she has been extremely supportive of me and all I do. I have kept in touch with her, and I hope to stay in touch with her.

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

… Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Narrowing my list is difficult. There are so many people I would love to meet and learn from. I had a hard time picking just one, but Sonia Sotomayor is one of the biggest heroes and sources of inspiration in my life. Besides being a powerful woman who is living with Type 1 diabetes, she is an inspiration to me in so many ways.

If I knew I could not fail, I would…

… either get published or address Congress on some of my “soapbox” views—maybe both. I think I would also like to go on “Survivor” (and win).

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

… travel the world in style.

After graduation, I plan to…

… take a little time off before graduate school or law school. I plan on moving to a major Northeast U.S. city, and I want to work for a diabetes-related nonprofit or organization. Later, I either want to go to law school or get my master’s in nonprofit management. I have recently changed my plans, and I am learning to be flexible with where my life may take me—so I would also like to answer with, “Who knows?”

The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…

… the moment Dawgs for Diabetes hosted the first campus tour, which was a diabetes perspective for families with teens who have Type 1 diabetes. We received so much support, help, guidance and kind words surrounding this event, and I am forever appreciative of all the people who participated.

Published Sunday,