A passion for those less fortunate led Danny Guidot to help start a student chapter of MEDLIFE, a service organization dedicated to helping the impoverished. Danny plans to become a research physician in global health, specializing in pediatrics. In his free time, he volunteers at the Lay Community Center.
BS in Health Promotion and Behavior, MPH in Epidemiology, Certificate in Global Health, Minor in Mathematics
University highlights, achievements and awards:
Last year, I was one of six pioneering members of the new club MEDLIFE. While the credit for actually founding the UGA branch of the national organization belongs to Kelsey Campolong and Emily Peng, I was selected to be on the very first Medboard as the advertising chair. Deadlines were short and means were non-existent, but I was able to fill three medical brigades, help raise roughly $2,000 in total funds and develop a solid core of members. While only 10 or 20 strong, these first members formed a powerful foundation for the club. I always envisioned it would and was ready to establish itself as one of the major service organizations on campus, and membership increased to roughly 100 this year. Students around campus are familiar with the name and view it as the more personal and hands-on of the large health care and philanthropy organizations. We have raised well more than $700 in our first two weeks of official fundraising and are on track to raise $5,000 by the end of the academic year.
Last spring break, I traveled to Lima, Peru with MEDLIFE on a medical brigade. While I was there, I was able to take the money I had helped raise all year long and buy medical supplies as well as hire doctors to run a mobile medical clinic. I shadowed these doctors, dentists, pharmacists and public health workers to bring health care to roughly 1,000 impoverished people in the slums of Pamplona. Because of the size of the brigade, our trip set records in terms of care provided and funds delivered. In addition, I gained lasting friendships that span the nation, as well as a level of passion for MEDLIFE that I didn’t know was possible. I went to Peru, but I never really left. Now I spread that message to new and future MEDLIFE members. This winter I am returning the Lima for another MEDLIFE trip. I am also going to Haifa, Israel, with the Global Health program within the MPH program at UGA. In Haifa, I will take classes at the University of Haifa as well as work as a Public Health intern evaluating the effectiveness of health intervention programs.
Of all the members, I have developed the closest and most personal relationship with the two directors of operations for the international MEDLIFE organization, Tommy Flint and Joseph Tylutki. Last year they awarded us best new chapter among all new MEDLIFE chapters in the nation, and this year in their annual tour of national chapters they indicated that we are “by all definitions the best chapter in the nation.” I have challenged my committees (all freshmen) by offering them opportunities and responsibilities, and I have been rewarded with talent and ingenuity I dared not hope for. My greatest challenge now is not finding a successor but instead choosing one (or two, perhaps) from the pool of talented hopefuls I have cultivated. Only one thing is certain: MEDLIFE at UGA will achieve phenomenal things in the near and distant future.
In addition, I am on the leadership team of a local community center, Thomas Lay. My love for the Thomas Lay Community Center, dates back to first semester freshman year. I joined four clubs that year, but Thomas Lay is the only one I followed, and I have since dedicated myself to the program as much as possible. Because of my love for the kids and the program, I applied for the board and was told they accepted my application “without even opening the word document.” That following summer, with the current executive directors entering their senior year, I was offered the position of executive director in charge of operations. The current ED of Operations, Abby Wong (also a far more amazing student than me), described this job to me as the single most important and difficult volunteer position in the entire program. Now I attend the program roughly four days a week and oversee all operations as well as make executive decisions on modifying or correcting how the program is run (under the very critical and loving supervision of Abby). I have become fast friends with many of the government employees there, and I am confident in my ability as caretaker of the Thomas Lay After School Program. That also is because I have the support of people such as Vivien Tsou (current ED of administration), Elizabeth Allen (stepping down ED of administration), Abby Wong, and the rest of the T-Board.
Finally, I am in the Honors program and am a Charter Scholar. I am well on track to graduate with highest honors. I will in fact have to accomplish all three capstone requirements for the Honors program while at UGA, but two will not count for Honors because they will be for my MPH (the graduate classes requirement as well as the research paper). However, I can write another paper for a CURO Scholar with Distinction that will count as my capstone.
I work in the Docampo/Moreno Research Lab for class credit. I perform roughly 20 hours a week of experiments on the physiology of osmoregulation in Toxoplasma gondii. My research will now turn toward more advanced techniques using a fluorometer and fluorescent probes to measure cell volume.
Family Ties to UGA:
My sister, who graduated in fall 2009.
I chose to attend UGA because...
I fell in love with Athens. The town teems with life, with diversity and, most of all, with opportunity. I have many different faces, and each can call Athens home.
My favorite things to do on campus are...
to go downtown with friends, meet with everyone at Medlife and go to the Thomas Lay After School Program.
When I have free time, I like...
to sleep or eat, but I don’t have free time very often.
The craziest thing I've done is...
work as a nude model for the art department. For me, it was simply the easiest and highest paying job I’ve ever had, but my friends and family all agreed that it was quite crazy.
My favorite place to study is...
My favorite professor is...
Coach Ted, also called Theodore Shifrin by those who don’t know him as a math guru and life coach. No one has expected so much from me; and, because of it, no one else has contributed more to my education. He sharpened my mind for math, but now I feel like the prodigal son, away pursuing sciences and neglecting my math studies. Nonetheless, he continues to encourage me to stop by his office to talk. I know that even after a year and a half he would welcome me warmly into his office—after probably shaking his head and admonishing me and after making a terrible pun.
If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with...
my dad’s parents. I’ve heard so much about them, and they seem like they were awesome people. I would really have liked to have met them.
If I knew I could not fail, I would...
try to get a 45 on the MCAT. That would probably open a few doors for me.
If money was not a consideration, I would love to...
see Anderson Silva fight. His career has been a giant highlight reel. He invents moves by knocking out his opponents with them in title fights. If you dare deny him as the best fighter the world has ever seen, ask Chris Leben or Vitor Belfort or Athens’s own Forrest Griffin.
After graduation, I plan to...
enroll in an M.D./Ph.D. program, studying medicine and infectious disease. I hope to become a research physician in global health, specializing in pediatrics.
The one UGA experience I will always remember will be...
is starting the Georgia Bulldog chant at the Tennessee Tech game last year with my good friend and ally in shenanigans Billy Betz. We had whooped up on Tennessee Tech for a quarter and a half, and the stadium had lost its zest. Billy turned to me and said, “We GOTTA start the Georgia Bulldog cheer.” After recruiting a few students around us, we shouted, “Georgia!” Nothing. We shouted, “Georgia!” again, and the heads of students around us begin to turn. Again, we shouted “Georgia!” to find that at least 100 student voices had joined us. “Georgia!” Now every student from the student section had joined the chorus, and the entire stadium took notice. One last “Georgia!” rang before we all heard what we had hoped to hear most: a weak but undeniable response of “Bulldogs!” from across the hedges. By the next cheer, everyone in the stadium was shouting in concert. Never have I felt so strongly the feeling of pride and camaraderie that is Georgia football.