As a co-founder and vice president of community service for the Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children (FIMRC) at UGA, Matthew Haney has grown to thoroughly enjoy giving his time to people in need and working to better the lives of those who are less fortunate. He desired to travel to underdeveloped areas of the world to provide health care, and he was able to practice medical Spanish through the Spanish department’s UGA en Venezuela program. The trip was possible thanks to the Honors Program’s Courts International Scholarship and the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences Study Abroad Scholarship. He plans to graduate in May with degrees in microbiology and Spanish and then he will head off to medical school to continue his education.
Collins Hill High School
B.S. in microbiology and B.A. in Spanish
University highlights, achievements and awards:
This past summer, I received one of two 2005 CURO Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases (CTEGD) Summer Research Fellowships which I used to work with UGA's CTEGD to continue researching the pathology of Chagas disease. Additionally, I have now taken on the roles of FIMRC Southeast regional manager and FIMRC-UGA president. I have a great time dancing, and I became a member of UGA’s Ballroom Performance Group in the spring of 2005. In the summer of 2004 I traveled to Valencia, Spain, to study Spanish through the UGA en España program. I was able to orient and mentor the international students of UGA as an International Orientation Leader in the fall of 2004 also. I was a Relay for Life Team Captain for the Franklin Residential College during the spring of 2004 as well. I am a senior officer of Alpha Epsilon Delta Honor Society and a member of Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society, as well as a many time Presidential Scholar. I have appeared in the Red and Black representing FIMRC, and I was in the Spanish language newspaper Eco Latino because of my work as an interpreter at Mercy Health Center.
I have worked with the Milledge Academic Center as a peer tutor since January 2004. I tutor undergraduate students in introductory and upper level science and Spanish courses, teaching study habits and catering to different learning styles. I have grown to enjoy mentoring fellow students and look forward to continuing as a tutor in the new school year.
I chose to attend UGA because...
I first visited UGA on an Honors visitation day and was pleased to be welcomed by many warm faces. I was enthusiastic about the possibility of interacting with many distinguished faculty and staff, and I knew of the sterling reputation of the premedical program and the Spanish department. Taking a walking tour of the campus, I was attracted by the greenery and many colonial buildings as well. Stopping to rest on a north campus bench, I just remember knowing I was going to like it here.
My favorite things to do on campus are...
I have spent some of the best minutes of my time at UGA simply walking the length of campus attending classes. I put on some music and watch the scenery, and I either feel as though I am in a movie with an action-packed theme song or drift away and relax. I also enjoy studying on North campus and playing racquetball at Ramsey. I cannot compare the invigorating feeling of performing in front of a live audience and love working with the UGA Ballroom Performance Group. And it would be wrong not to include cheering on the UGA football team in my list of favorite things.
When I have free time, I like...
…to do something athletic, listen to a wide array of music or watch movies, depending on what time it is. Because my daily schedule remains full yearlong, I am very thankful for any free time that I have. I have spent many memorable afternoons at the intramural fields playing tennis, throwing a baseball, playing football, or relaxing with my friends. I also enjoy playing racquetball, whether an intense game or teaching someone how to play.
The craziest thing I've done is...
My travels have given me many remarkable experiences, but the craziest thing I’ve done would have to be jumping from a cliff at Playa Parguito in Venezuela. On a sunny Saturday afternoon at the beach, a couple friends and I scaled a small neighboring mountain to catch a view of the seaside. Noticing a cliff leading to a cave, we stopped to take in our surroundings and watch the water crash into the rocks below. Shortly after we arrived, some young Venezuelan boys began to descend the rock face and motioned that they would jump. Believing the rocks to extend out into the water, I was initially nervous about them crashing. After watching them jump a few times, however, I decided to try my hand. Arriving at the rock from which they jumped, I collected my composure, waited for the tide to come in, and leapt. Watching the rocks near beneath me, I had just enough time to hear one of the boys shout “Suerte!” before entering the water.
My favorite professor is...
It is difficult to select one favorite professor from the many who have impacted me while at UGA, but my interaction with Rick Tarleton has been very rewarding. Having decided I wanted to be involved in biomedical research, I first contacted Dr. Tarleton during spring semester of my sophomore year. Shortly after, I was welcomed to the laboratory to study Trypanosoma cruzi, the causative agent of Chagas disease. Through my work with Dr. Tarleton I have continually strived to exceed his expectations and have benefited as a result. Firm yet understanding, he has motivated me to perform at my peak abilities and served as a mentor to me along the way. I also have a great time working with his excellent team of laboratory personnel. Not only is he an expert in his field, Dr. Tarleton is also a strong leader with a passion for investigation.
If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with...
…my family. The world has seen many incredible people in its time, but it is impossible for me to compare what I would gain from a few hours with one of them to the lifelong support and encouragement I have received from my family. Whether hearing their cheers at sporting events and performances, receiving advice on my future or simply sharing jokes over a long car ride, I cherish the moments spent with my family. I could not ask for a better way to spend an afternoon.
After graduation, I plan to...
…spend the summer practicing my medical Spanish in the developing world. I would love to expand my work with the Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children to one of the international clinics in Latin America. Though I have yet to decide where, I will be attending medical school in the fall of 2006 to pursue a career in medicine.
The one UGA experience I will always remember will be...
…riding in a Venezuelan ambulance with the Protección Civil. During my study abroad program in Venezuela, I had the option to ride along with an ambulance for a day. I was resting in the central office when an emergency call came over the radio. The crew and I immediately ran to the ambulance and flew out of the parking lot, determined to arrive at the scene as quickly as possible. I learned, however, that Venezuelan drivers do not move for ambulances. Instead they stop. Racing toward red lights at about 80 miles per hour, the halted cars stayed in place even as the lights turned green. Swerving out of the way, the ambulance driver barely missed them, tires squealing as with every other turn we made. By the time we arrived at the site of the accident, there were already emergency vehicles there, but my heart was pounding from the adrenaline rush.