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Issue 6: March 2022


Georgia Southwestern to host first-ever TEDx event on April 8

One hundred TEDx enthusiasts will come together on Friday, April 8, 2022 for the first-ever TEDx event held at Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) and in Americus, Ga. for an evening of dialogue and inspiration around the theme Perseverance and Creativity. TEDxGeorgiaSouthwesternU, a public event with a limited audience, will take place at 6:30 p.m. in the Magnolia Manor Nursing Auditorium inside the Rosalynn Carter Health and Human Sciences Complex and will feature an incredible line-up of speakers on topics ranging from innovations in education to health to technology and the arts. The event will also be live-streamed.

What was once merely an idea in August 2021 from Jerome Harney, a current GSW online MBA student from California, has now come to life through the help and inspiration of his former professor Irina Toteva, Ph.D. and GSW’s Provost Suzanne Smith, Ph.D. They agreed hosting a TEDx event was a great way to connect online students with on-campus faculty, staff and students in a meaningful way while shining a light on the Americus community at the same time.

“Back in August of last year, I was thinking about connectivity - or lack thereof - to organizations, like a college, when you are remote,” said Harney. “As an online MBA student, I wanted a deeper connection to my campus – one that would persist long after I graduate. Hosting a TEDx event came to mind and I knew executing a project of this caliber would be remarkable. For me, this is more about the journey and the process of doing something different, with the icing and cherry on top being the event.”

Read more about the upcoming TEDx event here or visit for more information.


GSW celebrates donors, scholarship recipients at annual luncheon

GSW scholarship recipients mingled and shared a meal with their benefactors at the 13th Annual Donor-Scholar Luncheon on Thursday, March 10, 2022.

Sponsored by Georgia Southwestern and the GSW Foundation, the event honored both groups for their commitment and support of GSW. Approximately 130 donors and scholars were in attendance for the luncheon held in the Private Dining Room of the Thomas O. Marshall Jr. Pavilion.

The featured student speakers included Alicia Adams, a senior elementary education major from New Bern, N.C. and recipient of the Mary Dupree Education Scholarship; Kaitlyn Evans, a senior accounting major from Leesburg, Ga. and recipient of the James G. Deriso Scholarship and the Marshall Pryor Scholarship; and Jacob Peed, a senior management major from Reynolds, Ga. and recipient of the James G. Deriso Scholarship.

Check out the full album of event photos on GSW's Facebook page.

GSW Homecoming race raises over $5K in scholarships in memory of late William Reid

The GSW Alumni Association at raised $5,300 in scholarships in memory of the late William Reid at its annual 5K and 1-Mile Fun Run held Saturday, February 5 culminating Homecoming Week.

William, a GSW alumnus, died in a tragic biking accident on September 18, 2021. His wife DeAnn Young Reid is also an alumna, former softball player, and 1999 inductee into the GSW Athletic Hall of Fame. William’s son Blake, Blake’s wife Emmy, and his daughter Andi are GSW alumni as well. They, along with many friends and family, were present at the race to thank everyone for their participation and support of what William held dear – his family, education, and his love of running. William and DeAnn were known for their weekend 5Ks together. William took first in his age group at last year’s race during GSW’s Homecoming. 

Read more about the Reid family and the Homecoming race here.



Biology students travel to Florida over Spring Break

The Department of Biology's 2022 field trip to Apalachicola National Forest occurred Monday-Wednesday during Spring Break. Five students – Emily Peacock, Dee Thomas, Elizabeth Taliaferro, Heather Covey and Destiny Musgrove – were accompanied by Professor & Department Chair Stephanie Harvey, Ph.D., Associate Professor Anne Jacobs, Ph.D., and Associate Professor Tom Lorenz, Ph.D., to the national forest for a 2-night, 3-day camping trip. The trip to Camel Lake, south of Bristol, Florida, allowed the students of Herpetology and Field Botany the opportunity to identify specimen that are more difficult to find in our local environments. Due to torrential rains all day Tuesday, the species counts were low (and everyone was waterlogged), so the group hopes for better weather on their next trip.

GSW waives application fee and SAT/ACT scores for incoming undergraduates

Georgia Southwestern is waiving its undergraduate application fee throughout the month of March and dropping Fall 2022 test score requirements for SAT/ACT for students with a 3.0 or higher high school GPA.

The application fee for undergraduate students is being waived as part of the Georgia Student Finance Commission’s (GSFC) Apply to College Initiative. This is the second round of application fee waivers offered this academic year, following the success of Georgia Apply to College Month in November 2021. Georgia Southwestern is one of 43 institutions across the state participating in the initiative.

Read more here.

Student Appreciation MonthStudent Appreciation Month set for April

The Division of Student Engagement and Success is planning Student Appreciation Month for April 2022. Each week of the month will feature different events and giveaways, including a lip sync battle with a special guest performance and an outdoor movie.

The month will culminate in the Student Appreciation Block Party (previosuly known as Student Appreciation Day) on April 28. This event will include food trucks, giveaways, music from Dj Smooth, inflatables, and the Greek Stroll-Off.

For more information about these events, check out Canes Connect and follow @gsw_engage on Instagram.

professors with new lab glasswareChemistry program receives glassware donation

GSW's Department of Chemistry, Geology, and Physics received a donation of lab glassware from Americus-based Rainbow Fertilizer LLC. The donation, which includes various pieces of glassware such as beakers and flasks, is part of a new collaboration that the Chemistry program established with this company, as part of the program's effort to create internships and job opportunities in local companies for current chemistry majors.

Rainbow Fertilizer LLC is a Division of Timac Agro USA, a global specialist in innovation for high-efficiency plant nutrition, based in Reading, Pa.

Operations Management students learn though hand-on exercises

Students in Operations Management in the College of Business and Computing (COBAC) with Assistant Professor Allen Brown, Ph.D., are exposed to hand’s-on exercises that bring multiple textbook learning objectives to life through experiential learning. Students recently conducted hands-on exercises in which they were "learning by doing" and "learning by observing" by measuring learning rates of cycle time reduction through repetition. The measurables are then used to illustrate Operations Capacity Planning.

woman serves food to manTaste of the World returns on April 27

The campus-favorite Taste of the World event is back! Join us on Wednesday, April 27 from 11:00am to 1:00pm in the Marshall Student Center (MSC) Loop to be immersed in a cultural experience through food from aroudn the globe.

GSW has held Taste of the World events for over 30 years, with 300-400 students, faculty, and staff coming out to enjoy the international foods and cultures each year. The last event was held in 2019 on the MSC Patio.

For more information or questions, contact the Office of First-Year Experience.


BCM volunteers in community over Spring Break

The Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM) at GSW volunteered their Spring Break to serve the Americus community. They served local neighbors by helping work on the homes of three needy families, hosting an internationals night, and helping with the Preston Hispanic Mission.

Student Recognitions

Josh NewtonJosh Newton named PBC Freshman of the Week

GSW utility player Josh Newton was named the Peach Belt Conference Freshman of the Week by the league office on Monday afternoon.

Newton had a monster three-game series against Claflin University, hitting .625 with four RBIs. He went 2-for-2 with three walks and an RBI in the opener, drove in two more in Game 2 and added two hits, including a double, in the finale. Newton, a native of Locust Grove, Ga., scored eight runs and drew a total of five walks for a .714 on-base percentage. He was the designated hitter in the first two games and the second baseman in the finale.

Newton becomes the sixth Hurricane to earn a PBC Freshman of the Week award, the first since teammate Hunter Foster garnered the distinction on Feb. 12, 2019.

Read more here.

Jaden Sims and Timothy BurkeTimothy Burke and Jayden Sims named AAMI Students of the Month

Timothy Burke and Jayden Sims were both named African American Male Institute (AAMI) Co-Students of the Month for February on Tuesday, March 22, 2022.

Timothy (pictured on left) is a freshman from Kathleen, Ga. and graduated from Houston County High School. He is a pre-nursing major and a member of the President Jimmy Carter Leadership Program's 2021-22 cohort.

Jayden (pictured on right) is a freshman from Albany, Ga. He graduated from Westover High School. Jayden is also a pre-nursing major and a member of the President Jimmy Carter Leadership Program's 2021-22 cohort.

Eight students inducted into Upsilon Pi Epsilon

The Eta Chapter of Upsilon Pi Epsilon (UPE) held their 18th initiation ceremony Tuesday, March 8, 2022.  Eight new members were inducted. The undergraduate members inducted were Jordan Ford, Joshua Gilmon, Jae Hong Park, Shiann Smith, and Thaddaeus Whitaker. The graduate students inducted were Stenio Araujo, David Potesta, and Mark Webb. The graduate students are online students from different states and were not able to attend the ceremony. The graduating seniors were also presented with their honor cords to wear for graduation. 

UPE is the only recognized International Honor Society for the Computing and Information Disciplines. The Eta Chapter at GSW was chartered in Fall 2001. Senior Lecturer Karen Cook, Ed.D., is the founding faculty advisor for the Eta Chapter of UPE at GSW.

Pictured below are (left to right) Karen Cook, Joshua Gilmon, Thaddeus Whitaker, Shiann Smith, Jarrett Johnson, Krystal Morris, John Smarr, Jae Hong Park, and Jordan Ford.

group of students

Regan LeeRegan Lee Named Peach Belt Freshman of the Week

The Peach Belt Conference named Regan Lee, a freshman pitcher from Callahan, Fla. was named the Peach Belt Conference's Softball Freshman of the Week. The award gives Georgia Southwestern three different softball players to receive a Peach Belt Player of the Week award in the last two weeks and the fourth one total this season.

Lee threw a complete game on Saturday allowing zero earned runs six hits and no walks, striking out five as the Hurricanes won 4-1 on the road. She allowed two hits in the first, but scattered the remaining four over the next five innings, retiring the side in order twice. Lee improved to 3-0 in conference games and is ranked fourth in the PBC in ERA in league-only contests. Lee has given up just 39 hits so far this season ranking her fourth in the conference in both hits allowed and runs allowed this season.

Read more here.

Ava JonesAva Jones named to Southeast Region All-Tournament Team

The Georgia Southwestern women's basketball team had a player selected to the Southeast Region All-Tournament team after the Lady Canes' historic first appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Ava Jones, a Peach Belt All-Conference selection, impressed voters on a national stage in her two NCAA Tournament games leading GSW to its first win in the tournament in school history against Barton College.

Ava Jones had 19 points in the first game of the tournament and followed that performance with a 21 point game despite missing minutes due to foul trouble. In Ava's second game of the tournament, she added three assists, one block, one steal, and four rebounds to her stat line leading the game in scoring. The junior guard from Carencro, La. finishes will return next season as one of the most accomplished players in the program's history.

Read more here.

Sabrina HaglerSabrina Hagler accepted into NYU Summer Publishing Institute

Sabrina Hagler has been accepted into the New York University (NYU) Summer Publishing Institute. Sabrina is a senior English major and marketing minor and is on track to graduate in Spring 2022. She is currently the editor-in-chief of the Sou’Wester, a writing intern with the Department of University Relations, and a marketing intern with the Office of Experiential Learning. Sabrina is also a Zephyr student tour guide, a circulation assistant at the local public library, and a recipient of the 2021 Dolores Capitan Award.

The Summer Publishing Institute (SPI) is an intensive study of books and digital/magazine media in the heart of the publishing world—NYC The program combines workshops, strategy sessions, and presentations by some of the leading figures in publishing. Students hear from more than 200 guest speakers on the content creation, editing, marketing, sales, and digital aspects of the industry. Hands-on projects and dynamic networking events ensure that students gain real-world experience.

Hannah Holloway and Katelyn Wood receive Peach Belt Awards

The Georgia Southwestern softball team had two different players received Peach Belt Honors in the same week becoming just the second school this season to have two players selected in the same week. Hannah Holloway, named Pitched of the Week, and Katelyn Wood, named Player of the Week, both received the honors after their performances leading the Lady Hurricanes to a 4-0 week including a sweep over Georgia College in their first Peach Belt home series this season.

Read more here.


Current and former SES staff present on GSW's Brotherhood in Baltimore

Current and former members of GSW's Department of Student Engament and Success staff recently traveled to Baltimore, Md. to present at the 2022 National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) conference. Presenters included Greek Life & Leadership Coordinator Chris Avery; Coordinator of Student Rights and Responsibilities Travis Crafter; former Greek Life & Leadership Coordinator Kelby Lamar, Ed.D.; and former Director of Residential and Campus Life LaToya Stackhouse. Lamar currently serves as Assistant Director of Student Involvement and Organization Governacne at Auburn University, while Stackhouse is now the Director of Student Affairs at Florida State University, Panama City.

The presentation, titled "The Brotherhood: Creating and Implementing a Living and Learning Community for Black Men," covered the creation and implementation of The Brotherhood on GSW's campus.

staff at conference

Sally Merritt presentsMerritt presents on peer instruction in psychology classes

Assistant Professor of Psychology Sally Merritt, Ph.D., Presented at the Southern Region Faculty and Instructional Development Consortium (SRFIDC) at Auburn University on March 11, 2022.

Merritt's presentation was titled "Flipping the Classroom via Peer Instruction: Lessons Learned from Students." The purpose of the presentation was to teach others about how GSW students in Merritt's social psychology and intro psychology classes teach specific topics to the class in a group project format for a grade. This has led to more engaged learning and better relationship-building in the classroom.

The presentation offered professors ways to keep students active and engaged while still learning the material. This type of pedagogy has the potential to create more engaged students and offers them opportunities to practice skills needed beyond the classroom such as organization, public speaking, and group collaboration.

Bragg Participates in the 2022 Georgia Association of Historians Conference Associate

Professor of History Susan Bragg, Ph.D., presented new research at the recent Georgia Association of Historians (GAH) conference, held February 25-27 at the University of Georgia. In “’Man’s Faithful Friend’: Dogs and the Gendered Politics of Violence in the Great War,” Bragg explores how 20th c. American children’s literature has represented dogs as ‘doing their bit’ during World War I. Prior to American involvement in the war, dog stories stirred popular interest in European military conflicts. More significantly, dog stories published after the war helped navigate and manage tensions regarding experiences of male trauma in modern warfare. This research highlights the important role of American children’s literature, and popular culture more broadly, in shaping gendered perspectives of military service and wartime suffering. Bragg’s participation in the GAH conference was generously supported by a 2022 GSW Faculty Development grant.

Several faculty members present at Teaching Matters Conference

Several GSW faculty members presented their teaching insights at the Teaching Matters Conference, held at Gordon State College March 10-11, 2022. 

College of Business and Computing (COBAC) faculty Associate Professor and  MBA Director Jim Aller, Ph.D.; Assistant Professor Irina Toteva, Ph.D.; and Assistant Professor of Computer Science Sai Mukkavilli, Ph.D. hosted a 60-minute panel session titled "New Professor 'Top 10' List of Learnings and Tips." The session included best practices based on from student feedback, peer feedback, or following peers on social media.

Fellow COBAC faculty member Assistant Professor of Accounting Sondra Smith, D.B.A., CPA, also gave a presentation at the conference. The title of her presentation was "The New ABC’s for Teaching Student Success: HPQT – HIP, PR, QM, and TILT." Smith discussed how teaching college courses has changed significantly in the last 20 years and topics such as High Impact Practices (HIP), Peer Review (PR), Quality Matters (QM) and Transparency in Learning and Teaching (TILT).

Other faculty attended and participated in the conference, including:

  • Assistant Professor Allen Brown, Ph.D.
  • Professor of Psychology Gary Fisk, Ph.D.
  • Associate Professor Yangil Park, Ph.D.
  • Assistant Professor Thelma Sexton, Ed.D
  • Assistant Professor Rebecca Short, Ed.D

Pictured below are (left to right) Mukkavilli, Brown, Toteva, Fisk, Aller, Smith, and Park.

faculty at conference

Kaus presents paper in New Orleans

Assistant Professor of English Alaina Kaus, Ph.D., presented a paper in New Orleans at the annual conference of the Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States on March 24, 2022. Her paper was titled "From the South: Fracturing the Humanitarian Promise of Anticommunism."

WeiDing.jpgDing presents at Oxford University

Associate Professor in the College of Business and Computing Wei Ding, Ph.D., was a keynote speaker at the International Conference on Smart Education, Health and ICT (SHI 2022) March 14-15, 2022.

During the conference, which was held at St. Anne's College of Oxford University in Oxford, United Kingdom, Ding presented his peer-reviewed paper entitled "Transplanting Blockchain and Named Data Network to Authenticate Internet of Things."

Ding's travel to serve as keynote speaker at SHI 2022 was funded by a Spring 2022 Faculty Development Grant from GSW. The conference brings together students and researchers from all levels and sectors to exchange ideas and experiences on all aspects of education, health, and information and communications technology.

group of people around tableTaylor speaks to local artists and business leaders in Macon

Lecturer of Accounting Danielle Taylor, CPA, was an invited panel speaker at Creative Conversations in Macon, Ga. on March 16, 2022. Several local artists and business leaders were in attendance. The panel discussion was titled "Bookkeeping for Creatives."

Taylor provided information and answered participant questions about various types of bank accounts, expense and time tracking, potential income tax deductions, and sales tax returns.

Grissett speaks with local business owners about hiring and internships

Director of Experiential Learning Judy Orton Grissett, Ph.D., spoke at a Small Business Development Center roundtable on March 23. Grissett talked to the local busienss owners about hiring employees and internships during an informal breakfast meeting.

This event was hosted by the Sumter County Development Authority and also featured Paul Farr from South Georgia Technical College.


historic home under renovationKutzler continues local history articles with looks at historic Americus homes and a vintage postcard

Assistant Professor of history Evan Kutzler, Ph.D., continued his local history series in the Americus Times-Recorder on February 26 with "Saving Places, Telling Stories." In this article, Kutzler explores the history of two homes on Hancock Drive in Americus as they undergo historic rehabilitation, revealing the stories of two local families and the early histories of both houses.

In "The Layers of a St. Patrick’s Day Postcard," Kutzler uses an Americus postcard as the starting point for a dive into postal history, Irish-American history, and the history of state, local, and national prohibition. This article was originally published in the Americus Times-Recorder on March 16.

yellow flowersLaughlin releases new album

Music Professor and Chair of the Department of Music, Communication, & Emerging Media Mark Laughlin, D.M.A., released his third of four new albums of the works of Claude Debussy.

“Debussy: Preludes Premier Livre" is the third album of a four-album collection of Debussy’s music that will be released each month during the spring semester (January, February, March, and April).

The new album, along with Laughlin's other albums, "The Music of Enrique Granados", "Poulenc: Improvisations and Nocturnes”, “Chopin Nocturnes: The Georgia Recordings”, “Debussy: Suite Bergamasque and Children’s Corner”, and “Debussy: Images and Arabesques” are available on most streaming services, including Spotify and YouTube.

Smith interviewed for CPA magazine

Assistant Professor of Accounting Sondra Smith, D.B.A., CPA, was recently interviewed for an article that appeared in the “Current Accounts” magazine for the Georgia Society of CPA’s (March/April 2022, Volume XII, Issue 2). The title of the article is “The State of the State: Georgia’s Pipeline of Accounting Students.”

New Hires, Promotions, Retirements, & Farewells


Mark McCardle, Officer with the Department of Publica Safety, retired on March 31, 2022.

Queen Brown, Professor in the College of Education, retired on March 31, 2022.


Andrew Jernigan, Information Security Officer in the Office of Information and Instructional Technology, left that role on March 11, 2022.

Abigail Swindell, Recruitment and Retention Coordinator in the College of Business and Computing's Dublin office, left that role on March 17, 2022.

Kadeem Williams, Human Resources Assistant in the Department of Human Resources, left that role on March 31, 2022.

Awards & Grants

Nate Milledge and Mike Lewis with awardLt. Milledge named GSW Officer of the Year

Lieutenant Nathaniel Milledge was named GSW Officer of the Year at the 5th Annual Paint the Town Blue Gala on March 19. Milledge is pictured here with GSW Director of Public Safety Cheif Michael Lewis.

Milledge has worked with GSW Public Safety for 21 years and has a total of 36 years experience in law enforcement. He began his law enforcement career at the Americus Police Department, then he worked with the Montezuma Police Department and part-time with the Ideal Police Department. Milledge left GSW for just under 2 years, during which time he was employed by the Department of Juvenile Justice, before returning.

The Gala is hosted each year by The Smarr and Smith Foundation in support of local law enforcement agencies.

Mark Laughlin at pianoLaughlin receives Steinway Top Teacher Award

Music Professor and Chair of the Department of Music, Communication, & Emerging Media Mark Laughlin, D.M.A., recently recieved the Steinway Top Teacher Award from Steinway & Sons, which recognizes dedication to music education.

Laughling recieved a letter for Steinway & Sons President Gavin English of New York, N.Y. that read, in part: "You were nominated for this award by Steinway Piano Gallery Spanish Fort, who has observed first-hand the care and commitment with which you approach your piano students. The young people who develop their craft under your guiding hand will be the artists who fill our future with music, and for this we are most grateful. Steinway & Sons is a name synonymous with artistry, quality, and exquisite musical expression. The Steinway Top Teacher Award demonstrates your commitment to the same ideals. Once again, congratulations and best wishes for another inspiring and musical year."

Past Events

Alumni group tours Ireland

Alumni Engagement Specialist Angela Smith led a group of 16 GSW alumni and friends on a tour of Ireland from March 12-19. The tour was full of Irish Splendor with stops in Dublin, Killarney, Ennis, and Straffan. Highlights included a panoramic tour of Dublin (including Trinity College, Christ Church, St. Patrick's Cathedral), the Guinness Storehouse and Irish House Party, Rock of Cashel, Blarney Castle, the Dingle peninsula and beautiful coastal region, the Cliffs of Moher, and so much more! The group was made up of GSW alumni, partners, and friends who celebrated St. Patrick's Day on the Emerald Isle.

Travel opportunities are made available to through a partnership with Collette which generates revenue for the Alumni Association. The purpose is to engage alumni and to generate support for the university through fellowship and the friendships established through events and travel. More trips are in the process of being scheduled and available to anyone interested. For more information, please call Angela Smith at 229-928-1373.

alumni group stand outside tour bus

Stauf holds poetry reading on campus

The Department of English and Modern Languages hosted poetry reading with GSW retiree and Professor Emerita Gabriele Stauf, Ph.D. The reading was held in the Wheatley Administration Building, Room 127 on March 24, 2022. Later the same afternoon, Stauf also gave students feedback on their works in progress.

students and guest speakerAAMI guest speaker covers physical and mental health

The African American Male Institute (AAMI) recently welcomed Dwight Harris, who gave a powerful talk in Room 127 of the Wheatley Administration Building on “Physical and Mental Health: Becoming a Successful and Healthy College Student."

Harris is the Athletic Director at Sumter County Parks and Recreation Department and Founder and CEO of the Dwight Harris Boys’ Club and the Dwight Harris Summer Basketball League. 

Accord to Harris, his philosophy involves more than just athletics. "Instead of teaching plays, my focus is to teach them how to play, being healthy...and the basic fundamentals of life lessons."

Pictured (left to right) are Demetrius Wright, Dontavious Brown, Dwight Harris and Jayden Sims.

students and faculty in classroomGSW hosts American Chemical Society presentation

The Southwest Georgia Section of the ACS (American Chemical Society) hosted a pizza social and virtual presentation by Dr. Justin Kennemur from Florida State University at Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW).

GSW faculty and students attended the event, with other participants at Valdosta State University participating virtually as well. The event was facilitated by GSW Professor of Chemistry and Treasurer of the ACS local section N. Iordanova, Ph.D.


Upcoming Events

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