The University of Georgia
Bialis, Tracy, Catherine

UGA's Amazing Students

Tracy Catherine Bialis

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December 13, 2009

Tracy Catherine Bialis is an amazing student. She will graduate in May 2009 as a First Honor Graduate (summa cum laude with Highest Honors) with a major in psychology. In addition to excelling in the classroom, Tracy has been involved in several extracurricular activities. After her freshman year, Tracy took part in the UGA Study Abroad trip to New Zealand. The next summer, she traveled to Belize on a service learning trip where she worked in medical clinics in the rural areas of that country. Tracy has taken part in Alternative Spring Break for three years. This year, Tracy is serving on the Executive Board of ASB. She has been a volunteer for UGAMiracle for the benefit of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and she has dedicated a great deal of her time to the university chapter of Special Olympics. This year, she was co-president. Tracy also rides her bicycle all over campus. Last year, she took her bike to California and took part in a two-day ride to raise money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Tracy also worked as a supervisor for intramural sports, and she was a “Hoop Girl” supporting the men’s basketball team. Tracy is a volunteer with the hospice program at St. Mary’s Hospital also. Last fall, Tracy taught science to a class of third grade students as part of Project FOCUS. After graduation, she plans to move to California and become a nurse.

Expected graduation:

Spring 2009

Degree objective:

B.S. in psychology

University highlights, achievements and awards:

I have been so fortunate to be able to work with the Special Olympics Club at UGA from being co-president to volunteering at local adapted P.E. classes and helping to plan the second Special Olympics Prom! After I participated on an Alternative Spring Break trip to Charleston, I could not imagine spending my break any other way. The next year, I led a trip to Philadelphia, and this year I served as the participant coordinator. Other highlights of my time at UGA include working in the Infant Development Research Lab, being a Hoop Girl for two years and being a Dawg Camp counselor last summer.

Hometown:

Edmond, Ok.

High School:

Edmond North High School

I chose to attend UGA because...

I created a “pro - con” list of all the schools I was considering, and UGA won hands down! First, it is out-of-state and had warmer weather, and I knew I wanted to try something new. Second, UGA is a great school all-around. Since I had no idea what I wanted to study, I had to choose a place where I would get a great education no matter what I decided. Third, I wanted to have a genuine college experience, and I knew that UGA would provide many opportunities to get involved on campus and in the community.

My favorite things to do on campus are...

...to ride my bike. When classes are changing, I am able to see people socializing or reading. It gives me an opportunity to daydream and take little mental breaks while enjoying the beauty of campus. I also cannot deny that my competitive nature is satisfied when I get to pass all the cars in traffic.

When I have free time, I like...

...to read!! I look for any opportunities to pick up a book or my Time Magazine. Free time for me includes waiting for my breakfast to cook or the five minutes between when I get to class and when it starts. My free time is precious to me, so I also try to catch up with friends or get some exercise.

The craziest thing I've done is...

...swim with dolphins off the coast of New Zealand. Picture 25 people covered literally head to toe in skintight wetsuit material (it was winter in NZ), swimming around in circles and making dolphin noises while close to 200 dolphins are jumping around and singing back to us. At first I couldn’t breathe because the water was so cold and then I couldn’t breathe because I was so beside myself! It was a sight to see, truly.

My favorite place to study is...

...any coffee place, really. I especially like Jittery Joe’s in Five Points and Cups Coffee on the East side. Jittery Joe’s is my comfort zone: quiet and close to where I live. Cups has lots of great space to spread out and get serious work done. For me, there is something extra motivating about knowing there is a sweet coffee drink waiting for me!

My favorite professor is...

...Meredith Turner in cellular biology, Janet Frick in psychology and Maria Navarro in the department of agricultural leadership, education and communication. All three have influenced the direction I want to take my life after graduation. All three teach the material in a way that is interesting, yet they value and encourage student input. They also have great stories and are willing to spend time with students outside class.

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

...my grandmother, Bubbie, who passed away this July. She was a tremendous woman, strong and before her time. She taught me that every person is valuable, and we should fight for the underserved. We would probably spend the afternoon baking pineapple kugel and chocolate chip cookies.

If I knew I could not fail, I would...

...take 50 hours of credit during my last semester! There are so many classes at UGA that people have recommended and four years just hasn’t been enough time! There are so many great academic resources here, and I hate to think I do not have time to exhaust them all before I leave.

After graduation, I plan to...

...move to California to begin a master’s program in nursing at the University of San Francisco.

The one UGA experience I will always remember will be...

...Special Olympics Prom. S.O. athletes, coaches, families and UGA students all danced and celebrated! Everyone worked so hard to help make it happen and it was so rewarding to see kids with disabilities accepted, respected, and loved as they should. It truly exemplified a sense of community.