Georgia Saniuk ('10) | Biology
from Arlington, Texas
Future physician Georgia Saniuk jumped into ACU’s Body & Soul program feet first when she entered college as a freshman. ACU’s innovative program places students with local physicians in order to observe real-life cases.
You get to see so much. Part of the experience is knowing whether or not you're comfortable in the medical field. You really have to be a good communicator.
Georgia has shadowed an orthopedic surgeon, an OB-GYN, and doctors at Abilene Regional and Hendrick medical centers. She also shadowed an ACU alumnus while at home in Arlington during summer break.
She's learned quite a lot, she says. She's seen open-heart surgery, learned how to read sonograms, and discovered how important it is to relate to people with courtesy and respect.
"You get to see so much," she said. "Part of the experience is knowing whether or not you're comfortable in the medical field. You really have to be a good communicator."
ACU: A family tradition
Georgia didn't look at a lot of schools when she considered going to college. She didn't shop around, fill out dozens of application forms or visit innumerable campuses. She just came to ACU.
It's a family tradition for her. Her mother, sister and cousin all attended ACU, paving the way for Georgia's entry in 2006.
She also was attracted to ACU's outstanding pre-med program and the success rates of ACU graduates who apply to medical school.
"ACU has a really, really great pre-med program," she said.
Rigorous academic standards with personal attention
Georgia is glad she came. She likes the professors, whom she says take time out of their schedules to help students with both academic and personal struggles. There's also a sense of rigorous academic standards, she says.
Professors are clear about what it takes to succeed as a pre-med major - but they don't mind finding other options for those who decide the pre-med program is not for them. Faculty and staff also demonstrate an intelligent approach to moral controversies and are dedicated to tearing down the barriers between science and faith.
"They have a clear grasp of it," Georgia said.
Georgia has been a teacher's assistant as well, helping Dr. Tom Lee with his animal biology class. Although Dr. Lee teaches the lab, Georgia is in charge in his absence. She helps students with dissection, creates quizzes and tests, and administers the coursework.
From helping local refugees to assisting with medical missions
She's also been involved with non-scientific endeavors. Georgia volunteered with ACU for the International Rescue Center her sophomore year, helping refugees relocating in Abilene learn English and develop basic job skills in order to support themselves.
For six months, she taught a refugee family such basics as the English alphabet and numbers, as well as more advanced material. By the time she was finished, the family was far more prepared to embark on life in a new country.
"I really enjoyed doing that," she said. "I'm just glad they have a chance."
Georgia has also worked with ACU's Spring Break Campaigns, including a trip to Nicaragua in the spring of 2008. Along with her team, she worked at a clinic attached to the local church, administering Vitamin B shots to the villagers.
She also did manual labor, helping local residents build a trench to carry a water line to a local school. Although the city was one of the poorest of Nicaragua, Georgia was staggered by the beauty of the mountains that surrounded them.
"It was a very humbling experience," she said.
And if that isn't enough ...
Georgia looks forward to being student director for Welcome Week, the freshman orientation process that will take place this fall. She's working on promotional videos and various committees, while dashing to weekly meetings and logging office hours. She also helped organize the Passport sessions during which students get their first in-depth look at ACU.
"It gives me a look into management," she said.
Georgia will take the MCAT soon and hopes her MCAT Princeton Review class will pay off. She knows someday she'd like to do medical missions. She's also interested in agricultural missions, citing as part of her fascination a class she took about agricultural improvement.
"We looked at real ways to make people become healthy," she said.
She also wants to give back to ACU someday, when she has the opportunity and resources. One option would be to let ACU students shadow her own practice as part of the Body & Soul Program.
"Students who want to do it should be given the chance," she said.
Georgia looks forward to a demanding career that simultaneously gives her fulfillment and a chance to give to others. She can't imagine not using the talents she's been given.
"I think that some people have been given a special ability, and they shouldn't just stop using that," she said.
She also credits ACU with giving her opportunities others haven't been able to enjoy.
"I don't think any other school could have given me these opportunities," she said. "ACU is what makes you different from other people."
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