By: Rory Hibbler, SPIA Ambassador  

Dear SPIA,

It all began in August 2014. Walking into Candler Hall to my academic advisor’s office, I was a bit nervous about starting college. When I talked to my advisor about the classes I would be taking my first semester at UGA, I became so elated about my course load. Enrolling in introduction to political science and introduction to comparative politics, I immediately began to engage with salient and interesting topics that shape the domestic and global politics around me. My papers and assignments grappled with issues and ideas that I found intellectually stimulating, and I developed a passion for increasing my understanding of the global system. This passion for global issues inspired me to apply for a scholarship to travel and work for an organization in Bali, Indonesia for a semester that focused on global environmental sustainability. This experience amplified my love for the political science courses and helped me gain a sharper perception of the international system.

I also found an outlet for my interest in politics by wiring for SPIA’s own Georgia Political Review, a nonpartisan political publication that focuses on covering local, national, and even global issues. As my interest in GPR escalated, I became more and more involved in the organization, eventually becoming the Ops Director. Through this role I had the chance to work with so many other SPIA-related organizations, from Student Union to College Republicans and Young Democrats to UGA Votes. This broadened my horizons and my appreciation for all that SPIA students choose to do with their free time. Not only do I truly love SPIA, but also my fellow SPIA Dawgs, who commit so much of themselves to trying to make the world a better place.

Through my own experiences, and watching my fellow classmates experiences, I have the utmost gratitude for all of the experiences that SPIA allows. Every faculty member at SPIA- from administrative to professors- work hard every day to ensure the greatest possibilities for students. I love every aspect of SPIA- like the listserv email alerting us of so many diverse and exciting opportunities that always brightens my inbox. I love the connectivity among students, the college, and alums through well-coordinated events throughout the year. I love SPIA classes- they are some of the most interesting (in my opinion) at UGA, providing students a lens to the entire world.

So thank you, SPIA, for preparing me for the rest of my life while giving meaningful and monumental experiences along the way. I will always remember you.