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Issue 8: May 2021


Hurricanes end season as National Runner-Up

The stage was set at the PGA National Champion course on Friday. With the score tied at two matches apiece between Georgia Southwestern State University and Arkansas Tech University, the NCAA Division II Men's Golf National Championship would be decided by the final pairing and the final three holes of the tournament.

Jaxson Daskalos pulled Georgia Southwestern even when he posted par on the 16th hole, but Andre Jacobs answered for Arkansas Tech and played the 17th magnificently, dropping the only birdie of the day on the par-3 hole and ultimately securing the win for ATU. Daskalos fell behind by two strokes as he bogeyed the 17th. Daskalos posted par on the 18th and got a stroke back, but ATU won the championship.

The Hurricanes magical run included a 3-2 win in the quarterfinals over No. 5 seed Texas A&M University-Commerce and a 2-2-1 tiebreaker victory over the top seed, the University of Indianapolis in the semifinals.

Learn more about the Hurricanes’ trip to the National Championship here.

Business students finish among top teams in worldwide Business Strategy Game

Three teams of senior business students at Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) received high accolades this spring semester for their top performance in the Business Strategy Game out of more than 3,500 teams from 400+ colleges and universities around the world.

The Business Strategy Game is an online exercise where class members are divided into teams of 3 or 4 and assigned the task of running an athletic footwear company for a total of 12 “simulated” years in head-to-head competition against companies managed by other class members and thousands of teams across the world.

The comprehensive computer simulation is part of a final senior capstone Strategic Management course led by Robert Bennett, Ph.D., professor of management in the College of Business and Computing. The exercise brings together all areas of business, requiring students to position their firms competitively to achieve overall strategic and financial success.

Bennett noted that he has had teams over the years perform very well in the world rankings, including a couple of teams finishing first place, most recently in 2019. However, this is the first semester there were three GSW teams in the same course that received top rankings.

Read more about each teams’ performance here.

Business teams

From campus to court room

Savannah Hall, a political science major and outgoing Student Government Association (SGA) president, just graduated from Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) after only three years and is headed to Mercer Law School in the Fall to pursue a career as a criminal defense attorney.

Savannah wants to spend her time bringing about justice for people who are often forgotten and left behind in our society.

“Even the worst criminal in the world deserves the right to be represented by an attorney who is not only competent and good at their job, but compassionate enough to understand that the outcome of this person’s case could very well be the end of their lives,” Savannah stated.

From the age of 17, Savannah knew she wanted to be a lawyer - although her parents would tell you this began when she was much, much younger.

“Arguing, in general, has always been a deep passion of mine,” she laughed. “We watched a lot of news when I was growing up so when we’d hear about a crime committed or a controversial topic, my parents would let me argue both sides of the issue and they would pick which was more convincing.”

“I basically had my own private debate team at home,” Savannah said sarcastically.

Read more about Savannah’s journey to law school here.


Graduates pass Presidential Challenge Coins on to those who made an impact

Ten recent graduates were the first to pass their silver Presidential Challenge Coin on to those who made a significant impact on their college journey. Watch the full video here.

Neha Budhathoki presented her silver coin to "Miss Rose" Allen, a member of GSW's custodial staff. Neha met Miss Rose when she was living in Mag over the summer of 2019. As an international student from Nepal, Neha was far from family. And her friends and hallmates were all away from campus for the summer. Miss Rose became like a grandmother to Neha, always asking about her family and how her day was going - and a special bond was formed.

Savannah Hall gave her silver coin to Dr. Jason Berggren, professor of political science. Dr. Berggren served as a mentor to Savannah, both in her role as SGA President and in her goal of getting into law school. Dr. Berggren wrote a recommendation letter that helped Savannah get accepted into 7 law schools.

Carlos Hernandez presented his silver coin to Dr. Jim Aller, professor in the College of Business and Computing. Carlos said Dr. Aller was always available to answer his "many questions" and ensured he understood his classes' course material.

Meredith Lashley presented her coin to Donna Tissue and the rest of GSW's Public Safety staff. Meredith was a student worker with Public Safety since her freshman year, a job she was extremely grateful for which helped cover the cost of college. Meredith was appreciative of Donna, former chief Mike Tracy, and the rest of the officers for taking her under their wing and being so welcoming and supportive.

The other graduates chose to give their silver coins to family members. At graduation, Dr. Weaver presented each of the 10 graduates with a new gold coin to signify the end of their undergraduate journey.

The first graduates to give their silver coin away in this GSW tradition were Dorothy Bryans, Neha Budhathoki, Allyson Evans, Savannah Hall, Carlos Hernandez, Madison Johnson, Meredith Lashley, Julianna Montgomery, Jonathan Nguyen, Taylor Potter, and Kacey Roberson.

Congratulations to these graduates and their coin recipients! We are looking forward to seeing more silver coins shared ahead of graduation in the fall!

JudyGrissett.JPGGrissett elected Chair-Elect for LEAP Committee

Assistant Professor of Psychology Judy Orton Grissett, Ph.D., was recently elected as Chair-Elect to the LEAP State Georgia Steering Committee. As Chair-Elect, Dr. Orton Grissett will assist the Chair, Dr. Jordan Cofer, Associate Provost for Transformative Learning Experiences at Georgia College and State University. She will assume the duties of the Chair at the end of the first year.

The LEAP State Georgia membership, which collectively is referred to as LEAP Georgia, is committed to developing the LEAP vision through creation of purposeful pathways for students and high levels of student achievement of the Essential Learning Outcomes. LEAP values, the values of liberal education, are essential for future professionals, future citizens, and future leaders. LEAP Georgia is committed to the Principles of Excellence toward the goals of inclusivity, civic connection, and lifelong inquiry.

Registration open for youth summer camps

The Department of Athletics has a summer full of youth camps scheduled for 2021. The basketball, baseball, softball and soccer programs have sessions planned throughout the summer for children as young as five years old to high school elite players. Several team camp options are available as well.

Keep the kids busy, help them improve their skills and most importantly, have some fun this summer. Make your arrangements here!

Student Recognitions

Meg Levie
Canes Spotlight announced for May

Canes Spotlights highlight Georgia Southwestern students who hold leadership roles, are involved in extracurricular activities and/or excel academically in their degree programs.

As a non-traditional student, Meg Levie chose GSW for the College of Education's Friday-only program. "This program allowed me to have the flexibility of being able to continue working and attend classes only on Fridays," Meg said. "This program was a dream opportunity that allowed me to further my education and build a career that I loved." Meg recently graduated with a bachelor's degree in early childhood education.

Canes Spotlights are nominated by GSW faculty and staff.

Twenty-four students inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma International Honor Society

GSW’s chapter for Beta Gamma Sigma (BGS) held an induction ceremony followed by a reception honoring new members on Tuesday, April 27. Twenty-four students were officially inducted into BGS.

Founded in 1913, BGS is the international honor society for outstanding students in business programs accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). BGS is present on more than 580 college campuses on six continents and has members residing in 190 countries. The mission of BGS is to encourage and honor academic achievement in the study of business, to cultivate and celebrate leadership and professional excellence, to advance the values of the Society, and to serve its lifelong members.

To become a member of Beta Gamma Sigma, students must be enrolled full-time and be in the top 10% of the class academically in their junior or senior years or the top 20% in terms of graduate students.

The 2020-2021 inductees for Beta Gamma Sigma are:

  • Masters:
    • Amalia Bir – Rosemont, Ill.
    • Chamagne DeSalvo – Moultrie, Ga.
    • Rachel Dunn – Tifton, Ga.
    • Demetria Evangelatos – Tacoma, Wash.
    • Margaret Halbrook – Albany, Ga.
    • Mandy Hogan – Albany, Ga.
    • Danny McCarty – Douglas, Ga.
    • Nicholas Nakamura – San Diego, Calif.
    • Sarah Sapp – Fort Valley, Ga.
  • Seniors:
    • Mackenzie Baggett – Ellaville, Ga.
    • Susan Blankenship – Newnan, Ga.
    • Dorothy Bryans – Covington, Ga.
    • Jamey Fowler – Camilla, Ga.
    • Carly Hall – Albany, Ga.
    • Carlos Hernandez – Americus, Ga.
    • Hayden Martin – Woodstock, Ga.
    • Grady Miliner – Bluffton, Ga.
    • Pamela Morris – Tifton, Ga.
    • Ashley Thornton – Bastrop, La.
    • Lance Vinson – Gordon, Ga.
    • Christina Wells – Americus, Ga.
  • Juniors:
    • Christine Karimkhani – Grovetown, Ga.
    • Katie Stalvey – Dawson, Ga.
    • liana Jaque Yanez-Rueda – Ellaville, Ga.

Front row L-R: Dr. Gaynor Cheokas (Dean), Katie Stalvey, Dorothy Bryans, Mandy Hogan, Carlos Hernandez, Mackenzie Baggett, Christina Wells, Hayden Martin, Dr. Qian ”Maggie” Wang (BGS Administrator); Back on the screen L-R: Nicholas Nakamura, Lance Vinson

Beta Gamma Sigma initiates

Carly Hall with awardCarly Hall receives CPA award

Senior Carly Hall recently received the Academic Excellence Award by the Georgia Society of CPAs. The award includes a $500 cash prize. Carly is an accounting major from Albany, Ga. with a 4.0 GPA. 

After graduation in Fall 2021, Carly plans to continue her education by pursuing an MBA at GSW with the ultimate goal of becoming a Certified Public Accountant.

"In my time at GSW, I have appreciated the way my professors have challenged me to work hard and achieve my best in my undergraduate studies,” Carly said. “I am honored to be receiving this award."


Kutzler continues local history series, participates in National Parks study, and reviews book

Evan KutzlerBeginning in 2017, Assistant Professor Evan Kutzler, Ph.D., and a team of historians at the University of Georgia and the University of Alabama secured substantial NPS funding to write an open-access, seven-chapter study that centered African American history at Andersonville and in the surrounding region from slavery to the Civil War Sesquicentennial. The result is “In Plain Sight: African Americans at Andersonville National Historic Site, A Special History Study” (NPS, 2020), which is now available for full download.

Kutzler has also continued his local history series in the Americus Times-Recorder with two new articles. He also recently reviewed a book that explores the civil rights era in Americus. Excerpts of each are available below.

"What Makes a Place Historic?" was published by the Americus Times-Recorder on May 14: “Age alone is not sufficient, but properties that attained historical significance within the last 50 years are usually ineligible for the National Register. The history does not need to be a ‘first,’ a ‘last,’ the ‘biggest’ or the ‘best’ and neither does it need to make us feel proud, angry, or guilty. It should, however, make us think.”

"Is Anthony School Worth Mourning?" was published by the Americus Times-Recorder on April 28: "I once considered Anthony School eligible for the National Register of Historic Places as an example of a segregated, whites-only public school that became, in response to the Civil Rights Movement, a private religious school. If Anthony School was historic, though, was it worth preserving? In an era where the preservation of nineteenth-century symbols is a household conversation, the demolition of Anthony School highlights the challenges of preserving problematic twentieth-century spaces."

Kutzler’s full book review of “God with Us: Lived Theology and the Freedom Struggle in Americus, Georgia, 1942-1976” is available here. "While the geographical footprint of God with Us is small, its central idea has implications for the entire civil rights movement. Historians, according to Quiros, have downplayed the religious convictions of activists and opponents. "The civil rights struggle, rightly understood as a major social, cultural, and political conflict," Quiros contends, "constituted a theological conflict as well" (p. 2)."


ChuChu-Wu.pngWu presents on family dynamics during the COVID-19 pandemic

Chuchu Wu, Ph.D., professor in the College of Education, presented a Zoom webinar titled “The Changes in Family Dynamics during the Pandemic” for Chinese-American Academic and Professional Association in Southeastern United States (CAPASUS) on May 8, 2021. The presentation aimed to identify the current challenges and changes in family interactions due to the pandemic. The presenters applied the family system framework to examine conflicts of family dynamics and identified source of stressors and its impacts on children and parents under the impact of COVID-19. The presentation also provided with recommendations for the audience to know how to help family and children to cope with the influence of the pandemic.

COBAC hosts research seminar

On March 31, COBAC hosted its first research seminar in the Business Administration conference room. Dr. Jim Aller and Dr. Allen Brown presented their recent research in the seminar. Dr. Aller’s paper is “Examination of the antecedents and consequences of human resource decisions and the psychological contract of HR staff”. His study examines the impact of the breach of contract with the HR worker and the consequences of that breach on the organization. Dr. Brown presented an article titled “Examination of qualitative versus quantitative video utilization”. The article investigates students’ video lecture utilization in quantitative and qualitative courses as well as analyzes students’ viewing habits. Both articles have significant contribution to the existing literature.

Pictured L-R are Dr. Allen Brown, Dr. Jim Aller, Dr. Qian “Maggie” Wang

Business faculty

Awards & Grants

Iordanova secures funding for grant

Professor of Chemistry Nedialka Iordanova, Ph.D., secured a $1,500 grant from the Augusta Howard Warren Fund. The funds will go towards study abroad opportunities associated with the UNIV 4000 International Service Learning course.

New Hires, Promotions & Retirements

Kerry EdwardsKerry Edwards to Lead Women's Soccer Program

Director of Athletics Mike Leeder has hired Kerry Edwards to be the school's next head women's soccer coach. Edwards comes to Georgia Southwestern from NCAA Division I member Northwestern State University where she served as an assistant coach on the women's soccer staff this past year.

"We are very excited to add Kerry to the Hurricane athletics family," Leeder said. "With her experience as a decorated player as a goalkeeper in NCAA Division II at Dallas Baptist as well as her early success in the NCAA as an assistant coach, we feel like she will elevate the profile of the women's soccer program at GSW."

"Kerry has extensive recruiting ties through the Southeast gained during her time as an assistant at Northwestern State, South Alabama and North Alabama," Leeder said. "We had record finishes by five of our ten athletic programs this year, and we are confident that we have the right person to make women's soccer relevant in the highly competitive Peach Belt Conference."

Read more about Kerry here.

KadeemWilliams.jpgKadeem Williams joins Human Resources

Kadeem Williams has joined the Office of Human Resources as a part-time HR Assistant, effective May 24He will be providing support for the University’s HR function to include assisting employees, applicants, and students.

Kadeem is originally from Atlanta, Ga. Kadeem earned a BS in Psychology with a Minor in Sociology from GSW in December 2012. He previously worked for Publix Supermarkets at their distribution center for 7 years. He is married to Shalisha Williams, who works in The Office of First-Year Experience, and they have a two-year old daughter name Ryleigh.

Milestones, Birthdays & Life Events

Kelby Lamar at graduationLamar earns doctorate

Kelby Lamar, Coordinator of Greek Life and Leadership in the Division of Student Engagement and Success since July 2019, successfully defended his dissertation, "Out of the Night that Covers Me: How Membership in a Black Greek Letter Organization Shapes the Black Student Experience" at the University of Alabama on December 11, 2020. 

Lamar participated in commencement ceremonies on May 1, 2021, where he officially earned his Doctorate of Education in Higher Education Administration from the Executive Ed.D Cohort Program.

Lamar is from Americus, Ga. and previously attended the University of Georgia for his bachelor's degrees in Journalism and Political Science and master’s degree in Public Relations. 

RhondaSlocumb.JPGSlocumb earns doctorate

Rhonda Slocumb, Lecturer in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, successfully defended her dissertation, titled "Factors Associated with Transition to Student-Centered Pedagogy in Nursing Educators:  A Cross-Sectional, Correlational Study," on May 14, 2021. As a result, Slocumb will be awarded a Ph.D. in Nursing from Mercer University's College of Nursing.

Slocumb previously earned her Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Georgia Southwestern, a Master of Public Health from Mercer Univeristy, and a Master of Science in Nursing from Clayton State University.

Slocumb is a Cairo, Ga. native and has been at GSW for ten years.

Chris Avery at graduationAvery graduates with master’s degree

Christopher Avery, Coordinator of Intramural and Outdoor Recreation in the Division of Student Engagement and Success, graduated from Middle Georgia State University with his Master of Arts degree in Technical and Professional Writing.

A native of Tyrone, Ga., Avery previously earned a Bachelor of Arts in Dramatic Arts from GSW with an emphasis in Communication and Media Arts and a minor in Information Technology.

Upcoming Events

Find more events on the GSW academic calendar and on CanesConnect.