CSU Students Win Southern Literary Festival Writing Competition Awards

Columbus State University will be bringing home three awards this year from the Southern Literary Festival Writing Competition.

For the second time, CSU’s literary-arts magazine, Arden, won first place in the print journal competition. CSU creative writing student Justin Briley was editor in chief, and CSU English professor Carey Scott Wilkerson was the faculty sponsor.

CSU creative writing student Tonya Streeter won second place in the creative nonfiction writing competition for her essay ” On Earth, As It Is,” which she wrote as a student in CSU professor Joe Miller’s creative nonfiction class.

Justin Briley won third place in formal essay for “Crow, Tongues, and Masculine Striving: Ted Hughes’ Bildungsroman with Unfortunate Implications,” a paper he wrote in CSU English professor Patrick Jackson’s class.

The Southern Literary Festival was founded in 1937 to create an opportunity for local undergraduate writers to develop their craft while simultaneously providing them with concentrated exposure to successful Southern authors. Among authors associated with the festival were Eudora Welty, Shelby Foote, Katherine Anne Porter, John Gould Fletcher, Flannery O’ Connor and Robert Penn Warren.

This year’s festival will be held at the University of Tennessee at Martin in early April, and CSU creative writing students and faculty will be traveling there to attend.

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Chief Mark Lott Appointed as VP of GACLEA

Columbus State University Chief of Police Mark Lott was recently appointed as Vice President of the Georgia Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators.

“Chief Lott is a true visionary and a friend to members of the association and all of law enforcement,” said Chief Ken Morgan of Fort Valley State University and president of GACLEA.

GACLEA represents the security and law enforcement administrations from more than 60 higher education institutions in Georgia. The organization is dedicated to promoting professional ideals and standards in the administration of campus security, public safety and law enforcement.

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Former Director of Defense Intelligence Agency to Speak on Cyber Threats

Ronald L. Burgess, Jr., a leading expert in U.S. Intelligence, will speak at Columbus State University on Feb. 22 at 7:30 p.m. in the Cunningham Center. A retired Lt. General in the U.S. Army and inductee into the U.S. Army Military Intelligence Hall of Fame, Burgess will speak on “The Cyber Threat and the Way Ahead” as part of the Col. Richard R. Hallock Lecture Series.

Burgess currently serves as the Senior Counsel for National Security Programs, Cyber Programs and Military Affairs at Auburn University. As the former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, he is recognized as a driving force in the U.S. Intelligence Community and has been called upon by the president and Congress to address some of the greatest challenges confronting the U.S.

Introduced in 2007 to address issues of national security, the Col. Richard R. Hallock Lecture Series is funded by the Richard R. Hallock Foundation and coordinated by Columbus State’s College of Letters and Science. The lecture series has featured a three former ambassadors and numerous leaders in national security.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact Kimberly Gill, PhD, Assistant Dean for Military Outreach, at (706) 507-8483 or gill_kimberly1@columbusstate.edu.


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CSU to Host Ft. Benning Appreciation Day

On Feb. 17, Columbus State University will host Fort Benning Appreciation Day at the CSU basketball games. The event will feature a special performance by the U.S. Army Drill Team, food vendors, displays and free admission to the game.

The women’s game begins at 1:30 p.m., followed by the men’s game at 3:30 p.m. Both teams will play Young Harris College in the Lumpkin Center.

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CSU Cost-Savings Efforts Show Significant Savings

Upgrading equipment, improving lighting, and other efficiency changes at Columbus State University over the last six years have saved CSU almost $117,000 in energy costs, Georgia Power has computed.

Since 2011, CSU has partnered with Georgia Power on 60 different energy projects, resulting in a cost-savings that range from as little as $15 in one project to almost $17,000 in another project.  The total kilowatt hours saved adds up to almost 3 million, for a total Georgia Power rebate of $116,972.

“This has been a deliberate effort that we can now see really adds up,” said Tom Helton, vice president for business and finance. “Our partnership with Georgia Power has provided the needed funding to make these projects possible.”

Some of the cost-saving efforts included upgrading mechanical equipment and improving interior and exterior lighting.

Mike Medlock, assistant vice president for facilities, said the university’s energy-efficiency efforts were boosted in 2009 when CSU received $1.7 million from the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

“These funds were used in three buildings we consider energy hogs,” Medlock said. “We were required to show an energy savings over five years from any funds spent from AARA.  When we were able to do that, Georgia Power saw our success and included us in their Commercial Energy Efficiency Program.”

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CSU’s Discovery Day Offers a Glimpse into Undergraduate, Graduate Programs

Columbus State University invites prospective undergraduate and graduate students and their guests to visit on Saturday, Feb. 17 for Discovery Day.

Prospective undergraduate students will tour the campuses, meet with professors, see campus housing and have lunch at CSU’s Cougar Café.

“This is a great opportunity for undergraduate students and their parents to see firsthand why CSU is a perfect fit for them,” said Gary Bush, executive director of admissions. “The experience is personalized for each attendee. They get to learn about their particular major, explore our RiverPark or main campus and attend sessions on the topic that they find most interesting.”

A separate Discovery Day program will also be available for prospective graduate students. Graduate School Discovery Day will include an academic fair with representatives from various graduate programs, a Q&A session with CSU alumni, and an information session on student resources, events, admissions, and housing.  Optional tours with graduate assistants will also be offered.

“We are pleased to invite prospective graduate students to this program specifically tailored just for them,” said Kristin Williams, director of graduate and global admissions. “Whether they are interested in graduate assistantships, research opportunities, or finding a way to balance graduate school with full-time employment…the CSU Graduate Discovery Day will answer all of the questions that come to mind when pursuing graduate level education.”

Those interested in attending undergraduate or graduate Discovery Day should pre-register online at https://admissions.columbusstate.edu/tours.

An additional Discovery Day for undergraduate students is scheduled for March 17.


Tips for making the most of Discovery Day:

  • Register early. Discovery Day fills up fast and registration ensures lunch at CSU’s main campus dining facility.
  • Dress comfortably. Campus tours are walking tours, so wear walking shoes and dress for the outdoors.
  • Review CSU degree options. A “Meet Your Major” session will allow attendees the opportunity to talk to professors from many academic departments. A complete list of CSU degrees, majors and programs is available at https://www.columbusstate.edu/degrees/.
  • Explore Columbus. Out-of-town attendees are encouraged to spend extra time in Columbus to see what the city itself has to offer. To learn about area attractions and events, please visit http://visitcolumbusga.com/.
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CSU Honors College Student Wins Statewide Honors Research Conference

Gabriel Bello, a CSU junior majoring in computer science, received a first place state award last weekend. Bello’s paper “A Bluetooth LE Security Investigation” was recognized as the top natural science paper in the state at the Georgia Collegiate Honors Council Conference.

Bello’s paper reviewed the security and privacy features of three bluetooth low energy devices, which are commonly used as fitness trackers, heart rate sensors and Bluetooth keyboards. Bello found that two of the three devices implemented no security measures, and the third had substantial weaknesses to its design. The analysis showcased a large gap between recommended security features and implemented security features, revealing a hole through which user information can leak.

More than 40 papers were submitted to the conference. Other CSU Honors College attendees were Bobbie Bannerman, Valencia Coleman and Darby High.

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CSU Graduate Student Wins Award at International Barcode of Life Conference

Columbus State University graduate student, Lauren Whitehurst, recently won the Genome Award for Best Poster Presentation at the International Barcode of Life Conference at Kruger National Park in South Africa.  The prestigious scientific meeting brings together nearly 500 delegates from 73 nations to share ideas in DNA barcoding.

“Winning this award underscores the international recognition that this research is receiving,” said Lauren’s supervisor, Dr. Kevin Burgess, Professor of Ecological Genetics in CSU’s Biology Department.

Whitehurst’s poster entitled “Developing a DNA barcoding pipeline for the identification and prevention of invasive plant propagules entering the Port of Savannah” focuses on preventing invasive species from entering the Port of Savannah in Geogria by using DNA barcoding. It was done in collaboration with her supervisors Dr. Burgess, Dr. Rima Lucardi of the U.S. Forest Service, and Dr. Travis Marsico of Arkansas State University.

“The Port of Savannah receives container shipments from all over the world, and sometimes these cargo ships accidentally bring in the seeds of noxious weeds from different areas,” said Dr. Burgess. “Since we cannot easily determine what the seeds are or if they are potential noxious weeds, Lauren uses a genetic technqiue called DNA barcoding that can be used to identify what types of seeds are entering the US, should they be of concern, and how many are incoming. Her work will assist US Customs and Border Patrol agents in their goal of preventing invasive species from entering the port and being transported elsewhere in the country.”

Whitehurst, a graduate student in the Biology Department at CSU, attended the conference with Dr. Burgess and CSU lecturer, Dr. John Hanson. The group participated in field collections of invasive plants in an African savanna as part of a pre-conference workshop on LifeScanner, a user-friendly way to use DNA barcoding to identify unknown samples. The group also worked closely with representatives from the University of Johannesburg and the African Center for DNA Barcoding to assist with final preparations for the conference. At the conference, Dr. Burgess gave an oral presentation entitled “Phylogenetic analysis of Andean tree communities along an elevational gradient in Ecuador” in collaboration with graduate alumni, Samantha Worthy, who is now in a PHD program at the University of Maryland.

The team’s abstracts are now published in an online version of the journal Genome, which can be found at http://www.nrcresearchpress.com/toc/gen/60/11.

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Two CSU Graduate Programs Receive Eight Year Accreditation

Two graduate programs at CSU’s College of Education and Health Professions were recently approved for accreditation through October 2025.

The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) announced that CSU’s M.S. in clinical mental health counseling and M.Ed. in school counseling have both been approved for eight-year accreditation.

“Programs receiving accreditation for an eight-year period deserve to be commended for the work completed throughout the accreditation process. This is indeed a worthy achievement,” said Charles Gressard, PhD, Interim President and CEO of CACREP, in a letter announcing the decision.

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Miss CSU Competition Scheduled for Saturday

The Miss Columbus State University pageant will be held on Saturday at 7 p.m. in University Hall on CSU’s main campus. Six students will compete for the crown and opportunity to represent the university at the Miss Georgia pageant in June.

This year marks the 20th Anniversary of Miss CSU. In honor of the occasion, former winners will perform, judge and emcee the pageant.  Out of the 17 women who have been crowned in the pageant’s history, 14 will be in attendance.

“We are excited to celebrate 20 years of Miss CSU,” said Eli Argueta, Executive Director of Miss CSU. “For this big milestone, we are taking time to remember the four major tenants of the Miss America Organization: style, success, scholarship and service. We are also pleased to recognize our former winners, who we like to call Forever Miss CSU.”

The 2018 judges will be Shana Teal Purkey, Miss CSU 1999; Sommer Bundy, Miss CSU 2000; Ashley White, Miss CSU 2004; Jessi Scott, Miss CSU 2006; and Tamela Ransom, Miss CSU 2009. The Emcees for the evening will be Amarinda Trear, Miss CSU 2012, and Morgan Bush, Miss CSU 2015. Chelsey Rogers, Miss CSU 2017, will crown this year’s winner.

Doors open at 6:30. Admission is $5 for students and $10 for the public.

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Speakers Announced for 2018 CSU Turner College of Business Executive Speaker Series

Columbus State University’s D. Abbott Turner College of Business announced today this year’s lineup of speakers for the college’s Executive Speaker Series. Free and open to the public, the series features a variety of executives and entrepreneurs who will reflect on their experiences in business:

  • Feb. 22 at 11 a.m.: James Yancey, former president of Synovus
  • Feb. 27 at 6 p.m.: Michael Barker, Director of CSU’S TSYS Center for Cybersecurity
  • Mar. 6 at 11 a.m.: Chris Patterson, Franchise Owner of Bricks & Minifigs
  • Apr. 3 at 11 a.m.: Tim Callahan, Senior VP of Global CSO Aflac

Presentations by Yancy, Patterson and Callahan will be held in the second floor auditorium of CSU’s Center for Commerce and Technology. Barker’s presentation will be in CSU’s TSYS Center for Cybersecurity on the ground floor of the CCT, as part of an evening mixer and open house for attendees to explore the new center. Business leaders, alumni, and current and prospective students are all welcome to attend the series.

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Tickets Now on Sale for Columbus State University’s Diversity Forum

Tickets for the 2018 Columbus State University Diversity Forum are now available for purchase. Scheduled for March 15, the event brings the Columbus community together to celebrate diversity and inclusion. Keynote speakers for the 2018 conference are Carlos Andrés Gómez and Chrisette Michele.

“This year’s forum is going to be unlike any other, because the speakers will lead breakout sessions that challenge participants to think through real life scenarios,” said Johniqua Williams, development specialist for diversity programs at CSU. “Carlos Andrés Gómez is a power house who will empower us with the tools we need to be more inclusive in our everyday lives, while Chrisette Michele has a powerful message of self-love and being courageous to do the right thing.”

Gómez is an award-winning poet, speaker, actor, and author of the memoir, Man Up: Reimagining Modern Manhood, released by Penguin Random House. He has starred on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, TV One’s Verses and Flow, and Spike Lee’s movie Inside Man with Denzel Washington.  His poems, “Where Are You Really From?” and “What Latino Looks Like,” have garnered millions of views online. Gómez recently partnered with John Legend for Senior Orientation, a program to counteract bullying and champion inclusive masculinity among high school students.

Michele is a Grammy-award winning R&B and soul singer and songwriter. Her singles have ranked on the U.S. Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, the Billboard Hot 100, Billboard 200, and U.S. Billboard 200 charts. With her single, “Be OK”, she received a 2009 Grammy for Best Urban/Alternative Performance, and her album, Better, was nominated for a 2014 Grammy award for Best R&B album. She has starred on R&B Divas LA and the CW’s Girlfriends. Her fifth album, Out of Control, will be released in April 2018.

Presented by CSU’s Office of Diversity Programs and Services, the Diversity Forum is a day-long conference and evening banquet that showcases successes in inclusion on CSU’s campus and fosters discussions on a broad range of relevant issues to discover best practices for a better future. Attendees will take part in inclusive active learning exercises that can be repeated in their own workplaces or with team or community group members.

Tickets are $40 and include admission to both the conference and the Legacy Celebration. Tables of eight are available for $320. For more information, please visit diversity.columbusstate.edu or contact Johniqua Williams at 706-5078594 or Williams_Johniqua@ColumbusState.edu.

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CSU Student Wins State Award for Museum Exhibit’s Impact on Community

Christofer Gass, a Columbus State University senior majoring in art history, recently received a state-wide award for his work on the Columbus Museum’s Common Grounds exhibition. Gass was awarded the Georgia Association of Museums and Galleries’ 2018 Student Project Award at the GAMG annual conference in Rome, Ga.

The Common Grounds exhibition focuses on the last remaining original public green space in Columbus – an area known as South Commons. The exhibition ran from July 1 through November 5, 2017, and was seen by approximately 16,000 people.

Gass’s role in Common Grounds began as an intern and grew into lead curator for the exhibit.  He scoured documents, archaeological reports, and maps for information on the area to develop themes, provide recommendations on layout, and help choose maps and artifacts to display. He was also the primary author for the footnoted exhibition gallery guide and developed a survey that enabled visitors to provide feedback on future uses of South Commons.

“It doesn’t feel like work, because it is fun,” explained Gass. “I like to bring things to life that are part of history – things that people aren’t able to see anymore due to development. Being able to create a snapshot of the past that people are able to understand is really important to me.”

As a geography minor, Gass also worked with Dr. Amanda Rees of CSU’s geography department to analyze the data provided by the visitors to Common Grounds. The results were used as part of a larger research project by Dr. Rees’s urban geography class, which was presented to Friends of the South Commons.  The advocacy group will use the information to seek funding opportunities that would help preserve the South Commons. This real community impact that Gass’s work could have on the future of South Commons helped distinguish his project from others.

On their decision to award Gass the prestigious award, the GAMG’s award committee wrote, “Specifically, the committee felt that the impact of this student’s work on all levels of this important community project raises this nomination above the rest. His dedication to the work and the impressive results in helping shape the future of this space provide excellent examples of solid student-directed work for museums far outside the scope of this specific project.”

Gass was nominated for the award by Rebecca Bush, Curator of History and Exhibitions Manager at the Columbus Museum. Bush worked closely with Gass on the Common Grounds exhibition.

 “When I met Chris, I immediately knew he was a talented and thoughtful student who was eager to dive into the world of museums,” said Bush. “It was a joy to mentor Chris during his internship to create this civic dialogue-focused, engaging exhibition. State-wide recognition for his work is well-deserved.”

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CSU Student-Athletes Excel in the Classroom

COLUMBUS – In addition to outstanding success on the field, Columbus State University student-athletes had a banner fall semester in the classroom.

Columbus State student-athletes combined for a 3.01 grade point average for the fall semester, the eighth consecutive semester with a GPA of 3.0 or better.

“Our student-athletes compete at a high level both in the classroom and on the field of play,” said Todd Reeser, Director of Athletics. “We are very proud of their fall academic success which reflects the effort, focus, and commitment of these outstanding young men and women.”

Below are some of the academic highlights from the fall.

  • 16 student-athletes recorded a 4.0 GPA
  • 117 student-athletes (54 percent) had a 3.0 GPA
  • Seven teams finished with an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher: men’s tennis, women’s soccer, women’s cross country, women’s track & field, women’s golf, softball, women’s tennis
  • Men’s tennis posted the highest team GPA at 3.48
  • Women’s soccer had the second-highest GPA at 3.44
  • Men’s and women’s cross country along with women’s soccer combined to place 16 student-athletes on the Peach Belt Conference All-Academic Teams
  • Women’s soccer sophomore Riley Clark was named a CoSIDA Academic All-American
  • Women’s soccer players Hugrun Elvarsdottir and Brooke Nail were selected to the United Soccer Coaches Scholar All-South Region Team

Columbus State University features 13 NCAA sanctioned sports and two spirit programs that compete in the Peach Belt Conference. The Cougars are five-time PBC Commissioner’s Cup winners and have combined to win 101 PBC Championships and eight NCAA National Championships.

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CSU University Relations wins second consecutive CASE awards

Columbus State University’s alumni magazine garnered three new marketing and public relations awards by international organization Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) during the 2017-18 academic year.

University Relations’ publications specialist/editor Candace Dantes won Special Merit Awards in “Best Articles of the Year” and “Publications Writing” — first-time wins in these particular categories and a second consecutive CASE win for Dantes. The magazine editor previously won 2016-17’s Special Merit Award in “Magazine or Publication Rendering for Tablet of Mobile Technology.”

Team member and graphics specialist Joseph Melancon also won a Special Merit Award in “Illustration-Interior Spread,” which became a first-time win in this CASE category as well.

“It’s personal and professional validation to my work,” said Melancon, who has served as a visual artist in University Relations for the past five years. “I’m very hands-on with producing physical media that makes an impact. It’s more than a hobby, so for CASE to acknowledge my and Candace’s content together shows the future of where we can take marketing and public relations expression.”

Melancon and Dantes won in the Southeast District III CASE awards, which includes states Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee.

Melancon illustrated one of the university’s most colorful alumni magazine cover stories: “Urban Innovators: CSU graduates instrumental to Uptown’s revitalization.”

To complement Melancon’s artwork, Dantes interviewed and profiled four of CSU’s progressive alumni and entrepreneurs who have successfully applied their majors to build lucrative brands within Columbus’ redeveloped commercial and governmental sectors.

“Anytime we can capitalize on sharing university success stories using engaging visuals, we do,” said Dantes, who has served as editor for the past three years. “It’s rewarding to know CASE recognized our creativity to storytelling.”


Click the categories below to read CSU’s award-winning content:


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CSU Hosts Columbus Regional Science and Engineering Fair

Columbus State University will once again host the Columbus Regional Science and Engineering Fair for local middle school and high school students. The fair takes place on Jan. 29 at the Cunningham Center, with judging from 6 – 8 p.m. Projects can be viewed by the general public on Jan. 30 from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.

“CSU is proud to invite middle and high school students to campus to participate in this exciting event,” said Janet Jamieson, co-director of the fair on staff at CSU. “Middle school is a critical time to engage students in STEM. This fair does just that with unique and engaging activities that grow their interest and establish life-long research skills that they will carry with them through their academic careers.”

This year, approximately 110 middle and high school students from many Columbus schools will be participating. The fair is an opportunity for students to display the results of research projects that they have conducted during the semester. Students learn how to isolate problems and solve them within the framework of organized, logical thought and study.

Science fair projects cover a range of disciplines, including biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering, environmental science, mathematics, medicine, and physics. Projects are judged by members of the CSU community and other interested individuals from the region.

“With nationally recognized scientists and educators serving as judges, CSU professors guarantee the integrity of the fair’s main focus on scientific inquiry by evaluating the students’ projects with diligence and providing feedback that empowers these students to continue down STEM educational and career paths,” said Michael Seckinger, ED.D., co-director of the Regional Science and Engineer Fair and MCSD Science Content Specialist.

Winners from the Columbus regional fair may go on to compete at the Georgia Science and Engineering Fair in Athens from March 22 – 24, 2018.

The fair is sponsored by the CSU College of Letters and Sciences. Other event sponsors are the CSU Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Muscoggee County School District, Flint Energies, Geotechnical and Environmental Consultants, Inc., DJI Builders, Golden’s Cast Iron and Renal Associates, LLC.

For more information, contact Janet Jamieson at 706-507-8450 or email her at jamieson_janet@columbusstate.edu.

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CSU McCullers Center Hosts Writing Workshops for High Schoolers

Columbus State University’s Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians will host a series of free Saturday afternoon creative writing workshops for high school students. The schedule of workshops is as follows:

  • Feb. 3 – Poetry (led by Jonathan S.E. Perkins)
  • Feb. 10 – Screenwriting (led by Natalia Temesgen)
  • Feb. 24 – Playwriting (led by Scott Wilkerson)
  • March 3 – Creative Nonfiction (led by Joe Miller)
  • March 10 – Fiction (led by Melissa Pritchard)

Space is limited, so students are encouraged to sign up as soon as possible. The workshops will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Smith-McCullers House, located at 1519 Stark Ave., in Columbus.

The workshop series helps students prepare for the Carson McCullers Literary Awards. Submissions are being accepted now through March 23 from high school students and CSU students in the following categories: fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, expository essay, playwriting and screenwriting. High school winners and CSU winners in each category will receive $300 for first place, $200 for second place and $100 for third place. This year’s winners will also be recognized at an awards ceremony to be held at the first annual Carson McCullers Literary Festival.

Scheduled for April 20-21 at CSU’s Bo Bartlett Center, the Carson McCullers Literary Festival is designed primarily as a celebration of creative writing for Georgia high school students. The event will feature public readings, master classes and student workshops conducted by nationally known writers and poets. Among an impressive list of accomplished writers scheduled to give readings are Brad Watson, recent winner of the Harper Lee Award; Jonathan S.E. Perkins, nationally recognized slam poet champion; and novelist and essayist Melissa Pritchard, whose work has been recognized by the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle and O, The Oprah Magazine.

For more information, please call (706) 565-1200 or visit https://english.columbusstate.edu/creativewriting/muccullerswards.php.

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CSU Economist Named to Scientific Committee of Academic Journal

CSU Turner College of Business economics professor, Frank Mixon, has been appointed to the scientific committee of the Journal of Public Finance and Public Choice.

JPFPC is widely considered to rank second among academic journals in the sub-field of public choice economics,” said Mixon. “This is a nice validation of the research program that I have developed over the years.”

In addition to being appointed to the scientific committee, Mixon’s article, co-authored with Shaw Bridges of Gettysburg College, will be published in the JPFPC in April. Titled “The Lighthouse in Economics: Colonial America’s Experience,” the article analyzes New England lighthouses and their funding sources.

The JPFPC, which has been in print for about 35 years, is edited by Emma Galli of the University of Rome in Italy and published by Bristol University Press in the United Kingdom.

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Former CSU Student Heads to Winter Olympics

Kimani Griffin, a former Columbus State University student, recently earned a spot on the 2018 U.S. Winter Olympics long track speed skating team. He qualified earlier this month and heads to Pyeongchang, South Korea, in February for the Olympic games.

“It honestly hasn’t set in yet,” said Griffin. “I’m really excited to be a part of the team and travel with everyone to Korea.”

In addition to being an athlete, Griffin is an accomplished guitarist. As a teenager, he received the prestigious honor of performing on PBS’s “From the Top at Carnegie Hall.” Around the same time, he was also breaking national records in skating. Faced with two very different – but promising –paths, Griffin decided to pursue guitar at CSU’s Schwob School of Music after visiting the university several times for competitions.

“If you are looking to pursue music, CSU has a really awesome program,” said Griffin. “It is by far my favorite music hall to perform in.”

Griffin received a Woodruff Scholarship, an honor reserved for only one or two students at the CSU Schwob School of Music each year. From 2008 to 2010, he devoted himself entirely to music. He trained under Dr. Andrew Eliot Zohn, the CSU Jo and George Jeter Distinguished Chair in Guitar, who is respected nationally and has attracted students from all over the world to CSU.

“I would lock myself in the studio. It was full time music, just like it is full time training now,” Griffin said.

Ultimately, Griffin returned to speed skating. After seeing his peers compete in the 2010 Winter Olympics, he made the decision to “take advantage of his youth” and pursue his Winter Olympics dreams. While his endeavor into music is on pause for now, he considers one day returning to CSU to complete his degree under Zohn, who remains to be a mentor for Griffin.

“I think about guitar quite a lot,” said Griffin. “I still think about going back to school for music later, because guitar is something I could do up until the day I die.”

For now, Zohn stays in touch with Griffin. He plans to watch his former student compete, cheering him on from Columbus.

“I wouldn’t miss it for the world,” Zohn said. “I couldn’t be more proud of him.”

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Columbus State University Hosts Regional Lego Event

Columbus, GA – On Jan. 20, Columbus State University will host the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Lego League Super Regional Event for 30 teams of 3rd through 8th graders.

“Columbus State University is thrilled to host this important event for youth across the state,”said Dr. Linda Hadley, dean of CSU’s Turner College of Business. “FIRST LEGO League is an extraordinary program that encourages an interest in science and technology among young people. CSU is proud to provide an environment for these children to develop and build essential and fundamental skills.”

With this year’s theme of hydro dynamics, participants will be challenged to solve real world problems that involve finding, transporting and disposing of water. Guided by adult coaches, FIRST LEGO League teams research and develop solutions to real-world problems such as food safety, recycling and energy. They must design, build, and program a robot using LEGO MINDSTORMS® technology to compete on a table-top playing field.

The event is free and open to the public.  Team check in begins in the Davidson Auditorium at 7:30 a.m. The competition will be held in Davidson and University Hall from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information, please visit http://www.firstlegoleague.org/challenge#block-block-19

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