Terry Coniglio, 404-413-1356
ATLANTA — Grace Lee has been where many incoming freshmen are: finding themselves on the large, urban campus of Georgia State University, feeling a bit nervous and shy in a new world that might be intimidating on first glance.
But when she had her first introduction to GSU, she fell in love with the university and is now sharing that affection as an ambassador to visitors of the state’s premier public urban research university.
Since the fall of 2009, Lee has served as a tour guide, shepherding incoming and potential students and their parents in taking a look around not just the buildings, but also the people and life, of GSU.
“I hear from a lot of students and their parents that they didn’t realize how unique GSU was or how many opportunities there are here,” said Lee, a public policy major from Jonesboro, Ga. “That was my story as well. I didn’t understand it until I actually came here and visited.”
Lee has advice for incoming students, who are trying to get a solid toehold on the complexities of college life. While life at a huge university can be intimidating, she said GSU has been caring and unique.
“Take time to ask questions, because everyone is nervous,” said Lee, who is concentrating in non-profit leadership. “I think a lot of students are intimidated about asking questions and taking the initiative, but even if you are shy, challenge yourself. Meet new people and embrace the diversity on campus.”
Indeed, she’s embraced diversity herself. Lee, who is minoring in Chinese, learned a lot through her experience of orienting international students around campus.
“I wanted to understand more of diverse cultures, even though I’m not an international student,” she said. “It was one of the best things I could have done on campus, because I’ve met so many people and now I can say I have friends from all over the world.”
Her experiences inspired her to take on a study abroad program in January 2011 to China, visiting Beijing and Shanghai. After graduation, she said she would like to return to China to do an internship, and possibly teach English.
“After doing my study abroad, I feel like everyone needs to do it,” Lee said. “It really opened my eyes to new things.”
Back at home, she’s also involved as serving as a voice for students. She has been elected to the Student Government Association and will serve her senior year as vice president for student services. As part of her campaign for office, she created a blog, “Made for Change, Exploring 365 Days @ GSU,” to update students on activities and events on campus. The blog is located at http://madeforchange.tumblr.com.
Lee said she feels that GSU has given her everything she could have possibly wanted, and more.
“I want to give back to GSU, because they’ve given me so much,” she said.
Tours at GSU are given Monday through Friday at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., meeting at the GSU Welcome Center at Dahlberg Hall, 30 Courtland St., Room 134. The tour consists of a 45-minute information session and a 90-minute campus tour.
To register for a tour or for more information, visit www.gsu.edu/campusvisits or call 404-413-2063.
June 20, 2011