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Issue 7: April 2022


Georgia Southwestern students showcase impactful research

Georgia Southwestern hosted its 4th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium on Friday, April 22, 2022 featuring student research on topics such as politics and national policy, water quality, psychology, and issues in nursing. Students from a variety of majors and fields shared their research projects with oral presentations and poster presentations.

The 2022 project award winners are:

  • First Place Presentation Award: Ian Wynn, "Utilization of a Modified SIR Model to Address Outbreak Policy Regarding Endemic-Stage COVID-19"
  • Second Place Presentation Award: Jacob Fontin, "Determination of Lead in Water Sources by Flame Atomic Absorption Spectrometry"
  • Faculty Choice Poster Award: Elia Zarate for her poster "Vinegar Eelworm Turbatrix aceti [Nematoda: Panagrolaimidae] Population Growth Rate Comparisons in Monoxenic and Wildtype Culture"
  • Students’ Choice Poster Award: Jada Barfield, Lindsey Alford, Parker Munn, Janice Goodin, and Tyler Cobb for their poster "Stroke Protocol"
  • Provost’s Choice Poster Award: Madison Cheek, Morgan Christian, and Megan Townsend for their poster "Patient Satisfaction with Educational Information"

Read more about this year's Symposium here and check out the full album of photos on GSW's Facebook page.

Regent HolmesGSW commencement ceremony to be held May 13

GSW will hold its Spring 2022 Commencement ceremony Friday, May 13 at 3 p.m. in the Convocation Hall of the Student Success Center, also known as the Storm Dome. The ceremony will recognize approximately 300 spring graduates for their hard work and academic achievements. The commencement speaker will be Bárbara Rivera Holmes, who serves on the University System of Georgia Board of Regents.

Regent Holmes is the president and CEO of the Albany Chamber of Commerce and previously served as the vice president of the Albany- Dougherty Economic Development Commission. She helped organize the Albany-Dougherty Industry Roundtable, a CEO-level forum of the area’s largest employers.

Read more about Regent Holmes and the upcoming ceremony here.

No tuition increase, special fee eliminated at GSW and other USG institutions

The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia (USG) recently voted to eliminate the Special Institutional Fee and to not raise tuition at most institutions for the 2022-2023 academic year, including GSW. 

This is the fifth time in seven years that the Board has approved keeping tuition costs flat across most institutions in the university system.

Additionally, the Board approved eliminating a mandatory Special Institutional Fee charged since 2009 to students systemwide. That action will save full-time Georgia Southwestern students $242 per semester.

Read more here.

campus exterior


First-ever TEDxGeorgiaSouthwesternU event a success

On April 8, GSW hosted the first-ever TEDx event on campus and in Americus. With just over 100 attendees, the crowd was wowed by each of the nine speakers and their amazing stories of perserverance and creativity. Three GSW students, one alumni, and five community members served as speakers for the inaugural event.

The GSW Alumni Jazz Band provided entertainment between each session. The group had not performed together since everyone graduated over 5 years ago, but returned to perform for TEDx. All of the alumni are professional musicians that continue to perform throughout the Southeast in a variety of venues including musical theater, jazz clubs, and the concert stage.

The planning committee would like to extend a huge thank you to the speakers, attendees, and sponsors for making this a night GSW won’t soon forget. They are already looking forward to and planning next year’s TEDxGeorgiaSouthwesternU event!

If you missed the livestream or want to revisit your favorite talk, you can now view all nine videos on the official TEDx YouTube channel via the links below:

Canes Central exteriorGSW’s Canes Central wins Georgia Historic Trust Preservation Award

Canes Central, previously known as the ACE Skills Center, at Georgia Southwestern State University was among 26 award recipients presented by The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservationrecognizing best of preservation during its 45th Annual Preservation Awards Ceremony. The mid-century modern building won in the Excellence in Rehabilitation category.

Constructed in 1962, Canes Central underwent a $3.4 million renovation thanks to funding from the University System of Georgia Board of Regents and reopened in February 2021 as the primary student services building, conveniently located in the center of campus.

After previous partial and insensitive renovations, the recent project involved upgrades to meet current building codes and a comprehensive re-purposing of interior spaces. The original second-floor balcony, which had been enclosed, was reopened and restored as a significant element of the original design. On the exterior, the characteristic brise soleil wall on the west façade, which was out of plumb and structurally failing, was carefully dismantled and rebuilt.

Read more about the renovation and award here.

Alumni trips scheduled for Costa Rica and Tuscany, with information session on May 17

GSW’s Office of Alumni Affairs has scheduled two new travel opportunities. Alumni and friends can travel to Costa Rica (December 2022 – January 2023) and Tuscany (March 2023) in the next year.

Alumni Affairs will host an informational session Tuesday, May 17 at 5 pm on these two upcoming travel opportunities. Hors d'oeuvres and beverages will be served during the event. Those interested may join online or in the Business, History, and Political Science Building’s second floor conference room. Jack Brinson from Collette Tours on campus on Tuesday, May 17, at 5 pm to talk about the upcoming trips, provide details for each excursion, and answer any questions. Please RSVP to so that Alumni Affairs may plan accordingly.

For more information, visit

Sondra-Smith1.jpgSmith accepted to Governor’s Teaching Fellows Program

Assistant Professor of Accounting Sondra Smith, Ph.D., has been accepted into the Governor’s Teaching Fellows Program for the 2022-2023 academic-year symposia. The program consists of three weekends in the Fall and three weekends in the Spring at the University of Georgia.

The Governor's Teaching Fellows Program was established by Zell Miller, governor of Georgia from 1991 to 1999, to provide Georgia's higher education faculty with expanded opportunities for developing important teaching skills. To improve the quality of instruction in Georgia's colleges and universities, the Governor's Teaching Fellows Program assumes the complex challenge of moving college faculty members to the leading edge of instructional practice. This effort to enhance instruction in public and private higher education statewide is very much in keeping with the University of Georgia's traditional mission as a land-grant institution committed to diversified outreach and public service. The program is offered through the Institute of Higher Education at the University of Georgia.

Ioranova and Daniels prepare to conduct chemistry experiementsChemistry program participates in local STEAM Night

Professor of Chemistry N. Iordanova, Ph.D., and chemistry major Kenneth Daniels were invited to participate at the Marion County Middle/High School STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) Night on April 21, 2022 in Buena Vista, Ga.

They performed chemical demonstrations for the students, such as the elephant toothpaste experiment, levitating magnet by a superconductor cooled by liquid nitrogen, and demonstrating the existence of eddy currents in a copper pipe in the presence of a strong magnet.

Not only did the Marion County students have the opportunity to observe exciting chemical phenomena and interact with the presenters, but Kenneth was able to practice his experimental skills in the field of chemistry under the guidacance of Iordanova.

More than 50 students receive awards at Annual Student Recognition Ceremony

GSW’s Annual Student Recognition Ceremony, held on Thursday, April 21, honored over 50 students with academic and extracurricular awards.

The Student Government Association also recognized Associate Professor of Psychology Debbie Palmer, Ph.D., as Faculty Member of the Year and Coordinator of Fitness and Wellness Arianna Stegall with the Oris Bryant Award.

Check out the full photo album from the event on GSW’s Facebook page.

Student Recognitions

Canes Spotlights announced for April

Canes Spotlights highlight Georgia Southwestern students who hold leadership roles, are involved in extracurricular activities and/or excel academically in their degree programs.

The April Canes Spotlights were Sabrina Hagler and Tyler Cobb.

Sabrina Hagler

Sabrina HaglerFor Senior English major Sabrina Hagler, GSW's English program and its faculty have helped her towards her goal of working in publishing. "English is such a great and versatile major. You can be a lawyer or a journalist, work in business or communication, and even find opportunities in medical fields," Sabrina said. "I have also always loved reading and writing, which is the foundation of every skill set and profession, and an English degree from Georgia Southwestern molds you into a well-rounded individual."

Sabrina, who has served as Editor-in-Chief of GSW Sou'Wester student newspaper for three years, is heading to New York after graduation. She was recently accepted into New York University's summer publishing institute and chosen as the recipient of the Hearst Endowment for Magazine Media scholarship.

She has also served as a Writing Center consultant, Zephyr student tour guide, and intern for University Relations and Experiential Learning and has won the Dolores Capitan Writing Award.

Tyler CobbTyler Cobb

Senior nursing major Tyler Cobb has certainly made the most of his time at Georgia Southwestern. Among other leadership roles and accomplishments, the Fitzgerald native has served as President of Kappa Sigma fraternity and the Interfraternity Council this year.

Tyler came to GSW after taking dual enrollment courses at Lee County High School, a decision that led him to where he is today. "The school offered high-quality courses while also providing personable relationships with your professors that other universities don’t offer. Also, the distance from home was perfect to remain close to my family and the people in my life," Tyler said. "Looking back at my decision, I’m extremely grateful for the opportunities and development that Georgia Southwestern has brought me."

He has also recieved numerous scholarships thoughout his time at GSW and has been named to the President's List and Dean's List across multiple semesters.

Canes Spotlights are nominated by GSW faculty and staff.

Eleven students inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma International Honor Society

GSW's chapter for Beta Gamma Sigma (BGS) held an induction ceremony followed by a reception honoring new members on Tuesday, April 12. Eleven students, including juniors, seniors, and MBA students, were officially inducted into the prestigious business honor society.

  • Syed Bari of Calgary, Canada
  • Tek Beyene of Riverside, Calif.
  • Chelsea Bridges of Sylvester, Ga.
  • Lisa Gonzales of San Jose, Calif.
  • Leigh Anne Nealey of Canton, Ga.
  • Jacob Peed of Reynolds, Ga.
  • Isabell Quinn of Leesburg, Ga.
  • Adaeze Osy-Odife of Hampton, Ga.
  • Richard Ware of Albany, Ga.
  • Cade Weaver of Maryville, Mo.
  • Brianna Wilson of Leesburg, Ga.

To become a member of Beta Gamma Sigma, students must be enrolled full-time and be in the top 10% of the class academically in their junior or senior years or the top 20% in terms of graduate students.

Pictured (L to R) are MBA Director Dr. Jim Aller, BGS Faculty Advisor Dr. Qian Wang, Adaeze Osy-Odife, Brianna Wilson, Isabell Quinn, Jacob Peed, Dean of the College of Business and Computing Dr. Gaynor Cheokas.

students and staff

Lacy RutledgeLacey Rutledge named PBC Freshman of the Week

Lacey Rutledge was named by the Peach Belt Conference as the Freshman of the Week the week of April 18. Rutledge becomes the fourth Lady Cane to earn a Peach Belt honor and the third to earn Freshman of the Week.

Lacey hit .438 over five games last week with an .875 slugging percentage and five RBIs. The freshman shortstop from Monticello, Ga., had multiple hits in three games, including a 2-for-3 effort in the opener against West Georgia with a triple and an RBI. She hit .500 in a three-game series against Columbus State, hitting a home run in the opener with two RBIs and collecting doubles in games two and three, driving in two more in the finale. She is tied for seventh in the PBC in double and tied for the league lead in triples. She is also 12th in the league in batting average.

Read more here.

Nursing students attend convention in Salt Lake City

Lindsey Alford, Madison Cheek, Megan Townsend, Anna Claire Tipper, and Kinzie McTyeire (pictured below left to right) represented the GSW Association of Nursing Students (GSWANS) at the National Student Nurses Association (NSNA) Annual Convention April 6-10. The student nurses joined other student nurses from around the country in Salt Lake City, Utah to partake in networking and professional development. They attended focus session related to specialty topics within the nursing field, plenary sessions about HIV/AIDS and transitioning into the nursing role, an NCLEX review to help them prepare for their licensure exam after graduation, and much more. The students are bring back lots of ideas and inspiration for GSWANS to implement in the coming year as well as include in their own practice as nurses.

nursing students in front of convention entrance

Ian-Wynn.jpgWynn awarded research fellowship in Hawaii

Ian Wynn, son of GSW professor Keaton Wynn, will be graduating in Spring 2022 from GSW with degrees in Geology and Mathematics. Ian has been awarded a research fellowship at the University of Hawaii at Manoa working with Dr. Helen Janiszewski investigating magma beneath the Aleutian Island Arc using earthquake waves.

In addition to the research fellowship, Ian has been appointed an East-West Center Graduate Fellow, providing 12-24 months of housing at the East-West Center. The Center has a service learning/community service requirement.

Ian was previously named 2022 Outstanding Geology Graduate and was recognized as GSW's Outstanding Scholar in 2021.

Ava Jones, Lacey Rutledge, and Erik Fogel named Top Performers in March

Women's basketball guard Ava Jones, softball shortstop Lacey Rutledge and men's golfer Erik Fogel have been named the Georgia Southwestern State University Department of Athletics top performers for the month of March.

Ava, a 5-foot-7 junior from Carencro, La., averaged 20 points over two NCAA Championship games for the Lady Hurricanes, who became the first basketball team in school history to win a game in the national tournament. She shot 48.1 percent from floor and 92.3 percent from the free throw line over those two contests to be named to the Southeast Region All-Tournament Team. Ava, a first team All-Peach Belt Conference selection, finished the season ranked fourth in the PBC in scoring average (15.3), third in field goal percentage (51.2), third in steals per game (2.8) and 12th in assists per game (2.7).

Lacey, a freshman from Monticello, Ga., hit .535 over 16 games with four doubles, a home run and nine runs batted in. The softball team posted a 12-6 record during the month, including a 7-2 mark in conference play. Rutledge started all nine PBC games and had at least one hit in each contest. For the month, she went 15-for-26 (.577) in conference games. Laceyturned in a 3-for-3 performance in the series opener against Georgia College on March 19 and did it again a week later at USC Aiken. She currently ranks 13th in the PBC in batting average.

Erik, a freshman from Stockholm, Sweden, finished in the top 20 of all three tournaments the ninth-ranked Hurricanes played in during the month of March. Over seven rounds, he posted a scoring average of 71.57. His best finish was a tie for seventh out of 90 golfers at the Hurricane Invitational.

Read more about Ava, Lacey, and Erik here.

student athletes of the month graphic

Ashanti Jackson recognized for perfect score on term paper

Ashanti Jackson recently received a perfect score on her term paper in PSYC 3390 Cross-Cultural Psychology, taught by Assistant Professor Sally Merrit, Ph.D. In this assignment, Ashanti incorporated the lessons she'd learned in class to re-imagine the show "Emily in Paris" as if Emily moved to Japan instead of France. In this paper, she explained the cultural differences Emily would encounter in Japan.

Dr. Merrit noted that Ashanti also shared her paper with the rest of the class so that they could have an example to rely on as they finished up their own papers.

Jared DonalsonJared Donalson racks up four Pitcher of the Week recognitions

Senior pitcher Jared Donalson has racked up four Pitcher of the Week recognitions this April as he continues to break GSW records. Jared was recognized by the Peach Belt Conference (PBC) three weeks in a row for the weeks of April 11, April 18, and April 25. He was also recognized as Southeast Region Pitcher of the Week by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) on April 27.

Jared, a senior from Albany, Ga., is the first GSW player since Tucker Smith to earn the NCBWA honor. He is also the only PBC baseball player to earn three consecutive weekly awards this season and the first ever GSW student-athlete in any sport to accomplish the feat.

Jared currently leads the PBC in ERA, opposing batting average, strikeouts, and is tied for the lead in wins this season.

Georgia Southwestern inducts 20 students into Alpha Lambda Delta national honor society

Twenty students at Georgia Southwestern were officially inducted into the Alpha Lambda Delta (ALD) national honor society on Thursday, April 21. ALD is a national honor society recognizing first-year students who obtain a 3.5 or higher GPA during their first semester of their freshman year. ALD was founded in 1924 at the University of Illinois. The Georgia Southwestern chapter has been active on campus since 1976.

To become a member of Alpha Lambda Delta, students must be enrolled full-time and earn a 3.5 grade point average after their first semester or first year.

The 2021-2022 inductees for Alpha Lambda Delta are:

  • Miranda Brannon - Donalsonville, Ga.
  • Ashley Carag - Kathleen, Ga.
  • Stephanie Creighton - Hixson, Tenn.
  • Kayla Crisp - Canton, Ga.
  • Shaylan Daniel - Leesburg, Ga.
  • William Fletcher - Dawson, Ga.
  • Kaija Gilbert - Fort Gaines, Ga.
  • Kellie Hartman - Cairo, Ga.
  • Lindsey Jones - Leesburg, Ga.
  • Miranda Lawhorn - Perry, Ga.
  • Savannah McKleroy - Kathleen, Ga.
  • Makayla Murrell - Blakely, Ga.
  • William Owens - Rochelle, Ga.
  • Emily Plank - Port Saint Lucie, Fla.
  • Isabell Quinn - Leesburg, Ga.
  • Katie Rogers - Preston, Ga.
  • Shy'neshia Salter - Blakely, Ga.
  • Avondrea Singleton - Columbus, Ga.
  • Shaniah Tolbert - Blakely, Ga.
  • Arasan Veluswamy - Leesburg, Ga.

Two other ALD members, Tripp Larkey and Marilizabeth Updike, were recognized as graduating this semester and have maintained the required 3.5 GPA. They were presented with their honor cords during the ceremony.

Pictured (L to R, standing) are William Owens, Kaija Gilbert, Shaylan Daniel, Ashley Carag, William Fletcher, Avondrea Singleton, Savannah McKleroy, Miranda Lawhorn, Lindsey Jones, Stephanie Creighton, Makayla Murrell, Shaniah Tolbert, Isabell Quinn, Kayla Crisp, Kellie Hartman, (front row) Emily Plank, Shy'neshia Salter, and Miranda Brannon.

students with induction certificates

Dontavious BrownAAMI holds annual awards and scholarship reception, named Dontavious Brown Student of the Month

GSW's African American Male Institute (AAMI) helds its annual awards and scholarship reception on Tuesday, April 26 in the Wheatley Administration Building. 

During the reception, recipients of the Achieving the Dream scholarship, which ranges from $1,000 to $2,000 per student, were recognized for their outstanding academic and social responsibility. Graduating members were honored.

GSW retiree Karl Wilson gave a heartfelt and powerful speech, titled  "A Word Before You Go." He highlighted the reasons why higher education is needed and how it is up to oneself to complete the job.

Dontavious Brown (pictured at right) was named AAMI Student of the Month  for April at the AAMI Awards Ceremony on April 26. He earned this recognition for his participation, attendance, and service to the AAMI Program.

Dontavious is an Americus, Ga. native. He plans on majoring in Exercise Science. 

The AAMI program will finish the semester by traveling to Savannah to participate in a conference, alongside with Georgia Southern Armstrong Campus and Savannah State University, about ideas and objectives to make the individual AAMI programs better at meeting the needs of today’s students.

students hold their awards

Zoe WillisZoe Willis named PBC Player of the Week

GSW sophomore softball player Zoe Willis was named the Peach Belt Conference Player of the Week the week of April 23.

Zoe was an offensive force for the Hurricanes over five games the previous week, hitting .800 with a 2.200 slugging percentage. She drew six walks for an .824 on-base percentage with three home runs, eight RBIs and 11 runs scored. In three games against conference foe Augusta University, she hit .857 and was retired only once in seven at-bats. She tripled in the first game with a run batted in, stroked two doubles with two more RBIs in game two and hit two home runs in the third game with three more RBIs.

The Pine Mountain, Ga., native ranks second in NCAA Division II this spring with an on-base percentage of 0.579, is tied for third with a 1.000 slugging percentage, tied for seventh in home runs and 18th in batting average.

Read more here.


Toteva presents at conferenceToteva presents on IKEA effect at Florida conference

Assistant Professor Irina Toteva, Ph.D., presented a working paper at the Association of Marketing Theory & Practice Conference, March 23-26, 2022 in Sandestin, Fla. This research is being developed with her co-author Selen Saval-Hall, Ph.D., from Jacksonville University in Florida.

The presentation was titled "The IKEA Effect in Service Delivery: Does Ordering Influence Brand Loyalty." This original research explores the influence of the perceived effort when consumers use third-party food-ordering apps on important marketing variables such as brand loyalty. When consumers invest labor in the creation of a product, they tend to love the product more, compared to those who did not contribute to the making of the product. This effect, also known as the IKEA effect, is explained with the rationale that effort translates to attachment. In this presentation, the authors hypothesized that, based on the IKEA effect, consumers will perceive they have invested labor into the service creation - simply by using an app like Postmates to order food from a restaurant - which will result in higher brand loyalty toward the restaurant. Support for this effect is demonstrated via two experiments.

Cotter presents research on pre- and post-pandemic test scores

Professor of Psychology Ellen Cotter, Ph.D., presented a poster titled "Making a Big Deal Out of Nothing: Fall 2021 Early Exam Scores Are No Different Than Spring 2020 Scores" at the 2022 USG Teaching & Learning Conference. This study compared Spring 2020 and Fall 2021 test scores on the first and second exams for a lower-division Psychology class to examine whether Fall 2021 students, who were the first cohort of students enrolled in school after many pandemic measures had been discontinued, performed significantly differently than Spring 2020 students, whose first and second exams occurred before the pandemic. These scores did not differ significantly, either in terms of mean scores or in the numbers of students receiving non-passing grades.

Moir presents at Irish Studies conference
Associate Professor of English Michael Moir, Ph.D., presented a paper titled "Wizards and Wraiths and White Worms, Oh My!: A General Theory of the Anglo-Irish Weird" at the national meeting of the American Conference for Irish Studies on April 29-30. The conference was held online but was hosted this year by the University of Georgia.


Carter publishes article on ISIS's use of social media

Assistant Professor of Communication Jonathan Carter, Ph.D., recently published an article in the Northwest Journal of Communication. “Battle of Speeds: Daesh and Iraqi National Speed Entanglements," co-authored by N. Allen, explores the use of social media by ISIS and how the group used the destruction of history as a political tool. The article covered ramifications for both understandings of social media's relationship to terrorism and how we teach and undestand history.

New Hires, Promotions, Retirements, & Farewells

Steven Karakostas joins IIT

Steven Karakostas recently joined the Office of Information and Instructional Technology (IIT) as a Computer and Imaging Technician, effective April 4, 2022.


Anne Payne, Administrative Assistant in the College of Business and Computing, left that role on April 7, 2022.

Rachel Sprott, Administrative Assistant in the Department of English and Modern Languages, left that role on April 22, 2022.

Terri Maxwell, RN in the Herschel A. Smith Health Clinic, left that role on April 23, 2022.

Upcoming Events

  • May 4-9: Finals
  • May 11: Maymester classes begin
  • May 13: Online Graduate Reception
  • May 13: Graduation
  • May 16: Storm Day - President Jimmy Carter Leadership Program
  • May 30: Memorial Day (no classes)
  • June 2: Maymester classes end
  • June 2: Storm Day - College of Business and Computing

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