For master’s student Abigail Lloyd, service has been a lifelong pursuit. At a young age, through her membership in the Georgia 4-H Club and UGA Cooperative Extension, Abigail realized she wanted to live her life serving others. Throughout her college career, Abigail has worked at doing just that. She believes service means contributing time, expertise and energy to a cause greater than one’s self.
What is your major/minor?
I am about to finish my Masters in Public Administration, with a specialization in Public Policy. I received my undergraduate from Oklahoma City University where I studied English Literature and Theatre.
I am a born and raised Georgia girl from Cartersville.
What does service mean to you?
Service means contributing time, expertise, and energy to a cause greater than one’s self, typically with less return or compensation than would normally be expected.
Why do you serve?
For me, service has been a lifelong pursuit. As a member and advocate of the Georgia 4-H Club, a youth development program through the UGA Extension, a sense of responsibility was instilled in my world view at a very young age. 4-H taught me I could never make a living off of taking from people, rather I would have to live by giving, or as the Georgia 4-H pledge states “I pledge my hands to greater service…for my country, community, and world.” I like to imagine through service I can undertake something bigger than myself. I simply cannot imagine a career where helping society is not the focus. Helping people and making the world a better place in small ways is why I get out of bed every day.
What made you want to get involved in service at UGA?
The Department of Public Administration and Policy really encourages its students to get involved in the community through internships and volunteerism, as of course the program is focused on policy, non-profits, and public sector work.
What service and leadership opportunities are you involved with at UGA?
When I returned to Georgia for Graduate School, I naturally returned to the UGA Extension Service. I was able to contribute to the same youth development programs that made such an impact on me as a child by interning with the state program office. Similarly I have been blessed to serve as a Graduate Assistant with the Carl Vinson Institute of Government. While my primary role was to facilitate the student fellowship and intern programs, I was also able to take part in many small research projects the Institute of Government was working on for local and state government. Being at CVIOG was a fantastic experience. The work and research the Institute performs is invaluable! Not only did I have the mentorship of many faculty who have devoted their lives to public service, I also had an opportunity to participate in some hands-on problem solving for local and state governments.
What do you feel has been the greatest benefit of your service at UGA, within the community and in your personal life?
Personally, I feel I have benefited by developing greater knowledge of professional public service programs and organizations. I will be able to cross reference both my experience and coursework as I enter the workforce. Upon my departure, I hope that my service while at UGA has encouraged other students and professionals to feel energized about the work and contribution they make. Even though my duties are small, I try to take them very seriously. Public service is a serious matter; the difference it makes is real.
Why do you feel it is important for students to participate in public service and outreach? How do you benefit from service?
I believe students become better citizens. Students begin to see themselves as part of their community, as part of a larger picture, and they become aware that their decisions and actions effect the people around them. Students become cognizant of their power and ability to improve the lives of other people.
What are your plans after graduation?
I was selected for a Policy Fellowship working for the Office of the Governor, Governor Nathan Deal. I am hoping to work on Healthcare or Education issues.
What are your interests and hobbies outside school?
I really enjoy theatre and the arts, especially theatre for social change. I like opera, dance, tennis, and good books. I have been a die-hard fan of The West Wing since 1999.
What is your favorite spot in Athens, at UGA or in Georgia? Why?
My favorite spot in Georgia is definitely the Talmadge Auditorium at Rock Eagle 4-H Center in Eatonton. The things that happened at Rock Eagle have made the biggest impact on the direction of my life and the things I am passionate about.
What motivates or inspires you in life?
Definitely my parents, they are the first people I call when I am terribly distraught or terribly excited. They are truly responsible for everything I have or will accomplish.
What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received?
There is a quote by John Adams that usually serves as my motto. He simply says, “To be good and to do good, is all we have to do.”