Amazing Students Profiles

Katherine Adams

Katherine Adams

Doctoral student Katherine Rose Adams does not let anything slow her down. She works full-time as the program coordinator in the School of Social Work’s M.S.W. program. She just finished her master’s degree in human resources and organizational development in UGA’s College of Education, and she is now starting her Ph.D. in adult education. As an undergraduate at UGA, she helped organize Relay for Life and Dance Marathon events to raise money for Children’s Health Care of Atlanta and for people diagnosed with cancer. Her experiences with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta began when she had her son, Seth, six weeks prematurely when she was 19 years old. She has been going to UGA to pursue three degrees consecutively, and when she graduates, she plans to take a vacation.


Atlanta, Ga.

High School:

Riverwood High School

Degree objective:

Ph.D. in adult education

Other degrees:

M.Ed., human resources and organizational development, UGA, 2007
B.S., psychology, UGA, 2005

Expected graduation:

Spring 2010

University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:

I am a first generation college graduate. I was the fundraising chair for UGA’s Relay for Life for three years, and I was honored to be able to travel to Texas for a Collegiate Relay for Life event. I was the Psi Chi (Psychology Honors Society) president for 2004-2005. I was active in the National Society for Collegiate Scholars. I have been a Dance Marathon participant and family representative for the last five years, and I volunteer at Children’s Hospital of Atlanta every winter holiday break. I have attended Burn Camp the past 2 years, a free camp for children burn survivors that takes place at UGA’s Rock Eagle through the School of Social Work. Last April, I received the School of Social Work’s Staff Member of the Year award.

Current Employment:

I am the M.S.W. coordinator for the UGA School of Social Work.

I chose to attend UGA because…

For my undergraduate degree, I was attending a small college that closed down. I was not ready to give up on my dream of obtaining a college degree, so I applied to UGA and was accepted. My husband grew up a big fan of UGA, and I thought this would make him proud of me and give him yet another reason to root for Georgia. We packed up from the only home my husband and son ever knew in Toccoa, Ga. and moved to Athens. We fell in love with the community and people, and this is home now.

My favorite things to do on campus are…

…attend events like movies on Legion Field and go to Dawgs after Dark. I love to go with my son, Seth. We enjoy going to games, especially football and volleyball. We spend as much time as possible at Legion Pool during the summer, and we go to every Georgia Museum of Art Children’s and Family programs that we can. My campus passion is fundraising for Dance Marathon and Relay For Life, and the final events are usually the highlights of my year!

When I have free time, I like…

…to coach my son’s soccer team. I think I have more fun than my players do! I also love to eat at downtown restaurants with my friends, and the occasional date I can steal with my husband. Sometimes I will grab a book and find a spot downtown to read, usually at The Globe or Starbucks.

The craziest thing I’ve done is…

…walked in snow in July! I went to Argentina last summer with the School of Social Work’s study abroad program, and it snowed in Buenos Aires for the first time since 1918! It was my first time out of the country and one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I can remember sitting in a restaurant in front of a huge window, watching snow falling outside, and eating amazing food in front of me. I could not believe it was happening to me!

My favorite place to study is…

…Waffle House!! After working all day and having class in the evenings, I need more than just coffee! I need steak and eggs with hot chocolate! Waffle House is perfect: It is open 24 hours so I can go after my family falls asleep, and being an extrovert, I am happy to find someone willing to talk to me and keep me energized, even at 2 a.m.

My favorite professor is…

…Bob Hill. He is an amazing instructor, facilitator, and knowledge-sharer. Instead of just giving me “the” answers, he taught me how to begin asking questions. Professor Hill also helped me to view some of my past experiences—growing up in poverty, being a child in an interracial family, being a mom and gaining custody of my kid sister at age 19—as issues that I can bring to the table to address race, poverty and teenage parents in the educational setting. I learned to see these things I had previously thought of as weaknesses as strengths and tools.

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

…my mother. I just lost my mom in March, two weeks before I received my acceptance letter to the doctoral program in adult education. My mother visited me the week before she committed suicide, and now I think of what I could have done with one more afternoon with her. (Incidentally, the Survivors of Suicide group at Nuçi’s Space has been a tremendous help to me.) After her death, I discovered that my mom had lived in France, Germany and visited South America, and I never knew these things. I would inquire more about her life, and then I would ask her what she thought was needed in the mental health community to begin to really assist people living with bi-polar or anxiety disorders, especially related to poverty and health care. And I would hold her hand the whole time!

If I knew I could not fail, I would…

I have started a Ph.D. program. I have a job in which I take pride. I have the family and friends of my dreams, and I like the person that I am. From where I started, these things are triumphs I would not have imagined. So after all of this, “fail” is not in my vocabulary. I will write a book one day. I will adopt siblings one day. I will help create a program that does more than just give money to first generation college students, but sets up communities to support them. I think that by shooting for the moon, even if I miss I’ll still be among the stars!

After graduation, I plan to…

…go on a vacation! I will have been a non-stop triple dawg, and I would like to spend some time in New Zealand. My goal is to go into academia at a research university. My interest areas are social empowerment, service-learning, program planning and poverty.

The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…

…my first Dance Marathon. I found out about DM when Seth was at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta for his 4th surgery resulting from being born with gastrochisis, and I did not know what to expect when we were asked to come and be a Miracle Family. We certainly did not expect that we would be surrounded by 1,000 screaming students who sacrificed 24 hours of prime weekend to spend time with kids from Children’s Hospital. As I told Seth’s story, I was so emotionally charged knowing how much these students gave of themselves. Yet they thought hearing our stories was a motivation for them! DM-ers are my favorite people, and I doubt that most of them will ever know how much they are responsible for my collegiate success, my family’s happiness and their contribution to a hospital that saved my son’s life.