Senior Kaylee Jerman’s desire to help others has led her through her study abroad trips, volunteering with UGA Miracle and showing off the campus to visitors. She’ll continue to pursue that passion in the Peace Corps:
Many of my highlights here at UGA have been spent overseas. The summer after my freshman year I went on a trip with the Warnell School of Forestry to Botswana and South Africa. I spent that month learning how to be a safari guide, waking up early and hiking miles through the bush. I met my best friend Tory on that trip and so many others that have been foundational in my love of traveling. My sophomore year I spent a semester at Oxford University, surrounded by some of the best people I’ve ever met. Late nights spent at Keble Library with Doenya, watching Troy with Mallory and Kal, and constantly pestering Dr. Archer are just a few of my favorite memories from that semester. Oxford was truly an amazing experience and I’m so thankful to Jamie and Stuart for taking a chance on me!
My junior year I decided to go out on a limb and apply to be a tour guide. For some crazy reason Natalie and EJ decided to welcome me into the Visitors Center family and it has truly been the highlight of my college career. Not only do I get to spend time talking to prospective students about how much this incredible university has to offer, I am surrounded by co-workers who are remarkable in every sense of the word. Watching each of them fearlessly pursue their dreams is amazing, and they are also the best group of cheerleaders you could ever ask for. Every day I walk into the VC I leave happier than when I came in and that is entirely due to the people that work there and the culture Natalie, EJ and Mrs. Terri have created.
This past summer I finally got to go back to Botswana, but instead of going to the bush I went into the city of Gaborone and worked at the U.S. Embassy. I got to see firsthand the good that comes from effective diplomacy by working in the Public Affairs section of the embassy. My amazing boss Ineke put so much faith in me from the beginning, giving me tasks I wasn’t sure I could complete, but I did! I helped organize a cultural envoy that brought inspiring musicians to Botswana, wrote speeches for the ambassador, and even got my Setswana name, Lorato, from my friend Godfrey. Not only did I figure out what I wanted to do, I met some amazing mentors that took a chance on me and I’ll forever be thankful for it!
Colleagues at the UGA Visitor's Center do very important work on behalf of the university and Franklin College, including of course the student tour guides. For thousands of prospective students and parents, the student guides play an outsized role as many visitors' first direct exposure to the UGA. It's a big responsibility and we are grateful for their knowledgeable perspective and enthusiasm. Congratulations and thanks to Jerman for her efforts in a role that touches so many people. It's just one of the many UGA experiences that will serve her well in the future. #greatpeople