Columbus State University Announces 2018-2019 Presidential Envoys

Columbus, Ga. — Columbus State University has announced the names of 16 student leaders who will serve as 2018-2019 Presidential Envoys. The group of high-achieving students from across campus will represent the university at some of its most important events.

Six of the Presidential Envoy members are returning from last year, after serving in the university’s inaugural group of envoys. The primary purpose of the initiative is to develop future alumni leadership and to assist the Office of the President, the Office of Alumni Engagement and Special Events, and University Advancement. These representatives will give their perspective on the CSU student experience to trustees, alumni, and community leaders. The program also provides an opportunity for professional development in organizational leadership for these students chosen as Presidential Envoys.

Representing a variety of majors and backgrounds, the student leaders will serve as the face of the CSU student body at events such as CSU Foundation Board of Trustee meetings, Tower Society Gala, Presidential Receptions, and the President’s Recognition Dinner & Scholarship Banquet. The group of Presidential Envoys are:

  • Hannah Kick (President): Junior, Early Childhood Education, Columbus, GA
  • Gabriel Bello (VP of Leadership): Senior, Computer Science – Cybersecurity, Miami, FL.
  • Jianan  Britt: Graduate Student, MPA , Providence, RI
  • Crystal Burlison: Junior, Marketing, Jonesboro, GA
  • Zari Elliott: Junior, Early Childhood Education, Greensboro, NC
  • Whitney Henderson: Senior, Early Childhood Education, Landover Hills, MD
  • Jennifer Kolwicz: Senior, Biology, Columbus, GA
  • Stephanie Kolwicz: Graduate Student, Health & Physical Education, Columbus, GA
  • Alexis Knox: Graduate Student, MSOL, Commerce, GA
  • Abby Grace Moore (VP of Communication & Membership): Junior, Biology, Thomaston, GA
  • Elijah Neundorfer: Sophomore, Computer Science – Cybersecurity, Newnan, GA
  • Joshua Richmond: Junior, Art, Cordele, GA
  • Anju Shajan: Sophomore, Accounting, Columbus, GA
  • Matthias Smith: Junior, History & Art History, Phenix City, AL
  • Sydney White: Sophomore, Nursing, Columbus, GA
  • Chase Worthey: Senior, Music Education – Vocal, Bainbridge, GA
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Columbus State Ranked in Top 10 for Online Master’s in Science Education Programs

Columbus State University was recently recognized by as offering one of the best online master’s in science education programs. Upon reviewing all accredited online Master’s in Science Education degree programs, ranked CSU as No. 8 in the country.

CSU’s online Master of Arts in Teaching program with concentrations in math, biology, chemistry, physics, earth/space science, or computer science is targeted to career changers who are interested in entering the teaching profession and who possess the prerequisite educational background in a related field.

The 39 credit master’s degree includes coursework in classroom management, knowledge of students, and methods in teaching secondary science. Students also complete in-classroom teaching with either a teaching internship or student teaching course.

To learn more about CSU’s online M.A.T.  program, please click here. To read the review from, please click here.

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CSU Students Recognized for Work on Award-Winning Film

Columbus State University students were recently recognized on stage at the Atlanta Film Festival for their work on the production of an award-winning film.

Still, a modern suspense drama that was shot in Columbus, made its world debut to sold-out audiences at the Atlanta Film Festival and received the Georgia Award, an honor that recognizes the best film produced in Georgia. During the award’s presentation, the film’s director, Takashi Doscher recognized 12 interns from the CSU Communication Department’s Georgia Film Academy certificate program.

As part of their internship course credit requirements, the CSU students served as on-set film crew members for the production of the film. Typically, students must travel to Atlanta to complete their internship requirements, but CSU Associate Vice President for Engagement and Economic Development Richard Baxter and Communication Department Chair Danna Gibson helped to recruit the film to Columbus. The effort was the first of many initiatives from the Georgia Film Academy, Columbus State University’s Communication Department, and the Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau Film Office to provide training and education to a new generation of Georgia filmmakers in CSU’s film production program.

Still stars Lydia Wilson from Star Trek Beyond, Nick Blood from Agents of SHIELD, and Madeline Brewer from Orange is the New Black and is financed by Matthew Murdoch and Joshua Dent. The producers are Craig Miller, Gabrielle Pickle, Takashi Doscher, and Alex Creasia. The film is set in present-day Georgia, where a young hiker stumbles onto an isolated farm after losing her way on the Appalachian Trail. She is taken in and cared for by a strange but beautiful couple who appear desperate to protect a centuries-old secret hidden deep in the mountains.

In addition to its Atlanta Film Festival debut, Still screened at the 2018 Nashville Film Festival and is submitted to the San Diego, Fantastic Fest, Hamptons International, Austin, Hawaii, Flickers’ Rhode Island, Los Angeles Film Fest, New Orleans, Napa Valley, and Maine festivals.

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Local Teachers to Bring Cyber-Security to Schools after CSU Workshop

This week Columbus State University’s TSYS School of Computer Science is hosting a workshop to provide a select group of local teachers with the skills and knowledge they need to bring cybersecurity curricula into their schools.

“I wanted to learn about cybersecurity because it is a highly needed area,” said Chris Lovelock, workshop attendee and technology and engineering teacher at Double Churches Middle School. “It has been a lot of information in a short period of time, and it has been good to network with other teachers.”

Lovelock is one of the 20 teachers selected for the first-of-its-kind program, after more than 70 local educators applied. Most of the participating teachers have a background in science, technology, engineering, or math. However, for a few attendees – like Decarlos Hughley, a physical education coach at Double Churches Middle School, – the workshop is an introduction to cybersecurity.

“It is not something you can’t learn,” said Hughley. “As a teacher, you have to keep learning, and this is something you need to know.”

Led by CSU professors Dr. Lixin Wang and Dr. Yesem Peker, the workshop engages attendees in hands-on activities that enhance knowledge and skills in cybersecurity. Participating teachers receive a complete set of teaching materials for high school and middle school cybersecurity courses, a cybersecurity training certificate, and a $600 stipend.

Stephen Childers, workshop attendee and Harris County High School computer science teacher, says that the workshop has provided him with valuable resources that he will begin using as early as next week when he hosts his own cybersecurity camp for students.

“I’ve been working with TSYS to create bridges between industry and students,” said Childers. “I can already see tons of applications for how this can be used in the classroom.”

The workshop is sponsored by a grant from GenCyber, a jointly funded effort by the National Security Agency and the National Science Foundation. This is the first GenCyber workshop for teachers that CSU has hosted; although the university offered a GenCyber camp for middle school students last year.

With a mission to grow and improve cybersecurity education in the United States, GenCyber seeks to increase interest in cybersecurity careers, help students understand safe online behavior, and improve teaching methods for cybersecurity content. CSU’s GenCyber workshop continues through Friday.

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McCollough to Present on Creel Commission and Modern Media Practice at WWI Symposium

Dr. Chris McCollough, Associate Professor of Communication, will be presenting scholarship on the impact of the Creel Commission on modern public relations, advertising, and popular media at the WWI Armistice and Aftermath Symposium at Michigan Tech University in late September. The study is a direct result of advanced research Dr. McCollough has done for his upcoming summer course “ITDS 1145: The Art and Science of World War I Propaganda – Then and Now.”

His manuscript “Propaganda as Public Relations Antecedent: The Complex Legacy of the Creel Commission” looks at the positive and negative impacts of the Creel Commission’s work in turning the public tide from opposition to full support of America’s WWI effort through the lens of the 4 Minute Men campaign. Last studied in 1975, McCollough wants to update a recently growing body of research on public relations work resulting from the war effort by looking at how the speaking tour measures up to contemporary public relations practices.

The manuscript will be part of a two-day Symposium at Michigan Tech that will include period performances, speeches, cuisine, entertainment and scholarship focused on discussing the broader impact of WWI over the century since the end of the Great War. The program includes artists, historians, social scientists, and political scientists. Those presenting research, including McCollough, will be invited to contribute a chapter to an edited volume for publication following the conference.

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CSU’s Carson McCullers Center Announces New Writing Fellow

Columbus State University’s Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians recently announced Aimee Bobruk, a Texas-based singer-songwriter, as the winner of the 13th annual Marguerite and Lamar Smith Fellowship for Writers. As the fellowship recipient, Bobruk will live and work in Carson McCullers’s childhood home, the Smith-McCullers House, this fall.

Aimee Bobruk is an independent songwriter whose music straddles the genres of American folk and alternative rock. Most notably, her self-titled /ba.’brook/ was selected by Texas Music magazine as one of top six indie albums released in the state in 2013 and her work as been called “nothing short of a work of art” by Performing Songwriter.

In addition to writing and performing her own songs, Bobruk collaborates with songwriters and producers worldwide in the publishing industry. To date, her co-writes have earned her seven European title tracks, two of which were nominated for Grammy Awards in Germany and Norway. In 2015, her pop co-write “Black Swan,” competed in Melodifestivalen to represent Sweden at the international Eurovision Song Contest.

Bobruk has been engaged in three distinctive endeavors this year. In the spring, she embarked on a motorcycle ride along the Texas/Mexico border to capture a snapshot of life and culture for her self-produced documentary, The Texas Border Project. In the studio she reunites with avant-garde punk rock producer, Brian Beattie (Daniel Johnston, Okkervil River, Bill Callahan), and percussionist, Dony Wynn (Robert Palmer, Robert Plant), to tackle two conceptual EPs—one inspired by the writings of her favorite author, Carson McCullers, and the other by the history of the Mississippi River. Be it film or music, much of her inspiration derives from literature, film, and nature. Themes in her songwriting include, solitude, identity, surrealism, separation, elopement, and love’s illusions.

Some of Bobruk’s performance highlights include sharing the stage with the likes of Dr. John, Ian McLagan (The Faces, Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan) Butch Hancock, Alejandro Escovedo, Freedy Johnston, Ruthie Foster, and Thao and The Get Down Stay Down.

During her residency, Bobruk will live and work at the Smith-McCullers House from September to December 2018. While in Columbus, she intends to work on completing her EP of songs based on the work of Carson McCullers.

Named in honor of Carson’s parents, The Marguerite and Lamar Smith Fellowship for Writers was inspired by McCullers’s experience at the Breadloaf Writer’s Conference in Vermont and, especially, the Yaddo Arts Colony in Saratoga Springs, New York. To honor the contribution of these residency fellowships to McCullers’s work, the Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians awards fellowships for writers to spend time in McCullers’s childhood home in Columbus, Georgia. The fellowships are intended to afford the writers in residence uninterrupted time to dedicate to their work, free from the distractions of daily life and other professional responsibilities.

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Columbus State Claims PBC Commissioner’s Cup

HILTON HEAD, S.C. – The Columbus State University athletic department claimed its sixth Peach Belt Conference Commissioner’s Cup, handed out Tuesday night at the annual awards dinner.

The Cup is presented annually to the best overall athletic department based on regular-season standings and select championships. The Cougars captured 88.5 of a possible 119 points available to them based on the number of sports sponsored. The .744 rating was .014 more than second-place North Georgia, the closest margin since 2010.

The PBC Commissioner’s Cup is determined by calculating the number of points possible to each school, given the number of sports they participate in, divided by the number of points earned during the year. Points are determined by placement in the final regular-season standings in each of the PBC’s 15 championship sports.

Columbus State is now the all-time leader in Commissioner’s Cup wins, breaking a tie with North Florida. The Cougars claimed the top spot in 2005-06, 2006-07, 2007-08, 2010-11 and 2015-16 prior to bringing the trophy back home this season.

“With so many of our teams having had outstanding seasons, winning the 2017-18 PBC Commissioner’s Cup is recognition of our entire athletic department’s commitment to competitive success,” Director of Athletics Todd Reeser said. “Our student-athletes, coaches and athletic staff all take great pride in winning this award, and we are pleased and honored to bring it home to Columbus State University.”

Columbus State opened the season with a share of the regular season PBC championship in women’s soccer, however the Cougars were in fifth place in the standings after the fall semester.

CSU had a dominant spring semester, taking home the title in men’s and women’s tennis, while finishing top three in baseball, women’s basketball, men’s golf, softball and women’s basketball.

In total, 10 of Columbus State’s 13 programs that factor into the Commissioner’s Cup standings finished in the top half of their respective sports.

Columbus State’s success wasn’t limited to the conference level in 2017-18, with six programs qualifying for NCAA postseason action. Men’s tennis brought home the program’s first national championship, while baseball and women’s tennis each reached the final site. Women’s basketball, men’s golf and women’s soccer also reached the postseason.

The CSU baseball team is putting the finishing touches on the 2017-18 academic year at the Division II College World Series. The Cougars defeated Mercyhurst on Sunday and have UC San Diego on Tuesday night in their second game.

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CSU Class Honors a First-Year Teacher

A class in Columbus State University’s Early Childhood Education Program recently went the extra mile to help a new teacher feel appreciated and make a step towards increasing new teacher retention rates.

According to the Georgia Professional Standards Commission, forty-four percent of teachers leave the profession within the first five years of teaching. A survey by the Georgia Department of Education found that many teachers felt “undervalued.” In an effort to overcome these alarming statistics, one teacher at a time, a class in Columbus State University’s Early Childhood Education Program developed a plan.

The idea started when a group of Block 2 teacher candidates were discussing their desire to teach at a Title 1 school because schools such as these provide the biggest opportunity to make a difference. This conversation sparked an idea from the professor, Dr. Pam Wetherington, to show the class an episode of Mike Rowe’s Facebook show, ‘Returning the Favor.’

The professor had seen the episode the evening prior and felt that this particular episode was relevant in terms of the class discussion. The episode was about a teacher who heavily influenced a struggling high school student, and that student later grew up to make a career out of encouraging students to read while integrating physical fitness. “The episode was very touching, and the class was deeply affected,” said Kylie Whitten.

After some discussion, two teacher candidates proposed they do something similar in terms of returning the favor by recognizing a first-year teacher who is doing an amazing job and making a difference with his/her students. The class researched various first-year teachers in the surrounding school districts and voted to recognize a first year teacher at Key Elementary in Columbus, GA.

“We chose Brittany James because she is a recent graduate from CSU’s Early Childhood Education Program, and we know how stressful it can be going through the program. We also chose Ms. James because we learned how she invests her own resources to help her students. Lastly, we wanted to honor a first year teacher that worked at a Title 1 school since our plan was developed out of the idea of working in a Title 1 school,” said Callie Hampton.

Throughout the development of the Be the One project, the teacher candidates met weekly during the spring 2018 semester on their own time to work within their sub-committees (i.e., fundraising, public relations, curriculum, and celebration).

On May 14, 2018, CSU’s Early Childhood Education teacher candidates presented Ms. James and Key Elementary with school supplies, clothes, STEM science kits, snacks, and more.

Ms. Brittany James was surprised to learn she was being recognized by this group of teacher candidates and said, “I do it to make them [students] better, and I didn’t know people paid attention to me and knew of me, and that I was making a difference in the school system.”

Those involved in the inaugural Be the One project were-

Teacher Candidates:

  • Rebekah Cherry
  • Erica Culpepper
  • Alexzandrea Gant
  • Brooke Grantham
  • Callie Hampton
  • Taylor Lanier
  • Iesha McCrory
  • Jonah Montgomery
  • Pam Moore
  • Chelsea Mounts
  • Madison Pinet
  • Mia Rankins
  • Chelsey Reid
  • Stephanie Simmons
  • Kylie Whitten
  • Gina Williams
  • Elisabeth Wilson



  • Barbara Rouse
  • Pam Wetherington
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Army Commissioning Ceremony Held at Columbus State

Five cadets from Columbus State University’s Army ROTC Cougar Battalion are now commissioned officers in the U.S. Army.

The cadets took their oath of office, administered by Brig. Gen. Christopher T. Donahue, the former U.S. Army Infantry School commandant, at a Commissioning Ceremony on May 18.  The new officers were also administered the oath of office by LTC Carlos Lock during their commencement ceremonies.

Below is a list of the new officers and their degrees.

  • William Akoo, Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Ashley Barnett, Bachelor of Science in Sociology
  • Timothy Brown, Bachelor of Business Administration Management
  • Savannah Miller, Bachelor of Arts in Mathemathics
  • Allen Ransom, Bachelor of Science in Psychology
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CSU Saxophone Professor Receives Prestigious National Award

Columbus State University professor Joe Girard and his saxophone quartet, the Donald Sinta Quartet, received the Gold Medal this weekend in the 2018 Fischoff Chamber Music Competition.

“The Fischoff is the largest chamber music competition in the country,” said Scott Harris, Director of the Schwob School of Music. “It is a prestigious award that counts some of the world’s finest ensembles as laureates.”

After serving in a visiting capacity, Dr. Girard will be returning to CSU as assistant professor of music in saxophone in the fall.

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McCollough Published in Top Public Relations Education Journal

Dr. Chris McCollough, Columbus State University professor of communication, has been published in the latest issue of the Journal of Public Relations Education. The study examines the impact of using competition in the traditional public relations campaigns class. McCollough found that the use of direct competition between student teams yields stronger student projects, a better knowledge of best practices in public relations work, and a better result for client partners in the community.

McCollough reviewed four separate public relations campaigns classes taught between 2012 and 2015 to compile a comparative analysis. He reviewed student project books, clients’ weekly reports on experiences with students, and teaching evaluations over the four courses to determine the overall impact on student experience, performance, and outcomes for all involved.

The Journal of Public Relations Education is a national publication of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication and its Public Relations Division. The journal, which began publication in 2015, is the successor for the previously long-running Teaching Public Relations Monographs.

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CSU Announces Winners of 7th Annual Business Plan Competition

Columbus State University’s Turner College of Business recently awarded three aspiring entrepreneurs with funding to launch their own businesses. The recipients were the winners of CSU’s 7th annual Business Plan Competition, which is open to both students and members of the community.

Out of the 31 business plans submitted to the competition this year, the judges selected Kimberly Presley as the 2018 winner and recipient of a $3,000 prize. Presley, a current CSU student, proposed a new shooting target that is safer than the traditional clay targets used by most recreational shooters. Not only is Presley’s product biodegradable, but it is also edible. The judges were impressed with the creativity and long-term profit potential of producing and selling biodegradable shooting targets.

Additional prizes were also awarded to the second place winner, Victor Feliciano, and third place winner, Nathan Carr. Feliciano is the founder of Vicinity Tours, a guided touring company for the Columbus area. Carr is the owner of SonicAirflow, and his product, AirJet, is a patent pending twin turbo fan that regulates the temperature in large areas like warehouses.

The winners of the 7th annual business plan competition were announced at a luncheon in the Schuster Center last week.  Kirk Heriot, professor of management and the Ray and Evelyn Crowley Endowed Chair of Entrepreneurship, presented the checks. The competition, which is open to both students and members of community, is hosted by CSU’s Turner College of Business.

The business plan competition was created in 2012 by Dr. Kirk Heriot who holds the Crowley Chair in Entrepreneurship.  Prize winners from previous years have gone on to start new businesses based on the plans that they entered into the competition.

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Southeast Region Champs! Cougars Headed to World Series

TIGERVILLE, S.C. – The eighth-ranked Columbus State University baseball team is headed back to the Division II World Series after a pair of wins over No. 13 Belmont Abbey on Monday. The NCAA Southeast Regional was played at North Greenville University.

Columbus State (45-13) won a 5-0 thriller in 12 innings to start the day and followed it up with a 10-7 win in the nightcap to capture the Southeast Region championship. The Cougars will make their eighth World Series appearance and first since 2007.

“We tried to take it one game at a time today knowing that we had to win two,” head coach Greg Appleton said. “We had so many guys dig down deep and come up huge and that’s what you have to have to win this region.”

The World Series is scheduled for May 26 through June 2 at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, N.C.

Game One

In a game that will go down as an all-time classic, the Cougars outlasted Belmont Abbey in Monday’s opener.

Neither team scored through the first 11 innings of the contest, before the Cougars broke through in the 12th.

Belmont Abbey threatened in the fifth, loading the bases with nobody out. However, Kolton Ingram got a strikeout and a line drive double play to keep the game scoreless. In the ninth, the Crusaders had runners on second and third with two outs, trying to walk off with the title. It was Jalen Latta though that buckled down, getting a strikeout of his own to send the game to extra innings.

The Cougars wiggled off the hook again in the 10th, as BAC had the bases loaded again, this time with two outs. Sheridan Coy entered the game and immediately fell behind the hitter 3-0. With the Cougars just one ball from elimination, Coy fired in three straight strikes to punch out the hitter and keep the game going.

CSU got a double play in the 11th to stop another scoring chance, before finally getting rolling offensively.

Austin Pharr beat out a groundball to first base to lead off the 12thTurner Vincent then laid down a bunt and reached safely as the throw to first was wide. Robert Brooks put down a bunt of his own and the throw to first went down the right field line allowing both runners to score.

Frank Wager kept the rally going with a RBI double to right that scored Brooks. Gunar Drinnen then lifted a run-scoring double of his own to right-centerfield to make it 4-0. Garrett Kirkwood capped the five-run inning with a bunt that scored Drinnen.

Coy (2-0) then retired the Crusaders in order in the bottom half of the frame to force the decisive final game.

Game Two

The Cougars jumped on the board right away in the winner-take-all game, scoring a pair in the bottom of the first. Brooks dropped a single into right-center with the bases loaded to give CSU an early 2-0 advantage.

A solo homer from BAC cut the lead in half in the third, but the Cougars answered right back.

Grant Berry led off the third with a double and Kirkwood followed with a bunt. The Crusaders again sent the throw down the line on the bunt, allowing Berry to score and Kirkwood to end up on third. Mason McClellan rifled a single into the outfield to bring Kirkwood home and Chase Brown launched a two-run homer to give the Cougars a 6-1 advantage.

Columbus State tacked on another in the fourth with a sacrifice fly from Kirkwood, but Belmont Abbey came roaring back.

The Crusaders picked up a three-run triple in the fifth that cut the margin in half, before a solo home run in the sixth made it just a two-run game.

CSU got two of the runs back in the bottom of the sixth, as Berry crushed a two-run shot over the wall in right-center. However, BAC had one more push left in it.

Belmont Abbey put two runs up in the eighth and had the tying run at the plate in a 9-7 game, when the Cougars turned to T.J. Clark out of the bullpen. The right-hander came in and immediately put out the fire with a strikeout to bring the Cougars within three outs of a title.

Pharr tacked on some insurance in the bottom of the eighth with a single through the drawn-in infield to score McClellan. Clark then retired the side in order in the ninth to send the Cougars to the World Series.

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Dr. Sallie Averitt Miller Receives Professional Leadership Award

Dr. Sallie Averitt Miller, Columbus State University professor and Associate Dean for Assessment and Accreditation for the College of Education and Health Professions, was presented a Leadership Award by the Georgia Assessment Directors’ Association. The award, which was presented in Macon, recognized her for her dedication and leadership as the president of the association.

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McCollough Wins Second Consecutive National Award for Top Teaching Paper

Dr. Chris McCollough, communications professor at Columbus State University, recently earned his second consecutive Wilcox Award. His paper titled, “Visionary Public Relations Coursework: Assessing Economic Impact of Service Learning in Public Relations Courses,” was recognized as the Top Teaching Paper in Public Relations at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication’s 2018 national conference.

The study is the product of McCollough’s evaluation of 30 months of economic impact from a year-long, comprehensive service learning project that he and students in his public relations campaigns, public relations management, and senior internship courses conducted on behalf of CSU’s Pasaquan, the Georgia Department of Economic Development, the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, and the town of Buena Vista, Ga. from the fall of 2015 until the Spring of 2017.

Among the findings was that his students’ recommendations and project work have helped the partnership between CSU and Marion County’s Chamber of Commerce to advance major grant awards for community revitalization projects, the establishment of eight news businesses, discussion of seven additional new businesses, the largest growth in housing permit applications in the past decade, a steady tax revenue increase in the region since the fall fiscal quarter of 2016, and a 4 percent drop in unemployment in Marion County.

“It is a rare honor to be the first to win a second consecutive Wilcox Award among so many great colleagues across the country, and to do so at a major conference like AEJMC,” said McCollough. “It is a wonderful case study about the work of my students, our program’s learning model, and the potential impact it can have in improving civic, economic, and community life in our region.”

McCollough will present his paper and be recognized for his accomplishment at the annual meeting of AEJMC in August in Washington, D.C.

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Students Graduate from CSU’s Competitive Pre-Med Program

All Who Applied to Med School Were Accepted

Columbus State University’s first full cohort of graduates from the new Competitive Pre-Med Studies Program will walk across the stage Saturday afternoon and continue their journeys to become doctors. The program’s founder, Dr. Katey Hughes, is pleased to announce that all graduates who applied to medical school have received acceptance letters.

“It would have been a lot harder without the program,” said Jocelyn Cañedo, a graduating biology major who will be attending the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) in Auburn this fall. “I would have had to find MCAT resources on my own. I would have had to come up with places to volunteer. The program had volunteer opportunities lined up for me, so that I could really hit the ground running.”

Cañedo is one of six graduates from the program who were recently accepted to medical school. Another five graduates are preparing to take the MCAT and apply for medical school in the fall.

“If you talk to students from all over the country, you would see students who are academically qualified to get into medical school, but along the way, life happened to them. Maybe they weren’t able to focus on studying for MCAT or they didn’t have a contact to write them a recommendation,” said Hughes. “I thought that there needed to be a better way to provide opportunities to our students that they wouldn’t get at any other university.”

Recognizing this nation-wide need for more support of pre-med students, Hughes created the CSU program in 2013 with support from CSU’s College of Letters and Sciences. She thought through common obstacles to medical school and created opportunities to help her students overcome each challenge.

To ensure students have contacts in the field, she developed a clinical volunteering program, a five-week shadowing experience with local physicians, and “physician coffee talks” that each provide opportunities for students to get to know physicians in various specialties. Mentorships were created between upperclassmen and freshmen, so that new students will have a peer to ask basic questions relating to college and the program. For MCAT preparation, students can take advantage of books, online materials and a new J-term course specifically aimed at standardized tests. Finally, for an extra boost of motivation, Hughes plans a trip to a nearby medical school at the end of each semester.

“We have connections to different medical schools in Georgia and Alabama,” said Hughes. “For example, we have an articulation agreement with the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) in Auburn. It provides a pathway for qualified applicants to be admitted to their medical school.”

To be admitted to the competitive pre-med studies program at CSU, current students must complete at least one semester with a 3.4 or higher GPA. High school seniors may also apply and are admitted with approval from a special admissions committee. Students typically major in biology or chemistry, but there are a few exceptions.

For example, Freeman McCluskey, came to CSU’s pre-med program, after having already received his bachelor’s degree from another university. McCluskey completed his pre-requisite courses for medical school while participating in the program, and he has now been accepted into Mercer Medical School.

Another student, Jesse Hunt, is majoring in both biology and chemistry. Although she will not graduate until next Spring, she has already been accepted to VCOM at Auburn on a conditional basis that she maintains her outstanding academic record.

 “It is important for students to know that there are many different paths,” said Hughes. “We are here to think through their individual situation and help them develop a path that best fits their life.”


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Student Affairs Recognizes Staff at 2018 Awards Luncheon

CSU’s Student Affairs recently hosted its 2018 Awards Luncheon. The following awards were presented in recognition of staff accomplishments.

Partnership Award
University Support Services, Event Management

Most Outstanding Student Leader
Joslyn Ellis
Lexus Whidby

New Professional Award
Luz Bernal

Customer Service Award
Debby Mayo – University Police Department
Joy Norman – Center for Accommodation and Access

Campus Compact Award
Dana Larkin – Office of the Dean of Students

Cougar Genius Award
Gold  – Orientation Program, Camp PROWL
Silver – Fraternity & Sorority Life, Pillars of Excellence Accreditation Program
Bronze – University Police Department, Health & Wellness Program

Above and Beyond the Call of Duty Award
Melissa Dempsey – Student Life and Development

Peer to Peer Recognition
Allyson Thompson
Melissa Dempsey
Joy Norman and Marie Grandison
Lyn Riggsby-Gonzalez
Sarah Secoy

New Professional Institute Award
Eli Argueta – Fraternity and Sorority Life

Mid-Manager Institute Award
Scott Lundgren – Residence Life

Staff members serving with the department for a minimum of 5, 10, or 20 years were also recognized, in addition to the committee members who helped make the event possible.

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City of Columbus Supports CSU Men’s Tennis Team

Columbus City Council honored the CSU men’s tennis team on Tuesday morning in recognition of the team’s Division II NCAA National Championship.

“”We are invested in you and we believe in you,” said Mayor Teresa Tomlinson.

The team was welcomed home from the national championship with full support from the community, complete with a party and police escort on Sunday. It is an extension of the long-standing relationship between CSU tennis and Columbus.

In September of 2017, the CSU tennis program settled into its new home at the John W. Walden Tennis Center. The new center was a result of a generous donation from Johnny and Sally Walden, as well as a partnership between the Columbus Regional Tennis Association, city of Columbus, and CSU that expanded the tennis facilities at Cooper Creek.

“That’s why you won the national championship,” said Isiah Hugley, Columbus’s City Manager. “It was a well worthwhile partnership.”

Several council members congratulated the team on their big win.

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NATIONAL CHAMPIONS! Cougars Claim First National Title

SURPRISE, Ariz. – The second-ranked Columbus State University men’s tennis team claimed the program’s first national championship on Saturday, defeating top-ranked Barry 5-4.

The national championship is the eighth team NCAA title won in Columbus State athletic history, and the first since the baseball program captured the 2002 championship.

“This group of guys is special,” head coach Evan Isaacs said. “We had a great fall season and knew that we had a chance to be in this position, but to be here holding up this trophy is a surreal feeling and something all of us are never going to forget.”

Saturday’s national championship was a back-and-forth affair between the top two teams in the country, and was tight from the opening serve.

Alvaro Regalado and Zach Whaanga set a strong tone to start the day, dominating first doubles for an 8-3 victory.

Barry (25-3) evened the match up at one apiece with an 8-6 win at second doubles, but Jorge Vargas and Arnold Kokulewski scored a huge 9-7 victory in the swing match at third to give the Cougars a 2-1 advantage heading into singles.

Singles play didn’t get off to a great start for Columbus State (28-3), as only Avram and Kokulewski claimed first set wins. However, Avram fell 6-4, 2-6, 0-6 to make it a 2-2 contest. The Bucs then quickly took down Vargas 4-6, 6-7 at fifth singles as well to seesaw in front for the first time on the day.

The Cougars responded right back though, with Kokulewski pulling out a 7-6, 6-4 win in the sixth position to send it back to even at three.

With the match down to a best of three, each of the top three singles matches went into the third set. The Cougars lost the opening set in each contest before rallying back to force the third.

Second singles was the first to drop, with Whaanga suffering a 4-6, 6-4, 2-6 loss to put the Cougars on the verge of defeat.

The match then fell into the hands of Pannu, the Peach Belt Conference Player of the Year, and Regalado, the Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Rookie of the Year.

Regalado steamrolled through the final set for a 6-7, 6-2, 6-1 win the tied the match at four, and Pannu gave the Cougars a national championship just moments later, winning by the exact same score.

Columbus State’s banner year closed out with 16 consecutive victories, the program’s second consecutive sweep of the PBC regular season and tournament championships, and the Cougars’ first national championship.

Singles competition
1. #2 KP Pannu (CSU-M) def. #8 Pierre Montrieul (BARRY-M) 6-7 (2-7), 6-2, 6-1
2. #16 Carlos Gomez (BARRY-M) def. #22 Zach Whaanga (CSU-M) 6-4, 4-6, 6-2
3. #67 Alvaro Regalado (CSU-M) def. #52 Vivien Versier (BARRY-M) 6-7 (6-8), 6-2, 6-1
4. #47 Daniel Ventura (BARRY-M) def. Matei Avram (CSU-M) 4-6, 6-2, 6-0
5. Blake Bayldon (BARRY-M) def. #72 Jorge Vargas (CSU-M) 6-4, 7-6 (7-5)
6. Arnold Kokulewski (CSU-M) def. Flavio Matteoli (BARRY-M) 7-6 (7-5), 6-4

Doubles competition
1. #3 Alvaro Regalado/Zach Whaanga (CSU-M) def. Fernando Tous/Filip Zupancic (BARRY-M) 8-3
2. Pierre Montrieul/Blake Bayldon (BARRY-M) def. KP Pannu/Matei Avram (CSU-M) 8-6
3. Jorge Vargas/Arnold Kokulewski (CSU-M) def. Carlos Gomez/Vivien Versier (BARRY-M) 9-7

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CSU to Honor 700 Graduates at Three Commencement Ceremonies

Columbus State University’s spring 2018 commencement ceremonies are scheduled for May 18 and 19. The three ceremonies listed below will be held at CSU’s Lumpkin Center to honor the more than 700 total graduates earning their degrees.

  • Friday, May 18 at 4 p.m. – College of Arts and College of Business
  • Saturday, May 19 at 10 a.m. – College of Education and Health Professions
  • Saturday, May 19 at 3 p.m. – College of Letters and Sciences

Keynote speakers for the ceremonies are Sachin Shailendra, who will speak at the College of Arts and College of Business ceremony on Friday, and Stefan Lawrence, who will speak at the Saturday morning College of Education and Health Professions ceremony.

Shailendra is president of SG Contracting, Inc., a member of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, and chair of the University System of Georgia Foundation. Lawrence, a CSU alumnus and former CSU basketball player, is a teacher, coach, and AP Coordinator at G.W. Carver High School, as well as a recently named finalist for Georgia Teacher of the Year.

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