Amazing Students

Lindsay Berman

Lindsay Berman (Photos by Chad Osburn/UGA)

Future doctor Lindsay Berman plans to continue making her life about serving others by being generous with her time, investing in friendships, volunteering, and joining the medical profession where her career will be about alleviating suffering.

Milton, GA

High school: 
Cambridge High School

Family ties to UGA:
My older brother, Ethan, is a member of UGA’s Class of 2015. He was always a big part of making sure there was plenty of red and black around the house growing up, so cheering for the Dawgs is now second nature to us!

Expected graduation:
Spring 2019

Degree objective: 
B.S. in biology, B.S. in psychology

Other degrees:
Minor in Spanish

University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:
Summing up what my time at UGA has meant for me academically, professionally and personally is really tough to do with such limited words on a page. Since the second I stepped foot on UGA’s campus, there were a few things I knew I really wanted to do. I knew I wanted to get involved with UGA Relay For Life, volunteer in the community, contribute to cancer research, and, obviously, meet new friends while keeping the old. If I really knew what UGA had to offer, I think I would have dreamed even bigger.

Since my freshman year, I’ve had the great privilege of volunteering at Mercy Health Center, a Christian health resource center in Athens that serves the surrounding uninsured and underinsured population. Serving as a prayer volunteer, I have had a unique opportunity to offer Mercy patients spiritual and personal encouragement as they share their obstacles and hardships with me. I’ve met patients who have opened up about families broken by drugs, alcohol, abuse, mental illness or imprisonment. Getting vulnerable with our patients has humbled me and challenged me to use my privilege to advocate for those who aren’t so fortunate. While I can’t do much but listen and pray for them, I’ve learned that sometimes listening without judgment can offer even the tiniest hope. I have also served as a check-in volunteer, assisting office staff in answering phone calls, scheduling appointments, and helping Mercy patients have a pleasant experience from as soon as they walk through the door. This year, I have served as the Spiritual Care Team leader, scheduling prayer volunteers and encouraging them to love on our patients the best they can. Even more than that, being able to observe the full-time Mercy staff and the volunteer physicians treat our patients with such dignity and compassion has inspired me to carry that servant-minded mission of Mercy with me wherever I go.

Everyone who knows me knows how big my heart for UGA Relay For Life is. I’ve participated in Relay since middle school in honor of my dad who passed from cancer when I was a baby, and I planned to continue that at UGA. My freshman year, I was a member of the inaugural Freshman Development Committee, an experience that showed me for the first time that I can actually make a large impact in the cancer world. My sophomore year, I got to lead the next Freshman Development Committee as the Freshman Development chair on UGA Relay’s Executive Board. This experience really taught me how much mentorship fills me and brings me joy. My junior year, I served as the Team Relations co-chair, which allowed me to inspire the rest of campus to join the fight against cancer and gave me the license to incessantly talk about this cause I am so passionate about. To cap off my time with UGA Relay, I have served as the development director this year, mobilizing our members to inspire all parts of UGA’s community — Greeks, athletes, freshmen, other student organizations, and students everywhere — to join the fight. I’m so grateful for this family that has given me endless opportunities to make sure my dad’s death wasn’t in vain, and I hope that each of you reading this know that there is a community at UGA that is fighting for you and your loved ones who have had to face cancer.

Since my junior year, I have been an undergraduate researcher in associate professor Mandi Murph’s lab in the Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences Department. With the help of my graduate student, Sudeepti Kuppa, and in collaboration with Dr. Zheng’s lab, I have been primarily studying potential metastatic melanoma and ovarian cancer pharmacotherapies, namely protein arginine-methyltransferase 1 inhibitors. I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to master lab techniques such as cell culture and counting, cell viability, protein extraction, Western blotting and cell transfection. I was honored to win the Best B.S. Poster Award for this research at the Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences Research Day in 2018. My time working under Dr. Murph’s supervision has given me a tangible way to contribute to the fight against cancer and has given me a new appreciation for those scientists out there who are tirelessly searching for the cure (or, probably, cures).

In the summer of 2018, I had the special opportunity to study abroad with UGA in Spain’s Medical Spanish Program in Peru, which was made possible for me thanks to generous Honors International Scholars Program donors. For one month, I had the most enriching experience visiting Inca ruins like Machu Picchu, shadowing doctors of all kinds of specialties in hospitals throughout Trujillo, Peru, living with a host family, and diving into the local activities, such as surfing. This was the first time in all of my time studying Spanish that I was pushed to actually develop my conversation skills with natives. I also got to meet some amazing doctors whose lessons about patient care I will carry with me. I also can’t talk about Peru without bragging on my amazing host family who took my roommate and me in as their own, and the other 18 students that were part of my group — y’all rock!

Lastly, I am grateful for Terry’s Institute for Leadership Advancement Fellows program, which has developed me into a more well-rounded leader. With ILA, I have been challenged to explore who I am and what I value, and what that means for how I will choose to lead those around me professionally and personally. This past February, I had the distinct honor of meeting and introducing Alana Shepherd, co-founder of the Shepherd Center at Terry’s Mason Public Leadership Lecture. Currently through ILA, some of my fellow students and I are working on a service-learning project with the Cancer Foundation of Northeast Georgia to increase their social media presence and community outreach. ILA has constantly pushed me to live out their values of responsibility, stewardship, excellence, integrity and purpose, and I’m so thankful for their guidance in becoming the woman I want to be.

I chose to attend UGA because …
… it really has it all. During high school, I often visited my brother while he was an undergrad here, and he graciously showed me everything UGA has to offer from the beautiful campus to the friendly people to the delicious food and the proximity to nature. I knew I wanted to spend my four years after high school at an institution that would have the academic opportunities I was looking for, but also be full of fun-loving, kind people who would make my memories truly unforgettable. With the prestigious Honors College, endless research opportunities, booming social life, and, let’s face it, the Zell Miller Scholarship, no other school could beat what UGA had to offer, and I couldn’t see myself thriving anywhere else (and I was right!).

My favorite things to do on campus are … 
… attending sporting events. While UGA football gamedays are hard to beat, I also love supporting the Dawgs in Stegeman, Foley and elsewhere. Though being on campus usually means I’m studying, I also love walking around North Campus with a friend and admiring our beautiful school. I also enjoy running around Lake Herrick on a sunny day.

When I have free time, I like …
… to spend it with people. Being pre-med usually doesn’t allow for much free time, but when I have it I love being with my friends whether it’s eating at a restaurant downtown, going on a run, going to a basketball game, doing a puzzle, or just watching Netflix and having a wine night. I also recently picked up boxing at Keppner Boxing Gym, which is a great way to get fit and get some of those frustrations out. Really, it’s very cathartic.

The craziest thing I’ve done is …
… take surfing lessons from local Peruvians in Spanish — not the safest when it’s your first time and Spanish is your second language. My entire study abroad group and I decided to split the cost for an hour with the guys at the local surf shop, and it was just a big crazy adventure for us. Everything turned out OK, no one got hurt, and it turns out that it’s true — you really can just watch and learn (if you don’t know what they’re saying).

My favorite place to study is …
… the fourth floor of Tate or Jittery Joe’s off campus. The fourth floor of Tate, especially at night, is a perfect mix between calm so you can focus, but also some background noise if you can’t focus in silence. Jit Joe’s is great if it isn’t too crowded — get some coffee, pop in some ear buds, and learn the things.

My favorite professor is … 
This is a tough one, but I want to highlight three people who have brought me where I am today. First, Karl Espelie. He gets a lot of shout-outs in these profiles, but there’s a reason. Whenever I’ve gone into Dr. Espelie’s office for one of our hourlong advising appointments, he’s always offered such individualized concern and attention. It’s so clear that he really wants to see me succeed, and he is always generous with his time. He helped perfectly craft my class schedule when I knew my interests but had no idea what to take. I’ve met doctors I have shadowed in his seminar. He always answers the phone, even during the summertime when I called freaking out about my MCAT, and he is the guy who pointed me to Dr. Murph’s lab. He even supports me in my Relay endeavors, and I know he’ll be at my white coat ceremony in Augusta in the fall. I cannot overemphasize how I don’t think I would be where I am today without Dr. Espelie’s selflessness, wisdom, guidance and compassion.

I’m also so grateful for Mandi Murph and her investment in me. She has given me so many opportunities as a research assistant to develop my own lab skills and critical thinking as a scientist. She has given me the resources to learn, and also the freedom to explore my interests. I’m thankful for the way she has helped me develop my scientific mind.

I also want to brag on Sylvia Hutchinson. Last year, I took a seminar led by Dr. Hutchinson that emphasized the importance of compassion and empathy in the medical profession. She, too, connected me with some of the amazing doctors I’ve shadowed who have been a great example of patient-centered doctors. Early on in the semester, Dr. Hutchinson took me out to lunch, and I loved hearing the stories she had to share about being a career woman, a good friend, and a compassionate person. Before I applied to med school, Dr. Hutchinson sat down with me individually to critique my personal statement. Without her, I’m not sure I would have been able to effectively encapsulate why I want to be a doctor in just 5,300 characters. It’s because of these two professors and their intentional investment in me that I have grown to be the woman I am right now.

If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with …
… my dad. I regret that I didn’t have the opportunity to get to know him before he passed, and I would love to spend an afternoon picking his brain and getting to know part of where I come from. My mom’s and my brother’s stories have shed a little light on the caring, intelligent, silly goofball that he was, and I would love to get to know him for myself. Though I wish he were here, I know there was a purpose behind his death, and I like to think that he’s smiling right now as I write these words — I hope I’m making him proud.

If I knew I could not fail, I would …
… cure cancer. I know it’s pretty cliche to say this, but I have already seen cancer take too much from too many in my short time on this Earth. It’s unreal to think that each individual on this planet has been touched by cancer whether through a parent, grandparent, sibling, distant relative, friend or themself that has had to face the tragedy of this disease.

If money was not a consideration, I would love to …
… travel to every Spanish-speaking country, and then to the rest of the world. There’s a restless part of me that is aware of my narrow-mindedness and ignorance, and I long to see the rest of the world. For a long time, my mind’s scope hardly branched out of the United States, and since I’ve had a taste of the rest of the world in traveling to Canada, Spain and Peru, I want to absorb everything I can from all the cultures of the world, learning from others and their unique perspectives. My mom is also from the Philippines, and I have never been able to visit, so I hope to be there one day and get to know my roots.

What is your passion and how are you committed to pursuing it?
My passion is to use my life to the service of and the betterment of others’ lives. Sometimes this is accomplished through a big gesture, such as fundraising $1,000 for UGA Relay For Life so that a cancer patient and their caregiver can stay for free in a Hope Lodge for 100 days when traveling to treatment. However, sometimes making someone else’s life better is in the small things, like helping a friend understand a difficult concept in “Cell Biology” or sitting with a friend after a rough day. I believe that if I am to serve others in my career, I must also serve them in my personal life. Servant-mindedness is a lifestyle and an attitude. My faith is at the center of how I can have the ability to think about others before myself, because it doesn’t come naturally to me at all. Moving forward, I plan to continue making my life about serving others by being generous with my time, investing in friendships, volunteering, and joining the medical profession where my career will be about alleviating suffering.

After graduation, I plan to …
… attend the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta!

The one UGA experience I will always remember will be …
… studying abroad in Peru. That month abroad was huge in shifting my perspective and giving me a longing to know the world. I also met some of my closest friends that will be my lifelong friends there. Being in Peru also helped me become more confident in my Spanish-speaking skills, something I want to master so I can one day be of service to Spanish speakers who prefer speaking about their health care in Spanish.