Chip Chambers has done plenty to distinguish his undergraduate career: he’s been awarded scholarships and honors, studied abroad, had his research published, volunteered in the community and more. But most people just know him as “that crazy dancing guy.”
Family ties to UGA:
My parents met at UGA, so the red and black in my blood is simply genetic! As a third-generation Dawg, I have grown up cheering on the Dawgs and with a deep visceral repugnance to the color orange.
Biology (B.S.) and Economics (A.B.)
Minor in Health Policy and Management, Certificate in Personal and Organizational Leadership
University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:
Note: Every “highlight, achievement, and award” below has several failures to go along with it, but one of the perks of an article like this is that I have the editorial power to leave those out! The successes that are listed, however, are all courtesy of Jittery Joe’s coffee, God’s overly abundant grace, and the shoulders of some giants I’ve gotten to stand on. To the mentors, faculty, friends and family that have been giants for me, you know who you are. Thank you.
My sophomore year, I was fortunate enough to receive the Mid-term Foundation Fellowship, which has proven to be one of the biggest blessings in my life. While the financial perks have been great, the highlight of being in the program has undoubtedly been the community of Fellows and Ramsey Scholars that I’ve gotten to hang out with. Somewhere between eating too much catered Waffle House in the FFR Library, Guy Eroh’s (another Amazing Student) travel study reports-turned comedy acts, and shouting “Pura Vida!” as I raced my friends Monte and Nicole on horseback through a rain forest in Costa Rica, I made some of my best friends. It’s a community that pushes you, while supporting you the entire way. I am quite grateful for the relationships I’ve been able to build through that program and wouldn’t trade them for anything.
Another highlight has been serving at Mercy Health Center for the past six years (dating back to high school before I even knew I wanted to go into medicine). Mercy is a nonprofit health clinic for the underserved in our community and has been the boots on the ground, changing what reality looks like for those left behind by our current health care system, for the last 17 years. As a clinic manager, I’ve learned much about the role of leadership in a health delivery setting, meeting some stupendous health professionals and students along the way, many of whom have become dear friends. The patients I’ve been able to build relationships with and their stories serve as constant reminders for me that our health care system is overdue for a check-up.
Freshman year, I was selected as one of 24 students into the Dean William Tate Honor Society, which I didn’t realize would leave such an indelible mark on both my college trajectory and me as a person. This year I have stepped into a leadership role as co-president and am routinely grateful for the fellowship and help of the rest of the executive board and fellow Taters. Some of the deepest, most meaningful, and most unexpected friendships that I’ve made have come through the Tate Society.
This year I have also stepped into a leadership role as the president of the Economics Society, which has been a blast. The rest of the executive board is phenomenal, making the learning curve of fundamentally changing the vision and execution of a club substantially easier and a lot more fun. My goal is to leave it at least “marginally” better than when I took over.
I’ve also had the opportunity to partake in curriculum through the Institute for Leadership Advancement as a Leonard Leadership Scholar, which has undoubtedly been one of the most enriching parts of college for me. In ILAD 4100, I completed my Personal Development Leadership Portfolio (PDLP), a 60-plus page document filled with reflections on my core values, vision, goals, strengths, weaknesses and personality. It is one of the most valuable projects I’ve ever completed and one I return to regularly.
I have also been involved with the Honors Program Student Council (HPSC) since my sophomore year, stepping into a position as co-director of mentorship a little over a year ago. I know that I wouldn’t be here if it hadn’t been for a few students a couple years ahead of me taking the time to invest in me and show me the ropes, so I have tried to do my best to pay it forward through the HPSC Peer-Assisted Leadership (PAL) mentorship program, which paired around 200 students this semester. The definite highlight of HPSC programming every year, however, is undoubtedly the Honors formal in the spring. Whatever preconceived notions you have of 200 Honors kids dancing together, throw them out the door because that’s some of the most fun I’ve ever had. I’ve made it to all three while in college and you better bet I’ll be at the last!
Two communities that have meant the world to me since freshman year are Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) and Watkinsville First Baptist Church, the campus ministry and church I am involved with, respectively. The friendships that I have been able to make at those, along with the leaders that have poured into me, have fundamentally changed who I am as a person. There have been countless weeks that I have walked into those services frustrated, discouraged and exhausted, but walked out with a renewed sense of God’s goodness and bigness. Those are times I wouldn’t trade for anything.
I have also had the opportunity to study abroad twice in college. The first was a Maymester in Cortona, Italy, studying Italian art history and medical biochemistry, both of which I enjoyed far more than I expected. That trip featured a trip to the immaculate island of Capri and Cinque Terre on the coast, getting bested by Italian children in soccer, and far too much gelato. Following that, I participated in a weeklong undergraduate program at the think tank AEI in D.C., then jumped back across the pond to study finance and macroeconomics at the London School of Economics, which was a dream for an econ dork like me.
This past summer, I was fortunate enough to be selected as one of two interns for the Honors in New York internship at the Greater New York Hospital Association. My mentor, Susan Waltman, poured more into me and my fellow intern than I ever thought possible, quickly becoming a valuable resource and trusted friend. Some of the many highlights included watching the World Cup Finals at a Bastille Day festival, touring the NBC headquarters (and SNL set), the 9/11 memorial museum, meeting all the other UGA alumni in NYC, searching for “The Big Apple,” a weekend hiking trip into the Hudson Valley, getting lunch with Sen. Chuck Schumer, touring the NYC 911 Dispatch Center, and of course, the food!
All that said, I am fairly certain the venue that most people associate me with (pictured above) is as the Mic Man on the sidelines for the UGA home football games. My first win in this role was against Auburn two years ago. Coming in as the underdogs (and my previous game having been the heartbreaker against Tennessee), I thought I would have to wait one more week to get my first win on the sidelines. Thankfully, Mo Smith had other plans when he ran in our only touchdown off an interception. From down there on the field, that’s the loudest and most electrifying I’ve ever heard Sanford Stadium, and some TV cameras ended up catching my response to that energy, featuring me maniacally jumping up and down.
There are few things more fun than getting to stand in front of the best student section in the nation and lose my mind cheering and dancing for the football team I’ve adored my whole life, with the illustrious Redcoat Band fueling the energy. Just over a week ago, the student body selected me as Homecoming king, which was quite the surprise for me and an absolute honor. The best part of that night, though, was getting to back down to the field just in time to see the student section light up Sanford with hands waving in unison as the Redcoats struck up Krypton fanfare. I get chills every time.
Additionally, I’ve had the privilege of being an Honors Teaching Assistant, CURO Honors Scholar, Honors Ambassador, SGA Freshman Board senator, Phi Kappa Phi member, Woodruff Scholar, and recipient of the Blue Key Honor Society Tucker Dorsey Memorial Scholarship Award. But most people just know me as “that crazy dancing guy.”
Initially, I chose UGA for many of the same reasons as everyone else: the access to undergraduate research, top-ranked academic departments and high-achieving peer students (having a powerhouse athletic program didn’t hurt either).
That said, it’s not the reason that I love UGA now. It’s all of the little things I get to enjoy on a regular basis. It’s Mrs. Sandra saying “hey boo” at Snelling, Frisbee on Myers Quad, the leaf imprints in the sidewalks on South Campus, the quirky Athens restaurants, the Founders Garden, the artwork on the walls of the main library fourth floor Google room, the oaks of North Campus, the Christmas lights on Clayton Street, puppies during finals week, nights stargazing at the Iron Horse, swing dancing on parking decks, jumping into Herty Fountain, ringing the Chapel Bell, silver britches and green hedges, painted bulldog statues all over town, the slight smile on every face with a “go Dawgs” in passing, and of course, those three iron pillars and single serene arch.
My favorite things to do on campus are …
… attend lunchbox lectures in Moore College. They’re a great way to get an expert introduction to an interesting subject matter, while getting a free burrito in the process! I love trying to get a couple friends to go with me, because they always spark interesting discussion. The goal is to eat from the box, then think outside it!
Playing pickup games and intramural sports with close friends is a favorite pastime too. You can often catch me on the field next to the parking deck taking soccer, Frisbee, flag football or Spikeball way too seriously.
While I’m partial to Snelling (and Mrs. Sandra!) because I lived in Myers Hall freshman year and spend most of my time on South Campus, you just can’t beat the community facilitated by the Bolton long tables. Many a discussion over theology, football, politics and just general nonsense has happened there, so those tables will always hold a special place in my heart.
Lastly, what list of favorite things to do on campus would be complete without a reference to North Campus, replete with aged oaks and verdant landscapes, dotted with architectures that would tell stories upon stories if they could talk. Playing the improvised North Campus Frisbee golf course at night with some close friends is an absolute blast, though you have to watch out that you don’t lose the disc in the bushes if you’re as bad as I am.
On multiple occasions, I’ve put on some worship music and strolled around in aimless circles on those wide sidewalks, heading nowhere in particular, focusing on the way the sun glimmers off those dark green leaves as it peeks over the restaurants off Broad Street or from around the Chapel. Those are good times.
When I have free time, I like …
As a science nerd, one of my favorite things ever is to watch “Planet Earth.” The images are captivating, the storylines suspenseful and the narration absolutely wonderful. If you haven’t watched it, come on over sometime and enjoy with me the awe of the natural world. For the same reason, I love visiting the botanical garden whenever I can.
I also enjoy heading to Ramsey for some Saturday morning basketball or racquetball with some friends, though I never go as much as I intend to (and lose far more than I wish to admit). I think relationships are some of the most valuable things we can invest in, so it’s almost always worth passing up on some studying to join some friends for a good time (even if they always block my shots…)
I also try to stay well-read, so it may surprise some that a full-blooded extrovert like myself can often be found posted up alone in his room for hours reading about theology, economics, leadership, church history, health policy, or in the case of my current book, the physics behind everyday objects.
Like any good college student though, no list of adventures is complete without food, so I am always trying to cross restaurants off my Athens bucket list. While a comprehensive list would be far too long for this, Cookout milkshakes, The Grill’s feta fries, and Waffle House are always great late-night go-to options with some good friends.
The craziest thing I’ve done is …
While I was studying at the London School of Economics, I was fortunate enough to have some of my friends nearby at UGA’s Oxford campus. On one particular evening, I got a call from one of my best friends asking me to join them for an impromptu weekend trip to Edinburgh, Scotland. I ended up taking an overnight eight-hour bus ride by myself to meet them there, which was quite the experience in and of itself (featuring a rip-off bus ticket, beautiful rolling English countryside, and arrests of other passengers on the bus).
Once there, however, I had the weekend of my life, both exploring the city and just enjoying the company of my close friends. Six of us woke up at 2 a.m. to hike Arthur’s Seat to catch the 4:30 a.m. sunrise, which was worth every second of sleep we lost. We initially climbed the wrong ridge (which was still gorgeous), then climbed the correct peak (on our hands at certain points) and met a group of English geologists on a stag party at the top. Suffice it to say, they “rocked”! Upon coming back down famished, we treated ourselves to some authentic Scottish cuisine at a local McDonald’s.
My favorite place to study is …
When I arrived at UGA, I realized I was not the smartest by a long shot, so it’s taken a lot of effort just to keep up with my classmates. The upside of this, however, is that I’ve had ample opportunities to find great study spots all across campus!
Myers Hall was my home freshman year, and you can often still find me in the lobby or programming room in between meetings and classes trying to get some work done, mostly out of nostalgia. Walking through that quad brings back great memories of playing basketball on those courts, Frisbee on that green, and, rumor has it, a story of ending up on the roof late one night …
The Science Library is also near and dear to my heart, mainly because the sleeping bags on the second floor have facilitated many a power nap. While studying for the MCAT this past spring, carousel 321 in the back corner of the third floor was my sanctuary. When I need some tranquility, the ecology building patio and nearby turtle pond are always a great option!
The majority of the time, though, you can find me on the comfy couches of Moore College, the basement of Snelling, or the high tables in the Casey Commons of the BLC, trying to convince people there that I mean “business.”
… impossible to choose!
David Mustard taught principles of microeconomics my freshman year and sparked a love for economics that has continued to today. His engaging, humorous lecture style, with plenty of exciting real-world stories (including being a part of an FBI investigation into academic anti-trust allegations) made the class an absolute blast.
Fritz Schaefer, head of the Center for Computational and Quantum Chemistry, taught my FYOS on “C.S. Lewis: Science and Scientism,” and quickly became a close friend and mentor. We get coffee at least once a semester (when he’s not busy getting dinner with German Chancellor Angela Merkel) and he, the eighth-most-cited chemist in the world and Nobel prize nominee, always meets me at a location most convenient for me. I am fortunate to count him among my dearest friends.
Richard Morrison, who taught me two semesters of organic chemistry, also proved to be one of the best professors I’ve had. His energy and compassion for students are unparalleled, though those two classes pushed me harder than most anything else. I had to do a lot of soul-searching and growth during that sophomore year, but have Dr. Morrison to thank for that progress. The night of celebration with some of my best friends following the o chem 2 final (featuring jumping in Herty Fountain, ringing the Chapel bell, chicken tenders, and smoking cigars) remains one of my favorite college memories.
I am also indebted to Michael Terns, my research mentor in the biochemistry and molecular biology department for four semesters. He took me on as a first-semester freshman into the exciting, cutting-edge world of CRISPR-Cas research, teaching me what it means to pursue scientific knowledge and commitment to what the data says. Eventually, I was able to be published on a paper in Nucleic Acids Research, which would never have happened without the investment of Dr. Terns and the entire Terns lab team.
In the Terry College of Business, I was fortunate enough to take a seminar under Dean Ben Ayers through the Deer Run Fellows program. Through the readings and discussions in that classroom, I learned several leadership lessons I plan to carry with me from both the mentorship of Dean Ayers and the insights of the other seven students. I walked away from that program with seven lifelong peer friendships and an unforgettable weekend at former Coca-Cola CEO Doug Ivester’s Deer Run plantation.
In addition, I am indebted to the entire staff at the Honors Program, specifically David Williams, Jessica Hunt, Emily Myers, Martin Rogers and Dorothe Otemann. The advice they have given and opportunities they have facilitated are too many to count.
The list could go on and on, with Bill McDonald, Sylvia Hutchinson, Catherine Case, Phaedra Corso, John Turner, Dale Green, Chris Cornwell, Meghan Skira, Dave Hall, Erin Dolan and many others, but I’ll stop at expressing my gratitude for them in this forum at least.
If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with …
If Kirby Smart isn’t an option, then it would have to be C.S. Lewis or J.R.R. Tolkien. Because the two of them were such good friends, maybe the three of us could just all meet up at once! I am a complete “Lord of the Rings” nerd, as I think it is one of the most beautiful (and rich) tales ever told, with literary content for everyone, from adventure, to comedy, to romance, to suspense. The theological and Messianic themes are also quite palpable.
C.S. Lewis, on the other hand, has largely earned my respect through his nonfiction work. While I’ve read several of his books, his short essay titled “The Weight of Glory” remains one of the most influential works in my worldview. His wit, insight and the content he packs into each sentence make everything feel like it was written yesterday, not 50-plus years ago.
If I knew I could not fail, I would …
… found and lead an integrated health care system with emphases on patient-centered, evidence-based, whole-person care for everyone. Often, our health care system is disjointed and unaligned, but there are some bright spots of integrated clinical systems across the U.S. that have put the patient first. If I knew I could not fail, I would love to serve people in an effective way that improves quality of life for both patients and providers, by treating them as people, using data to inform the entire care delivery system.
The closest thing I have ever seen to this in person has been at Mercy Health Center. Mercy does an incredible job of integrating care, from counseling, to clinical consultations, to prayer, to pharmacotherapy, to legal aid, to nutrition and health promotion classes.
If money was not a consideration, I would love to …
Go hiking across the U.S. loaded with books on biology, medicine, theology, economics and leadership. I think that as humans we are made to feel small, and there’s something about rounding the corner of a mountaintop overlook or a tumbling waterfall that sinks a wonderful awe into your heart. Between those moments, I’d break out some of my grandmother’s jalapeno cornbread muffins and crack open book after book. Learning is an absolute blast. Of course, I’m too much of an extrovert to last for too long by myself, so I’d have to bring along a couple close friends for the journey.
What is your passion and how are you committed to pursuing it?
Ultimately, I owe all that I am to Jesus Christ because of the immeasurable riches of His grace toward me. He came into this world to save sinners, of whom I am foremost, so whatever “success” I may have achieved, it pales in comparison to knowing Him. He moved toward me in love even while I rejected Him, taking the penalty for my wrongdoing, so I owe Him everything that I have. My life goal is to make Him famous and play my tiny part in His glorious work of restoring this world to the way it is supposed to be.
Specifically, I see my calling in the health care realm, where I want to play a small part in pushing back illness and suffering, restoring creation to the way it was originally designed. Besides someone’s soul, I believe their health is the most valuable thing that they have, so I want to serve others in giving that back to them any way I can.
In addition to the sacrificial love demonstrated by Jesus on the cross, this others-centered mission has also been modeled for me through my friends and role models in the Tate Society. The motto of non sibi sed aliis (“not for ourselves but for others”) is one that I hope to embody the rest of my life.
After graduation, I plan to …
… get my M.D. I just hope there’s a medical school that shares that vision with me! In addition, I would like to pursue an additional graduate degree, either an MPH or an MBA. I want to be putting tools in my tool belt, from both the fields of business and public health, that will enable me to most effectively serve people in a clinical setting one day.
The one UGA experience I will always remember will be …
While I could tell several stories of Iron Horse trips, late-night Snelling adventures (and dance-offs), and celebrations, there is one single memory that sticks out like no other: The Rose Bowl.
I was fortunate enough to spend an entire week out in Los Angeles with some of my closest friends (most of whom took a van out there!) because one of my roommates lives out there, so getting to sightsee all over the city was a highlight in and of itself. But the game of course takes the cake. Seated in the back of the student section, to my right was a guy who had never been to a college football game before. By halftime, he was bleeding red and black and calling the Dawgs, though he asked me how I felt since we were down big at the half. I responded, “we’re a third quarter team.” Turns out I was right.
When Sony Michel made the game winning touchdown, it was in my corner of the end zone. I actually never even saw him cross the goal line, because as soon as we saw he was going to score we jumped up and down, I took off my shirt, had drinks spilled all over me, and hugged people I’d never met. After the game, I got to FaceTime my dad from inside the stadium and, in tears, say, “We did it. We’re coming home to Atlanta.” As coach Smart said, I think everyone can see Georgia is going to be a force to be reckoned with for a while.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go catch the final episode of “Planet Earth II”!