Josh Zaffos wants to be a doctor, and his job is giving him a taste of his future. During spring break last year, he worked with the Georgia Eye Bank in Atlanta, and he became fascinated with exactly how valuable the human eye is and how precious vision can be. He learned about corneal transplantation and became qualified to perform enucleations (eye removals) and corneal excisions under state and federal laws and Eye Bank guidelines. Since March of 2005, he has been on call to recover corneal tissues from donor eyes so that they can be transplanted or used for research. He is the recipient of numerous university awards and honors including being a founding member of the university’s academic honesty task force and vice president for Phi Upsilon Omicron honor society. After he graduates, he wants to go to medical school and become either an ophthalmologist or cardiologist.
Bachelor of Science in Family and Consumer Sciences with a major in Nutrition Science and pre-medicine intent
University highlights, achievements and awards:
I have received the Yum! Brands, Inc. Scholarship, the Glenn Bell Scholarship, and the Opal Ward Jones Scholarship. I made the President's List every semester since the spring of 2004, and I was named National Society of Collegiate Scholars “Scholar of the Day” on October 7, 2004. In addition to some of the awards I have earned, I have become involved with many clubs from community service-oriented organizations all the way to career-oriented organizations. Some of these clubs include the American Medical Student Association, Alpha Epsilon Delta Pre-Health Professional Honor Society, Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society, Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society, Alpha Zeta honorary fraternity, Delta Epsilon Iota Academic Honor Society, and the National Society Of Collegiate Scholars. This semester, I have taken on leadership roles as ambassador for the College of Family and Consumer Sciences and Vice President for Phi Upsilon Omicron honor society. Additionally, I am a founding member of the university’s academic honesty task force. As a task force member, I have served on numerous hearing panels and given various classroom presentations on the importance of integrity and academic honesty.
Lassiter High School
During my externship last spring at the Georgia Eye Bank in Atlanta, I learned about how donor eyes can be used for corneal transplantation or used for research. Soon after my externship ended, I underwent training to perform enucleations (eye removals) and corneal excisions under state and federal laws and the guidelines of the Eye Bank Association and Georgia Department of Human Resources. Currently, I remain on call for eye recoveries. I frequently travel to locations across the state of Georgia including hospitals, morgues, funeral homes, medical examiners’ offices, and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to recover the donated eyes of recently deceased people. This work has given me valuable experience and provided motivation to pursue a career in medicine. I feel blessed to be able to help restore the eyesight of people around the world.
I chose to attend UGA because...
...of the countless opportunities UGA’s campus life offers to its students. There is a club for every area of interest, tons of people who share similar passions, and plenty of diversity to keep things interesting. Additionally, as a person who loves to exercise, work out, and play sports, I was thoroughly impressed by the Ramsey Center. To top it all off, the high academic standard here convinced me that the University of Georgia would satisfy my wishes for a top-notch education that would prepare me for any medical school I chose to attend a couple of years down the road.
My favorite things to do on campus are...
...escaping the books and walking through north campus to absorb the relaxing atmosphere. The Founders Memorial Garden and the fountain by Herty Field are a couple of my favorite places to simply slow life down. Also, I enjoy taking trips to Ramsey to play racquetball and work out.
When I have free time, I like...
...talking and socializing with friends and family. Whether it’s helping to answer a homework problem or offering advice about everyday problems, I enjoy listening and offering wisdom to my friends whenever possible. Reading is another one of my hobbies, and I especially enjoy adventure and motivational books. Last, getting lost in nature’s beauty is another one of my favorite things to do.
The craziest thing I've done is...
...get into a taxi during a two-week trip in Israel. I was praying for my dear life every inch we traveled! This taxi ride made Atlanta traffic look like a relaxing day at the beach!
My favorite place to study is...
...definitely my bed. It doesn’t take long to get there, its comfortable, and if I get tired of studying a temporary escape route is only a lean away!
My favorite professor is...
...Lin Zhu. Dr. Zhu was my general chemistry professor my first year here at UGA. He showed a dedicated amount of charisma that I never expected from someone teaching a class of more than 300 students. Not only did he make every effort to teach in the most efficient and clear way, he made an effort to get to know as many students on a personal level as he possibly could. He dedicated significant amounts of time to his office hours during the week and visited almost all of the lab sections to help the teaching assistants and get to know his students. I believe Dr. Zhu genuinely teaches as if it was an enjoyable hobby rather than an occupation, which is an important quality that can help inspire students in large classes and large universities.
If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with...
...Mitch Albom. His books Tuesdays With Morrie and The Five People You Meet in Heaven have truly been inspirational to me. Albom offers such wonderful wisdom about how to approach everyday life. I strive to live up to some of the lessons I have learned from his books and to be the best person I can be by maximizing my full potential in everything I pursue.
If I knew I could not fail, I would...
...create an international healthcare system that provided high quality, free medical care to all third-world countries. I feel that people shouldn’t have to endure such suffering where living life is anything but enjoyable. Establishing a free international healthcare system would dramatically reduce the amount of deadly diseases that many impoverished areas of the world are faced with on a daily basis. I believe inadequate access to healthcare is one of the greatest challenges the world faces today.
The one UGA experience I will always remember will be...
...all of those crazy late night study sessions with my fellow pre-med roommates. We would start usually around 8 o’ clock at night (after studying all day individually) and go until usually 2 o’clock in the morning. By the time it was 1 o’clock in the morning, however, we would all have an extreme case of the “sillys!” Although we didn’t get much accomplished when it got really late, it certainly made for some of the silliest and most memorable moments for me here at UGA.