Amazing Students

Nettie Brown

Nettie Brown

Nettie Brown has become immersed in student organizations, won academic honors, presented research in France, and she has grand plans to put her engineering education to good use in the medical field.


Lithonia, Georgia

High School:

Arabia Mountain High School

Degree objective:

B.S.B.Ch.E. — Bachelor of Science in Biochemical Engineering

Expected graduation:

May 2018

University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:

The summer before entering UGA I participated in the Peach State Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) summer bridge program. During this program, I met other students in STEM that were seeking academic success and advanced degrees. I later became a leader in the organization as a member of the student advisory board. The goal of our board is to plan programs to help students for classes, conferences and research opportunities. Through LSAMP I was also able to mentor and tutor younger students.

During my freshman year I also became a member of the Residence Hall Association (RHA), the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), and the African Student Union. In RHA, I was the public relations chair for the Mell/Lipscomb Community. I helped our community board plan programs to help freshman students get acclimated to campus by introducing them to their campus resources and the people in their communities. I also became a member of NSBE because as a minority in engineering it can be tough “fitting in.” Through NSBE, I met students who supported me in my classes and made me feel comfortable in the College of Engineering. With the numerous cultural organizations on campus, I decided to join the African Student Union because they were so welcoming to me and I wanted to learn more about people’s culture. Since freshman year, I have been involved in the organization as co-fundraising chair and a participant in Africa Night as a dancer and model.

During the spring semester of my sophomore year, I was honored to become a member of the Zeta Psi Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. Joining this sorority has allowed me to network with many of my sorority sisters around the world and impact UGA and the community through programs and public service. In the organization, I have served as vice president and helped plan programs like our annual 6.3K and our AIDS Gala, which benefited UGA Heroes.

The summer after my sophomore year, I was selected as a participant in the Nanotechnology and Biomedicine Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) sponsored by the National Science Foundation. Through this experience, I completed hand-on research while being surrounded by engineering students from across the country. I continued to work in Dr. Hitesh Handa’s lab on antimicrobial biomaterials during my junior year. During this year, I also received the Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities (CURO) Research Assistantship for my participation in faculty-mentored research. I presented my research at the Biomedical Engineering Society’s annual conference and the Peach State LSAMP STEM Innovator’s Conference, in which I received first place for my oral presentation in the Bioengineering, Chemical Engineering, and Agricultural Engineering division.

This past summer, I was one of 10 students from the United Stated selected to participate in the France/Belgium iREU in Translational Chemistry funded by the NSF. I spent three months immersed in a new environment while conducting biomaterials research using biopolymers and bio-based materials. While in France, I presented my research at the 2017 French-American Workshop in Translational Chemistry. During the summer, I received the College of Engineering’s Rowan Rising Star Scholarship for my excellence in coursework, activities and leadership. When I returned in the fall, I was nominated for an award from the Black Faculty and Staff Organization and I received the Melanie Burden Award for my community involvement and mentorship.

Now being an Amazing Student is the icing on the cake.

Current Employment:

I am a desk assistant at Building 1516. I am also an undergraduate research assistant in the Handa Biomaterials Lab

Family Ties to UGA:

I actually have family ties against UGA. My father attended Georgia Tech so I grew up singing fight songs against UGA. But now, I see Georgia Tech as the “North Avenue Trade School.”

I chose to attend UGA because…

… of the amount of opportunities and resources available. During my junior year of high school, I participated in the Young Scholars Program through the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. The program was designed to provide a hands-on research experience for high school students while preparing them for college through seminars. Through the program, I gained many mentors and was a co-author in our publication. The opportunity to attend a Research 1 institution resonated with me. Other than research, I like the diversity of UGA. There is diversity in students, organizations and classes.

My favorite things to do on campus are…

… finding new places to study, eat and meet new people. Whether it’s East, West North or South Campus, there is always a new place to study. Depending on what I am studying I will go on the grass at Myers Quad or find a nook in the law library. Eating is one of my favorite things to do and UGA supports my habit. I like to plan trips to the Niche and eat all day. And with the size of UGA, I meet a new person every day. Sometimes a random smile or hello from someone can make my day.

When I have free time, I like…

… to try new restaurants with some of my friends. We usually go on Sundays after church but sometimes we go during the week. We are open to all cuisines from vegan to barbeque. We have tried about 10 restaurants or coffee shops so far. Also, in my free time, I love to watch movies and bake. Movies offer me the chance to relax while baking is a stress reliever plus a nice snack.

The craziest thing I’ve done is…

… hop on my friend’s dad’s truck in the middle of the street during game day. It was our first game day freshman year so he showed us around the different tailgates and we had a great time.

My favorite place to study is…

… the third floor of the science library. Being a STEM major, the atmosphere of the science library promotes a great study environment. I like being surrounded by people studying similar topics.

My favorite professor is…

During my UGA experience I have encountered many professors who have increased my knowledge on subjects while challenging me to do my best. But if I had to pick one, I would say Dr. Hitesh Handa. He plays the role of both my mentor and biomaterials teacher. His passion for translational research and solving problems in the biomedical industry shows in his lectures. He makes his course enjoyable and gets us interested in the field. He also helps us prepare for our next step after graduation by having lectures on graduate school and industry options.

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

… Michelle Obama. She is an inspirational, strong and intelligent black woman whom I admire. I would love to sit down and talk to her about her journey through life and her passion for health and fitness.

If I knew I could not fail, I would…

… go on “MasterChef” and win. I love cooking and baking and the show would allow me to showcase my passion and skills.

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

… spend a semester abroad. I just returned from a summer in France completing research and now I am ready to travel again. During my trip, I was able to visit countries like Ireland and England and I enjoyed seeing different cultures so I would want to experience learning in a new environment.

What is your passion and how are you committed to pursuing it?

My past research experiences have developed my passion for the biomedical/materials engineering field and I plan to bridge the gap between bench-side and bed-side research in order to meet the needs of doctors and patients. I aspire to use translational research to decrease the amount of hospital-acquired infections due to medical devices. I will accomplish this by continuing my education and working alongside doctors and researchers.

After graduation, I plan to…

After graduation, I plan to obtain my Ph.D. in materials engineering or biomedical engineering. While obtaining my degree I want to continue to try new restaurants and travel!

The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…

The one UGA experience I will always remember was my first IMPACT trip to Atlanta for LGBTQ Advocacy. Most of my group were strangers at first but by the end of the first day we felt like family. I met people with different backgrounds, majors and experiences. Although we had different backgrounds, we came together to have an impact on the LGBTQ community in Atlanta. One of the things that made this experience the most memorable was the vulnerability of the group. We did many exercises to get to know one another throughout the week and every day we would go a little deeper. We shared many laughs and tears. We made a difference in Atlanta by volunteering at thrift shops and meal packing companies. This amazing group of volunteers was comprised of leaders from organizations like UGA Heroes, RHA and SGA. Many of us still talk and hang out to this day. That is an experience I will never forget. #ServiceisLoveMadeVisible