Senior Marlee Waxelbaum has made her way around UGA. She was first introduced to the university as a high school student participating in the Model United Nations Conference. Accepted as a Foundation Fellow, she decided to study international affairs and print journalism in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, and she was an inaugural McGill Fellow. She continued with her involvement in the Model United Nations Program and now helps host the conference for high school students. Along the way, she participated in the UGA Washington Semester Program and exchanged her journalism major for political science. Among numerous other things, she has worked for the UGA chapter of Habitat for Humanity, a stringer for The Red and Black, and a legislative/press intern for U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan. After graduation, she plans to study the law and public policy.
A.B. in International Affairs and A.B. in Political Science
University highlights, achievements and awards:
I am really fortunate to have the UGA Foundation Fellowship. Because of the incredible opportunities and support provided by the Fellowship and the staff in Honors, I have continually felt that any and every endeavor I pursue can be accomplished. I discovered UGA, however, through a different avenue. As a sophomore in high school I first ventured to UGA’s campus to participate in a Model United Nations Conference. Participation in that conference introduced me not only to UGA but to my eventual major in International Affairs. In fact, this past year I served as the director-general of the UGA Model United Nations Team, organizing and coordinating our 14th annual high school conference with more than 450 attendees from around the southeast. As a former Newspapers major, one of my biggest honors has been my selection as an inaugural Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication McGill Fellow. Though I later determined that journalism was not the career path for me, meeting with prominent writers and editors from around the country and hearing their stories of courage was one of my most significant experiences on campus. Other than that, I have also served as the administrative secretary and new member coordinator for the UGA chapter of Habitat for Humanity, secretary of the women’s honor society Palladia, a teaching assistant for the Intro to Honors Class, the Grady College representative on University Council, a stringer for The Red and Black, a legislative/press intern for U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan and as a residence assistant at the Georgia Governor’s Honors Program.
Centennial High School
I am currently serving as an intern in the UGA Office of Undergraduate Admissions. As an intern, I do a little bit of everything – from giving tours and helping answer phone calls and e-mails to planning events such as the High School Advisory Council biannual meeting. Helping high school students make one of the most important decisions of their lives has been overwhelmingly fulfilling and satisfying for me. Moreover, I have been recruited through Admissions to help plan the finalist interview weekend for the Foundation Fellowship which has allowed me to give a little back to a program that has given so much to me.
I chose to attend UGA because...
...when it came down to choosing where to go, no school seemed to compare to UGA. With the stellar academics, the vibrant student life, the strong emphasis on research and international education, its picturesque campus and the amenities of the Honors Program – it was an easy decision to hunker down and become a bulldog!
My favorite things to do on campus are...
I absolutely love North Campus at twilight. Whether it’s lounging on Herty Field with a book, journaling in the Founder’s Garden, or playing capture the flag with a bunch of friends with boundaries from the Main Library to the Arch, there is something impossibly serene and comforting about UGA’s historic North Campus. Nothing complements that serenity, though, like the vivacious, lively atmosphere of North Campus on Saturdays in the fall. I adore walking down the sidewalk on game days and hearing UGA fight songs, glory stories and students and alumni alike calling the dogs!
When I have free time, I like...
...to go to the State Botanical Garden. There’s a walking trail that I was introduced to my freshman year that leads to a big rock overlooking the Broad River. It’s a great spot to reflect, to have quality conversations with good friends or to just to watch the water for a bit of downtime. I also like to take walks by Sanford Stadium at night. Despite the cavernous silence that actually exists, whenever I walk by the stadium I can’t help but smile as I imagine the thunderous, joyous roars of game days.
The craziest thing I've done is...
It’s pretty hard to pick the craziest thing I’ve done at UGA, since I seem to have developed quite a taste for adrenaline rushes over the years. From snorkeling with 6-foot wide manta rays on the Great Barrier Reef to bungee jumping in New Zealand, white water rafting in Ecuador to paragliding in Peru, I’m surprised I haven’t given my mom a heart attack with my escapades abroad! If I absolutely had to pick one experience, I would probably point to my Inca Trail exploit last summer. One of my best friends joined me in Cusco, Peru to embark on a 4-day, 3-night adventure that included mountain biking, ATV-ing and lots of hiking. Our trip culmination at the top of Machu Pichu at sunrise on my 20th birthday was something I’ll never forget!
My favorite place to study is...
...at any of the local coffee haunts since I am a caffeine addict through and through. I love Walker’s Café’s booths and early morning muffins, Starbucks’ view of North Campus, Espresso Royale’s atmosphere and Jittery Joe’s (the Five Points location) big wooden tables.
My favorite professor is...
...Conrad Fink. Having “been there and done that” with almost everything, Prof. Fink’s stories are endlessly entertaining and surprising. Professor Fink (or Fink as he’s known by his students), for all his gruff posturing, truly cares about every one of his students and goes out of his way to challenge and push his students to that next level. On the SPIA side of things, my courses with Chuck Bullock in Political Science and Brock Tessman in International Affairs have been definite highlights in my collegiate education. Both Dr. Bullock and Dr. Tessman have a contagious enthusiasm for their subject areas that inspires and motivates in incredible ways.
If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with...
...my grandfathers, known to me as Grand Daddy, Big Daddy and Papa. My grandfathers were all men of great intellect, ambition and, most importantly, character. Even though they are no longer with me, they serve as constant role models in my every undertaking, and I am continually surprised to learn new things about them from the rest of my family. Their childhood lessons have had a tremendous impact on the person I have become, and I can only imagine what I could learn if I had the opportunity to spend an afternoon with them now.
If I knew I could not fail, I would...
...join one of the phenomenal UGA a capella singing groups. My friends all know me as an a capella groupie, and I would utterly love the chance to get up on stage and belt a few songs with them!
The one UGA experience I will always remember will be...
...sitting on the private Capital balcony of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, surrounded by the incredible friends I made on the Washington Semester Program and other UGA alumni, as I watched the sun set behind the Washington Monument. While this experience in and of itself was extraordinary, it came at the end of a week where I had been given a chance to shadow Senator Byron Dorgan (for whom I was interning), where I had incredible access to the CIA’s headquarters in Langley, and where I was personally introduced to Senator John Kerry and Senator Harry Reid, two men whom I admire greatly. I can’t begin to name all of the truly exceptional experiences I had on the Washington Semester Program, but that week certainly tops the list.