September 15, 2013
Michelle Borg, a doctoral student in the College of Pharmacy, has her sights set on fighting cancer, and she is taking that battle well beyond the classroom.
Doctor of Pharmacy
University highlights, achievements and awards:
I am involved with numerous things at UGA. Starting with my freshman year/only year of undergrad, I was involved with the Make-A-Wish Foundation on campus. I really enjoyed this group because I have a deep passion for those who are affected by cancer. I was also involved with a couple of the Dawg Day of Service events. These were really great ways to get out and volunteer in the local community. I also was involved with many intramural sports and was even captain for a few of them. In addition, I have consistently been awarded scholarships for my community service and academic excellence.
During my year-and-a-half of pharmacy school, I have gotten involved with many other organizations. I am a member of the professional fraternity of Lambda Kappa Sigma. It is an all-girls pharmacy fraternity that is committed to excellence both in the classroom and community. I am a member of the Georgia Society of Health-System Pharmacists. This is an organization directed more toward pharmacy in the hospital setting, which is what I am very interested in. I also am a member of the American Pharmacists Association—Academy of Student Pharmacists. This is both a national and state organization that participates in the progression of pharmacy as a profession. Since it has a national branch, it offers many opportunities for growth and success.
My greatest achievement so far has been creating a student organization at UGA in the College of Pharmacy. This group is named Student Oncological Advocates in Pharmacy, or SOAP for short. This club represents everything that I hope to do with my interest in cancer. I created this club prior to my first day of class in the College of Pharmacy. It was created in honor of my mom and her battle with lung cancer. After seeing just a fraction of what she went through, I knew that I had to help make a difference in the world. The group participated in Dawgtoberfest, which is a health fair hosted by the College of Pharmacy. SOAP members also put together goodie bags and delivered them to cancer patients on Valentine’s Day at Winship Cancer Institute.
My greatest single achievement would have to be the creation of the Tina Borg Classic benefiting Winship Cancer Institute. This was a 5K that I created in memory of my mother, who passed away in 2012 a day before my birthday. Through this 5K, we were able to raise about $3,000 for Winship. All of this money went into a fund that would help sustain clinical trial research. This event alone has made me so proud.
Heritage High School
I work as a pharmacy technician at Athens Regional Medical Center. At ARMC I have learned things that pertain directly to my future career. Not only is it preparing me for later, working in the hospital setting gives me an advantage in my pharmacy school classes. I have learned to compound medications that uphold to an extremely high safety standard and effectiveness. In addition, I get to explore many aspects of excellent patient care. My involvement at ARMC even goes beyond the pharmacy and extends not only to general patient satisfaction but even into the operating room. I have gotten to observe a couple of surgeries being performed by top doctors. Overall, ARMC has taught me not only how to become a better professional but also how to become more patient oriented.
Family Ties to UGA:
My older sister attended UGA 11 years prior to my arrival; I always looked up to her growing up so this just seemed like the natural course.
I chose to attend UGA because...
… UGA was not only familiar, but it was close to home. The academics here are outstanding and the college lifestyle is exactly what I envisioned growing up. I knew that by choosing Georgia, I would be getting a great education. Not only does UGA have fantastic science departments, it offers great diversity in areas that I would have never thought to explore. UGA was actually the only college I applied for out of high school, so I’m thankful that they decided to let me experience the greatness that it has to offer.
My favorite things to do on campus are...
… going to sporting events for sure. The first thing someone thinks about when they think of Athens is UGA football. Almost nothing is better than a Saturday in Athens. It really brings everyone together and you become a giant family of more than 92,000 people; the camaraderie is truly amazing. In addition, I love going to the volleyball games, basketball games and baseball games. I also really enjoy walking around campus. Campus is absolutely gorgeous all year-round.
When I have free time, I like...
… to read the Red & Black and attempt the crossword puzzles. I also enjoy being able to walk around campus and go to sporting events. Sometimes the rigor of pharmacy school doesn’t always allow for these things, though. I also like to travel down memory lane with all the people I met my freshman year in Russell Hall. Intramural sports are another thing I like to do when I have the time. I play anything including soccer, ultimate Frisbee, softball and volleyball.
The craziest thing I've done is...
… go zip-lining in Puerto Rico. It was the summer before starting at UGA and all the girls in my family decided to take a trip; this included my two sisters and my mother. All of us had been zip-lining at some time in our lives, but it was nothing like this. We were all in the tropical mountains of Puerto Rico with these zip-lines weaving in, out, over and under beautiful terrain. To most, the most exciting part of the adventure was The Beast. This zip-line was positioned 80 stories up in the air over countless rivers and trees. If that isn’t scary enough, the line is a mile long and you lie on your stomach the entire time. Even though I cried 90 percent of the mile, the views were absolutely breathtaking. Seeing those views and being with my family really made the trip unforgettable.
My favorite place to study is...
… easily in the Miller Learning Center. I have spent countless hours studying for the ever-feared organic chemistry tests. That place is just so quiet and the whiteboards in each room are perfect for writing out mechanisms and structures. However, sometimes rooms in the MLC can be limited, so studying in my apartment is always a safe bet.
My favorite professor is...
… probably Dr. Tackett in the College of Pharmacy. I only had one year of undergrad at UGA because I had completed 80 hours of dual enrollment prior to my entry, thus I am not all too familiar with the vast number of good undergrad professors. However, within the College of Pharmacy I have many favorite professors. Dr. Cummings, Dr. Wolfgang, Dr. Bartlett, Dr. Perri and Dr. Raj are all fantastic professors and people. Each and every one of these people takes the time to really get to know the students; that extra effort really means the world to a student.
If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with...
… my mother. When things get taken away from you, you realize their true value. I would just like to talk to my mother and show her all of the things that I have achieved. In addition, I would want to show her just how much I love and miss her.
If I knew I could not fail, I would...
… go parachuting. It’s not so much myself failing at something, but more so the parachute failing and probably my heart, too. So if I knew that at the end of it I would be alive and safe, I would totally do it. This basically applies to all adrenalin-junkie type events.
If money was not a consideration, I would love to...
… travel. It is as simple as that. I want to go everywhere and anywhere that I could. I have only ever been out of the country for a cruise to the Bahamas, so there is so much more for me to see. However, traveling to all the places on my list would also require lots of time. So if money and time were not considerations, I would already be gone.
After graduation, I plan to...
… go to medical school. Pharmacy school thus far has been amazing and I love every second of it. However, my goal is to be really involved with clinical trials in oncology. I wish to someday be in charge of running clinical trial research at somewhere like Emory University Medical Center. By having the Doctor of Pharmacy degree and hopefully one day an M.D., I will be able to further help and understand the needs of my patients.
The one UGA experience I will always remember will be...
… getting accepted to the College of Pharmacy. I remember everything about that day. I had gotten this letter, which was very thin, in my dorm mailbox. I immediately called my parents and told them that I just couldn’t open it; there was no way that I got accepted with such a thin letter sitting in my hands. Finally, after much coaxing, I opened it and revealed my future. My parents couldn’t have been more proud and I had never felt so rewarded before in my life.