Amazing Students

Tiffany Hu

Tiffany Hu’s various UGA experiences in such programs as Honors, CURO, Ramsey Scholars, Dean Tate Honor Society and Blue Key Society have prepared her for her future aspirations—to be a compassionate physician and public health professional.

Hometown:

Appleton, Wis.

High School:

Appleton East High School

Degree objective:

B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Expected graduation:

Spring 2012

University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:

I am involved with Promote Africa, a grass-roots student group on campus that empowers communities in Sub-Saharan Africa. We award micro-finance grants for sustainable projects addressing underserved health, education and environmental needs. As the director of art, I reach out to local businesses and online venues to help market hand-carved, eco-friendly bracelets from artisan cooperatives in Namibia. I also enjoy working with our Bright Ideas Grant committee to critically evaluate project proposals. It is rewarding to see the results of our year-long fundraising efforts as we receive updates on the small-scale fish farm and poultry farm cooperatives we have supported.

My interest in public health led me to travel to India two summers ago to explore their health care system. There, I witnessed daily the largest democracy in the world’s efforts to manage its double burden of infectious and chronic diseases. I shadowed passionate physicians stationed in rural clinics who would hike great distances to set up medical camps. Following this rotation, I learned from physicians in Mumbai who were, through physical therapy and customized footwear, obliterating the prejudice against leprosy patients. These experiences deepened my appreciation for health policy and community-based approaches to increasing health care access and education.
This fall marks my third semester serving as a teaching assistant for the Honors Program. I enjoy having the structured opportunity to guide a small group of first-year Honors students through academic and extra-curricular opportunities on campus and in Athens. Their energy to explore and make the most of their years here does not cease to inspire me. It is rewarding to see students from my class again as second or third years carving out their own paths and pursuing their passions.

The Honors International Scholars Program, Center for Undergraduate Research (CURO) Summer Fellowship and Ramsey Scholars Program have made many of my most meaningful experiences possible. The Dean Tate Honor Society and Blue Key Society communities also have been wonderful.

Family Ties to UGA:

I’m the first from the Hu family to attend UGA. My dad, however, likes to remind me that he was the first to come to Athens when he used the School of Forestry’s laboratory equipment for some business-related paper science experiments back in 1998!

I chose to attend UGA because…

...the students, faculty and staff I met during a visit were incredibly welcoming, and I fell in love with the campus. The immense school spirit and buzz of student activity convinced me that I would have an incredible four years here. The Honors Program and Ramsey Scholars Program really give this expansive university a small-campus feel.

My favorite things to do on campus are…

...to stop friends on the street to talk. There are so many people milling around the heart of campus, near Sanford Stadium, that I never fail to see someone I want to catch up with. I often get distracted from where I am actually headed—perhaps this is why I am perpetually late! I also tend to gravitate toward unoccupied pianos on campus. My two favorite piano-playing spots are on the top floor of Tate and in the Rooker Fireside Lounge. I have always wanted a baby grand piano as a kid, so until I save up enough to buy a Steinway & Sons, this will do.

When I have free time, I like…

...to try out different eateries with friends, wander through the New York Times and figure out ways to get onto thesartorialist.com.

The craziest thing I've done is…

...agree to take an eight-hour car ride to Dharamsala, India, the residence of the exiled Tibetan government and the Dalai Lama. As we weaved precariously around on the Himalayan mountain roads, our driver essentially played chicken with oncoming trucks in the dark of night. I was awake for the entirety of the trip. A close second would be trying to exit a jam-packed men’s train compartment heading away from Mumbai during the height of rush hour. To its merit, I consider transportation a cultural experience of its own.

My favorite place to study is…

...in a coffee shop downtown. For some reason, I need coffee and a corner to myself to get really serious. Nothing, however, is better than studying with a group of friends. When it gets to be late, they suffer the worst of my science-related jokes.

My favorite professor is…

Dr. Karl Espelie has been an incredibly generous mentor. Each time I stop by his office, he never fails to put down what he is doing to help me make sense of my schedule, arrange my internship or agree to (yet another) recommendation request. His biology seminar brought together faculty and UGA alumni from across several disciplines. I still remember the shrieks that erupted from our room when a guest lecturer brought out a large snake.

I am also grateful to Dr. Angela Fertig, who has been a wonderful policy mentor. She really helped me locate great resources for my Roosevelt Scholars policy recommendation, and I appreciate how her door is always open for me to drop by. I still consider Dr. Kutal’s honors general chemistry course, particularly the lab, to be a right of passage. I learned a great deal about teaching while interning as one of his lab teaching assistants. I also enjoyed immensely Dr. Wan-I Li’s teaching style in his anatomy/physiology course, and Dr. Jason Locklin made organic chemistry II rather exciting for our class.

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

...Dr. Atul Gawande, a surgeon and public health researcher specializing in patient safety and health care performance. He’s authored several essays and books, including the Checklist Manifesto, and his humility shines through his writing. What I appreciate most about Dr. Gawande is his commitment to providing the best possible care. He asks the right questions and doesn’t accept the way things have always been. He excels at identifying small opportunities in health care to make a very specific yet significant impact, and I admire his innovation in applying successful ideas from other disciplines to medicine.

If I knew I could not fail, I would…

...climb to the top of K2 and share that feeling of empowerment and fearlessness with everyone. I would also learn to read and write Chinese. It makes me sad when I can’t read parts of my mom’s handwritten notes.

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

...take off to India and Nepal and establish safe communities for children in the streets to get a consistent education and a dependable home.

After graduation, I plan to…

...attend medical school and get my M.D./M.P.H. with a focus in health policy and management. At the moment, I am most interested in pursuing a career in cardiology or a pediatric specialty. I aspire to be a compassionate physician and public health professional. Somewhere along the way, I would also like to spend more time abroad and explore Southeast Asia.

The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…

...was during my second year at UGA. My friends and I decided to watch the Leonid meteor shower from the intramural fields. Having thoroughly researched the idea, we decided to go during the peak watching hours, i.e. 2 a.m.  A true testament to my roommate’s persistence, she was able to round us all out of bed and into the car. We set up blankets and watched the mesmerizing meteors flash across the sky. Actually, they watched. I accidentally fell asleep in the warm company of my friends and managed to not see a single shooting star. I woke up, however, in time to round out the night with buttermilk waffles at Waffle House. It’s bittersweet to think I’ll never have another non-star watching experience quite like this one.

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