Noteworthy accomplishments ...

During 2008-2009, Sergiu Schwartz, Columbus State University’s William B. and Sue Marie Turner Distinguished Faculty Chair in Violin, opened the concert season of the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra, performing Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto; appeared as guest soloist with the LaGrange Symphony in the world premiere of Lee Johnson's Symphony No. 8; and was the featured soloist of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra’s “Sergiu Plays Mendelssohn” subscription series concert.

He also performed in New York, Memphis and Florida, and as conductor-violin soloist with the International Master Players in a series of concerts across South Florida. Schwartz conducted master classes at the universities of California at Fullerton and Long Beach, Lynn University Conservatory of Music in Florida and at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and the Tel Aviv Conservatory of Music in Israel. He also served as a jury member at the Washington (D.C.) International Competition.

Schwartz’s new CD, Romantic Treasures, features works by Strauss, Saint-Saens, Dvorak and Debussy. It’s won favorable reviews from the American Record Guide and the Atlanta Audio Society.

Several of Schwartz’s students also performed beyond CSU and won recognition during 2008-2009, including:


  • Suliman Tekalli, sophomore performance major in violin, won fourth prize at the Henryk Szeryng International Violin Competition in Mexico. Suliman returned to Mexico as soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra of Mexico and the Guanajuato Symphony Orchestra. Suliman also was a winner at the Georgia State Music Teachers National Association competition in Athens, in the Young Artist Performance String Competition. From there, he represented Georgia at the MTNA Southern Division Competition in Petersburg, Va., and was declared an alternate winner.

  • Nadir Khashimov, freshman performance major in violin, was a top prize-winner at several international violin competitions, including Paganini (Russia) and Sarasate (Spain). He also performed as a soloist with the Moscow State Orchestra in Moscow. Nadir also competed in the Paganini (Italy) and Queen Elisabeth (Belgium) international violin competitions.

  • Heather Thomas, freshman performance major in violin, was a winner in the Senior Performance Competition at the Georgia State MTNA Competition in Athens. She represented Georgia at the MTNA Southern Division Competition, in Petersburg, Va., and was declared an alternate winner.

  • Yaniv Gutman, junior performance major in violin, appeared as a soloist with the Youth Orchestra of Greater Columbus at RiverCenter. Yaniv also soloed with Israel Camerata Orchestra, performing Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto.

  • Zubaida Azezi, freshman performance major in violin, recently returned to Canada for a solo performance in the gala concert by past winners of the Toronto Music Competition at Toronto's Young Center for the Performing Arts.

  • Josine Jansen, sophomore performance major in violin, was a winner of the 2009 Atlanta Community Symphony Orchestra’s Ruth Kern Young Artist Concerto Competition. She appeared as soloist with the orchestra in Atlanta and also performed in the Music on the Hill chamber music series in Atlanta.

  • Boris Abramov, junior performance major in violin, was one of six finalists in the Stulberg String Competition in Kalamazoo, Mich.

  • Michelle Cardenas and Nelli Jabotinsky, senior performance majors in violin, auditioned successfully for graduate schools and received full scholarships to enroll in master’s music programs at the University of California at Long Beach and Boston University.

More noteworthy accomplishments by CSU students and faculty:

James Matthews, a spring 2009 Columbus State graduate, has earned a scholarship to study politics in England at the University of Exeter through 2009-2010. Matthews, who graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in political science, will pursue a master’s degree in the history of political thought. Matthews plans to teach and research on political theory or philosophy at the university level.

Columbus State University students captured several honors during the spring 2009 Southern Literary Festival at Millsaps College in Jackson, Miss. CSU’s annual literary journal, Arden, earned first place in the literary magazine category. Individually, Kristin Taylor’s “Defining the Imperfect” took second among informal essay submissions while her “Freeing the Caged Bird received honorable mention in the formal essay category. Megan Noelle Smith’s “The Belly of the Whale,” drew third place honors among one-act plays and Molly Mitchell’s “Holding Hands” earned honorable mention for poetry. Additionally, Shamonique Hassell, Molly Mitchell and Kevin Ramirez “gave stellar performances at the open mic,” said CSU English professor Nick Norwood. Also, the Southern Literary Festival Association’s executive committee voted unanimously to hold its 2013 festival at Columbus State. The association has staged festivals and literary competitions annually since 1937 to promote creative writing among college students.

Biology major Meredith Gilbert earned second place in the spring 2009 Beta Beta Beta District II paper session for her presentation, “Effect of Increased Carbon Dioxide Levels on Urushiol Production in Toxicodendron radians and Toxicodendron toxicarium.” Gilbert was mentored by Professor Julie Ballenger, assistant chair of biology. Separately, Columbus State’s Mu Omicron chapter took first place in the BBB District II scrapbook competition. Gilbert and Ballenger were among six faculty, six undergraduate biology majors and a graduate student from CSU's Environmental Science Program who participated in the 70th annual meeting of the Association of Southeastern Biologists and the concurrent regional meeting of Beta Beta Beta, the national biological honors society, both in Asheville, N.C.

Associate Professor of Political Science Tom Dolan is among scholars at major Chinese and Western universities and research institutes who contributed to the new Berkshire Encyclopedia of China. Released in May 2009, the five-volume series of 800 articles targets students, teachers, businesspeople, government officials and tourists seeking a greater understanding of China. Dolan contributed separate articles covering Artifact Preservation, Civil (1945-1949), Korea-China Relations, Ming Maritime Expedition, Missionary Education, People’s Courts, Joseph Stillwell and World War II in Asia.

Associate Professor of Sociology Florence Wakoko-Studstill is a gender expert for a collaborative Africa-U.S. Higher Education Initiative (USAID) coordinated by North Dakota State University. The project, “Capacity Building in Integrated Management of Vectorborne and Zoonotic Diseases in Eastern and Central Africa,” is supported by a $50,000 federal grant awarded in spring 2009 and is in cooperation with Makerere University in Wakoko’s home country Uganda. Wakoko is working with colleagues from NDSU, as well as the University of Minnesota, Washington State University, Michigan State University and the University of Saskatchewan in support of the project.

Columbus State faculty are encouraged to submit news of noteworthy accomplishments to