Amazing Students

Danielle Sobol

Danielle Sobol will graduate with Highest Honors during UGA’s spring Commencement ceremony in May. The Ball Ground native attributes her scholastic success to the opportunities UGA has provided her, including a teaching assistantship in the chemistry department, international education and numerous volunteer experiences.

Hometown:

Ball Ground

High School:

Sequoyah High School

Degree objective:

B.S. in Biology, B.S. in Psychology, minor in Spanish

Expected graduation:

Spring 2012

University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:

The vast amount of opportunities available at UGA and throughout the Athens community allowed me to discover my true interests and potential. Upon arriving at the university, I quickly joined organizations such as Alpha Omicron Pi, ugaMiracle, a learning community and the Boys and Girls Club. I am proud of what these organizations stand for and enjoy learning from other dedicated members. I also chose to explore the medical side in Athens. Volunteering in four different hospital departments at Athens Regional Medical Center and following multiple physicians strengthened my passion for medicine. In order to gain more hands-on experience with helping patients, I next traveled to Costa Rica and Nicaragua as part of a service learning trip. The ability to work alongside native physicians, attend medical sessions at night, visit the Nicaraguan Children’s Hospital and utilize my Spanish in a health setting made me even more excited to become a physician in the future.

After returning from my trip abroad, I wanted to explore the research side of medicine. Through the UGA Honors Program, I participated in CURO as an undergraduate research assistant in the infectious disease lab. Here, I dedicated my time to Respiratory Syncytial Virus and microRNA research while forming close relationships with truly talented researchers. I also completed an honors capstone the summer after my third year which focused on cardiovascular disease. This capstone, along with a GPA I never expected to earn in college, will allow me to graduate with Highest Honors this spring. After graduation, I plan to volunteer at Camp Braveheart for children affected by heart complications. I volunteered for this camp last summer and loved seeing the children’s pure joy as they spent the week with other campers facing similar challenges. When the summer comes to a close, I will begin medical school and cannot wait!

Lastly, I feel blessed in earning various awards and leadership positions on campus. I currently serve as the vice president of internal affairs of the Order of Omega, a Greek leadership honors society, and as a member of Alpha Epsilon Delta, a Pre-Medical Honors Society. I also served on the executive board for Promote Africa, a non-profit organization which raises money to fund grants focused on empowering African communities. I am so thankful to receive awards and scholarships, including the Roberta Hodgson Scholarship, Zell Miller/HOPE Scholarship, Henkel Award and Scholarship for Organic Chemistry, Diamond Jubilee Scholarship and Dr. and Mrs. Larry A. Cohen Scholarship.

Current Employment:

I have worked for the UGA chemistry department for three semesters. As a laboratory teaching assistant, I conduct the lab sessions, grade lab reports, proctor the mass exams and help grade the exams. I love to teach and work with large groups of people, so this job fits me well. Serving as a teaching assistant for a college course also brought me out of my comfort zone. After tutoring many younger students and children, I needed to learn how to help college students. One woman in my lab section even had a son about my age! Thankfully, these past semesters were a success, and my public speaking improved along the way. On the weekends, I also work as a bartender for weddings. I enjoy the happiness at weddings and talking with all the guests.

Family Ties to UGA:

I am the first Bulldog of my family but not the last! My younger sister, Amy, is a sophomore here at UGA.

I chose to attend UGA because…

I instantly loved the size, Athens community, peaceful campus and opportunities at UGA. I wanted to attend a large university with a strong science program. With my pre-medical, social and financial interests in mind I found UGA to be the best fit for me.

My favorite things to do on campus are…

attend sporting events, catch up with friends and warm up in the sun by the North campus fountains. While it sounds silly, I also love stomping on the monstrous leaf piles during the fall which accumulate from the workmen using leaf blowers all the way up Ag Hill.

When I have free time, I like…

to sleep, help kids, travel and go out to new dinner locations. I hope to experience a huge mix of these activities over the summer and throughout my life.

The craziest thing I've done is…

switch my destination airport in Costa Rica to another Costa Rican airport while flying alone. After arriving to the Atlanta airport over an hour and 45 minutes early, I still missed my original flight. The next flight going to that airport in Costa Rica did not leave until nighttime. Instead of wasting a day of surfing on beautiful beaches near mountains and volcanoes, I chose a flight leaving that afternoon into a different Costa Rican airport. Upon arriving in San Jose I needed to put my Spanish minor into practice to book a flight or bus to my final destination, Playa Tamarindo. It turned out that a bridge just collapsed and no buses would be traveling to Tamarindo. Oh, the luck! I had to wait until the weather cleared enough for the tiny connector plane to fly to Tamarindo. Never had I imagined myself in an eight passenger plane flying over this luscious, green country. The passengers even stood on a scale to make sure the plane could hold our weight. Let’s just say I felt a tad scared at this point and was relieved to see my Aunt and Godson when the plane landed safely. In the end, I had an amazing trip and new found confidence for traveling!

My favorite place to study is…

… the dining room table of my apartment or the fourth floor of the Miller Learning Center when I need to accomplish more serious work.

My favorite professor is…

Where to start? There are numerous professors at UGA which I owe many thanks. First, I would certainly not be where I am today without the guidance and encouragement of Dr. Karl Espelie, who played a major part in my double major, medical school applications, honors capstone and page on this website to name a few. From my experience, there is nothing Dr. Espelie cannot fix, even my enrollment in the wrong OASIS course without realization. Dr. Espelie is always there to help and made my life as a pre-medical student less stressful. I will never be able to thank him enough for all the help and care he has shown me throughout my time at UGA. He remembers everything about his students, and I know we will keep in touch years from now!

In addition, Richard Morrison and Richard Hubbard allowed me the opportunity to work for the chemistry department as an organic chemistry teaching assistant. Yes, organic chemistry is one of those tough classes where science students groan when viewing this course on their schedule. Dr. Hubbard and Dr. Morrison, however, care about their student’s well being and work diligently to teach complex concepts. Finally, Ralph Tripp and Abhijeet Bakre served as amazing research mentors in the infectious disease laboratory and taught me more than I thought possible in one year. All of these individuals - and many other professors - have helped me in numerous ways, and for this, I say thank you!

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

my grandfather who passed away from multiple myeloma (cancer of the plasma cells). Everyone knew Grandpa Ray as the most caring man who held a strong passion for children. I could learn a lot from him and would love to converse together now that I am older and preparing to attend medical school.

If I knew I could not fail, I would…

cure cancer! This vicious disease has puzzled researchers and health professionals for such a long time. Cancer touches everyone, and I would love to end the premature death of cancer’s victims.

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

fly a plane to every country. Learning to fly seems like an exhilarating experience. Thus, if I can successfully fly a plane anywhere, I will be able to travel the world with little plans, see numerous people and sites, stay as long as I desired, and cross everything off my bucket list.

After graduation, I plan to…

attend medical school this August! I have a few specialties in mind about which type of doctor I hope to become; however, I am keeping an open mind to the numerous possibilities available.

The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…

the opportunity to gain course credit for an internship abroad that was not directed by UGA. I traveled to Central America and learned more than I ever predicted. My group worked to help multiple families achieve a higher quality of life while these natives taught me skills that I never would have learned in a classroom. As part of the course, I kept a journal to remember what I learned and experienced. I am typically not the ‘journaling type;’ however reading these memoirs allows me to relive all the unforgettable memories of my time in Central America.

Published Sunday,