Although graduate student Chris Tucker was born without a major part of his heart, he lets nothing get in his way. His voice and frame are weak, but as a Student Ambassador with the Center for International Trade and Security he has given presentations to local high schools on national security issues and has won rave reviews. He graduated last fall and has continued his education at UGA with the pursuit of a master’s degree. After graduation, he wants a career in public service or to write a book. No matter what he does, he says his primary goal is to find a job where he can enjoy himself as well as make a difference.
Collins Hill High School
Master of Arts in political science
B.A., International Affairs, University of Georgia
University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:
I worked as a volunteer for WUOG 90.5FM for four years. During that time, I was Public Affairs Director for a year and a half and News Director for a year. I hosted my own weekly talk show called “All Up In Yo’ Grill,” anchored a weekly news magazine “Athens Journal,” DJ’d a regular music shift, organized a DJ Date Auction to benefit Relay for Life, and organized a seven-hour live Election Night special in 2004. I have served as a Student Ambassador for the Center for International Trade & Security for two years. During that time, I presented to dozens of classrooms on the topics of “Chinese Politics & Economics,” “Ethiopian History & Myth,” and “Narco-terrorism.” From that, I was most humbled to be awarded the Martin J. Hillenbrand Student Ambassador of the Year for 2004.
I work in the Center for International Trade & Security as a research assistant. I adore my job because I’m able to be in an office surrounded with brilliant minds working on tough challenges in global politics, the most prevalent of which is curbing the threat of weapons of mass destruction. On any given day, I could find myself showing a group of Chinese visitors around campus, reading through foreign law books, editing papers or compiling newsletters to be read by people all over the world and within American government. I’m very lucky to have the job I have and the opportunities that it has given me.
Family Ties to UGA:
I am the first of my family to attend the University of Georgia. I hope, however, in the next couple of years that my younger brother, Noah, will be coming to Athens to be a Bulldog.
I chose to attend UGA because…
In my mind, the choice was always between Georgia Tech or UGA. After visiting Athens, I decided that UGA was far and away the place for me. The atmosphere is incredible. Compared to anywhere else, UGA is the brightest, safest and friendliest place I have ever been. For a while, Georgia Tech was merely a “safety school” for me until I was accepted to UGA.
My favorite things to do on campus are…
…to grab a giant 32 ounce sweet tea at the Bulldog Cafe, play cheap pool with friends, attend the interesting speakers (especially comedians) that University Union brings to campus and spend an hour unwinding by myself while playing one of those puzzle arcade machines in the Tate Gameroom.
When I have free time, I like…
…catching up on sleep, playing video games with friends, going out for a fried chicken sandwich and sweet tea or just sitting on the couch eating ice cream.
The craziest thing I’ve done is…
…participated in the DJ Date Auction. During a date auction the radio station sponsored to benefit Relay for Life, I decided at the last minute to auction myself off at the end. I managed to tromp my ninety pound physique on the stage and with my oversized glasses, I danced around on stage to “U + ME = US” by 2Gether. I think I sold for $30 to a friend. I’ve never been more embarrassed, nor have I laughed harder in my life.
My favorite place to study is…
…the fifth floor of Memorial Hall which is home to WUOG 90.5FM. For those who have never been up to the 5th Floor, there are windows peering in all directions as well as an incredible glass skylight. I love to be up there very late at night, when either I am DJing or it is just myself and the DJ. While studying, I can peer in any direction and see the lights from the Student Learning Center, Russell Hall or the stands at Sanford Stadium. When it is raining, the water pinging off of the skylight can create a very soothing and relaxed atmosphere for studying, if the music isn’t enough.
My favorite professor is…
…Gary Bertsch. I have had some truly amazing professors in my time at UGA, however, there is not anyone else I’d rather call a friend than him. Aside from being an incredibly knowledgeable man on any and all aspects of political science, he’s a most caring and compassionate person when it comes to his students. I always feel like I can go and talk to him whenever I need help with classes or even just to chat. I once had the pleasure of visiting Washington D.C. with him for an academic conference. He took the time to introduce me to all sorts of very interesting people and truly tried to include me in the conference.
If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with…
…my family. There are fewer people truly more inspirational to me than my own parents. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t try to model myself everyday after their example. My parents never let me define myself or see myself based on my disability. They were there to encourage me and take care of me after every surgery, every medical procedure, every doctor visit, regardless of what it took or what the doctors told them. When I was little, I had to go to Mayo Clinic in Minnesota for open heart surgery. My mother was nine months pregnant with my little brother and inches of snow fell everyday outside. Yet, both my parents stayed near the hospital (in what is now a Ronald McDonald house) and managed to be by my bedside every single day. I can’t imagine anyone more inspirational and more caring than those two, which is why if I could spend an afternoon with anyone, it would be at home with them.
If I knew I could not fail, I would…
…write a book. I have always wanted to write a book, or series of books and have them published. It’s a personal goal to see my thoughts, my experiences and my words influence someone else and inspire someone else. There’s a certain degree of immortality with writing a book or an influential paper. I think it would be a very honorable and humbling experience to one day be published, regardless of if its a fictional tale, a story of my life or my thoughts on the world. I cannot fathom anything more satisfying than to have someone, even just one person, pick up my writing and feel influenced by it. When I hosted a talk show, nothing was more gratifying than people approaching me on the street and complimenting me on a particular rant or a particular show segment. It means something when you influence someone else that day, even if it’s just making them laugh with a silly joke book.
After graduation, I plan to…
…pursue a career in public service working on nonproliferation issues for the U.S. government or continue my education to become a professor. Either way, I just want a job where I can enjoy myself as well as make a difference. I think, in the end, that’s what everybody hopes to do after graduation.
The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…
…building an ill-fated Homecoming float for WUOG 90.5FM. I was the Homecoming Coordinator for WUOG in 2004, and I really wanted to build and ride on a float. We had no money for supplies so I borrowed a decaying old wooden trailer from a friend of a friend. With the help of a few close friends, we used old vinyl and spelled out “WUOG” on the rotting sides of the trailer, took CDs and spelled out “90.5FM” on the back. For a costume, I was a knight wearing a large blinding pizza box covered in CDs, and I wielded a giant duct tape cardboard sword. Our Homecoming queen candidate wore a tiara made of purple CD shards. Unfortunately, we never were able to enter in the parade because after all that work, we couldn’t find a truck to tow it!