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Finding strength in the ‘connection between mind and body’

Lauren Leathers

October 25, 2019

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This month’s amazing student is Megan Foltz, who is studying exercise and sport science and plans to become a physician’s assistant.

Major: Exercise and sport science

Graduation: May 2020

Hometown: Alpharetta, Georgia

What brought you to UGA?

As a child I knew I wanted to go to the University of Georgia. I devoted a lot of my energy to my grades and extracurriculars throughout high school so I could go here. Both my parents graduated from UGA, and I wanted to carry on that legacy.

What got you interested in exercise and sport science?

My dad is a physical therapist, and I really liked seeing him work. He’s very passionate about his work, and I wanted to be passionate about whatever work I did too. I worked with him for a while and discovered that physical therapy wasn’t my thing, but realized I wanted to help people and that I enjoy how physical activity affects your body and brain. I also had two grandparents pass away from Alzheimer’s disease.

What extracurricular activities are you involved in?

Currently, I work at the UGA Bone and Body Composition Laboratory in Dawson Hall. One of the graduate students is doing a study on how different foods can affect your bone mineral density and cognition, so I’ve been assisting by doing x-ray scans, imputing data, and more. Last season, I was a UGA football ambassador, and I’ve shadowed physical therapists and sports medicine teams at high school football teams. In 2018, I got my certification to be a medical assistant. I also went on a medical mission trip to Ecuador over spring break this year, where we worked in body weight clinics, hypertension clinics, diabetes clinics, taught a cooking class, and attended a health fair. Additionally, I’m in Zeta Tau Alpha, where I’ve met so many wonderful people and was a recruitment counselor this past year.

What do you like to do in your free time?

Haha, what free time? I like to exercise and hang out with my friends. I also really like to hike, mountain bike, and spend time outdoors. I’ve coached a youth soccer team for a couple seasons and volunteered at an after-school mentor program called Whatever It Takes.

What are your plans after graduation?

I plan on taking a gap year, then going to physician assistant school. During my gap year, I’m probably going to work at a clinic with people who don’t have health insurance and underprivileged populations.

If I knew I could not fail, I would…

I’d be a missionary—build a team and an organization that solves all the healthcare, hunger, thirst, and homelessness problems in the world.

The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…

All my experiences have been incredible, and I can’t pick just one. But, there was this class I took called adaptive physical education. There, I worked with a 10-year-old boy named Jack who had cerebral palsy. During the week, I would make a workout plan for him based on his goals—he wanted to have better core stability and coordination with his legs. It was amazing to see him improve over the semester based on my exercise recommendation.