Amazing Students Profiles

Katherine Cherry

Katherine Cherry

Katherine Cherry lives, on a daily basis, by the motto that “creative risk is necessary for groundbreaking achievement.”


Chattanooga, Tennessee

High School:

Girls Preparatory School

Degree objective:

Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs, Bachelor of Arts in English

Expected graduation:

Spring 2011

University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:

I was selected to present at both the 2009 and 2010 UGA Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities or CURO Symposia, first on a the creation of a more comprehensive drug and alcohol rehabilitation policy for the U.S. military and second on the reinstatement of the U.S. Information Agency and reinvigoration of U.S. public diplomacy. I currently serve as the chief of staff for the UGA Model United Nations team. Last fall, I was chosen to participate in the Washington Semester Program, where I interned for the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, a bipartisan think-tank. Finally, I have furthered my out-of-classroom experience through two internships for Coca-Cola Enterprises, first in Atlanta and most recently in London, where I focused on corporate responsibility and sustainability. in addition, I am honored to be a member of Phi Beta Kappa academic honors society.

Each of these experiences has been meaningful to me, because of the incredible individuals with whom I was associated. Dr. David Abshire, the president and CEO of the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, taught me what it means to live a life of character-based leadership. Laura Brightwell, the senior vice president of public affairs and communications at Coca-Cola Enterprises and a fellow Georgia Bulldog, taught me the grace and strength of the professional, modern woman by raising a beautiful son while simultaneously helping to run a company. And finally, my teammates on the Model United Nations team, fellow CURO participants, and classmates on the Washington Semester Program reinforced to me the potential our generation holds to make a real, positive impact on our community and world.

I chose to attend UGA because…

…UGA strikes the perfect balance. UGA offered me both the opportunity to earn my undergraduate education at an institution of academic excellence and the opportunity to develop my whole person and my character in addition to my brain. UGA students know what it means to hit the books and put in the work, but we also understand the value of developing relationships and interacting with the community at large. Our student body is both smart and social, characteristics I believe have the potential to carry graduates to greater height of success than just a grade point average alone.

My favorite things to do on campus are…

…exploring the numerous green spaces around UGA and drinking coffee from Jittery Joe’s. The university has done an incredible job of incorporating inviting landscaping into the look and feel of campus. I am always on the lookout for my next, new favorite tree to lounge under and enjoy my cup of joe in between classes.

When I have free time, I like…

…to cook. Some of my favorite college memories have been whipping up potluck feasts with my friends. Cooking is creative and relaxing for me, and there is always something new to learn and try. There are rarely mistakes in cooking, just happy accidents!

The craziest thing I’ve done is…

…“puénting” or bridge jumping while on the GLOBIS International Conflict Resolution Study Abroad in Quito, Ecuador. Three of my spectacularly spunky classmates joined me on the most terrifyingly invigorating adventure I have ever experienced: leaping off the highest bridge in Quito with a simple climbing rope and a harness as a lifeline. At the beginning of the jump, it is a free fall, and then the rope gradually catches you and swings you in a pendulum motion under the bridge. It was full fear meeting full excitement, but I have to admit, I enjoyed the pendulum swing aspect of the jump far more than the free fall!

My favorite place to study is…

…the Reading Room in the Miller Learning Center. Something about the communal hush and the feeling of brainpower radiating from all of the quiet, concentrated people in the Reading Room kicks my study time into high gear. The collective focus and silence is very centering for me.

My favorite professor is…

…Dr. Howard Wiarda. Dr. Wiarda taught American Foreign Policy on the Washington Semester Program. During my time in Washington, I was able to see the world from inside the Beltway for the first time, and doing so under the instruction of Dr. Wiarda was fascinating. He has had such a breadth of experience in Washington, and he has an uncanny ability to bring the material alive by peppering the lessons with wonderful detail and memories from his own rich history in the making. Dr. Wiarda really reaches out into the classroom and draws you into the subject. He is tough, but fair, a quality I greatly respect. Upon meeting Dr. Wiarda, it becomes readily apparent that he has a passion for developing young minds and helping create springboards for his students’ futures.

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

…my Nanna Lee. I have felt her spirit and memory in so many experiences recently, and it would be great to visit with her. My grandmother was a teacher, an artist and an adventurer. She was very brave, imaginative, compassionate and inspiring, all qualities I hope to emulate.

If I knew I could not fail, I would…

…not be able to truly succeed. The potential for failure is what makes a success a success. Knowing you can fail is what fuels entrepreneurship. Creative risk is necessary for groundbreaking achievement.

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

…pursue a career in corporate governance and ethics with a special emphasis on corporate responsibility and sustainability. My studies in international affairs and the international political economy combined my work experience in a Washington think tank and with Coca-Cola Enterprises have taught me that the private sector holds great potential to be a positive community and world actor. When I reflect upon the 2008 economic crisis and the big banking fiasco, I am reminded of the phrase, “If you think something is broken – fix it.” If I truly want to make an impact on how corporations conduct business, the path to effect change is to work from within for lasting good rather than picketing from the outside. My goal is to help companies create a strong offense by embracing sustainability, ethics and community activism. We are entering an age where we require more from companies than increased shareholder value. Consumers are progressively drawn to companies that are not only good at their trade, but also good at being good.

The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…

…my first collegiate competition with the UGA Model United Nations team. I saw my team stand out from the rest both in competition and personality. For us, the conference was about more than the accolades. Don’t get me wrong; awards are nice, but at the end of my college career, I know that my team values the friendships formed that week more than our certificates and trophies. We went into the competition as a campus student group and returned to Athens as a group of friends. During that week, I formed relationships that have helped define my college experience and will last far beyond graduation.