Amazing Students

Kristin Stevens

Hometown:

Macon, Ga

High School:

Stratford Academy

Degree objective:

Bachelors of Science, biology and psychology

Expected graduation:

Spring 2011

University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:

Like many eager college freshmen, I quickly got involved on campus.  I joined my social sorority, Alpha Omicron Pi, the UGA Hoop Girls, the UGA Diamond Darlings and UGA HEROS.  The characteristics that initially attracted me to Alpha Omicron Pi and continue to make me proud to call myself a member of this organization are my chapter members’ constant dedication to academics, wide-ranging involvement throughout campus and unrelenting commitment to multiple philanthropic causes. Our chapter consistently ranks as having one of the highest grade point averages among the seventeen PanHellenic sororities at UGA, and we raise more than $12,000 a year for our international philanthropy—juvenile arthritis research.  The UGA Hoop Girls is a student support group for the UGA men’s basketball program.  As a member, I serve as an ambassador for the men’s basketball team while assisting in marketing the team and its events on campus.  I have held multiple leadership roles in this organization, including group leader and philanthropy chair.  As a group, we also place a large emphasis on community service around the Athens area.  Through my involvement with the UGA Hoop Girls, I have volunteered with children at Barrow Elementary School and the local Boys and Girls Club.

The summer after my first year of college, my advisor recommended a program that allowed me to travel to Masaya, Nicaragua to help set up two separate medical clinics.  We received training seminars in tropical medicine, medical triage, patient communication, medical Spanish and basic pharmacy.  The lead physician also taught us how to examine, diagnose and treat each patient.  Prior to setting up the medical clinics, we spent time with local families and completed community health surveys in order to better understand the problems those communities faced as we sought to improve their local health conditions. The hands-on nature of the trip really solidified my desire to become a physician and opened my eyes to the desperate healthcare needs that exist, not just abroad, but in many underserved areas of the United States as well.

During my third year of college, I became actively involved in research at UGA.  The research I assisted with examined the effects of voluntary wheel running on brain neurotrophins and neuropeptides in rats, specifically brain-derived neurotrophic factor and galanin.  I also was included as an author on a manuscript that has been submitted for publication discussing our findings from this study.  The research I am assisting with this year focuses on measuring the effects a galanin receptor agonist, GAL R2, has on kainic acid induced seizures.  During my time in the lab, I have participated in data collection and performed multiple wet lab procedures, including stereotactic surgery, brain dissection and in-situ hybridization.  This past spring, I also was selected as one of two undergraduate researchers to be featured in the summer 2010 UGA Psychology newsletter.  I am so proud of this accomplishment, because it highlights all of the hard work I have put into my research during the previous year.

The summer after my third year at UGA, I participated in an administrative internship at the Medical Center of Central Georgia in order to complete part of my Capstone graduation requirement for the Honors Program.  Up to that point, all I knew about the hospital was from a physician’s perspective—either from watching them complete rounds or perform surgery.  I wanted to know what other hospital employees do on a daily basis, because medicine hinges on teamwork. I feel it is easier to work with others when you have, at least, a basic understanding of what their jobs entail.  In addition to learning how a hospital operates in general, I spent at least one day with an employee from almost every department.  This internship proved to be one of the most impacting experiences I have had in the medical field so far, because it gave me a greater appreciation for every hospital employee and taught me that cooperation is truly necessary for a hospital to function in an effective and efficient manner.

In addition to being a member of the Honors Program, I also have been initiated into multiple honor societies during my time at the University of Georgia, including Phi Kappa Phi, Alpha Epsilon Delta (the premedical honor society) and Order of Omega (the Greek honor society).  I have served as the student vice-president for Phi Kappa Phi for the past two years.  I also am a recipient of the Alec Kessler Charter Scholarship and the R.A. Bowen Trust Fund Scholarship.

Current Employment:

I currently work at Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions as an MCAT Test prep teacher.  I am responsible for preparing more than 60 students to take their MCAT this spring.  I really looked up to my teacher when I took this course last year, so I enjoy being the person that other premedical students can look up to for help and advice.

Family Ties to UGA:

Believe it or not, I am the first person in my family to attend the University of Georgia!

I chose to attend UGA because…

… it has everything I was looking for in a college: awesome academics, a top-notch Honors Program, outstanding athletics, the friendliest people, a gorgeous campus, and close proximity to my home and family.  The University of Georgia was the only college I applied to, because I knew that it was the perfect fit for me!

My favorite things to do on campus are…

…attend athletic events and eat in the dining halls.  I absolutely love football and everything that comes along with football season.  From tailgating with my friends and family to cheering on my beloved Bulldogs until I am completely hoarse, nothing beats a game day “Between the Hedges” in Sanford Stadium!  In addition to attending football games, I also enjoy attending basketball games. Coach Fox and his staff have completely turned the program around and made basketball games at Stegeman Coliseum as exciting as ever!  From tennis to volleyball to gymnastics to golf, I have attended at least one of almost every athletic event UGA has to offer, and I fully intend on completing this list before I graduate!  As far as the dining halls are concerned, I had successfully completed the list of attending all four of them by my second day at UGA.  In addition to being so convenient, you cannot beat the delicious selection they provide.

When I have free time, I like…

…spend time with my friends and be active.  I have been a part of multiple intramural teams, including flag football, basketball and softball.  I also enjoy playing tennis at the intramural courts and working out at the Ramsey Center.  From driving to Atlanta to watch a Braves game to hiking at Tallulah Falls, there are so many things to do in and around Athens.

The craziest thing I've done is…

...switch pants with a stranger for an organic chemistry lab.  One afternoon during my sophomore year, I was looking through some notes before our pre-lab quiz, and one of my friend’s asked me when I was planning to change into pants for lab.  Somewhere between taking an exam the preceding class period and trying to squeeze lunch into the 15 minute break we get in between classes, I totally forgot that I was wearing shorts.  Since we worked with reactive chemicals in that lab, the dress code policy required we wear long pants and closed-toe shoes, and if we didn’t, we would receive a zero for the lab.  This was not the first time I had accidentally worn flip-flops or shorts the same day I had lab; however, on those other instances, I had enough time to have a friend bring me a change of clothes.  But when my friend pointed it out to me this time, our lab was starting in three minutes.  I started to freak out and ran outside.  I went up to three different strangers asking them if they would mind switching their pants with me, promising to take their number and return them in exchange for my shorts as soon as my lab ended.  After three strange glares, I had pretty much given up and walked back into lab so that I would not miss the pre-lab quiz.  Hoping that I would be able to smooth talk my T.A. into somehow letting me complete the lab, I took the quiz and started walking to my lab classroom.  On the way, I passed the biology front office.  In a last minute effort, I asked the girl sitting behind the desk if there happened to be any pants in the “lost and found.”  After another strange look, I told her my story and how desperate I was to find some pants.  She looked in the “lost and found” and did not find any, but taking pity on me, she offered to switch her pants with my shorts.  The fact that they were 2 sizes too small, and I definitely could not button them made moving around lab that day interesting, but I was just happy to have not received a zero for that lab!

My favorite place to study is…

… my room.  As lame as it may sound, every time I try to study at the Science Library or Miller Learning Center, I end up getting distracted and talking to my friends instead.  Therefore, if I am really trying to get some work done, I study at home by myself.

My favorite professor is…

… hands down, Dr. Karl Espelie.  As my advisor, he has helped me out so much during my time at UGA, and I honestly do not know how I am ever going to be able to thank him enough.  The summer before my freshman year at UGA, I sent him an email telling him I had heard he was the most amazing pre-medical advisor, and I was interested in meeting with him, because I was planning on going to medical school one day.  Luckily for me, he responded and agreed to see me. After our one hour appointment turned into two, I walked out of his office with a completely different (and much better) schedule.  From that point forward, Dr. Espelie has made sure I have taken classes from the best professors possible and set me up with countless opportunities that have helped me be successful in the medical school admissions process.  He is the one who told me about the opportunity to volunteer abroad in Nicaragua, and he also helped me set up my administrative internship at the Medical Center of Central Georgia.  He spends countless hours helping students, and I am so fortunate to have met him.  In addition to Dr. Espelie, I would also like to mention some professors who have had a large impact on my success at UGA, including Dr. Amy Medlock, my biochemistry professor; Dr. Charles Atwood, my freshman chemistry professor; and Dr. Phil Holmes and Dr. Rodney Dishman, my research professors.  These professors truly made their subject material interesting to learn, and I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to take their courses.

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

… Kirk Hinrich, who currently plays for the NBA’s Washington Wizards. I fell in love with Hinrich and the University of Kansas basketball program during seventh grade.  As a basketball player myself, I really looked up to him for the hard work and dedication he put into the game. During his junior and senior seasons, I watched every game that was televised and even recorded them when I could not watch them live! His relentless dedication to the game helped him lead the KU Jayhawks to the Final Four in 2002 and the NCAA Championship Game in 2003.  While I only got to watch him play at the University of Kansas for two seasons, I followed him to the NBA, where he was selected by the Chicago Bulls as the seventh overall pick in the 2003 NBA draft.  Ever since then, I have continued watching him play in the NBA, and although my red #12 Chicago Bulls jersey might be a little outdated now, I hope I can wear it in attendance at one of his games in the future.

If I knew I could not fail, I would…

… find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.  My grandfather passed away in 2001 from this debilitating disease, and it was very difficult for me to watch him and my grandmother suffer from it.  Therefore, if there was any way I could prevent anyone else and their family from having to go through the same thing my grandfather and family did, I definitely would.

After graduation, I plan to…

… attend medical school and pursue a career as a physician.  I know it is going to take a lot of hard work and dedication, but I am looking forward to the challenge!

The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…

…the 2007 “Blackout” against Auburn.  With such a big rivalry game on the line, the atmosphere was insane! There had been speculation all week about the team playing in black jerseys, but nobody really knew for sure. Although the players warmed up in their red jerseys, I was still suspicious because of the rumors. When the players finally ran out in their black jerseys and our captains ripped off their red jerseys to reveal black ones underneath, the stadium went absolutely crazy!  From the letters painted in the end zone to Uga VI’s outfit, everything was black!  All of this black coupled with the dark nighttime air made the field pop against the stadium lights.  Feeding off this energy, our Bulldogs were able to pull off an amazing 45-20 win over one of our biggest SEC rivals!  Not only did this win make a statement to the rest of the college football world, but it also gave us the season-defining victory that ultimately sparked our team all the way to a BCS Sugar Bowl Championship and an overall record of 11-2 for the season!

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