“There comes that mysterious meeting in life when someone acknowledges who we are and what we can be, igniting the circuits of our highest potential.” — Rusty Berkus
Phillip Mote contends that his time at UGA has been about discovering his highest potential. Whether mentoring children, traveling the globe for a study abroad or savoring his many campus experiences, Mote has ignited numerous opportunities that will serve him well as he plans for a Spring 2011 graduation and entry into medical school.
B.S in biochemistry, A.B. in economics
University highlights, achievements and awards
In essence, my time at UGA has been all about potential. My Savior and my God, Jesus Christ, has unlocked the wellsprings of potential inside of me and brought me from anxiety and darkness to a glorious light, truly opening my eyes to see the hope and riches we were created for, to walk freely in. I have been blessed to be surrounded by such amazing mentors and peers in the Wesley Foundation, UGA Miracle (Dance Marathon!), Phi Gamma Delta, Mercy Health Center, Classic City Community Church, and the Honors Program, to name a few. Through their support and encouragement, I have truly found my potential and my true passions in life: to love because I have first been lavishly and graciously loved. In others, I have had the great fortune of sparking this flame through various mentoring relationships: Oasis tutoring in the Pinewoods neighborhood and founding Mathcounts Outreach at UGA in local middle schools (winning Best New Organization of the Year ’09–’10). Herein lies one of my greatest achievements and privileges: to share the desires of my heart with middle school students and see their faces come alive with potential and excitement for a life of learning. My internship in Lima, Peru working with the CDC in epidemiology and medical lab research (to add onto my experience in neuroscience research with Dr. Michael Tiemeyer on campus) provided an unforgettable two month journey with many side adventures, like stepping by faith on a bus full of Peruvians to go to a small mountain city and catch a beautiful sunrise through the Amazon Forest. Combined with trips to Costa Rica, Jordan, Oxford, Western Europe (including an impulsive ferry journey from Barcelona to Pisa), the Fiji Islands, Tanzania (w/ Mt. Kilimanjaro), South Africa (World Cup 2010), and India (taken in by a small church that showed me true lives of love, generosity, and grace), the Foundation Fellowship has really opened my eyes and heart to the international community and helped shape me into who I am today. I am also a member of Blue Key Honors Society (Treasurer) and William Dean Tate Honors Society and recipient of the Honors Program Ash Service Award.
Lassiter High School
Family ties to UGA
I don’t really have any family ties to UGA, although after visiting, my parents were quick to fall in love with the university and helped point me in the right direction — now, they are avid Bulldawg fans as well.
I chose to attend UGA because…
…the atmosphere hooked me on my first visit: the culture or encouragement of possibility, of limitless resource to pursue your own path. Out of all the schools I visited, UGA painted a positive picture of future satisfaction and success. Though it is a large school (offering a huge amount of resources), I was able to see that it could also be small (through various groups on campus). Overall, UGA appeared to be a place filled with a diverse, large range of people who were normal — not super humans, robots or slackers — yet still had special interests and a call to serve society in each of their unique ways.
My favorite things to do on campus are…
…to enjoy the beauty of it all. Some places to do this have varied with my class schedule. On South Campus, the ecological garden is complete with choi fish and turtles in the pond, while the lunchtime fiddlers add to the ambience. On North Campus, the Founder’s Memorial Garden offers a quiet getaway with beautiful scenery to find refreshment in the midst of busy schedules.
When I have free time, I like…
…to unwind in the outdoors. Sometimes this involves mountain biking with friends on trails in the area, including Lake Herrick but also Fort Yargo and Heritage Park. Sometimes it involves running or walking down the road from my apartment and the expansive Botanical Gardens. And sometimes it is getting away from Athens for a breather with some friends on a random road trip to some cabins, a lake or an away game. Most of the time, it could just be resting and sitting in stillness or with friends (epic game nights — cranium, triple threat, Nerts — are a hobby as well).
The craziest thing I’ve done is…
…waking up at 4:30 a.m. on day four of the Macchu Picchu hike in Cusco, Peru to run through the jungle in the dark (before sunrise) using only flashlights to guide the way while wearing a 20 pound pack — the view of sunrise over the ruins was well worth it in the end. A close second is sliding down a natural "rock slide" (waterfall) in the Fiji Islands over spring break with some classmates, leaving a sore underside and some other red souvenirs on my body.
My favorite place to study is…
…the basement of Snelling Dining Hall (a.k.a. lion’s den) as I am usually surrounded by sleeping people on the couches, which provides a quiet atmosphere and a possibility for a nap myself if I’m not feeling up to study. Located at the crux of South Campus, it is a great place to knock out a couple of hours of studying around meal times, since you are so close to the serving line.
My favorite professor is…
…Dr. David Puett. After serving on the faculty of three medical schools throughout the nation, UGA has the fortune to be home to such a renowned researcher as Dr. Puett. At the head of biochemical research (specifically cutting edge stomach cancer genetic treatments), he has served as an inspiration to me of how academia pushes medical treatment. Further, his love for art history provides a great mix of conversation and “humanness” to his impressive reservoir of science expertise. As my professor in Human Biochemistry, he really ignited my interest in learning the amazing processes of the human body and how wonderfully we are created. His openness to take me out to lunches and mentor me has been priceless and so meaningful to my time at UGA and my future endeavors.
If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with…
…Ravi Zacharias. After hearing him speak at Stegeman Coliseum my freshman year, he blew me away by his intellectual gifts. For the first time in my life, he presented the clear union of intellect and faith — that these don’t have to be mutually exclusive but rather can work together to have a meaningful relationship with the Creator of everything, our God. His presentation of truth excited me about learning once again and inspired me to grow in my own life and faith.
If I knew I could not fail, I would…
…jump from rooftops from rooftops of New York City. Ever since watching the Matrix, I’ve always wanted to something this cool; my desire was partly appeased as some friends and I sneaked on top of the roof of Carnegie Hall during our freshman trip to NYC over spring break.
After graduation, I plan to…
…continue to follow the desires the Lord has planted in my heart — to go to medical school and start a journey in internal medicine. My dream job in the future would be on the border of patient interaction and ongoing clinical research (like cancer epidemiology) to help in prevention of disease while treating those who have it; I could definitely see myself working at a hospital someday. If international travel, teaching, and flexible hours could be thrown in the mix as well, all the better.
The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…
…blackout vs. Auburn in 2007. Just getting settled in as a freshman, this game will forever replay in my mind as my favorite song at the time — ’Crank dat’ by Soulja Boy — blared on the speakers and all of Sanford Stadium pulsed. As the sea of Georgians dressed in black cheered on the Bulldawgs, we pulled out an epic victory that turned the season around and provided a buzz on campus that lasted for quite a while — complete with many follow-up dance parties in Myers (and on top of South Deck with cars to provide the system) to relive the experience.