Laura Stone’s college career began during her senior year of high school. She spent her first year of college and her last year of high school at Georgia Southern University as the first joint-enrolled student ever admitted into their University Honors Program. That year, she joined Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority and served as the philanthropy, public relations, event and risk management chairs, and she hosted a Keep Bulloch Beautiful Cleanup Day. She graduated from high school as her class valedictorian. As a transfer student at UGA, she continues to maintain her high grades and serves as an Alternative Spring Break Site Leader, the UGA chapter of College Republicans Political Director and the Georgia Association of College Republicans North Georgia Political Director. She is also a VistaCare Hospice volunteer and a Dance Marathon participant. After she graduates from UGA, she plans to pursue her Ph.D. and M.D.
Edmund Burke Academy
A.B. in speech communications and a B.S. in biochemistry and molecular biology with a pre-med emphasis
University highlights, achievements and awards:
I am an affiliate of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. I currently serve as the Leadership Resource Team Director of Communications, Alternative Spring Break Site Leader, the UGA chapter of College Republicans Political Director and the Georgia Association of College Republicans North Georgia Political Director. I am a VistaCare Hospice volunteer and a Dance Marathon participant, and I have volunteered with Head Start and the Student Merchandising Association Annual Charity Fashion Show. Honored at this past UGA Honors Day for being in the top 5 percent of my class with my 4.0 GPA, I am a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and National Dean’s List. I co-founded and was selected to serve as president of the UGA chapter of Sigma Alpha Lambda, a national honors and leadership society. In April 2006, we hosted an outstanding food drive with the Northeast Georgia Food Bank in celebration of youth volunteerism for National Youth Service Day where two Athens-Clarke County high schools and more than ten campus organizations helped raise almost 300 pounds of food!
This summer I am working as a volunteer at the East Georgia Regional Medical Center’s Emergency Department to shadow the doctors. At the hospital, I perform many tasks from small errands (such as bringing blankets to patients) to helping perform a sonogram. This upcoming fall semester, I will be a cashier at Barberitos where my duties will include preparing tortilla chips, ringing up customers, cleaning the eating areas and more.
Family Ties to UGA:
My family defines the University of Georgia legacy. My parents met here and eventually graduated, twice each, from the University of Georgia. My mother received her B.B.A. in marketing and her M.B.A. in management while my father received his B.B.A. in management and his M.B.A./J.D. My aunt (my mother’s sister) and uncle also both met at and graduated from the University of Georgia Terry College of Business. My father’s mother graduated from the University of Georgia. My mother’s father is a University of Georgia Professor Emeritus of Agricultural and Applied Economics and served as an assistant director of agricultural extension. I have numerous cousins who graduated from the University of Georgia also. Last but not least, my older brother attended the University of Georgia for three years, and my twin sister also currently attends school here.
I chose to attend UGA because...
With my family history at the University of Georgia, I could not imagine attending any other school. My relatives practically bleed the colors of our beloved Bulldawgs, and by the age of 5, I had already learned how to “call the dawgs.” However, my heritage was not the only thing that drew me to the university. The rigorous and challenging academic program caught my attention, as did the infinite number of campus opportunities and extra-curricular activities. All my life I had planned to come to the University of Georgia, and in fact, it was the only place I applied.
My favorite things to do on campus are...
The energy about Athens is unique: it is a contagious, exciting, inspiring and ever-renewing force. Something is always happening on campus, and anyone can dive in at any moment and become part of the movement. I love joining the political debates at the Chapel, helping the fundraisers at the Tate Plaza, listening to the opera students perform, tailgating on Herty Field, cheering at the Homecoming pep rally and traveling to Six Flags for UGA Night. I love that I need no help finding the fun and that I need not wait a single second for the next event to begin.
When I have free time, I like...
...to play the piano. I have been playing the piano for more than twelve years, and when I play the piano, all the stress I might have disappears as I focus on the music.
The craziest thing I've done is...
The day after Christmas 2005, two friends of mine and I took a road trip to New Orleans to help with the “One Block at a Time” cleanup effort. The group’s goal for the week was to plant 1200 trees in the Katrina-devastated City Park. By planting more than 2000 trees with other college students from around the nation, we successfully exceeded our mission. I have participated in community service projects all my life. However, the key word to understanding my work is “community.” I participated always in local projects. This was my first non-local trip (actually, my first time west of the Mississippi River), and it enabled me to look beyond the microcosm of my own community and work hands-on with other parts of the nation in need.
My favorite place to study is...
...the public library. It provides a quiet environment, a more-than-helpful staff and books, magazines, newspapers, etc. that cover pretty much every topic. Another plus, the public library never becomes too crowded, yet it somehow manages to have just the right number of people in it to keep from seeming creepy.
My favorite professor is...
...Bill Flatt. I admire and respect his citizenship, integrity, generosity and compassion. He serves as advisor to the UGA chapter of Sigma Alpha Lambda, but that is merely a small part of how much he contributes to our community. Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Department of Foods and Nutrition and once Dean of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Dr. Flatt still guest lectures and is hardly what one might call “retired.” His unshakeable faith in younger generations, his inexhaustible enthusiasm for his research and his outstanding commitment to the university make me proud to call him my role model.
If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with...
...Gandhi. He said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” I wear that saying every day on a charm around my neck. Gandhi’s words support the same idealism as I do and emphasize the importance of volunteerism and leadership. Just the opportunity to sit down in the same room as the person who inspired me to become who I am today would be enough for me, but to have the chance to share an entire afternoon with Gandhi, to learn from him about him and about both his struggles and successes, would surely be an unparalleled delight.
If I knew I could not fail, I would...
I constantly have ideas buzzing in my mind, but for one reason or another, I do not pursue more of these ideas than I would like to admit. If I knew I could not fail, I would attempt them all. For example, last spring break, my trip to Washington, D.C. with Alternative Spring Break provided me with a very challenging idea. While we worked at a homeless shelter, the Community for Creative Non-Violence, we discovered that many articles of out-of-season clothing were simply thrown away. Nothing was wrong with these coats, blouses, sweatshirts, and boots. While I understood that the finances were not available to do anything else with the clothes, I was astonished that clothing in such good condition could go to waste when it could be stored and used at another time or when it could be shipped to other parts of the nation and world. My idea was to develop some form of a non-profit storage and shipping organization to put the clothing to use. I definitely do not have the resources at hand to develop a system like this, but if I knew I could not fail, I would begin this project immediately.
After graduation, I plan to...
...attend medical school and earn both my M.D. and Ph.D. More importantly though, I plan to continue my active involvement in the community.
The one UGA experience I will always remember will be...
...spring break with Alternative Spring Break was indescribable. Along with a group of eleven other students (ten of whom I had never met), I traveled to Washington, D.C., where we worked one-on-one with the homeless community. After the trip had ended, I felt that I had learned and gained more than I gave: my stereotypes were shattered. I found a new compassion for fellow humans, and I made almost a dozen new friends.