Amazing Students

Nicholas Twiner

Nicholas Twiner

When Nicholas Twiner was selecting a school, he knew he wanted to study abroad, do research and have the whole college experience. He found all that and much more at UGA.


Atlanta, GA

High School:

St. Pius X High School

Degree objective:

Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics, Classical Languages, and Classical Culture

Expected graduation:

December 2017

University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:

I have been incredibly fortunate to attend a university where I have had such incredible opportunities to get involved, participate in research and explore all my passions.

Academically, the University of Georgia has empowered me to achieve more than I thought I would. Research through the Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities has been such an important part of my academic career. It has pushed me to understand and explore the field of linguistics more thoroughly—to go beyond the classroom and understand what research looks like, how to do it, and what the pressing questions are in my field. Through both excellent mentoring and the help of the CURO assistantship, I have had the opportunity to share my work at conferences across the country—literally from coast to coast. I traveled to California this past winter to share my work in Berkley, and went to a regional linguistics conference in Charleston last spring break. I could not have done this without my incredible mentors and professors who have pushed me and my research every step of the way.

In terms of classics awards, I have been awarded the Warlick-Manion Scholarship for Classical Studies, The Classical Association of the Midwest and South award for Excellence in Classical Scholarship, and the Thompson Scholarship for Classics study abroad. I received funding through the Honors International Scholars Program to fund a summer study abroad program in Rome, Italy. Outside of specific awards, I have also joined Phi Beta Kappa and was named the Freshman College Scholar of the Year in 2014.

I have been involved in many student organizations since coming to UGA. My freshman year, I got involved with the Demosthenian Literary Society and the Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention (RSVP) student group. Later, I became invested in Eta Sigma Phi and Omicron Delta Kappa. In Demosthenian, I had the honor to serve as hall administrator where I was tasked with renting and maintaining the fourth oldest building on campus. With RSVP, I have had the opportunity to engage our campus in a discussion of healthy relationships and how to help make our campus safer. Last year, I served as the vice president for event planning where I planned both small workshops as well as large hundred-person awareness events. For my work in RSVP, I have been awarded the Trailblazer Award and Judge’s Award for Excellence in Health Education by the University Health Center.

My sophomore year, I joined Eta Sigma Phi, the classics honors society, and served as president of that group last year. In that role, I was responsible for planning the second annual classics undergraduate research conference, which brought together young scholars from across the nation. I have also been fortunate to be a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, a leadership honors society, where I have been introduced to such incredible friends. The organization unites leaders from across campus to build community and help shape a better campus. For this organization, I am planning a campus leadership mixer to bring together even more leaders for such an amazing event. I have been recognized for my leadership by receiving the Honors Program’s Crane Leadership Scholarship and by joining the Blue Key Honor Society.

Current Employment:

Since freshman year, I have worked at the UGA Center for Continuing Education where I helped prepare for educational programs. The main program I work with is Summer Academy at UGA, which gives middle school and high school students the opportunity to explore their interests in math, science and the arts. This past summer I served as the assistant director for that program.

Family Ties to UGA:

My mother graduated from UGA in a year she would probably prefer I not say. She studied management information systems and has been a proud Bulldawg fan my entire life. Now, I also have a cousin at UGA who is in his sophomore year.

I chose to attend UGA because…

… it had everything I wanted to do and was a great value. I have been able to balance my studies, my involvement, work and fun because of the resources UGA offers. I knew I wanted to study abroad, do research and have a whole college experience. The opportunity to do all of those were laid out so clearly and were so easy to do. The UGA Honors Program gave me resources and funding to study abroad, while also helping to connect with other students. Additionally, because of programs like the Zell Miller Scholarship, UGA was the economic choice as well.

My favorite things to do on campus are…

I love coming to campus early in the morning and going for a walk before starting my work for the day. Campus is so quiet and it can be very peaceful. You can stop by the library, grab some books, and just ground yourself before you begin your day.

When I have free time, I like…

You can always find me reading the news, a great think piece, or listening to one of my many podcast subscriptions. It’s such a nice way to unwind when you can just listen and think without having to provide an output. I also love to get food with friends—especially breakfast. I have a firm ranking of Athens-area bagels if anyone is interested.

The craziest thing I’ve done is…

During my study abroad, through the UGA Classics in Rome program, I traveled around Italy learning the physical and material components of the ancient world. In Paestum, a town south of Naples, we were studying these three ancient Greek temples, and to our surprise we had the opportunity to climb on a 2,500-year-old temple. We had the opportunity to touch these massive columns and explore the structure up close. But the real craziness occurred when a friend and I discovered the gate to another temple was slightly ajar, and we took our opportunity. We walked right up to and on two ancient temples that day!

My favorite place to study is…

… on the third floor of the library on the table overlooking a window to the rest of campus.

My favorite professor is…

I have had so many amazing professors at UGA. I wish I could list them all and write paragraphs for each, but I’ll try to keep it fairly short. The first professor I need to mention is Vera Lee-Schoenfeld, who has been one of the most influential mentors I have had at UGA. I first met her when I took an introductory syntax class, and she became one of the most engaging professors I had or would have. Her class teaches students to formulate their own proposals and pursue a line of questioning that creates a logically consistent analysis. I was immediately hooked on syntax. After taking her graduate course, I began to work as her research assistant. She not only believed in me enough to let me into her graduate course, she was willing to meet with me throughout the past few years to guide me through a couple of research projects. She has helped me understand where in linguistics my passion lies and how to pursue that further independently. She was critical to helping me start presenting my research and finding me avenues to do so.  She has given me pages of valuable feedback and advice for which I will always be thankful.

There are so many other professors and mentors I need to thank as well, and some I know I’ll forget. Pilar Chamorro for not only introducing me to semantics, but also for making it understandable. Chris Gregg and Elena Bianchelli for making my study abroad program so enjoyable and for putting up with me for an entire summer. The entire UGA classics and linguistics departments are truly wonderful!

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

I would spend it with myself in 40 years. No one would understand exactly what I am going through and whether things would pan out. Even if all my plans fall through, future me would be able to give me very specific instructions about the simple mistakes to avoid.

If I knew I could not fail, I would…

… become a food critic. Can you imagine getting paid to eat really good food?

If money was not a consideration, I would love to…

… travel the world with friends and family! There are so many languages, cultures and art out there to see.

After graduation, I plan to…

… continue my research and studies in a graduate linguistics program, but as I’m still applying, everyone wish me luck!

The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…

The summer after my freshman year, I spent two months in Athens doing the UGA Classics Intensive Greek program, and for better or worse, I still consider it an accomplishment to have completed. We would spend around three hours a day in class working on grammar skills and building our foundations in the language. I spent hours (and not just one or two) outside of class practicing vocabulary and grammar, just so I could come to class the next day prepared. The program was the perfect opportunity for me to struggle through a new language and prevail reading passages in ancient Greek after such a short period. I’ll probably never forget the experience, even if I forget all the vocabulary I drilled myself on. If anyone is looking for their next challenge, I would seriously consider the Intensive Greek program.