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Students recognized for research at regional symposium

Earlier this fall, four teams from the Georgia Southwestern State University Mathematics and Computing Undergraduate Research Group presented their ongoing research at the 6th Annual Regional Undergraduate Research Symposium at Albany State University. All four teams had the opportunity to give talks to peers and professors at the Symposium. Two groups earned third place honors for the STEM Oral Presentation category:

  • Taylor Washburn and Matthew Tan -- Presentation on "Detecting False Data Injections in Smart Grid Using Math" -- Mentor: Dr. Linqiang Ge, assistant professor of computer science
  • Sara Moriarty and Josey Brown -- Presentation on "Settlers of Catan" -- Mentor: Dr. Chadwick Gugg, associate professor of mathematics

“I chose to analyze ‘Settlers of Catan’ after falling in love with the game over summer break,” Moriarty said, referring to the popular board game. “I had been told some tricks to choosing your initial setup and realized there was some math being used under cover.”


Left to right: Pagie Thomas, Josey Brown, Dr. Manoj Thapa (back left), Taylor Washburn, Sara Moriarty, Dr. Boris Peltsverger, Dr. Chadwick Gugg (far right, second row), Matthew Tan, and Dr. Kailash Ghimire (back right)


Subers family bequest leaves lasting impact at GSW

The late Jean and Joe Subers continued a family tradition of generosity and caring with their bequest to Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW).

The University has benefited greatly from the generosity of Jean’s sister Betty Pope and her late husband John over the years. The Doris B. Deriso Pool and the James G. Deriso Business Scholarship Fund bear Betty Pope’s family name, and the John & Betty Pope Fellowship program within GSW’s Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving (RCI) offers substantial scholarships to more than a dozen students each year. That positive impact will only increase.

A bequest of $390,000 following the passing of Betty Pope’s sister and brother-in-law (Jean and Joe Subers) will be donated evenly to the James G. Deriso Business Scholarship and to the RCI. Additionally, the Subers left $195,000 to the Carter Center in Atlanta. The bequest was presented recently by the Subers family at a special ceremony prior to the 30th Annual RCI Gala.


GSW class of 2017 graduates, Portch says 'your degree is only the beginning'

One of the larger graduating classes at Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) took their final steps on campus today at Fall 2017 Commencement in the Student Success Center. Approximately 450 students earned bachelor's, master's and specialist degrees.

The commencement speaker was University System of Georgia Chancellor Emeritus Stephen Portch, Ph.D. Portch served as USG chancellor from 1994-2001, and during his tenure, "Change" magazine selected him as one of the "21 Most Influential Voices in the Academy."

Fall 2017 Commencement was GSW President Neal Weaver's first opportunity to address new graduates, having begun his tenure in July.

"Not only is this an exciting day for all of you, but it's a very exciting day for me," Weaver said to the crowd that filled the arena. "Georgia Southwestern's campus is full of extraordinary men and women, and we cherish our unique position from which we can watch you grow and develop – both in knowledge and in maturity. Because of this, we take tremendous pride from your successes, and we take great pride in your accomplishments."


GSW honors 2017 Outstanding Alumni Award recipients

Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) honored alumni from each college/school on campus and inducted one former athlete into the GSW Athletics Hall of Fame at the 2nd Annual Outstanding Alumni Awards Banquet. The event, which recognized six Outstanding Alumni, took place Friday, Oct. 20 in the Marshall Student Center Private Dining Room within the Thomas O. Marshall, Jr. Pavilion.

The Outstanding Alumni Award was developed to recognize the distinguished personal accomplishments and professional achievements of Georgia Southwestern Alumni. Patricia Stark ('59), who was honored in 2016, will serve as the featured speaker. The Leewynn Finklea Alumni Award recipient will also be announced during the event.


New Hires

CarrieHarrisCarrie Harris

Carrie Harris joined the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving as program support coordinator in November. She is responsible for training operations for the Dealing with Dementia program and coordinating CARE-NET coalition meetings. Although a longtime resident of Americus, Carrie currently resides in Albany. She previously worked for Rainey Finance as claims manager where she was responsible for operations and all insurance claims/documentations. Carrie is mom to two daughters, Kiearria and Kyterria Bridges and is engaged to Garrett Brown with a wedding planned for Dec. 8, 2018. 

Honors & Recognition

GSW Music Professor Named Steinway & Sons Top Teacher

Associate Professor of Music, Dr. Mark Laughlin, is a recipient of the Steinway & Sons Top Teacher Award for 2017. The Steinway Piano Gallery-Spanish Fort (Alabama) nominated Laughlin for the award. “[Dr. Laughlin’s] hard work and commitment to teaching and inspiring young people in their study of piano music is commendable and rare,” said Ron Losby, CEO of Steinway & Sons, N.Y. “Through his efforts, he helps…lay the foundation for a lifetime of musical and artistic expression. This award is a mark of his artistry and dedicated leadership in music education.”

Laughlin will be presented the award at the 2018 Gulf Coast Steinway Society’s 3rd Annual Music Competition, hosted by the University of Mobile. Laughlin will present a seminar on improvisation and will serve as one of the adjudicators for the piano competition.


Teasley presented with Patriot Award from DOD

Dr. Teresa Teasley, professor of nursing, was recently presented with the Patriot Award by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD). Presenting the award is Lt. Col. Bonnie Gary, GSW School of Nursing faculty and Air Force Reserve member. Because all branches of the military rely heavily on the National Guard and the Reserves, the DOD began a program called Employer Support for Guard and Reserves (ESGR). This national program recognizes employers who military members feel are very supportive while away on active duty. Gary will retire in January 2018 after 30 years of Reserve duty and was delighted to present this award. Shown in the photo with Gary and Teasley.

Teasley and Gary

Department of Psychology and Sociology saves students $175,760/year in textbook costs

Charles M. Huffman, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Psychology and Sociology and Ru Story-Huffman, dean of the Library recently received a $10,800 Affordable Learning Georgia (ALG) Grant to transform the Social Psychology course by using Open Educational Resources (OER). This transformation will save students taking the course approximately $30,240 in textbook costs each academic year. The Department of Psychology and Sociology now has seven courses that use OER, which saves students approximately $175,760 per year in textbook costs.

For more information about ALG, contact Dr. Judy Orton Grissett, GSW campus champion for ALG, or Ru Story-Huffman, campus coordinator for ALG.

Baykina selected as USG Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Fellow for 2018-19

MBaykinaMarianna Baykina, assistant professor of psychology, has been selected University of Georgia (USG) Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) Fellows program for the 2018-19 academic year. The purpose of the USG SoTL Fellows program is to foster a community of learners and to provide support while participants design and implement a classroom-based research project. Each SoTL fellow will design, develop, and carry out a SoTL research project during the 2018-2019 academic year.


Szmedra, Fisk and Wu present at the 41st CAPASUS Annual International Meeting

Dr. ChuChu Wu (2nd from left), Dr. Gary Fisk (center), Dr. Philip Szmedra (far right) and other presenters' in the Technology-based Pedagogy Session

Dr. Philip Szmedra, the professor of economics and the Jane and Larry Comer Faculty Scholar in the School of Business Administration and Dr. Gary Fisk, professor of psychology, were invited by Dr. Chuchu Wu, the associate professor of early childhood education in the School of Education and the vice president of the Chinese-American Academic and Professional Association in Southeastern United States (CAPASUS), to present a talk for the 41st CAPASUS 2017 Annual International Meeting on Innovations in the 21st Century: Medical Biotechnology, Circular Economy, and Technology-based Pedagogy was held in Hilton Atlanta Northeast Hotel, Atlanta, Ga on August 4-6, 2017.

In Szmedra’s talk regarding a circular economy, he explained that a circular economy is an alternative to a traditional linear economy (make, use, dispose) in which we keep resources in use for as long as possible, extract the maximum value from them while in use, then recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of each service life. He pointed out that China consumes the most resources in the world and produces the most waste. But it also has the most advanced solutions. He stated that China has been effective in closing industrial loops to turn by-products or waste from one manufacturer to inputs for another. China has the advantage that more than half of its manufacturing is conducted in industrial parks and export processing zones. Szmedra suggested that greater collaboration between China and the world community of researchers is needed to move away from linear thinking and actions to embracing the circular economy.

Fisk has recently finished a new book about PowerPoint Presentation for Teachers, and he gave a talk on research-based findings on the use of PowerPoint in teaching and how majority of professors failed to produce an efficient PowerPoint that can engage students. Fisk suggested that there should be a balance between texts and images, and the text should be key points along with an elaborative picture which is more likely to promote student engagement for class discussion.

2016-2017 President and Vice-President of CPASUS, Dr. His-Ling Huang & Dr. ChuChu Wu (left)

Wu, associate professor in the School of Education, was the moderator of the circular economy session during the conference. Wu is also elected as the 2017-2018 President of CAPASUS. CAPASUS (美國東南區中華學人協會) was established on June 25, 1977 in Atlanta. A non-profit organization, the objectives of CAPASUS are: 1) to provide opportunities for all members to exchange their academic, cultural, social, professional, and business knowledge and experiences and 2) to make academic, cultural, social, professional, and business contributions to the societies of the United States and the Republic of China. CAPASUS holds its annual meetings in Atlanta or other Southeastern U.S. cities.

Easom, Bauer, Wang of RCI published in Journal of Clinical Psychology

The Journal of Clinical Psychology recently published the Rosalynn Carter Institute's peer-reviewed journal article, “Operation Family Caregiver: Problem-solving training for military caregivers in a community setting.” RCI team members, Dr. Leisa Easom, Laura Bauer, and Kelly Wang were co-authors for the study. The article can be accessed online at

GSW students attend the 2017 Women & Girls Conference at UGA

Eight GSW students accompanied Dr. Susan Bragg, associate professor of history,  to participate in the “Women and Girls in Georgia” conference on Nov. 11 at the University of Georgia. The conference theme for 2017 was “Justice and Resistance” and students attended a wide variety of panels on topics such as “Women in Politics in Georgia,” “Women and the Criminal Justice System,” and “Reproductive Rights in Georgia.” The conference was inspiring and provocative, allowing students broad opportunities for dialogue on critical issues in our contemporary politics.

GSW participants were: Charlon Cochran (sociology), Taylor Fisher (English), Zaria Green (nursing), Nicole Kadima (sociology), Madison McMinn (fine arts), Mindy Peterson (fine arts), Lindsey Smith (political science), and Jairus Whitley (history). Students enjoyed visiting the UGA campus and represented our program well in their thoughtful and spirited conference engagement.

The Division of Academic Affairs was very helpful in organizing support funds which were made possible by the GSW Foundation.

Kutzler’s book “Prison Pens…” to be release Feb. 2018

Assistant Professor of History Dr. Evan Kutzler co-authored a book to be released in February 2018 from the University of Georgia Press. The title is “Prison Pens: Gender, Memory, and Imprisonment in the Writings of Mollie Scollay an Wash Nelson, 1863-1866”:

The book presents the letters exchanged between George Washington “Wash” Nelson, a Confederate prisoner of war, and his fiancée, Mary “Mollie” Scollay. The letters follow their courtship through twenty months of imprisonment. The final chapter presents a memoir Wash wrote of his captivity experience. The juxtaposition of the letters and the memoir provides an opportunity for students and scholars to consider the role of memory and gender in retelling Civil War experiences and generating the "lost cause" mythology. The book is accompanied by a digital component - a website that allows students and scholars to interact with the volume’s content and sources via an interactive map, digitized letters, and lesson plans

Fisk presents at Psychonomic Society meeting in Vancouver

Dr. Gary Fisk, professor of psychology, gave a poster presentation at the Psychonomic Society meeting in Vancouver, Canada on Nov. 11. The presentation shows how awareness of a stimulus is necessary for perception rather than being separate processes.



Laughlins represent GSW at Adult Learner Fair

Leigh Laughlin, lecturer of criminal justice, and Mark Laughlin, associate professor of music, represented GSW at the Adult Learner Fair held at Marion County High School on Oct. 20. The fair was designed to give non-traditional students in Marion and Taylor Counties the opportunity to explore various academic programs, and ask questions about enrollment, degrees, and post-graduation opportunities. Leigh and Mark are also scheduled to present seminars and recruitment sessions on Dec. 14-15 at Hanceville High School and Scottsboro High School in Alabama.  

MarkLeigh Laughlin


LatiniWolfeNaomi Latini and Schieloh Wolfe wed

In August of this year, Naomi Latini and Schieloh Wolfe, both of the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving, were married by Elvis himself in Las Vegas. They share two children together, Ezra (2) and Trax (10 months), in addition to big sister Ivey (10). They are looking forward to many happy years ahead.  

Upcoming Events

  • January 9: First day of Spring 2018 classes
  • January 27: Preview Day
  • February 11-17: Homecoming Week - The theme this year is "Winter Olympics" (schedule subject to change) Read More >>

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