Amazing Students

Parker Evans

Foundation Fellow Parker Evans is a member of three honor societies, has hiked mountains around the world and has conducted Alzheimer’s disease research. But the most memorable UGA experience for this future doctor and Bulldog for life? Standing between the hedges in Sanford Stadium on game day.

Hometown:

Franklin, Tenn.

High School:

Franklin High School

Degree objective:

B.S. in biochemistry and molecular biology

Expected graduation:

Spring 2015

University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:

I have a difficult time imagining a better college experience than the one I’ve had at UGA in the past three and a half years. There are many people that deserve my gratitude, not the least of which are my parents, the Honors/Foundation Fellowship staff, and my savior, Jesus Christ.

As a picture from kindergarten career day will attest to, I have wanted to be a physician for as long as I can remember, and the Foundation Fellowship has enabled me to explore this career around the world. Following freshman year I did a Maymester in Oxford with my Fellows class, where I studied biomedical ethics with Dr. Hanna Pickard. The next summer I braved a 15-hour plane flight to Cape Town, South Africa, where I spent six weeks shadowing physicians and nurses in the Retreat Day Clinic. Cape Town is an incredible city, and experiencing both its cultural and natural wonders was almost as valuable as my time with patients.

This past summer I took a trip out west to Yosemite National Park, first to backpack through the park with friends, and then to complete an NOLS wilderness first responder course. This class gave me practical medical skills for emergency situations, and was an excellent (and fun) contrast to the hospital-based medicine that I have seen in Cape Town and in the U.S.

My academic interests have also led me to become involved in CURO undergraduate research with Marcus Fechheimer. Our lab studies Hirano bodies, which are structures of organized actin protein that are seen in the neurons of Alzheimer’s patients. I will complete my Honors capstone thesis based on my work in the lab this semester.

Since my arrival in Athens, it has been my goal to become immersed in the community, both on campus and off. In addition to volunteering at Mercy Health Center, I have served on the executive boards of both UGA MathCounts and Habitat for Humanity. Through these organizations I have come to know Athens as my second home.

Of equal value to me is the UGA community itself, and it has been my honor to give back to it as a one of the 36 members of the Arch Society, the goodwill ambassadors of the university. Being a part of Arch has opened my eyes to the phenomenal diversity of UGA, both in regard to the people here and the events that take place. I now serve as the vice chair of assignments for the Arch Society.

I have also been privileged to represent the Honors Program and the Fellowship as a member of the Dean William Tate, Phi Kappa Phi and Blue Key honor societies, through which I have been awarded a Phi Kappa Phi Study Abroad Grant and the Blue Key Tucker Dorsey Memorial Award. Additionally, I am an active member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and regularly attend Watkinsville First Baptist Church.

I have been accepted to medical school for next year, so the dream will continue for at least four more years—but I certainly will miss the University of Georgia and will be a proud (and loud) member of the Bulldog Nation for life!

Current Employment:

UGA cellular biology department

Family Ties to UGA:

None yet, but my future kids will be Dawgs one day for sure!

I chose to attend UGA because…

… of the breadth of academic opportunities, the rich student life, the beautiful campus and the Southern culture. I was very impressed on my first visit, and upon receiving the Foundation Fellowship I was totally sold. I could not have been more excited to become a Georgia Bulldog.

My favorite things to do on campus are…

… walking through campus, especially North Campus. Ringing the Chapel bell is a must, both with and without good reasons for doing so. I also enjoy exploring buildings around campus, and it is my goal to at least walk through all of them before I graduate.

When I first got to Georgia, Myers quadrangle was my home, and playing Ultimate Frisbee out there was a weekly ritual. I still enjoy “flicking the ’bee” on campus, and the unofficial North Campus Frisbee golf course is a fun way to get to know people on a nice night.

When I have free time, I like…

… a lot of things. I don’t believe in having too many hobbies. I enjoy playing and watching most sports, as well as water skiing, shooting pool, juggling and pretty much anything outdoors. Some of my favorite college memories were made backpacking in the mountains with friends. I am also an avid reader, especially when it comes to classical literature and fiction. One of my favorite hobbies is woodworking, and I will drop everything if I decide that I need to build a bookcase, garden bed, model trebuchet, etc.

The craziest thing I've done is…

… attend sunrise prayer with Buddhist monks and nuns in the mountains of South Korea. That was an awe-inspiring experience and a snapshot into a completely foreign culture, and I surely will never see something like that again. Close seconds are sunrise and sunset hikes in the mountains of Cape Town and Yosemite National Park, which are both truly among the most beautiful places in the world.

My favorite place to study is…

… in a hammock in the fall with 70 degree weather and a few clouds in the sky. Under less ideal conditions, I prefer to study in noisy coffee shops or at home.

My favorite professor is…

… Marcus Fechheimer, a professor of cellular biology, a recipient of the Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professorship, and my research mentor of almost three years. Under his tutelage, I have learned an incredible amount about Alzheimer’s disease, research methods, primary literature and cellular biology as a whole. Yet at the same time, I have gained a friend and mentor. Dr. Fechheimer truly invests in students, and makes every effort to ensure that we understand why things work the way they do. He also has quite the sense of humor and strives to engage in students’ lives outside of the classroom. Dr. Fechheimer and his wife, Ruth Furukawa, have been a pivotal part of my undergraduate education and medical school preparation, for which I cannot thank them enough.

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

… Dr. Bill Frist, physician and former U.S. senator from my home state of Tennessee. Dr. Frist, in addition to being a well-respected surgeon, has a great deal of experience with medical business, policy and worldwide missions. It would be rewarding to pick his brain about each of those topics in turn, and obtain some valuable advice as I move into my own career as a physician.

If I knew I could not fail, I would…

… climb a few of the tallest (or most prominent) mountains in the world. I would start in the U.S. with Rainier and Denali (Mount McKinley), and then head abroad and summit Kilimanjaro, Aconcagua, K2 and even Everest. I also might climb one of the few remaining unclimbed mountains in the world.

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

… collect a vast and classical personal library. My love of reading has led me to collect about 400 books so far, but I would love to see this expand by severalfold or more, especially in regards to old prints of classical works of literature and scientific texts. These books would line the walls of my man cave one day.

After graduation, I plan to…

… attend medical school and eventually pursue a health care practice, possibly in surgery. I won’t decide on a school until March or April, but I am extremely excited about the prospect of discovering a new place and new people, and about chasing my childhood dream of becoming a physician.

The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…

… as a member of the Arch Society, standing between the fabled hedges on a Saturday in Athens, surrounded by 92,746 screaming fans, holding up the giant “G” banner for the team to burst through and kick the tail out of, in this case, the Clemson Tigers. This moment was a capstone of my lifelong passion for college football and of my experience as a student at the University of Georgia. UGA has given so much to me in and out of the classroom, in helping me to create lifelong friendships, and in teaching me about myself. I’ll miss my time here, but I have no shortage of fond memories with which to leave … and of course I’ll be back on Saturdays in the fall.

Published Sunday,