Double major (biology and psychology) Aparna Kanjhlia fell in love with UGA and has made the most of her opportunities on campus as she prepares for a career as a doctor:
I was not a traditional undergraduate student. I moved from India after completing my high school education and transferred to the UGA Honors Program after securing an associate’s degree in biology. From the day I walked into my orientation and learned how to call the Dawgs, I have been in love with this institution! The Bulldog family is humungous with even bigger hearts and they welcomed me with open arms. With the diverse opportunities that UGA has given me, I have been able to expand my boundaries, form memories that I will cherish forever and transformed me into an individual with a holistic approach towards life.
The Undergraduate Neuroscience Organization has been a pivotal part of my undergraduate life at UGA. I had the opportunity to meet with individuals who shared the same passion for neuroscience as me. Through UNO I have had the honor of interacting with some phenomenal people in the field of neuroscience who are working on cutting edge research. In my junior year, I served as the philanthropic co-chair to raise money for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. While interacting with families of people with Parkinson’s, I learned so much more about this challenging condition and the importance of having a positive outlook in times of adversity. With their Neuroscience for Kids Program at Barrow Elementary school I have taught neuroscience to some of the smartest third-graders I know. During my senior year, I have had the pleasure of representing this amazing organization as its co-president and being able to host the very first Georgia Collegiate Neuroscience Symposium in collaboration with Georgia State University and Emory University.
UGA is unique in its ability to provide its students with a multitude of research opportunities in every department. I have been fortunate to be involved with the Clinical Neuroscience Laboratory under the psychology department. Under the guidance of my P.I. Dr. Lawrence Sweet, I have used fMRI data from brain regions to explore relationships between alcohol consumption and early childhood stresses with impulsivity in young adults. During my junior year, I was awarded the R.A. Assistantship by CURO and presented a poster at the Annual CURO Symposium.
Gandhi said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” IMPACT Service Breaks and VIDA Volunteer are two organizations that are truly based on this foundation. I consider myself extremely lucky to have been a part of IMPACT’s service break trip to St. Louis, Missouri, to advocate for increased awareness about HIV/AIDS, its prevention and learn about its intersectionality with other social issues such as domestic violence, substance abuse, homelessness and poverty. During the spring break of my junior year, I participated in a service-learning trip through VIDA Volunteer to Nicaragua to provide medical care to people in the underserved communities for which I was awarded the HISP Scholarship by the Honors Program. It has been the most self-fulfilling experience of my undergraduate life and has further strengthened my resolve to be a future physician. I wanted undergraduates like me to experience this as well, and for this I took up the position of VIDA’s campus coordinator at UGA.
We are humbled to be the place that attracts such a student. An extraordinary person with a great story and a heart for others, Kanjhlia epitomizes the best of the UGA family. Congratulations and best of luck in medical school.