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Amazing Student: Abbe Van Gorder

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Abbe Van Gorder "trusted that UGA would provide opportunities that no other college would be able to offer," and she's made the most of it by pursuing a double major, taking on a role as a student ambassador, volunteering in the local school district and earning scholarships.


Snellville, Georgia

High School:

Brookwood High School

Degree objective:

Political science and social studies education

Expected graduation:

Spring 2018

University highlights, achievements and awards:

  • College of Education student ambassador
  • Young Life leader at Clarke Middle School
  • Sigma Alpha Pi: National Society of Leadership and Success member
  • Alpha Lambda Delta member
  • Secretary of Oglethorpe Hall Council (fall 2014-spring 2015)
  • Southeastern Fastener Association scholarship recipient
  • Zell Miller Scholarship recipient

Current Employment:

For the past two years, I have worked at Dixie Industrial Finishing Co. during summer and holiday breaks as an input analyst and clerical assistant.

Family Ties to UGA:

My dad is a UGA graduate, so I was born with red and black running through my veins! My Uncle Mack is also an alumnus. In fact, my freshman year dorm room was only two doors down from his own.

I chose to attend UGA because...

The University of Georgia has always had a place in my heart, but my reasoning for attending extended beyond my love for the Dawg Nation. The university has a rich tradition of excellence, and I knew that no matter what major I chose, my educational experience would be phenomenal. I trusted that UGA would provide opportunities that no other college would be able to offer.

My favorite things to do on campus are...

When I have a break between classes, I often walk down to the Lamar Dodd School of Art to observe students' works. I am not artistically gifted, so I am constantly amazed by the pieces my peers create. I also enjoy exploring to find new, relaxing places in unfamiliar parts of campus. Lastly, I love going to sporting events with my friends, especially football, baseball and basketball games.

When I have free time, I like...

... taking walks in the Botanical Garden, attempting to learn guitar and watching hockey with my boyfriend.

The craziest thing I've done is...

While in Italy, I spent a day in the countryside outside Assisi. As a group, we trekked to an ancient castle that I eventually rappelled down. The feeling was exhilarating, and it's an experience I will never forget.

My favorite place to study is...

... the Trial Gardens. Not many people know about this hidden gem. I love sitting under the gazebo, surrounded by God's creation.

My favorite professor is...

... Keith Poole. I randomly registered for professor Poole's Maymester session, but it quickly became one of my favorite courses. Professor Poole's candor was refreshing, and his views concerning modern politics challenged me to think on a deeper level. Similarly, I appreciated the historical approach he took to explain changes in American political parties. I loved his enthusiasm, and I learned a great deal in just 15 days!

If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with...

... my 96-year-old grandpa. My grandpa is one of the wisest, funniest and most generous souls I know. He has been so influential in my life, and he never missed an opportunity to encourage me.

If I knew I could not fail, I would...

... pursue a career as a photographer. As a child, I always dreamed of working for National Geographic and traveling to foreign places so I could capture their unique beauty.

If money was not a consideration, I would love to...

... travel the world. In 2012, I took a trip to Greece, Italy and France with People to People's student ambassador program. It was an incredible blessing, and I would love to continue traveling in the future. Australia is the next destination on my list!

After graduation, I plan to...

... continue my education by pursuing my Master of Public Administration.

The one UGA experience I will always remember will be...

... the football game against the University of Tennessee my freshman year. That game was especially important because I had a bet with my boyfriend, Quinton, who is a die-hard UT fan. It was a nail-biting game, and we ended up winning 35-32. Regardless of the victory, it was a special memory to share with the person I love in the city I hold dear.

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