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Issue 2: November 2022


Mark LaughlinLaughlin selected for USG Executive Leadership Institute

Mark Laughlin, D.M.A., interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, has been selected to participate in the University System of Georgia’s 2022-2023 Executive Leadership Institute (ELI).

The leadership institute is a comprehensive six-month, 120-hour development program designed to enhance leadership skills and prepare participants for advanced and cabinet-level leadership positions within the University System of Georgia. Laughlin will join 35 faculty and staff members from 25 USG institutions and the University System Office. 

“I am honored and humbled to have been nominated and selected,” stated Laughlin. “I deeply appreciate President [Neal] Weaver and Provost Suzanne Smith’s support, and I am looking forward to working with other ELI scholars throughout the university system.”

Read more about Laughlin and the ELI here.

GSW commencement ceremonies to be held December 9

GSW will hold its Fall 2022 Commencement ceremonies Friday, December 9 in the Convocation Hall of the Student Success Center, also known as the Storm Dome. Graduates from the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business and Computing, and College of Nursing and Health Sciences will be recognized in the 12 p.m. (noon) ceremony, while graduates from the College of Education will be recognized in the 4 p.m. ceremony. Over 600 students are graduating with approximately 400 graduates walking.

The commencement speakers will be Ashwani Monga, Ph.D., Vice Chancellor & Chief Academic Officer for the University System of Georgia (USG) at the 12 p.m. ceremony, and Richard McCorkle, Executive Director for Chattahoochee-Flint Regional Educational Service Agency (RESA), at the 4 p.m. ceremony.

Read more about the speakers and ceremonies here.

Ashwani Monga and Richard McCorkle

GSW announces 2023 Outstanding Alumni Award winners to be recognized at inaugural Gold Force Gala in January

GSW has announced its most outstanding alumni for their professional and personal achievements as well as their contributions to the University. These individuals will be recognized Saturday, Jan. 21 during the inaugural Gold Force Gala in the GSW Storm Dome.

"It is indeed an honor to recognize these outstanding alumni for the impact they have had in their chosen fields and in areas of service to their alma mater and respective communities,” said Alumni Engagement Specialist Angela Smith. “What better way to celebrate them than with a gala acknowledging their achievements while enjoying fellowship with GSW family, friends and supporters. Hearing the accolades of these alumni invokes a sense of GSW pride, and we are so excited to recognize them with such a special and festive event."

Each of these awards holds special significance and has different criteria. The 2022 Alumni Awardees are:

  • Aeolian Award recipient: Leon Holloway, ’73
  • Canes Community Champion: Barry Blount, ’78
  • Leewynn Finklea Award recipient: Amy Benton, ’90
  • Visionary Award recipient: Hugh Yaughn, ’72
  • Young Alumnus of the Year: Qaijuan Willis, ’15
  • Family Legacy Award recipients: The Terrell and (late) Janie Turner ’74 family
  • Hall of Fame inductee: Brennon Sewell, ’74

Read more about the award winners here.

From L-R (top): Barry Blount ‘78, the Terrell and late Janie Turner ‘74 family, Leon Holloway ’73; (bottom) Amy Benton ‘90, Hugh Yaughn ‘72, Qaijuan Willis ’15, and Brennon Sewell ’74.

alumni award winners


Lady Hurricanes start season with record rankings

The GSW women's basketball team opened their 2022-23 season ranked No. 14 in the country according to the Women's Basketball Coaches Association NCAA Division II Preseason Top 25 Poll released in early November. It's the first time in program history the Lady Hurricanes have been nationally-ranked.

In the November 22, the Lady Hurricanes moved up six spots to No. 8, marking the first time in program history the team has been ranked in the top 10. As of November 29, the team is ranked No. 17 in the nation.

The team was also picked to win the Peach Belt Conference in the preseason PBC coaches poll, also released in early November.

GSW finished last season with a 23-7 record and a second round appearance in the NCAA Division II National Tournament. The Lady Hurricanes returned their top five scorers and top six rebounders off last season's squad.

women's basketball team celebrate win

GSW advancement team at conferenceGSW Advancement team attends annual GEAC Conference

Members of GSW’s Division of University Advancement attended the 2022 Georgia Education Advancement Council (GEAC) Conference in Savannah, Ga. November 16-18. With over 250 Georgia advancement professionals attending, the conference included track sessions on topics in advancement services, alumni relations, development, and marketing and communication. 

Those attending were (pictured L to R) Assistant Vice President for University Advancement and Executive Director of the GSW Foundation Stephen Snyder; Foundation Advancement Services & Operations Manager Kearston Roland; Multimedia Coordinator Sydney Scott; Alumni Engagement Specialist Angela Smith; Web Content Strategist Hailey Henderson; Director of Marketing and Communications Chelsea Collins; and Development Officer Hunter Peak.

GEAC, Inc is a statewide organization for those at public and private colleges and universities who work in educational advancement including the areas of alumni, development, publications and communication.

Humanities Symposium promotes interdisciplinary student explorations

Over thirty students presented original research and creative explorations at the GSW Humanities Symposium on November 11. Organized by Associate Professor Susan Bragg, Ph.D., and co-sponsored by the Department of History and Political Science and faculty in the American Studies and Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies certificate programs, this event also included a keynote speech by Sam Mahone, a civil rights activist in the Americus Movement of the early 1960s.

Student presentations covered many different topics, including regional and family history, stagecraft and creative expression, youth cultures of World War II, historical and contemporary debates over masculinity, games and popular culture, the politics of communication, and explorations in American Studies. In addition to research panels, a two-panel afternoon session on connections between historical narratives and the humanities brought students into discussion. In the first of these interactive sessions, students from the Visual Arts program shared their work memorializing a history of racial violence in Americus, while in the second session, students discussed how poetry and letters offer historical perspective.

Faculty guided students in interdisciplinary conversation throughout the day, providing comment on student presentations and building conversation about critical themes with the audience. Session chairs included Blue Argo (English), Susan Bragg (History), Jonathan Carter (Communications), Paul Dahlgren (English), Debaleena Ghosh (Sociology), Alaina Kaus (English), Evan Kutzler (History), Jesse Russell (English), Jennifer Ryer (English), and Darrin Theriault (Management). Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Mark Laughlin, DMA, spoke to students at a morning welcome session to open the symposium and Associate Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Paul Dahlgren, Ph.D., commented at the lunch reception, including introducing keynote speaker Sam Mahone.

Overall, the Humanities Symposium was well-attended by GSW students from across campus and sparked lively conversations about creative expression, past and present. We particularly appreciate financial and organizing support from Laughlin and the College of Arts and Sciences, Judy Orton Grissett, Ph.D., of the Office of Experiential Learning, the Global Engagement and High Impact Practice (GEHIP) Committee, The Sumter Historic Trust, and the Americus Junior Service League. We look forward to continuing to support student engagement and interdisciplinary conversation in future events.

Find more photos from the event here.

students and faculty at conferenceBiology Club attends undergraduate research conference

Biology Club students and faculty advisers Anh-Hue Tu, Ph.D., Anne Jacobs, Ph.D., and Surya Amarachintha, Ph.D., recently attended Georgia Undergraduate Research Conference (GURC), a multidisciplinary conference dedicated for undergraduate research and creative art at Valdosta State University. With 17 member institutions across Georgia, GURC not only serves as a platform for undergraduate networking but also assists with career development and graduate school opportunities. Oral presentations with parallel sessions throughout the day and posters ranged from topics addressing health, literature, politics, business, etc. The keynote address “Adventures in Undergraduate Research” delivered by Dr. James LaPlant gave audience an encouragement to think and act creatively while conducting their research.

Attending GURC provided the GSW biology majors an opportunity to interact with faculty and students from other institutions and foster learning from their experiences. With an overwhelming participation of nine biology students, GSW has now become a proud member of GURC. The Biology Club is extremely thankful to Student Government Association and officials at GSW for their funding support. They are looking forward to participating and presenting their work at GURC 2023.

Student Recognitions

Trio of Hurricanes named All-Peach Belt

The GSW men's soccer team had three players receive All-Peach Belt Conference honors for the 2022 season as announced by the league. It marks the second consecutive year GSW has placed three on the list. Forward Lucas Bedleg, midfielder Matteo Landais and defender Chris Salamatou earned second-team distinction this fall for the Hurricanes.

The Hurricanes trio led the program to a return trip to the postseason in 2022 and the first PBC Tournament win in program history. GSW has 14 all-conference selections in school history with six coming in the last two seasons.

Read more about each player and their accomplishments here.

men's soccer players

Adderton named PBC Player of the Week

GSW sophomore guard Jarrett Adderton was named Peach Belt Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Week for the week of November 28. Adderton averaged 24 points to lead the Hurricanes to a pair of victories over Clinton College and Albany State University. He drained 50% from 3-pointers and made all 9 free throw attempts.

Jones and Langley named Preseason All-PBC

GSW senior guard Ava Jones and junior forward Kayla Langley were named to the 2022-23 Peach Belt Conference women's basketball preseason All-Conference team. The five-player team was announced November 3 by the league office. Jones and Langley are the first two Georgia Southwestern women's basketball players to earn the honor.

Read more about both players here.

women's basketball players


Jones presents research on the practice of play and video games

Assistant Professor of Communication in the Department of Music, Communication, & Emerging Media Ashley P. Jones, Ph.D., presented at the Literature/Film Association's Annual Conference on October 20, 2022. The presentation was titled "Embodiment & Empathy in Life is Strange 2" and explored the feminist practice of play when placed into the role of a BIPOC fugitive. Using a combination of narrative, game procedures, and game mechanics, Jones is looking into the subversive practice of play and it's impacts outside of the game environment. This is part of a larger project Jones is currently working on.

Moir presents at Baltimore conference

Associate Professor of English Michael A. Moir, Jr., Ph.D., presented a paper titled "‘It is the task of the book to bear the words’: Historical Fantasy as Metaliterature in Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell" at the annual meeting of Southern Conference on British Studies in Baltimore, Md. on November 12, 2022.

Dr. Amarachintha attends meeting in D.C.Amarachintha presents research at liver meeting in Washington, D.C.

Assistant Professor of Biology and Thomas Distinguished Biology Chair Surya Amarachintha, Ph.D., presented at The Liver Meeting 2022 in Washington, D.C. on November 7, 2022. His area of research is on biliary atresia (BA), a severe inflammatory disease of bile duct cells in children, indicated with loss of bile duct resulting in disrupted bile flow from liver to intestines. This results in accumulation of toxic bile in liver further progressing the disease with fibrotic and cirrhotic liver.

Amarachintha’s research at GSW involves studying BA using tissue-derived organoids (miniature forms of tissue). His research was selected by the Scientific Program Committee of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) for oral presentation at The Liver Meeting 2022. The Meeting is the annual event that brings together around 10,000 attendees including clinicians, associates, and scientists from at least 85 countries to exchange information on the latest research, discuss new developments in liver treatment and transplantation, and network with leading experts in the field of hepatology.

Amarachintha presented his talk "Patient-derived cholangiocyte organoids identify ROS-induced ciliopathy in biliary atresia" under the session Cholangiocentric Studies Targeting Biliary Disorders on Nov 7th at 5.15pm. In this study he concludes that NOXO1-dependent ROS generation regulates ciliopathy and uncovers a novel mechanism of epithelial injury. The cytoprotective benefits of Apocynin identifies a potential therapeutic target for biliary atresia.


Bishop publishes article on ethical dilemmas in accounting
Associate Professor of Accounting Carol Bishop, D.B.A., recently published "How to Handle Pressure to Act Unethically" in the Summer 2022 edition of Management Accounting Quarterly with co-authors Lisa Haylon, Douglas Boyle, and Dana Hermanson. Their research highlights ethical dilemmas accountants and finance professionals are likely to face in their career. The article summarizes the skills and personality types associated with initiating fraud and the different types of pressure individuals use to coerce others into committing fraud. The authors offer 10 practical steps to help financial professionals prepare for and respond to the pressure to act unethically. Perhaps the most fundamental step in defending yourself from pressure is to plan ahead and know how you will respond beforehand, to work with others to set the right tone in the organization, and to have trusted advisors in place to discuss difficult decisions. When and if you are ultimately asked, perspectives preparing to say no include be aware of small asks used by fraud leaders that may propel you on a slippery slope to larger frauds and to watch your tendency to be a people pleaser. The paper concludes with suggestions for accounting professors to use when discussing these issues with their students.

Awards & Grants

Angela Smith receives her awardSmith recognized for Excellence in Communications and Marketing at GEAC Conference

Alumni Engagement Specialist Angela Smith received the Outstanding Excellence Award in Alumni Relations at the 2022 Georgia Education Advancement Council (GEAC) Conference in Savannah, Ga. Smith was nominated by her GSW colleague Chelsea Collins and voted on by fellow board members.

Smith's nomination highlighted her work on numerous Alumni Affairs projects, including alumni events across the state, international tours that generate revenue, two large-scale data collection projects, engagement of future and current alumni, the Outstanding Alumni Awards dinner, and a handful of other annual events. Her nomination form read in part:

"Angela has played a vital role in revitalizing GSW’s Office of Alumni Affairs over the last four years, helping to engage more alumni and reconnect them with their alma mater.

Angela has used her years of experience in corporate public relations, public service, time served with the local Chamber of Commerce, experience in the GSW President’s Office, and deep ties within the Americus community to advance the alumni affairs operation at Georgia Southwestern. The Advancement staff consider her a great asset and are extremely proud to have her on the team!"

Smith's win marks the third consecutive year a GSW staff member has won a GEAC award. Pictured (L to R) are Collins, GEAC board member Tonya McClure, and Smith.

GSW receives two Georgia Peach Awards for Florrie Chappell and Canes Central

Georgia Southwestern has received two of five Georgia Peach Awards presented September 2022 Georgia Association of School Facility Administrators (GASFA) Conference. The awards recognized the recent renovations of Florrie Chappell Gymnasium and Canes Central. To be considered, buildings must optimize energy performance, use Georgia-based materials and furnishings, improve the environmental quality, conserve energy, protect the State’s natural resources, and reduce the burden on the State’s water supply.

New Hires, Promotions, Retirements, & Farewells

New Hires

Casi Harris joined the Office of Health and Counseling Services as a full-time RN on November 18, 2022.

Jason Wicker joined the College of Nursing and Health Sciences as a Administrative Assistant on November 27, 2022.


Savannah Ross, Head Women's Cross Country Coach in the Department of Athletics, left that role on November 15, 2022.

Promotions and Title Changes

Jenn Smith, previously the Interim Physical Plant Director, was named Physical Plant Director on November 1, 2022.

Sydney Scott, previously the Public Relations Assistant in the Department of University Relations, was named Multimedia Coordinator on November 1, 2022.


Martha Schwab Maddox, professor emerita and former nursing department chair, passed away on November 21, 2022.

Hurricane Gratitude

"A huge thanks to Courtney Harmon and Tammy Middleton for working so hard over the last year to get the Communication and Emerging Media program approved for Veteran’s Benefits and I-20 students. You are both amazing and the faculty in Music, Communication, and Emerging Media thanks you so much!!!"

- Dr. Ashley Jones

Past Events

NPHC members visit Sumter County Elementary

Several members of GSW's National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) fraternities and sororities recently presented at the Arts in Action Day at Sumter County Elementary School. The members talked to the students about their experiences as college students and Greek Life members at GSW. The elementary students loved the step show and stroll-off.

NPHC members show their letters in the elementary school gym

accounting students hear from firm representatives in conference roomAccounting Club hosts Meet the Firm events

The GSW Accounting Club recently sponsored several Meet the Firm events in November. Recruiters from three regional accounting firms spoke to students about internships, careers, and the summer leadership program. Students were encouraged to bring resumes, and several students have already have applied and interviewed with one or more of the firms.

Thank you to Abbie Chesser and Marian Vu of Mauldin & Jenkins CPAs, Taylor Phillips of Draffin & Tucker CPAs, and Lexi Drennon and Wynne Morris from Carr, Riggs, Ingram, CPAs and Advisors for investing in GSW's students! Lexi and Wynne are alumni of GSW's online accounting program. Landon Littleton, President of the GSW Accounting Club, also welcomed Charlotte Roberts, from UWorld. She provided information regarding the Roger CPA review course and tips about how to successfully prepare for the CPA exam.

The GSW Accounting Club sponsors multiple events each semester so that students will be prepared to navigate the professional world of public and/or private accounting.

College of Education holds mock interviews for teacher candidates

The College of Education hosted its annual mock interview process for senior teacher candidates on November 11, 2022. A total of 43 Fall 2022 and Spring 2023 student teachers participated. Faculty and staff welcomed 13 volunteers to the College of Education in person and 6 virtual volunteers to conduct these mock interviews with teacher candidates. Volunteers included GSW colleagues from various departments, partners from Chattahoochee Flint RESA, partners from the Georgia Department of Education, partners from the Professional Association of Georgia Educators, and business members in the community.

This mock interview process was an opportunity for teacher candidates to practice and gain valuable interview skills before upcoming career fairs and interviews with school districts. Each candidate participated in virtual and in-person mock interviews. During the interview process, volunteer interviewers gave feedback to our teacher candidates on their resumes, first impressions, professionalism, interview content, interview skills/techniques, etc. Upon completing mock interviews, a teacher candidate stated, "Today, I feel that I have gained valuable skills and most of all, confidence, for my upcoming interviews."

Jake Fountain with his research capstone posterGSW biology alum, now a UGA professor, returns to campus

The Department of Biology welcomed Jake Fountain, Ph.D., as he returned to GSW for a visit on Tuesday, November 1. A 2009 GSW biology graduate, Fountain is currently an Assistant Professor of Mycotoxicology & Postharvest Pathology at the University of Georgia's College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences in Griffin. His primary research focus is on the prevention of aflatoxin contamination in peanuts and corn. Aflatoxins are poisonous carcinogens produced by molds on food crops. These toxins can enter the food supply of agricultural animals, pets and humans. Fountain's research will involve the use of comparative genomics to identify novel aflatoxin regulatory genes and developing new biocontrol methods to prevent aflatoxin contamination.

Fountain has generously agreed to participate in GSW's new Biology Seminar Series initiated by Dr. Surya Amarachintha and Dr. Ahn-Hue Tu this fall. The Seminar Series includes invited talks by professionals in various science-related fields. The department hopes to have Fountain lead discussions on topics such as: applying to graduate schools, modern genomic technologies, research methodology, and plant pathology.

While at GSW, Fountain carried out his capstone research project in conjunctions with the Tifton Experiment Station. He is pictured here with the research poster from his 2009 capstone. After completing his biology degree, he went on to receive his M.Sc. in Plant Health from Louisiana State University in 2013 and his Ph.D. in Plant pathology from UGA in 2017.

Upcoming Events

  • December 2: Faculty & Staff Christmas Party
  • December 2 & 5-7: Final exams
  • December 7: Just Hired! event
  • December 8: Reading Day
  • December 9: Graduation
  • December 23 - January 2: Campus closed for winter break
  • January 11: Spring classes begin

Find more events on the GSW academic calendar, on CanesConnect, and on the Community Events webpage.