UGA Graduate Education empowers students to make a difference in their communities. Our graduate students have contributed in a variety of ways to build community within their departments, the university and larger community. While there are so many amazing students we like to highlight those who have contributed above and beyond to build community within their disciplinary areas on campus and within the broader community of Georgia. This selection was based on the many nominations from their peers at the institution and within the community in which they served.
Michael, a doctoral candidate pursuing PhD in Philosophy, was nominated by his graduate coordinator, Rene Jagnow.
Michael is a real staple of our graduate student community. He is always ready to help. For example, right now he is supporting our recruitment efforts by talking to and meeting prospective graduate students. Michael is also very generous with his time. During the pandemic, Michael also provided generous advice to faculty and graduate students about how to teach courses online. In 2020, he prepared a zoom presentation on “Effective Online Course Design” to the PGSA.
What has helped you to grow the most?
“Incredible colleagues in my fellow graduate students and supportive faculty have both helped me grow immensely. Faculty at UGA have provided me with numerous opportunities and supported me with words of wisdom, insight, and letters of recommendation. My graduate student colleagues help make Athens and the department places I love. The relationships I have built with others in my department have been essential for my own personal growth and happiness. ”
What advice would you give students looking to make a difference like you?
“Take whatever opportunities present themselves to you (Within reason! It’s important to say “no” sometimes too!). There are also a lot of resources, both in the community and institutionally that are looking for help or are happy to help you figure out the details on a new project; there’s no need to reinvent the wheel! The folks at UGA’s Office of Service-Learning are phenomenal, and they’re on top of the details of UGA’s community engagement, so reaching out to them is a great place to start. The Engage Georgia platform through GivePulse is also a fantastic resource to see what others are already doing and which organizations are looking for volunteers.”
Describe how you got involved with the Athens Community and what it means to you.
“The Philosophy Department had a summer position open for a service-learning course developer. My years of experience volunteering, designing, and implementing outdoor environmental education programs for children, along with my studies in philosophy, combined in the creation of a Philosophy for Children service-learning course (PHIL 3900S). I think it’s important to be a part of the community in which you live and, if you have the ability and resources, to give back to that community in what ways you can, especially if you can identify specific needs in the community that you have the capability to address.”
“When I declared philosophy as my major in undergrad, I always wanted to do environmental philosophy – it was my intent from the beginning. UGA’s Philosophy Department has wonderful faculty working in the area, which attracted me to the university. It’s been a fantastic experience – UGA and the Philosophy Department have provided me with a wealth of opportunities for both personal and professional growth that have helped me succeed.”
Unlocking Potential. Building Futures.