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'5 Under 40,' 'Rising Stars' include seven from CSU

September 8, 2021

5 Under 40 Headshots

“Columbus and the Valley” magazine recently honored Columbus residents in their 5 Under 40 and Rising Stars lists. Among the lists were several CSU alumni and faculty.

Of the 5 Under 40 honorees, three have CSU ties.

Jessica Ferriter earned a master’s degree at CSU in 2016 and has served on the CSU Alumni Association Board of Directors. Currently, she is the human resources director at Southeastern Cardiology Associates, PC. She holds both the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and Associate Certified Coach (ACC) designations, and throughout her career, she has worked in corporate, government and military sectors.

Michelle Folta is an associate professor of choral and general and music education in the Schwob School of Music, as well as coordinator of music education. She also is the artistic director of Voices of the Valley Children’s Chorus. She was previously honored as a Rising Star in 2020 and was named a quarterfinalist for the GRAMMY Music Educator of the Year Award.

Cortney Laughlin Wilson, a two-time CSU grad, received her bachelor and master’s degrees at CSU in 2011 and 2012, respectively. In addition to serving as director of CSU’s William B. Turner Center for Servant Leadership, she has volunteered as past president of the CSU Alumni Association Board of Directors and a previous chair and founder of the Young Alumni Council for the CSU Association. 

Four CSU graduates were singled out as "Rising Stars" in the Chattahoochee Valley. Tacara Hemingway '11 of West Central Georgia Regional Hospital; Troy Jackson '11 of Synovus; Joel Lewis '07 of Joel C. Lewis CPA; and Scott Sullivan '11 of Bridgepath CFO Solutions.

“Members of the Columbus State University family are known for solving real-world problems and discovering unexpected solutions,” Jennifer Joyner, CSU’s executive director of the CSU Alumni Association said. “We’re proud of our CSU Cougars who continue to provide better opportunities for others throughout the Chattahoochee Valley.”

A panel of judges chose the 5 Under 40 and Rising Stars based on their contributions in the areas of family, business, and community service.

Learn more about these programs and “Columbus and the Valley” magazine at