Amazing Students

Gehres Paschal

Senior Gehres Paschal knows that the college experience encompasses a lot more than what she learns in the classroom. Her experiences at UGA range from research work in comparative literature to providing healthcare to the poorest parts of Nicaragua, an event that she says changed her life. She was a tutor at Oasis Católico Santa Rafaela, a small Hispanic Community in Athens, and she has built houses in Asheboro, North Carolina, through Volunteer UGA’s Alternative Spring Break. Additionally, she has been a Peer Advisor for the Honors Program and an Organic Chemistry laboratory teaching assistant. She has worked as a Crew Member at Dawg Camp, a 3-day camp through the UGA Student Leadership Center that focuses on orienting incoming freshman and encouraging high achievement in school and involvement in extra-curricular activities. She plans to return to Nicaragua and do research with tsunami survivors in Thailand before she goes to medical school next year.

Hometown:

Augusta, Georgia

High School:

Lakeside High School

Degree objective:

B.S. in Biology with a Chemistry minor

Expected graduation:

May 2005

University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:

Besides being in the UGA Honors Program, an Office for Vice President of Research Fellow, a Courts International Scholar, a member of Alpha Epsilon Delta Premedical Honor Society, and a Richard B. Russell Leadership Fellow. I have been involved in a number of research projects in cellular biology, organic chemistry, and biochemistry and molecular biology. Among my other work, I presented the research that I did with Dr. Katherina Wilson in Comparative Literature at the 2004 CURO Symposium, and my paper was also published in JURO (Journal for Undergraduate Research Opportunities). Last summer I was fortunate enough to receive the Courts Scholarship which enabled me to work with International Service Learning, a non-profit organization that specializes in delivering healthcare to the most remote and underserved areas of developing countries. The experience changed my life, and upon my return I decided to form a group called Students for International Healthcare-UGA in order to make it easier for students to find ways to do medical volunteer work abroad. In April, I will be representing Students for International Healthcare UGA, and International Service Learning at the conference for Southern Association of Advisors for Healthcare Professionals (SAAHP) in Nashville, Tennessee . I was also the Philanthropy Chair and Volunteer Coordinator for Kappa Delta Sorority, and a Relay for Life Team Captain. I was on the Family Relations for Dance Marathon, and I have volunteered at Athens Regional Medical Center.

I chose to attend UGA because…

I chose to attend the University of Georgia for many reasons other than the fact that my parents went to school here, and were actually married on North Campus. I was particularly drawn by the Honors Program and by the caliber of the faculty and the students of Moore College. The Honors Program is, without doubt, incomparable. I could not have found a more challenging and enlightening framework by which to learn. Also, I wanted to take advantage of the endless number of research opportunities at UGA through the Center for Undergraduate Research, as well as become involved in a number of the various student organizations at UGA.

My favorite things to do on campus are…

...attending lectures in the Chapel and at Moore College as well as cultural events like India Night and Latina Noche. I also really love visiting the Georgia Museum of Art and watching dance performances by the UGA Ballroom Performance Group. However, after I graduate, the thing I will miss the most is walking to class on Tuesday afternoons and listening to the professors playing their banjos in front of the Ecology building.

When I have free time, I like…

...practicing my Spanish, Latin dancing, painting, sailing, playing intramural sports, running at the Botanical Gardens, eating downtown, and most of all just hanging out with my friends.

The craziest thing I've done is…

...I climbed into a ring with an angry bull at a rodeo during the “Esperanza” celebration in Nosara, Costa Rica to take a picture. I ended up sliding back under the wooden gate about 20 seconds later and, needless to say, took a lovely shot of the ground.

My favorite place to study is…

I am quite fond of spending afternoons at the Botanical Gardens by the river with my books. I can get away from everything, and really concentrate.

My favorite professor is…

...Katherina Wilson in Comparative Literature. She has made my experience here at UGA unique in so many ways. She helped reveal to me the similarities between the humanities and the sciences and to gather a more holistic approach to the world of academia. Dr. Wilson is also brilliant woman with such a loving and compassionate heart, and she has always encouraged me to follow my dreams regardless of how crazy they are.

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

...the world-renowned Paul Farmer. He is an infectious disease specialist and anthropologist at Harvard and founder of Partners in Health. He works four months out of the year in the U.S. so that he can spend the last 8 months running a hospital in Haiti. I am so fascinated by his dedication to medicine and especially by his dedication to humanity. All too often, perfectly capable individuals are held back when confronted by the difficulty and the enormity of trying to make a difference in the world, and yet Dr. Farmer doesn’t even stop to think, he just acts.

After graduation, I plan to…

Before starting at the Medical College of Georgia in the fall of 2006, I will be taking two trips. First, I will be returning to Nicaragua with a group of UGA students. We will be traveling throughout the country and providing medical and dental care to patients in underserved areas. In July I will leave for Phuket , Thailand with The ArtReach Foundation, an organization that does art therapy with children who have lived through war and natural disaster. I will be on the Island for a year conducting a study with children suffering from Post-traumatic stress disorder caused by the tsunami and the positive effects of art therapy.

The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…

...my last football game in Sanford Stadium against Georgia Tech. It was cold and wet, but being there cold and wet with a group of your closest friends while the Dawgs were winning could not have been better.

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