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2017 Speakers

Pre-Health Memoirs

(in order of scheduled presentation)


Briel Power

  • Speaking on March 14 at 6:00PM in MLC 251
  • Major: Biological Sciences
  • Graduating: 2017

Briel Power is a fourth-year student from Snellville, GA pursuing a degree in Biological Sciences and a minor in Sociology. During her undergraduate career, Briel participated in student leadership as an Orientation Leader and treasurer of the Women’s Club Soccer team, which refined her communication and service skills. She further discovered her passion for service through volunteering at critical care units and a local nursing home, which was the foundation of her decision to pursue medicine. Likewise, Briel participated in archaeological chemistry research and biochemistry education research at UGA to gain insight into the efficiency of teaching and learning methods. Because of her research and involvement, Briel is passionate about the importance of diverse experiences for the integration of knowledge, and she plans to combine her love of education, agriculture, and preventative healthcare by working a community garden alongside her future medical practice.


John Hurt

  • Speaking on March 20 at 6:00PM in MLC 213
  • Major: Exercise & Sports Science
  • Graduated: 2014

John Hurt graduated in 2014 with a degree in exercise and sport science. During his time at UGA, he was actively involved with several on-campus organizations like Relay for Life, UGA HEROs, and MEDLIFE, and was a member of the interfraternity council. John currently lives in Atlanta where he has worked as a medical assistant and scribe. He has a passion for traveling, sparked by a MEDLIFE medical mission trip he took during his 3rd year, and enjoys volunteering with several youth-focused organizations, including Childspring International, where he serves a member of the young professional outreach council.


Alyse Ragauskas

  • Speaking on March 20 at 6:00PM in MLC 213
  • Major: Biology & Genetics
  • Graduated: 2014

Alyse graduated from the University of Georgia in 2014 completing her Bachelors in Biology and Genetics. During that time she maintained a pre-med intent. As an active member of her sorority, Delta Zeta, she volunteered at a camp for children with chronic illnesses which further strengthened her passion for medicine. After graduation, she accepted a PhD position at UTHSC in Memphis. However, her passion aligned moreso with  clinical medicine. She withdrew in June of 2015 and began her Masters of Science program at Mercer University in August. Completing her Masters program with high academic success, she accepted a position as an Emergency Department Scribe for her gap year. Through all of this, she has continued to care for her mother and her medical condition.  She plans to matriculate to Mercer University School of Medicine in August of 2017 with hopes of pursuing a career as an Emergency Medicine physician. Paths are not always what we expect, but taking the path less traveled have been more eye opening than she could have ever imagined.


Jesse Hu

  • Speaking on March 28 at 6:00PM in MLC 251
  • Major: Biochemistry & Genetics
  • Graduating: 2017

Jesse Hu is a fourth-year from Peachtree City, GA studying Biochemistry and Genetics. He has prepared to be a doctor through interning at the Greater New York Hospital Association; volunteering at a free clinic for uninsured patients of Fayette County, GA; and shadowing extensively. At UGA, he has researched CaaX motifs in the lab of Dr. Walter Schmidt and CRISPR-Cas in the lab of Dr. Michael Terns. Outside of UGA , he has helped author an article published in JAAD Case Reports on Sclerosing Sweat Duct Carcinomas and an article accepted for publication in ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces on nanoparticle delivery of Paclitaxel - a breast cancer chemotherapy drug. On campus, he has been a member of Premed Magazine, UGA Club Cycling, University Judiciary,  University Chorus, and the University Symphony Orchestra. Though he is unsure what field of medicine he will enter, he plans to continue pursuing research alongside medical practice.


Bryan Grommersch

  • Speaking on April 4 at 6:00PM in MLC 251
  • Major: Biochemical Engineering
  • Graduated: 2016

Bryan Grommersch graduated from UGA in 2016 with a degree in biochemical engineering. He is from Alpharetta, GA and works full-time in Dr. Hitesh Handa’s research lab developing nitric oxide-releasing biomaterials. While initially unsure about pursuing a career in healthcare, Bryan realized that medicine would enable him to combine his varied interests to make meaningful differences in the lives of others. He has served as a College of Engineering ambassador and Honors Program Student Council member, founded an afterschool STEM program for elementary students in Jackson County, and worked in a number of research labs. Bryan aspires to further collaboration between doctors and engineers as an academic surgeon.


Drew Farr

  • Speaking on April 11 at 6:00PM in MLC 251
  • Major: Economics
  • Graduating: 2017

Drew Farr earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from UGA while leading trips for the Outdoor Recreation Center and serving the University Health Center as a member of the Student Health Advisory Committee (SHAC). He also volunteered for Remote Area Medical, St. Mary’s Hospice, and Habitat for Humanity. Drew’s research experience studying contraceptive hormones inspires him to pursue a career at the intersection of science and medicine. After earning an MD/PhD in neuroscience, Drew hopes to blend research in neuropharmacology with clinical work in geriatrics, neurology, internal medicine, or psychiatry.


Erin Hollander

  • Speaking on April 11 at 6:00PM in MLC 251
  • Major: Genetics
  • Graduating: 2017

Erin Hollander is a fourth-year from the Athens, GA majoring in genetics. A Foundation Fellow and a Goldwater Scholar, she has worked in five different labs on topics ranging from vaccines for Alzheimer’s disease to mechanisms of the CRISPR-Cas system in bacteria. As a native of Athens, she hopes to increase engagement between UGA and the Athens community through working as outreach coordinator and tournament director for Science Olympiad, co-founding the organization Health for Kids, and working at a health clinic for low-income, uninsured patients. A cancer scare and the resulting surgical removal of half of her thyroid midway through her second year at UGA caused her to gain an interest in the medical world and decide to obtain an MD-PhD rather than a PhD. As a physician-scientist, Erin plans to develop novel therapeutics for cancer or neurological disorders and work with patients for whom normal treatments have failed to produce results.


Juhi Varshney

  • Speaking on April 18 at 5:00PM in MLC 251
  • Major: Biochemistry & Women's Studies
  • Graduating: 2017

Juhi Varshney is a fourth-year from Rome, GA majoring in biochemistry and women’s studies. She has learned about the complexities of addressing health disparities in underserved populations by volunteering at a nonprofit women’s clinic, researching triple-negative breast cancer, studying non-pharmacological interventions in nursing homes, and interning at Planned Parenthood New York City. Juhi has gained lifelong lessons about teamwork and leadership by dancing with Champa & Chameli and serving the university through The Arch Society. The enduring friendships she has built with bulldogs from all over campus have been a cornerstone of her college career. Juhi hopes to blend her interests in science and social justice by pursuing a career in women’s health.


Andrea Brown

  • Speaking on April 26 at 5:00PM in MLC 251
  • Major: Biology
  • Graduating: 2017

Andrea Brown is a fourth-year biology major from Marietta, GA. She hopes to one day use her love for technological innovation and problem-solving to improve healthcare as a physician-scientist. During her time at UGA, Andrea has worked in genetics, tissue engineering, and dermatology research labs that investigate the molecular mechanisms of breast and skin cancer. She has been active in the community, working as a student-teacher at Gaines Elementary School and recruiting high school students from underrepresented communities to UGA. You can also regularly catch Andrea playing basketball at Ramsey. Thanks to the resources, mentors, and peers Andrea has found at UGA, she has enjoyed the process of exploring the field of medicine and finding her unique niche.