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Highlander The official magazine of Georgia Highlands College

Fall/Winter 2016

In This


Growing together Funding received for new academic building

Couple juggles college and life with five children

Alumna makes dreams come true at Disney World

Table of Contents this issue 3 4 19 23 24 26 28 30 31 32 34 35 36

The Highlander is published twice a year by the Office of Advancement at Georgia Highlands College 3175 Cedartown Highway Rome, GA 30161 • 706-295-6366

Message from the President Campus News Quick Facts Guide to GHC Retiree Update / In Memoriam Campus Feature Faculty Spotlight Administrator Spotlight Student Organization Spotlight Student Spotlight Alumni Spotlight Alumni & Friends Update Foundation Spotlight Charger News

Keep up with Georgia Highlands on social media /GeorgiaHighlandsCollege /GHCAthletics /GHCAlumni /gahighlands

@GaHighlands @GHC_Athletics @ChargerInCharge

Editor and Designer Sheila Jones Photography Jeff Brown, Nick Godfrey, Amy Wise Writer Nick Godfrey Contributor Travice Obas

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ABOUT THE COVER: Every year, GHC’s 487 employees (306 full time and 181 part time) kick off the new academic year with an employee meeting called In-Service. During this time the president and other campus leaders talk about the state of the college and future plans. Achievements and successes are also highlighted with a short awards ceremony. In-Service awards along with all 2016 recognitions will be featured in the spring/summer 2017 issue of the Highlander. Not only is it time for faculty and staff to get together from across GHC’s five locations, but it’s also an opportunity for employees to take modules and classes based on increasing their own skills and learning new ways to boost the student experience at GHC. The cover is the 2016 group shot from In-Service held in Cartersville. Can you spot GHC’s mascot Bolt? Georgia Highlands College is a multi-campus, state college of the University System of Georgia. Founded in 1970 as Floyd Junior College, it now serves more than 6,000 students in Northwest Georgia across five locations in Rome, Cartersville, Marietta, Dallas, and Douglasville. GHC currently offers an associate degree in over 40 areas of study, as well as a Bachelor of Science in nursing for registered nurses and a Bachelor of Science in dental hygiene, and a new Bachelor of Business Administration in healthcare management and in logistics and supply chain management scheduled to begin fall 2017 pending SACSCOC approval. Eleven areas of study are offered fully online.

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Donald J. Green, Ed.D., President The Advancement Office encompasses development, public relations, marketing, digital media, graphic design, and alumni relations. Vice President of Advancement Executive Director of the GHC Foundation Mary Transue Senior Administrative Assistant to the Vice President Cindy Gomez Director of Public Relations & Marketing Sheila Jones Content Coordinator Nick Godfrey Director of Digital Media Services Jeff Brown Digital Media Specialist Justin Sucre Design and Print Services Ken Davis Alumni Development Specialist Alison Lampkin

The cover of this Highlander issue is very important to me. It expresses how much GHC is growing. But notably, it shows how we are growing together. And that’s the key! We have seen consistent enrollment growth for the past several semesters with future projections looking just as good. From a summer enrollment increase of 10 percent to fall’s 4 percent leap, students continue to find GHC a high quality experience and a tremendous value. Online course enrollment is up 21 percent, retention grew 5 percent, and high school dual enrollment rose by 60 percent this semester. This constant growth places new demands on our institution. GHC employees are working in concert to meet these demands. And the communities surrounding GHC’s five locations are also Donald J. Green, Ed.D. GHC President working with us to provide students with a clear pathway to success. Growing is important to GHC’s goal of being the most affordable, high-quality University System of Georgia degree option in Northwest Georgia. But growth without unity is a recipe for failure. And we are glad to have such strong partnerships with our communities and to have a truly connected family-esque commitment between our students and employees at GHC. It’s this togetherness of college and community that will continue to benefit the students and future workforce of Northwest Georgia beyond anything else. There is a lot to look forward to surrounding this growth. Funding has been secured for a new academic laboratory building at our Cartersville site (see page four for the full story). An architectural renewal plan was also created for our Floyd campus along with the accomplishment of renovations to exterior facilities, interior halls and laboratories, and new fiber optic lines and a new telephone system. Plans are in place for renovations and expansions at Paulding, Marietta, and Douglasville, too. To continue building the team we need, I’m also pleased to say this summer we hired 21 new faculty members (see page nine for the full story). Georgia Highlands College continues to expand our influence across Northwest Georgia through growth in enrollment, academic degree programs, student activities, and faculty and staff participation. If you are working with us already— whether it be as a student, employee, volunteer, or donor—thank you so much for all you do. If you want to get involved with GHC, we would love to have you join in the growth, and before you know it, you will join us in saying we #loveGHC. President Green, assisted by Executive Assistant Tammy Nicholson, hosted an exciting game of trivia to kick off the Employee In-Service fall meeting. For more photos, visit Georgia Highlands College on Flickr. | 3

From the President

Growing Together

Legislators approve funding for new academic building in Cartersville According to the University System of Georgia’s “Fall 2015 Semester Enrollment Report,” Georgia Highlands College had the third highest enrollment increase in the state. With this swell in enrollment, GHC pursued funding for the construction of a new academic building with a focus on STEAM-based (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) areas of study at the Cartersville site. GHC was approved for funding for new construction under the fiscal year 2017 state budget approved by the Legislature and signed by Governor Deal. The approved budget provides $17.7 million for a much-needed academic building in Cartersville. GHC President Don Green explained that with this addition, which received design funding in 2013, GHC students will be able to complete almost 15 degree programs without the need to travel to another campus location. Having this option, as well as the close proximity to I-75, Green added, gives students the access they need to complete a college degree, which continues to grow GHC enrollment and continues to foster the need for an afford-

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able, accessible college degree in Northwest Georgia. “The addition of this new academic building will include spaces for laboratories, classrooms, an art studio, study rooms, and more,” he said. “This increases GHC’s ability to directly impact and support the community workforce through STEAM-based degrees, and it allows GHC to better serve as the University System of Georgia’s primary access institution in the region.” The plans for the new academic building include an approximate 52,000 square foot structure situated on one acre. The groundbreaking for the building is expected to be held in spring 2017. “We had an increase in the summer 2015, a 7.1 percent increase in fall 2015, a 6.3 percent increase in the spring 2016, a 10 percent increase in summer 2016, and a 4 percent increase in fall 2016. Being the most accessible and affordable option in the state with career-oriented degree programs is our mission at GHC, and giving our students everything they need to succeed is crucial. This new academic building helps us complete both of those objectives

Quick facts $17.7 million approved project funding from state 52,000 total square footage of building Over $132 million GHC’s regional economic impact Spring 2017 anticipated groundbreaking Fall 2018 anticipated opening Architecture Firm Stanley Beaman & Sears Construction Company Juneau in a time we are seeing so much growth,” Green said. Green added that the building will also contribute to raising GHC’s current $132 million economic impact in Northwest Georgia. GHC is located in five communities across Northwest Georgia in Rome, Cartersville, Marietta, Dallas, and Douglasville. He stated that the building also strengthens and broadens GHC’s ability to maintain a strong relationship with K-12 school systems across Northwest Georgia. Vice President for Advancement Mary Transue stated that GHC received a great deal of support during legislative session, particularly as they became aware of the scope of GHC’s footprint in the northwest region of the state and the incredible return on investment and value GHC provides students. “We would like to especially thank our legislators for all they do to support GHC, the USG, and education in the state,” said Transue, who also serves in GHC’s Government Relations role. “Without their tireless support and dedication, this venture would not have been possible.” Vice President for Academic Affairs Renva Watterson stated this new building will be a great benefit to students at GHC. “GHC is committed to serving students in the communities where they reside, and with this next building, students will be able to experience state-of-the-art facility in an excellent teaching and learning environment,” she said.

Preliminary sketches of the front of building (below) and a science lab (above)are currently being modified and finalized for an anticipated construction launch in spring 2017.

Campus News

Spring enrollment sees GHC economic impact climbs increase over last$132 yearmillion over The University System of Georgia recently released the USG’s total economic impact on the state of Georgia. Of the more than $15 billion reported by the USG as a whole, Georgia Highlands College’s contribution was over $132 million. The USG report is for Fiscal Year 2015 and is conducted by the Selig Center for Economic Growth in the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business. The University System’s economic impact grew $1.3 billion, an increase of 9 percent, from fiscal year 2014 to 2015. Student spending in communities where USG institutions operate was a primary driver in the increase with overall higher student enrollment in the University System creating significant impact. GHC increased its impact by more than $13 million. The economic impact of the USG is a measure of direct and indirect spending that contributes to the regions served by the System’s colleges and universities. Most of the $15.5 billion economic impact consists of initial spending by USG institutions for salaries and fringe benefits, operating expenses and other budgeted expenditures, as well as spending by the students who attended the institutions. Initial spending by USG institutions and students equaled $10.6 billion, or almost 69 percent of the total output impact. The remaining $4.9 billion (31 percent) of

the output impact was created by respending, which is the multiplier effect of the dollars that are spent again in the region. For every dollar of initial spending by a University System institution or its students, research found that, on average, an additional 46 cents was generated for the local economy. “The University System is part of the economic engine of the communities we serve,” said Chancellor Hank Huckaby. “We take the responsibility of positively impacting the economy of the state as seriously as we do educating and graduating our students.” The FY15 study found that the University System generated nearly 150,191 full- and part-time jobs. Approximately 32 percent of these positions are on campus as USG employees and 68 percent are off-campus positions in either the private or public sectors. To calculate the economic impact for FY15, the Selig Center for Economic Growth in the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business analyzed data collected between July 1, 2014, and June 30, 2015. The annual study is conducted on behalf of the Board of Regents by Dr. Jeffrey M. Humphreys, director of the Selig Center. The full study with data for all USG institutions is available at: development/documents/USG_Impact_20152.pdf. Current and past economic impact studies can be found at:

Summer enrollment sees almost 10 percent increase over last year Georgia Highlands College started the summer with another significant jump in enrollment. Those classes came to an end in July with a noticeable increase over last year’s summer semester numbers. “Our current summer enrollment represents a 9.9 percent increase from last summer semester,” GHC Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Jones said. This increase follows a 6.3 percent increase last spring and a 7.1 percent increase last fall. According to the University System of Georgia’s “Fall 2015 Semester Enrollment Report,” GHC had the third highest enrollment Summer – continued on page 7

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Georgia Highlands College is inviting visitors to explore its new website, which was launched the first week of July. The new website has a clean, uncluttered design, improved functionality, and rich content focused on GHC’s mission to provide Northwest Georgia with the most affordable, accessible, and high quality degree options in the state. This newly redesigned website offers quick and easy access to essential information and features for future students, current students, alumni, and the community. The new site has been adapted for mobile viewing on smart phones and tablets, as well. Future students will now have the option to view and explore each area of study GHC has to offer, including information on the area itself, a list of potential career options, a link to a recommended sequence of courses tailored for each specific area (that guides students down a two-year completion track), a link to the specific department and more. Future students can also learn more about GHC within a “future student” hub, where questions like “How do I pay for college?” and “What’s it like to attend?” are quickly and easily answered. And the application process has never been more straightforward or simple. When future students are ready to apply, they are given the option to choose between a number of different student types, including “high school students,” “adult learners,” etc. Each student type has been given a custom page where students only see the information relevant to how they need to apply. From there, future students can easily begin the application process all online. GHC alumni and the community can now explore the most up-to-date news surrounding GHC, as well as peruse a growing number of testimonials from students, alumni, faculty, staff, and friends of the college. A new “Give Today” button has also been added for those who wish to make a donation through the foundation to support the college and our students. Current students no longer have to wonder where the tools they need are located. Everything current students need can be found in a single hub, which allows students to access their email, billing information, D2L accounts and more.

Lauren Burkhalter, Jo Ann Jackson, Jill Freeman, and Lynzee Patrick show off their “Go Mobile” cell phone stress toy used to promote GHC’s new mobile-friendly website.

Short videos have been placed around the site, giving visitors the option to learn more about GHC’s student life, how to enroll, how to stay informed and more. Get stuck? Need help? The new site adds GHC’s responsive customer service ticketing system GHC411 to the bottom of every page and also as a tab at the top. Students and guests can submit to GHC411 24-hours a day and can expect a response within 24-hours. The launch of this new site will be the first phase of many for Georgia Highlands College in transforming its website into a user-friendly, informative, and fun tool for everyone to use. Subsequent phases will continue to add new features and functions to the site to continue this mission.

Summer – continued from page 6

increase in the state last year. President Don Green stated the value of a GHC education is one of the driving factors for GHC’s continual enrollment increases. “GHC remains the most affordable, accessible and valuable USG option in Northwest Georgia,” he said, “and our enrollment increases prove that. I’m glad we offer our students the same classes as larger institutions at half the price with a full associate degree for less than $8,000—one of the many reasons GHC was acknowledged as the best return on investment for state colleges in Georgia.” | 7

Campus News

New GHC website live with new features, functions, and mobile capability

Campus News

Special education online bachelor of science transfer option with UGA Georgia Highlands College students now have the opportunity to transfer into an online completion program provided by the University of Georgia’s College of Education. According to UGA’s Amber Atkinson, the program coordinator, the online Bachelor of Science in Special Education from UGA is “the only online B.S.Ed. in the Southeast.” It is a unique opportunity for those who seek a degree and certification to teach Special Education General Curriculum for preschool through 12th grade students with mild disabilities, she explained. The program is designed for transfer students with associate degrees as well as career-changers looking to enter the high-need field of special education. “GHC already has an online associate degree option with a transfer pathway in education, particularly middle grades education. The online components of that program are excellent preparation for the work in the online B.S. Ed. from UGA,” GHC Dean of eLearning Diane Langston said. “In addition, students attending face-to-face can opt to take some online courses at GHC as part of their transfer pathways in education to prepare for this online completion program. The following education courses are required: EDUC 2110, 2120, and 2130, and are all part of the education pathway.” GHC Associate Professor of Education Sherry Green said she is glad there is renewed interest in offering more for students who wish to pursue a focus in special education. “For many years, special education has been a critical shortage field in education,” she said. “While the state legislature has more recently provided stipends for educators who teach in STEM areas,

special education has not benefited from such support. Special education has lagged behind STEM areas. In Georgia, colleges and universities that boasted of special education degree programs in the 80s and 90s began to transition their programs to the federally mandated and state advocated inclusion model and many programs were phased out and replaced with different models.” Green went on, “GHC’s collaboration with UGA will expand four-year program options for our students and ultimately increase the pool of special educators available to teach our special population of K-12 students in the state of Georgia.” In order to be accepted into the program, students must complete their associate degree with GHC, have a 3.0 GPA or higher, and have a passing score on the GACE. The fully online program at UGA prepares students to apply for initial T-4 certification to teach General Curriculum Special Education in Georgia. “We are grateful for the confidence that the University of Georgia has shown in GHC’s two-year education programs and elated that they chose us for collaboration on this initiative,” said Green, who retired as a Special Education Administrator with the Cherokee County School System before joining GHC. “I believe this partnership is a testament to the quality of our education programs, and the willingness of our faculty and administration to eliminate barriers our students experience and provide possibilities so that they can succeed in achieving their dreams.” For more information about starting your journey toward this degree, please visit To learn more about this program, please visit

Veterans Benefits Fair Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA-14) - shown left talking with a constituent - held a Veterans Benefits Fair for veterans living in the 14th Congressional District at GHC’s Heritage Hall. The fair featured representatives from several divisions of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), including Compensation and Pension, Education, Loan Guaranty, Vocational Rehabilitation, VA Medical Center, and National Cemetery. The fair also featured veterans representatives from the Georgia Department of Labor and the Georgia Department of Drivers Services.

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Twenty-one new full-time faculty from varying educational experiences and backgrounds joined Georgia Highlands College this fall semester. “GHC has such a wonderful, diverse faculty, who are focused on our students and their goals, and we are very excited to add even more talented educators to our dynamic teaching force,” GHC President Don Green said. “Our faculty works hard to make education relevant and accessible to all our students. We are excited to continue growing our faculty with that aim.” New full-time faculty include: Tracy Kight earned her mathematics education master’s degree from Nova Southeastern University. She joins GHC as an instructor of mathematics. William Avery is a graduate of Jacksonville State University where he earned his master’s degree in English. He is an alumnus of the college and now joins GHC as an instructor of English. Banhi Nandi joins GHC as an instructor of biology. She received her master’s degree in zoology from Kalyani University in India. GHC alumna Kristin Baumann is working to complete her master’s degree in public health management at Augusta University. She is an instructor of dental hygiene. Jason Christian holds a master’s in biology from the University of Central Arkansas. He was formerly a GHC lab coordinator and now serves as an instructor of biology. Mackleen Desravines is an instructor of English. Mackleen holds two master’s degrees: a master’s in business administration from Argosy University and a master’s in professional writing from Kennesaw State University. Randy Green, formerly a part-time GHC instructor, is now an assistant professor of political science and criminal justice. He holds a Master Degree in Public Administration from Jacksonville State

University. David Hensley holds a PhD in history from Pennsylvania State University. He is an assistant professor of history. Carol Hoban earned her Doctorate of Philosophy in Biology from Georgia State University with a focus on Cellular Molecular Biology and Physiology. She is an assistant professor of biology. Jonathan Howard joins GHC as an instructor of physical education. He received his Master of Science in Applied Exercise and Health Science from Kennesaw State University. Jeremiah Kastine has his Master of Science in Mathematics from Georgia State University. He joins GHC as an instructor of mathematics. Sheila Kaylor is an assistant professor of nursing education. She earned her Doctor of Education from Lindenwood University. Erin Kingston joins GHC as an instructor of chemistry. She holds a Master of Science from Northeastern University. Juliet Kozee is an instructor of English. She received Faculty – continued on

page 15

New full-time Instructor of Biology Jason Christian conducts a demonstration with dry ice. Jason previously served as lab coordinator at the Floyd Campus.

School Garden Teacher Training GHC hosted the UGA Extension's 2016 School Garden Teacher Training program on the Cartersville site. Over 30 local teachers participated. UGA extension staff and GHC faculty/staff also took part. Teachers learned through hands-on workshops how to start a school garden. Topics covered included healthy soil; planting for the school calendar; basic pest management; food safety in the school garden; and lesson plans using the garden. | 9

Campus News

New full-time faculty members added

Campus News

GHC Graduates Over 600 students Georgia Highlands College held its 2016 graduation in May and saw approximately 642 students receive their diploma. The graduation procession was led by 2016 Mace Bearer Dr. Harvey Moody. Former President/CEO of Harbin Clinic Dr. J. Paul Ferguson gave the commencement address, and Regent E. Scott Smith brought greetings from the Board of Regents. SGA President Holly Chaney (below) gave remarks on behalf of the Student Government Association. Special recognition during the ceremony included Marjorie Frazier as the recipient of the Wesley C. Walraven Faculty Award.

SGA President Holly Chaney addresses fellow students during GHC graduation.

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Watjen selected as new campus dean Connie Watjen has been selected as Georgia Highlands College’s new campus dean of Paulding and Douglasville sites. Watjen holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Georgia State University and a Master of Arts in Professional Writing from Kennesaw State University. Before joining GHC in 2008, Watjen worked for AT&T, Coca-Cola, and as an entrepreneur and freelance writer. She moved from a part-time GHC instructor of English to a full-time instructor of English in 2009, and in the following year progressed to an instructor of Learning Support English. In 2016, she became assistant professor of Learning Support English, which she held until her recent appointment as campus dean in May. As a learning support instructor at GHC, she assisted in the redesign of GHC’s developmental English class (English 0099), the design of GHC’s co-requisite English course (English 0999), and the design of GHC’s developmental course that combines reading and writing (English 0989). Watjen is originally from Gainesville. She said she was working as a freelance writer when she received an email stating GHC was seeking new English instructors. “Within weeks of teaching English for the first time, I realized I had found my true calling,” she said. Watjen stated that she has fallen in love with GHC. “The opportunity to work with people who are as excited as I am about the opportunity to change lives is what I love most about GHC,” she said. “I once heard a presenter say that those of us who work in higher education are really in the ‘hope’ business. We offer hope to students from all walks of life.” Watjen explained helping students succeed is something she is looking forward to continuing on a larger scale as campus dean. “My goal as campus dean is to be that gentle nudge so many of our students need to persist, despite life’s constant demands and challenges. The nudge is gentle because it takes place in an environment of trust where every student knows we have their best interest at heart,” she said. “It’s a nudge because our goal is to help students realize their own potential and become self-reliant, not to do everything for them. By providing students with outstanding support, resources, guidance and instruction, we ensure that a student’s first step inside our doors is the first step on the pathway to success.” GHC President Don Green stated he was happy with the new campus dean selection. “Connie provides us with a strong background in instruction, due to her years of experience on faculty here at GHC, and a great background in entrepreneurship, marketing and promotion from her time as a business owner,” he said.

Say so long to those expensive textbooks, says For Fall 2015, GHC was able to save students Georgia Highlands College. $487,170.50 in textbook costs. Almost half a million dollars’ Vice President for worth of student savings was yielded Academic Affairs Renva Almost half a for fall 2015 with GHC’s introducWatterson stated it is imperative million dollars’ that students have access to these tion of Open Educational Resources free OER textbook alternatives. (OER). GHC recently joined the worth of student “Nearly 70 percent of stuUniversity System of Georgia’s savings was yielded Affordable Learning Georgia (ALG) dents don’t buy textbooks,” she initiative which promotes student said. “There are many reasons for Fall 2015. success by providing alternatives to for this, but one fundamental expensive textbooks. reason is they can’t afford them. When you have The new OERs don’t just provide free textstudents sitting in class and they don’t have a text, which is the fundamental learning tool, then you books either. Students also get video resources, put students at further risk of academic disaster.” software, labs, and an enhanced textbook experience with hyperlinks to many other resources. OER – continued on page 23

Scenes from New Student Orientation Each semester, new students participate in an orientation program as the official beginning to their GHC academic career. This fall, over 1,500 students went through various processes (shown below) at their respective locations including a welcome from GHC President Don Green, registering their vehicle, receiving a parking decal, meeting GHC’s student orientation leaders, and registering for classes with their advisor. | 11

Campus News

Battling the costs of expensive textbooks with Open Educational Resources

Campus News

Cultivating Leaders By Travice Baldwin Obas

In order to cultivate the next generation of leaders at Georgia Highlands College, President Don Green created a leadership program specifically designed to provide a platform for faculty and staff to collaborate with the President in the development of a shared vision for the institution. Several have volunteered Inaugural Leadership Cohort Members (L to R): Back row: President to take part in the program with Don Green, Associate Professor of Business Annette Maddox, interest in a long-term career Associate Professor of History & Study Abroad Director Bronson Long, goal and a desire to be promoted Interim Dean of Health Sciences Michelle Boyce, Bursar Stephanie to higher levels of leadership at Loveless, Building Maintenance Supervisor Jonathan Twilley. Front row: Professor of Communication Travice Baldwin Obas, Student GHC in the future. Success and Academic Counselor Dorothy Morgan, Enrollment In a effort to discover GHC Specialist and NOW Coordinator Maria Lauro, Director of Public faculty and staff dedicated to Relations and Marketing Sheila Jones, Director of Academic Success building and developing their Center Jennifer Hicks, Student Life Coordinator Abraham Ortiz. Not leadership skills and talent, inter- pictured: Director of Information Security/Network Chris Pelfrey.                                    ested applicants were required institution.” to have at least one year of employment at GHC Director of the Academic Success Center and the consent of his/her immediate supervisor. In Jennifer Hicks added, “Each session addressed addition, each applicant submitted a half page sumimportant leadership concepts that leaders face on mary indicating how the leadership program would a daily basis: personal leadership styles, personality benefit them, and a half page summary indicating and behaviors, organizational structures, strategic short term/long term professional goals. The highly planning, and execution. The relevant content has competitive leadership program, designated for 12 provided focus on personal leadership capabilities faculty or staff members, was evaluated and hand and helped provide clarity of the many obstacles a selected by President Green under the recommenleader contends with in order to implement institudation of vice presidents, deans, department chairs tional change.” and department supervisors. Student Life Coordinator Abraham Ortiz added, Over the one-year long leadership development “Success is a journey in which one strives to excel, program, sessions included the following topics of and this leadership program is professionally helpdiscussion: vision and strategy, organizational effiing me accomplish my goals. The experiences ciencies, MBTI personality styles, innovation and gained in the program have been vital and will strategic initiatives, future of higher education, and greatly aid each of us in becoming well-rounded functions of GHC divisions. leaders as we pursue future endeavors at Georgia Associate Professor of Business Annette Highlands College. In addition, insight has been Maddox commented, “The Georgia Highlands gained by a more comprehensive view of higher College Presidential Leadership Development education which helps us to better serve our stuprogram has served to be a unique learning atmodents and the surrounding community” sphere. The experiences provided in this environ Since the completion of this leadership cohort, ment have helped facilitate meaningful perspectives two new cohorts have been formed with plans to and conversations regarding areas where we excel continue more each year. and presented opportunities for growth within the

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One in five students went hungry in the last as personal items. month, and one in 10 students has been homeless, “It helps students who have fallen on hard according to a recent national collegiate study. GHC times,” she said. “They can stop by and collect up to is working to combat this nationwide problem with 12 items once a week with no questions asked.” its own Charger Food Pantry. Since the pantry began Wheelus said students are given a bag after operation in March, over 170 bags of food have been checking in with their GHC ID each visit, and since distributed to students in need at all of GHC’s locathe food and toiletries are provided through donations. tions, there is no cost to student. “The problem of food insecurity is increasCollection bins for pantry donations are located ingly on the radar of many college administrators,” around all of GHC’s locations. GHC has also GHC Director of Student Support Services Angela joined forces with Action Ministries, a food disWheelus said. tribution center “Students are for Northwest sometimes findGeorgia, to keep ing it difficult the pantry fully to focus or even stocked. stay in class, so At this time, if we can remove Wheelus stated, one of those barthe pantry is only riers by providlocated on the ing access to Rome campus, food, then that’s but, she added, a what we need limited number of to do here at emergency preGHC. Many of packaged food our students are items are availnon-traditional, able to students at supporting famiGHC’s remaining lies and working locations in their full-time while respective Student attending college. Support offices. Food insecurity “Our long Recently elected SGA President Lucas Lester (left) and Damaris Wilson (right) organize and stock the pantry at the Floyd Campus. Lester cuts across all term goal is to and Wilson are student volunteers for the SSS office and are very demographics. have a Charger instrumental in the success of this project. That’s where Food Pantry on GHC’s Charger Food Pantry comes in.” every GHC location by March 2017,” Wheelus said. The pantry was officially opened in March on Should you wish to donate to GHC’s Charger the Rome campus in the Student Support Services Food Pantry, please make monetary donations at any office. GHC business office in Rome, Cartersville, Marietta, Wheelus explained that the pantry is stocked Paulding, or Douglasville. To make non-perishable with staple items like peanut butter, tuna, spaghetti food donations, please contact Student Support sauce, and other non-perishable food items, as well Services at:

Gardner Institute Partnership Ten University System of Georgia (USG) institutions recently launched an effort with The John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education (JNGI) three-year Gateway to Completion (G2C) process to improve teaching and learning in “gateway” courses. Freshman and sophomore year courses

and/or developmental-level “gateway” courses include accounting, biology, chemistry, history, math, psychology and writing/English. Success in these courses can be a direct predictor of student progression and completion. GHC is one of the 10 participating institutions. | 13

Campus News

Food pantry helps students in need

Campus News

GHTV continues to serve the community one program at a time Jeff Brown rolls down a white background in GHTV’s studio at Georgia Highlands College’s Heritage Hall location in Rome. He is the director of digital media services at GHC. Assistant Professor of History Steve Blankenship sits down in front of the white background. Jeff clicks the large studio lights on and adjusts their height to give Blankenship the best possible lighting. They’re discussing the length of Blankenship’s lecture. Should it be shorter? Should it be longer? What’s the best length to keep a captive audience these days? Brown centers the camera on Blankenship. They’re going to shoot for a 15-minute lecture on Western Civilization. When completed, this lecture will become a part of an eLearning course and will also be used as programming on GHTV, the college’s television station. GHTV can be seen in the Greater Rome area on Comcast channel 4 and throughout the state on AT&T Uverse on channel 99. “Years ago when cable companies were seeking franchises with local municipalities, the companies had to provide a local channel that could be used for locally produced programming,” Brown said. “GHTV has evolved from that original concept. Per the franchise agreements, both Comcast and AT&T Uverse position GHTV on a subscription tier that is accessible to all subscribers.” Brown noted that although the college provides the programming and operating power required for GHTV’s operation, GHC’s Digital Media Services

is focused on the development of content focused on GHC’s marketing, recruitment, and retention mission and needs. He stated that the GHTV channel is considered an “EG” channel. “We’re educational and governmental,” he said. “We will air programming that is anything educationally based, such as for colleges, school systems, and so forth. Our focus for many years has been to air classes, which provides a great benefit to the viewership. Viewers can tune in to watch a college professor give a lecture and hopefully learn from it—it’s like a continuing education course at no cost.” Recently, GHTV partnered with WRGA to host and air several local debates for contested races. Those shows have been aired on the channel and can also be viewed on YouTube at: GHConlineTV The station, which was started over 20 years ago, continues to provide a schedule of shows that are community-focused, like the recent local debates. “Currently, we are airing board of education meetings for city and county schools; we air the Rome City and Floyd County Commission meetings; classes and courses at GHC, ranging from art appreciation to Introductory Spanish to business courses; and pre-produced educational programs. We try to make the schedule as diverse as we can.” Brown added that the station also produces two original programs hosted by GHC faculty, both of which allows the public to promote and talk about things happening in the community.

Area law enforcement attend training Georgia Highlands College’s Student Support Services and Campus Police Chief David Horace hosted a training called “Introduction to Behavioral Health and Addictive Disease” for local law enforcement personnel, including campus police, police officers, hospital security, and more. Law enforcement officers who successfully completed the course will have a better understanding of mental illness, developmental disabilities such as autism and addictive diseases. They will also be able to identify available community resources, and get an historical overview of national and state mental health laws. Additionally, 8-hours of P.O.S.T. (Peace Officer Standards and Training) credit was available to all who successfully completed the course.

14 | Fall/Winter 2016

Campus News

The first show, “Community Watch,” is hosted by GHC Humanities Dean Jon Hershey and GHC alumnus Greg Shropshire. The show focuses on community-related events, happenings, performances, opportunities, new businesses, etc. The second show is called “Coffee Break” and is hosted by GHC Professor of Humanities and Sociology Susan Claxton. Her show dives into awareness issues, like heart health, and gives viewers the chance to learn more about the given topic with a special guest who is an expert in that field. “Currently in this area, this station is the only avenue people have for local information that is video based,” Brown said. “A lot of our guests that come in to do some of our shows recognize that. We do have the potential to reach a lot of people.” Digital Media Specialist Justin Sucre is the other half of the Digital Media team responsible for GHTV. In addition to creating, editing, and generating 3D animations for the station, Sucre is also responsible for scheduling and programming for the channel, as well as producing each video. And even though they are a small team, Brown said he still enjoys the whole production process. “It’s nice at the end when you see what you envisioned as a concept become a reality. You draw it out on paper, it grows, you build it, and at some point you start blocking out camera shots, realize how that’s going to work, and then you have to determine how lighting is going to come into play. And then at the end of day when it’s all recorded, you can say that started as a thought and now it’s a full production,” he said. GHTV currently airs on Comcast channel 4 and on AT&T U-verse on channel 99. For a full schedule of show times, please visit:

Director of Digital Media Jeff Brown sets the studio lighting and prepares to videotape Associate Professor Steve Blankenship.

Faculty – continued from page 9

her master’s in English from Northwestern State University. Mohan Naidu received his master’s in computer science from SouthWest Texas State University. He joins GHC as an instructor of computer science. Kimberly Subacz holds a Master of Science in Wildlife Science from Auburn University. She is an instructor of biology. Willie Todd has his PhD in English from Georgia State University. He also holds two master’s degrees in education: one in secondary English education from Albany State University and one in student affairs from Regent University. He is an assistant professor of English. Giselle Tucker is an assistant professor of political science who is working toward her PhD in political science at Georgia State University. She currently

holds a Master of Public Policy Administration from Jacksonville State University. Shea Walker is a licensed registered nurse. Her license is granted by the Georgia Board of Nursing and the Pennsylvania Board of Nursing. She also holds a Master of Science in Nursing Education from Pennsylvania State University. She is an instructor of nursing education. Jayme Wheeler is an instructor of mathematics. She earned her master’s in teaching secondary mathematics from Kennesaw State University. Misty Wright is a registered nurse in Georgia and holds a Master of Science in Nursing from the University of West Georgia. She has worked as a staff nurse in several locations, including WellStar Towne Lake Urgent Care in Woodstock. She joins GHC as an instructor of nursing education.he Criminal Justice/ | 15

Campus News

GHC students can now participate in KSU degree program at Paulding site Georgia Highlands College students will now have a viable option to earn a bachelor’s degree from Kennesaw State University. GHC students can now participate in KSU’s “2+2” degree program at the Paulding site in Dallas. The “2+2” Integrative Studies program, beginning in Fall 2016, will provide students in general studies a new bachelor’s pathway. Students who elect to begin the “2+2” program in Integrative Studies may select from two tracks: General Studies or Specialized Studies. The General Studies track, requires a transfer GPA of 2.0. The Specialized Studies track, which requires a transfer GPA of 2.5, will allow students to select an emphasis in criminal justice or an emphasis in psy-

chology, while also providing the possibility of earning a Leadership Studies Academic Certificate. Both tracks have extensive internships to begin the networking process for future employment. The “2+2” Integrative Studies is a strong academic program for students who wish to enter the workplace with a variety of options available to them. The “2+2” program, a partnership between Kennesaw State and Georgia Highlands College, allows students with associate degrees to continue for two years at the KSU Paulding site to earn their bachelor’s degrees. For further information on the “2+2” Integrative Studies program, contact Anita VanBrackle or Dalton Lemelle, KSU Paulding site, at 678-946-1099.

GHC hosts summer STEM academy Georgia Highlands College, in collaboration with Bartow County Schools, hosted a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) summer camp for rising ninth grade students in the local school system in June. The camp was held on the GHC Cartersville site and the Bartow County College and Career Academy. Students came from South Central, Woodland, and Cass middle schools. Students learned about robotics, infectious diseases, and environmental issues, as well as participated in activities that highlight the many STEM careers available in our community.

The students spent the first two days at Bartow County College and Career Academy and the last three days on the GHC Cartersville site. The students took at least one field trip each day. The companies they visited included Gerdau, Voelstalpine, Georgia Power, Phoenix Air, Tellus Science Museum, and the Paris Lake Wetlands Experience at the GHC Floyd campus. “Georgia Highlands College, along with our education, civic and corporate partners is committed to providing students in our community with the opportunity to discover STEM careers through programs like this one,” said Greg Ford, GHC academic dean of Natural Science and Physical Education. “Getting students immersed in a STEM environment early can increase student interest in STEM and send them on a path to become a part of a well-trained 21st century work force.”

Students attend Career Fair GHC students and alumni had the opportunity to meet with businesses from all over Northwest Georgia during a Career Fair held during spring semester at the Floyd campus. It was a great chance for some to start thinking about the right career path for them.

16 | Fall/Winter 2016

Fifty-two students, faculty, staff, and guests took part in the college’s 31st annual trip to the Alabama Shakespeare Festival in Montgomery this year. The group saw an excellent production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” on the Festival Stage and an outstanding version of “Driving Miss Daisy” on the Octagon Stage. All three actors came out for the Stage Side Chat following “Driving Miss Daisy,” and their insights were very interesting. A tour of the Civil Rights Memorial Center and a visit to the National Civil Rights Memorial provided good preparation for seeing “Driving Miss

Daisy,” and many in the group chose to add their names to those on the digital Wall of Tolerance in the Memorial Center. Despite some stormy weather during part of the bus ride home, the trip participants stayed dry at all, and enjoyed lunch on the ASF lawn and explored the Shakespeare Garden and the rest of the park. The annual trip is sponsored by the Humanities Division and the Office of Student Life. This year’s trip coordinators were Kristie Kemper and Frank Minor, from Humanities, and John Spranza and Abraham Ortiz, from Student Life.

Campus News

Annual Alabama Shakespeare Festival

11th annual Foundation Camp for boys The 11th annual Foundation Camp for boys between the ages of 10 and 14 was presented through a partnership between the 100 Black Men of Rome-Northwest Georgia and Georgia Highlands College. The two-week camp is offered at no cost to participants due to the generosity of donors and the GHC Foundation. Foundation Camp is one of several partnerships between the 100 Black Men of Rome-Northwest Georgia and Georgia Highlands College. It focuses on academics, athletics, and enrichment courses intended to build self-respect and confidence, and to allow the young men to experience college.

Campers enjoy canoeing and kayaking on Paris Lake in addition to numerous other outdoor activities.

Greg Shropshire, Dr. Jon Hershey, and David Mathis (pictured left) organize and lead the camp each year. | 17

Campus News

3rd Annual Veterans and Military Family Fun Day held at GHC Last year, almost 300 people and nearly 30 vendors attended the annual Veterans and Military Family Fun Day at Georgia Highlands College. To highlight its 3rd consecutive year, the event featured for the first time ever a 20-piece military band. Best of all? The event was completely free and open to the public. Each year, April is recognized as the month of the military child, which dates back to 1986. In honor of this time of year, GHC held its annual Veterans and Military Family Fun Day event on the Floyd campus in April. The event was a partnership between GHC, Student Veterans of America, the GA Army National Guard Family Assistance Specialist, and Month of the Military Child celebration. “We are very grateful for the many generous donors in our community that provide us with supplies, volunteers, and services to help us keep this event completely free for our local military families,” event organizer Amy Wise said. Wise, who also serves as GHC’s veterans affairs coordinator, stated that military service, especially deployments, affects the whole family, and events like this are a perfect opportunity to show veterans and military students and their families as much support as possible. The event included free food, door prizes, bingo, a bounce house, music, and much more. “This is a fun, free opportunity for our military students and local veterans to bring their families on campus. It is also an opportunity for GHC faculty, staff and students to bring their families out and show support to our military students and local veterans,” she said.

September 11th tribute

The Student Veterans Association displayed 2,977 American flags in the courtyard at the Cartersville site in memory of the 2,977 lives lost on September 11, 2001. The flags were placed by students and volunteers.

18 | Fall/Winter 2016

GeorGia HiGHlands ColleGe

quick facts guide



21:1 Student to

Fall 2016 Enrollment


22.4 Average




Teacher Ratio




Class Size

OVER $132





















in textbooks costs*




*2015-16 academic year



Career Options Dental Hygiene (RDH) Human Services Nursing (ASN) Bachelor of Science Dental Hygiene* (RDH to BSDH Completion) Nursing* (RN to BSN Completion) “Georgia Highlands is more than a college. It’s a community. My experience at GHC has been both the most difficult and rewarding experience of my life. You never know what you’re capable of until you’re pushed to your full potential. GHC has helped me reach the highest degree of personal success.” Jenny Quan

GIVE TODAY Give today to the Georgia Highlands College Foundation and your tax deducible gift, no matter the size, will change lives.

Executive Leadership President Dr. Donald J. Green Special Assistant to the President Dr. Cathy Ledbetter Vice President Finance & Administration Jeff Davis Vice President Academic Affairs Dr. Renva Watterson

Vice President Student Affairs Dr. Todd Jones Vice President Information Technology Jeff Patty Vice President Human Resources Virginia Siler Vice President Advancement/ Executive Director GHC Foundation, Inc. Mary Transue


Mascot = BOLT

Bachelor of Business Administration Healthcare Management (pending SACSCOC approval)

Logistics and Supply Chain Management (pending SACSCOC approval)

*indicates areas also offered 100% online


Associate of Arts Pathways Art Communication Criminal Justice* English* Foreign Language* History* Journalism Music Music Business Philosophy Political Science* Psychology Sociology

Chemistry Computer Information Systems Computer Science Economics* General Studies* Geology Health Information Management Mathematics Medical Technology Occupational Therapy Physician’s Assistant Physics Pre-Engineering Pre-Pharmacy Pre-Physical Therapy Respiratory Therapy Teacher Education Teacher Ed. - Middle Grades*

Associate of Science Pathways Agriculture Biology Business Administration*

Fall Semester Enrollment August 1

Spring Semester Enrollment December 1

Summer Semester Enrollment May 1

*Steps to apply must be completed by these dates.

CHARGERS =CHAMPIONS GHC is a Division I member of Region 17 of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA), and the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association (GCAA). A tradition of success has been established as evidenced by our national rankings, national academic awards, and our winning records. MEN’S BASKETBALL WOMEN’S BASKETBALL SOFTBALL BASEBALL


quick facts guide to GHC

Areas of Study

Creating opportunities for student engagement outside the classroom aids in retention and creates memorable connections. GHC’s student organizations develop leadership, philanthropy, and decision-making skills as students are exposed to diverse experiences and issues. In addition to over 45 student organizations and numerous weekly activities, GHC offers intramural sports at the Floyd and Cartersville locations that promote health, sportsmanship, teambuilding skills, and memories that last a lifetime.

over 45

Did You Know? • GHC was named “best return on investment” for a two-year college in the state of Georgia by a 2015 federal reports.





• GHC ranked 2nd in “Top Five Best State Colleges” in Georgia by • Value of a GHC degree - less than $8,000 for a two-year degree from GHC • Students take the same classes their first two years at GHC that they would at other four-year institutions for half the cost. • Students who complete their associate degree are 72% more successful in completing their bachelor’s degree. • GHC has one of the highest retention rates in the state for colleges in our sector. • Our graduates have gone on to be successful at Columbia, Loyola, UGA, Georgia Tech, Medical College of Georgia, KSU, and others. • Our Brother 2 Brother chapter was named National Chapter of the Year three times.


• Six Mile Post received several first place awards from the Georgia College Press Assc. in 2016.


• Strong Move On When Ready (joint enrollment) program with local high schools



• Collaborating with local industry to create new career-oriented bachelor’s degree programs • Exceptional summer camps, including Camp Invention, STEM Academy, and Foundation Camp

Helping Students Succeed In addition to caring faculty and staff, GHC strives to help students every step of the way by offering numerous free resources.

• Student Success Coaches • Personalized Advisement • Computer Labs • Counseling Support • Disability Assistance • Career Counseling

• Tutoring • Libraries • Private Study Areas • Public Study Areas • Charger Food Pantry • Career Clothes Closet

STUDY ABROAD & EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING The Georgia Highlands College and USG study abroad programs give students the opportunity to travel to another country and take courses linked to the trip. Experiential learning trips within the United States are also offered in courses like geology and physical education. These programs offer a unique learning experience that brings students into contact with different places and cultures. Students who participate in these programs frequently report that it was the most valuable thing they did as a college student.

“Being a transfer student-athlete, I was skeptical about coming into a new school. At my orientation, I knew right away that I was not just a number at GHC. The orientation leaders were awesome! I decided that I wanted to be one for the upcoming semester. I could not be more pleased with the time I spent working with GHC Student life. Showing new students how easy it is to get acclimated at GHC brought a smile to my face.

quick facts guide to GHC


Smaller classes and teachers who genuinely care about you are what put students like me in the position to be successful. All of my teachers went out of their way to help me keep up with material I missed while away at athletic commitments. GHC has helped me be successful and achieve by goals.” Tony Flores For more testimonials visit

3D Printing & Drones GHC libraries in Rome, Cartersville, Dallas, and Douglasville are open to the public and offer several great amenities including free use of the 3D printer/scanner and remote control drones. To learn more or to reserve a time to use the 3D printer/scanner, visit

GeorGia HiGHlands ColleGe

quick facts guide

Find us on Social Media


About GHC

Wondering why over 6,000 students across Northwest Georgia are calling Georgia Highlands College home? Compared to other colleges, you won’t find a better education with a better value anywhere. GHC is one of only two colleges in Georgia listed in a 2015 national database as the “best value” and “best return on investment” in the state. Students at GHC can complete an associate degree for less than $8,000. That’s half the cost for the same courses students take at other colleges and universities across the country. From registration to degree completion, it is GHC’s goal to help students every step of the way. Even at half the cost of most colleges and universities nationwide, GHC offers over 40 areas of study, including associate, bachelor’s, and online degree options. Founded in 1970 as Floyd Junior College, Georgia Highlands College is a multi-campus, state college of the University System of Georgia and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Conveniently Located FLOYD CAMPUS 3175 Cedartown Hwy. Rome, GA 706.802.5000 PAULDING SITE 25 Courthouse Square Dallas, GA 678.946.1100

CARTERSVILLE SITE 5441 Highway 20, NE Cartersville, GA 678.872.8000

DOUGLASVILLE SITE 5901 Stewart Parkway Douglasville, GA 30135 678.872.4200 MARIETTA SITE 1100 S. Marietta Pkwy. Marietta, GA 678.872.8562















GEORGIA Affirmative Action / Equal Employment and Educational Opportunity Institution

OER – continued from page 11

The average textbook cost for each class is between $200 and $300. “We are saving our students a lot of money,” Watterson added. “We are here to educate, and we want to know all the ways we can best keep money in our students’ pockets, so they can continue to go to school and complete.” Watterson stated that the GHC faculty are the real champions of this program, as they have been hard at work implementing OER in their courses. Director of Faculty Academy and Senior Instructional Designer Jesse Bishop said many faculty members remember what it was like to spend a ton of money on textbooks while attending college. “Our faculty has worked really hard to implement OER. It’s not easy work either,” Bishop said. “Some folks think you pick a textbook out of OER and you have it, but it’s a complete course redesign to match the OER textbook. It’s a process.” Bishop said that hasn’t kept the faculty from working hard to make sure OER becomes a staple for courses at GHC. “There’s this feeling when students walk into a classroom and see that there’s a $300 textbook they can’t afford that makes that knowledge seem reserved for a certain class of people,” he said. “OER textbooks say this is for everyone—and it’s no longer hidden behind a paywall.” Dean of Natural Sciences and Physical Education Greg Ford stated that his department has become really excited with the new OER program, noting the particularly high quality of the peer-reviewed OER sources. “We expanded OER into each of our areas,” he said. “Our faculty is working diligently to redesign as many of our courses as possible for OER. By 2017-2018, 90 percent of our science courses will be OER.” Since OER is open to anyone for free, students, potential students or even the public can view these resources at any time. OER textbooks can be downloaded to any smart device, phone, or tablet. GHC plans to continue to offer OERs and expand into as many areas and courses as possible moving forward.

Retiree Update

GHC congratulates the following employees who retired during 2016. Thank you for your years of service and dedication to our students, our college, and our mission.

2016 Faculty/Staff Retirees Betty Nolen Professor, 32 years 3 months

Mary Ann Steiner Senior Admin. Assistant 10 years 1 month

William (Bill) Vinson Librarian, 17 years

Harvey Moody Professor, 20 years 11 months

Joannie Yarbrough Executive Assistant to the President, 21 years 8 months Beverly Fleming Customer Service, 10 years Glenda Law Admin. Assistant II, 16 years Theresa Kellett Admin. Assistant II, 10 years 6 months Karen Ingle Accts Payable Coordinator 17 years 1 month

Johnny Duke Professor, 17 years 11 months Marjorie Frazier Professor, 14 years Robert (Bob) Pilenak Campus Safety Officer, 10 years 7 months Nancy Swafford Custodian, 17 years 10 months

In Memoriam ALUMNI

David Allan Holland, April 2, 2016 Sharon LaVaughn Smith, May 3, 2016 Saralee Duncan Roper, May 7, 2016 Jennie Walker, September 16, 2016 RETIREES DANA Davis Zieman, April 25, 2016 Judy Sims, July 26, 2016 Ron Johnson, September 11, 2016| |23 23

Campus Feature

A college campus through a different eye Edible plants and ingredients foraged at GHC

At first glance, all you see are trees and bushes, a lake, some brush and all the animals and bugs stirring about, but if you look a little deeper, Floyd Campus comes alive in a different way. Through a forager’s eye, there is a cornucopia of fruits, berries, nuts, and other edible plants. See related story on page 23. Here are just a few you might see blooming early fall: Crabapple – “There are few plants that create greater intrigue or visual impact during all four seasons than the flowering crabapple. In the spring all eyes are enticed with delicate colors offered by emerging leaves and buds. Apples and crabapples are in the rose family, Rosaceae, in the genus Malus. Crabapples are differentiated from apples based on fruit size. If fruit is two inches in diameter or less, it is termed a crabapple. If the fruit is larger than two inches, it is classified as an apple.” ( Chestnut – “The majestic American chestnut tree was once common throughout the forests of eastern North America, providing sweet, meaty chestnuts for humans and wildlife. A fungus first noted in the United States in 1904 quickly wiped out this native species, but fortunately we can still grow our own chestnuts today because the American chestnut’s Chinese cousin is resistant to the blight that devastated the American species. Chestnuts are unique among nuts in that their nutmeat is high in carbohydrates rather than oil. The nuts are somewhat bland at harvest, but after a few days in the refrigerator, some of the starches change to flavorful sugars.” (motherearthnews. com)

Kudzu – “Originally brought to the US from Japan in 1876 to be used as forage food for livestock and to help reduce soil erosion, the plant took a real liking to the warm, humid Southeastern climate and got out of control. There are urban myths about how people have returned from vacations to find their homes and cars covered with kudzu. It does have pretty aggressive growth in the summer, with some reports of it growing a foot a day. The leaves, vine tips, flowers, and roots are edible; the vines are not. The leaves can be used like spinach and eaten raw, chopped up and baked in quiches, cooked like collards, or deep fried. Young kudzu shoots are tender and taste similar to snow peas.” (

Eliot Pecan – “The nut resulting from Elliot pecan trees is of extremely high quality compared to other pecan tree varieties which guarantees a higher return in profits once sold. Since the Elliot pecans shell out perfectly in halves, they are on high demand from bakers. The Elliot pecan trees bear nuts alternately with the nuts being in the shape of teardrops. There is no compromise in the quality of the nuts year in and year out. Normally, the pecans have already filled shucks by July or August which makes them ready for harvest around October. As long as your backyard orchard meets all the germination requirements of Elliot pecans, you can achieve a medium sized harvest.” (

24 | Fall/Winter 2016 24 | Fall/Winter 2016

FUN FACT: Great Blue Heron Ardea hernias. She is a local resident who can be found around campus just about every day. Named “Arde.”

Persimmons – “The name Diospyros in context means more or less “Divine Fruit” or “Divine Food” and is an apt description for the wonderful persimmon. Persimmons are one of the most widely planted fruits in the world (the majority of the acreage is is Asia) and are a member of the Ebony family (known for their hard wood: persimmon was used for golf club heads). The American persimmon is native to the east and grows wild from Florida to the Northeast U.S. and has a small fruit with an excellent, nutty sweet flavor. However, if it is eaten unripe, it has alum in the flesh and is very astringent (makes your mouth feel like cotton).” (

Campus Feature

Bartlett Pear – “Known as America’s favorite pear, the Bartlett variety actually came from Europe. It functions as the standard by which all other pears are measured and is a favorite for fresh eating, canning and preserves. The Bartlett pear is easy to grow and will reward its owner with beautiful blossoms in the spring, large and luscious fruit in late summer and a continuous crop for as much as 100 years.” (

Lambsquarters – “Once upon a time, lambsquarters greens received more respect. Their ancient name was ‘all good,’ and all good they are. They contain more iron and protein than raw cabbage or spinach, more calcium and vitamin B1 than raw cabbage, and more vitamin B2 than cabbage or spinach. According to Joan Richardson’s Wild Edible Plants of New England, lambsquarters ‘even outclasses spinach as a storehouse of protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, vitamin C, and great amounts of vitamin A, not to mention all the minerals pulled out of the earth by its strong taproot.’ It also lacks the puckishness of spinach, although lambsquarters, too, contains oxalic acid.” (

Elderberry – “Elderberries (Sambucus) have been a folk remedy for centuries in North America, Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, hence the medicinal benefits of elderberries are being investigated and rediscovered. Elderberry is used for its antioxidant activity, to lower cholesterol, to improve vision, to boost the immune system, to improve heart health and for coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections and tonsillitis. Bioflavonoids and other proteins in the juice destroy the ability of cold and flu viruses to infect a cell. People with the flu who took elderberry juice reported less severe symptoms and felt better much faster than those who did not.” ( | 25 | 25

Faculty Spotlight

A Lifetime of Fostering Journalism Kemper inducted into the Southern Regional Press Institute’s Inaugural Hall of Fame A spring Buckeye tree pushes out spires of white flowers from its branches. Hundreds of shiny and dark brown nut-like seeds puddle the trunk. The light-colored spot at the center accents the seed’s mysterious resemblance to a deer’s eye. An 11-yearold girl scoops one and hands it to her sister who is leaving home for the first time for college. Many years later, Kristie Kemper removes that same Buckeye from her purse at the Southern Regional Press Institute (SRPI) in Savannah, Georgia. She looks at a classroom full of elementary students. She has them interview her to find out why it is so important to her. “I always carry my Buckeye with me,” she says, removing it from her purse in a small plastic bag. “My little sister, who is 11 years younger than me, gave it to me. I can still see her standing in our backyard. She’s looking up at me because she is basically a little girl. It’s supposed to be good luck. Before I left, she wanted me to have it. I have carried it ever since.” She puts the seed away and ponders how many of these elementary students will go on to be journalists and what kind of impact a journalism conference like the SRPI will have in their lives. “I was looking at all these very young, bright, energetic kids, but I’m thinking they’re not all going to be journalists. A whole class isn’t going to go into journalism,” she says. “So I ask them, ‘What do you think you might be learning from working on your article today that you could use even if you don’t become a journalist?’ And you know how little kids are—all these little hands go up, and they’re saying things like learning to write, interview, and type better, and I thought, ‘They get it.’ I just remember those little bright eyes—and if you can foster that anywhere, you are accomplishing something.”

26 | Fall/Winter 2016

She says she can see that same energy and enthusiasm with the college-aged students she takes to the SRPI each year, too. She has been attending the conference since 1986, doing everything from conducting classes to directing workshops to working on the planning committee. The SRPI was founded by the late Wilton C. Scott in 1950 to help high school and college students acquire skills in communications. Kristie says its heritage is very special, noting how it offered opportunities to African American students, particularly those interested in media and journalism, when there weren’t as many other places for them to get that experience. The two-day SRPI is traditionally held in February or March on the Savannah State University campus. For the 65th SRPI, Kristie was inducted into the SRPI’s first ever Hall of Fame. She joined 11 other individuals, including SRPI founder Wilton C. Scott, UGA Professor Emeritus of Journalism John English, and more. “I was initially surprised,” she says, “but during the night of the ceremony, I was very humbled— some of these people were real pioneers. I just felt honored to be in that company.” Kristie has a long history with journalism. In fact, she will tell you that the first word she read was out of a newspaper. “I remember when I first realized I could read,” she says. “I could read the word ‘Apple’ in the newspaper. I remember thinking, ‘Oh, all these letters they’ve been trying to teach me in school spell something and it’s right there.” In high school, Kristie rescued her school’s dying student paper alongside her class who wished to

Kemper – continued to page 39

3 cups kudzu blossoms 1/2 cup chopped mint leaves 1 package Sure Jell for Less or No Sugar pectin 3 cups sugar 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1/2 teaspoon butter or margarine

Forager’s Diary from Nancy Applegate

I started foraging about a decade ago after [my husband] Joe got me a couple of books on edible wild food. There’s a lot of wild fruit growing in the South, and there are a lot of edible flowers. I wanted to know which ones would work for jelly; as it turns out, there’s a recipe on the internet for just about any kind of jelly imaginable. I’ve made jam or jelly from blackberries, elderberries, pears, crab apples, plums, autumn olive berries, mint, mimosa blossoms, and kudzu blossoms that grow on or near the GHC Floyd campus. Using foraged ingredients can be iffy, taste-wise. Foraged fruit isn’t always as juicy or sweet as its cultivated cousins; the blackberries are seedy, the pears are small, the pink plums are unbelievably sour, and I don’t know why, but the elderberries that grow around here look puny compared to the ones in the foraging books. The thrill, though, is walking through the woods and stumbling into a thicket of plum trees or a dense little stand of elderberry bushes or an entire field of blackberries you didn’t know was there. It’s a little like

finding hidden treasure. The early part of summer, blackberry season, has always been my favorite time of year; I love everything about it – the long days, the heat, the wildlife, the thick greenery, even the insects and snakes. There’s something calming and peaceful about spending an afternoon picking blackberries. The season lasts about a month, and even in a drought year like this one, wild, uncultivated blackberries seem to thrive. They might not be as fat or juicy as usual, but they’re just as abundant, and a zillion different critters either eat the berries, or eat the critters that eat the berries, or eat the critters that eat the critters that eat the berries. I don’t think any southern fauna goes hungry during blackberry season. A few years ago, somebody put an old couch on the west-facing slope of Booze Mountain. One of my best days was finding half an acre of blackberries on the eastern slope of the mountain, picking over a gallon of them, and then sitting on that old couch to watch the sunset.

Directions: Leave the kudzu blossoms in a bowl outside so that the kudzu beetles can fly away. When you’re satisfied that your blossoms are free of kudzu beetles, bring the bowl inside pour the blossoms into a sink full of cold water. As more kudzu beetles float to the top, skim them off and discard them. Repeat until your blossoms are bug-free. Put rinsed blossoms and mint leaves back into the bowl, and add 4 1/2 cups boiling water, and skim off the kudzu beetles that float to the surface. Cover the mixture and let it sit for two hours or refrigerate it overnight. When you are ready to make the jelly, sterilize your jars and lids. Strain the kudzu/mint infusion using a handheld strainer lined with a paper coffee filter. Make sure no blossoms, mint leaves, or kudzu beetles fall into the liquid. Add one tablespoon of lemon juice (very important!) and the butter or margarine, and then follow the “mint jelly” instructions on the pectin package. Process jars according to package instructions. When people ask if you have a “secret ingredient,” tell them it’s love. Don’t say anything about the kudzu beetles. | 27

Faculty Spotlight

Applegate’s Kudzo Mint JellyRecipe

Administrator Spotlight

get to know Our Campus Deans

Georgia Highlands College campus deans are the primary administrators for their respective campus location. GHC began in 1970 with the Floyd campus; Cartersville was added in 2005; Marietta was added in 2005; and Paulding and Douglasville were added in 2009.

Todd Jones, Ed.D. is campus dean for Rome which includes the Floyd campus and Heritage Hall in Downtown Rome. Jones also serves as Vice President for Student Affairs. He is originally from Lithonia, Georgia, and has been at GHC for 11 years. What’s an interesting fact about yourself you like to share? I have competed in state championship games in three different sports. What do you love most about the campus you’re on? Access to a lake. The paddle boards are a lot of fun. Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give a GHC student? A college degree has the greatest potential to positively impact your life, so make every grade count.


What’s the funniest thing that’s happened to you recently? I was jump roping with my kids and my shorts fell to my knees. I didn’t laugh too much, but my kids sure did. What do you like to do in your free time? Play tennis and maintain my aquariums.

Ken Reaves was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He lived in Virginia and Texas before making a home in Georgia. This year marks his 16th year at GHC. He is the campus dean for Marietta.

REAVES 28 | Fall/Winter 2016

What’s an interesting fact about yourself you like to share? I got a chance to write a prayer at the wailing wall in Jerusalem.   What do you love most about the campus you’re on? The diversity and amazing opportunity to grow our Latino population. Cobb County has a lot of benefits for our student population.    What’s the funniest thing that’s happened to you recently? I went on an open jeep safari in South Africa in a cold and driving rainstorm. I don’t drink, but after we got back I had four shots of sherry.      If you could meet one famous person, who would it be and why? So many, but Nelson Mandela would be one. Why? The power of reconciliation. As Abraham Lincoln said, “the best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend.”

What do you love most about the campus you’re on? I love the excitement which comes from the growth at the Cartersville site and in Bartow County. Last year we celebrated 10 years at this location and we are already over 2200 students strong. In just a few months, we break ground on our new $18 million STEAM building (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) which will complement our existing Academic Building and Student Center. What do you like to do in your free time? In my free time, I love spending time with my grandchildren. They are so incredibly sweet and just melt my heart. I also enjoy going to movies, eating out, and retail therapy (shopping).


You’re stranded on an island. The one item you can’t live without is in your backpack. What is it? The two things I can’t live without are my faith and my family. I don’t need a backpack to carry my faith and my family won’t fit in my backpack, so I am going to say a bottomless supply of Lays Potato Chips. They are truly my comfort food. Some Ranch Dip would be great as well!

Connie Watjen is the campus dean for Douglasville and Paulding. (Read full story on page 10.) She is originally from Murrayville, Georgia, a small farm town between Gainesville and Dahlonega. She has been at GHC for nine years. What’s an interesting fact about yourself you like to share? When I was 16, I learned to play the guitar and was convinced I would be a famous singer/songwriter/musician. What do you love most about GHC? Our mission to provide the means and support necessary to help people change their lives for the better and realize their dreams.


Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give a GHC student? Never doubt you have the ability to succeed. If you experience disappointing outcomes, always focus on analyzing the strategies you employed, and work to improve those strategies. Do not assume the problem is the result of some inherent shortcoming. Effective choices and study strategies trump inherent aptitude every time! You’re stranded on an island. The one item you can’t live without is in your backpack. What is it? As many books as I can lug: everything from horror and true crime novels to the classics. | 29

Administrator Spotlight

Leslie Johnson was born in Rome, Georgia, and grew up in the Rockmart/Rome area and even spent a little time in South Georgia near a small town called Ludowici. She is the campus dean for Cartersville and has been at GHC since 2003.

Student Organization Spotlight

Learning to bloom Woman to Woman Organization guides young women toward success

Deep within a muddy, murky pond, a flower exists far away from sunlight. Over time, it slowly emerges and breaks the surface of the dirty water into a majestic, colorful bloom. This is the story of the lotus flower, which blooms out of darkness. It’s the flower of choice by Georgia Highlands College’s Woman to Woman group for this very reason. In 2009, the student organization was formed by Joyce Darden-Atkins to encourage young women to pursue and achieve their personal goals, share their unique gifts and provide a supportive atmosphere for women to explore their concerns, become familiar with other diverse groups, and focus on developing communications skills, volunteering in the community, and the general well-being of women in all aspects of their lives. “We promote pride in women’s individuality by seeking to enrich their academic, social and cultural experiences,” Disability Services Specialist & Career Counselor and W2W Advisor Sonja Wright-Smith said. “It brings unity and empowerment to these young ladies that helps fulfill their destiny by navigating them successfully through their college courses.” Nivenitie McDaniel is one of those success stories. “When I became a student at GHC, one of my goals was to seek out a club or organization where I could become active,” she said. “I was introduced to Woman to Woman, and I believed it would be a great opportunity to become involved as an active student in an organization with GHC.”

30 | Fall/Winter 2016

McDaniel noted, however, that the group soon become more than that for her. “Woman to Woman is an empowerment group and serves the community,” she said. “Being a part of this organization, I learned how to encourage others and myself, develop leadership skills, and become a leader.” After finishing college, McDaniel returned to GHC as an enrollment management specialist. And as soon as she could, she started paying it forward by becoming an advisor for the student organization that helped shape her life. “I am proud to serve as one of the advisors for Woman to Woman and help these young women develop their skills that will help to make them the best that they can be,” she said. She is busy helping young women just like Keanna Jones. Jones is the current president of W2W. And she has nothing but praise for the organization. “Being a part of Woman to Woman has taught me a lot: leadership skills, communication skills, working with others, networking in the community and making lasting relationships with community partners,” she said. “I love sharing my experiences with others within GHC and in the community.” Jones said she has happily led the group through a number of events in the past.

The organization has conducted fundraisers, such as bake sale, breakfast for Faculty/ staff sale; participated in a student success workshop series; volunteered at the 20Mile 2013, 2014, and 2015 Breast Cancer Walk; participated in the 2014 Hunger Walk; filled donation box for the United Way for homeless mothers and children for Mother’s Day; raised money and participated for 2014/2015 Multiple Sclerosis Walk; participated in college campus tours at Georgia State University with Brother to Brother and toured Spelman College; held a “Meeting of the Minds” with B2B; attended the 2014 Annual Woman to Woman Banquet/Retreat in the cabins of Ellijay; conducted and facilitated the Annual “Multicultural Festival~One Foundation Many Branches” with B2B and La MANO organizations; and held the 2015 “Patchwork to Power” Leadership Women’s conference on the Marietta Campus. And if that seems like a lot, advisor Wright-Smith said they are just getting started. Making sure these young women bloom to their full potential regardless of the conditions that may try to keep them from doing so is the goal, she said, just like the group’s chosen symbol: the lotus flower. And, you might ask, what are the colors on that W2W lotus? Wright-Smith answers pink, of course, for compassion and unconditional love. Oh, and don’t forget black, she adds. After all, what’s a lotus without strength, elegance, and authority?

Husband and wife juggle college, work, and kids all at the same time

There’s a new family sitcom at Georgia Highlands College called “Five Kids and College.” It stars a family of seven in all levels of schooling, from mom and dad in college to five kids ranging from pre-k to high school… Sounds like the perfect television show pitch, right? Well, stay tuned, because this isn’t a show—this is Erich and Miranda Curtis’ life! The husband and wife team are no strangers to a little adventure. Since they married 13 years ago, the two have lived in Tennessee, Alabama, California, and now Georgia. They once even packed their little family car up with everything they owned and moved to Los Angelas on a whim. And now they’ve decided college is next on their bucket list. Miranda and Erich are both in their mid-thirties with five kids: Erika is 16-years-old and a junior in high school; Emily is 14-years-old and a freshman; Sophia is 12-years-old and in the seventh grade; Savannah is 9-years-old and in the fourth grade; and Link is 4-years-old and in preschool. “Who the heck goes back to college with all that on their plate?” you might ask. Erich and Miranda made it clear from the start of their relationship: follow their dreams and stay happy. Their motto is “never settle.” Erich is currently pursuing a business degree and Miranda is working on her education degree. “I had reservations about taking time away from my kids,” Miranda said, “but it has only brought us all closer. My oldest daughter tries to take similar high school courses as my college ones, because she knows that I can help her. We all get excited about good

grades for any of us.” Miranda went on, “We find it easier to empathize with the stress and struggles the kids are going through now that we are back in school. It is easy to forget how difficult classes can be when you have been away from it for so long.” But it’s not all rosy. This is one hard working family. “Our life is hectic, often stressful… There is never a dull moment,” Miranda said. “Our kids are very supportive in our decision to return to school. They help us study as we do them. We have a very busy schedule with it all. The kids play soccer, volleyball, are in the beta club, chorus, band, student council, FBLA, etc. Erich works in management at Toys R Us full time with an hour-and-a-half commute. I work from home. Yet, we somehow still find time to spend together.” Miranda admits it’s a constant juggle and they are always bouncing from one “last minute thing” to the next trying to get it all done. “We truly believe this is the right thing for our family. We think it is important to teach our kids they can always improve life, no matter what age. That it is never too late to make a positive change,” Miranda said. “I think that the hardest part for someone considering returning to school is the first step. You have to just go for it.” Erich and Miranda said they are glad they are making this effort at GHC. “GHC is very close to our home and is very affordable,” Miranda said. “Upon attending, we have really grown to love it. The professors have been amazing and we really feel at home, even though we are not your average students. It can be hard at times, but it seems most things worth something are.” | 31

Student Spotlight

Five Kids and College

Alumni Spotlight

From factory worker to national American Medical Student Association President Let’s check the resume out on GHC alumnus Joseph Johnson for just a second: He earned four associate degrees from Georgia Highlands College in philosophy, foreign language (Spanish), English, and Psychology. He graduated from Shorter University with two bachelor’s degrees, one in general studies with a minor in biology and another in religious studies with a minor in English. He has served as the vice president of scholarship for Phi Theta Kappa, president of Psi Beta, a member of the student government association, a staff member for GHC’s literary magazine the Old Red Kimono, and a member of Brother 2 Brother. He received numerous scholarships and awards, including a Brother 2 Brother Service Award, Emerging Leader Award, McCorkle Creative Society Honorary inductee, Steven A. Burns Community Service Award, and winner of GHC’s inaugural speech competition—in addition to a full-tuition scholarship from Shorter University. And—he is a third-year osteopathic medical student at Lincoln Memorial University-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine in Harrogate, Tennessee, where he was recently elected as the first African American president of the national American Medical Student Association. Overachiever? Nah. More like on a mission. “Before beginning college, I worked my butt off all the time–sometimes pulling 70 plus hour weeks at the factory,” he said. “After beginning college at GHC, I quickly shifted my focus to achieving a

32 | Fall/Winter 2016

diverse education, while still spending time with the family and working.” Joseph, who doesn’t mind going by Joey, explained he is originally from Wilmington, Delaware, but that doesn’t mean he ain’t Southern. Soon after he was born, the family moved to Cedartown, Georgia, where Joey grew up. He, however, claims to be a Roman from Rome, Georgia, through and through (accent included). And he said he is so glad he made his start at Georgia Highlands College. “I ended up at GHC because it offered the best opportunities for me to work and go to school full-time while being fully transferrable,” he said. Later, he went on to finish at Shorter University. But his mentality and drive was the same at both places: make the most of his educational opportunity. “I have always had a problem with overdoing things, especially once I become focused. Education became my new ‘it’ that I had to have,” he said. “I was awarded a full-tuition scholarship from Shorter for three years, so I wanted to attend all three years of it. I maxed out my hours like I did at GHC, usually taking 20 hours or more per semester, including the summers. I always felt it was my duty to take full advantage of any and every opportunity afforded me.” He has taken what he has learned in Rome and is now going to school as an osteopathic medical student at Lincoln Memorial University-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine. And for a student who has taken a shotgun blast approach to learning, becoming an osteopathic physician might be the perfect fit. Joey explained that osteopathic physicians treat the patient as a whole as opposed to treating the symptoms only, and that a good way to think about it is to consider it a crossroads to nursing philosophy, JOHNSON – continued to page 39

Mary Storer has a job making dreams come true. She works for Disney at the All-Star Resorts as a part of the Disney College Program. “Disney has always been a favorite vacation destination for my family. When I was about 11 years old, we were visiting Disney and noticed that one of the cast member’s nametags had the name of a college,” she said. “When we asked her why that was there rather than her hometown, she told us that she was in the Disney College Program. That opportunity was always in my mind, so when I was a senior in high school I began to investigate the program.” As soon as she was able, she applied for the program and was accepted. She spent some time at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort working as a “super greeter.” And that’s when she found out what she wanted to go to college to do: business with a focus in hospitality. She decided to return home and pursue her associate degree in business at GHC, knowing after she graduated she could return to the Disney College Program as a concierge. She finished at GHC in 2016 and went right back to work for Disney as soon as she could. “My location is the All-Star Resorts, which is the fourth largest resort in the world. As concierge, I trained for both Front Desk and Concierge, which involved learning multiple computer programs, different banking systems, as well as exchanging foreign currency,” she said. “While working, I developed strong communication skills, guest service and recovery needs,

and knowledge of the Walt Disney Company in order to assist guests.” She did admit, however, that without the skills she learned from her time at GHC, she wouldn’t be able to take her time at Disney to the next level. “I am able to use my knowledge of business from GHC to network with leaders, executives, and coworkers in order to move up within the company,” she said. Mary has also decided to continue her studies with the University of Georgia’s online business degree, which gives her the flexibility she needs to remain in the Disney College Program. She said the program has many perks, including the opportunity to take classes from Disney Executives that give insight as to how Disney operates. She would also like to eventually get her master’s degree in hospitality, she added, with intentions of moving up the ranks at Disney. She says she loves working for a place which strives to make people’s vacation dreams come true. “Guest service and interaction is the best thing about my job at Disney,” she said. “It is greatly satisfying to get to know my guests personally and be able to exceed their expectations—making it not just vacation, but a memorable experience.” Mary noted no matter how far she goes at Disney, she will always remember her time at GHC. “I can truly say that the excellent professors at Georgia Highlands College have a great deal to do with my success, both in school and with Disney,” she said. | 33

Alumni Spotlight

Alumna making her dreams come true by making others dreams come true

Alumni & Friends Updates


Alumni and friends update You are very important to us! We want to hear from you and share your news with the Charger community. Please fill out the form below to update us on what you are doing! Mail completed form to Alison Lampkin, GHC Office of Advancement, 3175 Cedartown Hwy, Rome, GA 30161 OR save a stamp, and send an email to or complete the form online at

Full name_______________________________________Maiden name _____________________ Spouse’s name___________________________________________________________________ Mailing address ____________________________City__________State______Zip code _______ Primary phone (

) _______________ Primary email address ____________________________

(Please check one)



GHC graduation year or year(s) attended______________________________________________ Major____________________________ Other degrees__________________________________ Current occupation_____________________________Employer __________________________


Floyd/GHC Retiree

Faculty or Staff (circle one) From ___________To____________


Friend of GHC

Occupation_______________________________Employer________________________________ News/updates (promotions/awards/weddings/arrivals/deaths): _____________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________ Signature____________________________________________Date________________________ By signing this form, you have authorized the college to make changes to your biographical data and understand it may appear in both the print and online.

Hello Baby!

Alumni welcome new arrivals Courtnee Watson and her husband Aaron, welcome a son, Brody Aaron, July 20, 2016. Kayla Cochran Register and her husband Josh, welcome a son, Charlie, July 22, 2016. Abel Morales and his wife Ariel, welcome a daughter, Natalia Micaela, August 30, 2016.

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GHC Foundation Board of Trustees Jeff Watkins, Chairman Jeffrey A. Watkins, P.C. Luke Lester, Chair Elect Bond, James Bond Inc. David Caswell, Past Chairman Century Bank Dee Bishop, Treasurer Dellinger Management Services, LLC Mary Transue, Executive Director GHC Vice President - Advancement Sarah H. Burkhalter Melanie C. Collier

Whether it’s a birthday, holiday, or just a token of gratitude, tribute gifts to the GHC Foundation are the perfect way to honor someone you care about and provide an opportunity for many students to pursue their dream of earning a college degree. An acknowledgement note of your donation will be sent to the individual you wish to honor, advising them of your gift (without a dollar amount) and an explanation that their gift will help change a student’s life at GHC. Take time to give something truly special today by contacting Cindy Gomez at

GIVE TODAY Fund an education. Fund a dream. Fund a future.

Give today to the Georgia Highlands College Foundation and your tax deducible gift, no matter the size, will change lives. We have made it easy to give. Simply go to, complete the form, and start making a difference in the lives and futures of our Georgia Highlands students. You may also mail your gift directly to: GHC Foundation Office 3175 Cedartown Highway Rome, GA 30161 Should you wish to speak to someone, please call Mary Transue at 706-802-5457.

James Jarrett Mary Louise Lever Steve Moore Gregory F. Patton Randy Quick John Quinlivan Matt Sirmans Sue Spivey Robby Stewart Tommy Strickland Mark Weaver Dr. Donald Green, Ex-Officio GHC President Jeff Davis, Ex-Officio GHC Vice President Finance & Administration Dan Knowles, Ex-Officio Alumni Association Chairman GHC Alumni Association Board Members Dan Knowles, Chairman Harold Boyd, Retiree Representative Susan Claxton Donnie Denson Odete Estes Scotty Hancock Tim Hensley Dr. Lynn Plunkett Hannah Smith Ann Stocks Steve White | 35

Foundation Spotlight

Want to give a truly special gift to someone in your life?

Charger News

Charger Baseball

2016 Season Recap

The baseball team brought another year of heat with a 6th place finish with an overall record of 28-31, and a conference record of 12-16. The team qualified for the GCAA tournament for the second consecutive year. They defeated Gordon State in the first round of the GCAA tournament by a score of 7-4, before bowing out in losses to Darton State and East Georgia State. Will Griffin was named first team All-Conference as a closer. A new coaching staff is currently being formed by new head coach Dash O’Neill with hopes of winning the GCAA Championship and earning a bid to play in the Eastern District Tournament. Top returners are pitchers Sam Sowerbrower and Colby Taylor, third baseman Brandon Bell, first baseman Nick Fink, and second baseman John White. 

Dash O’Neill takes helm of baseball program Georgia Highlands College officially welcomed Dash O’Neill as the head coach for the Charger baseball team this summer. O’Neill joins GHC from Chattahoochee Valley Community College, where he helped lead the baseball program through three consecutive Alpine Bank JUCO World Series Appearances in 2014, 2015 and 2016. O’Neill has a long and wellestablished track record with several accolades, including three consecutive Region 22 championships, five ACCC Conference Championships and a number one ranking within the NJCAA in 2013, 2014 and 2016. He has also been honored as the Region 22 Assistant Coach of the Year for the last three consecutive years and is a five-time ACCC Divisional Assistant Coach of the Year. O’Neill has helped over 140 players advance to four-year institutions, as well as produced 16 players drafted by MLB teams. “We are thrilled to welcome Dash O’Neill to the Charger family,” GHC Athletic Director Phil Gafney said. “Dash brings a wealth of experience coaching on the NJCAA level. He has a strong commitment to academics, and has worked with a national baseball powerhouse in Chattahoochee

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Valley Community College. He has been a tremendous recruiter of talent in the state of Georgia, and Metro Atlanta in particular.” O’Neill is originally from Brooklyn, New York. He is married with three children, and holds a Master of Science in Sports Management with Athletic Administration Emphasis from Troy University. “Not only is Georgia Highlands located in one of the most talent-laden baseball regions in the entire country, but the enthusiasm and commitment to athletics I see in Phil Gaffney and the rest of his staff is incredible,” O’Neill said. “I grew up not far from here in Woodstock, so coming home to lead this program is a dream come true, and I could not be more excited about the future of Charger Baseball.” O’Neill added that he has big plans for GHC’s baseball program. “My first priority is establishing a baseball culture that the players here are excited about and can buy into,” he said. “I expect us to be very competitive, and we are going to attack our preparation with the intention of competing for a GCAA championship. I also want to make sure we take care of business in the classroom so these young men will leave Georgia Highlands with a degree and a head start toward their future.” Former GHC Head Baseball Coach Mike Marra started the program in 2013. The Chargers made the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association playoffs each of the last two years. Marra recently left GHC to take the head coach position for the baseball program at Hiram High School in Paulding County. O’Neill assumed the GHC Head Baseball Coach position in August.

Charger News

Charger Softball

2016 Season Recap

The softball team had another stellar year this past season. The team finished fourth in the Region with an overall record of 29-33, and a conference record of 9-7, while competing in one of the strongest NJCAA softball schedules in the country. It was the team’s third consecutive Region tournament qualification, as well. The roster consisted of eight freshman starters and the team is returning ten sophomores for the 2016-2017 team: Five freshman were named to the GCAA All-Region Team including pitcher Rebecca Meade (1st Team), catcher Caitlin Parks (2nd Team), utility Carlee Thurmond (2nd Team), firstbaseman Brianna Fickes (2nd Team), and shortstop Lauren Womack (2nd Team). Meade and Thurmond were also named to the Region All-Tournament Team after helping the Chargers to an overall 2-2 record in post-season. Thurmond (UTL) and Parks (Catcher) were chosen as members of the NFCA All-Southeastern 2nd Team amongst all NJCAA athletes from the states of Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, North/South Carolina, and Georgia. Freshman Mallory Jackson, and sophomores Ashley Jordan and Jace Armstrong, were named to the NFCA All-Academic Team for maintaining a GPA above a 3.5 for the 2015-2016 season while Jordan and Armstrong were also members of Phi Theta Kappa and the NJCAA All-Academic Team for graduating above a 3.6 GPA. Jordan was also a member of Phi Theta Kappa’s All-Georgia Team for two-year institutions and received the prestigious Melvin Perry AAUP Future Educator Award. The Georgia Highlands College softball team finished as an NJCAA All-Academic Team for the third consecutive year finishing with a team GPA of a 3.16. Eleven softball players finished the 2015-2016 year above a 3.0 cumulative GPA. | 37

Charger News

Women’s Basketball

Georgia Highlands College women’s basketball is led by Head Coach Brandan Harrell, Assistant Coach Demetrius Colson, and Volunteer Assistant Coach Eric Burkhaulter. The team competes in Region XVII of the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association of the National Junior College Athletic Association Division 1. Last year, the Lady Chargers won the NJCAA Region 17 Championship and had their first NJCAA National Tournament appearance. The team is based out of the Floyd campus and plays all home games at the Floyd Campus Gymnasium in Rome. For a full game schedule, team roster, and season updates, visit Watch for a basketball season recap in the next issue of the Highlander.

Pictured with Coach Harrell are three returning players (l to r) Taylor Farley, Maria Crider, and Taylor Harris.

Men’s Basketball

Georgia Highlands College men’s basketball is led by Head Coach and GHC Athletic Director Phil Gaffney and Assistant Coaches J.J. Merritt, Matt Williams, Devin Williams, and John Williams. The team competes in Region XVII of the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association of the National Junior College Athletic Association Division 1. Last year, the Chargers won their second region championship and ended the season in the NJCAA National Elite Eight. The team is based out of the Floyd campus and plays all home games at the Floyd Campus Gymnasium in Rome. For a full game schedule, team roster, and season updates, visit Watch for a basketball season recap in the next issue of the Highlander.

Pictured with Coach Gaffney are returning players (l to r) Ty’lik Evans, Ty Cockfield, Micah Smith, Kamar McKnight, Kyvon Davenport, and D’Andre Bernard.

38||Fall/Winter Fall/Winter2016 2016 38

revive it. She served in editorial roles until she graduated. Her passion for journalism didn’t end there, however. She went on to take multiple journalism courses in college and worked for the student newspaper there, as well. And when she first started at Georgia Highlands College in 1979, she was asked to head up advising the student newspaper, the Six Mile Post, in 1980. And she has been advising the publication ever since. “I really enjoy it because of the students I get to work with,” she says. “It’s not easy at all. But I love seeing where the students end up, getting new students in, and watching them develop. So many have gone on to do good things with what they’ve learned.”

In addition to her SRPI Hall of Fame induction, Kristie has earned several accolades over the years, including the Board of Regents Teaching Excellence Award in 2003, the Wilton C. Scott Award for Excellence in Scholastic Journalism from the SRPI in 2014, and the Wesley C. Walraven Faculty Award from GHC in 2015. She is also a tenured professor of English at GHC, and holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in English and a Master of Arts in English from the University of Tennessee. She still carries the Buckeye her sister gave her wherever she goes. For more information on the Southern Regional Press Institute, please visit:

JOHNSON – continued from page 32

medicine, physical therapy and chiropractic care. “Those of us who do practice osteopathic medicine adjust the musculoskeletal system, facilitate lymph flow for faster and better healing, and also practice medicine traditionally as most medical doctors do,” he said. “I think of it as an MD with a ‘goodie bag’ of special skills and a holistic view of the patient and his/her environment and interactions.” Once he graduates in May 2017, he will turn his attention to his role of President of the American Medical Student Association and move to Washington D.C. “This role will afford me the opportunity to work with politicians, medical school deans, and many future physicians as I will be the head of an association comprised of 40,000 plus physicians-intraining,” he said. Joey says he doesn’t take this role lightly, especially being the first African American to fill it. “I feel it is a great statement and apropos. What better time than now? We are in desperate need of someone who is willing to take the stage and seriously discuss the topics that involve the African American community,” he said. “This person needs to have experience from within the community in order to articulate the emotions adequately and accurately.” Joey added he has big plans for the organization. He wants to grow membership while additionally using his voice and experiences to talk about the difficult subjects that exist in America’s climate today. He also plans to direct attention toward his own main medical focus, which is rural and minority medicine, as well as mental health. “Growing up in a low-income, rural area, I never

had a family physician. In fact, I didn’t know anything except that if you had a problem bad enough to warrant seeking medical assistance, then that medical assistance was the emergency room,” he said. “For many minorities now, prevention is not a reality because the access to health education and preventive measures is not in place. Furthermore, yearly check-ups and having a family physician and dentist are not priorities like trying to keep the lights on in the house or food on the table.” He clarified that when he says ‘minority,’ he doesn’t just mean African Americans. He adds that he is very interested in the Latino community and rural white Appalachians who all experience the same predicaments, as well. So, what’s the next chapter after Mr. Johnson goes to Washington? Homecoming. “After serving my term as president for one year, I plan on entering a residency in primary care,” he said. “I then plan on practicing in Chattooga County, Georgia, and working with GHC in some of the same programs that helped shape me, like Brother 2 Brother.” And Joey plans to stay true to himself and his mission all the way. “I have gotten to this point in life by resiliency, tenacity, and fortitude. The motivation for those three arose from a fear of failure and being poor, broke, and helpless for the rest of my life,” he said. “What drives me to be successful are two things: one is the feeling that I am continually choosing to do exactly what fate has set for me and two is the blissfulness I get from being on top of the mountain and helping others climb it to be there with me.” Joey and his wife Jessica (GHC alumna) have one daughter, Nadine, age 10. | 39

Charger News

KEMPER – continued from page 26


EARN YOUR BACHELOR’S DEGREE New Bachelor of Business Administration in Logistics and Supply Chain Management or in Healthcare Management* Accepting applications beginning January 2017

•Affordable excellence and bachelor’s •Associate degrees offered

“My college is really great. It’s close to home, and the professors put in the time and effort to help me succeed. I love my professors and I love GHC.”

40 areas of study with •Over 11 available 100% online

Adult accelerated program offered at night and online

On When Ready •Move program

•Championship athletics •

Award-winning student organizations * Programs pending SACSCOC approval

Brittany Kelchner

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Profile for Georgia Highlands College


Georgia Highlands College official magazine features news and stories about our people, our accomplishments, and our programs. The Highlande...


Georgia Highlands College official magazine features news and stories about our people, our accomplishments, and our programs. The Highlande...