As a senior social work major, Madison Borst has worked with people who have experienced rough times, and she wants to help, empower and stand by them as they work their way through life.
Fellowship Christian School
Bachelor’s of social work
University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:
Throughout my time at UGA I have been involved with International Justice Mission at UGA as a member and as the campus organization’s president. I have a heart for justice and this organization allowed me to live in a way that was seeking justice and to walk with others who had the same passions. We were also able to bring awareness of the world’s injustices to our campus and to invite others to join us in the fight for freedom.
I also have been a member, outreach team member and servant team leader at Reformed University Fellowship. This organization helped me to find a home at UGA, to find deep friendships and to have a place to express and explore my faith in a real and deep way. I cannot express enough my gratitude for the organization and its leaders.
I have been a volunteer at a counseling agency called Taylor Grove Yates Inc. There I was able to learn about the ins and outs of counseling and, more than anything, to help set up, organize and run an art therapy clinic for some of the clients. This was such a fun experience in which I also got to see the value of creative expression in a new setting.
Currently, I am an intern at the Wellspring Living For Girls program. This is one of the most incredible experiences in my life. At Wellspring, I get to spend time and help girls who have been through a really rough past. Wellspring helps girls who are victims of domestic minor sex trafficking, also known as commercial sexual exploitation of children. I have grown to really care about these girls and want to continue working with this population. The girls have taught me so much about strength, resilience, growth and change. They are inspiring to work with, and I am privileged to be able to advocate for them.
— Presidential Scholar (4.0) every semester so far
— Zell Miller scholarship every semester
— Member of the UGA Honors Program
Social work intern at Wellspring Living for Girls program
Family Ties to UGA:
I have no family ties to UGA, at least not right now. My brother may come to UGA next year, and then I will have one family tie.
I chose to attend UGA because…
Honestly, I originally chose to attend UGA because it was the most affordable option for me. It is also an in-state school so I would not be too far from my family. After the first year, I chose to come back to UGA because I had found a great community through RUF, and I wanted to continue in my social work classes with teachers that I respected a lot. The social work school (teachers, cohort and classes) and my community (especially at RUF and IJM) have made my experience something to cherish.
My favorite things to do on campus are…
... to sit in the Founders Garden between classes; I especially loved this spot during my freshman year. Yoga classes at the gym helped me to relax and refocus during the craziness of each semester, so I loved those, too. Rock climbing was also a favorite thing to do at the gym for exercise; I found a new challenge each time, and I was able to spend time with my friends while exercising.
When I have free time, I like…
… reading for pleasure, doing arts and crafts and hanging out/catching up with family and friends. I feel like I am always reading, but I am almost never reading books that I am choosing to read. Textbooks are one thing, but I love reading novels, memoirs and many other kinds of books for pure enjoyment. I also love taking time to do crafts. I enjoy painting and finding fun things to do on Pinterest (of course). I always feel a little more at peace when I have finished a cool project. Meeting up with close friends is also something I try to do even when I don’t have free time, but it is all the richer when I do have free time. I value quality time, so spending time with friends and family means a lot to me and helps me to feel connected.
The craziest thing I've done is…
… probably going skydiving. It was a ton of fun and always at the top of my “to do before I die” list, but it was crazy! I went skydiving with Skydive Georgia, 14,000 feet in the air, and did a front flip out of the little plane that we had gone up in. I was also the only female in my group, so I felt pretty legitimate after jumping, falling, floating and landing. I recommend the experience … even though it can make your ears hurt. I also got married recently, which was pretty crazy, too, but I am so glad I did. I have been so blessed to live and love with my best friend. (My name will soon be Parekh! That’s the craziest part.)
My favorite place to study is…
In general, my favorite place to study is a coffee shop. I especially love Two Story Coffeehouse. Its apple cider is delicious and calming. The atmosphere also helped me to focus but not feel too pressured. I also loved to study at the SLC when I lived on campus. I really needed the SLC’s study rooms (or the fourth floor) sometimes, because studying in my room almost never worked.
My favorite professor is…
I have really enjoyed a number of my professors at UGA, so it is hard to pick one favorite. Shari Miller, Melinda Moore and Steven Young are most definitely my favorites. Dr. Miller sparked my initial love for social work. She was my first social work professor in my freshman year. She taught me what it meant to be a social worker and what I could do in the future. Since my first year, I have had Dr. Miller as a professor two more times, and I am always so thankful to have her as a teacher. She always teaches me more than I thought I could learn and opens my eyes to new ways of looking at things. I don’t know where I would be without her guidance. Mrs. Moore was always lively, encouraging and very informative. I learned so much about international social work from her. She also was a continuous supportive force for me as I worked through classes and life. Mr. Young taught me a ton about working with and communicating with clients. He taught me how to learn from role-plays and about some of the most important things to do in a social work session.
If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with…
This is hard to answer, too, but I will go with my knee-jerk reaction. I have always admired Mother Teresa as such a wonderful human and servant to those in need. If I could, I would love to go back in time and shadow her. I would love to walk around Calcutta with her, watching her work and interact with those she served. It would be great to be helping the hurting right alongside her and to have her as an encourager through the process (she has some great quotes). I would love to have just eaten a meal with her, listened to her talk and watched her live … even for just an afternoon.
If I knew I could not fail, I would…
… learn every language (or at least a lot of them). I would love to be able to speak in all kinds of languages from all over the world. I have taken a few trips overseas, and it would have been so valuable to be able to talk directly with those I encountered. Our translators were awesome, but I desire the connection that comes from speaking the same language. Knowing many languages would be so helpful in conversing with and gaining an easier understanding of those who come from different backgrounds, cultures and languages. I always envy those who are fluent in other languages.
If money was not a consideration, I would love to…
… travel the world. This would also be more ideal if I was fluent in many languages. I find traveling to be so appealing. Visiting other cultures always gives people a broader perspective of the world and a new or different picture of beauty. I want to travel in order to take in more of the beauty that the world has to offer, to meet more people and to gain a deeper perspective on the world. I want to see the world in person, not just in pictures.
After graduation, I plan to…
… look for a job in whichever state or place I end up. I think I am ready to take a bit of a break from school, classes and textbooks. I want to be able to practice what I have learned in school and in my internship. Having an internship this year has further sparked that desire in me to work with people, to build a professional relationship with them, and to help, empower and stand by them as they work through life. Eventually, I will probably get my master’s in social work, because I think I would like to be licensed and maybe do counseling one day.
The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…
When I was a freshman in my first semester at UGA, I was still having a hard time adjusting to a totally new environment, being away from home and trying to find friends. I had started going to the Reformed University Fellowship, and I decided to go to the fall conference in order to help me meet more people. The first night, I was just sad and emotional about feeling lonely and unsure about UGA, and I went over to a cabin where I had one friend. I sat down with her, and a couple other girls came around me. They let me cry about my distress and comforted me. Then one of the girls started asking me about my life and, as is typical, my major. I found out that she was a social work major too, and we bonded that night over talking about our similar experiences in coming to college and our similar passions. She became a close friend after that, and I lived with her after freshman year. I also became closer with the other people who were in that cabin, and their friendships helped me to begin to grow and thrive in my environment at UGA. I will always be so thankful for the friends who reached out to me at that time and over the years. They made me want to stay at UGA, pursue my social work degree and get involved in the community. I was able to thrive largely because of their support.