Amazing Students

Chris Walker

Whether he’s in Dr. Melissa B. Davis’ genetic lab conducting breast cancer research, studying in the Science Library, tutoring local school children or playing a pick up game of basketball in the Ramsey Center, Chris Walker is a busy guy!

Hometown:

Augusta, Georgia

High School:

Greenbrier High School

Degree objective:

B.S. in Biology

University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:

I have experienced so much already during my three years at UGA, and I have grown a lot as a person because of them. Never did I imagine as a high school senior that I would have experienced what I have. I learned very quickly as a freshman that I would have to go outside of my comfort zone and be spontaneous to make the most of my time at UGA. Best of all, I know these experiences will take me much further than the four years I will be at UGA.

Some of my most beneficial opportunities at UGA have stemmed from my experience doing cancer research under Professor Melissa B. Davis in the genetics department. More specifically, we are studying the epigenetics of breast cancer among various racial groups. One of the best parts about conducting research is being able to share it with others. My involvement in the Peach State Louis Alliance for Minority Participation provided me with the desire and outlet to present my research to the scientific public. I got this opportunity after obtaining acceptance of the Thomas J. Bardos Science Education Award for Undergraduate Students in which I was given the opportunity to attend the 102nd Annual American Association for Cancer Research conference in Orlando, Florida. During the conference, I presented my research to scientists from all over the world and served as a mentor for a group of high school students in the Orlando area. Since the award lasts for two years, I will get the same opportunity next year for the 103rd Annual AACR conference in Chicago. I have become very involved in the research I am doing. Before I graduate, I hope I will get the chance to publish a paper on my research.

Along with my research experience, I also have been a part of several clubs and organizations on campus which have given me a plethora of leadership opportunities. As a freshman, I joined the Table Tennis Club and began competing in collegiate tournaments throughout the year. For two consecutive years, we placed second in our region, and one year, we ranked 11th in the nation. I served as president of this organization for two years. As a freshman, I also joined Students for the American Red Cross where I served on the Relay for Life Committee, secretary and next year, I will act as an ambassador for the Students for the American Red Cross in conjunction with the Red Cross Georgia East Chapter. Last fall, I was initiated into the Alpha Alpha Chapter of Delta Epsilon Psi Fraternity, Inc and was elected philanthropy chair. I was responsible for planning and heading our chapter’s and Georgia’s first Sugar Free Bowl, which is a day-long, charity flag-football tournament designed to promote awareness and raise money for our national philanthropy, Juveniles Diabetes Research Foundation. The tournament was a huge success, and we raised $3,750 to donate to JDRF.

Some of my most memorable highlights at UGA have come from my volunteering experiences. During my sophomore and junior years, I volunteered weekly at Oasis Católico, where I tutored underprivileged Hispanic elementary students in reading, writing and math. I also recently began volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club. The best part about volunteering with these children is that it seems they never forget you. Each time I walked into the third grade classroom at Oasis, they were always so happy to see me and yelled my name making sure I would be their tutor for the day. On my sophomore and junior spring breaks, I decided to spend my weeks volunteering in the regions of Vanceberg, Ky. and New Orleans, La. respectively. I had some of the greatest experiences of my life and met some of the best people across the nation from attending these trips. To test my knowledge of both medicine and Spanish, I decided to spend a summer on a medical service trip to Costa Rica and Nicaragua. On this trip, I did everything from setting up clinics, diagnosing local patients using my intermediate Spanish skills, playing soccer on a Nicaraguan beach, exploring an active volcano, playing with children at an orphanage and zip lining through a Costa Rican rainforest.

Family Ties to UGA:

I am the first in my family to attend UGA. However, my little brother, Patrick Walker, is an upcoming sophomore who is pursuing a pharmacy degree.

I chose to attend UGA because…

...it had the complete package. I knew UGA would not only provide me with an exceptional undergraduate education, but also could provide me with more than 300+ student organizations, numerous volunteer and leadership opportunities, a variety of majors and courses, research opportunities, and a great faculty and student body. With the seemingly limitless resources, UGA is a place where students can truly explore and push themselves to their fullest capacity.

My favorite things to do on campus are…

... visiting Ramsey to work out, play basketball or racquetball with friends. I also enjoy attending various events sponsored by other student organizations on campus. On Sundays, I go to the Catholic Center for afternoon student mass. Afterwards, there is always a complimentary meal for all students where I also get the chance to catch up with friends I might not have seen during the week.

The craziest thing I've done is…

My younger brother and I decided to go fishing in a pond on a golf course filled with alligators one afternoon.. Even though we saw alligators swimming around, we didn’t think they would mean us any harm. After hours of not catching anything, I eventually caught a good-sized bass. Once I reeled it into land and unhooked it, I turned around for five seconds to celebrate with my brother. All of a sudden, my brother’s face turned pale at the sight of a six-foot alligator two feet behind me, which had crawled up on land in pursuit of the fish I just caught. Of course, we immediately ran in the opposite direction as fast as we could. Later, we realized the only reason we weren’t chased down by the alligator was because of the fish that we left behind, which the alligator definitely ate. The crazy thing is we went back to the same spot 10 minutes later and continued fishing. And yes, immediately after my brother caught a fish we didn’t stop to celebrate: we ran. We were young and determined.

My favorite place to study is…

...the main floor of the Science Library. I usually jump on one of the Macs on the main floor and do my studying there. I also like studying on the third floor in the Coverdell Center, because I usually get a whole conference room to myself where I have more than enough space to lay out all my books and study.

My favorite professor is…

...Dr. Melissa Davis. Dr. Davis has been my research professor for a little over a year. I have learned so much from working in her lab. Dr. Davis and the lab manager, Lori Neves, were patient in teaching me the necessary knowledge and lab skills I needed as a researcher in the lab. Dr. Davis presented me with so many opportunities to expand my research experience, including the trip to the AACR conference and participation in the PSLSAMP program. Although very busy, Dr. Davis always makes herself available to her students whenever we need assistance or run into any problems. She is a great mentor and role model for me as a young researcher.

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

...my Granny, who passed four years ago. Ever since then, I started thinking back to everything she taught me in our long talks together. She always had so much to say to her great-grandchildren and was always letting us know how proud she was of us. I believe that she is watching everything I do now and all I want to do is make her proud. I would do anything to get one more day with her.

If I knew I could not fail, I would…

...join the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit just like the cast from my favorite show, “Criminal Minds.” The cast consists of an elite team of FBI profilers who analyze the country’s most twisted killers, usually serial killers. The BAU profilers have to anticipate killers’ next moves before they reach their next victim. Their brilliance and mastery of their job allow them to save so many lives.

After graduation, I plan to…

... take a gap year before attending medical school to join AmeriCorps for a year. Once I get through with schooling, I want to become a pediatric surgeon and find a job where I can travel to underdeveloped countries and set up medical clinics.

The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…

...my probate last fall at Tate. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, a probate is a “coming out” show, where new members of a fraternity or sorority are publicly presented to the Greek community. The probate consisted of my line brothers and I dressed in matching masks and outfits in front of hundreds of attendants, Greeks and non-Greeks alike. During the probate, we greeted every Greek fraternity and sorority on the Multicultural Greek Council and National Pan-Hellenic Council at UGA with a variety of greets, skits and dances. At the end, our masks were removed, our names were announced, and we were then publicly recognized as members of Delta Epsilon Psi Fraternity.

Published Wednesday,