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Student ambassador aims to inspire others to serve

Mallory Thomas

April 2, 2019

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Senior Mary Terry, a COE Student Ambasssador who also competes on the UGA track team, is passionate about serving others.

Name: Mary Terry

Major/minor: Health and physical education with a minor in human development and family science

Hometown: Watkinsville

Graduation: Spring 2019

Question: Walk me through what happened on the day you were accepted to UGA. What was it like to get in? Answer: So, you open that wonderful laptop and the fireworks come blasting out. My heart was racing the whole time...a super awesome feeling. Lucky enough, I was able to come and run track here, so it's kind of a package deal. (UGA) is my dream school and my dream place to run. It was just an overwhelming feeling of happiness, joy and excitement.

Q: You're a quintuplet. What was it like growing up? A: It was awesome! I would say it was my "normal," everything that I knew. For birthday parties, we'd all have our own individual little cakes. You always had someone to talk to, always had someone to share with—it definitely taught me how to share better. We were all the same age and we wanted all of the same kind of stuff. My brother and I are super close, and my two sisters are identical twins, so they're super close, too. We're all pretty close though.

Q: What made you pick your major and minor? A: Since middle school, I always knew that I wanted to go into education, I just loved school! Once I got to high school, my mentor was Dr. Brown, my high school principal. He really just instilled in me what I want to do down the line, which is to help students and further that mission and goal of whatever school I end up in, to make sure that everyone is getting the same opportunities and are all motivated in achieving their goals. So, I've always been super interested in education and how we can better manage it and push forward.

Q: Did your childhood and being a quintuplet influenced that decision? A: I was born first, so I'm the oldest by a couple minutes. I've always viewed myself as a leader of my family. I've helped my sister get into college and my other sister graduate, so it's just a culmination of things, like helping them in school and trying to set them up with things they could do down the line.

Q: What have you liked best about being in the College of Education? A: The community and the team of the College of Education. You walk down the halls whether you're in Ramsey, Aderhold, or River's Crossing and there's always a smiling face. Always a professor who's willing to help you. Specifically, in health and physical education, we're a cohort model, so I've absolutely loved going through the same classes and stages as my cohort. Becoming close with (people in the cohort) has been an awesome thing about the College. Also, the incredible network and being a COE Ambassador have allowed me to meet a ton of different people and alumni. All of the alumni love to help you and connect you with other people, so that's been a really great aspect.

Q: You're also on the track team. What event do you compete in, and how has your track involvement affected you? A: I high jump! Track has prepared me for a lot of different things. I've always been motivated to achieve my goals, and track has been one of those big motivators. Also, being at UGA, there's a ton of diverse members of the track team, so I've been able to meet people from different backgrounds. I've kind of been in charge of community service aspect there, and my passion for giving back to the community. I want to do that for the school system, whether that's as a teacher, counselor, or administrator, just being able to be a pillar of pushing people toward serving other people. Track has really help me identify the different aspects of what I want to do in terms of helping others.

Q: You've done a lot of community service throughout your time at UGA, what draws you to it? A: I would say the immense joy that I get from knowing that I helped somebody else. There was a kid in my high school who didn't have great shoes with soles in them. He was kind of embarrassed by it and I saw that. So, once I got to college, I was able to get a job and buy him a few pairs of shoes. It just lit up his world…every time I saw him, he was wearing them. He wrote me a hand written thank you letter, saying that it's the best thing he's ever had and all he can hope is to just run hard for me in the future. It's just the little things about community service that I like. You see someone struggling, you hold the door for them. That's service. So, just those little things that you can do to help other people.

Q: What accomplishment are you most proud of during your time at UGA? A: Can I give you two?

A team mate of mine is from Antigua, and they were really hit hard by (Hurricane Irma). As a team, we initiated a drive to collect different goods—shoes, paper and stuff like that. (My teammate's) parents are principals of the school down there, which got destroyed. We just collected boxes and UGA Athletics helped us send it out to their country, which is really awesome to do for a teammate. We're all on board with each other, and whatever we can do to help others is super incredible.

I would also say that from my immediate family, I'm the first to graduate from college. So, that's a big deal, coming in a few weeks.

Q: What do you want your legacy to be once you graduate from UGA this spring? A: Just that I was always there to help whomever. Whether it's a professor, coach or teammate. I was always willing to reach my hand out and help the next person, as well as being a leader for those who are watching, who you may not know. Being on the track team has allowed me to have a great platform to give back to the community as well.

Related links: Department of Kinesiology