Amazing Students Profiles

Lydia Babcock-Adams

Lydia Babcock-Adams

Lydia Babcock-Adams is working on three—yes, three—degrees at the same time and already has presented her marine science research work at conferences across the country. And her love for UGA goes all the way back to early childhood.


Athens, Ga.

High School:

Combination of home schooling and formal schooling; graduated from Maine Central Institute, Pittsfield, Maine

Degree objective:

B.S. in chemistry, B.S. in marine sciences with an emphasis in marine chemistry, M.S. in marine sciences

Expected graduation:

May 2016

University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:

For an Athens native and someone who spent a lot of time on campus during childhood, it felt like coming home on the first day of my freshman year. I knew coming in that I wanted to get involved in undergraduate research in the marine sciences department, so I signed up for a First-Year Odyssey seminar titled “Ocean Observatories: What Does the Data Tell Us” with professor Daniela Di Iorio. The summer after my first year I was fortunate to receive a National Science Foundation-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates to work in Dr. Di Iorio’s laboratory, which was only the beginning of the wonderful opportunities that were to come in the marine sciences department.

Dr. Di Iorio introduced me to professor Patricia Medeiros, another professor in the department, and I began as a student researcher in her lab the fall of my second year. I also began research with professor Bill Miller (in the marine sciences department) through the Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities. In the spring I applied and received a CURO Summer Research Fellowship, which allowed me to work with Dr. Miller over the summer and to participate on a 21-day oceanographic research cruise in the North Pacific aboard the R/V Melville. I attended the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill & Ecosystem Science conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, and presented the work I was involved with in Dr. Medeiros’ lab. The summer after my sophomore year I applied to the UGA Graduate School and was accepted as a master’s student with Dr. Medeiros through the Combined Degree Program, sponsored by the Honors Program. I was also awarded a Northeast Georgia Section American Chemical Society Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award.

During my junior year I attended the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill & Ecosystem Science conference in Mobile, Alabama, as well as the Ocean Sciences conference in Honolulu, Hawaii, giving poster presentations of my research in Dr. Medeiros’s lab at both. I applied for and was selected to participate in the Council on Undergraduate Research Posters on the Hill event in Washington, D.C., where I gave a poster presentation of the data collected during the research cruise in the North Pacific. I also presented this data in a talk at the CURO Symposium.

This past fall I was given the honor to be the student speaker at the Science Learning Center groundbreaking ceremony, which was incredible. Recently I gave a poster presentation at the third Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill & Ecosystem Science conference in Houston, Texas, and was named a Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative Scholar. I have had the opportunity to participate on three oceanographic research cruises in the South Atlantic Bight aboard the R/V Savannah. My time at UGA has been very enriching and rewarding, and all of experiences and honors have positioned me for success in my future endeavors.

Current Employment:

Graduate assistant in professor Patricia Medeiros’ lab in the department of marine sciences

Family Ties to UGA:

While I’ll be the first in my family to graduate from UGA, my ties go back to when I was about 5 weeks old and my parents became professors here. I can’t remember a time when UGA wasn’t a part of my life, either with my parents in the chemistry department or through summer programs I’ve attended on campus.

I chose to attend UGA because…

… my academic interests have always been in the fields of oceanography and chemistry, so with the combination of an excellent marine sciences department and the opportunity to conduct research as an undergraduate student, UGA was the perfect choice for me.

My favorite things to do on campus are…

… attending fine arts performances on campus. I have seen ballets in the Fine Arts Theater as well as performances by UGA students in the dance department’s New Dance Theater. I have also had the privilege of performing in the Senior Exit Concert and the CORE Concert Aerial and Contemporary Dance Company show held annually in the New Dance Theater.

When I have free time, I like…

… to sleep! Since I’m getting three degrees, generally take 18-21 credit hours per semester and am a company member in CORE Concert Dance Company, free time is hard to come by. Though when I do find free time I like to play the piano, read books that are just for fun and watch “Chopped” or “Beat Bobby Flay” on the Food Network.

The craziest thing I’ve done is…

… aerial arts. I’ve taken dance trapeze and fabrics classes for many years, but the craziest thing I’ve done (at least in my mom’s opinion) is flying trapeze. I took my first class last summer and fell in love immediately. It is such an amazing feeling to fly through the air.

My favorite place to study is…

… somewhere I can spread out my reference books and notes. I like to make study guides for myself by going through my class notes and filling in with information from textbooks.

My favorite professor is…

… Nigel G. Adams, an emeritus professor in the department of chemistry, though I’ve always known him as Dad. Although he has never taught me formally, I’ve had 22 years of life lessons. He’s taught me everything from planting a vegetable garden to principles of chemistry and physics, though now that I think about when he taught me how to do a cartwheel there was a lot more about angular momentum in his instructions than most 7-year-olds usually hear about.

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

… former President Jimmy Carter. Ever since I wrote a report on him in third grade I have admired him not just for his time as president, but also for all the work he has done following his presidency. He is an inspiration to me, and I would love to sit with him one afternoon to hear his stories and talk about his work.

If I knew I could not fail, I would…

… clean the world’s oceans. They are an important resource and we depend a great deal on them. Some people think that the oceans are so large that a few people throwing trash into the oceans won’t make a difference, but if many people have that mentality then we have a big problem. I would also devote resources to educating the public about the problems and consequences of pollution and trash in the oceans.

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

… go to Australia and scuba dive at the Great Barrier Reef!

After graduation, I plan to…

… continue on to get my Ph.D. in chemical oceanography. All of the fieldwork and laboratory experience I’ve gotten at UGA has just confirmed my desire to conduct research, and I’m so excited to continue working toward that dream.

The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…

… last August when I gave a speech at the Science Learning Center groundbreaking ceremony. It was an honor to share the stage with UGA President Jere Morehead, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal and University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby. It’s a day I will never forget.