Joshika (Jo) Money, a health promotion and master’s of public health student from Johns Creek, Ga., believes that service provides the opportunity to look at yourself and your community through a different lens, placing into focus the disparities of advantage and disadvantage that are all around us. She serves because she is fortunate enough to possess the skills and resources she has, and firmly believes in using them in a way that benefits others.
As a Student Scholar, what have you learned about how and why the university engages in service?
As a PSO scholar, I’ve learned that the work that the university does extends far beyond just the city of Athens. UGA serves an integral purpose throughout the state of Georgia, from helping small businesses, to working with local communities to create and sustain change, to protecting coastal wildlife.
What made you want to get involved with service at UGA?
After learning about the Athens community, and the high rates of poverty and adversity that exist outside of the university bubble, I knew I wanted to contribute. And that was made easy by the many organizations at UGA that serve through multiple avenues. We have such an amazing culture of service here that it’s almost difficult to not be involved!
What service and leadership activities are you involved with at UGA?
I volunteer with the Campus Kitchen Lunch Buddy program, through which I’ve had the privilege of becoming firm friends with my Buddy, Ms. Elise, one of the many older adults who make up such an integral part of the Athens community. Through IMPACT UGA, I’ve also led two unforgettable spring break service trips, each focused on a specific social issue/cause.
How has service-learning helped you grow as a student or in your personal life?
Service-learning has given me the extra nudge to get involved in organizations that I’ve always been meaning to get involved in, but just hadn’t found the time, like the Lunch Buddy program. By taking courses that have service integrated, I’ve been able to really apply what I’ve learned in a hands-on, enjoyable way.
Why do you feel it is important for students to participate in public service and outreach? How does it benefit the community?
Public service gives us the chance to step outside of university life and really understand the community we live in. By interacting with our community through service, we match faces and stories with our surroundings, making our community not simply a place that we live for four (or more!) years, but also a home.
What are your plans following graduation?
I plan to become a physician and combine my interests in public health and prevention by providing individualized care as well as prevention education. I believe that our health is intrinsically linked to how we live our lives – by living more conscious and healthy lifestyles, we can be proactive about our health instead of solely relying on retroactive treatment.
What are your interests and hobbies outside of school?
When I have a spare moment, I love to read, make/eat food, practice yoga, bike, play with my dog, and spend time with my family and friends. I’d also really like to learn how to garden – the few plants I’ve tried to keep alive can tell you about my unfortunate lack of a green thumb.
What is your favorite spot in Athens, at UGA or in Georgia? Why?
I don’t think I can pick a favorite spot, but I’ve come to love the quiet, quaint neighborhoods and shops that make up Athens. It’s so fun to explore Athens on foot or by bike, and to find a new spot you didn’t know existed.
What motivates you or inspires you in life?
I am inspired by the many amazing people in my life. Whenever I’m feeling blue, I always happen upon something that re-energizes me and helps me keep perspective, whether it be a few words with a stranger or a thoughtful conversation with a friend. My motivation comes from my entire family, who are a constant source of encouragement, positivity, and direction for me.
What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received?
“What’s the worst that could happen?” My mom used to tell me this (and sometimes still does) to stop me from overthinking everything. You have nothing to lose by taking an action – worst case, it doesn’t work out and you find something else to work towards, and best case, it does!