Shaun Goh’s passion is to become the best physician possible by learning how to take care of patients as a whole instead of just their problems. You’re just as likely to see him kayaking as you are finding him conducting research in the Exercise Muscle Physiology Lab.
Wheeler High School
B.S. in Biology, B.S. in Psychology
University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:
My time at the University of Georgia has been a diverse experience full of exploration and discovery. As a recipient of the Zell Miller and Abraham Baldwin scholarships, I have tried out a few different majors, been a mentor for the CrossTrainers mentoring program under Wesley Ministries, and interned at InterContinental Hotels Group in the sales department. The wealth of opportunities available to me was exhilarating to me my freshman year as I eventually found organizations and experiences to satisfy my interests in medicine and exercise. I first discovered a home in the Whitewater Club where I was introduced to the sport of whitewater kayaking. Here I have created lasting friendships, watched myself progress as a boater, and paddled in the most incredible locations all over the Southeast. The club also has a focus of bringing new people into the sport, and I have served as trips coordinator for the past two years helping to facilitate this process.
In the summer after sophomore year, I received funding from the Honors International Scholars Program to travel to Cape Town, South Africa, for three months. There I volunteered and shadowed in a community health clinic where I learned about the unique challenges faced in providing health care in poverty-stricken areas. While assisting in the administration office and rotating through different departments such as trauma, maternity and psychiatry, I also saw firsthand the public health efforts to fight TB and HIV/AIDS on the frontlines. This experience not only motivated me to continue my path to become a physician, especially in the context of underdeveloped communities, but also inspired me as I witnessed some of the most compassionate care from physicians and nurses amid the toughest of conditions.
For the past two years, I’ve also had the incredible opportunity of working in the Exercise Muscle Physiology Lab under Kevin McCully. The lab has established a novel method of measuring skeletal muscle endurance and I have presented research studying muscle endurance differences between males and females at the CURO Symposium. This year, I was a recipient of the CURO Research Assistantship and have completed an Honors capstone thesis studying whether limb elevation can be used as a model for peripheral arterial disease by using accelerometry and near infrared spectroscopy to examine its effects on blood flow, mitochondria capacity and muscle endurance. Conducting research in this lab has exposed me to a whole new world of science beyond classes and instilled in me a passion to further continue research after graduation.
I am currently a student tutor for the Athletic Association tutoring athletes in biology, chemistry, biochemistry and psychology.
Family Ties to UGA:
I am the first in my family to attend UGA but hopefully not the last. My younger brother in high school is a Dawg fan so we hope to see him here in about three years.
I chose to attend UGA because…
I chose to attend UGA because of the Honors Program, the Zell Miller Scholarship, and the abundance and variety of opportunities in student organizations that I knew the school could offer. I actually accepted my admission offer before visiting, but found that I also loved the campus as well. If we’re really being serious though, I mainly chose UGA because of its stellar ranking in the food category as its dining halls were top 10 in the country.
My favorite things to do on campus are…
… going for runs at Lake Herrick. The trails back there are great ways to clear one’s head after class and get away for a little bit. Saturdays between the hedges have also been some of my favorite memories in my four years here, and I will definitely miss being in the student section to see the Dawgs on the field. Finally, I have been a proud customer of UGA Food Services for four years, so eating at dining halls, especially the scrambled eggs at the omelette stations, will always have a special place in my heart and stomach.
When I have free time, I like…
… to do things outside whether it’s whitewater kayaking, running or attempting to play golf. Experiencing the outdoors is some of the best medicine for the mind and doing so in the turbulent waters of fast moving rivers is absolutely invigorating. I also enjoy watching new TV shows or movies with my roommates.
The craziest thing I’ve done is…
… travel across the ocean to South Africa and shark cage dive with great white sharks, bungee jump off the highest commercial bungee bridge, and scuba dive with humpback whales and sea turtles off the coast of Mozambique. At a more local scale, kayaking a 150-foot long class 5 rapid at the bottom of Tallulah Gorge for the first time was an experience I will never forget.
My favorite place to study is…
… the reading room on the third floor of the MLC or the Jittery Joe’s at Five Points. I love the atmosphere in both those places, and they are where I find myself most productive. The easy access to coffee doesn’t hurt either.
My favorite professor is…
Karl Espelie is the greatest teacher and advisor anyone could ask for. From studying abroad to OChem troubles and medical school application decisions, Dr. Espelie’s guidance and encouragement has gotten me through the great and the tough seasons of college. He has spent countless hours with students helping us navigate our way through class schedules, application cycles, and life in general. His knowledge about all things pre-med is astounding, and I know for a fact I would not be where I am today without him.
Kevin McCully is also one of the most dedicated and caring professors on campus. His willingness to take in clueless undergraduates like me and guide us through the research process is the reason I want to continue to pursue research. He has spent countless hours talking with us about the current exercise fads, physiology and provided invaluable advice regarding our medical careers.
If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with…
… surgeon and author Atul Gawande. His books “Complications” and “Better” have given me motivation and insight into ways I can better myself as a student and future physician. It would be very interesting hearing all his anecdotes from his years in practice as a surgeon. In addition to being a clinician, he also has a background in economics and politics, so it would be intriguing to hear his perspective on health policy in our country today, as it is going through major transitions.
If I knew I could not fail, I would…
… kayak the Stikine River located out in the wilderness of British Columbia. This gorged-in class V+ run is one of the most dangerous in the world due to the house-sized rapids, steep canyon walls that prevent escape, and complete isolation with little chance of rescue.
If money was not a consideration, I would love to…
… set up clinics in underserved areas focused on fitness and diet, with an emphasis on long-term, incremental care. Most health care options today adopt a repair mindset for many conditions that are easily preventable. For those that aren’t, exercise can still confer many health benefits. While the treatment of diseases would still be central, there would be a focus on maintaining lifestyle changes and in-home monitoring to track habits.
What is your passion and how are you committed to pursuing it?
My passion is becoming the best physician possible by learning how to take care of patients as a whole instead of just their problems. That is part of the reason why I also took on a psychology major, as taking care of mental health is just as important as the physical aspect. It is also why I view exercise as such an important component to medicine and have pursued studying it through research.
After graduation, I plan to…
… attend medical school at the Medical College of Georgia. I have interests in becoming a surgeon, possibly in orthopedics or emergency medicine.
The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…
… is the UGA-LSU game my freshman year. It featured Aaron Murray playing against his old competitor and former UGA QB Zach Mettenberger. The game ended up being an intense shootout with the Dawgs narrowly taking the win by three points. I was extremely sick that night, but that didn’t stop me from yelling excitedly for three hours, and the game still remains my favorite to this day.