Ramsey Honors Scholar and biochemistry and molecular biology major Manasa Kadiyala’s passion is to help people achieve their goals as they strive to be the best version of themselves:
If someone told me I would be able to do everything that I have done in my three years at the University of Georgia, I probably would have thought they were crazy. These past few years have changed my perception on life and shaped me to become the confident individual that I am today.
Freshman year I was overwhelmed by all the clubs and activities constantly happening around campus. My first semester I joined many clubs that I found interesting and helped me get out of my comfort zone. Toward the end, I began researching with Dr. James Michael Pierce at the Complex Carbohydrate Research Center. My projects in this cancer glycobiology lab focused on identifying specific epitopes that monoclonal antibodies bind to in pancreatic cancer cells and determining the impact of O-GlcNAc transferase (OGT) knockdown on oncogene expression. I received the CURO Summer Fellowship to engage in intensive research in this laboratory, and it really helped me jump-start my career in research. Coming into college with no previous research experience, I knew there would be a huge learning curve, and the knowledge and skills I have gained here have exposed me to basic laboratory techniques that I have been able to refine over the years.
That summer I traveled to Arusha, Tanzania, with a friend to intern at a free maternity health clinic. Finding the program online, we weren’t sure about how safe it would be or how much experience it would provide, but we decided to take a risk and go anyways. Looking back, it was definitely a one-of-a-kind experience in the foreign country. We hand washed our own clothes and had running water for at best a few hours a day; air conditioning was a luxury we certainly did not have. At the clinic, we filled out patient cards for newborn babies, giving us a chance to practice our broken Swahili with the mothers. We shadowed physicians in various departments including family planning, prenatal care and outpatient care. One of the most memorable parts was observing two deliveries and holding the newborn baby in my arms to deliver to the new mother, a precious moment I cherish to this day.
In early fall 2016, a close friend and I met with local prison officials at the Athens-Clarke County Correctional Institution to start a program in which UGA students help inmates obtain their GED and other vocational training to improve their job prospects and financial security when released.
If ever any need to wonder about the future arises and how society might fare in the hands of the next generation, look no further than our campus. With the hearts, minds and conscience of leaders who are servants, students are finding their paths, building the combination of skills they need to make a difference.
Image: Manasa Kadiyala, photo by Andrew Davis Tucker/UGA