Jane Jurma’s faith has guided her through her community involvement and academic work at UGA, and the senior biology and psychology major is well prepared to continue her studies in medical school.
Grayson High School
B.S. in biology, B.S. in psychology
University highlights, achievements and awards:
As an incoming freshman in the fall of 2010, I knew it would be up to me to step out of my comfort zone and find opportunities to meet people and become involved on campus. From the first time I stepped through the doors of the Baptist Collegiate Ministries, I knew I had found a place that would allow me to feel at home in a school of nearly 35,000 students. I joined a small group, became a part of the freshman band and spent Thursdays playing with children at the Broad Acres Community Center. Since then, I have continued to stay involved at the BCM, but I have also sought to reach out to the community of Athens as a whole. I became involved with the Athens Pregnancy Center, where I was a mentor in the Earn-While-You-Learn Program. The program provides underprivileged women the opportunity to learn about their pregnancies while also receiving physical aid, such as diapers and clothes. Back in Lawrenceville, I lead a girls’ mentorship program called Blossoms where we meet to talk about issues relevant to teenage girls, as well as engage in relationship-building activities. As a group, we also sponsor a refugee family from Iraq.
Some of my most meaningful experiences during my time at UGA have been my international summer mission trips. Through SendMeNow, a BCM program, I have had the privilege to serve on three overseas trips, two of which were medical trips. The summer after my freshman year, I traveled to Mexico where I served on a team of 10 students and three medical professionals. I am privileged to be part of history, as our team set up the first-ever medical clinic in the town of Kantunilkin, Mexico. In the five days of clinics, our team treated more than 1,000 patients. The next summer, I was a part of another medical team that provided care to San Placido and Manta, Ecuador. Despite many dangerous situations involving killer wasps, poisonous snakes, spiders and bats, we were not deterred from fulfilling our purpose. We treated and shared the Gospel of Christ with more than 500 people in the six days of clinics. This past summer, I was fortunate to work at a children’s camp in Lisbon, Portugal. We spent a week teaching these children about God, as well as feeding them what was, for most of them, their only meal of the day. All these international experiences have changed me as a person. They have placed a desire in me to continue going on medical mission trips once I become a physician, seeking to offer physical and spiritual healing to underserved people all over the world.
My research experience at UGA has been one of incredible growth and discovery. I worked in the exercise and vascular biology lab under the leadership of Kevin McCully where I studied how changing muscle concentrations of blood alter the measured mitochondrial capacity. Dr. McCully’s guidance and patience allowed me to become comfortable with the lab and procedures. However, he never failed to challenge me to be creative and use my imagination in creating my own experiments and testing them. The autonomy he gave me allowed me to grow and learn more than I ever thought I could as a student and as a scientist.
When it comes to university awards, I have retained the Zell Miller Scholarship throughout my four years at UGA. I am also a recipient of the One UGA Scholarship. I have also been a Presidential Scholar and on the dean’s list. Lastly, I am proud to be a part of the university’s remarkable Honors Program. It has provided me the opportunities and learning environment to experience all UGA has to offer.
I work at a church nursery.
Family Ties to UGA:
My older brother is an alumnus, and my younger brother is currently a sophomore.
I chose to attend UGA because...
… it just made sense. As a senior in high school, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in the medical field. I learned a lot about UGA’s science program from my older brother who was majoring in biochemistry, as well as from my own personal research. I came to the conclusion that UGA was the school that would best prepare me for my goals. UGA is also near my hometown of Lawrenceville, where I have a lot of family and friends. Choosing to attend UGA really was a no-brainer for me.
My favorite things to do on campus are...
… participate in the many events going on in Tate Plaza (I’m always first in line for all the free stuff!), buy coffee from the Bulldog Café and relax at the Baptist Collegiate Ministries between classes.
When I have free time, I like...
… going to the dollar theater with my brother (we love to unwind from a difficult week with a Friday night movie); having dinner with friends and playing card and board games; blasting music as I prepare different Pinterest recipes; playing any classical music, especially “Scherzo in B flat Major” by Franz Schubert, on piano; and attending some of the numerous concerts in Athens, whether at Hugh Hodgson Concert Hall or one of the venues downtown.
The craziest thing I've done is...
… get lost in Lisbon, Portugal. A group of friends and I were attempting to board a train when all of a sudden the doors closed, and we watched in horror as our only Portuguese interpreter whizzed by. We decided to board a train anyway and explore the city ourselves. Was it a bit nerve-racking to be lost in Lisbon? Yes. Did I, however, have an amazing evening of adventure and exploration? Most definitely.
My favorite place to study is...
… my apartment. I constantly munch on snacks while studying, so having the pantry nearby is a must.
My favorite professor is...
There are two names that come to mind when I think of professors who have had the largest impact on my life during my time at UGA. The first is Karl Espelie, who is not only my adviser but also my mentor. Dr. Espelie’s constant support throughout my college career has been invaluable, as he has stood by my side and encouraged me throughout all of my anxiety-filled moments. His devotion to his students and advisees is incredibly unique. I honestly don’t know where I would be today without his guidance, and I am blessed to know him.
Henry F. Schaefer is another professor who has shown me what it looks like to invest in a student. Although he travels the world, giving speeches on chemistry, scientism and Christianity, he always makes time to find out what’s new in my life. Dr. Schaefer has been a role model to me, showing me that it’s possible to incorporate one’s faith into his or her career.
If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with...
… Ravi Zacharias. He is a world-renowned Christian apologist and author who has devoted his life to defending the Gospel. His life story is one of hurt, brokenness and eventually triumph. He inspires me to stand up for my faith and never be ashamed of the One who has given me the greatest gift of all, salvation.
If I knew I could not fail, I would...
… start a national organization that counsels young women on the risks of abortion and connects them with adoption agencies. This organization would establish pregnancy clinics around the country that provide free financial, emotional and spiritual help to pregnant women. The organization would provide counsel and alternatives to abortion.
If money was not a consideration, I would love to...
… travel the world with my family.
After graduation, I plan to...
… attend medical school at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University this coming fall. My older brother is a second-year medical student there, so I am excited to join him in Augusta.
The one UGA experience I will always remember will be...
… the atmosphere in Sanford Stadium during football games. Standing in the student section, wearing red and black, and cheering alongside 92,000 people is an experience I will never forget.