Amazing Students

David Paulk

Franklin College senior David Paulk has a zest for life. As an Honors student, he has participated in three study abroad opportunities including a medical internship in Venezuela, a Science Maymester in Italy and a research symposium in Costa Rica. He received an essay award for a paper he wrote in his “Medicine in Literature” course, the first class he took toward his English major. He has been president, racing team captain and webmaster of the UGA Sailing Club and even helped relocate the “Sugar Bowl Regatta” to Georgia after Hurricane Katrina disrupted the scheduled program in Louisiana. After graduation, he plans to go backpacking across Europe and then start medical school at the Medical College of Georgia in the fall.

Hometown:

Roswell, Ga.

High School:

Roswell High School

Degree objective:

B.S. in biology, A.B. in English and A.B. in Spanish

Expected graduation:

Spring 2009

University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:

I am a member of the Honors Program and a Charter Scholarship recipient. Last spring, I received the English Department’s Upper Division Essay Award for a research essay I wrote as part of a “Medicine in Literature” course. I have served as president and vice president of Alpha Epsilon Delta Premedical Honor Society, as well as president, racing team captain and webmaster of the UGA Sailing Club. I was an Honors Program teaching assistant for three years, and I currently serve as an Honors Ambassador, a member of the Georgia Recruitment Team and a facilitator in the Honors Medicine in Literature Book Group. I was both a resident assistant and a Spanish language community member in Mary Lyndon Hall. I consider student teaching at Barnett Shoals Elementary through Project FOCUS to be one of the most memorable experiences of my years at UGA, and I am fortunate to have participated in several study abroad programs, including a medical internship in Venezuela, a Science Maymester in Italy and a research symposium in Costa Rica.

Current Employment:

I teach SAT prep courses and tutor students for Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions. This job has been a perfect fit for me because of its downtown location and flexible hours, but the aspect I enjoy most is the teaching experience itself and the opportunity to interact with high school students who have a genuine desire to learn and to see their scores improve.

Family Ties to UGA:

Very few. In fact, my grandfather was a professor of organic chemistry at Georgia Tech for almost 40 years.

I chose to attend UGA because…

...of its affordability and the Honors Program. I’ve said this many times while giving campus tours and attending recruitment events, but I believe that UGA is one of the premier public institutions in the country and that the Honors Program offers a first-rate education at a fraction of the cost of elite private universities.

When I have free time, I like…

...to hang out on the Myers quad tossing a Frisbee or playing a pickup game of Ultimate.

The craziest thing I've done is…

...sail in a regatta on Lake Lanier two days before New Year’s. The Sugar Bowl Regatta, as it was called, is normally held in Louisiana but had to be relocated because of Hurricane Katrina. In a cooperative effort with the Georgia Tech team, the UGA Sailing Club hosted about twenty colleges from across the country for this event. The water was close to freezing, and gusts of wind were clocked at more than 50 miles per hour. My partner, Katie Folkman, and I did some of the best sailing of our lives before, like many other teams, we capsized and had to be taken ashore by a rescue boat. The day’s races were canceled shortly thereafter, but a long time passed before I was able to regain sensation in my limbs.

My favorite place to study is…

...the Science Library or Snelling. This combination works well for me because the two locations are close together, each provides a different atmosphere for studying, and Snelling offers food (and coffee) at any time of day or night during the week.

My favorite professor is…

...Sujata Iyengar. Though I was new to the English Department last fall, I received special permission to enroll in Dr. Iyengar’s upper-level “Medicine in Literature” course. In addition to helping me realize that perhaps medicine and the liberal arts aren’t so disparate from one another, she instilled confidence in me as a student unfamiliar with a new major. As for my other areas of study, I can’t overlook Karl Espelie in biological sciences or Noel Fallows in romance languages. These individuals have been invaluable to me in my undergraduate career both as mentors and as classroom professors.

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

...my grandfather, James Stanfield. He was the single kindest, most intelligent individual I have ever known. He passed away during my junior year of college, and I would want to tell him that I appreciate his influence in my life and that I wish he were still here to see me graduate and start medical school.

If I knew I could not fail, I would…

...secure a job at the World Health Organization in Geneva and travel the world as an epidemiologist specializing in global infectious diseases. I’ve been terribly spoiled by the facility with which UGA students are able to travel abroad, and if I can find a way to incorporate this endless desire to globetrot within my chosen profession, I’ll jump at it in a heartbeat.

After graduation, I plan to…

...spend the summer backpacking across Europe with my younger brother, and then I hope to attend medical school at the Medical College of Georgia in the fall.

The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…

...being my team’s representative in the “Miss Relay for Life” pageant. Because my decision to participate was somewhat last-minute, there wasn’t a great deal of creativity or planning that went into my outfit. While the other contestants were significantly better dressed and, more importantly, better disguised, I mostly just resembled myself—in a jean skirt and tank top. Miss Sasha, the contest’s drag queen emcee, even made fun of me for being particularly trashy-looking, going so far as to compare me to a University of Florida cheerleader. I answered a few beauty pageant questions on stage and walked through the crowd propositioning students for donations, all in the name of raising funds for cancer research, which is probably the only cause that could justify such an act of gratuitous self-immolation.

Published Monday,