Amazing Students

Lian Peters

A commitment to interdisciplinary study defines Lian Peters.  From studying “Hamlet to selections from Helkiah Crooke’s Microcosmographia (a 1615 medical textbook) to modern research on visual perception,” Lian has intricately and thoroughly explored the many diverse opportunities at UGA.

Hometown:

Marietta

High School:

Wheeler High School

Degree objective:

B.A. in English, minors in biology and French

Expected graduation:

spring 2013

University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:

As someone with diverse interests, I knew pretty early on that I was interested in studying things with tie-ins across disciplines. My freshman year, I did a directed reading through CURO on Shakespeare’s work from the perspective of cognitive theory. Under Dr. Sujata Iyengar, I wrote extensively on how the mind and perceptions of meaning operate in his work. As you can imagine, it was a very much interdisciplinary project and one in which research led me to read everything from Hamlet to selections from Helkiah Crooke’s Microcosmographia (a 1615 medical textbook) to modern research on visual perception.

I had another opportunity to do cross-subject research after my sophomore year, when Dr. Christopher Pizzino suggested I expand upon a paper I wrote in his graphic novels class. The paper is on Eric Drooker’s use of music imagery in his book Flood!: A Novel in Pictures, in which music and visuals reveal a considerable amount about both the medium and Drooker’s social and political interests. Notably, working on this paper has led me to study music, both theory and perception, in a way that I had never before approached it. Hopefully, this paper will be published.

I’ve also been the submissions editor of Stillpoint, UGA’s undergraduate literary magazine, for the past three years. Helping to run and organize a publication has been a great experience, and it’s always interesting to see what kind of work other students are producing. We’ve gotten a lot of great pieces, so I’ve enjoyed compiling submissions and working with the rest of the staff to do selections and get things ready for the published magazine. I’m a member of Students for Environmental Action, an environmental outreach organization that has helped me to get more involved with sustainability initiatives at UGA. I’m in the Honors Program, have played double bass in UGA’s Philharmonia Orchestra, have shadowed an emergency room doctor and work part-time. I was nominated for the spring 2010 English 4000 essay prize, entered UGA with the Charter Scholarship, and I was lucky enough to receive the Joshua David Brown Scholarship for an outstanding rising junior English major.

Another highlight of my time at UGA was my fall 2011 study abroad at Oxford University, where I took tutorials in genetics and physiology. These courses challenged me to truly take the material into my own hands, and I really felt compelled to engage the material and dig deeper. Ultimately, the semester was a rewarding and eye-opening experience, on both an academic and a personal level. There’s something to be said for stepping outside of your comfort zone.

Current Employment:

I worked at Snelling Dining Hall for three years, and I currently work as a student assistant in the Georgia digital library.

Family Ties to UGA:

Just me.

I chose to attend UGA because…

the HOPE Scholarship was the major determining factor for me, as it’s taken a huge strain off of paying for college. As for why I chose UGA specifically, a lot of it had to do with the wide range of subjects available to study. All of that, combined with opportunities for study-abroad and research, made UGA seem like a pretty good deal.

My favorite things to do on campus are…

reading outside on a nice day, exploring various parts of campus, taking naps, seeing what’s going on in Tate Plaza, people-watching outside Park Hall and in the MLC, and going jogging through South Campus.

When I have free time, I like…

reading, catching up on the blogs and news outlets I follow, watching movies, seeing live music downtown, continuing my “restaurants of Athens” tour, and of course, hanging out and having interesting chats with friends.

The craziest thing I've done is…

after my study-abroad in Oxford officially ended, and leading up to a more or less spontaneous trip to Marrakech, Morocco, I spent the night in an absurdly cold library to avoid paying for lodging, only to miss a flight the next day and repeat the exact same experience the following night in two different airports on opposite ends of London. When my friend and I finally made it to (mercifully warm) Marrakech, the first thing we did was get lost—something that became a recurring theme for us in the city’s many side-streets and markets. That said, it was an amazing trip; we went hiking in the Atlas Mountains, ate delicious local food, dropped in on a film festival, and otherwise enjoyed meandering through and exploring such a vibrant city. In my view, it was a more than fitting payoff to the shenanigans involved in getting there.

My favorite place to study is…

the science library, if I need to focus and get work done. Specifically, I really like the 4th floor’s “Think Tank,” which, with its blue walls and glass windows, actually makes you feel like you’re in a fish tank. And who doesn’t want that? Whenever I can, though, I like to do my reading outside. Walker’s basement is another good place to study.

My favorite professor is…

Dr. Sujata Iyengar, my English faculty mentor, who has been extremely encouraging in helping me get involved and take on challenges. Working with her in my directed reading, I found that she really pushed me to think critically in my writing and research. She holds students to a high standard, and this led me personally to a lot of academic growth. Also, she has been consistently supportive of my interests outside of English, in addition to inspiring me to take on more interdisciplinary modes of learning. I want to also mention Dr. Christopher Pizzino in English and Dr. Erin Dolan in biochemistry, both of whom, though in very different subjects, push their students to take the material into their own hands and really broaden their understanding.

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

Junot Diaz, because I’m a huge fan of his writing. By a cruel twist of fate, I wasn’t able to make it to his lecture at UGA last spring. Marjane Satrapi and Audre Lorde also are invited.

If I knew I could not fail, I would…

make sure that everyone had access to healthcare and a public education, including college. I also would promote public scientific literacy, and eventually learn Chinese, Spanish and Arabic.

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

make a documentary or short film. I’ve always been fascinated by film as a medium, specifically regarding how the cinematography, directing, sound and script all come together to tell a story and examine a certain perspective. If I could fund it, I would totally do it.

The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…

my sophomore year, when there was a huge snowstorm, a couple friends and I went out on Myers Quad at two in the morning. It was completely empty, and everything was really still under a thick layer of snow. We hung out there for a while, soaking up the sight. Of course, this was before my heat and lighting proceeded to go out for the rest of the blizzard.

Published Sunday,