December 13, 2009
Senior Nathan Raley is an Honors student committed to making a positive change in the world. He has written an Honors thesis on the effects of parent-child quality of relationships and parental emotion socialization practices on youth psychosocial functioning. He feels very passionate about social justice issues and volunteers with Habitat for Humanity, Relay for Life and as a tutor at Alps Road Elementary School. He and his fiancee spent a summer volunteering for a NGO in Nicaragua last summer, then came home and embarked on a three-day, 200 mile bike trip on their mountain bikes to help bring attention to the issue of substandard housing. He is part of UGA’s Pre-Dental Club and plans to become an orthodontist after spending some time studying and working in China next year.
B.S. in psychology with a minor in Chinese
University highlights, achievements and awards:
For the past two years, I have been a CURO Research Assistant in the Child and Family Emotions Lab working for Cynthia Suveg. It has been a wonderful and rewarding experience to work with participants and do research on children’s emotional development. In the spring of 2009, I completed my Honors thesis on the effects of parent-child quality of relationships and parental emotion socialization practices on youth psychosocial functioning. I got involved in Habitat for Humanity during my sophomore year by working as an ambassador and promoting our chapter’s work to the rest of the campus. My junior year, I was elected as the vice president of projects, and I have been working as the liaison between UGA Habitat for Humanity and Athens Area Habitat for Humanity. It is my job to coordinate student volunteers and get them to the build sites. Working with Habitat for Humanity has been one of my main passions for the past couple of years, and I am constantly inspired by the people I meet through the organization whether they are fellow student volunteers, Athens Area Habitat employees or the families that we help to work toward a better life situation. One of my favorite things about Habitat is that the families are invested in improving their own condition. They spend 500 hours of sweat equity time working on their own home and 500 additional hours working on another Habitat home. I have also been involved in the UGA Pre-Dental Club and was recently elected as the dental school liaison for the upcoming year. I have joined the Pre-Dental Club in their Relay for Life efforts. I also participated in educational volunteer activities like Give Kids a Smile where we taught local elementary school children how to practice good dental hygiene. My freshman year, I was in the Student Government Association’s Freshman Forum and I was a volunteer at Alps Road Elementary. I am an Honors student, and I have been either a Presidential Scholar or on the Dean’s List every semester of my time at UGA. I am member of Alpha Epsilon Delta Pre-Medical Honors Society as well as Phi Beta Kappa Honors Society. I am also a recipient of the University of Georgia’s Charter Scholarship.
Collins Hill High School
I chose to attend UGA because...
...of the diverse list of classes and majors available to me here. I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to pursue academically or for a career, but I knew that I could find it at UGA. Looking back at my freshman year, I took classes from all different disciplines which really helped me decide what I wanted to do with my life. I was also drawn to UGA because of the CURO program that allows undergraduates to have a truly in-depth research experience. The Honors Program was also very appealing to me as well as the many scholarship opportunities available here.
My favorite things to do on campus are...
...to attend a wide variety of on-campus organizations’ midday functions. When I have an hour or two break in my daily schedule I like to see which student groups are having meetings so that I can make my break a little more productive. Some of my favorite gatherings to attend are Fat Mondays hosted by the Christian Campus Fellowship, International Student Life’s Friday Coffee Hour and the Terry Working Lunches. I also usually like to venture over to Tate Plaza because there is always something interesting happening there. It’s great to hear what different organizations have set out to accomplish and oftentimes I learn a lot from the experience. Moreover, many of these adventures offer me lunch while I am meeting new and interesting people.
When I have free time, I like...
...to enjoy the company of my fiancée and to enjoy the company of my bass guitar. I just got engaged this summer, but my fiancée and I have been dating for the past six years. Throughout that time, music has been another passion of mine. Last year, I started a band, and it has been a great way to spend some time with friends while creating something extremely gratifying. Just recently, we started playing shows which has been a great way to experience a part of Athens’ culture.
The craziest thing I've done is...
...lived through last summer. I spend six weeks volunteering with my fiancée for a non-governmental organization that focuses on community development in Nicaragua. I worked alongside the dentist in the health clinic and on various projects in the community. Our stay coincided with the 30th anniversary of the Nicaraguan revolution, and we joined thousands of Nicaraguans in the country’s main plaza and listened to the president address the crowd. That night, our group was invited to see the most legendary revolutionary band play a show at their restaurant in celebration of the anniversary. Then a week after I returned from Nicaragua, my fiancée and I embarked on a three-day, 200 mile bike trip on our mountain bikes. We joined the Fuller Center Bike Adventure Group on a ride from Michigan to Florida to help eradicate substandard housing. The trip was one of the most physically grueling things I have done, but the memories I have of the people I met along the way and the work that they do will stay with me forever.
My favorite place to study is...
...Cynthia Suveg. She is the most encouraging and personable professor I’ve known. She is open to discussing things, but she doesn’t hesitate to tell it like it is. She has helped me learn a great deal about the research process as well as teamwork in general. I owe many of my accomplishments to her guidance and support.
If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with...
.. my granddaddy who passed away when I was a child. I remember his presence and love, but I never got a chance to come to know him well. I know that he was a great storyteller, and I wish I could hear his tales about fighting in World War II and about how different life was in his time.
If I knew I could not fail, I would...
...enable everyone to start out with an equal opportunity to succeed in life. After spending six weeks in Nicaragua this summer, it’s clear to me that not everyone is born equal. I think that everyone deserves to have the same chance at success without being handicapped by circumstances outside of their control.
After graduation, I plan to...
...spend a year in China either completing research through the Fulbright program or teaching English. I want to spend this time in China so that I can improve my Chinese language skills to the point that I can teach my children one day. After that, I plan to go to dental school and become an orthodontist.
The one UGA experience I will always remember will be...
...the three years that I spent studying Chinese under Chen Chung-An. Chen Lao Shi, meaning Professor Chen, was such a special teacher. He truly cared that his students understood and learned his difficult language. He would do anything he could to help us learn. And, after three years, he has become more than a teacher. He has become a great friend.