A passion for Chinese relations and international diplomacy sent Logan Krusac on a one-year UGA study abroad program that was life-changing for this senior from Smyrna. Logan credits numerous programs for his ultimate collegiate experience, including the Honors program, Foundation Fellows and the Student Government Association.
Campbell High School
BA in Political Science
BA in Mandarin Chinese, minor in Spanish
University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:
I have been fortunate to have opportunities that have allowed me to stay very busy throughout my four years at UGA. During the first semester of my freshman year, I was able to serve as the public relations director for the Bobby Saxon for U.S. Congress campaign. I began my involvement with the Student Government Association during my freshman year serving as freshman board vice president. The summer after my freshman year, I studied international conflict at Oxford University in England and Spanish language, history and culture in Segovia, Spain.
During my second year, I continued my involvement in SGA, serving as a Franklin College senator. I spent a great deal of time working with immigrant students who were facing tuition problems. During my second year I also worked as a resident assistant in Myers Hall. I really enjoyed helping freshmen with their transition to UGA and was honored to receive the Community Resident Assistant of the Year Award.
Beginning the summer after my second year at UGA, I began my year abroad in China with the support of a State Department Critical Language Scholarship and a National Security Education Program Boren Scholarship. During my year in China, I studied and conducted research in Nanjing, Kunming and Harbin. My research on water issues in China examined how one’s individual environmental awareness affects his or her in-home water conservation methods. I presented this research at the 2011 International Symposium on Water Resource and Environmental Protection in Xi’an, China.
This past summer, I interned in the government relations department of the K Street lobbying firm McKenna, Long & Aldridge. While in DC, I was able to get an insider’s view of the lobbying world. Now, in my fourth year, it’s hard to believe these rewarding college opportunities will soon come to an end! Throughout my time at UGA, I have been very fortunate to be a member of the Student Government Association, the Honors Program Student Council, the Dean Tate Honor Society and the Blue Key Honor Society. The scholarship/program that has had the greatest impact on my undergraduate years is the UGA Foundation Fellowship. The Foundation Fellowship has provided me with all the tools and opportunities for success I could ever request, and I would not be on my current academic/career path without its support.
I am currently a Vinson Fellow at the Carl Vinson Institute of Government’s International Center. While interning there, I am conducting research relating to the environmental responsibility shared between the United States and China. I am particularly interested in China’s impending water crisis and the ramifications it will have for the region.
I chose to attend UGA because…
I chose to attend the University of Georgia because it allowed me to shape my own undergraduate experience. With the support of the Honors Program, I have been able to select courses of particular interest to me, take part in three internships, conduct research and study abroad for 15 months. People often say that your college education is what you make it. While this is true to some degree at all schools, UGA and the Honors Program have fully supported this ideal from my first day of college.
My favorite things to do on campus are…
My favorite thing to do on campus is spend time in Moore College. Though on the northern edge of the campus, Moore College will always be the “heart” of campus to me. It is there that I have made some of my best friends and met some of my greatest life mentors. Whenever I have questions or need advice about my courses, graduate school or life in general, I always turn to the wonderful people who work in Moore College.
When I have free time, I like…
When I have free time, I enjoy pursuing my musical interests. I have played violin since middle school and just learned how to play erhu (a violin-like two-stringed Chinese instrument) in China. I also frequently attend classical music concerts at the UGA Performing Arts Center. Though not widely attended by students (or anybody below age 50), I always enjoy them. There is nothing quite like chatting with all of the elderly people in Athens during the intermission of an all-Tchaikovsky concert!
The craziest thing I’ve done is…
The craziest thing I have done is travel to China for a year. In fact, the response I received whenever I told anyone I was planning on spending a year in China was: “Are you crazy?” Indeed, I did do some crazy things while abroad, including taking a 24-hour hard-seat train ride, eating all sorts of interesting foods (bee larvae, dragonflies, dog, etc.), hiking along the North Korean border, getting into cars with strangers and spending about a month in rural China.
The time I spent with my roommate celebrating the Chinese New Year in his rural village is perhaps my craziest experience but also one of the most rewarding. Located in rural Anhui province, the unnamed, impoverished village is home to less than 300 people, almost all of whom have the last name Wang. His village, never before visited by foreigners, highlights the stark contrast present in China. Upon arriving there, it becomes difficult to imagine that the megacities of Beijing and Shanghai even exist.
Unlike the major cities of China, his village still observes the traditions that have existed there for centuries—particularly those related to the Chinese New Year. I vividly recall the morning of the New Year. Just before sunrise, I was awoken by the sounds of firecrackers right outside the door of my roommate’s three-room concrete home. Soon after, the village loudspeaker echoed with the sounds of the national anthem, encouraging all good citizens to “rise” and “march on.” When we finally did rise that morning, we dressed in our best clothes and went to every home in the village, wishing everyone a prosperous year. From roasting pig head to venerating ancient ancestors, the celebration was steeped in traditional culture.
Despite having a cold (without any source for heat) and a stomach virus (without any toilet), my time in this village was extremely rewarding and helped me to obtain a more comprehensive understanding of this complex nation. In addition, this experience helped me to further appreciate how fortunate we are to live in the United States. The little things—like being able to drink tap water—are more valuable to me now, but the grand ideals we share—freedom, opportunity, equality and education—are priceless.
My favorite place to study is…
My favorite place on campus to study depends on how much work I need to finish and how serious the work is. If I need to read hundreds of pages of intense legal theory over the course of several hours, I’ll certainly be at the third floor of the Science Library. If I have a few hours of light reading or a paper to write, I’ll probably be at the fifth or sixth floor of the Main Library near the windows overlooking south campus. If I just have an hour of Chinese character writing or a couple of articles to read, I’ll be in Moore College.
My favorite professor is…
My favorite professor is Dr. Kam-ming Wong of the Comparative Literature Department (now retired). During my first semester at UGA, I took Dr. Wong’s Asian-American literature course. Dr. Wong sparked my interest in immigration by showing me the American immigrant experience as reflected through literature. The wisdom he bestowed upon us was extremely valuable—both how to analyze literature and life lessons from within the texts. With a wealth of experience from his own life as an immigrant, Dr. Wong was the ideal professor for this course. I later took a Chinese language course with Dr. Wong. With his support, I decided to apply for a Boren Scholarship and spend a year studying abroad in China.
If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with…
If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would most like to share it with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. After spending a year in China, I better understand the critical need for effective international policy. To speak directly with Secretary Clinton about international affairs and public diplomacy would be very rewarding. As we move through the 21st century in the post-9/11 world, our nation must focus on developing a better understanding of other nations/cultures in order to ensure peace. I believe Secretary Clinton has made great progress in improving our nation’s international status and in creating more effective public diplomacy. It would be an honor to spend an afternoon discussing international affairs and the future of U.S. diplomacy with her.
If I knew I could not fail, I would…
If I knew I could not fail, I would probably run for president of the United States (the “not failing” here meaning I would neither lose the election, nor fail as a president)! This has been a long-running pseudo-joke for me since middle school, when I created my first campaign poster: “Vote Logan Krusac for President of Student Government in 2003, vote Logan Krusac for President of the United States in 2032!” Since then, I have matured some; and in high school, I decided I would run in 2044, instead. Then, as I told Chinese people of my interest in running for president in 2044, they explained that the number four—which sounds like the Chinese word for death—is particularly inauspicious.
While I still maintain my website votekrusac.com, my time in China showed me I no longer want to run for president—and not only because of the unlucky 2044 year. During my time abroad, I learned a great deal about international affairs and public diplomacy. I found myself acting not only as an international student, but also as an ambassador of the United States. I would try my best to explain what the U.S. truly stands for and what life is really like here. As I traveled around China, I realized how the world is becoming an increasingly small village of globalized nations. International affairs and public diplomacy should be a priority of our nation, not the neglected political issue it has been recently. So, therefore, I do not plan to run for president. I have scaled back my ambitions and plan, instead, to serve as Secretary of State!
If money was not a consideration, I would love to…
If I were extremely wealthy and if money were not a consideration, I would donate a large portion of my wealth to promote the causes/values I support. I’ve always hoped I would be able to do pro bono work as an immigration lawyer, and, if I were rich, I could do pro bono work 100 percent of the time. I’d spend my vacations traveling around the world to see Earth’s natural wonders and to better understand other cultures. I would also buy a lot of really good cheese, attend many classical music performances and have very nice cooking equipment.
After graduation, I plan to…
After graduation, I plan to work for a year or two in Washington, D.C., or abroad. I would like to narrow my focus before selecting what sort of graduate education I should pursue. I am currently considering joint MPP/JD programs, but this may change in the future. I would like to have a job in which I am interacting with and helping people on a regular basis. A career in the State Department working on public diplomacy or environmental issues would be particularly rewarding. I also hope to work on immigration policy at some point. Immigration is one of our nation’s greatest assets—it’s the foundation of who we are. We must recognize the historical value of immigration and protect immigrant rights for the future.
The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…
One UGA experience I will always remember is my campaign for the U.S. Congressional candidate Bobby Saxon. I vividly remember walking around campus with the “Vote Bobby Saxon” sign all day, every day. Even though Bobby lost the election, the experience of meeting hundreds of people on campus each day was great! Whether riding around the district in Bobby’s pickup truck, going shotgun shooting with Bobby’s opponent, speaking at random to students on campus or being known as “the Bobby Saxon guy,” the valuable experience of working on Bobby’s campaign is one I will never forget.