Amazing Students

Mike Lynch

Junior Mike Lynch has set some lofty goals. He plans to visit all seven of the world’s continents and he received a lot of help toward reaching that goal from the Travel-Study grants he has received as a UGA Foundation Fellow. He has used his grants to visit Vietnam and Cuba. While he is in the United States, he volunteers as president of the UGA/Athens-Clarke County Young Democrats and has recently worked as the campaign manager for Jan Hackney in her recent bid for a seat in the Georgia House of Representatives. After graduation, he plans to work in public service.

Hometown:

Atlanta, Georgia

High School:

North Springs High School

Degree objective:

A.B. in Political Science and A.B. in Spanish

Expected graduation:

May 2006

University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:

My greatest honor at UGA, without question, was being awarded a Foundation Fellowship for undergraduate studies. Thanks in part to the generous stipend it provides for academic travel, I have already been to 3 continents and 14 countries. I’m also a four-semester Presidential Scholar and a member of various campus honor societies.

Currently, I’m serving as the president of Young Democrats of UGA/Athens-Clarke County, a job that comes with both opportunity and responsibility. Operating an organization with 150+ members and a large budget has been no easy task, but the idea that students’ deeply held beliefs can be translated into action through public participation drew me to it even before I began classes at UGA. Over the past few years, we have expanded from a small forum of like-minded individuals to tackling projects such as large-scale electioneering and advocacy of issues such as affordable housing and rural/urban poverty. Overall, our goal, like that of other political organizations on campus, is to channel politics into service of community and country. I’m very proud to be a part of it.

Current Employment:

Recently, I was the campaign manager for Jan Hackney, a candidate for State House of Representatives in the Sandy Springs and Roswell communities of North Atlanta. My responsibilities there consisted mostly of handling fundraising and political affairs, as well as developing overall strategy.

I also work for Dr. José B. Alvarez in the Romance Languages Department on Spanish language study abroad opportunities. Our job at the UGA en España office is to administer existing programs in Spain and Cuba as well as develop new possibilities for language study, especially as it relates to specific fields such as law, medicine, and business.

I chose to attend UGA because…

...it strives to offer students a first-rate education in a multitude of disciplines. The security that came with knowing that the university is committed to constant improvement and all-around excellence made me feel comfortable exploring various fields and still leaves me wondering (in a good way) where I want to take my studies.

I must also admit that Athens has earned a special place in my heart. It’s unlike anyplace else that I’ve ever lived. It’s refreshing to be surrounded constantly by thoughtful, engaged, people both on and off campus. The people who live here really are dedicated and invested in their community, and we can see the results in everything that strikes us as unique and attractive about the streets, restaurants, shops, and neighborhoods. To the consternation of some, I might never leave.

My favorite things to do on campus are…

I only recently discovered the UGA master calendar, so even in my third year I’m still finding new things to do on campus. I’m a huge fan of the musical performances at Hodgson Hall, especially a capella, and I try to hear as many guest lecturers as I possibly can. I also recently volunteered as host of a radio show on WUOG, Knock Down Drag Out. On the show, our panel debated current issues facing UGA, the state, and the country as a whole in a format that attempted to be both humorous and informative. We often failed at both, but the show nonetheless helped maintain an open dialogue about news and ideas on campus.

When I have free time, I like…

...to run or bike. I ran cross-country in high school and discovered that endurance exercise has a hypnotic effect that helps put everything else in perspective. In short, it’s really great therapy and it’s free!

The craziest thing I've done is…

...travel to Vietnam and back in one week. I was lucky enough to fly halfway around the world and see some of the grisliest reminders of the Vietnam’s past juxtaposed with the industrial, future-oriented society of today. Each day brought a new horror or new hope, and the short duration of the trip concentrated the emotional intensity. The most powerful sites were definitely those related to the war: the Vietcong tunnels, the Hanoi Hilton, the Revolution Museum. For many of us, war is a distant concept, but that week it all came crashing home for me.

My favorite place to study is…

...the Law Library. The gigantic windows facing North Campus provide welcome distraction when necessary and the room is deathly quiet. Did you know they allow undergraduates in there?

My favorite professor is…

...Charles Bullock. He genuinely enjoys teaching and being with students, and his lectures are infused with a deep, personal knowledge of the events and personalities that shaped the material he presents. Any class can give you the trends, percentages, and other facts pertinent to a study of southern politics, but Dr. Bullock captures the character that makes Georgia and the South as a whole distinctive among states and regions. And, most importantly to me, he delivers it with a great deal of humor.

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

..President Harry Truman. I think that he could impart a great deal of wisdom about making tough calls and standing up for what you believe to be morally and ethically right even in the face of overwhelming opposition.

After graduation, I plan to…

...perform some sort of social or civil service. I figure I owe it for the many opportunities I’ve been given.

Published Tuesday,