Amazing Students Profiles

Kip Lacy

Kip Lacy

Kip Lacy, a senior majoring in ecology and biology, has a passion for research, specifically with fire ants, but sometimes that conflicts with his other passion: music.



High School:

Druid Hills High School

Degree objective:

B.S. in ecology, B.S. in biology

Expected graduation:

Spring 2016

University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:

— CURO Summer Fellow 2015
— Goldwater Scholarship Honorable Mention 2015
— Honors International Scholar 2014
— Franklin College Study Abroad Scholar 2014
— Thelma Richardson-Frank Golley Award Recipient 2014
— Presidential Scholar (Summer 2014, Spring 2013), Dean’s List (Spring 2014, 2015, Fall 2012, 2013, 2014)

Current Employment:

Student researcher in Ken Ross’ fire ant lab in the entomology department.

I chose to attend UGA because…

… of the wide variety of life science classes and programs offered here. I was unsure of what exactly I wanted to major in heading into college, so the diversity of degree options appealed to me.

My favorite things to do on campus are…

One of my favorite things to do is to eat lunch at the turtle pond outside the ecology building — a little slice of heaven right on campus. I love to read in the third floor reading room in the main library with the full wall of windows facing the quad. I also love to longboard down some of the big hills on campus at night when there aren’t any cars around.

When I have free time, I like…

… to play and listen to music! I play drums in a rock band in town called Big Morgan, I make and record electronic music in my room, and I directed and sang in an a cappella group on campus called the Ecotones for the past three years. Music is a huge part of my daily life. I also enjoy reading, playing Frisbee and the occasional backpacking or camping trip.

The craziest thing I’ve done is…

… ziplining from mountain peak to mountain peak through clouds in Monteverde, Costa Rica!

My favorite place to study is…

… the science library. The chairs and tables on the main floor are the perfect heights for each other. The only problem is that it seems to be everyone else’s favorite place as well, which makes for a somewhat distracting environment. When I really need to focus, I stand at my desk at home.

My favorite professor is…

… John Wares of the genetics and ecology department. He’s brilliant and exudes an infectious passion for evolution. He also treats students as equals, which in the discussion-based “Evolution and Climate Change in Oceans” class I took with him cultivated a respectful environment that was integral to the course’s success.

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

… Killer Mike, a rapper from Atlanta who in addition to being an outstanding lyricist is an incredible public speaker and has been outspoken about social justice and police brutality in the past year. He also seems to have a golden perspective on life, and I’d love to spend an afternoon fishing with him.

If I knew I could not fail, I would…

… pursue careers in both research and music at the same time. Since my first experience in a lab I’ve wanted to be a researcher. I also love music and have low-key dreams of success as a recording artist. Unfortunately, both require a tremendous time investment. It’s likely that I’ll end up as a researcher with a music hobby, which wouldn’t be bad at all!

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

… spend a month or so surfing on a Central American beach. Some of the happiest times of my life have been my few experiences surfing, and I’d love to chase that feeling!

After graduation, I plan to…

… spend a year as a lab technician to gain further research experience and publish a couple of peer-reviewed articles. After that, my goal is to enter a Ph.D. program in the realm of evolutionary biology. The specific field of study I’m most familiar with through my current research is fire ant social biology and evolution, and I’m currently looking into pursuing a thesis on that subject in a Ph.D. program in ecology and evolution at the University of Laussane in Switzerland.

The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…

… my Tropical Ecology study abroad program in Costa Rica. The sheer biodiversity in the tropics is absolutely incredible, and having never been south of the U.S. before, I was absolutely amazed. I also was privileged to spend the month with an incredible professor, Scott Connelly, who has a knack for offering not just instruction, but further helping students to understand the big picture. I also met the most amazing group of fun-loving and like-minded ecology students, many of whom I’ve remained close with since.