Member Testimonials

Ridge Maxson graduated from UGA in 2020 with a degree in Exercise and Sport Science. Beginning in fall 2020, he will pursue his M.D at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

“Early in my freshman year, I committed to MEDLIFE’s mission since it aligned with my personal goal of tackling the root causes of poor health, not just treating its symptoms. I volunteered at over 60 service events throughout my time at UGA, attended a Service Learning Trip in Cusco, Peru, and served on the MEDLIFE executive board for 3 years as Treasurer, Service Chair, and President.

Engaging directly with vulnerable populations deepened my understanding of topics like food insecurity and housing instability that I had only ever examined in theory. More than that, MEDLIFE service events allowed me to make a tangible difference in the Athens community. Working on the executive board created avenues for me to grow as a leader and taught me invaluable lessons in communication, resilience, and motivation. Being a member of MEDLIFE at UGA was the cornerstone of my premedical journey and has equipped me to one day empower others as a physician—thank you, MEDLIFE at UGA!” – Ridge Maxson, Past MedBoard Member

 

 

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Sophie Banspach graduated from UGA with a degree in Scientific Illustration. Since graduating, she has worked with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and is currently pursuing her Masters of Public Health at Columbia University.

“As an undergraduate student, I wasn’t sure what my plan was – but I knew I wanted to use my education to make a difference in the lives of others. Becoming involved in MEDLIFE at UGA was a pivotal experience that gave me strong, tangible experience creating actionable change in local and global communities. Additionally, serving as a Co-Fundraising Chair and as a Public Relations Chair on the MEDLIFE board allowed me to gain invaluable leadership and collaboration skills, building friendships and networks for my future.

At UGA, I majored in Scientific Illustration, which is the art of illustrating scientific concepts for education (via textbooks, anatomical diagrams), and minored in Global Health. As a student interested in public health and the visual arts, MEDLIFE provided me the opportunity to use my skills in design and interests in the health sciences to make a difference at a global scale. During my involvement, the MEDLIFE community encouraged thinking “out of the box” to find new opportunities to improve health and give volunteer opportunities to students. On my mobile clinic in Cusco, Peru, I was able to learn from local doctors and community leaders how MEDLIFE uniquely works to impact health in underserved areas. I have since used this knowledge to help me become a more culturally competent and effective health professional.

Following undergrad, I worked for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a public health associate in Reno, Nevada. I worked in with an immunization program helping coordinate clinic activities, communication projects, and other implementation activities for key communities. Currently, I am a Masters of Public Health student at Columbia University with a focus in health communication, and aim to eventually pursue a doctorate. I owe a great deal of my success to my involvement with MEDLIFE, which helped give me skills, networks, and experiences to develop my interests and build a strong future. I highly recommend any student get involved!” – Sophie Banspach, Past MedBoard Member

 

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Alexi Adams, past President of MEDLIFE, graduated from UGA with a degree in Biology and a minor in Global Health. She is currently on her third year of medical school at Mercer University School of Medicine, focusing on pediatric critical care.

“My name is Alexi Adams and I had the privilege of serving MEDLIFE as the small fundraising chair and then as President while at UGA. MEDLIFE was not only where I found my friend-family in college, but also where I cultivated my passion for service and healthcare and was able to put them in the forefront of my life. I had thought for a while, at that point, that I wanted to go into medicine and was a pre-med Biology major and Global Health minor, but my time with MEDLIFE helped me realize that there was nothing else in the world I would be happy doing. What MEDLIFE did for me in undergrad was solidify my desire to help others in the form of healthcare and my trip to Peru showed me just how vital it is for people in healthcare to focus on the underserved. Spending so much time working and volunteering with the executive board and general body members had me constantly surrounded by intelligent, compassionate, and motivated peers that helped me mold my college experience into exactly what I needed it to be. The saying of “it takes a village” really held true for me going into medicine because I had no other mentors outside of MEDLIFE that could give me advice on how to get into medical school, and without the camaraderie and guidance from my friends in MEDLIFE, I would have struggled a lot harder. I am now currently a third year medical student at Mercer University School of Medicine in Savannah and I have drawn on my MEDLIFE experience countless times in certain academic and social situations where I can utilize the tools I gained to better my educational experience and I will always remember that trip to Peru when treating my patients in the future. I am hoping to become a pediatric critical care doctor (but who knows, that changes a lot for most people over the last two years of med school). My entire college experience was molded by this amazing organization that not only gave me the ability to become a patient-centered physician, but also gave me my closest friends in life, and for that I am immensely grateful.” – Alexi Adams, Past MedBoard Member

 

 

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Casper Watson, Public Relations Chair of MEDBOARD 2018-2019, is currently pursuing a combined Bachelors and Masters degree in Elementary Education at UGA.

Looking back on my undergraduate experience, my time with MEDLIFE at UGA is unforgettable. I joined the club as a freshman because I loved how service-oriented it is both in the Athens community and abroad. In addition to enabling my desire to serve others, it has also opened up so many opportunities and connections in the Athens area that I never would have made otherwise. All that I have learned about email/website design, being a student leader and a community servant have shaped who I have become as well as set me apart from the rest when searching for jobs and internships. MEDLIFE has helped me to grasp a clearer idea of what my passions and dreams are in life, and it is definitely part of the reason I am now pursuing a combined Bachelors and Masters degree in Elementary Education. MEDLIFE is an organization that can help a variety of people grow, regardless of what their current aspirations and skills are, and being on executive board only amplifies that experience. – Casper Watson, Past MedBoard Member

 

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Kallie Wynen, former Co-Fundraising Chair,  graduated from UGA and is now in her second year of medical school at the Medical College of Georgia.

“MEDLIFE played a meaningful role in my time at UGA. In my first experiences as a volunteer, I learned to shift my perspective away from myself and onto the needs of the community. I immediately knew that MEDLIFE was something I wanted to commit to, so I started taking on various leadership roles and eventually became a Co-Fundraising chair. I learned that leadership is about more than being in charge or having a title. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to travel to Cusco, Peru, on a service-learning trip where I developed an awareness of the healthcare issues faced by a developing country and broadened my perspective on global healthcare.

When I was applying to medical school, MEDLIFE was something that consistently came up in my application and interviews, and gave me countless stories to tell about service, leadership, and adversity.

As a second-year medical student at MCG, I still carry with me the lessons that I learned through MEDLIFE. I recognize the importance of looking at a patient as a whole rather than as a disease. I understand that educating patients is just as important as writing them a prescription. I am so thankful for the countless opportunities and lessons, and I know I will be a better physician and a better human being because of MEDLIFE.” – Kallie Wynen, Past MedBoard Member

 

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Hari Lakshmanan, former Co-Service Chair, graduated UGA and is continuing his education by pursuing a doctorate at the Medical College of Georgia.

“As a freshman I was looking for a club where I could make a difference in the community, and after a few events I realized MEDLIFE was just that. Seeing the product of these events such as kids playing on a playground I helped construct and watching the homeless smile after enjoying a meal I helped prepare, I knew I had found something special. It was clear that this club was genuinely improving the community, and I was inspired to attend any event I could, such as NEGA food bank, UGArden, and many more.

The volunteering experiences helped me grow as a person. I became more grateful for food, while volunteering at NEGA food bank and UGArden. I attained a new sense a humility by speaking to the homeless and hearing their hardships, but still maintained a positive outlook, because outreach we did gave them hope. I also gained a lot of life experience by taking my first solo trip abroad on a MEDLIFE mobile clinic. Overall, this club helped me mature and fulfill my passion for service as I became Co-Service Chair for the 2018-2019 school year. It also played a big role into getting a spot at the Medical College of Georgia as I had plenty of experiences to draw from during interviews because of this club.” – Hari Lakshmanan, Past MedBoard Member