Amazing Students Profiles

Jessica Buday

Jessica Buday

Senior engineering student Jessica Buday has found her way at UGA. A native of North Carolina, she wanted to go away to college, but wanted to stay in the Southeast. At UGA, she found numerous opportunities with the Faculty of Engineering and the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. She has worked with rural dairy farmers in East Africa to develop a cooling system for milk that works without electricity, and she also worked on a service-learning project in Tunisia to help motivate Tunisian students to create their own community service projects. In Athens, she works at a local pharmaceutical company to develop new products and processes. She has won numerous awards and scholarships, and she has held leadership positions with student organizations on campus. After graduation, she plans to work for a few years with a pharmaceutical company before further career development in the biotechnology sector.


Chapel Hill, N.C.

High School:

Orange High School, Hillsborough, N.C.

Degree objective:

Bachelor of Science in Biological Engineering with an emphasis in biochemical engineering

Expected graduation:

Fall 2008

University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:

UGA has rewarded me tremendously and afforded me numerous opportunities. I have been able to engage in research and philanthropy locally, as well as internationally. In particular, I was given the Charter Scholarship from UGA, then HOPE after I became a resident, and have been awarded various other scholarships from the agricultural and biological engineering department. I spent a year and a half working with a biochemical engineering professor growing genetically-modified E. coli to produce specialty chemicals. I also conducted research and presented at the CURO Symposium in March 2008. My presentation was regarding work I had done in Uganda the previous summer to develop a milk cooling system for rural dairy farmers in East Africa who have no access to electricity. Student organizations have always been a part of my college career, and I have held officer positions with the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers student chapter, was a founding member of our Society of Women Engineers chapter in 2005. Additionally, I graduated from the LeadershipUGA program in 2006. I was also selected and participated in a service learning project in Tunisia during the summer of 2006, made possible by the UGA-Tunisia Educational Partnership, in which a group of students and faculty had the opportunity to share experiences to motivate Tunisian students to create their own community service projects.

Current Employment:

I currently work part-time at a pharmaceutical company located here in Athens. As part of the process engineering group, I work on implementing new products and their associated processes and troubleshooting problems with equipment in the chemical plants.

Family Ties to UGA:

I am a first generation Bulldog!

I chose to attend UGA because…

…I was interested in living somewhere new, but staying in the Southeast. UGA was a great choice because I hadn’t decided on a major, and it has strong programs in just about every field. Although I didn’t investigate the engineering program until I got here, I am so glad I found it!

My favorite things to do on campus are…

…to grab a Red & Black or Flagpole and catch up on Athens activities, to meet graduate students and pick their brains about life after undergraduate, to meet freshmen and get them excited and motivated about all the opportunities that lay ahead of them, to bond with other engineering students at club meetings.

When I have free time, I like…

…to cook meals for my roommates and friends. I considered culinary school when applying to colleges, but now I just use cooking as a creative outlet. I also enjoy reading fiction and non-fiction, trying to keep up with the news, getting lost on Wikipedia looking up random pieces of information, enjoying live music at local venues, discovering new bands and spending time with my family when I can get back up to North Carolina.

The craziest thing I’ve done is…

…live in Uganda for eight weeks. As part of a Research Experience for Undergraduates program that is funded by the National Science Foundation, three other students and I collaborated with the Agricultural Engineering Department at Makerere University in Kampala as part of the ongoing development of a milk cooling system that doesn’t use electricity. In addition to the advances we made with the research, we became immersed in a completely different culture. Although it was difficult dealing with homesickness, minor illnesses and other inconveniences that come with living in a third-world country, it has definitely been the most rewarding experience of my life so far. The safaris and white-water rafting on the Nile weren’t bad either. I advise everyone to travel, journey and seek to understand our world.

My favorite place to study is…

…the Driftmier Engineering Center student lounge because you can always find help with your studying, or at least someone else who is struggling just like you. I learn much better when I do it with others.

My favorite professor is…

…William Kisaalita. Not only did he make my trip to Uganda possible, but he has advised and mentored me about my possible future plans for graduate school and career.

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

…Plato. It would be fun to travel through time and stroll around Ancient Greece with him while debating various issues.

If I knew I could not fail, I would…

…become President. I would love to be in a position to make such an impact on our country’s future or at least be involved in the ration and reason that goes into the big decisions. Although I am sure that work in my field is sure to impact our country as well, I think entering politics would show me another perspective on our global society.

After graduation, I plan to…

…get some more work experience with a pharmaceutical company. Down the road, I plan to further enhance my skills by continuing my education and being part of the biotechnology and energy revolution that is sure to be a part of our generation’s legacy.

The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…

…the black-out football game against Auburn on November 10, 2007. Coming from North Carolina where all they care about is NCAA basketball, it took awhile to get into the football culture. However, it was that game that totally sold me and solidified my connection to the Bulldogs.