July 9, 2008
Sonia Talathi is a senior broadcast journalism and pre-med major who wants to use the media to help developing countries. The Honors student and former CURO Apprentice has conducted research in Uganda and wants to set up a news network in Africa to deliver timely and accurate health information. She has presented at national conferences, including the Society for Toxicology, and she received a Pfizer Undergraduate Student Travel Award. She is a former CURO summer fellow, and he research is relevant to targeted drugs for cancer. She plans to attend medical school to be an oncologist and medical correspondent after she graduates.
B.S. in cell biology and A.B.J. in broadcast journalism
University highlights, achievements and awards:
I started my freshman year as a CURO apprentice, conducting prostate cancer research in the lab of Brian Cummings. Through my research I have been awarded the Pfizer Undergraduate Award, CURO summer fellowship, and I was selected to present at the UGA-UCR Costa Rica Symposium. I presented at the Society of Toxicology Conference, and I am currently working on publishing a paper with my lab. Additionally, I have been awarded the Bank of America Joe Martin Scholarship, Governor’s Scholarship and the Willson International Scholarship to travel to Africa. I’m currently co-president of UGA Footsteps, where we are raising money to build a school in Mali, Africa and working to send medical supplies. I am a member Alpha Epsilon Delta pre-medical fraternity. I am also a member of the Indian Cultural Exchange, where I served as India Night co-chair in 2007.
Alpharetta High School
I volunteer by teaching English as a second language to adults and I shadow Dr. Priest at St. Mary’s Hospital. On campus, I am a Grady Ambassador and Honors Ambassador.
I chose to attend UGA because...
...after touring the campus and seeing everything that the Honors program and CURO had to offer, I knew UGA would be the perfect fit for me.
My favorite things to do on campus are...
...to walk through the horticultural gardens or around North Campus. I also love to play tennis at the intramural fields and, of course, attend the football games!
When I have free time, I like...
...to read, hang out with my friends or grab a cup of coffee at Starbucks. Unfortunately, I haven’t been buying a lot of coffee lately.
The craziest thing I've done is...
...either white water rafting on class V rapids on the Nile while I was in Uganda or zip-lining through the rain forest in Costa Rica.
My favorite place to study is...
...at the science library and the reading room in the SLC because I enjoy quiet, but I like knowing that other people are around me. Both of these environments are perfect for me to concentrate. Since I live off campus, I can go there after my classes and have more time to study.
My favorite professor is...
...Brian Cummings, who is my research mentor, in the pharmaceutical and biomedical sciences department. He has really challenged my mind and allowed me to see science through different perspectives. Dr. Cummings has given me the opportunity to present my research at the Society of Toxicology and numerous other conferences. His unique way of guiding me in a one on one setting has provided me with the encouragement, understanding and direction I need to pursue my goals.
If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with...
...Oprah Winfrey. Since I was young I have watched her show with my mom. I really admire her not only for her unique selection of guests/topics but for all the philanthropy that she does around the world. Now that I am a broadcast news major, I can acknowledge and sense her remarkable broadcasting abilities. I admire how Oprah uses media to impact people and make a difference.
If I knew I could not fail, I would...
...ensure that everyone has access to affordable medical care. While I was in a village in Uganda, I saw firsthand the suffering due to lack of proper medical care. Local kids that we played with came down with a terrible case of malaria and never got any treatment. Those images have really burned into my mind. In the future I want to work on alleviating this problem.
After graduation, I plan to...
...attend medical school. After getting my medical degree, I want to travel to developing countries and help them set up health news networks. News networks are rapidly developing in many poverty stricken countries, but a health news division is almost always overlooked. Health news would be an ideal way to inform the population about disease prevention and cures.
The one UGA experience I will always remember will be...
...presenting my research at the Society of Toxicology Conference. I had to give an oral presentation about my research to scientists and professors. I could never believe that as an undergrad I could hold my own in front of Ph.D.s and answer their questions!