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Issue 6: April 2023


GSW men's golf wins first Peach Belt Conference Championship

The Georgia Southwestern men's golf team saved its best for last by posting a tournament-low 8-under par 280 on Sunday to capture the program's first-ever Peach Belt Conference championship. GSW won by six strokes and junior Nicolas Escobar won individual medalist honors with a 5-under 211.

The Hurricanes entered the final round two strokes out of the lead at the par-72, 7,086-yard Forest Hills Golf Club.

All five Hurricanes played the Sunday's round at even par or better, combining for 18 birdies and an eagle, and all finished in the Top 15. Jack Tharrington had the low round of the day at 69 which included an eagle on the par-5 ninth on a 50-foot putt. Chase McLain shot a 2-under 70 with five total birdies on the day while Erik Fogel was 1-under, going bogey-free on his opening nine holes. Payne Sells finished even par on the day and went out in 2-under 34, also bogey-free.

Escobar won his first tournament of the year and notched his second Top 5 finish. Starting the round in a three-way tie for the lead, he birdied two of his first four holes (the men began the round on the 10th hole) and was bogey-free through nine. He strung together 10 straight pars until a birdie on No. 6 (his 15th hole) followed by his only bogey of the day on seven. He finished par-par to walk away with as the medalist, the first GSW men's golfer to claim that honor. Escobar finished leading the event in total pars and was 1-under on the par-3s.

With the win, GSW earns the Peach Belt's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. 

Read more about the Championship here.

golf team with their trophy

GSW hosts first-ever Hurricane Pitch competition for student entrepreneurs

Georgia Southwestern hosted its first-ever Hurricane Pitch competition on Wednesday, April 19 for entrepreneurial students with dreams of starting their own small businesses in the communities they call home.

Kameisha Smith of Albany, Ga., a sophomore online pre-marketing major with an entrepreneurship certificate, took home the grand prize of $7,500, which she will use to get her small business off the ground. The Vessel, a comprehensive “one-stop shop” for marketing, will guide clients from start to finish with custom branding, web design, photography and other services to help create a cohesive brand for their business.

“Words cannot express my gratitude to the University, the GSW Foundation, and President Neal Weaver for making opportunities possible for us students to prepare for our dreams,” said Smith, who is currently working full-time while attending school and raising a son, with another on the way this year. “Of the overwhelming support from my village at home, work and school, I am proud to begin my journey as an entrepreneur to inspire those around me and make a better place for the future business leaders to come.”

Winning the People’s Choice Award was Jacquelyn Levay of Tampa, Fla., a senior management major with an entrepreneurship certificate, who received $3,000 towards starting her own small business of an online retail store for female activewear. Levay, a GSW women’s basketball player, shared that her vision for starting For Women By Women was from personal experience of not being able to find a variety of cute female activewear in stores.

Read more about the competition and other finalists here.


Hana Haden to lead GSW Women's Basketball

GSW has hired Hana Haden as its new head women's basketball coach, Director of Athletics Mike Leeder announced Thursday afternoon.

Haden comes to Georgia Southwestern from Moberly Area Community College in Moberly, Mo., where she led the women's basketball program for five seasons. During her tenure at MACC, Haden accumulated an overall record of 118-36 and a Region 16 record of 47-15. The Lady Greyhounds competed in the Region 16 Tournament Championship game in every season under her tutelage. This past year, MACC finished with a record of 29-4 and advanced ot the second round of the National Junior College Athletic Association Division I National Tournament.

"We are very excited to welcome Hana to the Hurricane family," Leeder said. "Her demonstrated success as a head coach in leading programs to tremendous success in the classroom, in the community and in the competitive arena made her an ideal fit to build upon the foundation and standards in place with the Lady Hurricanes program." 

"I couldn't be more excited to be the next head women's basketball coach at Georgia Southwestern State University," Haden said. "I'm grateful to be a part of the Canes family and the GSW community. I want to thank Mike Leeder and President (Dr. Neal) Weaver for this tremendous opportunity. Their support and vision for athletics, along with the success and foundation laid by Coach Justin Payne, makes this a very exciting time to be at GSW. I look forward to continuing to cut down nets while building championship habits on and off the floor." 

Coach Haden has been named to the Women's Basketball Coaches Association Thirty Under 30 list four times in her career. She was named the embRACEus Women's Coach of the Year in 2022 and 2021. She was also the recipient of the 2022 Moberly Area Community College Innovation Award for her More Than a Game Series, which is a personal development program focusing on life skills.

Read more about Haden here.

Hana Haden


Pre-K students listen to story in libraryLibrary launches story time sessions for GSW Pre-K

The GSW Library is excited to announce the launch of new story time sessions for GSW Pre-K classes. On March 13, the library hosted the Pre-K students for a St. Patrick’s Day themed story time session and a tour of the library. The children enjoyed getting a chance to walk through campus, and they also loved seeing where college students spend some of their time.

This event was the start of a collaboration between the two departments, with further story time sessions to be conducted once a month during the Fall and Spring semesters. During their first visit, our youngest learners on campus laughed at the hilarious adventures of Pete the Cat attempting to catch a leprechaun. Their second visit to the library was on April 17, and the children learned about community helpers and the different jobs they do.

In Fall 2023, the library plans to implement a special lending library for the Pre-K students. This will allow the students to borrow books and enjoy reading them at home or in the classroom, helping to instill a love of reading as well as providing a valuable lesson in responsibility that will benefit them as they move on to kindergarten. However, to make this program a success, the library will need support from the GSW community. Donations of new or gently used children's books for ages four to six would be greatly appreciated to help build the collection. To donate books, please drop them off at either the library or the Pre-K classrooms. Story time sessions are important for children, and the Library staff are excited to provide this opportunity for the students here on campus.

Smith elected secretary of GAAE

At the recent Georgia Association of Accounting Educators (GAAE) annual meeting at Georgia Gwinnett College, Assistant Professor of Accounting Sondra Smith, D.B.A., was elected as the Secretary of GAAE for the upcoming 2023-2024 year.

Student Recognitions

students with their awardGSWANS wins national award

The GSW Association of Nursing Students (GSWANS) attended the 71st annual National Student Nurses' Association (NSNA) Convention in Nashville, Tenn. this month. GSWANS won the Core Values Award, which is awarded to the top school in the country that best embodies the core values of the NSNA. Those core values are advocacy for the nursing profession, professionalism, quality nursing education, diversity and inclusion, leadership and autonomy, and care. GSWANS members submitted a presentation along with the award application that displayed how they achieved all of these values.

Convention attendees were Chapter President McKinzie McTyeire, Chapter Treasurer Rhett Clark, Chapter Secretary Abigail Torres, Calvin Schramm, and Faculty Advisor Carrie Bachhofer.

"I am so proud of this chapter and everything we have accomplished in the past year," said Bachhofer. "We started with 5 members and now have 47 official members. Winning the Core Values award is huge becasue it designates us as a school chapter that fully embodies what NSNA stands for - for the students and the nursing profession."

Nine inducted into Alpha Lambda Delta

During the Spring of 2023, the Office of First-Year Experience had the privilege to induct the next cohort of high-achieving GSW first-year students into the prestigious Alpha Lambda Delta honor society. This induction ceremony was held on Tuesday, April 11, 2023, with inductees, families, and supporters in attendance. Membership in Alpha Lambda Delta inspires students to find reward in their educational journey and to recognize academic excellence.

"On behalf of the GSW campus community and the Office of First-Year Experience, I would like to express great pride in the achievement of all newly inducted members of Alpha Lambda Delta," said Assistant Director of First-Year Experience Courtney Harmon.

Alpha Lambda Delta is a national society for freshmen which honors high academic achievement in the first year of college. Alpha Lambda Delta’s purpose is to encourage superior academic achievement among students in their first year in institutions of higher education, to promote intelligent living and a continued high standard of learning, and to assist students in recognizing and developing meaningful goals for their roles in society.

Pictured (L to R) are Amari Rudison, Zora Cooks, Amanda Pawloski, Skylar Wadford, Matthew Wilson, and Savannah Paros. Not pictured are Noah Gibbs, Sierra Gibson, and Maykin Velasquez - Gonzales.

students with induction certificates

GSW golf ranked #7 in the country, Escobar and McLain named to PBC All-Conference team

GSW's golf team is currently ranked No. 7 in the country according to the latest Golfstat poll released in early April. This is the Hurricanes' highest ranking of the season since Sep. 30.

GSW is coming off a fourth place finish at the Argonaut Invitational Tournament. The Hurricanes had two golfers finish tied for sixth Nicolas Escobar 2-under 142, and Payne Sells 2-under 142. GSW also has two gofers ranked in the top 60 in the country Escobar (39) and Chase McLain (55).

Escobar and McLain were both named to the PBC's All-Conference Second Team for 2022-23.

Escobar ranks 3rd in the PBC with a 71.8 scoring average. He ranks 41st overall in NCAA Division II according to Golfstat. This is Escobar's first All-PBC honor.

McLain ranks 7th in the PBC with a 72.3 scoring average. He ranks 53rd overall in NCAA Division II according to Golfstat. This is McLain's second All-PBC honor.

The Hurricanes are the second ranked school out of the Peach Belt Conference in the poll and one of five PBC programs to crack the Top 25.

golf team

three students pose for photo at conferenceGSW students present at Georgia History Conference

Working with Associate Professor of History Susan Bragg, Ph.D., three GSW undergraduates recently participated in the 2023 Phi Alpha Theta Georgia regional conference hosted by Columbus State University on April 14-15. Students had the opportunity to engage with two keynote speeches, first by Director of the Spencer B. King Center for Southern Studies at Mercer University Doug Tompson, Ph.D., and next by Mary Dudziak, Ph.D., of Emory University School of Law, before sharing their own historical research projects.

Luther Bludsworth (right) presented a paper on the politics of Holocaust representation entitled, “Remembrance and Post-Memory in Maus: Reimagining the Shoah Through Personal Narrative.” James Peavy’s (left) paper, “Cesare Beccaria: Father of Modern Criminology,” used biography to connect to larger stories of European Enlightenment intellectual history. Finally, Morgan Stanfill (Center) explored gendered tensions of the 1930s in her work, “Debating Boyhood Masculinity During the Great Depression.”

In addition, Bragg moderated a student panel, with Professor Brian Parkinson, Ph.D., and Associate Professor Evan Kutzler, Ph.D., also providing support to students through panel attendance and joining with students for a collegial lunch.

All students received positive feedback for their research and enjoyed interacting with faculty and students from around Georgia. Conference participation was made possible through generous support from both the Department of History and Political Science and the College of Arts and Sciences. 

Nick McCollumMcCollum named Pitcher of the Week by PBC and NCBWA

Nick McCollum was named PBC Pitcher of the Week for the weeks of Apr. 10 and Apr. 24. He was also named Southeast Region Pitcher of the Week for the same week by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA). 

McCollum pitched a complete-game shutout as the Hurricanes beat #13 Columbus State 8-0 to open their three-game set. The junior from Richmond Hill, Ga., scattered 11 hits but issued no walks and struck out four as he went the full nine innings. He retired the first six batters he faced in order. All 11 hits he allowed were singles and he never allowed more than two in any inning with no Cougar reaching third base.

He finished the game with 119 pitches thrown for his second complete game of the season. McCollum is tied for the PBC lead with three complete games this season, he is also second in the conference in strikeouts, tied for second in wins and is seventh in ERA.

Dolores Capitan Writing Award winners announced

The 2023 Dolores Capitan Writing Award winners have been announced. This award is given each spring to recognize excellence in writing across the curriculum. Submissions can be academic papers that have been written within the last calendar year for a class at GSW, including documented research or formal essay writing.

Academic Writing

  • First place, Andrew Bellacomo, "The Things I Love in this World: The Wilderness at the Heart of Death of a Salesman" (English 1102)
  • Second place: Johanna Nordwall, "Moral Ambiguity, She Wrote: Tyranny, Murder, and the Memorialization of a Deranged Lunatic" (History 2111)
  • Third place: Ashanti Jackson, "Emily in Paris Reimagined in Japan" (Psychology 3390)

Creative Writing

  • First place, Andrew Bellacomo, "The End of Summer" (Independent writing)
  • Second place, Nicholas Johnson, "Wal-Quest" (Advanced Composition)
  • Third place, Alexander Morton, "Memories of the Divine" (Creative Writing)

Each winner will receive a plaque at the annual Student Awards Ceremony in May as well as monetary awards - $300 for first place, $200 for second place, and $100 for third place.

Thank you to the faculty judges who offer their service to this award yearly: Dr. Phil Szmedra and Dr. Paula Martin, Academic Writing; Dr. Anish Dave and Mr. John Wilson, Creative Writing.

Students recognized for top scores in national sales competition

Students enrolled in Personal Selling, both eMajor and campus sections, participated in a nation-wide virtual sales competition called RNMKRS (pronounced, rainmakers). All through Spring 2023 semester, students learned and practiced under the guidance of Assistant Professor of Marketing Irina T. Toteva, Ph.D., by completing numerous roleplays with artificial intelligence on the RNMKRS app. RNMKRS is a free app that provides training to students through videos, quizzes, and where students can apply what they learned in class in a sales interaction with Alex the Buyer, who is an AI bot that acts like a customer.

The roleplays are interactive and students worked hard to perfect their script, covering all phases of the selling process. Every roleplay lasts up to 15 minutes and is scored on 0-10,000 scale. A number of students completed over 100 roleplays through the semester. On April 12 and April 13, 2023, all students from all over the nation and the world competed in the Spring 2023 RNMKRS College Competition.

Below are the highlights of students’ rankings among over 3,000 participants:

  • Students enrolled in Personal Selling, campus section:
    • Nehemiah Johnson, ranked top 5%, highest score overall, class champion, and school champion with a score of 9285
    • Jacquelyn Levay, ranked top 5%, with a score of 9125
    • Geraldine Alvarez, ranked top 10%, with a score of 8942
    • Jaylin Felton, ranked top 10% with a score of 8882
    • Jacie Johns, ranked top 20% with a score of 8422
    • Taylor Childre, ranked top 25% with a score of 8330
    • Hannah Cook, ranked top 30% with a score of 8078
    • Aystin Martinez, ranked top 30% with a score of 8002
    • The following students also completed over 100 roleplays to prepare:
      • Nehemiah Johnson, Jacquelyn Levay, Geraldine Alvarez, Taylor Childre, and Vincent Montoya.
  • Students enrolled in Personal Selling, eMajor section:
    • Matthew Darby, ranked top 10% and class champion with a score of 9062
    • James Sadler, ranked top 15% with a score of 8723
    • Jacey Lawson, ranked top 15% with a score of 8692 (Jacey also completed 100+ roleplays!)
    • Brelyn Cagle, ranked top 30% with a score of 8178
    • Melissa Resendiz, ranked top 30% with a score of 7992

Congratulation to all these students for their perseverance, courage, and dedication to the process! Each semester over 3,000 students from over 60 Colleges and Universities from all over the U.S., Canada and Europe complete over 50,000 roleplays. ​

Three students awarded accounting scholarships

Three accounting students have been awarded scholarships by the Educational Foundation of the Georgia Society of CPAs (GSCPA). All were encouraged to apply by faculty in the College of Business and Computing.

  • Kaitlyn Evans was awarded $1,500 from the GSCPA's Accounting Scholarship.
  • Johnathan Hicks was awarded $2,300 from the Collins/Moody & Company's PC Scholarship.
  • Isabell Quinn was awarded $2,600  from the Bennett Thrasher PC Scholarship.

Kayla Atcheson with music facultyAtcheson presents senior capstone on music education

Kayla Atcheson, senior music with teacher certification major, presented her senior capstone on April 12, 2023. Her topic, "Survey of Music Educators and Their Repertoire Selection Process," was presented on campus to music faculty, students, friends and family.

Atcheson plans to student teach in the fall and graduate in December 2023.

Pictured (L to R) are Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Mark Laughlin, D.M.A.; Band Director Cynthia Richmond; Senior Lecturer of Music Alwen Yeung; Professor and Chair of the Department of Music, Julie Megginson, D.M.A.; Kayla Atcheson; and Lecturer of Music Beau Palmer.

March gas card winners 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 March winners were (pictured L to R) Kassandra Servick, Destiny Lowe, Amber Turner, and Henderson Hurdle.

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

Jake BlinstrubBlinstrub named PBC Player of the Week

Jake Blinstrub was named PBC Player of the Week for the week of Apr. 10.

Blinstrub had multiple hits in three of four games the previous week, all against nationally-ranked opponents. The graduate student outfielder from Peachtree City, Ga., hit .444 with three doubles, a home run and six RBIs. He opened with a 2-for-4 outing against #15 West Georgia with two doubles and three RBIs in a Hurricanes win. Against #13 Columbus State, he went 6-for-14 over three games as GSW won two. He went 3-for-5 in the opener with a two-run home run and three driven in. He doubled in game two and added another hit in game three.

Blinstrub leads the Peach Belt in batting average and is tied for second in doubles, tied for third in runs and tied for fourth in stolen bases.


earthworks and plants at AndersonvilleHarvey educates park staff on Andersonville biodiversity

At the invitation of the Andersonville National Park Service, Professor and Chair of Biology Stephanie Harvey, Ph.D., presented a “Flora of Andersonville National Historic Site” on April 12, 2023. The two-hour “walk & talk” presentation concentrated on the flora along the Star Fort Walk Way at the southwestern courier of the prison site. The goal of the presentation was to provide the Park Interpreters and Rangers knowledge of the plant biodiversity of their site to better address questions from visitors to the site. This area consists of several microhabitats including: maintained-open fields, steep “earthwork” banks (limited maintenance), dense woodland edges and dry-scrubby flatwoods. In the open fields that are frequently mowed, smaller plants flourish such as Dwarf Dandelion, American Field Pansy, Venus-looking Glass, Sheep Sorrel Blue Toadflax, Texas Toadflax and Oxalis. Along the steep banks of the historic earthworks large woody plants dominate including scattered large oaks, large swaths of well-armed blackberry and dewberry shrubs, Sumac and Scrub oaks. Amongst these are herbaceous plants such as the Fringed Bluestar, Spurge Nettle, Vetches and Soft Greeneyes. In the large oaks Spanish Moss (not a moss but a flowering plant) drifted in the breeze. To the north of the walking path is the dry-scrubby flatwoods where Sandhill Milkweed and Sparkleberry were in bud and areas of the forest floor were covered in deer moss (a lichen not a real moss). The dense-forest edge also held some interesting flora including the coral honeysuckle and several old Osage-orange trees over 130 yrs old. It was a beautiful day to enjoy the diversity of the site.

Stovalls present at GAME conference, both named to Board of Directors

The Georgia Association of Marketing Educators (GAME) conference was held for the first time in five years at Middle Georgia State University on April 7, 2023. GAME has been a popular venue for marketing educators from Georgia colleges and universities to share new ideas in teaching excellence, student engagement, and professor resources. GAME was founded by Dr. Richard Mathisen, marketing professor at Kennesaw State University. He succumbed to cancer in 2019, and the GAME organization remained dormant for many years.

A core group restarted the organization in 2023 and both Associate Professor of Marketing John Stovall, Ph.D., and Lecturer of Management Amber Stovall were asked to serve on the Board of Directors. They also presented their study, Leadership Programs in Business Schools/Departments, at the annual conference.

Jones presents on infertility and class

On April 1, Assistant Professor of Communication Ashley P. Jones, Ph.D., presented research at WGS South. Her presentation, titled "We Have So Much Money!: Infertility and Class in Psychonauts 2," examined some of the barriers and stereotypes surrounding the infertility and adoption processes facing many individuals. Focusing on the economic and racial disparities, Jones argued that not only were infertility representations scarce, the ones that do exist, such as in Psychonauts 2, reinforce rather than deconstruct the barriers and stereotypes associated with infertility and adoption processes.

Grimes presents at business conference on civic organization participation

Professor of Management Mark Grimes, Ph.D, presented at the Society of Business, Industry, and Economics Conference April 12-14. The presentation, based on a paper he and Assistant Director of Experiential Learning Judy Grissett, Ph.D., co-wrote, was entitled "Can Religiosity, Coupled with Other Demographic Variables, Help to Predict Participation Levels in a Civic Organization?" This was a second paper related to civic organizations like Kiwanis; the first looked at Gender and Religiosity as predictors of involvement. This one looked at such factors as political affiliation, religious affiliation (Baptist, Methodist, etc), and age as predictors. With civic organizations experiencing declining membership, the intent is to see how we can better target people who will be highly involved.

Jones featured on media podcast

Assistant Professor of Communication Ashley P. Jones, Ph.D., was featured as a guest on Media Commons' In Media Res podcast. Jones recently curated a theme week for the digital humanities project entitled "Board Games as Return and Reinvention" and guest spoke on the podcast as an extension of this theme week. Topics discussed include adaptation, transmedia storytelling, and escape rooms. The podcast episode can be found on Spotify.


cover art for Presidents and PlaceBerggren publishes work on Jimmy Carter and co-authors articles on Sanford Bishop with student

Associate Professor Jason Berggren, Ph.D., recently had a chapter recently published in Presidents and Place: America's Favorite Sons. The chapter is entitled, "'I'm a Southerner': The Regional Pride and Burden of Jimmy Carter.” In it, Berggren covers several aspects of Carter's attachment to the South and records many expressions of his regional pride. His regional attachment was evident throughout his career. It was something he promoted and protected.

In March, Berggren had an article published in the Americus Times-Recorder that covered Jimmy Carter's service on the Sumter County Board of Education (1955-1963). It was his first political office and the one he held the longest. This is where his political path to the presidency started. The article was entitled, "It Started Here: Jimmy Carter and the Sumter County School Board."

During the fall term, Berggren co-authored three articles with political science major Michael Hooks on Sanford Bishop and his 2022 re-election campaign. The articles focused on the Congressman's use of religion as a campaign strategy. The articles were published in the Americus Times-Recorder.

Kaus publishes peer-reviewed article

Assistant Professor of English Alaina Kaus, Ph.D. authored a peer-reviewed article, “Reclaiming History: A Century of Intervention in Edwidge Danticat’s The Farming of Bones and Brother, I’m Dying,” that appeared in the latest issue of MFS: Modern Fiction Studies, published by Johns Hopkins University Press. The article examines Danticat’s literature in the context of the past century of U.S. military and economic intervention in Haiti.

Moir publishes article in Mythlore journal

In April, Associate Professor of English Michael Moir, Ph.D., published "Blood on the Snow, Soot on the Carpet: Belief as Pedagogy in Terry Pratchett's 'Hogfather'" in the journal Mythlore. The article explores Pratchett's Discworld novels and the children's belief in the Hogfather, a former Winter Solstice deity transformed over time into a gift-giving fat man with a taste for sherry and pork-pies.

Awards & Grants

Zeta Phi Beta members at conferenceGSW's Zeta Phi Beta chapters win state awards

Members of GSW's Mu Mu Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. and their sponsoring graduate chapter (Omicron Alpha Zeta) under the leadership of Kina Davis attended their annual Georgia State Leadership Conference in Macon, Ga from March 17-19, 2023. This conference is held annually each year around the state of Georgia. During the conference, the members handle the business of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., attend workshops, trainings, and more.

During this year’s conference both chapters brought back several awards for their outstanding work and dedication to the community during the 2022-2023 sorority year. For the first time in history, the undergraduate chapter and sponsoring graduate chapter both won Chapter of the Year at the same time. Kina Davis was inducted into the Georgia Hall of Fame for Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. This is one of the highest honors you can receive at the state level of the sorority. One member of Mu Mu Chapter and two members from Omicron Alpha Zeta Chapter were inducted in the State of Georgia Legacy Club Beta Class. They were stoled by Kina Davis, charter member of the State of Georgia Legacy Club.

It was awesome year for both chapters, as their hard work has paid off. The complete list of awards is below.

Mu Mu Chapter

  • Chapter of the Year
  • Chapter Growth Size 1-15
  • Undergraduate Advisor of the Year - Miranda Daniels (GSW alumna)

Omicron Alpha Zeta Chapter

  • Chapter of the Year (Chapter Size 31-50)
  • 1st Place Z-HOPE (Chapter Size 31-50)
  • Torch Carrier O Award (Operation and Infrastructure)

Smith completes Georgia Teaching Fellows Program

On April 7, Assistant Professor of Accounting Sondra Smith, D.B.A., graduated from the Georgia Teaching Fellows Program.

"The wealth of knowledge relating to teaching that I learned through this exceptional program through the University of Georgia is immeasurable," said Smith. "My plan is to 'pay it forward' by sharing what I have learned with my colleagues in the College of Business and Computing. Going every month to Athens this past year has been an experience I have not taken for granted nor will I ever forget."

Employment Updates

yemisi-milledge.jpgMilledge named Director of Experiential Learning

Yemisi Milledge, Ph.D., has been named director of the Office of Experiential Learning and began on April 3. She has more than 20 years of experience serving in higher education as both faculty and administrator, preceded by more than a year serving as a psychiatric clinical specialist.

Milledge received her Doctorate of Philosophy degree in Research Psychology from Walden University. She also holds a Master of Philosophy degree in Research Psychology from Walden University, a Master of Science degree in School Psychology from Emporia State University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in General Psychology from Albany State University. Milledge is currently pursuing a Master of Business Administration degree in Organizational Management with a concentration in Business Analytics from Eastern University.

During her studies at Walden University, Milledge was privileged to satisfy residency requirements domestically in the eastern US and internationally at the Andrés Bello National University in Santiago, Chile, and the European University of Madrid in Madrid, Spain. Milledge most recently served nearly eight years as the Assistant Director of Albany State University's Center for Undergraduate Research.

Felicia MooreMoore named Director of Purchasing

Felicia Moore is serving as GSW’s new Director of Purchasing, effective Apr. 10, 2023. She comes to the University with over 10 years of experience in procurement. Prior to this appointment, she served as the Director of Purchasing in the Division of Business/Finance at Columbus State University in Columbus, Ga. 

Preceding Columbus State, Moore served as the Assistant Director of Logistical Services for the Dougherty County School System, where she led the daily purchasing operations. In addition, she has held the position of P-Card and Contract Administrator for Albany State University.

Her educational background includes a Master of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Science in Business Management—both from Albany State University.

New Hires

Polly Conger has been rehired as part-time Accounting Assistant in the Office of Accounting as of Apr. 3, 2023. She recently retired as Grants/Travel Accountant in Feb. 2023. She is glad to be back at work but is also enjoying spending more time with her family, especially her two granddaughters.

Michelle Underwood has been rehired as Purchasing Assistant in the Office of Purchasing as of Apr. 4, 2023. She recently retired as Director of Purchasing in Feb. 2023 and will be assisting with the new director's transition.

Austin Taylor joined the Office of Materials Management as the Materials Management Assistant on Apr. 10, 2023. He will graduate from GSW in Dec. 2023 and resides in Ellaville, Ga.

Nathaniel Getman joined the Department of Athletics as the Assistant Men’s Soccer Coach on Apr. 24, 2023.


Justin Payne, Head Women’s Basketball Coach in the Department of Athletics, left that role on Apr. 28, 2023.

Nicholas Graham, Assistant Women's Basketball Coach and Head Men's Cross Coach in the Department of Athletics, left that role on Apr. 28, 2023.


Joyce M. Hartsfield, GSW retiree, passed away on Apr. 20, 2023.

Milestones, Birthdays & Life Events

Taylor family welcomes baby Reid

Danielle Taylor, Lecturer of Accounting in the College of Business and Computing, and her husband Seth proudly welcomed a baby boy into the world on Friday, Mar. 30, 2023 at 7:59am. Reid Hayes Taylor arrived weighing 6 lbs. 13 oz. and 19.5” long. Mom and baby are doing great, and big brother Ian is very excited. Congratulations to the Taylor family!

GSW in the News

Hurricane Gratitude

Thank you so much to Jenn Smith and all of the Physical Plant staff who have helped get our beautiful campus ready for the GSW Photoshoot! You are all so appreciated.

- Chelsea Collins

Past Events

Kelsie DeiterCOBAC celebrates students, advisory board members, and donors at annual leadership dinner

GSW’s College of Business and Computing (COBAC) held its 3rd annual Leadership Dinner on Monday, March 27, 2023. Over 60 students, advisory board members, donors, faculty, and staff members were in attendance for the dinner held in the Private Dining Room of the Thomas O. Marshall Jr. Pavilion. This annual event honors nominated business and computing students who display leadership qualities, are active in organizations at GSW, and maintain GPAs of at least 3.0. It also gives students the opportunity to network with leaders in the surrounding communities and have an active role in the COBAC Leadership program, led by Associate Professor of Marketing John Stovall, Ph.D. and Lecturer of Management Amber Stovall, MBA. An advisory board meeting was held prior to the dinner, conducted by COBAC Dean Gaynor Cheokas, D.B.A. and Assistant Dean of Online Learning Shannon Perry, Ed.D.

The dinner began with a warm welcome from President Neal Weaver, Ph.D., followed by an introduction of the Business Advisory Board members, Computing Advisory Board members, and COBAC donors by John Stovall. He welcomed back guest speaker and GSW alumnus, Kelsie Deiter, HR & Marketing Partner, Mauldin & Jenkins (pictured). Deiter gave a heartfelt speech on her positive experiences while a student at GSW and her path to success. Closing remarks were made by Dean Cheokas.

Junior nursing students receive white coats

The College of Nursing and Health Sciences held their annual White Coat Ceremony for the Class of 2024 this week. During the ceremony, 26 junior nursing students were presented white coats that symbolize their status as healthcare professionals and recited the Nursing Oath.

Kelsey Booker speaks to AAMI studentsAAMI program features alumnus speaker Kelsey Booker

Kelsey Booker, a 2021 AAMI and GSW graduate with a degree in middle grades education and a master's degree in middle grades mathematics, presented an interactive workshop and speech, titled “The Importance of Setting Goals to Finish College”, on Tuesday, April 4, 2023 at 4:30 PM in Room 127 of the Wheatley Administration Building. Booker is currently a 7th grade mathematics teacher within the Houston County School District and has received the Teacher of the Month award twice in his short career in the district. He received may accolades throughout his career here at GSW as both an undergraduate student and as a graduate student, including Dean's List, AAMI Freshman of the Year 2017, and AAMI Senior of the Year 2021.

Booker is very passionate about implementing effective teaching strategies to create a positive and inviting classroom atmosphere where every student can learn something. He is known to be a hardworking, motivated, dedicated leader that has a lifelong love of learning and teaching. 

He provided examples to the students about writing goals down and not letting anything hinder them from achieving their goals. He also presented a PowerPoint that was easily understandable and well received by the students. “You and only you are responsible in the end to make sure you finish college, no matter what it takes”, he said. The students greeted him well, as he is young, professional and a powerful orator.

Students and experts present at second annual English Studies symposium

The Department of English and Modern Languages held its second annual Undergraduate Research Symposium in English Studies on Friday, March 24. The event featured student presentations of scholarly and creative work in a variety of topics, including American drama, contemporary literature, fiction and history, film, and fantasy. As part of the event, two keynote speakers addressed GSW students and faculty members. William L. West II, Branch Chief for Chemical/Biological Risk for the Army Office of the Surgeon General/United States Army Medical Command, gave a speech on the importance of writing in a national security context. Andy Davidson, author of In the Valley of the Sun, The Boatman’s Daughter, and The Hollow Kind, gave a reading followed by a discussion of his writing and publication process.

Student presenters included Andrew Bellacomo, Samantha Gainous, Hannah Holloway, Luther Bludsworth, Nicholas Johnson, Emily Peacock, and Alex Morton.

The event was planned by Associate Professor of English Anish Dave, Associate Professor of English Lauren DiPaula, Assistant Professor of English Alaina Kaus, and Associate Professor of English Michael Moir.

attendees hear from author at symposium

College of Education hosts Recruitment and Appreciation Fest

The College of Education hosted its second annual Recruitment and Appreciation Fest on April 18, 2023. High school students interested in teaching as a profession from Lee County, Crisp County, and Chattahoochee County were welcomed to campus for food, fun, games, and a campus tour. Faculty, staff, and teacher candidates from the College of Education grilled, played games, and socialized with the high school students on the front lawn of the Education Center. Admissions staff completed the high schoolers' visit by giving full campus tours.

AAMI students at MLK National ParkAAMI visits MLK sites in Atlanta

Ten members of GSW's African American Male Initiative (AAMI) visited Atlanta, Ga. to take the MLK Walking Tour on Saturday, April 15, 2023. The members had a chance to visit Ebenezer Baptist Church, the new MLK Church Mega Church, King’s boyhood home, his prior offices, his neighborhood and the many different buildings that are part of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site, which showcases many pieces of history from both King and his wife, Coretta Scott King.

It was truly a learning experience for the nine members who visited for the first time and a look back at the sacrifices that were made by the King family for justice.

The students were accompanied by AAMI Director and Senior Lecturer Emeritus Ervin Anderson.

Computing students visit Microsoft's Atlanta campus

GSW's Department of Computing took several students on a one-day field trip to Microsoft's Atlanta campus on Mar. 31. The trip was organized by advisory board member Stênio Araújo, who is an alumnus of GSW's Master of Science in Computer Science program.

The students toured the facility, where they got to experience Microsoft's work culture, visit 3D printer labs and have a one-one session with a Microsoft employee, Matthew, and to learn about the hiring process, resume formatting, and more.

students visit Microsoft

Biology Club hosts car wash fundraiser

On March 30, GSW's Biology Club hosted a car wash fundraiser in the softball field parking lot, with support from Physical Plant and the Department of Biology for facilities and supplies. Club members Arul, Johanna, Kenneth, Natalie, Kaliyah, William, Benyx, Joshua and members of the Student Government Association Teewon, Gabi, Zy teamed up as volunteers. Faculty advisors Drs. Anh-Hue Tu and Amarachintha also took part to help students organize the event. Several faculty, staff, and students attended and had their cars washed. In addition, generous donations made the fundraising event a great success.

Funds raised at the event will help support Biology Club activities, such as hosting speakers who have experience in the field, trips to events such as the Georgia Undergraduate Research Conference, and field trips to locations like Providence Canyon. Club members also gained valuable personal skills like event coordination and management, volunteer recruitment, problem-solving, and communication. This event has filled Biology club with great enthusiasm and is now looking forward for their next year’s fund-raising event.

students wash cars at fundraiser

DiPaula and Kaus host faculty writing retreat

Associate Professor of English Lauren DiPaula, Ph.D., and Assistant Professor of English Alaina Kaus, Ph.D., organized “Write That Down: A Faculty Writing Retreat” on April 7 in the Administration Building, Room 127. The retreat was a great success and offered the space and time to gather together and work on writing. Academic Affairs generously provided breakfast and lunch for the event.

Alumni and friends hear presentation about upcoming tripsAlumni Affairs hosts nearly 40 for trip presentation

On April 11, nearly 40 GSW alumni and friends gathered on campus and online for a presentation by Jack Brinson, regional Collette representative, who provided an overview of the 2024 group travel opportunities being offered through the GSW Office of Alumni Affairs.

The two trips being offered include a 10-day trip to Sunny Portugal (March 30 - April 8, 2024) and Alaska Discovery Land and Cruise, a 12-day trip featuring a 7-night Holland America Cruise (June 26 - July 7, 2024).

For more details on pricing and itinerary, visit

Chamber Concert Series concludes

The 2022-2023 GSW Chamber Concert Series concluded the season with a performance by Adam Sadberry, flute, and Nathan Cheung, piano, on Tuesday, April 4, 2023 in Jackson Performance Hall.

Dr. Julie Megginson and alumnus Rontae AngryMegginson hosts choral workshop for choir director alumnus and his high school students

Chair of the Department of Music, Communication & Emerging Media Julie Megginson, D.M.A., led a Choral Workshop with 50 participating students from Shaw High School in Columbus, Ga. on Wednesday, April 12, 2023. Rontae Angry, their choir director and recent GSW music graduate, brought the choir to GSW for the Choral Workshop, which took place in Jackson Performance Hall, followed by lunch in the Dining Hall and a campus tour.

Megginson was assisted by Senior Lecturer in Music Alwen Yeung, who accompanied the workshop, and Lecturer in Music Beau Palmer.

"It is a rewarding feeling to have a graduate still feel a connection to GSW and trust us to continue that mentorship in a professional setting," said Palmer.

Chemistry students visit Georgia Tech and local business

On Apr. 7, 2023, Chemistry professor Nedialka Iordanova, Ph.D., took chemistry students to visit Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Ga. for the day (pictured left and center). The students toured the nanotechnology center, electronic macroscopy labs, and did hands-on experiments related to everyday nanotechnology applications. The trip was funded by a high-impact practices (HIP) grant that Iordanova received for the Spring 2023 semester.

On Apr. 18, 2023, Iordanova and two physical chemistry students visited the Elite Comfort Solutions in Americus, Ga. (pictured right). The students observed the process of making foam for various industrial applications. In addition, they had the chance to discuss the chemistry behind the production process, take samples and observe them closely under microscope back at GSW, and talk to the plant managers about job opportunities and the growth of this local business.

students visit chemistry locations

Upcoming Events

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