The University of Georgia
Griffith, Katie

UGA's Amazing Students

Katie Griffith

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August 7, 2006

Honors student Katie Griffith has a passion for helping others. She received a Courts Scholarship last summer and traveled to Nicaragua to work in a high school on behalf of the Foundation for Sustainable Development. She also collected qualitative research data while she was there to conduct a linguistical analysis of Nicaraguan Spanish for her CURO Summer Research Fellowship. She plans to graduate next year with a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree, and then she wants to travel to developing countries, attend graduate school in comparative international education, and start a school of her own that would emphasize global citizenship through service learning activities for the students and teachers.

Expected graduation:

August 2007

Degree objective:

B.A. in Romance Languages and M.A. in Nonprofit Organizations

University highlights, achievements and awards:

As a Court’s Scholar, I was honored to win the Foundation for Sustainable Development’s 2005 Summer Grant Competition to create an English Laboratory at my school in Nicaragua. After playing the clarinet for a year in UGA’s Wind Ensemble, I also wanted to help with the marching band at my school in Nicaragua and taught the band director and students how to play clarinet. I discovered that as universal as music is, it was quite the experience teaching an instrument in a different language on a completely different system. I think we made more sound laughing than playing! I was the student speaker at the first Annual Honors Convocation in August 2005 and helped orient the Honors students as an Honors Peer Advisor. I also worked on the UGA Habitat for Humanity Executive Board, as an Honors Program Student Council Officer, and I spent this past semester studying abroad at Lyon III and Lyon II Universities in Lyon, France as a Crane Leadership Scholar. Leadership UGA and Honors Ambassadors have provided great experiences to interact with the wealth of diverse students at Georgia as well as living in UGA’s French Community. I am in the French honor society, Pi Delta Phi, also. The biggest continuum in my Central American experience is going to tutor Hispanic kids every Friday at Pinewood Estates with the OASIS program. We work to educate them about Mexican culture and history so they do not forget about their heritage. It’s a really awesome experience for everyone involved.

Hometown:

Marietta, Georgia

High School:

Walton High School

Current Employment:

I love working on campus at the Myers Hall security desk. As I check out keys to residents who have been locked out by their roommates and ensure the general security of the Myers Quad, I get the opportunity to witness all of the fun of being a first year student again. It makes me feel young!

I chose to attend UGA because...

...the University of Georgia and the surrounding city of Athens provide so many experiences. During the process of choosing a college, I felt that there was absolutely no reason to pay more or to travel further when a high-quality education was right around the corner. One of the greatest lessons I have learned from speaking to my friends at other institutions is that no matter where you are, your motivation and initiative determines how much you make out of your college experience. It was not difficult for me to turn in only two college applications: one to UGA and the other to UGA’s Honors Program.

My favorite things to do on campus are...

...watching my friends perform in the Accidentals, Comedia, and the Ballroom Performance Group, as well going to Le Table Française at the Globe on Thursdays and listening to my friend’s jazz show on WUOG on Sunday nights.

When I have free time, I like...

...the Athens music scene. It’s really incredible that we have access to such great artistic expression—whether it is in Hodgson Hall or the 40 Watt. I love to go see peers, professionals, and not-so-professionals share their passion for music. Going to lectures and art openings is really awesome too.

The craziest thing I've done is...

...decided that it would be an excellent idea to audition for the top female a cappella singing group on campus. Well, I learned several lessons that day: first, that the music building has tons of private practice rooms available for use, and second, that just because you sing well in the shower, doesn’t mean you can sing well in real life. However, it was definitely a worthwhile experience to be exposed to a different part of campus. I think everyone should stretch themselves beyond their immediate comfort zone and try something new, if only for the friendships you’ll make by embarrassing yourself in the process!

My favorite place to study is...

...the not-so-quiet of my own house. It is really difficult to study with four other people in your house, but I cannot seem to pry myself away from the kitchen table. I love being in the center of activity and close to the kitchen.

My favorite professor is...

...Diana Ranson of the Romance Languages Department. She has contributed so much to my academic career. I have been in two of her classes, French Linguistics and French Syntax, and they were two of the most interesting courses I have taken in college. I’ve asked myself many times how French linguistics could be so interesting, and then I realize that the intellectual curiosity Dr. Ranson breeds in her students consistently makes us want to go above and beyond normal classroom performance. She is a great mentor, teacher, and aid to my research, and I look forward to continually being inspired by her.

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

...my host mom in Nicaragua. She taught me so much about the beauty of life and how to enjoy every moment to the fullest. Her example of strength as a single mother of three children with cancer made a huge impression on me. Her biggest message was that no matter what the pain or the uncertainty, you must keep going because you only have one life to live. I remember my last day sitting around the kitchen table listening to her story and not being able to pull myself away for fear of missing the explanation to one of life’s essential elements. There is so much more to gain from her example, I would love to spend an afternoon learning from her. 

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

...raise money for non-profit organizations working in international development. It would be a dream to provide enough money to grassroots organizations across the world enabling them to accomplish their missions. You really do not know how much of an impact just a few hundred dollars can make in a developing community through the work of sustainable initiatives until you witness it first hand.

After graduation, I plan to...

...travel as much as I can throughout the developing world, hopefully working for NGOs and researching school systems. I would then like to attend graduate school in comparative international education to prepare for work as an educational consultant for non-profit organizations. I want to train teachers how to implement innovation and creativity in the classroom. My future dream would be to open a school in the U.S. that would emphasize global citizenship with many service learning activities for the students and teachers.

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

...when a group of friends and I journeyed north on a road trip to find snow. It was late winter, and we were anxious to see some real white stuff. We figured it would only be about two hours into the North Georgia Mountains, but FOUR hours later at the peak of the Blue Ridge Mountains, we got out of the car and played in the snow. It was too cold to stay out for more than 20 minutes, but those 20 minutes were worth it. We reconsidered, however, when it snowed and iced here in Athens the following weekend!