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Issue 1: October 2021


Twenty GSW students selected for President Jimmy Carter Leadership Program

Georgia Southwestern has named twenty freshmen to the President Jimmy Carter Leadership Program, established to honor the legacy of GSW alumnus and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. These students from Georgia, Alabama and Florida are the third group to enter the program since its creation in 2019.

“This is a dynamic group of diverse individuals who bring excitement and commitment to building their knowledge about service and leadership through hands-on experiences,” said Mikela Barlow, interim coordinator for the President Jimmy Carter Leadership Program. “The newest cohort members were selected through an application and interview process. The group commits to program requirements that include a two-year residency, 240 service hours, a leadership certificate, and a senior research or service project. It is an honor for me to work with these future leaders in this prestigious program.”

Learn more about the selected students and the program here.


GSW voted #1 “Best Place to Work” in Sumter County

Georgia Southwestern was recently named the “Best Place to Work” in the Americus Times-Recorder's Best of Sumter 2021 Readers' Choice Awards after being voted on by the community.

“We are extremely proud of the culture we have here at Georgia Southwestern,” said GSW President Neal Weaver, Ph.D. “Our greatest asset is our people. Anyone will tell you that. They work hard every day to make sure each person has a great campus experience whether it is our faculty, staff or students. I think this award is a true testament to the way we treat each other. That’s why GSW is the best place to work.” 

Georgia Southwestern employs just over 375 full-time and part-time faculty and staff. It remains one of the largest employers in Americus, falling behind the Sumter County School System, Phoebe Sumter Medical Center, and Magnolia Manor.

“We are proud to be part of a campus that is considered the best place to work,” stated Gena Wilson, director of Human Resources. “GSW is dedicated to providing and promoting a safe and healthy environment for the students, faculty and staff. We are pleased that we can offer competitive benefits to support recruitment and retention of our most valuable resources – our employees.”

Read more here.


He’s No Hobby Horse, He’s a Working ‘Cane!

Georgia Southwestern has welcomed eager and hardworking Hurricanes for decades, accumulating storm clouds from all backgrounds and walks of life to create a single, unified community. The footprints left behind by students, faculty, staff and all who are connected to GSW have led many to the eye of the storm. One particular honorary Hurricane has, with his personality and presence alone, become a natural recruiter, an off-campus Storm Spotter who has marked a path across the United States with his…hoofprints.

Bradley, known in the professional competition world as Only a Natural, is a 16-year-old black American Quarter Horse who has traveled and competed for years alongside his partner Dawn Hart, a senior lecturer in GSW’s College of Business and Computing. However, Bradley and Hart did not originally begin their careers as partners. Hart has a long history of equine affection, taking to the saddle for the first time at just five years old and beginning her competition streak in her teenage years. Through dedication in and out of the stables, and the support of her horse-loving mother, Hart grew up with an understanding that hard work and responsibility are necessary for success that one can be proud of. Her daughter Autumn grew up with these same qualities. Every task the young woman accomplished in her childhood equaled one penny in the piggy bank. When the container was completely filled, Autumn would get her own horse. Months of dedication led to the keeping of a promise in the form of a gentle giant named Bradley who would go on to be not just a single competition partner, but the heart of an entire family and beyond.

Read more of Dawn and Brady's story here.


Registration opens this week

Registration opens this week for Spring, Maymester, and Summer 2022 terms. If you have not already, review the Registration Checklist at to be sure you are prepared to register.

Georgia Southwestern receives $13K grant from the GOHS to promote alcohol awareness

Georgia Southwestern is proud to announce the receipt of $13,355.60 to participate in the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (GOHS) Georgia Young Adult Program (GYAP). The GOHS addresses young adult driver crashes, injuries and fatalities, and partners with colleges and universities throughout the state to implement this program.

The GYAP has proven to be successful using strategies such as peer education, providing educational speakers to schools, and encouraging schools to develop creative, innovative techniques to reduce young adult crashes, injuries and fatalities in their communities.

Read more about the grant and how it will be used on campus here.

Carter Leadership students learn from local business leaders

As part of their LEAD 2030 class, students in the President Jimmy Carter Leadership Program heard from Eshonda Blue and Jessica Wright, co-founders of Innovative Senior Solutions. Blue talked about education and entrepreneurship and how important it is to seek opportunities to continue to learn. She also talked about how important it is to have a mentor, the power of working together, and about being empathetic and giving grace. She also shared with them about being involved in their community and networking.

Blue is a GSW alumna and a member of the GSW Foundation Board of Trustees.

Carter Leadership students with Eshonda Blue

North Georgia alumni event scheduled for November

GSW alumni in the North Georgia area are invited to an Alumni and Pregame event on November 20 from 2-4pm at the Dahlonega Brewery/Etowah Meadery ahead of GSW Men's Basketball vs Union University at the North Georgia Classic on the campus of University of North Georgia. Registration is $15 and includes two pours, souvenir glass, snacks, GSW swag, and door prize ticket!

Learn more and register at

Library hosts Annual Banned Books Trivia Contest

National Annual Banned Books Week 2021 was September 26 – October 2. The theme of this year's event is “Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us.” By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books in schools and libraries, Banned Books Week annually draws national attention to the effects of censorship.

In celebration of National Banned Books Week, the James Earl Carter Library held its 13th Annual Banned Books Trivia Contest. Each day, a scrambled book title and author’s name with a clue about the challenged/banned book of the day was e-mailed to the GSW campus community. For each title and author participants got correct, the participants’ names were entered into the drawing that was held at the end of the week. A $25.00 bookstore gift card was given to one student winner and one faculty/staff member winner.

This year, there were 448 student, faculty, and staff entries in the event. The winners of the trivia contest were student Savannah Barnum (right) and staff member was Gena Wilson (left).

Gena Wilson and Savannah Barnum

Student Recognitions

Emma Carter and Mauricio Uribe named Top Performers in September

Women's soccer defender Emma Carter and men's soccer goalkeeper Mauricio Uribe have been named the Georgia Southwestern State University Department of Athletics top performers for the month of September.

GSW coaches nominate athletes and vote for the recipients of the award each month.

Read more about Emma and Mauricio here.

Emma Carter and Mauricio Uribe

GSW students place in Albany Museum’s annual essay contest

GSW student Tasmyn McCauley recently placed first in the college division in the Albany Museum of Art’s 7th annual essay contest, “A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words.” Tasmyn’s essay "Sharp Edges" was inspired by “Still Life,” a 1657 oil on oak panel painting by Dutch artist Pieter Claesz.

GSW student Alexis Conley placed third in the college division with her essay inspired by Cedric Smith’s “Jockey Cigars.”

All three honorable mentions in the college division are also GSW students: Braylea Phillips, whose essay “The Crooked Ones” was inspired by "Still Life" by Pieter Claesz; Rachel Gilmer, whose untitled essay was inspired by “Pulcinella Singing with His Many Children” by Alessandro Magnasco; and Maggie Cox, whose essay “The Adventures of a Soldier” was inspired by “Saltville Virginia" by Cedric Smith.

10 Lady Hurricanes named 2021 All-America Scholar-Athletes

Over 8,800 student-athletes were named 2021 Easton/National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-America Scholar-Athletes, the Association announced on Tuesday afternoon. The team rankings and individual honors are submitted by member head coaches and recognize the academic prowess of softball teams across the Association's membership categories. Student-athletes must have earned a 3.5 grade point average or higher for 2020-21 academic year.

Georgia Southwestern State University had a team GPA of 3.507 and had ten individual honors.

2021 GSW Softball All-America Scholar-Athletes

  • Bailey Christian
  • Jaelyn Flynn
  • Hannah Holloway
  • Kayla Kerr
  • Allyson Murdock
  • Kimberly Singer
  • Chloe Sneed
  • Christina Wells
  • Katelyn Wood
  • Chloe Zoeller

Read the full story here.

LSAMP scholars selected

Kenneth Daniels of Sylvester, sophomore Chemistry major (left); Natasha Jones of Cuthbert, freshman Computer Science major (middle); and Elizabeth Taliaferro of Sugar Hill, sophomore Biology major (right), have been selected as scholars for the Southwest Georgia LSAMP Alliance. The scholars are provided financial support in addition to academic and research support through faculty mentoring, research internships, group meetings, annual conferences, and graduate school preparation.

The Southwest Georgia LSAMP Alliance, is a collaborative research project funded by the National Science Foundation Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP), under Grant No. HRD-1817519, with the goal of transforming the STEM learning environment by significantly increasing the number of underrepresented minority (URM) majors graduating with baccalaureate degrees in STEM disciplines and entering graduate STEM programs.

LSAMP scholars


Michele McKie presentingMcKie presents at state education conference

Associate Professor and Assessment Director Michele McKie, Ed.D., presented at the Georgia Association of Teacher Educators Annual Conference on October 14, 2021. Her presentation, titled "Exploring the Intern as Teacher Model Implementation in South Georgia,” focused on research from a qualitative case study with South Georgia districts and universities exploring the intern as teacher model.

McKie introduced a proposal with partner schools to establish the model with the supports for interns and mentors found to be necessary through her study. This study shows the impact of the teacher shortage in Georgia and provides guidance for partner districts considering implementing internships with undergraduate teacher candidates during their final year of education.

Kutzler presentation covers life of man once enslaved by USC

Assistant Professor of history Evan Kutzler, Ph.D, recently gave spoke at the University of South Carolina’s College of Education. The presentation, titled "Laying the Mountains Low: The Life and Education of Simon Peter Smith, 1845 – 1914,” explored the life a man who was once enslaved by the University of South Carolina. Smith went on to graduate from Howard University and the Chicago Theological Seminary.


vintage postcard depicting the Windsor's lobbyKutzler publishes article on Windsor ghost stories

Assistant Professor of history Evan Kutzler, Ph.D, continued his local history articles for the Americus Times-Recorder with "History, Hauntings, and Ghosts at the Windsor Hotel," published on October 6, 2021. The article explores some of the Windsor’s popular ghost stories.

Dave article explores online political discourse

Associate Professor Anish Dave, Ph.D., published an article titled "#MassProtests: The Abjuring of the Other and Lessons from Gandhi" in the Journal of Hate Studies, Volume 17, Issue 1. The article takes up the issue of polarized online political discourses and examines it through a case study of the 2017 Women's March and theoretical insights of South Korean philosopher Byung Chul-Han. The article then discusses Mahatma Gandhi as a master protester, who did not fail to engage the disagreeable other side while protesting against it. Polarized political discourses on social and digital media pose a challenge to democracies. This article is an attempt to suggest an exemplar and an approach that may help address this problem.

Milestones & Life Events

Mark LaughlinLaughlin earns master’s degree

Professor of Music and Chair of the Department of Music, Communication, and Emerging Media Mark Laughlin, D.M.A., earned a Master of Criminal Justice from Georgia College & State University in May 2021.

Laughlin also holds a D.M.A. from the University of South Carolina, an M.M. from the University of Memphis, and M.Ed. from Georgia Southern University, and M.S. from Georgia College and State University, and a B.M. from the University of North Alabama.

Bachhofer earns certification

Lecturer of Nursing Carrie Bachhofer, MSN, RN recently passed the Certified Pediatric Nurse exam. She is now designated as trained and specialized in pediatric care. This certification is through the pediatric nurse certification board (PNCB).

Upcoming Events

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