Amazing Students Profiles

Erika Martinez-Uribe

Erika Martinez-Uribe

Erika Martinez-Uribe has enjoyed all the little things about being a student at UGA. From broadening of her appreciation for dance, theater and music through attending many campus performances to reading on campus lawns, Erika has made sure that she has taken full advantage of the UGA experience. Erika is a biology major who has conducted research at the university’s the Complex Carbohydrate Research Center and next year will begin medical school at the Medical College of Georgia.


Fayetteville, Ga.

High School:

Fayette County High School

Degree objective:

B.S. in biology

Expected graduation:

Spring 2010

University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:

One of the highlights of my experience here has been becoming acquainted with the arts and the broadening of my appreciation for dance, theater and music. As a science major, a lot of times I felt I was becoming alienated from those important foundations. But UGA makes everything essential, and I think that is what education is truly all about.

Current Employment:

I am currently working in the Complex Carbohydrate Research Center. It’s a wonderful building full of wonderful, hard working people, including my boss, Professor Michael Pierce, and Dr. Gerardo Alvarez-Manilla. I began working there for the BIOL 4960 class and asked to be hired. And they said “yes,” thankfully! Findings from the first project I helped on were published in the journal Glycobiology. I helped characterize an important enzyme known as glycosyltransferase. The enzyme has been shown to have an important role in forming interesting carbohydrate structures during the development of cancer.

Family Ties to UGA:

My father is an associate professor in the department of plant pathology at the UGA campus in Griffin. He also is a turfgrass, small grains and forage disease specialist for cooperative extension. Also, Dr. Scott Gold, also a professor in the plant pathology department, is like family and is the person who introduced us to UGA.

I chose to attend UGA because…

…I lived in Athens while in middle school and became familiar with the town and the university in particular. Back then it seemed that UGA was constantly expanding, and the Miller Learning Center was just being built and actually it seemed like it was never going to be finished. I have always had a tender spot for UGA. It seemed like a natural and good deal to come here. And I am thankful I did.

My favorite things to do on campus are…

…camping out in the Science Library for cramming purposes and sitting, reading or lying out on the grass in the little field in front of the ROTC building. During the spring and summer the sun shines at its fullest there.

When I have free time, I like…

…to go to the dance or music performances on campus with friends. Also, I love to read, anything really, but in particular the classics. On a less intellectual note, I often visit to get caught up on the latest TV shows. And if I really have time, which is not often, I go to Vision Video and enjoy their “five movies for five dollars” deal and watch away!

My favorite place to study is…

…at the Science Library. You can also find me at Jittery Joe’s or Two Story coffee house in Five Points! People in these places sort of force you to study because they’re so intent and quiet; it seems polite to do the same.

My favorite professor is…

…Dr. Karl Espelie. He was my entomology professor and also is my advisor. I appreciate his constant support and friendship and I know many students feel the same way, but I truly would be lost without him. I also must mention a couple of great role models. Dr. Betty Jean Craige, who is a comparative literature professor, makes me want to be just as intellectual as she is. She has a way of opening your mind to the state of the world and I love her spirit. And although I didn’t get to really know Dr. Bram Tucker, he is always on my list of favorites. He was my anthropology professor freshman year and I absolutely loved his class.

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

…Frederic Chopin. He was a very talented composer and performer who I would love to meet. I am haunted by his music every time, as if I had never heard it before. I love his Impromptus and his Polonaise # 6 in A flat, also known as Héroïque. He was Polish, but I wouldn’t mind learning his language in order to communicate with him.

If I knew I could not fail, I would…

…swim across the English Channel. It’s been a goal of mine to be athletic one day, and this would be such a challenge of merit and stamina.

After graduation, I plan to…

…attend medical school at the Medical College of Georgia. I look forward to working hard and becoming the best doctor I can be. This is what I have worked for, and I can’t wait.

The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…

…my daily treks around campus. I hold so many memories in just about every building here. I want to keep them close at hand to remind me why I find UGA to be such a special place.