Tiffany Chu is simultaneously working toward both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, but the Arch Society member still finds the time to give back to the community.
Expected graduation: May 2015
Degree objective: Four-year combined B.A./M.A.T. degree program in English (B.A.) and English education (M.A.T.)
University highlights, achievements and awards:
During the fall semester of my second year, I studied abroad at Oxford University, where I participated in seminar and tutorial style courses. I delved into James Joyce’s “Ulysses” and learned more about British history than I ever would have imagined. In a quaint local coffee shop down the road from the UGA at Oxford’s beautiful Victorian manor, I met with my Sociology of Education tutor to discuss social, cultural, gender and racial factors and their role in perpetuating the educational inequality gap. I was also fortunate enough to study Shakespeare’s works in his home country and see the Globe Theatre in person.
The Honors Program has been a large source of support and encouragement throughout the past few years; thus, giving back to the program has always been close to my heart. As an Honors teaching assistant for the HONS 1000H course, I introduce first-year Honors students to curriculum, research, scholarships, travel-study and internship opportunities within the Honors Program, the UGA campus and the larger community. This peer-mentorship environment allows me to get to know a diverse group of incoming students on a more personal level as I create engaging lessons, meet with them one-on-one and inspire them to actively pursue all that the university has to offer. I have also been involved with the Honors Program Student Council as secretary and Programming Committee member.
Alongside my academic studies and pursuits, service to the Athens-Clarke community has been an integral part of my college career. I have been a reading tutor at Barrow Elementary, where I met weekly with a third-grade student who was struggling with reading proficiency and comprehension, and a tutor at Oasis Católico Santa Rafaela, where I helped local students from low socioeconomic families with their homework and reinforced key math and literary concepts. Witnessing these students’ improvement over time has truly taught me the importance of patience and perseverance.
My time at UGA has been further enhanced by my involvement with several programs and organizations on campus. I am a member of the Arch Society, in which I serve as an official host and goodwill ambassador of the university. Being a part of this organization has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my undergraduate experience, as the 36 of us that comprise the Arch family constantly challenge each other to serve humbly and to the extent of our capacities. I have also enjoyed my time as Freshman Board representative to the Student Government Association, member of the Georgia Recruitment Team, and praise team leader in InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. Lastly, I am honored to be a recipient of the UGA Presidential Leadership
Hometown: Lilburn, Ga.
High School: Parkview High School
Family Ties to UGA: I am the first in my family to attend UGA.
I chose to attend UGA because...
… of its ability to offer me endless academic and extracurricular opportunities, resources and state of the art facilities as a large research university, while still providing me with intimate peer and professor relationships as well as extensive course and career advice through one of the top Honors programs in the nation. Each person I met when I visited the university as a senior in high school was extremely friendly and welcoming. I was also drawn to the historic beauty of North Campus juxtaposed against the hip eccentricity of downtown Athens. Though Athens is the quintessential college town, it is also characterized by the allure of its vibrant artistic and musical attractions.
My favorite things to do on campus are...
1. Read a book in the Founders Memorial Garden.
2. Stroll through the streets of downtown during Christmastime under the festive, twinkling lights.
3. Give tours to prospective students and visitors to the university.
4. Sip on a vanilla French soda from Jittery Joe’s.
When I have free time, I like...
… to take my camera out and shoot an impromptu photo shoot somewhere where the light is lovely. Photography is one of my biggest passions. From the time I was a child, I watched my dad tinker around with film, and later digital, cameras and now I find myself just as fascinated by the magic that takes place between subject and shutter click. I often spend hours upon hours poring over engagement and wedding photography, wishing that I could transport myself behind the lens of the camera and be there in the very moment that has been captured forever.
The craziest thing I've done is...
… travel to London, Barcelona and Paris within 10 days, while keeping up with my Oxford workload of reading three Shakespeare plays, two books for my education course and then writing two papers over them. Those were the most overwhelmingly hectic, but undeniably exhilarating, 10 days, as I made linguistic, cultural and clothing transitions from country to country. I nearly missed all of my flights due to insanely long lines and also an unforeseen underground rail accident, but looking back, the craziness does make for a few good stories.
My favorite place to study is...
… Two Story Coffeehouse. I usually stack my novels and notebooks out in front of me before settling down with an iced coffee or cup of red velvet gelato. The low hum of people chatting in the background is the perfect volume, loud enough to keep me company and quiet enough to let me concentrate on my work. And, I do love the smell of freshly crushed coffee beans!
My favorite professor is...
… extremely difficult to choose, as so many individuals at UGA have poured into me, supporting me and helping to further my success as both a student and as a person. I know that I must thank my academic advisers Kelly King and Peg Graham in the English education department for their exceptional dedication toward making my dream of pursuing a combined B.A./M.A.T. degree program a reality. I cannot count how many times I was in and out of their offices these past two years. My English professors Cynthia Camp, Fran Teague and William Prather have all played a key role in my study of literature, and I hope to incorporate some of their brilliant teaching methods into my own classroom one day. I would also like to thank my Oxford tutor Will Baker for expanding my understanding of the persistent educational inequality gap plaguing school systems all across the world, yet still imparting in me a deep sense of optimism for change and progress.
If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with...
… my paternal grandmother. She lived with our family for many, many years and was one of the kindest, most ingenious, hardworking and fearless people that I have ever met. While my parents were at work, she taught me Mandarin Chinese, sewed me floral jumpsuits, took me out for morning walks and badminton games in our driveway, and cooked me the most delicious noodle soup. I remember waking up from nightmares in the middle of the night and tiptoeing down the stairs to her room and her warm, embracing arms, only to be pulled back upstairs by my father. I wish that I could have asked her to teach me how to garden and cook and sew, but if I could share an afternoon with her, I would love to just listen to all of her wonderful stories. She was so well loved by all of the people whose lives she touched, and her presence during my childhood really taught me to live life at its fullest and take hold of every opportunity that I am presented with.
If I knew I could not fail, I would...
… become an Olympic figure skating champion. I have grown up watching and admiring the sheer skill and talent of individuals such as Yu-na Kim and Michelle Kwan. Even after I stopped taking skating lessons at the age of 8, I would dream of gliding across the ice, executing a proper triple axel jump and ending with a layback spin in the middle of a grand arena.
The one UGA experience I will always remember will be...
… during the Arch Society induction ceremony when Tom Cochran welcomed me into the organization and President Michael F. Adams officially helped me put on my black blazer for the first time. I am so honored to be a part of this amazing organization that seeks to serve the university and uphold the symbol and tradition of the beloved Arch.