Honors E-Newsletter, Spring 2010
Eta Sigma Alpha hosted the annual Honors Graduation Banquet/Knight of Honor on Thursday, April 22, 2010. The dinner recognizes graduating seniors and faculty members who have contributed to the Honors Program. The night is seasoned with speeches and awards, complimented with delicious food and beverages, and sweetened with reflections on the great memories of Honors friends and fun in the past. Welcomed by Caroline Rentz, the current president of Eta Sigma Alpha, and Dr. Steve Elliott-Gower, the program’s director, attendees enjoyed a night filled with stories, awards, congratulations, and jokes.
A speech made by the university’s President Dorothy Leland encouraged graduates to continue to inspire and lead as they follow their pursuit of excellence. As she commended the seniors on their accomplishments and congratulated them on their hard work and success, she asked them to carry on their knowledge and experiences at Georgia College into the next phase of their lives. President Leland then gave her best and warmest wishes. Before leaving, she remarked, “Come back and share your stories. We will miss you.”
Olivia Olinger, Eta Sigma Alpha’s Director of Public Relations, led the group in invocation and reflection before the dinner was served. After dinner, the executive board of Eta Sigma Alpha presented awards. The following is a list and description of the awards presented and their recipients:
Brendan Kelley, Vice President of Eta Sigma Alpha, presented the Distinguished Faculty Member Award. This award recognizes the efforts of a Georgia College faculty member who exemplifies the mission of the university through achievement as a scholar and a teacher, service, and evidence of impact and caring involvement with students. The recipient of this award for the 2009-2010 school year was Dr. Ben Scafidi, Associate Professor of Economics.
Caroline Heidt, Parliamentarian of Eta Sigma Alpha, presented this year’s Honorary Memberships. Annually, the Executive Board may elect to bestow Honorary Membership upon no more than two members of the Georgia College faculty. This Honor is reserved for individuals who have shown dedicated service to Honors education at Georgia College through innovative excellence in teaching and guidance to the students enrolled in the Honors Program. The recipients of this year’s Honorary Membership were Dr. Ben Scafidi, Associate Professor of Economics, and Dr. Alex Blazer, Assistant Professor of English.
Caroline Rentz presented the President’s Award. This honor is awarded by the president of Eta Sigma Alpha to a student member of Eta Sigma Alpha who has rendered outstanding serve to the community of honors education at Georgia College. The recipient of this award for the 2009-2010 school year was Olivia Olinger.
Caroline Rentz presented the Golden Key Leadership Award. This award recognizes the exemplary character of a student member of Eta Sigma Alpha who has shown dedicated leadership and potential for continual development as a leader. This award is bestowed with the understanding that the strongest form of effective leadership results from an individual showing dedication, achievement by example, effective communication skills, positive interactions with diverse populations, and service. The recipient for this award for the 2009-2010 year was Patty MacGuire.
Victoria McLanahan, Secretary of Eta Sigma Alpha, presented the Outstanding Service Award. This honor recognizes the excellence of an individual who has shown outstanding service in meeting a need of the local community through dedicated and concentrated effort. The recipient of this award not only exemplifies a spirit of volunteerism in meeting community needs, but also shows dedication to establishing solutions to casual social ills that instigate them. The recipient of this year’s Outstanding Service Award was Katie Hannah.
Caroline Heidt presented this year’s Excellence in Research award. This honor recognizes the outstanding research endeavors of a student member of Eta Sigma Alpha whose scholarly accomplishments furthers the body of knowledge in his or her respective field and are reflective of the high quality of interdisciplinary analysis emphasized by Georgia’s public liberal arts university. The recipient of his year’s award was John Hennecken.
After the presentation of awards, Dr. Elliott-Gower commenced the recognition of graduating seniors and presentation of the Honors chords. Each senior has contributed to this program and has made a considerable difference in their community, and we hope they will continue in this spirit throughout their lives. A slide show, containing pictures of the seniors in all their glory, was then resented by T.J. Cornay, Eta Sigma Alpha’s Historian. T.J. commented, “We will forever look back on the fellowship and fun that we have shared this with joy and remembrance.”
Not only are we saying good-bye to the seniors, but we are also saying good-bye to most of this year’s Eta Sigma Alpha executive board. President Caroline Rentz applauded this year’s board and stated, “Thank you for the honor to serve as president. It has been great.” Next year’s new president, Brandon Williams, then addressed the group with optimism, saying, “I look forward to serving you. I know we all will conduct business to the best of our abilities.”
The Honors Program extends special thanks to former Honors Program directors Dr. John Sallstrom and Dr. Doris Moody who both attended the banquet.
The class of 2010 included some of the most motivated students in the program’s history. This group of young men and women has devoted years of service and rigorous intellectual achievement to our program, and to our university. They have demonstrated commitment, integrity, and discipline, and we rejoice with them as they continue to strive for excellence and success in their lives. To our seniors, we wish you the best of luck in all of your endeavors!
Elena Andreyeva is graduating Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics. Elena plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Economics at Georgia State University.
Michelle Baily is graduating Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Middle Grades Education. Michelle will be seeking work as a teacher.
Stephanie Bales is graduating Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education. Stephanie will be seeking work as a teacher.
Jordan Bullinger is graduating Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology. Jordan will be working in the film industry in New Zealand.
Leah Corley is graduating Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry. Leah plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Chemistry at Clemson University.
Justin Cross is graduating Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry. Justin plans to pursue a Ph.D. at the University of Notre Dame.
Laura Dorick is graduating Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and Economics. Laura will be applying for graduate school for Psychology next year.
Carrie Ducote is graduating Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. Carrie will be interning at the Animal Rescue Foundation in Milledgeville and traveling, before going on to graduate school.
Hannah Fouts is graduating Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. Hannah will be applying to a Master of Fine Arts program for Creative Writing.
Carter Gillespie is graduating Cum Laude with a Business Bachelor of Arts degree in Management. Carter will be working with the Leadership of Great Washington.
Lindsay Gordon is graduating Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. Lindsay will pursue a Ph.D. in Human Genetics at Vanderbilt University.
John Hennecken is graduating Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music. John plans to pursue a Master of Arts in Music Composition at the University of Georgia.
John Hubert is graduating Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Economics. John will attend Law School at the University of Georgia.
Alyanna Johnson is graduating Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. Alyanna will spend some time in Mexico, then attend Law School.
Christina Keene is graduating Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History. Christina will pursue a Master of Arts degree in Public History at Georgia College.
Katie Krieger is graduating Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology. Katie will volunteer for the Central Georgia Komen for the Cure organization, then go on to pursue a Ph.D. in Social Psychology.
Lauren Lawson is graduating Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology. Lauren will be working in the field of psychology before attending graduate school.
Chelsea Losh is graduating Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. Chelsea will spend a year working on an organic farm and writing, before going on to graduate school.
Patty Maguire is graduating Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. Patty will be working for FM International in Long Island, New York.
Kimberly Marsh is graduating Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. Kimberly will go on to receive a Master of Arts in Teaching from Kennesaw State University.
Matthew McKinney is graduating Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Spanish. Matthew plans to pursue a Ph.D. at George Washington University.
Lori Pierce is graduating Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education. Lori will be seeking work as a music teacher.
Sara Pierce is graduating Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education. Sara will be seeking work as a math or language arts teacher.
Katie Ragan is graduating Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Education. Katie plans to intern for the Central Georgia Komen for the Cure organization, and then apply to Emory’s Master of Public Health program in Epidemiology.
Caroline Rentz is graduating Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. Caroline will pursue a Master of Arts degree in Political Science at the University of Georgia.
Gary Smith is graduating Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Geography. Gary will pursue a Master of Arts degrees in World History at George Mason University, then go on to fulfill a Ph.D. program.
Megan Thurber is graduating Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Middle Grades Education. Megan will go on to teach 6th grade language arts in Barrow County.
Kristen Vick is graduating Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Education. Kristen will go on to fulfill a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree at the Medical College of Georgia.
Jing Zhao is graduating Summa Cum Laude with a Business of Arts degree in Accounting. Jing will pursue a Ph.D. in Accounting at Emory.
The Honors Program organized an Alternative Spring Break trip last March at Jubilee Partners in Comer, Georgia. This was the first year the Honors Program participated in an alternative spring break program. Students spent the week at Jubilee helping out the organization as well as learning what it meant to be a part of a global community.
Jubilee Partners is a Christian service organization that hosts refugees from all over the world. Jubilee has hosted over 3,000 refugees to date. Refugees are sheltered over a two month span where they are taught English and given the proper tools for survival (childcare, Medicare, social security cards, etc.). Refugees are given only $15 a week for all personal expenses, so the program depends on both full-time and part-time volunteers to help sustain the operation. Jubilee provides the building blocks of peace and justice for the refugees as well as the volunteers.
For one student, Amelia Zuver (sophomore), being a part of Jubilee was a life changing experience. Although she had previously visited Jubilee, she was eager to return and experience such a great cause for a second time.
A typical day for Amelia and other volunteers, included: working on the farm, helping with the animals and meal preparation, teaching English, and participating various political and spiritual discussions. Amelia recalled that it was often a lot of physical labor that was sometimes very tedious. But for the students, the week-long labor was only just a glimpse of what it took to keep the program running and for the refugees to live an independent lifestyle in an American culture. Ultimately, the students were helping the refugees gain the skills necessary to adapt into a new country.
Despite the challenges and the hard work, students gained valuable insight into other communities as well as valuable insight into their own lives.
“I allowed myself to learn and experience another culture; I knew on the last day that I wasn’t done, and that I would be back one day,” Zuver concluded.
The Alternative Spring Break at Jubilee combined the Honors Program’s commitment to service and to global citizenship serving others while, at the same time, learning about the world beyond our borders.
Chelsea Losh knew satisfying her passion for reading and writing would be no problem when she came to Georgia College & State University.
The student figured, however, fulfilling her interest in protecting the environment would be the challenge.
As it turned out, Losh had no trouble finding the best of both worlds in Milledgeville.
Losh graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor of arts in English Literature, and was selected to be this year’s commencement speaker.
“I feel like I’ve grown so much,” said Losh, who was selected from nine candidates by the faculty and staff of Phi Kappa Phi Honors Society to deliver the undergraduate commencement address. “I’m ready to move ahead.”
She credits two of her professors in particular — Dr. Dan Bauer and Dr. Rob Viau — for helping meld her interests. The two served not only as class instructors, but academic advisors and life counselors, Losh said
“They opened my eyes and forced me to think about things differently,” she said, attempting to encapsulate all she had gained from her mentors. “They showed me ways literature connected to the real world. They pushed my limits on views about everything.”
Both sensed something special in Losh from their first contacts with her in freshman level classes. Four years later, they said she would be the ideal person on which to focus a marketing campaign for the school’s liberal arts mission.
“When we at Georgia College envisions the kind of student we want to recruit for the public liberal arts college of Georgia, as well as the kind of student we want to see on stage at the end of four years, Chelsea Losh should perhaps be our model,” Viau said.
Praised Bauer: “Our state and country need the savvy observations, the joyful demeanor, the keen intellect, the profuse energy, the humble attitude, and the unwavering commitment to creativity, social justice, and equality that a fine citizen and graduate like Chelsea offers in abundance.”
As an avid reader all her life, majoring in literature was an obvious choice for Losh.
“I knew I was good at it and loved it,” she said.
Losh was elated when she found her personal interest in the environment didn’t have to be satisfied only during semester and holiday breaks in classes.
“I’ve always had a passion for nature, to be outside and promote living responsibly,” she said. “I wasn’t expecting to find anything like that here.”
Losh became involved with the Environmental Science Club on campus and later helped initiate the college’s recycling program. Through conversations, she found a couple of areas nearby practicing sustainable living. The results there have led to the foundation for her immediate career path.
She’ll start this summer with her boyfriend, Bobby Jones, by traveling the country — Hawaii hopefully included — as volunteers with the Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms organization. The two have a table at the farmer’s market in Milledgeville where they sell organic bread, yogurt and cheese they made to help fund the upcoming journey.
As a devotee of Barbara Kingsolver, a best-selling author whose works have included the sustainable living the author practices with her family in Virginia, Losh hopes her travels will yield material for her own written efforts to further that cause.
“I hope to find things people don’t know about but are important for them to know and convey that in a creative and interesting way,” said Losh, who favors creative non-fiction when writing.
If Losh’s past is any indication, Viau said that will be a foregone conclusion for the future.
“She is one of the best students I have had the honor of teaching in the past 40 years in higher education, and one of the best persons too,” he said. “I will remember Chelsea many years after her graduation, and I trust she will make a significant mark in the world.”
Story by University Communications staff
The Honors Program is delighted to acknowledge the academic and community inspired student accomplishments for the Spring 2010 semester. Honors students have continued to excel beyond their college classrooms as they strive to become leaders in the Georgia College community. Congratulations!
Chelsea Thomas, a junior, was one of just four students in the entire United States to receive the Robert Walker Christian Journalism this past academic year. This is her second year being awarded the scholarship. The Robert Walker scholarship is rewarded to young individuals who lead a Christian lifestyle through their journalistic publications.
Chelsea also received 2nd place at the 2010 GCPA (Georgia Collegiate Press Association) awards for Best Features Article, “Hot Stuff, Cool ‘Cat’s”, which appeared in The Colonnade in September 11, 2009.
She also received 5th best at the SEJC (Southeastern Journalism Conference) awards for Best Features Writer. The conference welcomed students from schools all over the south. Those who placed in the top 5 at the SEJC selections were invited to attend the SEJC conference in Louisiana this past February. Chelsea as well as four other members of The Colonnade attended as representatives from Georgia College.
Patty Maguire, a senior, won the Bobcat “Unsung Hero Award.” But now we can sing Patty’s praises!
Special Congratulations to the Honors students who gained acceptance into the GEM (Georgia Education Mentorship) program for the 2010-2011 academic year. The GEM program is a year-long program that matches Georgia College students with a mentor in their interested field of study. Mentors’ fields include: business, education, politics, healthcare, law, and industry. Participants of the program are given an opportunity to gain valuable insight into the field of their choice as well as an opportunity to gain important leadership qualities.
2010-11 Honors GEM Students
Julia Borland (Sophomore)
Tim Bosch (Junior)
Lauren Buchheit (Sophomore)
Meredith Carpenter (Junior)
Casey Cone (Junior)
Olivia Ollinger (Sophomore)
Erin Schubach (Junior)
Anna Wells (Junior)
Melanie Wooten (Junior)
The Georgia College Honors Program organized and hosted the 2010 Georgia Collegiate Honors Council Annual Meeting on campus, February 27-28. Over one hundred Honors students from all over the state attended to present papers and posters, and to participate in roundtable discussions.
George Mehaffy, Vice President for Academic Leadership and Change at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, gave a lively and inactive talk entitled, "Re-Imagining Higher Education." Dr. Elliott-Gower who organized the program, along with senior Megan Thurber, was elected GCHC president for 2010-11.
This has been the second year that the Honors Program has offered book discussions and dinner seminars. These discussions offer Honors students a chance to delve into thought-provoking literature or talk about different topics of interest, and discuss them with peers and professors in various settings. Often, the discussion is accompanied by a yummy meal. The professor acts as a facilitator in the discussion, helping the students enrich each other while also enriching him or herself. These extremely popular events are typically attended by 8-12 students. Many students attend multiple book discussions and seminars.
This semester, the program has hosted a plethora of book discussions over a very diverse range of topics from around the world. From Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude to Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha, students have experienced many worlds outside of their own. Introduced to beautifully written classics, such as Henry Thoreau’s Walden, or Leo Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilych, students are learning and sharing knowledge beyond the classroom in positive and innovative ways. The book discussions sponsored by the Honors Program this semester are as follows:
Isabel Allende's The Infinite Plan, facilitated by Myron Avila (Modern Languages)
Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude, facilitated by Dan Bauer (Education)
William Young’s The Shack, facilitated by Linda Bradley (Education)
Henry Thoreau’s Walden, facilitated by Hank Edmondson (Political Science)
Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha, facilitated by Doug Oetter (Geography)
Victor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning, facilitated by Amy Sumpter (Geography)
Leo Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilych, facilitated by Henry Wang (Philosophy)
Logan Herren, a freshman Honors student, talked about the connections she made at the Siddhartha book discussion, with Dr. Doug Oetter.
“I feel that the book discussion about Siddhartha was one of the most profound, and wonderful experiences I have had this year. I felt like there were many topics I could connect to and because I was around people who were willing to agree and disagree and talk about all of those topics. It was a healthy environment and I felt extremely comfortable. I will take away many special things from book discussions in general, but that one is the one that stands out the most to me.”
These book discussions are not just for the students, however. The professors involved with these events always come out of them with warm reviews and general enthusiasm for the program’s direction.
Dr. Hank Edmondson, a political science professor, explained why he chose to read Walden, and what he got from the book discussion.
“I chose Walden because last summer I spent some time studying Emerson and I knew he had influenced Thoreau, so it seemed like a nice opportunity to re-read Walden. I think we all gained an appreciation for what Thoreau was up to in writing Walden…. The icing on the cake for me was that the following weekend I gave a lecture up in Worcester, MA, and I had the unexpected opportunity to visit Walden Pond! What a treat!”
The dinner-seminars, also hosted by some of the university’s best professors, offer an opportunity for the students to engage scholars in specific topics of their interest. This year, the Honors Program has sponsored a handful of seminars, including:
"Adolescent Cultures" with Linda Irwin-DeVitis and Joseph DeVitis (Education)
"Asperger's Syndrome" with Karynne Kleine (Education) and Mike Gleason (Biology)
"Science and Society" with Rosalie Richards (Chemistry)
"E.E. Cummings -- Encore!" with Ken Saladin (Biology)
Hannah Vaughan, an English major in the Honors Program, attended the popular seminar on E.E. Cummings (e e cummings, for some).
“I enjoyed being exposed to new poems, and seeing his art. I didn’t even know he was a visual artist! I learned a lot about his background and life from Dr. Saladin. I’m happy I got to participate since so many people signed up, and it was hard to get in. E. E. Cummings is my favorite poet, so of course I was pretty determined to go.”
“The book discussions and dinner-seminars are possibly my favorite part of the Honors Program," says Dr. Elliott-Gower. “Both students and professors seem to enjoy the opportunity to have good, substantive discussions in an informal setting beyond the classroom.”
The popularity of these events can only hint at the success of this type of beyond classroom interaction. It builds bonds between peers and professors and encourages students to apply their knowledge, embodying what the Honors Program has to offer.
Writer: Kelsey Donaldson
Contributing writer: Mia McMahon