Man Arrested After Apparently Trying to Break Into Cars on Campus

COLUMBUS, Ga. — A local man was arrested by Columbus State Police this morning after he was spotted trying to break into cars in the parking lot of the CSU police station.

Stephen Christopher Hamilton, of 2503 Camille Drive in Columbus, was observed attempting to enter several vehicles. Once confronted, he fled the scene, but was apprehended in a wooded area near Plant Operations along Lindsay Creek.

He has been charged with criminal attempt burglary, loitering and criminal trespass. Hamilton is not a student or employee at Columbus State University.

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CSU’s First Year Convocation Features CSU Alumnus Stefan Lawrence

CSU will host its annual convocation for all first-year students at noon, on Friday, August 25, in University Hall. The guest speaker this year is Stefan Lawrence, CSU alumnus and 2016 Muscogee County Teacher of the Year.

The program is designed to celebrate the beginning of the educational journey of the first year college student. It’s also an opportunity for the faculty and staff to formally welcome and show support for the students as they achieve their educational goals.

“I am honored and proud to be asked to participate in this great event,” said Lawrence. “I want to inspire the new students to look for balance in their education, including the knowledge they will gain from outside the classroom and from each other.” Lawrence currently teaches Advanced Placement English at G.W. Carver High School in Columbus.

To learn more about Lawrence’s journey from the classrooms at CSU to Carver High, visit:

Family members of first year students are also welcome to attend the ceremony.


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Blind Baseball?

CSU Helping Raise Awareness for Visually Impaired

COLUMBUS, Ga. — The players on the softball field at Columbus State University next weekend will all discredit the hitting advice that it’s important to keep your eye on the ball.

These players will all either be blindfolded, blind or visually impaired. And they can play!

The game is one of two activities that Columbus State University is hosting Friday and Saturday for anyone who is blind or visually impaired.

The events are part of a weekend that includes Country’s 5K Midnight Run and is designed to raise support for, and awareness of, those in the Columbus community who are blind or visually impaired.

The fun starts at 6 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 25 when CSU hosts relay races and fun activities for anyone who wants participate. At 7 p.m. the 2017 Midnight Express “beep baseball game” starts, where all the players are either visually impaired or blindfolded. Players locate the ball by listening for its beeps and run to bases that are buzzing.

The Beep Baseball World Series Champions, the Indy Thunder, will play against sponsors.

On Saturday, the fun continues as CSU hosts Camp Abilities Fun Day, open to all individuals (children and adults) who are blind or visually impaired. Activities go from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. and include Goalball, Beep Kickball, tennis and soccer. Players from the Indy Thunder also will be participating.

“Camp Abilities Columbus, Ga provides opportunities for individuals who are blind or visually impaired to be active while showing the world everything is possible,” said Jeanine Fittipaldi-Wert, associate professor of health, physical education and exercise science at Columbus State University and director of Camp Abilities.

Registration for Camp Abilities Fun Day is free by emailing Wert at

Camp Abilities Fun Day will be held inside CSU’s Lumpkin Center on CSU’s main campus. Parking will be available in the parking deck.

Wert said she hopes many of Friday and Saturday’s participants will also be able to participate in Country’s 5K Midnight Run on Saturday, Aug. 26.

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Early Childhood Education Holds Inaugural Convocation

Colleges of Arts and Letters and Sciences Programs Also Scheduled

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Columbus State University’s Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education’s inaugural convocation program is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 18, at 8:30 a.m. in Room #1101 of Frank Brown Hall. The ceremony is the College of Education and Health Professions’ special recognition of students who have been accepted into the Early Childhood Education program.

The ceremony includes guest speaker, Eric Crouch, CSU alumnus and Georgia’s 2016-17 Milken Educator Award recipient. The Early Childhood Education program was selected as the 2016 Distinguished Program in Teacher Education by the Georgia Association of Teacher Educators.

“Our convocation acknowledges that teaching is an honorable and noble profession made up of selfless men and women who are highly dedicated to the future of the young children they teach,” said Dr. Saoussan Maarouf, assistant professor of Early Childhood Education.

In the College of the Arts, the Theatre Department held its convocation ceremony on Aug. 11. Other convocations scheduled include: Art, Aug. 18, Noon, Corn Center North Hall; Music, Aug. 18, 2 p.m., Legacy Hall, RiverCenter for the Performing Arts; and Communication, Aug. 27, 4 p.m., Riverside Theatre, RiverCenter for the Performing Arts.

The English Department in the College of Letters and Sciences will hold a convocation/roundtable program titled “Careers and the English Major: CSU Alums on Jobs and Life after Graduation,” on Friday Sept. 15, from 2-4 p.m. in Stanley Hall Room 203.

CSU will host the annual convocation for all first-year students on Friday, August 25, in University Hall, with guest speaker Stefan Lawrence, CSU alumnus and Muscogee County Teacher of the Year in 2016.


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Record Turnout Expected for 2017 CSU Day of Service

COLUMBUS, Ga. — About 750 Columbus State University students and employees are expected to fan out across the Chattahoochee Valley Saturday for CSU’s annual Day of Service.

The event is one of CSU’s signature back-to-school events, and is designed to connect faculty, staff and students with each other and with that community that has supported its university so significantly since even before it was founded in 1958. Volunteers will work on projects in Columbus, Phenix City, and Harris County.

Last year 615 people turned out for the event, which started in 2008. That total was a record, but looks to be eclipsed this year with about 750 people signed up.

“Day of Service is CSU’s way of kicking off the school year the right way – by giving back to the our community,” said Anne Brown, Community Outreach Advisor and organizer of the annual day of service. “It is yet another way for our students to connect with friends and faculty while using their skills to make a meaningful impact at these organizations.”

Volunteers will gather about 8 a.m. on Saturday at the Mock Pavilion at CSU’s intramural field. After checking in, people will be divided into groups and load buses headed to about 30 different locations across the city.

CSU President Chris Markwood will be participating again and will volunteer with his family at Feeding the Valley.

“This annual event is a great way to give back to the community, and it models our values of partnership and servant leadership,” Markwood said. “I’m especially excited this year to be at Feeding the Valley because they have done so much for CSU through our campus Food Pantry and educating our students on the local level about adequate access to nutritional items.”

Some of the locations that will host CSU volunteers Saturday onsite from about 9 a.m. to noon include:

  • CSU’s Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center, 3535 South Lumpkin Road
  • Feeding the Valley, 6744 Flat Rock Road
  • House of Heroes, 1721 Elvan Ave.
  • Historic Columbus , 2nd Ave. clean-up
  • Columbus Dream Center, 4114 Oates Ave.
  • Columbus Botanical Garden, 3603 Weems Road
  • The Columbus Museum, 1251 Wynnton Road
  • The Salvation Army, 615 Manchester Expressway


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Eclipse Viewing and Safety Tips

To help you prepare for the eclipse on Monday, here are some viewing and safety tips from Columbus State University’s Coca-Cola Space Science Center.

In Columbus, the eclipse will be partial with 92% of the Sun’s area blocked. This partial eclipse will cover enough of the Sun to make a beautiful sight in the sky, but it is not totality and it is NOT safe to observe without protection.

The eclipse begins at 1:05 p.m. (EDT) with first contact. The maximum eclipse occurs at 2:37 p.m. At this time, 92% of the Sun will be blocked by the Moon. Last contact, or the end of the eclipse, occurs at 4:03 p.m.

Here are three safe methods for viewing the eclipse:

  1. Solar Glasses – There are many outlets still selling the safe solar glasses. These glasses should have the ISO reference number of 12312-2 printed on the glasses. NEVER USE THESE DEVICES IN CONJUNCTION WITH AN UNFILTERED OPTICAL DEVICE (like binoculars)!!
  2. Telescopes or binoculars with proper solar filters – As of this writing (8/15/17), some online companies still have solar telescopes and filters for cameras, binoculars, etc. available for purchase. These outlets include B & H Photo (, Oceanside Photo and Telescope (, and Adorama (
  3. Pinhole Projection – There are many ways to make a simple pinhole projector for viewing the eclipse indirectly. This is the least expensive and safest way to experience the eclipse. No special tools or exotic materials are required, so anyone can make this simple device at home. The easiest way is to take two pieces of cardboard, poke a round hole in one of them, and let the sun shine through the hole onto the other piece. Thin cardboard (like cereal box material) works best to get an even hole. White cardboard works best to display the projected image. Though there are variations that can improve this technique, the simplest version works well and will allow the most people to enjoy the eclipse without any substantial investment in equipment. Here is more information about this method:

For more information on the eclipse:

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Columbus State Welcomes 31 New Faculty for 2017-18 Academic Year

Columbus State University starts the fall semester with 31 new full-time faculty members, filling academic needs in all four colleges. Their expertise ranges from graphic design to applied statistical analysis.

Interim Provost Tina Butcher said she was very impressed with the background and qualifications of these new instructors and researchers. “This group is an impressive mix of professionals on the cutting edge in their field, to experienced teachers who will bring a great deal of talent to our students.”

The new faculty members are:

College of the Arts

Ms. Melissa Hebert-Johnson joins the Art Department as a Lecturer in Art History. Hebert-Johnson graduated from Northern Illinois University in 2002 with a Master’s Degree in Art History and a Graduate Certification in Women’s Studies. She has been teaching art appreciation and art history for 14 years. She previously taught at McHenry County College in Crystal Lake, IL and Black Hawk College in Moline, IL.

Melissa’s current areas of reading and research interest include pre-modern women artists, pedagogy of art history, and gender and ethnicity in the museum. Her favorite art history subjects include Aztec, Indian, Islamic, and Modern and contemporary art. Melissa says that introducing new students to art every semester is a privilege that she cherishes.”

Mr. Nicholas McMillan joins the Art Department as an Assistant Professor of Art specializing in Graphic Design, he is relocating from Newport News, Virginia. Mr. McMillan received his MFA from Savannah College of Art and Design and his BFA from James Madison University. Prior to moving to Columbus, he was the Visiting Assistant professor of Design at the University of Central Oklahoma and an Assistant Professor of Art at Texas A&M – Corpus Christi. Prior to entering academia Nicholas gained professional experience working for eight years as a graphic designer throughout the DC Metropolitan area. Mr. McMillan continues to be actively involved in AIGA, the professional organization for graphic design, and in advancing graphic design curriculum to best meet future demands of the graphic design industry.


 Dr. Andrew Donofrio joins the Communication Department as an Assistant Professor of Communication. His research focuses on rhetoric as a process of meaning-building, of creating, shaping, and reshaping symbols that manifest into and inform regional cultures. His current work is directed at interrogating relationships between power, race, place, and U.S. K-12 public education policy-making. He is interested in the communication strategies and tactics that people use as they attempt to influence the decisions of local policymakers. I am particularly invested in understanding how such interactions can be enhanced or limited by the fluid and intersecting social identity locations that people occupy. Overall, my scholarship is dedicated to uncovering spaces that promote equity through empathy and productive public policy deliberation.


Dr. Alison F. Slade is excited to be joining the Department of Communication at CSU this fall. She received her Ph.D. from The University of Southern Mississippi, Her academic research interests include reality television, social media, fan culture and media criticism.  For three years, Dr. Slade hosted the nationally syndicated radio program The Alison Slade Show, focusing on political discourse in a weekly news format.  Dr. Slade has appeared as a media expert on The Redding News Review, America’s Morning News, and most recently appeared as a reality television expert for the NBC Universal documentary on Duck Dynasty.  She was also a contributor in the award winning book Rock Brands: Selling Sound in a Media Saturated Culture (Dr. Elizabeth Christian, Ed.) and co-editor of Mediated Images of the South: The Portrayal of Dixie in Popular CultureReality Television: Oddities of Culture and Television, Social Media and Fan Culture.  Dr. Slade has five children, including a set of twins.  Dr. Slade received her undergraduate and masters from Auburn University which explains why, in her next life, she wants to be a millionaire and have season tickets to Auburn football games.                                        

Mr. Eric Zuber The Joyce and Henry Schwob School of Music is pleased to announce the appointment of Eric Zuber as The L. Rexford Whiddon Visiting Chair in Piano. Mr. Zuber, a distinguished concert artist and pedagogue, will join The Jack and JoRhee Pezold Division of Keyboard Studies, the first fully endowed division within the Schwob School and a program of distinction that attracts undergraduate and graduate students from all over the world. In addition to a busy solo and collaborative career, Mr. Zuber is devoted to teaching the next generation of pianistic talent. Last year he served as Visiting Professor of Piano Performance at Ball State University in Indiana, and has been Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Memphis’ Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music and Faculty Associate at the Peabody Institute.  Mr. Zuber holds degrees from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University (B.M., A.D.), the Curtis Institute of Music (Diploma), and the Juilliard School (M.M.) He is currently pursuing his doctoral degree at Peabody.

Dr. Ianthe Onelia Marini joins the Schwob School of Music as an Assistant Professor of Music. She received her Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Maryland where she studied with Edward Maclary and James Ross. She was the recipient of the University’s Pomeroy Prize for scholarship and performance in 17th and 18th century music and served the UMD Men’s Chorus as its first female director.  As a professional Chorus Master, she prepared a number of choruses for the National and Baltimore Symphony Orchestras, including a preparation of the UMD Chamber Singers in Handel’s Messiah for subscription performances with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center under the direction of Maestro Nathalie Stutzmann.  She also prepared the choir for a performance of a cappella repertoire of Sir James MacMillan under his own baton at the Kennedy Center.  Additionally, she prepared the UMD Men’s and Women’s Choruses for subscription performances with the NSO Pops under the direction of Maestro Steven Reineke, and the UMD Men’s Chorus for subscription performances with the Baltimore Symphony SuperPops Orchestra under the direction of Maestro Jack Everly. She conducted Mozart’s Requiem as the Director of the UMD Summer Chorus and Orchestra, and BWV 26, 12, and 44 as Conductor of the UMD Bach Cantata series.

Gabriel Villa is a Chicago-based professional artist. Villa received his MFA from the University of Delaware and a BFA from Corpus Christi State University-Texas A& M and is attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, MN. Gabriel Villa was born and raised in the El Paso, Texas/ Ciudad Juarez border region and currently resides in Chicago, Illinois, where he is an active member of the arts community. Villa’s teaching practices include Visiting Artist at American University in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Professor of foundation Painting and Drawing at Triton College, River Grove, IL, Visiting Artist at Stateville Prison, Crest Hill IL, with the Prison Neighborhood & Prison Arts Project and most recently, Foundation Drawing at Saint Xavier University, Chicago, IL. Villa served from 2005-2011 as Director of Yollocalli Arts Reach, a youth initiative of the National Museum of Mexican Art and also served as Co-Curator for the Chicago Kraft Foods Gallery from 2006-2011 at the National Museum of Mexican Art. Villa has had numerous national exhibitions and has received numerous awards.


College of Business

Dr. Joshua Brooks, Temporary Assistant Professor of Finance grew up in Northport, AL. Dr. Brooks joined the faculty of Columbus State University after working as an assistant professor at Lander University in Greenwood, South Carolina where he won the Young faculty Teaching Award. He holds a Masters and Ph.D. in Finance from The University of Alabama.  Dr. Brooks maintains a vibrant research portfolio focused on time-series and investments; his most recent publication was the presentation of an alternative options pricing framework in the Journal of Financial Research.

Dr. Brooks’ maintains on-going consulting cases in the areas of derivatives valuation, returns attribution, and time-series econometrics. These experiences bring a distinctive expertise to his classroom as he can offer his students a practical perspective on the material and the operation of finance as a whole.  Joshua looks forward to being an active member of the local and university community.

Dr. Hyeran Choi, Assistant Professor of Management in the Turner College of Business. She received her B.B.A. from Yonsei University, South Korea.  After working for both the private and government sector, she completed her Master’s program in Human Resources and Industrial Relations at the University of Minnesota. During this time, she discovered her academic interest in organizational behavior.  She decided to begin the doctoral program of organizational behavior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research deals with understanding individuals and groups within an organizational context, and cross-cultural negotiation. Choi examines how individuals and groups can manage conflicts constructively and creatively. Her teaching field includes Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management.


Dr. Leslie Adah, Assistant Professor of Accounting and Finance joined the faculty of Columbus State University after working as faculty at Mississippi State University and University of Memphis. He holds a Masters and Ph.D. in Accounting from Jackson State University.  Dr. Adah is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and is a Certified Tax Auditor. He served as Vice President at Garret Enterprises Consolidated Inc. Jackson, MS, and Senior Accountant at Bruno and Tervalon, CPA of New Orleans. His research projects include examining the Mnemonic Effects of Multiple Choice Questions on Students’ Learning Curve in Cost Accounting, The Constraining Effects of the PCAOB’s Re-proposed Amendment to Disclose the Identity of the Engagement Partner on Management Pressure Point and The Mediating Effects of Default Liability Insurance Provision on Bank Loan Officer’s Perceptions of Audit Quality.


Dr. Hyrum Carroll, Assistant Professor in the TSYS School of Computer Science research is centered on leveraging computational approaches to solve biological problems.  He has made contributions in the areas of database retrieval metrics, both pairwise and multiple sequence alignment, phylogeny search, and biological networks.  Previous to coming to CSU, he was an assistant professor at Middle Tennessee State University and a Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Institutes of Health where was working on algorithms and evaluation criteria for genetic sequence alignment.  Dr. Carroll holds a BS degree in Computer Engineering and MS and PhD degrees in Computer Science from Brigham Young University.



Dr. Fady Mansour, Assistant Professor joined the faculty of the Columbus State University after working as an assistant professor at Black Hills State University in Spearfish, South Dakota. He holds a Masters and Ph.D. in Economics from Middle Tennessee State University. His undergraduate career was in agricultural science at Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt. He maintains a vibrant research portfolio focused on labor and health economics; He currently has a revise and resubmit at Journal of Family and Economic Issues.

Dr. Mansour has written papers on the impact of adolescence employment on welfare participation later in life, and the effect of regulations on quality in the nursing home industry. He enjoys engaging with students in helping students find and apply for scholarships that best match their status. He also enjoys mentoring students to achieve their optimal academic success and increase retention. He has designed and developed online courses and has taught business statistics as well as courses in economics.


College of Education and Health Professions


Dr. Basil Conway, IV – Assistant Professor of Secondary Mathematics Education has served as a professional educator at the middle school, high school, junior college, or university setting since 2005. Most recently, he was Assistant Professor at Jacksonville State University in Alabama. He completed his BS, MS, and PhD in mathematics education at Auburn University and a MS degree in statistical science at Colorado State University. During this time, he has presented at numerous local, regional, and national conferences on topics ranging from statistics, technology in statistics, differentiated mathematics instruction, and access to rigorous mathematics courses. His research interests are in statistics education, empowerment through effective teaching practices, and student opportunity to access rich mathematics.


Dr. Megan Hallissey – Assistant Professor of Middle Grades Education earned a Bachelor’s degree in Theater from Northwestern University, Master’s degree in Education from DePaul University, and Ph.D. from Southern Illinois University in Early Childhood Education and Educational Administration.  She has taught and served as an administrator for over twenty years at the elementary school, middle school, and collegiate levels.  Her scholarship includes numerous presentations at the local, state, and national levels as well as research outlining the need for more transformative teaching practices and arts integration.  Publication of this work is scheduled for 2018, in a book entitled, “Why Children Hate and Love School.”  Her current research endeavors involve bringing developmentally appropriate practices to middle grades education.


Dr. Rebecca Toland – Assistant Professor of Health Sciences has over eight years’ experience in academia and has educated and advised students enrolled in Public Health, Health Care Administration, and Health Science programs. Her areas of expertise are in disease prevention, mental health, and substance abuse.  Additionally, Dr. Toland has over 17 years of practical experience working in the areas of public and community health.

Dr. Toland earned her Doctorate of Health Education in 2012 from A.T. Still University located in Kirksville, Missouri with the focus of STD Prevention in Adolescence. She recently returned to school and received her Clinical Master of Social Work degree from Troy University, Troy, Alabama where she specialized in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in veterans and active duty military population. She has a personal connection to CSU as she has a BS in Heath Science and an MPA from the university. Her research interests include but are not limited to: mental health in women, opioid use in young adults, and universal health care.

Ms. Tristen Hyatt is currently working on her Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision at Auburn University and is a Nationally Certified Counselor. She holds a Master’s degree from Troy University in Counseling and Psychology with a focus in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, and a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Columbus State University. She began working in mental health and substance abuse in 2010. She has worked in numerous roles in the mental health field: residential case manager, community support individual, outpatient therapist, crisis counselor, group counselor, career counselor, intake coordinator in a psychiatric hospital, and currently works with the college population providing counseling services.  Additionally, she is on the board of directors for the Columbus, GA branch of NAMI (National Alliance of Mental Illness). She aims to continually engage in education that promotes her professional knowledge as counselor and counselor educator through engagement, advocacy, and outreach. Lastly, Tristen is eager to begin in her role as Assistant Professor in the Counseling, Foundations, and Leadership Department at Columbus State University starting August 2017.

Dr. Stella Makri, Assistant Professor, completed her doctoral degree in Counselor Education and Supervision from Texas A&M University-Commerce (2010), my Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Texas Woman’s University (2006), and her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Kennesaw State University (2002).  Her research interests include Multicultural/Diversity issues, Child and Family Development, Supervision, Professional Identity Development and Ethical Issues. She has been a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Georgia since 2011 and has worked in community and schools settings. She is actively involved in professional organizations both on a state and national level, and has presented at conferences and workshops. Her teaching experience includes both traditional and online settings, and she has served as thesis and dissertation chair for master and doctoral level counseling students.  

Tonya Herring MSN, RN earned a BSN from Columbus State University and MSN from Gardner-Webb University.  Recently she was the Nursing Educator for perioperative services at St. Francis Hospital in Columbus. Her previous teaching experience includes the Presbyterian School of Nursing at Queens University in Charlotte, N.C.; Rowan-Cabarrus Community College in Salisbury, NC; and East Carolina University in Greenville, NC. She is certified in medical-surgical nursing through the American Nurses’ Credentialing Center. She was awarded a $50,000 grant to study Simulation in associate degree and LPN nursing programs.  In addition, her research interests involve retention strategies of RNs at the bedside. Professional experience revolves around medical-surgical and maternal-child nursing. With both clinical and teaching in these two areas of nursing, she looks forward to working with the nursing students at Columbus State.


Elizabeth Mathis RN, APRN is a certified pediatric acute care nurse practitioner. She received her Bachelors of Science in Nursing from Columbus State University in 2002, before going on to receive her Masters of Science in Nursing from Duke University in 2005. At Duke, she completed the pediatric acute and chronic care nurse practitioner program. Most recently, Liz has practiced as a pediatric nurse practitioner for a pediatric hospital service and pediatric intensive care unit. Before that, she helped to open and worked in a pediatric emergency department. Though her specialty and certification are in pediatrics, Liz has also held the position of trauma coordinator at a level II trauma facility, serving both injured adults and children.



Teresa Peterson, MSN, RN received her Master of Science in nursing education from Jacksonville University, Jacksonville, Fla and her Bachelor of Science in nursing from Fayetteville State University in NC.  She has over 20 years of clinical nursing experience in hospice case management, long-term care, acute care, community health and pediatrics in Georgia, North Carolina and Florida.




Dr. Sarah Gay, DNP, APRN, NP-C, received a Bachelor of Science from Emory University, a Master of Science in nursing from Troy University and a DNP from Duke University She is pursuing a master’s in public health from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.  She has served as an adjunct faculty and clinical preceptor for Columbus State’s FNP program this past year. She has been an FNP with St. Francis Hospital and the Comprehensive Contingency Task Force of Columbus for the past several years.  As a FNP, she has participated in medical mission relief trips to Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, and Panama.


College of Letters and Sciences

Jaimie M. Gonzalez, Lecturer/Stockroom Manager completed the Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry at Columbus State University in 2009 and she earned a Master of Education in December, 2012 from the Department of Teacher Education at Columbus State University. She worked for the Muscogee County School District at Northside High School as a science teacher where she taught biology, chemistry, and physical Science courses. For the past four years Ms. Gonzalez has served as a part-time lecturer in the Department of Chemistry at CSU teaching introductory lecture and laboratory classes. During Ms. Gonzalez’s tenure as an undergraduate student, she served as a laboratory assistant where she assisted with coordinating

Introductory chemistry laboratory classes, acquired and arranged materials for weekly laboratory activities, facilitated pre- and post-lab discussions, and graded student laboratory reports.

Ms. Gonzalez will occupy the position of Lecturer/Stockroom Manager where her duties will include teaching some introductory lecture and laboratory courses. She will also maintain the chemical inventory, prepare reagents for the lab classes, manage chemical waste, oversee the undergraduate lab assistants, and help the department as needed to reach its goals.

 Dr. Vy Thuc Dao, Assistant Professor of Sociology earned her PhD in Sociology at Tulane University in New Orleans, LA with a primary emphasis on qualitative methods, theory, and inquiry. She also completed her MA at the University of Houston and prior to her appointment at CSU, served as a visiting assistant professor at Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA. Her most recent publications draw on her research in the Gulf South involving a multi-year, multi-site, ethnographic study that looks at the post-disaster recovery patterns of three Vietnamese American communities in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. From this study, her investigation expanded her research interests in race, social movements, and the interplay of community organizational development with ethnic identity. Presently, Dr. Dao is investigating protest culture, advocacy, and its intersections with race and gender.

 Rebecca Gerdes-McClain, Assistant Professor of English and Director of First Year Composition earned her B.A. and M.A. in English from Indiana University South Bend. This Spring, she earned her Ph.D. in Composition, Rhetoric, and Literacy from the University of Oklahoma where, in addition to research on the history of labor in First-Year Composition, she served for two years as Assistant Director of OU’s First-Year Composition program. While at OU, she helped to assess OU’s First-Year Composition curriculum, develop a new two-course sequence, pilot said curriculum, and ultimately implement it across campus. Dr. Gerdes-McClain has taught various First-Year composition courses, Expository Writing, Technical Writing, and a graduate Teaching Composition course as well as courses on Genre Studies and Film Adaptation. At CSU, Dr. Gerdes-McClain will serve as the First-Year Composition director where she will teach Composition 1, Composition 2, and upper level writing courses as well as administer, assess, and develop the First-Year Composition program.

Clayton O’Dell, Temporary Lecturer of English earned both his B.A. and M.A. in English and Secondary Education at Columbus State University. He has been teaching first year composition with Columbus State since 2016. As an undergraduate, Clayton studied abroad with Columbus State as part of the CSU in Mexico program for two consecutive summers, instilling a passion for study abroad and the International Learning Community on campus. Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages endorsement as part of his M.A., is one of Clayton’s specialty areas in teaching English as a second language. Other areas of interest include minority, gender, and international studies, particularly related to literature and modern fiction.

Natalia Naman Temesgen, Assistant Professor of English earned her Bachelor of Arts in English from Princeton University in 2008, and her Master of Fine Arts in Dramatic Writing from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University in 2010.  Her plays have been produced in New York City, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Boston, Atlanta, and Columbus, Georgia.  She has a passion for writing stories (plays, screenplays, and teleplays/webseries) that present seemingly stereotypical individuals or scenarios, then explode and expand the narrow understanding that the audience may have previously held.  Her goal as a writer and a teacher is to help to amplify and clarify the voices of all, and to create a fertile ground for dialogue on which individuals may debate with respect, curiosity and earnestness.  Mrs. Temesgen has taught in different positions in the English and Theatre departments at CSU since 2013, and is eager to continue serving the university in her new position.

 Carey “Scott” Wilkerson, Assistant Professor of English earned his BA and MA from Auburn University, an MFA from Queens University of Charlotte, and is a PhD candidate at Georgia State University. He is the author of numerous plays, including Seven Dreams of Falling (Black Box Press) and The Minotaur Trilogy (Otoliths), two poetry collections including Threading Stone (New Plains Press), editor of a poetry anthology Stone River Sky: An Anthology of Georgia Poems (Negative Capability Press), author of three operetta libretti including Eddie’s Stone Song: Odyssey of the First Pasaquoyan (a collaboration with composer James Ogburn (CSU Schwob Scool of Music), and a forthcoming novel, Ariadne’s Knot (Negative Capability Press.) He is a Pushcart Prize-nominated poet. His plays have been produced in Columbus, Los Angeles, New York, and Atlanta. This academic year, three new productions of his work will appear here in Columbus, Medford, OR, and Frankfurt, Germany.

Kristen Lilly, Assistant Professor of Mathematics earned her undergraduate degree in Applied Mathematics and her Ph.D. in Mathematics with a concentration in Statistics, both at Auburn University. While at Auburn, she became interested in applied statistical analysis, and she continued this interest by researching robust variable selection methods for grouped data for her dissertation. In addition, she was an intern as an applied statistician for a medical device company and helped other graduate students with their own statistical analyses in their fields. After graduating, she worked full time as a statistical data analyst for a medical device company before making the switch back to academia. She will join the Department of Mathematics in the fall to support the new Data Science programs.


Sheryl Bernardo-Hinesley, Assistant Professor of Spanish earned her B.A. degree in Spanish Language, Literatures, and Cultures, and her M.A. degree in Modern Languages with Concentration in Spanish Literatures, and Linguistics from the University of Texas at Arlington. While pursuing her Ph.D. in Hispanic Linguistics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, she accepted teaching assistantships in the university’s Spanish and Portuguese Program, and a one-year visiting professorship at the Universidad de Oviedo, Spain. Her dissertation project analyzes the variation in the pronominal system of an understudied severely endangered Spanish-lexified, Tagalog-substrate creole variety called Cavite Chabacano spoken in the Manila Bay region of the Philippines. She presents empirical support to theoretical claims on codeswitching as a socially motivated act which may cause language shift. Though her primary area of specialization is in sociolinguistics, her secondary area of research is in second language acquisition investigating the interlanguage representation of Spanish learners whose first language is English.

She joins the Department of Modern and Classical Languages as Assistant Professor of Spanish, where she will teach introductory to advanced courses in Spanish and foreign language teaching methodology, coordinate lower division Spanish courses, and serve as a mentor for the foreign language teacher education students.

 Sonia Rivera, Temporary Lecturer of Spanish earned her undergraduate degree in Mathematics Education from Florida State University in 1993 and earned her M.A. in Teaching Foreign Languages/Spanish from University of Southern Mississippi Hattiesburg in 1997. In 2010, she earned a DEA (Diploma de Estudios Avanzados/ Advanced Studies Diploma) from Universidad de Nebrija Madrid, Spain. She has been an adjunct professor at Columbus State University since 2000. While at CSU, she has taught elementary and intermediate Spanish, Phonetics, Studies in Civilization-Spain, Advanced Grammar and Composition, Literature, Contemporary Film: Spain, Spanish Conversation and Golden Age Theater. For her professional accomplishment, she has written a book titled USO DE LAS TECNOLOGÍAS DE LA COMUNICACIÓN Y LA INFORMACIÓN APLICADAS A LA ENSEÑANZA DE ESPAÑOL COMO LENGUA EXTRANJERA POR LOS DOCENTES DE LAS UNIVERSIDADES PÚBLICAS DE GEORGIA, ESTADOS UNIDOS, Universidad de Nebrija, 2010 ((The use of TICs, Applied to the Teaching of Spanish as a Foreign Language, by the Professors of the Public Universities in GA. USA.).  Her Research/Interest is on Applied Linguistics to the teaching of Spanish as a Foreign Language.

She received the Excellence in Access Award, Office of Disability Services, Columbus State University, in 2005.

Amber K. Lupo, Temporary Lecturer of Psychology earned her M.A. in Cognitive & Social Processes at Ball State University and her Ph.D in Psychology, with a certificate in Quantitative Methods, at the University of Texas at El Paso under the mentorship of Dr. Michael A. Zárate. Her research tests how social memory and perceptions, such as prejudice and stereotypes, develop and change over time through memory consolidation processes. In a second line of research, she investigates the social-cognitive factors that lead to police brutality. Her dissertation tested how police uniform color impacts civilian perceptions of police hostility and how uniform color influences aggressive police behavior. She has also taught multiple undergraduate courses, including Introduction to Psychology, Statistical Methods, Social Psychology, and Psychology of Personality.


John Hanson, Temporary Lecturer of Biology. Dr. John Hanson is proud to be from the great state of Texas.  He earned a BS in Biology and a BS in Environmental Science from Abilene Christian University. He went on to earn a MS (2003) in Biology at Angelo State University where he studied behavioral ecology in woodpeckers, and a PhD (2008) with a focus on Zoology at Texas Tech University. During his PhD he studied evolutionary relationships of Central and South American mice and rats. After teaching at Texas Tech for 2 ½ years, Dr. Hanson worked at a genomics laboratory which he went on to direct and he is board certified as a High Complexity Laboratory Director. Dr. Hanson joined the Biology Department in January 2017 and this fall will be teaching Mammalogy and Principles of Biology.

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CSU graduate debuts on award-winning Carole King Broadway musical

CSU alumnus and actor Michael Stiggers Jr. has become the university’s first-ever graduate to perform on Broadway.

“I’m playing one of the legendary singers from The Drifters in Grammy and Tony award-winning musical ‘Beautiful: The Carole King Musical,’” said Stiggers, 31. “I’ve been doing a lot of research for this part. The Drifters were smooth, cool entertainers who moved effortlessly.”

The triple-threat performer from West Point, Georgia, made his Broadway debut Thursday, Aug. 10, at Stephen Sondheim Theatre on New York’s 43rd street.

“I grew up in the South but always knew I wanted to get out and go into theatre after high school,” said the 2009 theatre education alumnus. “CSU provided me with the foundation I needed to learn about theatre and how to navigate that world. My extensive classroom training also molded me to become a drama teacher and still have something meaningful to fall back on.”

CSU has produced both off-Broadway and regionally successful performers; however, Stiggers has achieved a milestone for the Department of Theatre.

“Our department has become more visible in recent years,” said department chair Larry Dooley. “Having graduates involved in regional theatres and off-Broadway indicates the success of our students and the strengths of the department. Now with a CSU theatre graduate performing on Broadway, we are confident others will follow. We will continue to celebrate these success stories.”

Stiggers auditioned for the Broadway part twice before he actually landed the gig.

The international Broadway musical chronicles King’s comprehensive musical catalog as arguably the most celebrated and iconic singer/songwriter of all time.

Carole and then-husband Gerry Goffin wrote dozens of chart hits, including 1962 “Up On The Roof” by The Drifters.

“I’m enjoying the journey and going back in this particular time of her life,” Stiggers said. “I do want those pursuing this type of career to know I did fall into dark places and at times lost my confidence to get here. I never stopped dreaming wild through the good and bad times, though. That’s the difference.”

Visit to learn more about this CSU alum. Visit to learn more about Stiggers’ first-choice university.

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CSU Researchers To Take Advantage of Solar Eclipse This Month

Space Center to Webcast the Eclipse, Which Will be Simulcast in University Hall Auditorium

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Five teams from Columbus State University’s Coca-Cola Space Science Center and the Department of Earth and Space Sciences are preparing to fan out across the country to photograph and video the solar eclipse later this month.

One of those researchers will be making the trip as part of a National Science Foundation project to study weather and atmospheric data during the eclipse.

According to, the “Great American Total Solar Eclipse” will occur on Monday, Aug. 21, and will “darken skies all the way from Oregon to South Carolina, along a stretch of land about 70 miles wide. People who descend upon this ‘path of totality’ for the big event are in for an unforgettable experience.”

To capture the event, 13 CSU researchers will be stationed at different points along the path, from Wyoming to South Carolina.

Scott Gunter, Assistant Professor of Atmospheric Science in the Department of Earth and Space Sciences, will be taking seven students to Grand Island, Nebraska to collect meteorological data during the eclipse. The project, dubbed ARTSE (Atmospheric Response to a Total Solar Eclipse), will seek to measure how different atmospheric variables, including temperature, moisture, turbulence, and atmospheric gas concentrations, change with the temporary blocking of the sun. Sophisticated “flux” measurement systems will be used to make the measurements.

“A tremendous and relatively rare opportunity for both research and education,” Gunter said. “This project offers a diverse department at CSU the chance to bring students to the field to participate in cutting-edge, hands-on research.”

When the eclipse happens during the early afternoon on the 21st, only a narrow swath of the United States will be completely darkened. But the eclipse can be viewed in some fashion by most of the country.

CSU’s Coca-Cola Space Science Center is scheduling an afternoon of eclipse-watching activities at their center downtown, and warn that anyone who wants to observe the event must protect their eyes.

“In Columbus, the eclipse will be partial with 92% of the Sun’s area blocked,” said Shawn Cruzen, executive director of the space center, and a CSU astronomy professor. “This partial eclipse will cover enough of the Sun to make a beautiful sight in the sky, but it is not totality and it is NOT safe to observe without protection.”

He said the images and videos collected by the CSU researchers planning to cover the eclipse across the country will lead to student research projects, an original planetarium show, and a global webcast during the eclipse.

The Space Center’s webcast will feature live images from their observatory in downtown Columbus, and live feeds from CSU teams in the path of totality in Nebraska and Missouri (weather and technology dependent). The webcast will be hosted (narrated) by Michael Johnson from the center. The webcast will begin at 1 p.m. and end shortly after 4 p.m. with the time of last contact in Columbus at about 4:07 p.m. Officials will simulcast the webcast onto a large video screen inside University Hall Auditorium, which will be open to the public.

“This is pretty cool stuff, and I think aligns perfectly with our current academic priorities,” Cruzen said.

For more activities and information surrounding the eclipse and webcast, go to

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CSU Creates “Road Maps” to Ease Students’ Path to Graduation

COLUMBUS, Ga. — As more than 8,400 students start classes at Columbus State University next week, each one will have a tool to help them more efficiently plot their path to graduation as officials have created a “road map” of courses for almost every degree CSU offers.

The suggested four-year course schedule for each baccalaureate degree helps students navigate the sometimes-confusing world of course prerequisites and requirements, while also eliminating the possibility of students taking courses they don’t really need to graduate. The maps show students what courses to take and in what sequence.

It’s all part of an overall effort to enhance CSU advising and retention, said Tina Butcher, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs.

“Study after study has shown that intensive academic advising helps improve student retention,” Butcher said. “We are working on many fronts to help students understand better how to succeed while they are here, and how to more quickly earn their degree.”

CSU’s efforts are obviously working. Retention rates for first-time, full-time students have risen from 65.6 percent in 2011-2012 to 73.3 percent in 2015-2016.

One of the biggest advantages for students is that each program map shows what courses are offered and when, said Barbara Hunt, a program manager for the provost’s office who validates each map after being developed by the major department.

“Students often think that every course is offered every semester,” Hunt said. “That is a myth.  Maps help students see that courses are rotated. “

She said showing when courses are – and are not available – may prompt harder work. “If they know the class is not offered again until next spring, they may work harder to pass it.”

CSU has created these maps for all 2-year, 4-year programs, and 5-year combination degree (bachelor’s and master’s degree) programs. To find the guides, users should go to and click on “Academics,” then on “Degrees & Majors.”  On the page for each degree listing, there should be a link to “Course Schedule” that maps out the proper path a student needs to take for that degree.

Additionally, there are “interest-area” maps available for students who start college undecided about a major. Area maps are located at, by clicking “Career Exploration Resources,” then “Program Maps by Interest Area.”

“I think it’s safe to say that Columbus State has possibly the most comprehensive set of program maps in the System, especially the interest area maps,” said Jonathan Hull, assistant director for policy and partnership development in the Office of Educational Access and Success at the Board of Regents University System of Georgia. “The more important aspect of CSU’s program maps is that they are fully integrated into its advising system so that every student has a map to graduation, and students are advised according to that map. What CSU has done that is so laudable is to make the maps consistent across the institution.”

Hunt said the program maps also benefit the institution and the advisers.

The provost’s office can better regulate what courses are needed and when, and academic advisers can better serve the students.

“It’s a game changer not only for the students, but the advisers love it,” said Lisa Shaw, director of ACE. “They can be more than just schedulers; and, once the student leaves, they have it in their hand. It really teaches the student how to navigate the college experience.”

Another new tool the university is using to help with advising and retention is an Education Advisory Board (EAB) software package that allows professors and advisors to more effectively track students and their progress. The program identifies at-risk students, provides warning signals and timely interventions, schedules and tracks appointments, follows specific cohorts of students, and helps faculty enlist help for students who need attention in a variety of areas.

“We have an obligation to our students and their parents to help them get their degree in the most efficient and low-cost way,” Shaw said. “It’s all about saving money and saving time, and these [maps] are critical pieces to that.”

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CSU Student Surprised with Tuition for Tip

Michael Woodham receives tuition check with Dean Hadley and President MarkwoodCOLUMBUS, Ga. – A Columbus State University student was pleasantly surprised to find out today that his tuition for the fall semester was paid in full by CSU supporters.

Michael Woodham, a junior major in business entrepreneurship, is a server at a local restaurant. One night recently, he struck up a conversation with a customer who happened to be a donor to CSU’s Turner College of Business. “I really just try to serve everyone with great service, so I am excited and really surprised by this support,” said Woodham.

That customer, a local businessman and his wife, contacted the Turner College the next day, told staff they were so impressed with Wodham that they wanted to pay for his college tuition this semester.

Turner College Dean Linda Hadley surprised Woodham with the news Monday afternoon. “This is a reminder that little things matter, and how the positive things you do can come back to benefit you later. The fact that the Starks decided to support this young man and pay it forward shows great support for our university and our students,” added Hadley.


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Campus Theft Suspect Arrested

COLUMBUS, Ga. — A suspect wanted in connection with a series of thefts on campus has been arrested. Steven Michael Carson,39, has been charged by the CSU Police Department with two counts of financial transaction card theft, three counts of financial transaction card fraud and one count of theft by taking. Carson is not a student or employee of CSU. He also faces additional charges from other law enforcement agencies in Georgia and Alabama.

In July, CSU police posted photographs of Carson on its Facebook page, and in less than 24 hours, more than 13,000 people responded with information that helped identify the suspect. “I am grateful for the community’s assistance in this issue, and appreciate the hard work of our investigative team on this case,” said CSU Police Chief Mark Lott.

To report any suspicious or criminal activity on campus, please contact the CSU Police Department at (706) 507-8911.


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Inaugural Presidential Envoy Group to Represent CSU

Columbus, Ga. Columbus State University has named 15 student leaders as the first Presidential Envoys, a group of high-achieving students from across campus who will represent the university at some of its most important events.

The Presidential Envoy members represent a variety of majors and backgrounds. The primary purpose of this 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.

“It is important that we remember and demonstrate that students are the focus of everything we do,” said CSU President Chris Markwood. “Our friends and donors love meeting our students, and these Presidential Envoys are among the best that Columbus State University has to offer.”

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

Jerry Cowell (President): Senior, Marketing Major and Communication Minor, Rex, Ga.

Hannah Kick (VP of Communication & Membership): Sophomore, Early Childhood Education Major, Hamilton, Ga.

Leah Seifu (VP of Leadership): Junior, Biology Major, Columbus, Ga.

Hannah Eubanks: Sophomore, Accounting Major, Columbus, Ga.

Stephanie Kolwicz: Senior, Health & Physical Education Major, Columbus, Ga.

Whitney Henderson: Senior, Early Childhood Education Major, Landover Hills, Md.

Abby Moore: Sophomore, Biology Major, Columbus, Ga.

Cassandra Paul: Senior, Marketing Major, Hiram, Ga.

Ruben Ramirez: Junior, Health Science Major, Columbus, Ga.

Lyndsay Richardson: Senior, Music Education Major, Bonaire, Ga.

Joshua Richmond: Sophomore, Art Major, Cordele, Ga.

Anju Shajan: Sophomore, Accounting Major, Columbus, Ga.

Mason Thiele: Senior, Management Major, Columbus, Ga.

Bailey Woodard: Senior, Exercise Science Major, Warner Robins, Ga.

“It is one of the greatest honors to be representing Columbus State University as a Presidential Envoy,” said Jerry Cowell, who was elected president of the group “I am excited to be able to give back to my university in a way that builds it up and allows it to continue to grow while establishing a closer bond to the student body.”


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CSU Computer Science Researchers Earn Federal Grant To Develop Cybersecurity Training Tool

COLUMBUS, Ga. — The National Security Agency has awarded Columbus State University researchers a $174,000 grant to develop an intelligent tool for rapid cybersecurity training and curriculum development.

“We are building a tool that people across the nation can use to develop cybersecurity training, which guarantees compliance with government and industry standards for cybersecurity workforce development,” said Shuangbao (Paul) Wang, a professor in CSU’s TSYS School of Computer Science. “The award makes CSU one of the top universities in the nation in providing technologies for cybersecurity workforce development to universities, government and private sector across the nation.”

The tool will be cloud-based with an expert system that can be accessed anywhere in the world including many Department of Defense installations, Wang said. The project will include visual mapping, a key technology that was developed at CSU.

This recent grant is another example of the cybersecurity expertise developing in CSU’s TSYS School of Computer Science, which is developing a new TSYS Center for Cybersecurity thanks to a recent campaign donation from TSYS. The department earned National Security Agency (NSA) accreditation several years ago for the applied computer science master’s degree curriculum. Then NSA designated CSU as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education, recognizing CSU a national standard bearer in both teaching and applying the concept.

“And now, we are able to announce two federal cybersecurity grants in one month,” said Wayne Summers, chair of the TSYS School of Computer Science, noting NSA awarded a grant to CSU and Muscogee County School District to develop and implement a course in cybersecurity education specifically designed for middle school students. “Our faculty are truly at the leading edge of cybersecurity research and curriculum development.”

Wang said the CSU research is a result of federal investments of more than $19 billion for cybersecurity.

“National cybersecurity workforce development is one of the key areas of this action plan,” he said. “Our project idea has been well-received in academia and industry, and has been presented at several major national cybersecurity conferences. Upon completion, universities, government, and private sector across the nation can use the tool to quickly develop training and curriculum that otherwise would not be possible due to lack of experts, knowledge and skills.”

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President Markwood responds to the passing of Bill Turner

The Columbus State University community was deeply saddened to learn about the death of Mr. Bill Turner, a longtime supporter and volunteer. He first served on the CSU Foundation Board of Trustees in 1986 and been a senior member on the board since 1997.

He was a driving force behind many initiatives that are now integral parts of Columbus State University.

This is what CSU President Chris Markwood had to say about the news of Mr. Turner’s Passing:
“Bill Turner’s impact on Columbus State University and this community simply cannot be overstated. His vision and his actions led to the development of CSU’s downtown campus, the Servant Leadership Program, the nation’s first master’s curriculum in Servant Leadership at a public university.  His passion for the philosophy of servant leadership was infectious and genuine, and shaped the development of a new generation of leaders. Servant Leadership is now one of Columbus State University’s core values, which sets us apart from many other public universities. Students in these programs have created a ripple effect for modeling servant leadership throughout the state of Georgia and well beyond.  He was a longtime volunteer and member of the CSU Foundation Board of Trustees, endowed a chair in music with his wife, and left a legacy here that will likely never be matched.”
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Civil War Goes Digital

Columbus, Ga. – The Columbus State University Archives earned one of the inaugural Digital Library of Georgia digitization grants that will allow online access to the Civil War era letters and documents of General Henry Benning, for whom Fort Benning was named.

“We are excited to receive this grant allowing us to increase access to our collections by making General Benning’s involvement in this important period of our history available online,” said University Archivist David Owings. “The collection will be keyword searchable facilitating in-depth research for scholars or anyone with an interest in the Civil War era.”

Benning was a prominent figure in the Civil War who participated in 21 engagements including Antietam, Gettysburg, and Chickamauga. His regiment was at first part of the Army of northern Virginia under Robert E. Lee and later under Braxton Bragg in the Army of Tennessee. During the Battle of Antietam he earned the nickname “Old Rock” due to his regiment’s unfaltering defense of the Confederate right flank. By 1863, he had been promoted to Brigadier General. He continued to serve in that capacity until Lee’s surrender at Appomattox. After the war, Benning returned to Columbus and resumed practicing law until his death in 1875.

The project will digitize approximately 120 documents, mostly letters from Benning that were donated to the CSU Archives by the Columbus Museum. The DLG will provide the library with standardized meta-data, meaning the collection will be fully described for people all over the world to view online. Once complete, the project will be hosted on the CSU Digital Archives website and the Digital Library of Georgia website ( and


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CSU Camp P.R.O.W.L Takes Orientation to a New Level

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Columbus State University will be adding a new dynamic to its student orientations with Camp P.R.O.W.L. a 4-day, 3-night camping experience designed to better connect students to campus before classes begin.

The first Camp P.R.O.W.L. will be held Aug. 3-6 in Covington, Ga. P.R.O.W.L stands for pride, relationships, opportunities, wisdom, and leadership – all themes that directly connect to the values of CSU.

CSU President Markwood personally invested time to ensure the university’s core values were represented, said Melissa Dempsey, director of Student Life & Development.

“Our unique component is academic preparedness, leadership education, and campus value implementation,” Dempsey said. “Various CSU faculty and staff will have interactions with the students during the camp. These connections will benefit the young students in understanding the collegiate class structure.”

Camp P.R.O.W.L is an addition to CSU’s regular traditional R.O.A.R orientation sessions. Just like the shorter, on-campus sessions, a trained orientation team consisting of upperclassman from various majors will lead the event.

Aside from the academic preparation, Camp P.R.O.W.L will serve as a fun environment for students to enjoy being a CSU cougar. They will participate in mazes, rope courses, Go-Green team competitions, bonfires, and investigation games related to our QEP initiative.

“P.R.O.W.L is the perfect experience for incoming freshmen to shorten the learning curve that comes with being new to college. This camp gives them more time to see how the campus works,” said Kewanna Taylor, head student leader of orientation team. “It also serves as a reminder that they will not be alone when they are a member of the CSU community.”

For more information, email or visit the CSU orientation website at


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CSU Partners with School District to Earn NSA Grant for Middle School Cybersecurity Education

COLUMBUS, Ga. — In what may be a first for Georgia, Columbus State University is partnering with the Muscogee County School District on a National Security Agency (NSA) grant to develop and implement a course in cybersecurity education specifically designed for middle school students.

The $50,000 NSA grant allows CSU’s TSYS School of Computer Science and its developing TSYS Center for Cybersecurity to work with Rothschild Middle School Leadership Academy to develop and implement a course in cybersecurity education specifically designed for 7th and 8th grade middle school students.

“We do not think that a cybersecurity curriculum of this magnitude has been attempted at the middle school level in Georgia,” said Tom Hackett, chair of CSU’s Department of Counseling, Foundations, and Leadership and executive director P-12/University Partnerships. “This STEM project is expected to raise interest in cybersecurity and will encourage students to continue learning about cybersecurity, a field very much in-demand by today’s workforce.”

The course will be structured on the National Security Agency (NSA) Cybersecurity First Principles but will be broken down into age-specific topics understandable by 7th- and 8th-grade students, Hackett said. The NSA Cybersecurity First principles include: domain separation, process isolation, resource encapsulation, least privilege, modularity, layering, abstraction, data hiding, simplicity and minimization.

He said the course will facilitate a learner-centered classroom with numerous hands-on exercises that provide opportunities for middle school students to apply their newly gained knowledge of cybersecurity education.

This program is just one example of what will be many developing partnerships between the Muscogee County School District (MCSD) and Columbus State University. Hackett, CSU President Chris Markwood and MCSD Superintendent David Lewis are working on more ways to develop programs and education goals to benefit P-12 students, university students and the local businesses that will be hiring these graduates.

“We are proud of this unique partnership with CSU and excited for the opportunities it will afford our students as they begin exploration in this high-demand field,” said David F. Lewis, superintendent of the Muscogee County School District.

About 140 7th and 8th grade students at Rothschild Middle School will have the appropriate prerequisite to take the year-long elective course on cybersecurity education during the 2017-2018 school year.

“Whether you are 6 or 60 years old, cybersecurity is important to us all,” said Wayne Summers, professor and Distinguished Chairperson of CSU’s TSYS School of Computer Science. “By teaching the elements of cybersecurity in middle school, we will encourage safe computing practice as well as expand the pool of candidates for future cybersecurity professionals. Based on a comprehensive study supported by the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education, there are nearly 13,000 cybersecurity job openings in Georgia and nearly 350,000 openings nationally.”

The TSYS School of Computer Science, its TSYS Center for Cybersecurity and Muscogee County School District will ensure the cybersecurity education course will provide age-appropriate and performance based cybersecurity education in a safe environment for middle school students and will meet Georgia curriculum standards.

Hackett said the course curriculum will be available for download on the projects’ website and the course can be replicated in other middle schools across the nation.

The Rothschild teacher developing this fall’s course – to be called Business Principles & Computer Science – is enrolled at CSU this summer in the Information Security course in the TSYS School of Computer Science, which is designated by NSA as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education. Additionally, CSU is part of a consortium of seven University System of Georgia (USG) institutions to develop the USG’s capabilities in IT and cyber security as well as significantly increase the number of IT and cyber security industry qualified graduates coming from USG institutions.

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Student Selected to Participate in National Student Entrepreneur Program

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Columbus State University’s Nakia Guy is one of 20 student entrepreneurs selected from across the country to compete in the prestigious Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) Student Entrepreneur Program (SEP) in Las Vegas this week. Nakia is a junior majoring in business management and minoring in chemistry at CSU.

The SEP program fosters growth for the next generation of women-owned businesses through a tailored entrepreneurial curriculum and mentoring from certified women-owned businesses and Fortune 500 Corporate Members, including Bristol-Meyers Squibb Company, Dell Technologies, Ericsson North America, Exxon Mobil Corporation, Merck, Macy’s, Pfizer, Office Depot, U.S. Postal Service, and Walmart.

“Being selected for this program, being flown out to Las Vegas, and participating in the Pitch Competition is an extraordinary accomplishment,” said Guy. “This event is in line with my core principles, which are to use as many resources that are given to you as you can, move according to what your short and long term goals are, and to plan for your future.”

Guy, a Certified Financial Coach, created a business concept named Financially Free By 23. The focus of the company is to address the issue of financial illiteracy with young adults to empower them to become financially independent.

As part of the program, students will compete in a pitch competition with a total of $10,000 in seed capital being awarded to the top three students.

This year’s cohort includes students from 17 universities majoring in biomedical, engineering, computer science, business and the arts. All student participants are passionate about their future and have incredible entrepreneurial spirits. Whether they are still in the early stages of launching their startup or looking to advance their business, SEP will give this year’s cohorts the tools and resources to become proactive women entrepreneurs.

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