Amazing Students

Sachin Varghese

This semester Sachin Varghese will graduate from UGA with his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the School of Public and International Affairs. Alone, that is amazing enough. In his time at UGA, Sachin was also president of the Student Government Association, a Foundation Fellow, a member of the 2003 Homecoming Court, and he was elected to Sphinx, the oldest honorary society at UGA. In four years, he has visited six continents and seventeen countries, and he even went for a swim in Antarctica! After graduation, Sachin plans to join Teach for America and work in an under-resourced school district before he goes off to law school.

Hometown:

Lilburn, Georgia

High School:

Meadowcreek High School

Degree objective:

Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Master of Public Administration concentrating in Public Policy

Expected graduation:

May 2005

University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:

The greatest highlight of my experience at UGA was having the opportunity to serve as President of the Student Government Association. It was a great honor to be elected by my peers to serve them. Another honor that has meant a lot to me was being selected to be a member of Sphinx, the oldest honorary society at the university. I am humbled to be a part of an organization that has had so many remarkable members, both past and present. Receiving the Foundation Fellowship has also been a great honor. Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro is an achievement that I will always remember. It is definitely the most physically and mentally demanding thing that I have done. I was chosen as a member of 2003 Homecoming Court. I am also a member of the Blue Key Honor Society and was chosen to receive the BellSouth Student Leadership Award. I also received the Best Paper in the Social Sciences Award for a paper I co-authored with two fellow students and presented at the 2004 CURO Symposium. Having the opportunity to serve as a Campaign Coordinator for Teach For America was also a very meaningful and rewarding experience.

Current Employment:

I am a teaching assistant for the School of Public and International Affairs. I lead breakout sections for Introduction to American Government (POLS 1101). It has been a great experience. I really enjoy taking my passion for political science and helping others to learn about and understand the way our government and political system operates.

I chose to attend UGA because…

...of the Foundation Fellowship. The scholarship was too amazing to turn down and really made my final decision about which college to attend an easy one. I really believe that it is one of the best all-around scholarships in the country. What really sold me was the opportunity to study abroad and to expand my academic and personal growth well beyond the classroom. I also knew that the scholarship would provide me the opportunity to interact and work with some of UGA’s leading faculty members. Perhaps the best thing about the Foundation Fellows program has been being able to share my undergraduate experience with such an amazing group of students.

My favorite things to do on campus are…

...go to football games. I am a huge UGA football fan. Game days are amazing. It is awesome to see students, alumni, faculty, and staff come together to support the Dawgs. There is something very special about being in Sanford Stadium, and seeing the love and pride that thousands of people have not only for the football team, but for the university as well. Football games, probably more than any other event, bring together generations of UGA students.

When I have free time, I like…

...to relax and hang out with friends. I am also a news junkie and a huge sports fan. I spend a lot of time watching CNN and ESPN. I also read the New York Times and other news periodicals as much as I can. I also try to get to the weight room at Ramsey on a fairly regular basis when my schedule allows. Working out has been the best stress reliever I have found.

The craziest thing I've done is…

I organized a trip to go hiking in Patagonia for a week and then to take a ship down to Antarctica for ten days. Our final zodiac landing on the Antarctic continent took place on a beautiful day. A friend and I decided we were going to go for a quick swim before going back to the boat. We took off layers of clothes and jumped in, swam out a little way and came back. It was absolutely freezing. We hurriedly put our layers back on. This probably qualifies as one of the crazier things I have done.

My favorite place to study is…

...definitely the SLC. When I actually want to get studying done, I will head to the fourth floor, or when I am really serious I will go to the reading room on the third floor. Both of these places serve as quiet places where I can study with very little distractions. When I am not feeling as studious, but still want to have the illusion that I am trying to study I hang out at Jittery Joe’s at the SLC. I can get some studying down, but I also have a lot of pleasant interruptions as friends stop by to chat.

My favorite professor is…

If I had to only pick one, it would be Professor Dan Coenen, a professor in the law school. However, I would be remiss if I did not recognize Dr. Loch Johnson and Dr. Stefanie Lindquist as two professors that have really impacted my UGA experience. Professor Coenen only taught me in a one hour Honors Seminar on Constitutional Law. However, he has also served as my faculty mentor and it is his commitment to students outside of class that makes him a truly remarkable professor. Whether it is meeting for dinner and a game of Boggle at his house or grabbing coffee downtown, Professor Coenen is always willing to make time for his mentees. He has also been a great source of advice and guidance in my law school application process.

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

While I have other plans after graduation, spending a year traveling around the world would be awesome. There would certainly be a significant financial cost attached to this, but not one that would be prohibitive. Incurring debt now to have experiences that you may never have the chance to have again in your life is well worth it, in my book.

After graduation, I plan to…

...join the Teach For America corps and spend two years teaching in an under-resourced public school. I think educational inequality in public schools is the greatest problem facing our nation. We cannot expect children to succeed if we will not provide them with the basic building blocks for their future. The state of public education in many school districts in our country is appalling. A good education has opened countless doors for me, and I want to try and provide that opportunity to others. I am currently applying to law schools, but plan on deferring for two years while I teach.

The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…

I will always remember gathering behind Moore College to hear SGA election results the year that I ran for SGA president. Sarah Cherry and I had just completed two exhausting weeks of campaigning. We were there with our campaign team and many of the countless number of people that had supported us throughout the whole process. I remember how tense and nervous everyone was until the announcement was made and then how elated we were when the good news was announced. I will also never forget being on Homecoming Court. Being able to go onto the field at Sanford Stadium with my mom during halftime of the Homecoming game and be honored was a truly special experience.

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