The University of Georgia
Peles, Hadas

UGA's Amazing Students

Hadas Peles

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June 9, 2008

Hadas Peles is a history and political science double major from Bothell, Wa. Hadas is currently participating in the inaugural semester of the Washington Semester Program, interning in the office of Congressman Hank Johnson. She was a 2007 orientation leader and has been involved with Dawgs for Israel, a pro-Israel advocacy group on campus. She also is the vice president of women for the Dean William Tate Honor Society. Peles would like to pursue graduate studies in history at UGA and maybe one day teach at UGA. She is in the Honors Program and participated in its book discussion group program in spring 2007. Peles has recently been inducted into the Sphinx Society. She currently works for the Athens-Clarke County public affairs office, where she is gaining a growing perspective on Athens’s diverse population and challenges. After graduation, she plans to join the U.S. Navy as an officer and eventually pursue a graduate degree in history at UGA.

Degree objective:

A.B. in political science and A.B. in history

University highlights, achievements and awards:

I participated in the inaugural Washington D.C. Semester Program and worked for Congressman Hank Johnson. I was an Orientation Leader in 2007, through the Admissions Office. Being an Orientation Leader this past summer was an incredible chance to serve as an ambassador of UGA to thousands of incoming freshmen. I was president of Dawgs for Israel in 2007. As an Israeli-American, it is extremely important for me to share my identity with others, and I got that opportunity through this organization. During my time as a leader in the organization, I was able to bring speakers to the university, including a campus visit from Senator Johnny Isakson. I also spend many of my Saturday mornings building houses with Athens Area Habitat for Humanity. I was a board member and “Hunger and Homelessness Week” programmer with this organization. I have been a member of the Dean William Tate Society since 2005 and I am currently the vice president of women. I have been a member of Sigma Delta Tau sorority and the Young Democrats since 2005. I have won numerous awards including
UGA First Year Student of the Year, 2006 Presidential Scholar, and 2006 Honors Program Athens Area Habitat Volunteer of the Month for Oct. and Nov. 2006.

Hometown:

Bothell, Washington

High School:

Central High School

Current Employment:

I just finished working for Congressman Hank Johnson from the fourth district of Georgia. I had a huge interest in working for his office because Congressman Johnson truly understands the meaning of public service, and he is constantly working to bring about results that are relevant to his constituents. When someone is that passionate about serving others, it is simply contagious. With everything that I do, whether it is having a single conversation with a stranger or working on a long-term project, I hope that my passion for the community both in Athens and beyond is evident so that it can inspire others. Now that I am back from Washington, D.C., I work at the Athens-Clarke County Public Information Office in City Hall. I work there as an intern and am able to interact with the members of the Athens-Clarke community and really take a first look at the challenges facing the people of Athens. The most eye-opening project I have worked on has been working with staff members of the OneAthens/Partners for a Prosperous Athens initiative. This fantastic initiative’s goal is to alleviate the cycle of poverty in Athens and provide opportunities for members of the community to volunteer through mentoring, neighborhood projects, and education.”

Family Ties to UGA:

I am the first person in my family to attend UGA. I grew up in Israel, where my childhood was quite different than those of my peers. My family moved to the United States when I was about ten years old. I didn’t know any English, and it took me several months to even begin to understand the American culture. Though I am very proud of my Israeli heritage and have enjoyed sharing it with people I’ve met in United States, moving to the United States opened up new opportunities. I am extremely lucky to have been a part of my parents’ journey here.

I chose to attend UGA because...

I knew that UGA would give me the most well-rounded education and experience I could hope for. Academically, I was very impressed with the history department professors and advisers I met during a visit before I enrolled. I was also hooked when I heard that UGA had more than 500 student organizations! So far, my university years have been a time to find out more about myself, as a student and as a leader on campus. Even though I live thousands of miles from my family in Washington, I feel like UGA was the perfect place to create a family away from home.

My favorite things to do on campus are...

...taking part of the organizations I’ve become involved with here at UGA. I also enjoy taking a run in the morning before the campus wakes up. When I run on campus, I am constantly in awe of the things I see. My favorite place to run is along Sanford Bridge. It is so overwhelming to look out into the stadium without anyone inside.

When I have free time, I like...

...to cook and eat! My mother is originally from Morocco, and I’ve yet to meet a better cook than her. Though I can’t say that all of her talents have transferred to me, I enjoy cooking and going out to restaurants. Food is the ultimate universal connector!

The craziest thing I've done is...

...decided to take a road trip to Washington, D.C. to attend the Darfur Rally to stop the genocide in Darfur during my freshman year with several of my friends. It felt incredible to be fighting for such a good cause with students from all over the nation. We were there for only several hours. The car ride to and from D.C. was easily triple the amount of time we actually spent there.

My favorite place to study is...

...the Student Learning Center because it’s close to everything and has a coffee shop, which is really essential to someone like me who is addicted to caffeine!

My favorite professor is...

...Loch Johnson. I was lucky enough to meet him in my first year at UGA. I was a student in his Introduction to International Affairs class. Inside the classroom, Dr. Johnson expected a level of excellence that I had not encountered in a professor before. The lessons I learned from that introductory class have remained with me throughout my studies. Dr. Johnson was really the first person to encourage me to explore Washington D.C. He is currently sponsoring my research which focuses on the newly created U.S. military initiative AFRICOM and an analysis of the current Congressional House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

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

...my grandmother. In my family, I was a first-generation Israeli. My grandmother immigrated to Israel from Morocco and never quite learned Hebrew. I didn’t know any Moroccan Arabic, so whenever we spent time together, communication was not necessarily a part of our relationship. I never really had a single conversation with her, but you could just feel the love between us. My grandmother is no longer alive, but an afternoon of sitting and talking (even if we couldn’t understand each other) would make the ultimate afternoon.

After graduation, I plan to...

...join the U.S. Navy as an officer. I have had an interest in serving our country for a long time. I also plan to pursue a graduate degree in history at UGA. As an undergraduate, LeConte Hall has been the home of some of the most educational and life-changing conversations for me.

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

...Israel Day during my freshman year. It was the most overwhelming and amazing day of my first year as a college student. I became involved with the student group called “Dawgs for Israel.” We put on a yearly event in April called “Israel Day” in the middle of campus at the Tate Plaza. We had more than 1,000 students come by to eat free Israeli food, enjoy dancing and music, see a giant hookah tent in the middle of Tate and write messages for peace in the Middle East. We even had a REAL camel in the middle of campus! Israel Day was a cultural event I will never forget and hopefully many others won’t either!