Skip to main content

Georgia Southwestern names 20 freshmen to the President Jimmy Carter Leadership Program

Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) 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 second group to enter the program since its creation in 2019.

"Again this year, the applicants for the Carter Leadership Program were outstanding high school students with demonstrated academic and leadership excellence," said Lynda Lee Purvis, GSW vice president emerita for Academic Affairs and program director. "The Applicant Review Committee comprised of faculty, staff, and current Leadership Program students, evaluated each of the 52 applicants in detail before determining the final 20 students. I am so pleased with the quality of this new group and they are shaping up to be true campus leaders."

The 2020-2021 recipients of the Carter Leadership Program are:

  • Neely Austin  Glenwood School, Smiths Station, Ala.
  • Palmer Braunstein  Howard High School, Macon, Ga.
  • Megan Clay  Thomasville High School, Thomasville, Ga.
  • Hannah Cook  Crisp County High School, Cordele, Ga.
  • Sidney Crosby – Crisp County High School, Cordele, Ga.
  • Lauren Francis  North Gwinnett High School, Suwanee, Ga.
  • Kari Lyn Hardigree  Colquitt County High School, Ochlocknee, Ga.
  • Elysa Lewis  Dougherty County High School, Albany, Ga.
  • Parker Matre  Lee County High School, Albany, Ga.
  • Marlee McArthur  Tattnall County High School, Glennville, Ga.
  • Sarah Mulkey  Lakeview High School, Ringgold, Ga.
  • Hannah Nolan  Providence Christian Academy, Suwanee, Ga.
  • Lauren Shepherd  home schooled, High Springs, Fla.
  • Hannah Simons  Shaw High School, Columbus, Ga.
  • Tye Smith  Lee County High School, Leesburg, Ga.
  • Chloe Sneed  Collins Hill High School, Lawrenceville, Ga.
  • Chase Somers  Lee County High School, Albany, Ga.
  • Megan Strickland  Centennial High School, Roswell, Ga.
  • Elizabeth Taliaferro  Lanier High School, Sugar Hill, Ga.
  • Gage Waddell  Southland Academy, Americus, Ga.

"I have always had a close attachment to Georgia Southwestern, and I am honored to be associated with the University's leadership program," said President Carter. "They invested in me as a student over 75 years ago, and I want to do the same for the future leaders in our region."

The program consists of two pathways, an Undergraduate Research Track and a Service Track, that exemplify Carter's lifetime of leadership in education, politics and community service. Guided by the evidence-based "The Social Change Model of Leadership Development," the four-year Carter Leadership Program allows students to develop their leadership skills both individually and within a group.

Students who score a minimum 1100 on the SAT or an ACT composite score of 22, hold a high school curriculum grade point average of 3.0 or greater and have been admitted to GSW are eligible to apply for the program. Additionally, students who hold a leadership role in high school, whether on a sports team, a student club, or community organization, also qualify.

"These students are at the top of their class," stated GSW President Neal Weaver. "I have enjoyed watching this new group as they interact with their peers on campus and serve others within our community. They joined an already outstanding group, and I know they will continue to carry on the great legacy of President Carter."

During their first year, students will focus on individual growth and development, working to understand their own beliefs and values. The second year will explore the role of the group, how to build trust with others and how to work collaboratively towards common goals.

In year three, students will choose between the academically-focused Research Track and the service learning-focused Service Track. In the fourth and final year, students will develop a senior research or service project dependent upon their track.

The Carter Leadership Program provides students with academic scholarships ranging from $1,500 to $3,500 each year they are in the program. The program is made possible thanks to generous support from the Charles L. Mix Memorial Fund.