The University of Georgia
Otrosina, Kathryn

UGA's Amazing Students

Kathryn Otrosina

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November 6, 2006

Not only has Kathryn Otrosina planned to double major in social science education and political science, but she has combined her passions to create a foundation to teach young people about the political process and encourage them to become more active voters. She is a Watkinsville native and an Arch Society member. After graduation, she plans to join Teach for America to help end education inequity in this country. After gaining experience in the classroom for several years, she will pursue a doctorate in educational policy and work to make long-term, systemic change in the American education system.

Expected graduation:

May 2007

Degree objective:

A.B. in political science, B.S.Ed. in social science education

University highlights, achievements and awards:

I serve as a member of the Arch Society, the goodwill ambassadors to UGA. I am president of Pi Sigma Alpha, the political science honor society and secretary of Kappa Delta Epsilon, the education honor society. This past summer, I studied abroad in Budapest, Hungary. In 2004, I founded the Informed Voters Foundation at UGA, whose mission is to help students and the community at large make informed decisions at the polls instead of relying on party labels or the media. I danced with the UGA Ballet Ensemble my freshman year. I presented original education research at the CURO Symposium last spring. In November, I will expand upon this research and present at the American Educational Studies Association in Washington. I am a recipient of the Del Jones Memorial Scholarship, Mary Murphy Robinson Scholarship, and the Ira E. Aaron International Scholarship through the College of Education. This year I am also the Campus Campaign Manager for Teach For America.

Hometown:

Watkinsville, Georgia

High School:

Oconee County High School

Current Employment:

I just finished working with Dr. Gary Dudley in the Muscle Biology lab in the Department of Kinesiology. For three years I helped analyze MRI images of subjects with spinal cord injuries. The research focused on decreasing muscle atrophy in spinal cord injury patients through the use of electrical stimulation. While I was a very small part of the research, it was nice to be a part of something that will one day impact the lives of many people suffering from such trauma. I now work as a Campus Campaign Manager for Teach for America to recruit some of the best students on campus to join the movement.

Family Ties to UGA:

My dad, William Otrosina, received his doctorate in forestry from UGA, and my brother, Jonathan, graduated with a degree in criminal justice from UGA in 2002. Both are incredibly loyal Georgia fans.

I chose to attend UGA because...

…of its initial affordability. It’s hard to resist going to such a fine institution for free on the HOPE scholarship. Although I was worried I wouldn’t get the whole “college experience” going to school 10 miles away from home, I soon realized I couldn’t have dreamed of a better place to go to school than in Athens. There is so much energy on campus, amazing faculty, and a ton of opportunities for students in all different fields. You also can’t forget about game days in Athens. There must be a reason why it is a perfectly sunny day in Athens on most every home game. There is just no place like UGA.

My favorite things to do on campus are...

...reading and studying on North Campus. I also like to take advantage of the many lectures and events that UGA has to offer.

When I have free time, I like...

...to dance (especially ballet). I also like to dress up and see really good ballet performances at the Fox Theatre, spend time with my family and friends, scrapbook, watch CNN, and eat. I’m desperately trying to learn how to cook well too.

The craziest thing I've done is...

…meet my long-lost family in Letavertes, Hungary. When I studied abroad this past semester, Dr. Benedek was able to track down relatives that my great-grandmother lost contact with a few decades after she immigrated to the United States in 1917. My dad showed me pictures of their home in Hungary, but I never thought I would actually see it in person and meet them. Some family members live on the same street and in the same house in which my great-grandmother grew up. It was surreal to have such a powerful connection with these people who live completely different lives a half of a world away.

My favorite place to study is...

...at Jittery Joe’s in Five Points because it is close to my apartment, and it is a comfortable and quiet atmosphere to concentrate.

My favorite professor is...

...Dezso Benedek in the Comparative Literature Department and Charles Bullock in Political Science. Dr. Benedek directs arguably the best study abroad program — Maymester in Budapest. He uses a very direct, hands-on approach to learning, and he encourages his students to question everything and not to accept everything as fact. He also possesses this incredible zest for life that makes everyone around him incredibly happy. Dr. Charles Bullock is an amazingly accomplished expert in his field and truly cares about getting to know each one of his students. Dr. Benedek and Dr. Bullock have completely different teaching styles but were both extremely effective and influential for me.

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

...my great-grandmother. She left everything she knew in Hungary to seek a better life in the United States. I would want to talk with her about her journeys and learn from her strength and wisdom.

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

…make sure every child, no matter where they grow up, has an equal chance for success in life. I believe one of the most important keys to achieving this goal is through education. Education opens so many doors and gives people options that can get them out of their current situation. I wish everyone could receive a high quality education and use that education to help those less fortunate. Imagine how wonderful the world would be!

After graduation, I plan to...

...join Teach for America and help end education inequity in this country. After gaining experience in the classroom for several years, I plan to pursue a doctorate in educational policy and work to make long-term, systemic change in our education system. Becoming the United States Secretary of Education wouldn’t be so bad either.

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

…staying in the Cherry Village in Romania this past summer. My host family did not have indoor plumbing, so I quickly learned to use the outhouse and to bathe in a small bowl. I’ll also never forget gaining a ton of weight from eating incredible Hungarian cuisine 6 times a day and then rolling down to the sketchy disco at night to mingle with the locals.