Alumni Profile: Ana-Maria Balta '10

Tell us what you have been up to since leaving Rabun Gap? college,  job, location, family, life changes? 
Since leaving Rabun Gap, I've been in school for quite a bit longer! I completed my B.S. in Psychology at UNC-Chapel Hill, and went on to finish a master's degree in Anatomy and Neurobiology from Boston University. I had the chance to spend a lot of time with family and friends and travel throughout Europe during a gap year, and then I went on to complete medical school at Campbell University. Throughout the years, I was fascinated by the human brain, and I found my passion to be working in the field of psychiatry. I was thrilled to match into psychiatry residency at the Eastern Virginia Medical School program!

During medical school, I was lucky enough to meet an incredible man who is now my fiance! We both matched into medical residency programs in Norfolk Virginia, and we were so excited to move to a beach town with our pup, Ringo. We bought a historic home built in 1911, and spent last summer renovating it. Life is busy, but we are enjoying every minute!
How did Rabun Gap help to prepare you or influence your future goals?
Rabun Gap created an environment that provided structure, and a lot of support. All teachers, coaches, dorm parents, and staff were incredibly dedicated to their work and encouraging of students. All of this made it an environment that enabled students to excel.
Do you have a favorite memory from your time at Rabun Gap? 
Life chats with friends in the dorms, being part of Cirque, playing on the tennis team...many good memories!
Is there a specific faculty member, coach, or dorm parent who had a particular important impact on you?
Mr. Jaffe was my calculus teacher, and left an impact as an exceptional educator. He was able to explain math in many different ways that catered to various styles of learning, and was always pushing students to keep practicing problems, asking questions and staying consistent. These habits not only were applicable to calculus class, but several other classes going forward. He was a teacher that was not only very gifted and knowledgeable in the field of mathematics, but was also very dedicated to ensuring the success of the students he taught, and that made a huge difference!
What advice do you have for current Rabun Gap students that you wish someone told you during your time at school? 
A few notes of advice:
You will never regret working hard to learn something new, ask questions, and excel.
There is a reason behind the structure that is created by Rabun Gap! Create good habits for yourself early on and work hard, study in your classes, put your all into sports or afternoon activities, and value your time with your friends. Every part is important.
What are your hopes for Rabun Gap in the next 10-20 years?
I hope the school will continue to provide excellent education within a tight-knit community, and I hope students will leave with amazing memories of their time there!
Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School is a private, coeducational day and boarding school for grades Pre-K through 12. Centrally located between Atlanta, GA, Greenville, SC, and Asheville, NC, we prepare young people for college, career, and a lifetime of leadership and service.