ValaRae Partee finds value in conducting research and community service projects that help children. Her ultimate goal is to develop a process by which living organisms are used to clean the air. Given unlimited resources, the environmental engineering junior from Lithonia wants to save the planet.
Southwest Dekalb High School
B.S. in environmental engineering
University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:
I have been blessed with many opportunities in my undergraduate career. My proudest achievement so far is founding the National Society of Black Engineers here at UGA. Our chapter was created in July of 2012 and I have never been more proud of myself.
I have also been in research since my freshman year. I was accepted to a summer research program in 2011 and 2012 and Rutgers and Georgia Tech respectively. My most recent summer research experience at Georgia Tech was genuinely life changing. I met so many amazing students that inspired me to be a better student and a better person.
Other highlights include:
…being a National Society of Collegiate Scholars member
…participating in Miss Black University of Georgia Pageant 2012
…participating in a Life Swap Documentary about breaking stereotypes
…being a PEACH SLSAMP Building Bridges Scholar
…being a Research in Science and Engineering Scholar
…being a New Jersey Space Grant Consortium Scholar
…being a Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology MARC Scholar
Family Ties to UGA:
I am the first Bulldog of my family but I will certainly not be the last.
I chose to attend UGA because…
I wanted to go to a really great school that was affordable and relatively close to home. I’ve had many friends attend the University of Georgia, and they have all loved the experience. Also, the school pride is unmatched.
My favorite things to do on campus are…
spending time with friends on campus, watching movies at Tate and attending Dawgs After Dark.
When I have free time, I like…
take personal time to relax. I also enjoy community service projects that involve helping children. If I do not spend my summers doing research, then I am volunteering at summer camps for children with disabilities.
The craziest thing I’ve done is…
get on the roof on my church with no way down. We were in the process of turning an old building into our new church and I wanted to help. One of the church tasks was painting the roof so I volunteered. I was able to get on the roof but I was too scared to get back down. It took a while to talk me down and I will probably never to it again.
My favorite place to study is…
in my bed when I first wake up. That is when my mind is most alert, and I am the most productive.
My favorite professor is…
Dr. Siddharth Savadatti in the engineering department. I took his fluid mechanics class in spring 2012. The class was extremely difficult but the material was very interesting. “Sid” did an excellent job at breaking down the information and making the class entertaining. Though he is an awesome professor, his grading is fierce, to say the least. Overall, his class made me feel more like an engineer and an independent student.
If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with…
I would love to spend another afternoon with my grandmother, Stella Marie Bishop. She is, to this day, the strongest woman I have ever known. I would love to catch her up on my life and gain some wisdom from her life experiences.
If I knew I could not fail, I would…
I would save the planet. First, I would somehow find a balance between the need’s of humanity and the Earth’s ability to sustainably provide for its inhabitants. My ultimate life goal is to develop a method for atmospheric bioremediation which is a process by which living organisms are used to clean the air. After fixing the planet, I would play the lottery so that I could bless my family and friends, set up several scholarships for students at UGA, and finally buy myself a car. I would probably go skydiving, too.
If money was not a consideration, I would love to…
take a few semesters off to study abroad in Australia, India, Europe, China, Africa and Brazil. I still have not had the opportunity to get outside of the continental U.S., and I would absolutely love to travel and experience new cultures.
After graduation, I plan to…
I will go to graduate school to get my Ph.D. in environmental engineering. Then, I would like to settle down and start a family.
The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…
The massive snowball fight that happened near the freshman high rises right before the spring semester of school in 2011. It was so much fun and everyone was united, in a sense. Also, we were pretty happy that classes were cancelled for a few days.