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Issue 4: February 2023


GSW’s Propel campaign for scholarships over halfway to $1 million goal

As of Feb. 13, Propel: GSW’s Campaign for Scholarships is over halfway to its goal of raising $1 million in scholarship funding for students. Since the campaign launched at the beginning of the 2022-2023 academic year, $537,020 has been raised.

“As the costs of daily living are on the rise, the importance of private scholarship dollars are more significant than ever before,” said Stephen Snyder, assistant vice president for Advancement and GSW Foundation executive director. “Our GSW Advancement team is thrilled at the success of the scholarship fundraising campaign. We anticipate our goal will be met ahead of schedule, but we won’t be letting up on our efforts to provide private support for GSW students.”

A total of 296 donors have made campaign contributions, 75 of them have given a total of $1,000 or more.

Read more about the Propel campaign here.

propel milestone graphic

Lady Canes beat Lander to win the PBC

The GSW women's basketball extended its win streak to four games with a 65-47 victory over Lander University in the Storm Dome Saturday evening.

With the victory, the Hurricanes win the Peach Belt Conference regular season championship for the first time in program history.

Ava Jones had a big game for the Hurricanes as she scores a season-high 22 points grabbing four rebounds and a clutch block. Jones was one of three Lady Hurricanes to finish in double figures in scoring, along with Jolicia Willams who scored 14 points and grabbed 8 rebounds along with three steals, and Kayla Langley who recorded 10 points.

GSW improves to 21-4 on the season and improves to (13-3) in Peach Belt Conference Play. The Lady Hurricanes win the PBC after Wednesday's contests.

Read more here.

women's basketball team celebreates win

GSW benefits from new career planning tool for student success

GSW has a new career planning platform for students, Steppingblocks, that provides additional career counseling services and connects them to information about graduates and alumni in the field they want to work in. 

The University System of Georgia (USG) provided Steppingblocks to its 26 public colleges and universities to help students with specific job services and career guidance including potential degrees to pursue, job opportunities and salary ranges based on a student’s interests.

GSW students can access Steppingblocks anytime through their myGSW account. By completing a short personality quiz within Digital Career Counselor, students are given recommendations for majors and career paths that best fit their personalities. Additionally, they can find which companies GSW alumni work for, their average salaries and the potential majors and specific skills necessary to succeed in those career fields.

Read more about these new resources here.


Suzanne SmithGSW provost named president at SUNY Potsdam

GSW Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs (VPAA) Suzanne Smith, Ph.D., has been named president of the State University of New York (SUNY) at Potsdam after serving nearly five years at GSW.

Smith accepted the position at Potsdam after it was officially voted on by SUNY Board of Trustees and will start on April 17, 2023.

“It has been a tremendous honor to serve as provost and VPAA at Georgia Southwestern for the last five years,” Smith said. “GSW is a special place, with talented faculty and staff who put student success at the forefront of everything they do, and provide an exceptional educational and co-curricular experience. I will miss serving with each of them, and with our amazing students, as the people are what makes GSW special.”

The University has partnered with Higher Education Leadership Search to conduct a national search for a new provost. The new provost/VPAA is expected to start before the beginning of the fall semester.

Read more about Smith's tenure at GSW here.

January gas card winner announced

Thanks to generous donations to the GSW Foundation from Charles Eames and Perry Brothers Oil Co., all currently enrolled GSW students are eligible to win a $100 Gas N' Go gift card each month. The January winners were (pictured L to R) Jimmy Encinia, Chloe Ard, Danielle Penn, and Amber Tyo (not pictured).

Students can enter the drawing through the link in the Breeze email each month. Winners will be contacted via email by a representative from the GSW Foundation.

gas card winners

The Ramseys on their wedding dayHurricane Hearts: How two students found love and a life-saving community at GSW

Many young college students dream of finding lasting love and lifelong friendships during their college years – and that’s the story for Theo and Lakinia [Watts] Ramsey. The two had no intention of having a romantic relationship with one another at first. They were close friends, travel companions, and a source of transportation for each other to visit their respective families in Columbus and Desoto over the holidays.

“It was me, Theo, and Rashid [Castle-Ali],” says Lakinia, “We were the Three Musketeers.” They did everything together including camping out for concerts and taking road trips.”

The three friends met when they started at GSW in 1996, and Theo and Lakinia ended up in the same political science class. “Theo was involved in everything,” recalls Lakinia, “and he would drag me along saying, ‘sign up for this,’ and I would say, ‘but I don’t want to,’ and he would insist…so I signed up.”

Lakinia joined Theo on the Campus Activities Board, the Student Government Association (Theo was president from 1997-2000), and she was also a member of the Honors Society. Theo was a tough act to follow though. He also served as President of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, was a member of the Student African-American Brotherhood (SABU), the Zephyr Recruitment Team and was named GSW’s first Homecoming King (1997) as well as Mr. Southwestern for two years in a row (1997-1998).

“It was a supportive community, especially as a person of color,” says Theo, who forged deep bonds with many of the alumni and staff at GSW, including history professor, Dr. Harold Isaacs, whom he still calls his “godfather.” “Dr. Isaacs gave us a holistic view of history, not just Eurocentric; he taught history as it relates to black people.”

Read more about the Ramsey's story here.

Schopen-Davis directs GSW students and faculty in Oliver!

Sumter Players' production of Lionel Bart's "Oliver!" will run at the Rylander Theater from March 2-5. Several members of the GSW community are involved in the production, including director Irmgard Schopen-Davis, who is a part-time faculty member in Department of English and Modern Languages .Several cast and crew members also have GSW connections: English faculty member Michael Moir (Fagin), GSW students Madelyn Dunston (Nancy), Sonja Biernacki (Captain/Ensemble), and Dylan Tracy (Rehearsal Accompanist), and GSW alumni Tara Mitchell (Woman #1/Ensemble) and Tami Peavy-Owen (Ensemble) are all participating in the production. The cast also includes the children of GSW employees; Maddox Miller (Artful Dodger) and his sister Cayden (Handwalker/Ensemble) are the children of Financial Aid Specialist Leann Miller.

Student Recognitions

Class representatives announced

To close out Blue & Gold Week, class representatives were announced during halftime of the women's basketball game on Saturday, February 18.

Pictured left to right are:

  • Mr. Freshman: Amir Middleton
  • Miss Freshman: Trinity Daniels-McNear
  • Mr. Sophomore: Hunter Hockman
  • Miss Sophomore: Shy'Neshia Salter
  • Miss Junior: Ty'Ina Moore
  • Mr. Senior: Jamal Floyd
  • Miss Senior: Necia Hughs

class representatives announced during halftime

K.J. DanielsGSW student shares experience as member of African-American Male Initiative

GSW student Kenneth “K.J.” Daniels spoke on his personal experience as a member of the African-American Male Initiative (AAMI) during a webinar on Black Male Initiatives and Retention and Completion Outcomes as part of the Transformative Conversations Series hosted by the John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education.

Daniels, a junior chemistry major and computer science minor, was recommended to speak on the webinar by the director of GSW’s AAMI program, Ervin Anderson. Presenting alongside Daniels was Wanda Gross, director of the AAMI for the University System of Georgia (USG). Both discussed the AAMI program, created in 2001 by the Board of Regents, which is a system-wide initiative aimed at increasing the number of African-American males who complete their postsecondary education from any of the 26 USG institutions. 

“I'm grateful I was personally asked to share my experiences about how the African-American Male Initiative has impacted me,” said Daniels. “It allowed me to reflect upon how beneficial the AAMI program here at GSW is and how Mr. Anderson and others on campus have helped us in several ways. I plan to help the AAMI strive to become even better with the connections I've made along the way so that I can help prospects of AAMI and GSW alike.”

Read more about K.J.'s experience in AAMI here.

Ava JonesJones named PBC Women's Basketball Player of the Week two weeks in a row

GSW's Ava Jones was named PBC Women's Basketball Player of the Week for two consecutive weeks.

Jones was recognized on Feb. 13 for guiding the league-leading Hurricanes to a pair of wins the previous week with 21 points and eight rebounds per game. The senior guard from Carencro, La., scored 21 in both games against Flagler and Georgia College and posted her second double-double of the season with 10 boards against the Bobcats. She added 2.0 assists and 1.0 steals per game with a blocked shot against GCSU and only one turnover in 70 minutes on the floor.

On Feb. 20, Jones was recognized again for averaging 20 points and five rebounds per game as the Hurricanes won their first-ever PBC regular-season championship. She scored 18 points with six rebounds in a win over Columbus State, then had 22 points and four rebounds in a championship-clinching win over Lander on Saturday. She added 4.0 assists 1.0 steals and 1.0 blocks per game.

Jones is currently sixth in the PBC in scoring, fifth in field goal percentage, seventh in free throw percentage and assists and ninth in steals.

Nicolas EscobarEscobar named PBC Co-Golfer of the Week

GSW men's golf player Nicolas Escobar has been named Men's co-Golfer of the Week by the Peach Belt Conference. Escobar in third place at the Spring Kick-Off Intercollegiate in St. Augustine this week. He fired a three-under 212 at the St. Johns Golf & Country Club in a field that featured five nationally-ranked teams in the 17-team field and 95 total golfers.

The junior from Guayaquil, Ecuador, Escobar shot rounds of 73-70-69. His 15 total birdies was tied for third-most in the tournament and included a barrage of seven birdies on his final round including four on the back nine. He was one of eight players to shoot his final round in the 60s and has shot 11 of his 15 rounds this season at or under par. Escobar collects his first top-five finish of the season, his third top 10, and is currently fifth in the PBC in stroke average at 71.67.

Read more here.

Rijnaldo EusonEuson named PBC Pitcher of the Week

GSW's Rijnaldo Euson threw a no-hitter in GSW's win over Claflin in game two of their series on Saturday. The sophomore lefty from Haines City, Fla., allowed four walks and struck out 12 over seven innings, facing just four batters over the minimum.

It is the first no-hitter thrown in the Peach Belt since GSW's Tucker Smith did it against Claflin in March of 2021 and only the sixth no-hitter ever thrown in a PBC conference game. Euson issued a walk with two outs in the first inning, the proceeded to retire the next 14 Panthers in order until another walk in the sixth as he improved to 2-0 on the season.

This is Euson's first career PBC Pitcher of the Week title.

Read more here.

Reggie RaynorRaynor named PBC Men's Basketball Player of the Week

GSW's Reggie Raynor was solid at both ends of the court as he led the Hurricanes to a pair of wins to secure a spot in the 2023 Peach Belt Conference Tournament.

The sophomore from Fayetteville, N.C., averaged 23.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game while shooting 71% from the field. He scored 24 with 10 boards in a win over Clayton State and then had 23 with seven rebounds in a win over Young Harris.

Raynor is currently seventh in the PBC in rebounding and 12th in free throw percentage.

Read more here.

Zoe WillisWillis named PBC Softball Player of the Week

GSW's Zoe Willis was an offensive juggernaut in seven games last week for the Hurricanes. The 2022 PBC Player of the Year hit .563 with a 1.688 slugging percentage. She hit six home runs, all in different games, with 11 total RBIs as GSW went 5-2. She hit three home runs and drove in six in GSW's 7-6 win over Montevallo to begin the week, going 3-for-3. She was 2-for-3 against Charleston (W.V.) with two more home runs and homered again against California (Pa.). She struck out only once in 16 at-bats and drew seven walks for a .706 on-base percentage.

The junior second baseman from Pine Mountain, Ga., also stole a base and committed no errors in seven chances. Willis now leads the PBC in home runs and is second in slugging percentage, fourth in batting average and seventh in RBIs.

Read more here.

Savana BradfordBradford named PBC Softball Pitcher of the Week

GSW's Savana Bradford went 3-0 in four appearances last week, pitching 22.2 innings with 10 hits, three runs and one walk allowed while striking out 33.

The sophomore righty from Colquitt, Ga., threw a five-inning no-hitter against Shaw at the NFCA Leadoff Classic, striking out 10 without allowing a walk. He allowed one run on six hits with a complete-game effort against Montevallo, striking out seven with no walks. She also went the distance against Gannon, allowing two runs on three hits while striking out 13. For the week she held batters to a .132 average and had a 0.95 ERA.

Bradford is now second in the PBC in strikeouts, fourth in opponent batting average, tied for second in wins and 10th in ERA.

Read more here.


Taylor presents at conference

Lecturer of Accounting Danielle Taylor, CPA, presented at the Georgia Association of Accounting Educators at Georgia Gwinnett College on Feb. 3, 2023. Taylor demonstrated Poll Everywhere software, which she uses to increase student engagement and solicit real-time feedback from students in her classes.

Robins presents on Carter's Vietnam politics

During the Feb. 3-5, 2023 meeting of the Georgia Association of Historians, Professor of History Glenn Robins, Ph.D., presented a paper entitled “Jimmy Carter’s Vietnam Politics” as part of a panel on Political History: Local, State, and National. The presentation examined Carter’s role in the creation of Vietnam veterans’ issues as a national agenda item and considered the president’s political investment in these issues and a review his policy prescriptions. Robins is currently working on a book about President Carter and Vietnam veterans.


bookDahlgren, Ryer and Bryan publish book
Professor of English and Chair of English and Modern Languages Paul Dahlgren, Ph.D., Lecturer of English Jennifer Ryer, Ph.D., and Professor of English Genie Bryan, Ph.D., published Composition Won! Roleplay Your Way to Success in Writing, Rhetoric, and Beyond with Great River Learning. The book was available to students beginning January 2023. This e-textbook is focused on the classroom using Reacting to the Past (RTTP). RTTP is an interactive game-based pedagogy designed to engage students through role play, writing, and interaction with primary texts. RTTP also offers participants the opportunity to learn collaboratively and practice cooperative skills to succeed in the game.

The authors believe this textbook will further advance the High Impact Practice (HIP) goals which drive the design and implementation of RTTP. In addition to chapters on writing, rhetoric, how to read effectively, and using Modern Language Association (MLA) citation style, the book offers students help on time management and conflict resolution in a collaborative setting. Unlike many composition textbooks, Composition Won! was written and designed with a humorous slant intended to engage today’s students. In addition to the lighthearted tone and potentially too many cat pictures, the activities included in the e-book intend to further the user’s understanding of essential skills without intimidating beginning scholars.

Jones publishes article in Games and Culture journal

Assistant Professor of Communication in the Department of Music, Communication, & Emerging Media Ashley P. Jones, Ph.D., published "Angel Anxiety: Alice Angel as the Uncanny Presence in Bendy and the Ink Machine" via Games and Culture on Feb. 9, 2023. This article examines how the character of Alice Angel is a manifestation of masculine anxieties surrounding power structures for feminine bodies. Jones examines the character through the lens of the uncanny and through the remaking of the familiar into the unfamiliar, causing anxiety for players as they navigate the masculine landscape and narrative of Bendy and the Ink Machine.

Employment Updates

New Hires

Emily May joined the Office of Accounting Services as the Grants/Travel Accountant on Feb. 20, 2023.

Promotions and Title Changes
Tripp Larkey, previously a part-time assistant in the Office of First-Year Experience, was named Dual Enrollment and Student Success Coordinator in the same office on Feb. 1, 2023.

Mary Cooper, Central Stores Supervisor in the Office Materials Management, retired on Feb. 28, 2023.
Polly Conger, Grants/Travel Accountant in the Office of Accounting Services, retired on Feb. 28, 2023.
Michelle Underwood, Purchasing Director in the  Office of Purchasing, retired on Feb. 28, 2023.

Hurricane Gratitude

On behalf of the School of Nursing we thank each of you for supporting our students during the recent Quilt Raffle and Souper Bowl fundraisers in which a total of $3,200.00 was raised!  The money will be used to offset food, travel and lodging expenses for 8 students going to Mayfield, KY during the week of Spring break. While in KY, students will be volunteering at a substance abuse clinic and a healthcare clinic.

GSW faculty and staff are always supportive of our students, and we look forward to hearing about their experiences when they return.

School of Nursing faculty and students


Career Readiness Week is focused on providing essential resources to all students in preparation for future career opportunities. This past week, through workshops and networking opportunities, GSW students gained knowledge on tools and resources readily available to be career ready. Senior Day was a great opportunity for community leaders and the campus community to celebrate with our upcoming graduates as they prepare for their next steps after GSW!

I am grateful for a supportive faculty, staff, facilities management team, and planning committee that worked together to ensure this week was a success. Thank you, GSW community, for pouring into our students to help them excel in their future endeavors! I am excited to see where our Hurricanes go next. Go Canes!

- Courtney Harmon, Assistant Director of First-Year Experience

Past Events

SGA hosts presidents reunion to mark 50th anniversary

On February 18, several past Student Government Association presidents were invited back to campus in celebration of SGA's founding 50 years ago. Attendees explored new construction and renovations on a campus tour, watched the Lady Canes win their first regular season Peach Belt Conference championship, and were recognized on the court at halftime of the men's basketball game.

Current and former SGA members

Seniors meet with potential employers at Nursing Career Fair

On February 21, senior nursing students met with Georgia facilities to learn more about career opportunities. The 39 seniors graduating in May and December met with representatives from 22 regional employers, including Phoebe Sumter Medical Center, Magnolia Manor, Piedmont, the Lillian Carter Nursing Center, and several regional hospitals.

The School of Nursing received positive feedback on the event, as employers praised students for their professionalism, enthusiasm, and resumes.

College of Educations hosts annual Teacher Career Fair

GSW's College of Education and Chattahoochee-Flint RESA partnered once again to present the 2023 Teacher Career Fair. The Fair brought personnel representatives from school systems throughout the state of Georgia including (but not limited to) the school districts from the Chattahoochee-Flint RESA region and GSW area. Certified educators, those eligible for teaching certification for the 2022-23 school year, and those holding a degree were encouraged to attend.

Chattahoochee-Flint RESA also had representatives available to discuss the GaTAPP program, which is an alternative pathway for individuals who hold a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited institution, who did not compete a traditional teacher education degree program, and who wants to transition in the teaching profession.

BrantleyAAMI hosts Black History Month program and workshop with GSW alumni

On February 14, 2023, GSW's African American Male Institute (AAMI) sponsored a Black History Program titled “The History of Education and Where It Stands Today” by GSW alumnus Bernard Brantley of BNB Strategy Group. Brantley spoke to students, faculty, staff and community attendants in depth about the state of education in America. He explained how education started for America, how it evolved and how it has gotten to its present state. He also expressed how funding can really influence the quality of education one can receive. He gave examples of how the current system of education is reverting back towards old ideas, old funding gaps and old traditions. He also expressed to all the students in the audience “to continue your education and do not quit, because you are the ones who will be leaders of tomorrow that make changes for the betterment of education”. Students gave his speech a thundering applause and engaged him for talks before and after his speech.

BNB Strategy Group specializes in public speaking, transformative coaching and leadership development. Brantley served as the Director of Admissions at Young Harris College and Senior Director of Admissions at Georgia State University and Clark Atlanta University.

workshopAAMI also held a workshop on Tuesday, January 31, 2023. GSW alumnus Andre Robinson explained to all of the members that particular majors can be frustrating and also incorrect according to individual mindsets and skills. He focused on the statistics of how males change their major after being frustrated with not excelling in their first major academically. He pointed out how this leads to unhappiness and frustration. He used his own situation to provide a glimpse into how to find that career path to being happy with what you are doing and being excited about it. He pointed out how sometimes it takes longer for some students than others to find that right path. "Never give up" and "Dedicate your effort and faith” were the two points he expressed passionately. He also pointed out that there are so many ways to be educated now, but it is left up to individuals to find that way with help. The members enjoyed his presentation and how he kept them actively participating. 

Robinson is a graduate of GSW and South Georgia Technical College. He has over 30 years of professional barbering experience and is the Instructor of the Barbering School at South Georgia Technical College and owner of Uptown Cuts in Vienna Georgia. Prior to his present position, he was a Counselor providing Care and Treatment at Macon State Prison and the Georgia Department of Corrections.

Senior Day held for 2023 graduates

Spring, summer and fall 2023 graduates were invited to attend Senior Day on Feb. 24. The event included several workshops in preparation to enter their career fields confidently and successfully as well as sessions on interviews, resumes, dining etiquette, and more were led by GSW alumni, faculty, and staff. 

Students also enjoined a networking lunch with fellow seniors and a professional photoshoot with David Parks Photography.

Accounting students attend Meet the Firms event

GSW's Accounting Club hosted their inaugural Meet the Firms event on February 27, 2023 in Canes Central. Eleven accounting firms and businesses participated. Accounting students from freshman to senior level met with representatives from each firm to network and apply for summer leadership programs, internships, and full-time jobs. Many of these businesses are active on campus throughout the year as guest speakers and sponsors of various events.

At Meet the Firms, students were able to meet with multiple businesses at the same time. Employers came from Atlanta, Albany, Tifton, middle Georgia, and Florida. Several alumni returned to campus to help recruit for their current employers: Wynne Morris and Britani Thomas from Carr, Riggs & Ingram, Carly Hall from Draffin Tucker, Kaleb Albritton from the Georgia Department of Audits, Logan Collins from Perry Brothers Oil Company, Inc., and Jay Shirah and Cam Thompkins from Robert Baker & Associates. Student and employer feedback was overwhelmingly positive, and the College of Business and Computing looks forward to hosting this event again next year.

  • Carr Riggs Ingram (Tifton, GA and nationwide)
  • City of Americus (Americus, GA)
  • Draffin Tucker (Albany and Atlanta, GA)
  • Edgewater Group (Tallahassee, FL and nationwide)
  • F&W Forestry (Albany, GA)
  • Georgia Department of Audits (statewide)
  • Mauldin & Jenkins (Albany, GA and Southeast US)
  • McNair, McLemore, Middlebrooks, & Co. (Perry, GA and Macon, GA)
  • Nichols Cauley (Warner Robins, GA and Southeast US)
  • Perry Brothers Oil (Americus, GA)
  • Robert Baker & Associates (Albany, GA)

Education faculty membersCollege of Education events support new teachers in the region

The College of Education (COE) has continued to host the Induction Support Events for interns and new teachers in the surrounding area. Since the first event in September, the College has hosted two additional events. On October 25, attendees heard from Instructor in Special Education Allison Tarrer and Instructor in Elementary Education Rebecca Miller on the topic of "Family and Community Support." On January 31, Assistant Professor in Education Dr. Mary Huffman presented on the topic of "Building Classroom Community."

These events have drawn interns and new teachers from Marion County, Furlow Charter, Dougherty County, Randolph County, Crisp County, Sumter County, and Wilcox County. The College hopes to support  new teachers across the region by having DKG retired and current teachers and COE faculty and staff in attendance at these events.

The final event for the 2022-2023 academic year will be held on Tuesday, March 31. The organizers look forward to increasing engagement of new educators by inviting additional educators (years 1-3) to these events in the 2023-2024 academic year. Professional development paired with retention of educators in P-12 classrooms is important to support our P-12 learners.

Upcoming Events

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