By Erica Lee
Q: What is/are your major(s)?
A: Political Science
Q: When do you expect to graduate?
A: Spring 2015
Q: What are your career aspirations 5-20 years from now? Why have you chosen these?
A: I’m applying to masters in higher education and masters in science and technology program graduate programs. After that, I’d like to pursue a PhD in higher education or public policy. Right after graduate school, I would like to work in either tech-based economic development or in higher education/science policy. I’d love to stay in the higher education environment at a college or university or university system. There is just so much going on here. Later down the road, I’d like to either become a professor at a research university or obtain an administrative position at a college or university which deals with research, technology and economic development. Hopefully, both.
After exploring careers in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy and so on, I became really interested in professional education and higher education in general. I became aware of the problems facing clinicians be it the saturation of pharmacy and unemployment of pharmacists or the tension between new midlevel providers and dentists. I also became interested in science policy, higher education policy around the same time. For the past year, I’ve been serving as a research assistant in the Institute of Higher Education under Professor Sheila Slaughter. Dr. Slaughter’s research focuses heavily on the intersection between science and higher ed. Working on Dr. Slaughter’s grant at the IHE really helped me decide on a career in higher ed.
Q: What is your hometown?
A: Johns Creek, Georgia
Q: What is your favorite part of your UGA experience?
A: I think the balance you get at UGA is something unique. You have a lot of students who just want to have a good time, but you also have students doing really incredible things across all majors. The balance between academics and fun is one way or another at other universities. I think right now UGA offers a pretty good balance.
Q: What was your favorite class? Favorite professor?
A: My favorite class thus far definitely have to be Sociology of Higher Education with Dr. Joseph Hermanowiz. I would also have to say Dr. Hermanowicz is my favorite professor. I took two classes with Dr. Hermanowicz, and in both classes, he was able to link his research with the day-to-day class schedule. When a professor can link their work to the classroom, I think everyone is benefited. It’s one of the best parts about coming to a research university.
Q: What do you think will be the next big thing in medicine?
A: I think the next big thing in medicine definitely is going to be neuroscience related. I see neuroscience as the most interesting aspect of medical research. Once the BRAIN Initiative has finished mapping the brain, we’re going to make leaps forward in that area of neuroscience and medical science research, just like when we mapped the human genome back in 2001 with the Human Genome Project. From neurodegenerative diseases to “smart pills” (nootropics) to advances in psychology and disorder research, there is so much interesting work being done in the world of neuroscience.
Q: What advice do you have for premed students?
A: I would say all pre-professional students should make sure they’re going into their chosen profession for the right reasons. Unlike most PhD programs, you have to pay high tuition to attend med school, dental school, law school, pharmacy school and so on. There aren’t too many careers that require so much schooling. A high salary and prestige is important to people, but both of those attributes are evolving across all health professions depending on specialty and region. Technologies, the cost of healthcare, new roles of midlevel providers and also globalization have changed the way we look at healthcare. If you choose a job you love, you’ll never work a day.
Q: What are you involved in?
A: This year, I had the privilege of serving as Founder & President of Operation Smile at UGA, the state’s first public collegiate chapter of the charity. I also served as Senior Adviser and Co-Founder of Operation Smile at Georgia State University. I was a contributing writer for Georgia Political Review. I was a research assistant at the Institute of Higher Education under Dr. Sheila Slaughter. I served as Chair for the Nu Rho Psi Neuroscience Honors Society Organizing Committee and also Chair of Students for Neuroscience which is a student-led effort to bring an undergraduate neuroscience degree program to UGA. I also served as Director for Research & Policy for a local commissioner campaign.
This fall, I’ll be interning in the UGA Technology Commercialization Office. I’ll still be involved with Op Smile, serving as Senior Adviser. I’ll also be serving on the inaugural student editorial board for Education Law & Policy Review and continuing my role as Chair of Students for Neuroscience.