Originally from the Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Tobago, Janelle Williams came to UGA after her participation in the Summer Undergraduate Research Program. SURP offers outstanding undergraduates the opportunity to work closely with faculty in an intensive summer research experience and gives undergraduate students first hand exposure to the experiences of graduate school and faculty life by placing them with faculty whose work is closely related to their academic interests and professional goals. At the culmination of the program, she won Best Presentation and Best Paper respectively. She has experience as National Youth AIDS Volunteer Educator, and her interests include culturally diverse settings, development administration, and the implementation of social programs. After graduation, she plans to get some work experience, but eventually wants to pursue a Ph.D.
Trinidad and Tobago
St. Francois Girls High School
Master of Public Administration with a concentration in public policy
B.S., psychology, Florida Memorial University
B.A., sociology with a concentration in international studies, Florida Memorial University
University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:
Even before I graduated from college, I formed ties with UGA. While I was an undergraduate student I participated in the Summer Undergraduate Research Program at UGA in 2005 and 2006. During this program I had the opportunity to work with professors that helped me to hone my research skills. At the culmination of the program, I won Best Presentation and Best Paper respectively. I graduated valedictorian at Florida Memorial University in 2006 and and that helped me to secure an assistantship with UGA’s Department of Public Administration and Policy.
This past summer, I interned for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation as well as a senior member of the Caucus. I also had the opportunity to engage in policy formulation and implementation during this internship. Finally this semester, I have the distinct opportunity to present representative bureaucratic research at the American Political Science Association’s annual conference and sit on a panel with distinguished professors including our department’s very own Edward Kellough and Vicky Wilkins. This is an extremely rewarding experience for a MPA candidate.
I currently work as a teaching assistant in the Introduction to American Government course for my department. In this capacity, I lead and facilitate discussion sections, grade examinations, and provide succinct feedback to the course professors. I love to bring life to the classroom and also enjoy challenging students and helping them critically assess information. Additionally, I work as a Reading First observation assistant for UGA’s College of Education. This position allows me to travel to different elementary schools in the state of Georgia and observe teachers implement the Reading First curriculum.
Family Ties to UGA:
Although I do not have any family ties at UGA I have exceptional familial support which helped me to secure an assistantship at the institution. As an international student, I do have to sacrifice spending time with my family to pursue my academic career. Nevertheless, their physical distance fortifies the attentive and consistent support they provide. As a first generation college graduate, my parents are actively engaged in my academic life. They read all my research and term papers and critique me accordingly. My family is my greatest support; I am where I am because of the unwavering commitment and love they provide.
I chose to attend UGA because…
…of the Department of Public Administration and Policy graduate school’s high standing in the U.S. News and World Report rankings! SPIA’s Master of Public Administration Program offered by the Dept. of Public Administration and Policy continues to be one of the best and is ranked 4th in the nation among hundreds of public affairs programs! I was eager to learn from the nation’s best! Also, UGA’s Office of Diversity and Recruitment played an instrumental role in shaping my decision and paving an opportunity for me to attend UGA through the Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP). This office continues to provide a critical component of college life as it targets and attracts innovative minority students to this compelling campus!
My favorite things to do on campus are…
…to stroll along North Campus and find a cozy spot and settle in to have a good read. I also enjoy working out at the gym and reading at Legion pool.
When I have free time, I like…
…spending time with my loved ones; every time we are together there is abundant laughter and awesome food! I also love to travel! I enjoy visiting different islands in the Caribbean as well as different states in the U.S. Finally, nothing beats being ridiculously silly with my boyfriend; I enjoy beating him in a good game of Wheel of Fortune!
The craziest thing I’ve done is…
…climb to the top of La Soufriere, an active volcano located in St. Vincent and the Grenadines on a stormy summer day. This was absolutely the most physically challenging task I have ever done yet it was one of my most memorable experiences.
My favorite place to study is…
…on the Main Library’s 6th floor near one of the secluded windows. From there, I get a breathtaking view of North Campus, the area is warm and cozy, and I love the smell of the stacked books.
My favorite professor is…
I honestly cannot pick a favorite professor; each professor I have worked with has made a valuable contribution to public service. They are all respected leaders in the field and they display a sincere passion to teach their students to do the same.
If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with…
…Nelson Mandela. He embodies perseverance, success, and motivation! He galvanized the masses to advocate the plights for those who were violently violated because of their ethnicity. His testimony speaks of the intensity of the human will, and he challenges and compels us to look to the leaders within. We should not be passive recipients of social injustices, we can make a difference!
If I knew I could not fail, I would…
…find a cure for AIDS. This disease has indiscriminately claimed the lives of millions especially in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean regions. I have met too many infected children who were unsure if they were going to see their next birthday and they did not understand why.
After graduation, I plan to…
…work for a short period so that I can gain some professional experience. However, I would eventually like to pursue a Ph.D.
The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…
…leaving the library at 1a.m. Those lonely walks in the still of the night remind me why I am here and encourage me, not just to perform but to be my best. I know my loved ones expect nothing less!