Adam Thomas is working to make a difference. He is a senior double major in history and geography with a 4.00 GPA. He has been involved in JURO@GA, the Journal for Undergraduate Research Opportunities, as fine arts editor, and he is in UGA’s Epsilon Pi chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, the national history honor society. He has worked with the University Judiciary, Habitat for Humanity, UGA Safe Space, the Lambda Alliance and Amnesty International. As a Foundation Fellow, Thomas has been able to travel around the world, and he was in Germany when that country won third place in the World Cup. After graduation, he wants to pursue graduate degrees in law and public health so he can continue his work as an educator and advocate against the spread of HIV and AIDS, especially among young people.
Northwest School of the Arts
A.B. in history, A.B. in geography
University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:
I was lucky enough to be selected as a UGA Foundation Fellow. It has provided me with chances to travel to New Zealand, Greece, Turkey, South Korea and Germany, experiencing small snippets of cultures that I have only dreamed about. I’ve also served as director of recruitment and development and director of case administration for the University Judiciary, and as the administrative secretary and vice president of campus outreach for UGA’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity. I have been the fine arts editor and operations manager for JURO@GA (the online undergraduate humanities and fine arts research journal at UGA), the field director for UGA Stonewall Students, a team captain for the Delta Prize for Global Understanding Student Selection Committee, and the director of resources for Lambda Alliance. Additionally, I have served as the community liaison for AIDS Walk Athens, and I worked with Amnesty International, Young Democrats, Tate Society, and Phi Alpha Theta, the history honor society. I was also selected as a finalist for the Harry S. Truman Scholarship, an award for undergraduates dedicated to public service.
I have previously worked at the Mint Museum of Art in Charlotte, N.C. I also have held two internships in AIDS organizations, one local, at AIDS Athens, and one national, with the AIDS Alliance for Children, Youth and Families. At AIDS Athens, I was engaged in testing and prevention activities. At the AIDS Alliance, I worked on policy and administrative activities, giving me very real insight into how a national non-profit works.
Family Ties to UGA:
My mom and dad met while attending UGA and were married while they were students here.
I chose to attend UGA because…
…I was born and raised a Georgia Bulldog. I’ve been to dozens of football games since I was a kid and love Athens and the Dawgs. Combined with the opportunity to interact with scholars, both those my own age and those who serve as mentors and professors, I knew that UGA would provide me an opportunity to grow as a person, while enjoying the most friendly (and fun) community in the nation.
My favorite things to do on campus are…
…kicking back on north campus or in Hot Corner downtown, enjoying a cup of coffee, and reading the paper. It’s also been a blast unwinding in the LGBT Resource Center over the past year, on what are probably the most comfortable couches on all of campus.
When I have free time, I like…
…to head over to Ramsey with a copy of “The Economist” and try to get in some cardio work. Working out takes away a lot of my stress and allows me to forget the pile of homework I have looming over me. I also enjoy catching movies at Cine or a concert at the 40 Watt.
The craziest thing I’ve done is…
…climbing a horse statue in Muenster, Germany, after Germany won third place in the 2006 World Cup. There were thousands and thousands of singing fans below me, celebrating their team’s victory. The people were so excited that they were shaking the statue on which I was perched, almost knocking the old bronze statue off of its foundation.
My favorite place to study is…
…on my couch in my apartment. Being at home, in an environment that I know well, is comforting, particularly when trying to study. I can put music on in the background, grab a soda or a snack, and get to work. And if I get tired, I can just walk over to my bed, and wake up early the next morning to finish up.
My favorite professor is…
…Reinaldo Roman in the history department. He is remarkable for his ability to be both interesting and informative. His lectures cover huge amounts of material in entertaining ways. Before taking his Caribbean Religions class, I had never studied the history of this region. After taking both this class and his History of Cuba course, I am now planning on writing my Honors thesis in this field.
If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with…
…my great-grandfather. He was forced to leave Ireland when he was very young and he immigrated to the United States, establishing the household that would become the roots of my family tree. While he was never very successful professionally and struggled financially throughout his life, he never gave up. His strength serves as an inspiration for the rest of my family. Though he passed away well before I was born, I would love to talk with him about his life and from where he drew his inner strength.
If I knew I could not fail, I would…
…establish a non-profit somewhere in the south, likely Atlanta, dedicated to fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic and confronting bias against LGBT individuals. It disheartens me when I witness the blatant discrimination that is so readily accepted in our region and would love to spend my life dedicated to confronting such practices.
After graduation, I plan to…
…attend law school, pursuing either a J.D./M.P.P. or J.D./Ph.D. dual degree program, with a focus on health policy. From there, I would like to work in regional public policy and public health, with a focus on sex education, AIDS and civil rights. This could come in the form of a non-profit or in a career as a professor of law or policy.
The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…
…traveling to South Korea, spending a week living in two Buddhist monasteries and speaking with some of the leading lights in Korean Buddhism. Hearing from these wise individuals, whose role bridges the political, spiritual, and economic realms of their nation, I gained a sense of how much difference one individual can actually make. We also were able to briefly meet the South Korean scientists engaged in the cloning scandal of a few years ago, which was unexpected and intriguing for all involved.