Caroline Maguire has experienced a lot since she started at UGA, but it was through UGA Miracle that the future doctor discovered her true passion and purpose: “To give of myself so that others may be happy and healthy.”
The Westminster Schools
B.S. Biology and B.S. Psychology
University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:
When I moved into Myers Hall a little over three years ago, I had no idea just how fantastic the next few years were about to be. I’ve been able to be part of the most amazing campus organizations, take fascinating and rigorous classes, and form community with some of the most brilliant, dedicated and joyful people on the planet. I am incredibly thankful for the profound impact the University of Georgia has had on my personal growth, especially in developing my perspective of the world and how I fit into it.
As a pre-medical student, my class schedule has not been the easiest, but I’ve thankfully found the time to participate in some amazing organizations throughout my college career that have allowed me to explore other interests as well as prepare me for my future as a doctor. After finding their recruitment table at Orientation my freshman year, I applied to University Judiciary—the student-run organization charged with upholding the Code of Conduct by proactively educating the community about the code and by administering formal hearings for students alleged to have violated the code. Even though I had a nosebleed during my interview, I somehow was admitted to the organization later that semester, and the following year I was elected director of case administration for advisor/advocates. Serving on UJ’s Executive Council has been an incredible experience, as I’m afforded the opportunity to serve my fellow students, UGA and the broader Athens community all in one job. I owe much of who I am today to my Judiciary experiences, and I am especially thankful for the community of members, past and present councils, and advisors who have become some of my best friends.
In the summer of 2016, UJ’s council faced a daunting challenge: State of Georgia legislation requiring changes to UGA’s Code of Conduct that would undoubtedly affect the formal hearing process. It became my responsibility to ensure that the entire Judiciary membership was retrained efficiently so that the conduct process continued to flow smoothly. Aided by the Office of Student Conduct and my co-case administrator, I administered three four-hour re-education sessions, edited paperwork to fit the revised process, and became a go-to expert on the new Code of Conduct. Through these challenges, I grew as a leader and served the UGA community by ensuring effective administration of the conduct process. I was beyond honored to receive the William R. Bracewell Award for Distinguished Service and the Award of Commitment and Excellence for Advisor/Advocates at Judiciary’s Jenny Penny Oliver Induction and Recognition Ceremony this past year for my work on re-education.
Another fantastic organization I joined my freshman year and have continued with through my senior year is UGA Miracle, a student-led philanthropy and service organization benefitting Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, specifically its Comprehensive Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit and the Aflac Cancer Center. This year, UGA Miracle raised $1 million for the CIRU, which will fully fund it for a year, and an additional $352,705 for the Aflac Cancer Center and pediatric cancer research. Our grand total of $1,352,705 made us the single largest donor to CHOA! The Hospital Relations Committee has been my Miracle home since freshman year. HR has the profound privilege of championing the hospitals we support and the kids there so that the larger organization and those outside of UGA Miracle can see how awesome they are. As an HR member, I was given many opportunities to visit the CIRU to play with the kids and give them and their families a respite from hospital life.
UGA Miracle impacts many lives, but it has a special significance to me. I was an inpatient at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta for three weeks, suffering from malnutrition and a perforated intestine as a consequence of Crohn’s Disease. Not only did the staff at CHOA save my life, but they ensured that I could still be a kid during my stay, keeping me optimistic and entertained. I channeled this relentless positive energy in my interactions with CIRU patients, allowing me to transform my negative experience of being hospitalized into a benefit for others. In one instance, I spotted a young girl timidly watching on the outskirts while the other kids crafted. I grabbed some face paint and offered to paint a butterfly on her face, which she hesitantly allowed. When I suggested she paint my face to match, she grinned and eagerly got to work. Making someone smile, especially someone in pain, is one of the most rewarding experiences, and the HR hospital visits have given me the platform to do just that. Because of my UGA Miracle experience, I discovered my true passion and purpose: to give of myself so that others may be happy and healthy.
UGA has given me the best gift: community. Being pre-med is difficult, but it has certainly given me a lasting bond with my classmates. I’ve never felt closer to a group of people than when my friends and I were walking into an organic chemistry exam like we were walking into battle. My amazing friends always know how to encourage me and help me chill out when needed (usually just listening to the “Harry Potter” soundtrack will do it). UGA has become a true home because of the people here, and I will sorely miss this place next year.
Family Ties to UGA:
My brother, Carter, graduated from UGA in May 2017 after receiving a B.A. in philosophy, and he’s now in law school at the University of Pennsylvania. My cousins, Nicholas and Emily Booth, also went to UGA.
I chose to attend UGA because…
The resources UGA has access to as a large public university make for an incredible education with knowledgeable professors, amazing classroom facilities and organizations to fit any interest. All of my science professors have been actively involved in research on campus while teaching, so they were able to give firsthand accounts of cutting-edge pursuits in genetics, biochemistry, psychology, neuroscience, chemistry, plant ecology, etc. With the prospect of paying for medical school on my mind, I knew that I would want to attend a university that would more than prepare me for my future career while also allowing me to enter medical school as debt-free as possible. UGA has gone beyond my expectations, and I will be forever proud of my decision to become a Dawg!
My favorite things to do on campus are…
… getting coffee. I’m pretty sure that when most people think of me, they automatically picture me with a cup of coffee in my hand. My favorite coffee place on campus is definitely the Starbucks at Tate, but I’m pretty sure I’ve bought coffee at every single place it’s sold on campus. If I’m not getting coffee, I can also be found (drinking coffee) in the University Judiciary office in Memorial Hall. Nothing’s better than going into our advisor Emmie’s office for a life chat or messing around with the other Judiciary members.
When I have free time, I like…
… being with friends (shout out to all my friends), taking naps (current best: five hours), watching “The Office,” “Seinfeld” and/or “Harry Potter,” reading (currently reading “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime” by Mark Haddon—check it out), doing puzzles (biggest accomplishment so far: 2,000-piece puzzle of St. Basil’s Cathedral at night), and hiking, going on walks, running … just being outside!
The craziest thing I've done is…
On the night of July 4, 2008, I was on the roof of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston watching all the different fireworks shows around Atlanta. My dad was pushing my wheelchair and my mom was beside me pulling my IV pole. This is still my craziest memory—there I was, up on the roof of CHOA where the helicopters land, surrounded by other patients and their families, with my parents close behind me, watching about 10 fireworks displays at once.
Almost seven years later, I was crying the happiest tears while sitting in Sanford Stadium because it had just been revealed that UGA Miracle had raised over $1,352,705 for the hospital that made my 2008 Fourth of July one of the coolest memories of my life. Being a part of a group of students that can raise over a million dollars for such a worthy cause has also made the list of crazy awesome things I’ve done.
My favorite place to study is…
My initial thought was the University Judiciary office, but I never actually get any work done there because I always end up talking to people. I think the best place to study on campus is the main library. It has all the amenities, including coffee, ample space, chairs with an ideal comfort level for studying (has a cushion, but you won’t fall asleep), and a quiet study environment. I also enjoy the Starbucks at Tate for when I’m looking for a little hum of background noise.
My favorite professor is…
I believe one of the main reasons why I’ve gotten into medical school is Dr. Karl Espelie, my amazing advisor. I’m so thankful I found him sophomore year and took his incredible Honors seminar class. On top of being the best advisor and an award-winning entomology professor, he has such a heart for students, and he truly wants to see them succeed and get to know them on a personal level. Whenever I come to him for advice, he’s always quick to give wise answers and stories of past advisees who have encountered similar situations. His support means the world to me.
Another amazing professor I’ve had is Dr. Randy Hammond, who taught my “Sensation and Perception” and “Biological Health Psychology” classes and is one of the most intelligent people I’ve ever met. There was never a dull moment in either of his classes; I think that if he wanted, he could be a successful stand-up comedian. The classes that I took from him helped me as much as “Physics” or “Biochemistry” in preparing for the MCAT, and I will surely recognize them as being even more valuable when I get to medical school.
One of the most joyful and dedicated professors I have had the pleasure to learn from is Dr. Maria Navarro, who taught my Honors “World Hunger” class. I deeply enjoyed this class, as I was able to learn about diverse fields, like agriculture, economics, environmental sustainability, and world politics. She is a natural educator—a strong and empathetic leader who strives to encourage intellectual and emotional development among her students.
Although she is not a professor, one of my favorite teachers and advisors during my time at UGA has been Emmie Bennett, the Senior Coordinator for University Judiciary and Hearings in the Office of Student Conduct. Emmie has been a mentor for me since she taught my Judiciary training class, and has provided me with invaluable guidance throughout my years on Council. I am so thankful for her commitment to UGA’s students, including University Judiciary, and the community.
If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with…
I would get coffee with C.S. Lewis. I think he is one of the brightest, most creative people to have ever lived. From “The Chronicles of Narnia” to “Mere Christianity,” his writings are engaging and relatable. I would absolutely love to have a face-to-face conversation with him about his faith and the worlds he created.
If I knew I could not fail, I would…
… eradicate polio. We did it with smallpox in 1980, and we can do it with polio if the public health effort is strong enough. The worldwide effort to eliminate poliomyelitis infection has been ongoing since 1988, and is led by national governments partnering with the World Health Organization, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the CDC, UNICEF and Rotary International. Since its inception, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative has decreased the incidence of polio by 99.9 percent, and is currently working to eradicate the final 0.1 percent of cases found in Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan. The effort hinges on vaccinating every child against polio, which is possible but extremely difficult. If I knew I couldn’t fail, I would ensure that every child had been vaccinated against the disease so that it would cease to exist.
If money was not a consideration, I would love to…
… pay for everyone’s medical bills and debts. Money is often a huge barrier to health care access, and many preventable diseases progress because patients cannot afford to address the symptoms when they first arise. If money was not an issue, I would want to allow everyone to get the care they need without worrying about the financial burden that would come with it.
What is your passion and how are you committed to pursuing it?
One of my strongest passions, encouraged by my involvement with UGA Miracle, is serving and advocating on behalf of others. Since my freshman year, I have been a member of the Hospital Relations committee of UGA Miracle. Advocating on behalf of the kids going through rehabilitation and cancer treatment is a privilege. Unfortunately, these kids face limited resources for their recoveries because of insufficient funding for and availability of care. As a striking example, 4-year-old Grant Gossling passed away in 2016 due to Stage IV neuroblastoma, but he unfortunately did not have much of a chance because of the lack of pediatric treatment options. At our goal reveal last year, his parents recited the grim statistic that only 4 percent of cancer research funding is directed toward pediatrics. In an effort to increase options for pediatric care, UGA Miracle has fundraised to support the CIRU and research into pediatric cancers at the Aflac Cancer Center. In addition to that, we have worked to spread awareness of this lack of funding in an effort to create more opportunities for progress. It takes dedicated, passionate leaders, like doctors, and a compassionate community to enact change and advocate on behalf of others because those who need the change do not always have the platform to do so.
After graduation, I plan to…
… go to medical school!! Although I’m keeping an open mind until I do rotations in medical school, I’m currently thinking of pursuing a career in transplantation. I developed an interest in pursuing transplantation as my future specialty while shadowing at Emory’s Transplant Center over the summer of 2016. Immersed in the day-to-day routines of the transplant surgeons, I attended surgeries, rounds, clinic, and lab meetings. My interest in transplantation was heightened when I was introduced to the complicated ethical dilemmas wrapped into the field, such as xenotransplantation and organ allocation criteria.
The high potential for improvements to the field through research is also a component of my interest. This summer, I worked in Dr. Andrew Adams’ transplant immunology lab, which researches immunologic components that could lead to better outcomes for transplant recipients on costimulation blocking anti-rejection drugs. Among the invaluable experiences I had in this lab was seeing true translational research that could impact patients I had seen while shadowing the summer before.
The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…
During this year’s football game against South Carolina, a man dressed as Santa appeared on the jumbotron about seven times in a row, with applause increasing with every appearance. I will never forget how the Dawgs united in cheering for a man dressed as Santa, and how absurdly hilarious the whole situation was. Dawgs on top!!!