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Ammishaddai Grand-Jean says he has “truly been blessed to be a part of a great institution filled with amazing unique students who truly care for one another.” (Photo by Dorothy Kozlowski/UGA)
Ammishaddai Grand-Jean says he has “truly been blessed to be a part of a great institution filled with amazing unique students who truly care for one another.” (Photo by Dorothy Kozlowski/UGA)

Hometown: 

Jonesboro, Georgia

High school: 

Elite Scholars Academy

Current employment: 

Resident assistant for Myers Community

Family ties to UGA: 

I have been blessed to be a pioneer and the first UGA student in my family. I will not be the last!

Expected graduation: 

Spring 2019

Degree objective: 

Political Science A.B., Economics A.B.

Other degrees: 

Certificate in Personal and Organizational Leadership

University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships: 

I have been extremely blessed and fortunate during my time at the University of Georgia. It has been filled with wonderful memories and experiences that have shaped my outlook and perspective on life. I am forever grateful to the many people that have played an intricate part in my achievements and highlights.

Freshman year I was fortunate to be president of the Brumby Community Council. I have most of my fondest and warmest memories. With a staff of 21 people, we were the Justice League —I was Green Lantern — and together we created fun and engaging programs that created a strong-knit community. I was then fortunate to be selected to be apart of Freshman Board in SGA. I and 15 other awesome students worked to represent the concerns of the freshman class and we were able to petition Parking Services to create a Bolton bus stop. I was also involved in planning and executing a couple campus and community events such as Prayer Nights and Community Services. I later became inducted into the Dean William Tate Honor Society.

Sophomore year I was fortunate to be a class advocate in Myers Community where I taught residents about diversity and help improve their perspective of the world. I was elected as an at-large senator for SGA and I helped facilitate the Double Dawgs program that granted undergraduate students the opportunity to pursue a master’s degree. I then helped extend ice cream hours at Snelling, which brought smiles to many students. I was blessed with the opportunity to run for SGA president, however, I fell short. Regardless of the result, I was happy and thankful to get to know fellow students at UGA and create a memorable energy that brought campus together. I was fortunate to be inducted into the Omicron Delta Kappa Honor Society, which consists of 12 students who are each legends in their own field. I then became a Leonard Scholar under the Institute of Leadership Advancement in Terry College of Business. I later became a recipient of the Gilman Scholarship and as a result I studied abroad in France for six weeks. It was an unforgettable experience and something I will always look back to.

Junior year I am currently the director for religious outreach in SGA. I am a resident assistant in Myers Community. I am the vice president of the Adventist Christian Fellowship. I am an orientation leader for summer 2018.

Throughout my time at UGA, my greatest highlight is serving fellow students and falling in love with campus each and every day. I have truly been blessed to be a part of a great institution filled with amazing unique students who truly care for one another.

I chose to attend UGA because … 

… God told me so.

I was a senior in high school eager to send my application to Harvard University, Washington University in St. Louis, and many others when I was in church and I heard God say, “Go and apply to UGA. There’s something that I have for you.” I wanted to be obedient so I applied early action — I was deferred. It was truly a humbling moment, however, I persevered and later became accepted. I was able to use my story and inspire and encourage many others who had similar predicaments. I now wear the term “deferred” proudly and remind myself that I am here for a special reason.

My favorite things to do on campus are … 

I enjoy walking and saying hello to people I know and those I don’t know. There’s an amazing exchange of genuine energy that just flows from people that excites me.

I also love planning events and programs that students will enjoy. It is strenuous to plan, but satisfying to see the engaged looks on the faces of many.

Attending a UGA football game is always a joy and an exhilarating experience.

When I have free time, I like … 

… to play a pickup game in Ramsey. It is a great place to stay in shape and make friends over a friendly game of basketball. I enjoy watching Netflix and Hulu while I eat in Snelling. It is a great self-care tool that keeps me calm and relaxed. I enjoy hanging out with my friends and going skating, bowling and playing Monopoly.

The craziest thing I’ve done is … 

Once I was attempting a ropes course in Virginia Beach and I got a rope burn on my fingers. The pain was hard to bear and I immediately put alcohol and bandages. After I was taped up something told me to go back and finish the obstacle course. So with my hands still in pain, I went back and completed the course and I felt a feeling of satisfaction and contentment. I later drove back home alone with my injured fingers.

I recall while studying abroad in France, it was National Music Day and there were festivals on different streets. My friends and I passed by in awe and observed the locals socializing. I didn’t know the song that was playing, but the beat and rhythm attracted me and I began to close my eyes and dance by myself. When I opened my eyes I was surrounded by my friends and the locals who all began to dance as well.

My favorite place to study is … 

I enjoy studying in the third floor small library in MLC. It is my secret bat cave when I need to focus and study. Please don’t tell anyone! I also enjoy studying in random places such as Snelling Dining hall and my bed.

My favorite professor is … 

There are so many great and influential professors at UGA. They are humble, kind, driven, caring and special. They push you toward new heights and empower you in many different ways. Teacher and graduate assistants also play a key role in teaching the material and being supportive even though it’s been three hours and you’re still lost.

One professor who I will never forget is Gabriel Ayoola. He taught comparative literature and it was one of the best classes I’ve taken at UGA. Professor Gabriel is passionate, energetic, motivating, funny and caring. He truly transformed the material and made it relatable to our lives. We had many memorable classroom discussions that were rudely interrupted by the 50-minute time limit. We always left his class satisfied yet wanting more. He reminded us that the grade we would receive would be our least important gain and that we should rather focus on making connections and applications of the material to our college and personal careers. On our last day of class, he treated all of us to pizza and we all gave a reflection of what we learned from the material and each other. UGA is fortunate to have special and unique professors such as Gabriel who made me consider being a professor one day.

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

… my grandfathers from both my mother’s and father’s side who were born and raised in Haiti. I didn’t get to know my grandpa on my dad’s side because he passed away early, however, I admire my dad and his stories, personality and jokes that I know my grandfather had to be a very special human being. My dad said he was someone who always put others’ needs over his and constantly seek to be a friend to all.

I would love to also share an afternoon with a younger version of my grandfather from my mother’s side. He was a pioneer and moved to the Bahamas to work so that my mother and her siblings could attend school. He was filled with wisdom, parables and metaphors that left you amazed. He used to call me General and remind me that life is a battle, but with God I am prepared and equipped to fight every day and win. I am blessed and fortunate to be where I am today because of grandparents who made selfless decisions and sacrifices for their families. I pray that one day I can meet them and exchange stories.

If I knew I could not fail, I would … 

… permanently fix Haiti’s economy and end chronic hunger and poverty. Haiti is a beautiful island filled with admirable, sincere, hardworking, fun-loving and genuine people. Haiti is the first independent black country in the world and has made countless contributions to the world such as aiding in the independence of the U.S in the Battle of Savannah and many countries in South America. It’s unfortunate that Haiti is in its current situation, but I believe there is hope and that one day Haiti will be able to sustain itself and once again be a source of help, aid and inspiration to many.

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

… educate the minds of many young students around the world who have a desire and a passion to help improve and positively impact their country and hometown. I believe that many people just need a chance and an opportunity to learn how to change their surroundings and create a sustainable growth and economy that can support many.

What is your passion and how are you committed to pursuing it? 

My passion is serving people and improving their lives in a positive way. I love seeing people smile and enjoy life and I make it personal when someone is not doing well. I particularly am passionate about reducing unemployment and helping individuals find a stable and enjoyable career. There are many single-parent homes and single-income families who struggle to make ends meet. I would like to one day be in a position to help people get on their feet and empower them to be able to take care of themselves and their families. I want to fix inefficiencies that hinder and prevent growth. I want to solve conflicts and bring peace and solutions that benefit multitudes. I feel a strong calling toward a life of public service and I believe through that path I can help positively impact the lives of many. Many think of public service as having a big title such as senator or president, but I believe public service takes place in the small areas such as feeding the hungry, visiting the sick and elderly, inspiring young minds to make a difference in the world, and planning community events. I am committed to constantly bettering the surroundings of those around me and help give everyone a chance to live an enjoyable life.

After graduation, I plan to … 

… be a waiter — I want to “serve people and bring change.” That quote is from the artist Jermaine Cole. Regardless of what field I go in I want my work and career to be centered around serving people and bringing change. I am currently pursuing my master’s degree in public administration while I am finishing my undergraduate degree. I would love to be an economic development officer and work with communities, local government and businesses to bring investment and jobs to low-income areas. I would also enjoy creating economic policies that could benefit poor and underdeveloped areas. Nevertheless, I want to pursue a career and a job that puts people first and genuinely works toward improving the world.

The one UGA experience I will always remember will be … 

There are so many enjoyable and memorable UGA experiences to choose from, yet one experience will always be forever etched in my mind. Two years ago UGA unfortunately lost four students in a car crash. The news rattled the community and left most of us broken and deeply saddened. We as a student body, led by the president and administrators, came together in Tate plaza and encouraged one another. This experience is one of my most memorable because it was truly astonishing and powerful to see the UGA community come out in full force and support the family and friends of the victims. There was a large crowd of people who comforted one another and encouraged one another. While I didn’t know the victims personally, I felt a part of a bigger family that was truly connected. Students later on held one another and prayed for hours for a survivor who was on life support. It was at that moment that I knew UGA was not just another institution, but instead a family of caring, special, driven, humble and joyful people who truly wanted the best for each other and the world. While I am only a junior and I have many future memories to make before I leave, I am forever grateful to God for the opportunity to call my peers family and UGA home.

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