Page 1

Brightwork the official magazine of the College of Coastal Georgia

Fall 2013


College of Coastal Georgia

bright·work noun Brightwork originally referred to polished metal objects, and bright woodwork to wood which was kept scraped and scrubbed, especially topside. Bright it should be and work it is.

-US Navy History and Command

In this issue 3.........................................100 Days 5............ Coastal Georgia’s First Lady 6.................... Honoring Their VALOR 8.................... Partnerships in Service 10...................Graduating with Honors 12................................Common Read 14............................ Monkey Business 18............................... Student Profiles Kristopher Harper

Mai Zi Lai Meredith Burch

22...................................... Coach Cox 26.....................................Class Notes 28.....................................On Campus Brightwork is produced by the Advancement Office of the College of Coastal Georgia with the support of the College of Coastal Georgia Foundation. Advancement Office Elizabeth Weatherly, Chief Advancement Officer John Cornell, Director of Marketing and PR Paul Hearn, Webmaster Robin Flores, Department Coordinator Peggy Golden, Staff Writer/Special Projects Managing Editor/Layout and Design John Cornell Editor/Senior Writer Peggy Golden Editorial Assistance Sharon Bartkovich, Rebecca Buchanan ’14, Diana Leal, Kevin Price, Taylor Priest ’16 Photography All photographs by John Cornell unless noted. Cover Photo: (courtesy of Ayla Wilson) Wilson holds Olivia, an orphaned orangutan baby. “I could have stayed with her forever. Her trust instilled such a sense of peace.”

Birghtwork 2

A Message from the President


t is with great excitement that I join the leadership team and faculty of the College of Coastal Georgia as the fifth president. The dynamic leadership of Dr. Valerie Hepburn, the College Foundation and the Office of Advancement has been truly remarkable. On the landscape of higher education, the College’s transformation these past five years is as unique as it is amazing. Although I’m new to the University System of Georgia, I’ve had previous experience as a college president at Concord University in West Virginia from 2008 to 2013, as a dean of the College of Education at Florida Atlantic University from 2001 to 2008, as associate vice president for research and dean of graduate studies (Illinois State University, Normal) and continuously as a professor, teacher or coach for over 40 years. So when I tell you how impressed I am with College of Coastal Georgia, you can appreciate that on the landscape of higher education, Coastal Georgia has a special story to tell – and it’s dynamic. In this issue of Brightwork, you’ll be introduced to the new First Lady of the College – my wife, Mary Aloia – as well as learn about some of the initiatives buzzing about campus. From new honor societies to student study centers, it’s all part of making Coastal one of the most study-friendly and student-centered schools in the University System of Georgia. You’ll read about one of our community partners, the Boys and Girls Club, and servicelearning projects developed by our students and faculty to enrich the Club experience. You’ll meet psychology major and service-learning award winner Ayla Wilson, who shares with us her exciting international field study trip to Indonesia this past summer. This issue also features Coastal’s Career Services, the comprehensive career development programs and services that empower both students and alumni to achieve their lifelong career goals. Both traditional and non-traditional students are profiled, illustrating how creative internships and externships can successfully launch dreams. In September, Coach Gerald Cox announced his plans to retire at the end of the 2013-2014 men’s basketball season. His legacy spans 31 years at Coastal as a principles-driven man who earned the respect of his players, Mariner fans and this community for his professionalism and performance, on and off the court. He coached champions who were also classroom successes and was a powerful influence on student-athletes who went on to play for four-year college programs after learning the fundamentals of the game, sportsmanship, teamwork and life success on the court of the Coffin Gymnasium. A review of Coach Cox’s career begins on page 22. So enjoy this telescopic view of our campus through these pages. And for regular monthly updates about Coastal Georgia, be sure to watch Compass Points on as Breanne Herrin, President of the Student Government Association, quizzes me on charting the course for this great College of Choice.



College of Coastal Georgia

For some freshmen, their first opportunity to meet Dr. Aloia was as he helped them move into Lakeside Village

Birghtwork 2

The First 100 Days

The new president reflects on the first 100 days of his tenure as the fifth president of the College of Coastal Georgia

When Dr. Gregory F. Aloia moved from the green mountains of southern West Virginia to the sandy shores of

coastal Georgia in June, he knew his first order of business would be connecting with community partners, getting to know the campus and welcoming students and their families with the start of a new academic year. “I believe continuing the momentum established over the past five years is vital,” he said. “Nurturing the growth and academic excellence of the College translates into improved quality of life and increased opportunities all across southeastern Georgia.” Before coming to Coastal Georgia, Dr. Aloia was president of Concord University in Athens, West Virginia, a four-year public liberal arts university founded in 1872. He was also a professor there – and at every other university or college where he has held a position. Dr. Aloia and his wife, Mary, are passionate about education. The honors he has received during his career reflect that passion: Outstanding Faculty Member at Arkansas State University, Educator of the Year by the Arizona Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, and Educator of the Year by the Student Education Association at Illinois State University. He has also won awards for minority mentoring, retention and recruitment. “Teaching is a high calling. I maintain connection to students and to faculty colleagues by being in the classroom myself,” Dr. Aloia explained. An active researcher and writer, he has published more than 60 professional papers and written a children’s book, The Legend of the Golden Straw, a Christmas story published in 1989 by Loyola Press. “But don’t look for me on the best seller lists,” he laughed. His scholarly presentations span almost four decades across seven foreign countries, twenty states and the District of Columbia. Educated in California, Dr. Aloia earned his PhD in special education from the University of California, Riverside, his teaching credential from San Francisco State University and his BA in history from St. Mary’s College in Moraga. “I’m even in St. Mary’s Athletic Hall of Fame,” he added.

The quick quips and his frequent puns are a hallmark of his conversational style. “And I love to tell stories. I think it’s the Irish in me – on my mother’s side. She is also the one who told me, ‘If in your life you insist on making mistakes, it would be much to your credit to make a different one each time!’” Since starting on July 1, Dr. Aloia has had more than 75 external engagements in his first 100 days – excluding faculty, staff and students. He’s visited businesses such as The Brunswick News and the Southeast Georgia Health System and organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce, the Brunswick-Glynn County Development Authority, the regional Joint Development Authority, the Jekyll Island Authority, the Coastal Youth Symphony, United Way, the Boys and Girls Club and other community partners of the Center for Service-Learning. On campus and through campus-related events, Dr. Aloia has met with the academic and support departments, faculty senate and staff council, individual staff and faculty members, various new task forces and campus committees, the Student Government Association, athletic teams, many of the student organizations, the freshman class (including parents) and individual student scholars and leaders. He’s slept in one of the student residences, Coastal Place Apartments, to assess safety and quality, and he dines regularly in the Mariners Galley. He travels to meetings across campus via golf cart at his staff ’s request because if he walks, he’ll be delayed, engaging students along the way in conversation. “Not only is this campus on the move, but so is the president,” he joked. “I even took a driver’s ed class taught by campus security so I’d know the approved routes to get from one end of campus to the other.”


College of Coastal Georgia

His conversations tend to turn on one of several themes he’s identified as action items to take the College to the next level: • The physical campus, including the need for additional on-campus student housing and system redundancy for telephone and internet access; • Further globalization of the campus, in keeping with the College’s vision and mission; • Resources and support for faculty and staff development, not only to counter state budget cuts, but also to assure a high quality of staff and faculty delivery of the academic product; • Veterans’ initiatives targeted to support success in recruitment, retention, progression and graduation (story on page 6); • Academic and social programming for students to meet their expectations for a College of Choice; • Honors programs and academic honor societies to reflect the proper focus of a baccalaureate school (story on page 10); • Successful triangulation of academic advising, student employment and faculty mentoring; and • Continued growth in scholarships and students’ success in sustaining HOPE eligibility to maintain the affordability of a college education at Coastal Georgia.

“This is a study-friendly campus. Dr. Michael Butcher, Dean of Students, has identified over 630 study areas, ranging from quiet cubicles to public group study areas and computer labs. That’s a great fact for our commuting students and for parents to know,” he stressed. “But we also want to be a student-friendly campus. That’s where we can add some things, such as an outdoor basketball court and improvements to the athletic fields and the lake dock.” “You know, your kids never thank you for removing the roller skates from the stairs the night before so they won’t fall over them the next morning,” he commented, “but that’s the kind of preemptive action faculty and staff are all called to do.” Preemptive strategies embrace academic advising, faculty mentoring, early warning and fast response to HOPE-eligibility issues, restructuring work-study programs and employing more students for campus-based opportunities to provide a more supportive network across an interconnected campus. “Studies demonstrate that students who are positively connected to multiple adults on campus are more likely to stay and to graduate on time. We need to provide assistance when a problem is manageable, halting the gradual slide to failure and withdrawing or flunking out,” he said. “Students need to know that we care about their success. Parents need to know we are serious about retention, progression and graduation.” His interest in expanding international opportunities for students and faculty stems from his own experiences, he explained, which include involvement in international programs for more than a quarter century. He has lectured in Brazil, Birghtwork 4

Right: Dr. Aloia spoke at the inaugural Freshman Convocation in August. Below: Dr. Aloia meets with members of the Women’s Club of Brunswick and scholarship recipient Meredith Burch ’14.

Thailand, Hong Kong and South Korea, where he was named Honorary Dean of the College of Education at Taegu University. He has fostered graduate and exchange programs to Mexico, South America, China, Thailand, India, South Korea, Malaysia, Russia and the Netherlands. He underscored the mission of Coastal Georgia includes providing students with a solid foundation that encompasses global awareness and diversity in addition to social responsibility and engaged entrepreneurship. “Our mission statement makes it clear that global awareness should be part of the education experience of this College. That can be expanded in three ways: by bringing more students from around the globe to this campus; by expanding student opportunities for study abroad, international field trips and internship opportunities ­— initiatives supported by the University System of Georgia; and by expanding faculty development and research opportunities, as well as faculty recruiting, to encompass that global perspective. I envision a 30/30 approach: to have 30 different countries — with as many as 30 students each — represented on this campus, assuring that every student will have the opportunity to break bread and share stories and common interests with a varied and rich representation of global geography and culture.” He concluded, “The first hundred days may have been brief in time, but they’ve been rich in terms of ideas, excitement, energy and attitude.”

Coastal Georgia’s First Lady A longtime educator herself, Mary Aloia has settled in the Brunswick community


reg and Mary Aloia are partners in nurturing successful students and bringing a family-oriented sensibility to campus and community life. “We want students to feel welcome and parents to be reassured. I am speaking from the heart when I say I think of the College as my family and want to extend the same warm hospitality to them that we’ve experienced in moving here.” “The warmth of our welcome to Coastal Georgia by the campus and community is more than gracious – it’s as sunny and exuberant as those beautiful sunrises over the ocean. Plus the campus is infused with this remarkably contagious enthusiasm,” she added. A native of Ft. Worth, Texas, Mrs. Aloia comes from a family firmly rooted in the Lone Star state. Married for 39 years, the Aloias have raised seven children, now ages 20 to 38 and living up and down the East Coast. “Our three sons have gravitated to business careers and our four daughters are in education. Six college graduates and one in progress,” she said. Education is a common theme in the Aloia family. Mrs. Aloia began her studies in child development at the University of Texas at Austin and received her BA from Western Illinois University. She holds teacher certifications for elementary (grades K-5) and for Family and Consumer Science in secondary schools (grades 6-12). She also earned national certification from the American Montessori Society (AMS) as a lower elementary Montessori teacher (grades 1-3). She has taught in both public and private schools with students of diverse ages, abilities and learning styles. She will continue to pursue her master’s in education this year.

“I am passionate about the importance of education on all levels – from infants to lifelong learners. My educational philosophy ­— which I’m pleased to say parallels Coastal Georgia’s service-learning philosophy — is reflected in a statement by Maria Montessori: ‘The joy of life, the optimism of hope, freedom and independence, love amongst men, are the spontaneous and natural consequences of an education based on life.’”

“I am passionate about the importance of education on all levels – from infants to lifelong learners,” she explained. “My educational philosophy – which I’m pleased to say parallels Coastal Georgia’s service-learning philosophy – is reflected in a statement by Maria Montessori: ‘The joy of life, the optimism of hope, freedom and independence, love amongst men, are the spontaneous and natural consequences of an education based on life.’ 5

“An important factor in our decision to come to Coastal Georgia was the community engagement through servicelearning across the curriculum, in every discipline. This campus is empowered and the students experience enhanced learning in ways that will remain with them throughout their lives – learning through opportunities and choices made as well as through successes – a richly multi-layered process based on relationships. “You know, relationships are the basis for the College to continue moving forward,” she stressed. “My husband and I look forward to joining with the entire College community, advancing education and opening doors and opportunities for students. I look forward to being actively involved as a goodwill ambassador for the College and as an advocate for the students and their parents as well as for faculty and staff.” Meantime, she’s learning the geography of the campus — “Just like any freshman,” she quipped — and the community while exploring the beauty and culture of the Golden Isles. The couple has also discovered the magic of beach walks and strolls across campus, greeting everyone they meet. “Smiles are contagious, too,” she laughed. College of Coastal Georgia

Campus Organizations

Honoring Their VALOR

New campus organization strives to make Coastal Georgia a place for veterans


ollege President Greg Aloia has a dream that is shared by many on the Coastal campus – a veteran-friendly campus culture. “I can’t tell you how excited I was when I saw the yardarm flagpole prominently placed on the campus mall and read that it was honoring a naval veteran and legislator, Rep. Joe Wilkinson, one of our state leaders. We also have an active campus veteran organization, VALOR – Veterans Academic Learning Opportunities and Resources,” he cited as examples. “What a powerful statement that makes about the College’s commitment to our military and veterans,” he said. “I have a deep respect for the historical role military veterans have played in our country, from the founding and leadership of our nation to establishing and preserving the freedoms we enjoy today,” he added, explaining his passion. “The best gift we can give our veterans, to thank them for risking their lives in service, is

the opportunity for a solid education and a great degree. That will open more doors for them than anything else.” Aloia personally considers it a moral obligation to assist veterans in achieving bona fide, fully-accredited degrees that they can use anywhere in the United States for jobs or additional education. There are more than 20,800 military veterans living in Brantley, Camden, Glynn, McIntosh and Wayne counties, according to the estimate prepared in December 2012 by the Office of the Actuary for the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Office of Policy and Planning. Approximately 38% of them live in Glynn County, followed closely by Camden County. The College has traditionally had strong ties to the military communities in southeastern Georgia as well as to the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC), which is located at the former Glynco Naval Air Station just north of Brunswick. Since the College

began offering classes in 1964, veterans have been an integral constituency of the non-traditional students group. During spring term 2013, 135 identified veterans exercising their benefits were enrolled at the College as well as 14 Chapter 35 (widow, child) dependents of veterans. During the tenure of Dr. John Teel as president, the College began offering classes on the Kings Bay military base in 1983, a program that was the forerunner to today’s Camden Center – the physical representation of the College’s commitment to the military community in Kingsland. The Camden Center will celebrate its 10th anniversary in May 2014. On May 17, 2013, the Camden Center partnered with the Camden Community Alliance & Resources and the Southeast Georgia Veteran Services Coalition in a Veteran Fair at the Center. The event was open to all current and former veterans, and about 100 people participated in the four-hour mid-day event, according to Holly Christensen, Director of the

Glynco Naval Air Station

Located in the flat pinelands north of Brunswick, the former Glynco Naval Air Station was a base for the Navy’s fleet of airships, commonly known as blimps, which patrolled the coast for marauding German submarines during World War II. The NAS property is now home to the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC). Established in 1942, Glynco played an important role in the defense of the southern Atlantic coast during the war and greatly contributed to the cultural and economic life of Brunswick and Glynn County. (source:

Birghtwork 6

Campus Organizations

In June, the College dedicated a yardarm flagpole honoring retired naval officer Rep. Joe Wilkinson.

Camden Center. There were presentations in the auditorium about services available to veterans, with a variety of organizations manning tables to provide information about their programs in areas such as health, mental health, support services and education. For two years, the College has hosted and the Mariners have played in the Cpl. John R. Stalvey Celebrity Basketball Game that raises money for the Stalvey Foundation to assist local military families in need.

On November 9, VALOR honored the memory of fallen troops with the reading of 100 names of soldiers from Georgia who died during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Above, VALOR Vice President Shawn Boatright introduces guest speaker Col. Franklin Hart Jr., (USMA Ret.).

“These are the types of community engagement the College is known for,” Aloia observed, “but the Veteran Fair is also an example of a service we want to offer veterans on a regular basis.” Aloia is working with veterans to develop an expanded Coastal Georgia program, beginning with a cadre of faculty, staff and students who are military veterans themselves or who regularly work with veterans and are willing to develop and participate in veterans’ initiatives.

Members of the Coastal Georgia basketball teams are pictured with ESPN Radio personalities and celebrities after the second annual Cpl. John R. Stalvey Celebrity Basketball Game


“Maximizing relationships, interacting vet-to-vet and welcoming veterans’ families are important aspects of a veteranfriendly culture,” he stressed. “Veterans understand where other veterans and their families have been and what they are going through.” In addition to establishing the veterans’ council, Aloia hopes to repurpose existing space on campus to create a comfortable veterans’ gathering place for study and socializing. He is looking for space at the Camden Center as well. He emphasized the importance of good academic advising and financial aid counseling. “Any veteran who comes to this campus will receive the information and support critical to achieving timely graduation. I want the College of Coastal Georgia to set the gold standard for veterans’ information.” His track record at Concord University and his enthusiasm for what can be done throughout the University System of Georgia, starting at the College of Coastal Georgia, may have been factors in Aloia’s appointment by Chancellor Hank M. Huckaby to be the USG representative to the state’s Returning Veterans Task Force. College of Coastal Georgia


Partnerships in service E

ven before service-learning became in the Real Life program at the Correll a quality enhancement program Teen Center. Real Life is an after-school adopted by the College to enhance program funded by a federal grant students’ educational experiences, there targeting inner-city youth, helping teens was a blossoming relationship between the graduate from high school with the skills College of Coastal Georgia and the Boys needed to succeed in college and careers. and Girls Clubs of Southeast Georgia. Brian Dolan, Chief Professional Officer, recalled the first project – when faculty and students helped to build raised garden beds at the Terrill Thomas Center. The gardening program was tied to good nutrition and eventually expanded to other centers. Over the following four years, the relationship became a popular servicelearning option and the Boys and Girls Club (BGC) became an enthusiastic community partner of the Center for Service-Learning on campus. Dolan explained the relationship as an exchange of practical ideas and enthusiasm. “Our staff works on campus with students, augmenting classroom instruction and educating Dr. Phillis George and Dannielle Cherrie, Area them about the positive impact of Director at the Boys and Girls Club in Needwood non-profits in the community. The Middle School college students actively engage with BGC as part of their service-learning, improving the quality of the club programs Keller also substitutes as a middle grades and generating new ways to engage the teacher in the Glynn County school system, youngsters. The majority of our partbut around 3 p.m., she heads for the teen time staff are now education majors from center to meet students for after-school Coastal Georgia, an important pipeline for tutoring. “This is an awesome program new talent.” for teens!” she exclaimed enthusiastically. The Boys and Girls Club serves over “They come to the teen center where their 3,600 children through eight locations parents know it is safe and their time is in Glynn County. “The impact on our spent productively, rather than hanging out clubs and youth has been huge,” Dolan on the street. This becomes their second concluded. home. What teens explore and learn here is Sanareena Keller ’13 exemplifies going to make a big difference in their lives. Dolan’s point. The Coastal Georgia And for future educators, the partnership graduate with a BS in middle grades allows us to share our knowledge with education began as a volunteer but the community, outside of the traditional currently works as a part-time student classroom.” account manager, assisting with Dr. Phillis George, Director of the recreational and academic activities Center for Service-Learning and Assistant Birghtwork 8

Professor of Social Science, cited five specific projects partnered with BGC during the 2012-2013 academic year. MGED 4032 - Effective Instruction: Social Science with Dr. Sarah Hartman, Assistant Professor of Education, School of Education and Teacher Preparation. Teaching candidates developed lesson plans and materials for students in grades 4-8 to engage them in learning social studies through interactive, creative methods without requiring textbooks during after-school programs. MATH 2900 – History of Mathematics with Dr. Laura Lynch, Assistant Professor of Mathematics, School of Arts and Sciences. Math students tutored high school students at the Correll Teen Center, researching math topics difficult to grasp by using the perspective of math history to find different ways to explain, more deeply and uniquely, math concepts and solutions. One college student, Robert Chastain ’13, co-authored a mini-grant to buy two robotic kits, then developed a series of activities for the teens linking robotics and mathematics. PSYC 3350 – Sport Psychology with Dr. Carla Bluhm, Associate Professor of Psychology, School of Arts and Sciences. A group of students organized a kayaking excursion with SouthEast Adventures Outfitters, allowing youth from the Correll Teen Center to experience the fun of kayaking, learn about the salt marsh, and enjoy the restorative aspects of nature. The project also required coordination between multiple community organizations. BUSA 2106 – Environment of Business with Dr. Jim Fullerton, Assistant Professor of Management, School of Business and Public Affairs. To gain a better understanding of the interrelationships


Through this service-learning project, I discovered local college students who are passionate about what they do. With a little guidance and some great professors, these college students can go a long way towards positively impacting the lives of kids in this community,” he mused. The story doesn’t end with one class NURS 4205 – Community Focused project. Nursing with Judith Gift, MSN, Dr. Lynch reported that after the Associate Professor Emerita of mini-grant for the two robotics kits Nursing, School of Nursing and was accepted, Chastain, Dr. German Health Sciences. Nursing students Vargas, Chair of the Department of served as a community health Mathematics, and she worked with program planning committee in Correll Teen Center staff to write partnership with the Boys and Girls another grant to purchase more Club of the Altamaha Area (Jesup). robotics kits with accessories. “The They collaborated to plan, implement campus Math Club will continue and evaluate an intervention to work with the teens,” Dr. Vargas addressing health needs of the Math club members Michael Johnston ’14 and Melissa confirmed. community. Focusing on the issue of James ’14 have spent Tuesdays during the fall semester Dr. Hartman is currently working obesity, the college students created tutoring teens in math through robotics at the Correll with Teresa Peeples, Assistant Professor a program to introduce the BGC Teen Center in Brunswick. of Physical Education, on a fall project participants to healthy eating habits, for Jane Macon Middle School. “We nutrition and exercise. are experimenting with teaching 7th grade After the college students were trained social studies through physical education,” themselves on safety and preparing the For Mary Frances Allen ’14, a Dr. Hartman explained. “Our teacher boats, they teamed with the teens and psychology major from St. Simons candidates developed a program around two professional guides provided by the Island, the kayaking project provided one of the social studies standards for that outfitter for a two-hour trip through the an interesting intersection for sports, age group – bartering as practiced in Africa Marshes of Glynn between Rt. 17 and St. memories and her major. “I remembered – and with Professor Peeples’ assistance, Simons Island, leaving from SouthEast kayaking with SouthEast Adventure connected it to physical education by using Adventure’s dock at Marshside Grill. Outfitters when I was in middle school. relay races to barter in salt, diamonds, gold, Michael Gowen, president of SouthEast They provided safety training, so I felt livestock and coffee. During the relay races, Adventure Outfitters in Brunswick and on more comfortable on the water. The teams race each other to beat the clock, St. Simons Island, has been in the kayaking experience was a real confidence booster. competing to score the most resources business for 19 years. He has partnered “I’m not a very athletic person, but this from different parts of Africa by bartering with the Boys and Girls Club before, but aided me in understanding some of the and trading throughout the race. The this was his first time to work with the issues in sport psychology,” Allen said. “It benchmark for success will be comparing College. “I always enjoy working with the was outside the classroom, very handstest results on that section to see how Boys and Girls Club and Special Olympics. on, and I developed networking and effectively students learned the material. A surprising number of kids in Glynn community contacts, one of the goals of “The key is creativity and innovation – County have never experienced the beach service-learning. The kayaking project was problem-solving in real-world experiences,” or the marsh. It’s gratifying to see how more than a grade; we wanted to positively Dr. Hartman concluded. “It leads to much they enjoy it,” he explained. impact the kids our team worked with. enhanced learning, not only for our Coastal “As you get older, things become more of Most of our participants, about 20 of them , students, but also for students across the an effort. It’s too easy to forget that making were 14 or 15 years old and hadn’t kayaked school system. Service-learning adds an time and investing some energy can make a before. We used tandem kayaks to increase even higher calling to what we are doing.” difference in the world, a few kids at a time. their experience of team work,” she added. between business, government and non-profits, the college students provided a range of assistance, including mentoring, to the Correll Teen Center and the Real Life program.


College of Coastal Georgia

Campus Organizations

Graduating with Honors T

wo institutions have historically represented academic honors on the Coastal Georgia campus: the Omicron Omega Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa and the Honors Day ceremony in April. But with the transformation of the College to a baccalaureate school, new honors programs and honor societies are becoming the seal of approval for academic achievement. Honors Day traditionally provides an opportunity for academic departments, campus organizations, deans and the College president to recognize outstanding students in an assembly open to family members –achievements frequently conveyed with degrees during traditional commencement exercises at baccalaureate and graduate schools. Phi Theta Kappa is the international honor society for community colleges. To be eligible for a membership invitation, a student must have completed at least 12 hours of associate degree course work with a cumulative 3.5 GPA. The purpose of the honor society is to recognize and encourage scholarship among two-year college students. The Omicron Omega Chapter was chartered on January 30, 1967, when Coastal was Brunswick Junior College. The initial members were Marlene Gay Chittenden, Claudia Jane Harmon, Larry Henderson Jackson, Minnie A. Taylor and Helen Richards Whittle, with Walter Skinner, Dean of Student Affairs, serving as sponsor. “Phi Theta Kappa has celebrated academic honors with distinction on this campus for 46 years,” explained Dr. Robert Bleil, Assistant Professor of English and one of the faculty advisors to the Omicron

Omega Chapter. “Now the College’s emphasis is progression and graduation with four-year degrees. Instead of serving as a pipeline for other baccalaureate schools, we are one. Our graduates will be competing for acceptance and scholarships in coveted graduate programs, not only in Georgia, but also in the national and global arena. Graduating with honors and the recognition honor societies represent is an important factor in that competition.” Consequently, the College has become a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society, which has more than 400 chapters at colleges and universities around the world and over 2 million members – the world’s largest honor society. “Golden Key actually began in the state of Georgia – Georgia State University in Atlanta - during 1977. By 1978, six chapters were established, including UGA and the University of Florida. The society’s growth was exponential,” Dr. Bleil said. “They uphold standards of excellence on campus and beyond through achievement in academics, leadership and service, making it a natural fit for us.” According to Dr. Bleil, an initial comparison of eligibility requirements and Coastal Georgia students’ grades indicated as many as 255 students may currently qualify for membership in the prestigious program. The first induction of members into the College of Coastal Georgia Chapter of the Golden Key will occur in spring 2014. The interest in honor societies extends to those unique to specific disciplines as well as for overall scholastic achievement.

Birghtwork 10

Dr. Jennifer Hatchel, Assistant Professor of Biology, is pursuing College membership in Beta Beta Beta (also known as TriBeta), the national biological honor society. Psi Chi, the international honors society for both undergraduate and graduate students of psychology, is processing Coastal Georgia’s charter application, according to Dr. Kimberly Kinsey Mannahan, Assistant Professor of Psychology, and she hopes Coastal’s chapter will be established by the end of this semester. “I am very excited to have a chapter of Psi Chi at CCGA. I was a member of Psi Chi as an undergraduate and the vice president of my chapter in graduate school the year we won the National Chapter of the Year Award. It was very exciting! I was also a faculty sponsor of Psi Chi for three years at Agnes Scott College before coming to CCGA. Being a member of Psi Chi has contributed in many ways to the psychologist and scholar I am today,” she said. “Having a chapter of Psi Chi on our campus will complement our psychology program and be another reason that College of Coastal Georgia is a College of Choice to pursue a degree in psychology.” Some of the benefits and programs Dr. Mannahan listed include international recognition in psychology that can be included on resumes; opportunities to network, collaborate and present research at regional and national psychological association meetings; and certificates for accomplishment as well as opportunities to receive awards and grants. “Being a member of Psi Chi also meets one of the requirements for entrance at the GS-7 level in professional and technical occupations in the U.S. government,” she added.

Campus Organizations

The Crest – 1967

recognizable institutions. I’m proud to cachet an international honor society Dr. Hatchel agrees that membership in call myself a Mariner and firmly believe an honor society deepens students’ interest imparts. “Membership in these types of organizations will link students in a shared that I have been better prepared for future in their academic field. From a faculty success because of the personal attention effort to improve their undergraduate perspective, participation promotes more I’ve received from my professors. The fact experience and connect them with others collaborative interaction with talented that Coastal is building relationships with who can help them pursue their graduate students and more interdisciplinary and attracting these preeminent scholarly degree. It adds an additional layer of studies between the biology faculty and societies makes me all the more confident affirmation to students that only honor others on campus. that CCGA was the right choice for me.” societies can provide and rewards those “TriBeta meetings expose members Coastal Georgia has a longwho show dedication to their studies.” to experts in various fields of biology standing tradition of student-faculty As president of the Psychology Club, and encourage interaction with other collaboration, but Dr. Bleil believes he attested to the club members’ efforts to science majors. I think students will be that reputation will be enhanced by provide an academic network to increase excited about this organization because membership in the National Council the level of connectedness members feel of the opportunities it provides and on Undergraduate the camaraderie it Research. “We’re promotes. I was a in the process of member of TriBeta applying. The Council when I was in college. I promotes highmade new friends and quality undergraduate found compatriots for collaborative research study groups.” and scholarship, Biology major with a national Deanna Bicek ’14 conference that from Kingsland is past provides opportunities president of Phi Theta to showcase prime Kappa and looking examples of this type forward to a TriBeta of academic work. chapter on campus and They also share the addition of Golden the importance of Key. “An invitation undergraduate research to an honor society with state legislatures, is also an incentive Members of the College’s Omicron Omega Chapter, chartered on January 30, 1967, private foundations and to keep excelling,” when Coastal was Brunswick Junior College. (L to R) Claudia Jane Harmon, Dean of Student Affairs Walter Skinner, Marlene Gay Chittenden, Larry Henderson Jackson, government agencies.” she explained. College President Earl Hargett and Helen Richards Whittle. He also views it as “Honor societies are support for faculty great motivators. development. “This is The recognition for academic enrichment: opportunities for to the College and their future profession, studying, hard work and homework is challenging research by faculty and for but noted it is only effective at the campus more than just a line on my resume. It promoting closer interaction with students opens doors to more opportunities. When level. “Honor societies, such as Psi Chi, in advanced aspects of their studies.” are the perfect vehicle for establishing I became a member of PTK, I began He pointed out that these programs professional networks we can tap into. receiving invitations to apply to other allow students to take an active part in These field-specific societies will enable schools and scholarship foundations.” shaping their own education. “Rather than us to connect to peers and professionals She concluded, “For students a broad survey, students can explore topics around the world in a way that we haven’t considering Coastal Georgia, an array in depth. Students can design their own yet been able to do.” of national honor societies shows that course enhancements with inquiry-based He summarized, “As a Connection we acknowledge academic excellence. activities, not only through independent Leader here at Coastal, I have had the That’s important to serious students. And opportunity to lead orientation with many study and research, but also through the programs and activities those honor faculty collaboration. And when students of our incoming freshmen, and there societies provide make campus life even are applying for scholarships, internships, are those that still hold the erroneous more interesting.” graduate schools or jobs, this gives them a perception that our college is just a Daniel Fleuren ’14, a psychology competitive edge.” stepping stone to move on to larger, more major from Morrow, relishes the 11

College of Coastal Georgia

First-Year Experience



ow do you introduce a diverse group of first-year college students to the practice of reading complex material, reflecting on that content, and engaging in civil discourse about ethics, death, and whether the end results justify the means? Not the answers learned for test scores, but the questions asked in life? How do you create a learning community? A freshmen “common read” – a book read and openly, actively discussed across campus, not just in classrooms – is one way of sparking interactive engagement with learning. For Coastal Georgia, the choice for fall term is The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, published in 2010 and, at the end of November 2013, still on the New York Times’ bestseller list for paperback nonfiction after 141 weeks. Reviewing the book for Coastal Illustrated last November, librarian Cary Knapp wrote about the 2013 freshmen common read: “They will be required to read a book that will encourage them to read beyond textbooks, raise awareness and tolerance of intergenerational and cultural likenesses and differences, promote academic conversation and critical thinking, provide an introduction to the expectations of higher education, and create a sense of community by increasing student-tostudent and student-to-faculty interaction.” Knapp described the book as “an extraordinary work of nonfiction that

touches on cancer, race, scientific advances, gender, ethics, genetics, class and poverty.” Junior Mark Brown participated in the selection process. He viewed a common read as foundational to learning how to study. “You actually have to read the book to participate,” he emphasized. “This is a book upperclassmen can enjoy. As a pre-med student, I found the biology and the medical processes incredibly interesting and well-presented. The book changes your perspective, especially when thinking about patients and their families.

Birghtwork 12

The medical profession has changed since Henrietta Lacks was a cancer patient – at least in terms of race and class – but we need to remain mindful of this aspect of medicine and medical research.” Considering the over-arching purpose of a common read, Brown noted, “Books like this open conversations about difficult topics and issues we often don’t even know exist. Plus it encourages discussions between freshmen and upperclassmen, as well as faculty.” Brown is the 2013-2014 vice president of the campus Student Government Association (SGA) as well as a sports commentator for Mariners athletic events. This year will be his second as a Connection Leader for CCGA 1101, serving as a mentor and social facilitator for freshmen. So how does a busy biology major manage to read a major nonfiction work? “I make it a priority,” he laughed. “You just add it to the pile and make sure you keep reading between classes and games.” In addition to actually reading and discussing the book across campus, a series of programs and related movies were scheduled during September and October. Included were a visit to campus by Lacks family members Shirley Lacks and Jeri Lacks Whye on September 23 and a medical ethics panel discussion on October 7. “The book is primarily geared towards freshmen in the first year who are enrolled

First-Year Experience



in the following year [2013] once we had time to get a committee together to explore book options.” The committee that elected Skloot’s book included two students, faculty, a librarian and administrators: Dr. Ann Crowther in Academic Services; Dawana Gibbs, School of Nursing and Health Sciences faculty representative; Dr. Don Mathews, School of Business and Public Affairs faculty representative; Dr. Jennifer Gray, Coordinator of the Writing Center; Dr. Jennifer Hatchell, School of Arts and Sciences faculty representative; psychology major Jessica Mobley ’13; pre-professional biology major Mark Brown ’15; Dr. Michael Hazelkorn, Dean of the School of Education and Teacher Preparation; Niki Schmauch, Coordinator for First-Year Programs; Dr. Phillip Mason, Vice President of Academic Affairs; Kay Hampton, Associate Vice President; Cary Knapp, the public services librarian; and Dr. Leming. Several of the same people, including Brown, are on the 2013-2014 selection committee chaired by Dr. Leming, reviewing nominated books for fall 2014. “Personally, I’d like for us to read something specific to this area next fall – perhaps a local author or a subject unique to southeastern Georgia – that would enable us to learn more about this community,” Brown suggested. Meanwhile, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is available at The Lighthouse (the College’s bookstore) and through the Gould Memorial Library.

Floyd Phoenix

selected as a common read for two livingin ENGL 1101. There will be some learning communities in Lakeside Village: incorporation of the book into upper the African-American Male Initiative level courses as faculty find connections and the Women Engaged in Leadership between the book’s themes and course content.” Dr. Heidi Leming, Vice President and Learning (WELL). Students in these of Student Affairs, said, “Ideally, we would summer bridge programs read the book want the entire campus to be involved in discussing the themes from the book, but only freshmen are required to participate. The programs and speakers that Student Affairs sponsors in connection with the book, are open to the entire campus.” When Dr. Leming interviewed for the vice president’s position at Coastal Georgia, the idea of a common read was bounced around as worth exploring. “I had worked to incorporate Members of the Lacks family visited campus, spoke to a reading program at Austin students and signed books on September 23. Peay State University and, when working on the QEP at the University of Georgia, spent time as part of their instructional activities and researching best practices in first-year had an opportunity for an alternative fall student programs,” Dr. Leming explained. break trip to the Gulf Coast tied to themes “Common read programs have been in the book. around for some time in higher education “All the participants resided on the same and are regarded as one of many academic residence hall floor and were enrolled in engagement tools used with freshmen to a common CCGA 1101 course for the introduce them to the academic culture fall semester. We selected Trethewey’s of an institution as well as to build book so we could explore connections community among students, faculty and between the book and the author, who staff. The combination of both of these is was scheduled to be the keynote speaker what led me to spearhead CCGA’s efforts at the 2012 Georgia Literary Festival held to develop a common read program.” on Jekyll Island in November,” Dr. Leming The summer of 2012 was the pilot for a continued. “From the beginning, our plan common read. U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha was to expand the program campus-wide Trethewey’s memoir, Beyond Katrina, was

College of Coastal Georgia

Wilson studies members of the resident population of long-tailed macaques on Tinjil Island, Indonesia. (photo by Fransica Vidal Garcia)

Birghtwork 14

Monkey Business A

yla Wilson ’14 thought she wanted to be a lawyer when she started her coursework at Coastal Georgia. Instead, she will graduate in May with a B.S. in psychology and plans for graduate school in animal behavior and neuroscience. “Examining your life draws you to psychology as you try to make sense of what you’ve seen and experienced,” she said. But it was her abiding interest in the great apes and monkeys and the opportunity to be mentored by Dr. Karen Hambright, a primatologist and Professor of Psychology at Coastal, that influenced her choice of major. “There’s something they have that we, as humans, have lost. I feel my place in the world with them,” she explained. “This isn’t anthropomorphism – I don’t want a chimp in the house. But they have a consistent innocence, they communicate, they express emotions and they build relationships. I want to understand that better.” Last summer she received a Foundation scholarship, funded by Dr. and Mrs. Joel Drew, to attend the 35th annual meeting of the American Society of Primatologists with Dr. Hambright in Sacramento, CA, where doors of opportunity began to open. She made many connections, such as Dr. Kimberley Phillips, cognitive neuroscientist and Associate Professor of Psychology at Trinity University in San Antonio, TX, and Dr. James Else, Associate Professor of Pathology (now retired) at Emory University in Atlanta, who invited Wilson to visit the Yerkes National Primate Research Center Field

Station during fall term 2012. Dr. Hambright also introduced her to Dr. Randy Kyes, a renowned research professor at the University of Washington in Seattle and director of the Center for Global Field Study. Dr. Kyes is also a core scientist at the Washington National Primate Research Center and has established collaborative field training

There’s something they have that we, as humans, have lost. I feel my place in the world with them,” — Ayla Wilson ‘14

programs in conservation biology and global health in Indonesia, Nepal, Bangladesh, China, Thailand, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mexico and India. They discussed the possibility of Wilson’s attending his field school in late summer 2013 on Tinjil Island, Indonesia, where she would learn the essentials of field work, conduct a research project observing longtailed macaques in their natural habitat, study with Dr. Kyes and an international cohort of scientists and students, and engage in an international community service-learning project. The 18th Annual International Field Study Program (IFSP) in Indonesia, organized by the Center for Global Field Study at the University of Washington, is


an interdisciplinary education program and collaboration with the Pusat Studi Satwa Primata (Primate Research Center) at Bogor Agricultural University in Bogor, West Java, Indonesia. The program, funded by small grants, private donations and student fees, is designed to provide field-based educational training and research for students and scientists interested in conservation biology, animal behavior, primatology, environmental science and global health at a unique intersection of human, wildlife and environmental interfaces. The field study also provides cultural-exchange and service-learning opportunities. The Republic of Indonesia is an archipelago of approximately 17,508 islands grouped in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Tinjil Island is located off the south coast of Banten. A mixture of lowland tropical rainforest and coastal beach vegetation, the island is surrounded by a coral reef and inhabited by rats, bats, crustaceans, insects, monitor lizards, pythons and a primate population of over 1,300 free-ranging long-tailed macaque monkeys. The environment is remote and challenging. Wilson was one of 13 students, only three of whom were from the U.S., selected to participate in the field study from August 15 through September 10, 2013. “When I received my acceptance in March from Dr. Kyes, I couldn’t believe it was really happening. In fact, it wouldn’t have without the help of my family, the College and mentors like Steven Mansfield and Dr. Hambright,” she recalled. “I was College of Coastal Georgia


Above A map of Indonesia. The red star indicates Tinjil Island Right: An older orangutan orphan wraps arms around Wilson. (photo courtesy of Ayla Wilson) Opposite Right: Wilson meets her first working elephant. (photo courtesy of Ayla Wilson) Opposite Left: Dr. Randall C. Kyes, Research Professor and Director of the Center for Global Field Study, with Wilson at the Tinjil Island field site. (photo by Dr. Pensri Kyes)

going to have this incredible opportunity to learn how to conduct research in the field with a highly respected primatologist – an experience that would help me get into graduate programs and further my knowledge in research methods. I am so grateful.” Although the field study meant a delayed start to her regular coursework for fall semester, she will receive academic credits and service-learning credit for the research trip under a special topics course. Wilson, who was one of the inaugural recipients of a service-learning scholarship her junior year at Coastal, serves on the Community Outreach Student Committee and as a student representative on the College’s Service-Learning Advisory Committee. She received an Excellence in Service Learning Student Award in April.

Global service-learning is essential to the programs Dr. Kyes has designed as a way of giving back to the host communities. For the Indonesia field study, the program includes educating the local 4th and 5th graders about the importance of their “backyard” – the habitat and the creatures which share it with them. “Dr. Kyes has had children whom he and his students educated in years past return to the field school as university students in their own country and in GFSP field study programs in other habitat countries and pursue graduate careers in global conservation and health,” Dr. Hambright noted. Wilson and her field study team members spent a concentrated four days preparing the all-day outreach education program for the local children. “The relationship with the community, our base

Birghtwork 16

camp at a fishing village which is 1 ½ hours by boat from Tinjil, and with the village schools is highly collaborative. Part of what makes this program work is that Dr. Kyes and his team of collaborators have made it a priority to maintain longterm relationships with the people living in these communities. They have returned year after year, doing what they said they were going to do. This is important in designing effective programs that foster change because trust and commitments to shared goals are essential in building lasting relationships that generate positive change. We were greeted with warm enthusiasm. The children get to know us through singing and dancing with them, so our own cultural education started with an exchange – learning their school songs!” Wilson said. “We hosted about 100 kids and three teachers. Our focus was simple

conservation biology using lots of pictures. Following the discussion, which was presented in their dialect, we interacted in small groups as the children drew their own pictures, reflecting their concerns about their environment. Dr. Kyes has been doing this for 23 years, so he has helped to educate multiple generations about protecting their assets – their own backyards. Consistently planting those seeds of change – that habitat destruction and conflict with the wildlife for limited resources isn’t their only option – is transitional. They see it doesn’t have to be that way. Educating children, who then grow up to educate the next generation, eventually changes attitudes.” Wilson summed it up, “This trip gave me a new outlook on just how big our world is and that there are people who care about protecting it, not only for our

future but for the next generations because we are all in this together.” Her cohort for the field study included American, Indonesian and Mexican graduate and undergraduate students. Working in discussion groups, they explored the human impact on habitat, alternative energy sources, climate change, allocation of resources, pathogen vectors and sustainability. “Dr. Kyes stressed the importance of scientific research and for us to look at the ‘big picture’ in conservation biology. Our goal is not only to investigate how organisms interact with the environment, but as scientists, we must become better educators. We have a responsibility to make our findings public knowledge. “The material was translational rather than species-specific,” she continued. “The emphasis was connectivity. The


work and research were hard, but I have a new confidence, especially after acquiring skills such as anesthetic darting with a blow gun and using radio telemetry and GPS for tracking. “Graduate school acceptance is contingent on more than grades. Commitment, focus, openness to new experiences, in-depth research, contacts and curiosity – these are also part of the equation,” she observed. “It’s not just about intensely studying orangutans or macaques. But you know, I think I could have stayed in the field for the rest of my life. It was that absorbing.” Wilson will be applying for additional field study opportunities with Dr. Kyes. She has also been invited to work with Dr. Phillips at the neuroscience lab at Trinity University this summer, following graduation in May. College of Coastal Georgia

Student Profile

Taking it to the Bank

Kristopher Felipe Harper ’15


ristopher Felipe Harper ’15 began his freshman year unsure what direction his studies would follow. But this summer, his career goals solidified with an internship at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s Atlanta Regional Office. “The FDIC participates in career fairs at colleges and universities across the country through the Pathways Program,” Harper explained. “The program offers clear routes to federal positions, through waged internships, for students to discover federal careers while still attending college and also provides preparation and career development opportunities for launching federal service careers.” Harper located the Pathways Program this spring through the USAJOBS website that Brian Weese, Coordinator of Career Services for the College, suggested he explore. “One of my goals for sophomore year was an internship to gain more experience in the business world. I owe Brian Weese a lot of thanks for helping me take advantage of this phenomenal opportunity. “I could not only send my application through the website,” Harper continued, “but I also could have Mr. Weese critique my resume before submitting it. Once I completed the submission, my name was placed in a database and I began the wait to see if an FDIC employer would contact me. I received a phone call from FDIC headquarters in Washington by early April, asking if I would be interested in working over the summer at their Atlanta regional office. By the end of the month, I had a telephone interview and nailed it. Career Services did an awesome job helping me prepare for the interview and constructing a better resume. I recommend it as a great resource that more students should use.”

Harper can’t imagine a better internship experience for a business major than working at the FDIC. “They provide summer interns with a solid comprehension of the corporation’s responsibility to our financial system, insuring deposits and building confidence in the nation’s financial status, while also providing an opportunity for public service. I was assigned to the bank file room department, doing administrative work such as filing and entering classified information into a database.” An active student, Harper already has a variety of experiences, from part-time work with the Boys and Girls Club at Needwood Middle School to serving as a student orientation leader on campus during summer 2012. He is a senator in the Student Government Association, treasurer of the Rotaract Club and a member of the Business Student Society. As a high school senior, the Jesup native received acceptance letters from

Birghtwork 18

big universities both inside and outside the state, but he wasn’t convinced a big university was the right match for him. “Coastal Georgia was the right choice for me because it was small. Small classes enabled me to connect more with the professors, which strongly helped my academic performance,” Harper explained. “I took advantage of the Center for Academic Success mentoring program where Don Jones, my assigned mentor, helped me overcome some of the obstacles I was facing at college. Plus Coastal Georgia makes earning a college education affordable. The Foundation offers scholarships and I qualified for the HOPE and Dreams Scholarship after my freshman year.” Harper was excited to be invited to return to the FDIC for a second internship next summer. The right combination of college, Career Services and an interesting summer internship have launched his future. Full sails ahead!

Student Services

Career Services Office Plan. Prepare. Pursue Your Dreams.

Career Services Office is a key resource for Coastal Georgia students and alumni Did you know that the College of Coastal Georgia’s Career Services Office provides free services to CCGA alumni as well as to students? It’s true! CCGA graduates have a lifetime membership to the Career Services “club” with programs that include:

Resume and Cover-Letter Assistance

Students and alumni can use the resume builder in Coastal Careerlink to develop an effective resume or cover letter in just a few clicks. They can then submit the resume or cover letter for a professional staff review, receiving feedback and tips to ensure employers see their qualifications and skills in a concise, professional format.

Job Search Assistance

Coastal Careerlink contains a database of employers who are actively seeking CCGA students and graduates to fill positions. Students and alumni can instantly submit resumes directly to employers with open positions. The system contains over six million national job listings through partner institutions. Coastal Careerlink provides contact information, websites, social media sites, videos and background information on more than 100 local employers as well. Student and alumni resumes can be added to the College’s online resume books where employers search for our qualified job candidates.

Interview Preparation

Interviewstream is Career Services’ online mock interview system. Interviewstream allows participants to practice interview skills online from anywhere using any computer/tablet/ smartphone with a webcam. Students and alumni can choose from 6,000 interview questions to craft an interview

for a particular industry or use one of the customized interviews designed by Career Services staff. Students and alumni may contact Career Services to activate a personal Interviewstream account. In addition, the office hosts monthly Mock Interview Mondays on campus to give students and alumni the opportunity to practice their interview skills in a low pressure but highly informative setting. The Mock Interview Monday schedule is posted on Coastal Careerlink, where a 30-minute time slot can be reserved. After completing the interview, participants can watch their performance and even submit the video to Career Services staff for a professional review.

Alumni Newsletter

All alumni registered in Coastal Careerlink will receive a monthly e-newsletter designed specifically for Coastal Georgia graduates. The e-newsletter contains information on new employment opportunities posted to Coastal Careerlink as well as a schedule of all upcoming workshops and events hosted by Career Services.


Career Services offers multiple workshops throughout the year. Workshops include Knock ‘em Dead - Job Fair Techniques That Really Work, Ace That Interview, Dining Etiquette and Resumes That Sizzle. The workshop schedule is also posted on Coastal Careerlink. Space is limited, so prompt RSVPs are recommended.

Keeping in Touch

Coastal Careerlink and Facebook are Career Services’ two primary tools for spreading the word about upcoming events and opportunities, but Twitter


Brian Weese, Career Services Coordinator is also used to announce programs and new job openings. Career Services’ Pinterest boards post useful information on topics such as job searching, resume writing and dressing for success. Career Services LinkedIn page even provides a great way to reconnect with other CCGA alumni.

Opportunity Knocks

The Career Services Office seeks CCGA alumni to share experiences and expertise with current students through presentations, workshops, meet-and-greet opportunities and other networking events. Area employers are invited to use Coastal Careerlink free of charge to post openings and recruit the best candidates in southeastern Georgia. For more information about student and alumni career services at the College of Coastal Georgia, email Career Services Coordinator Brian Weese (bweese Career Services is one of several programs offered by the College of Coastal Georgia which provide students with exciting degrees, internships and service-learning opportunities focused on dynamic careers and which promote community partnerships and economic development throughout Southeast Georgia. Learn more at College of Coastal Georgia

Student Profile

Glass Ceilings Mei Zi Lai ’14 G

lass ceilings can exist in education as well as in corporate careers, Mei Zi Lai ’14 learned. After graduating from the Singapore Stamford College with an associate degree in marketing management, the Beijing resident began working for Ericsson (China) Communications Company, Ltd. With more than 10 years of experience in business management, plus a two-year stint as an associate editor of Modern Bride China while majoring in English at the Beijing Foreign Language University, she voluntarily resigned her position as a marketing manager in Ericsson’s broadband network solutions department. She was determined to study in the United States, seeking an advanced business and marketing degree with more opportunities. First stop was San Francisco, where she took classes at City College of San Francisco with marketing internships at Biometrix, Inc. and Li-Ning USA. A blossoming relationship with a Brunswick resident led to frequent visits to the Georgia coast during 2010, where she witnessed an amazing transformation. “The college changed so quickly! I decided to move to Brunswick in June 2010 and transferred to Coastal Georgia for an American degree – a BBA with a concentration in economics,” she said. Her ultimate goal is to work for a multi-national corporation in market research. “I enjoy research and analysis of data. Here, I can build my experience and take advantage of more options for higher education, such as earning an MBA while I’m working,” she explained. “One day I hope I can pursue a career with a company such as the Georgia Ports

Authority, using my translation skills and understanding of Chinese business.” Lai started a new internship in August, conducting market research for the Coastal Regional Commission in Darien. She credits Career Services for helping her achieve the local internship. “Brian [Weese] showed me how to use the Coastal Careerlink website, introducing recommended formats for cover letters and resumes. He also showed me how to look for potential employers and helped me contact some opportunities. In reviewing my submission, he provided valuable suggestions to improve my presentation,

Birghtwork 20

such as including my work with the magazine, which encompassed translating content from English to Chinese as well as publishing articles I had written. He even volunteered to help me rehearse my interview, which increased my confidence. Sometimes I still get nervous when I’m speaking in English.” The international student admits Brunswick was a big change from the big cities of Beijing and San Francisco, but she is happy to be here. “The people are so hospitable, so friendly. And I like the sunshine. In San Francisco, I never got to wear short sleeves,” she laughed.

Student Profile

To be a Nurse Meredith Burch ’14 M

eredith Burch ’14 spent most of her summer evenings sleeping. The St. Simons Island resident didn’t spend much time at the beach, either. Instead, she was up by 4 a.m., well ahead of the sun, and scrubbing up by 6:15 a.m. for the operating room (OR) of the Southeast Georgia Health System hospital in Brunswick, just a couple of blocks from the College campus. The nursing major spent nine weeks of summer as a paid OR extern - not for college credit, but for the experience. “OR was my first externship and I loved it. The opportunity exposed me to so many more experiences than a two-day clinical rotation could. That’s important when deciding your area of specialization,” Burch explained. “Plus the operating room is a different environment than working on the floors. It’s a very controlled, tightly scheduled world requiring intense teamwork between the doctors, nurses and scrub techs. Because of the trust and skills necessary, the relationships are highly symbiotic. There is less interaction with the patient, but more with the doctors. You learn critical skills for effectively interacting and communicating with the surgeons and scrub techs which benefit any aspect of nursing. “Believe me, they put you through your paces and review the standards with us in detail daily,” she emphasized. Since she was a 10-year-old child growing up in Woodstock, GA, Burch has known she wanted to be a nurse. “But I chickened out in college and got a business degree instead,” she laughed. After nine years as a mortgage loan processor, she hit that point in life where she decided to

return to her dream. “I appreciate it now. I wouldn’t have, fully, at 18,” she admitted, “and I have close friends who have encouraged me every step of the way.” She also appreciated the financial assistance she received to pursue her BSN: the Women’s Club of Brunswick and, through the College Foundation, the Gerald A. Zell Nursing Scholarship. Burch has maintained a high academic average in the process, appearing on either the President’s List or the Dean’s List each semester while also volunteering at the hospital. She credits getting eight hours of sleep every night for helping her survive the rigorous academic preparation. “That’s why I was in bed, asleep, by 7:30 p.m. most


of the summer,” she confessed. “I learned after the first month of returning to college that I’d retain information better if I was rested. I needed that even more than additional hours of study time.” Burch credits the teaching staff of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences with having her well prepared for the externship. “They are great teachers. I learned more than I ever thought I could and I never felt I was floundering in OR. That’s a good feeling,” she said. She was excited to learn the hospital retained two of last year’s OR externs. “Southeast Georgia Health System is a great place to work. I hope I’ll be asked to return after I graduate,” she concluded. College of Coastal Georgia

Coach Cox G

erald Cox already has a plan for next fall, but this plan doesn’t involve teaching the basics of the motion offense or the matchup zone defense to the Mariners. The longtime College of Coastal Georgia men’s basketball coach plans to be on the Outer Banks of North Carolina with a fishing pole in his hand and his wife Polly by his side early next fall. Together, they might even watch the sun set from the shores of the Atlantic Ocean while listening to the waves crash against a bed of rocks along a sandy bank. He’ll go to bed at night thinking about his fishing spot for the next

Birghtwork 22

By Kevin Price

day while hearing the ocean breeze come through the open windows of his oceanfront room rather than the echoes of basketballs bouncing off the wood floor or rattling around the rims in Howard Coffin Gym. For the first time in more than three decades, Cox won’t be preparing for another college basketball season with the Mariners. That’s strange for him to even fathom, but finally he’s prepared to hang up his whistle and let someone else be in charge of the program he resurrected many years ago. “I just felt like it was time,” said Cox, who announced his retirement effective at the end of the 2013-’14 season during a press conference

Intercollegiate Athletics To put his tenure at Coastal Georgia in an even broader perspective, Cox has been one of the few constants on the campus through three name changes for the College while also working under four different college presidents during his many years of service to the school. “I guess that means I’m adaptable,” he joked. Obviously, Cox has seen the game he coaches and loves change, too. During his time on the Mariners sideline, he has witnessed a number of changes, from the length of the players’ shorts to the rules of the game, many of which have forced him to change his coaching strategies and his recruiting philosophies. Two that have had the biggest impact on the floor are the slam dunk and the three-point shot, which changed the way the game is played both around the basket and along the perimeter. “The dunk wasn’t allowed in college basketball when I first started coaching in college,” Cox points out. Cox took over at Truett-McConnell in time for the 1970-’71 season which was his first as a head coach of a college team. He

The Cox File

Year School W L 70-71 Truett-McConnell 21 11 71-72 Truett-McConnell 17 11 72-73 Truett-McConnell 28 4 73-74 Truett-McConnell 24 8 74-75 Truett-McConnell 11 20 75-76 Truett-McConnell 16 11 76-77 Truett-McConnell 14 16 77-78 Truett-McConnell 4 22 82-83 Brunswick Jr. College 13 13 83-84 Brunswick Jr. College 20 9 84-85 Brunswick Jr. College 19 9 85-86 Brunswick Jr. College 23 9 86-87 Brunswick Jr. College 9 17 87-88 Brunswick Jr. College 21 8 88-89 Brunswick College 15 11 89-90 Brunswick College 11 18 90-91 Brunswick College 9 17 91-92 Brunswick College 27 7 92-93 Brunswick College 19 13 93-94 Brunswick College 9 21 94-95 Brunswick College 9 12 95-96 Brunswick College 16 15 96-97 Coastal Georgia CC 16 13 97-98 Coastal Georgia CC 7 22 98-99 Coastal Georgia CC 8 20 99-00 Coastal Georgia CC 15 12 00-01 Coastal Georgia CC 20 12 01-02 Coastal Georgia CC 24 11 02-03 Coastal Georgia CC 10 21 03-04 Coastal Georgia CC 17 13 04-05 Coastal Georgia CC 23 8 05-06 Coastal Georgia CC 22 10 06-07 Coastal Georgia CC 19 11 07-08 Coastal Georgia CC 8 23 08-09 Coastal Georgia CC 21 9 09-10 Coll. of Coastal Georgia 18 15 10-11 Coll. of Coastal Georgia 24 9 11-12 Coll. of Coastal Georgia 6 23 12-13 Coll. of Coastal Georgia 7 23 620 537 College Archives

at the Howard Coffin Gymnasium in late September. “My wife and I have been thinking about this for a couple of years, maybe more, and just decided it was time. There are things we would like to do together that require time.” One of those is to enjoy an extended stay on the Outer Banks, a place Cox always enjoyed visiting as a young boy who grew up in North Carolina. He’s been back numerous times since his coaching career began, but never for several weeks at a time like he plans to do next fall. No matter when he went previously, there was usually something that forced him to return earlier than he would have liked, and chances are it was something related to coaching Mariners basketball. That won’t be the case this time. Cox will coach his 32nd and final season with the Mariners this year and he will end his successful coaching career having spent 40 years on the bench at the collegiate level. He has been at Coastal Georgia since 1982, when he came here to revive the men’s program that had been dormant for several years. During his time with the Mariners, Cox has compiled 485 wins and needs just 15 more in his final season to reach the 500-victory milestone with the program. While coaching the Mariners during their junior-college years from 1982-2011, Cox led the team to seven conference championships (1984, 1986, 1988, 1992, 1999, 2001, 2002) while also taking two teams (1986 and 2002) to Hutchinson, KS, for the Sweet 16 of the National Junior College Athletic Association national tournament. In 39 seasons in college basketball, Cox, who also was head coach for eight seasons at Truett-McConnell, has a 620-537 overall record, while coaching in more than 1,100 games between the two schools combined. That’s a lot of basketball, he admits, as he ponders his longevity in the game. “Time flies when you’re having fun, I guess. But thinking of it like that makes it seem like I’ve been here even longer than I have,” Cox said.

The 1986 Mariners finished 23-9 and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen of the NJCAA National tournament in Hutchinson, KS.


College of Coastal Georgia

Intercollegiate Athletics

can only imagine what the dunk shot could have meant for his 1972-’73 team at the Cleveland, GA, school. “I had quite a few on that team that could dunk the ball and would have loved to do it,” Cox said. He calls that team the best he has ever coached, anywhere. The team finished 28-4 for the season, but lost in the postseason short of Hutchinson, where the junior college national championship has long been decided. “We split with Dalton in the regular season and lost to them in the region tournament,” Cox explains. “That was probably the worst loss ever because we didn’t make it to Hutch, and I thought we had a chance at winning it. Dalton made it to the Final Four that year, I believe.” Of course, at Coastal Georgia, Cox has enjoyed a lot of winning seasons, including several that ended with championship victories. But like any strong competitor, Cox remembers the painful losses as much as the sweet triumphs. “The double-overtime loss at Middle Georgia and then the one here at home against Waycross in our last two years as a junior college probably hurt as much as any,” Cox said. Both of those came in the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association championship game and kept the Mariners from having the chance to play in the national tournament. Cox says knowing the game in 2011 against Waycross was Coastal Georgia’s last as a junior college team made it harder to swallow. But as much as the wins and losses, Cox says the relationships that he has formed with the hundreds of coaches, players and numerous others he has encountered while coaching basketball will be among the things he cherishes most from his career. “It’s more about the people. That’s what makes it special,” he said. And for Cox, after all of those years roaming the hardwood in Brunswick, most of his basketball colleagues associate him with the Mariners. It was the Brunswick Junior College program, the opportunity to return to intercollegiate athletics and a chance to put his personal stamp on a new product that attracted him to the Golden Isles all those years ago. Little did he know back then, he wouldn’t seal the envelope shut until 32 years later, well after his children were out on their own after growing up in the Golden Isles and also many years after his wife Polly had retired from teaching in the Glynn County Schools system. “I’ve always been happy here,” Cox said. “I’ve been approached about other jobs and looked into a few, but nothing ever enticed me enough to give leaving much thought.” Now, though, he has thought about it and has decided it is time to step aside. Cox even joked at the public announcement of his pending retirement that making the announcement in Birghtwork 24

Courtesy, Truett-McConnell

Coach Cox, pictured early in his coaching career at Truett-McConnell.

front of others would hopefully keep him from changing his mind since he’s been back and forth on the retirement issue in the recent past, always electing to give it another go. He will leave having served the college in many roles, including as a physical education teacher, athletic director, basketball coach and mentor to the hundreds of young men he has coached along the way. Cox will also depart having helped the college make the recent transition from competing as a junior college to a four-year school, which has been anything but easy, but already very rewarding for the Mariners. But Cox doesn’t plan to get too far away. He might be on the Outer Banks when the Mariners open preseason practice next fall, but chances are he’ll be in the stands for the first jump ball of the season and be a regular attendee at future games. “If I’m in Brunswick, I will be at the home games. Hopefully, I can get some free passes,” he said, laughing. Cox looks forward to watching the entire school, but especially the basketball program and all other Mariner athletic programs, grow and hopefully prosper as they continue their progression at the four-year level in the years to come. “I’ll be pulling for this school as long as I can,” he said. “This is home and this school means a lot to me. There are a lot of memories here.”

Intercollegiate Athletics

2013-2014 Basketball Schedules Men’s Basketball

November 1-2 @ Brewton-Parker Tournament............. 4/2pm 2 @ Brewton-Parker Tourn. (v. Allen)........... 2pm 5 @ Webber International....................... 7:30pm 9 @ Embry-Riddle....................................... 7pm 12 Edward-Waters.............................. 7:30pm 15 *University of Mobile..................... 7:30pm 16 *Belhaven............................................ 5pm 22 @ *Loyola (New Orleans).................... 8:30pm 23 @ *Spring Hill........................................... 6pm 26 Webber International......................... 8pm 30 Thomas............................................... 4pm December 7 @ Edward Waters................................ 7:30pm 17 @ Thomas........................................... 7:30pm 21-22 @ Lander Tournament...............................TBA

Women’s Basketball

November 1-2 @ Brewton-Parker Tournament...... 2pm/Noon 5 @ Webber International....................... 5:30pm 9 Clark-Atlanta...................................... 2pm 15 *University of Mobile..................... 5:30pm 16 *Belhaven............................................ 3pm 22 @ *Loyola (New Orleans)..................... 6:30pm 23 @ *Spring Hill........................................... 4pm 26 Webber International ........................ 6pm 30 Thomas .............................................. 2pm December 4 Allen................................................ 5:30pm 6 Florida Memorial................................ 6pm 17 @ Thomas .......................................... 5:30pm 19 Paine . ................................................. 6pm

January 10 *William Carey............................... 7:30pm 11 *Blue Mountain................................... 5pm 16 @ *Emmanuel........................................... 8pm 18 @ *Auburn - Montgomery........................ 5pm 23 *Southern Poly.................................... 8pm 25 @ *Faulkner.............................................. 5pm

January 10 *William Carey............................... 5:30pm 11 *Blue Mountain .................................. 3pm 16 @ *Emmanuel .......................................... 6pm 18 @ *Auburn - Montgomery........................ 3pm 23 *Southern Poly.................................... 6pm 25 @ *Faulkner ............................................. 3pm 30 *Brenau................................................ 6pm

February 1 *Southern Wesleyan........................... 4pm 6 @ *Brewton-Parker................................... 8pm 8 *Auburn - Montgomery...................... 4pm 13 @ *Southern Poly..................................... 8pm 15 *Faulkner............................................. 4pm 20 @ *Southern Wesleyan............................. 8pm 22 Dalton State........................................ 4pm 27 *Brewton-Parker................................ 8pm

February 1 *Southern Wesleyan........................... 2pm 6 @ *Brewton-Parker................................... 6pm 8 *Auburn - Montgomery...................... 2pm 13 @ *Southern Poly..................................... 6pm 15 *Faulkner............................................. 2pm 20 @ *Southern Wesleyan............................. 6pm 22 @ *Brenau................................................. 2pm 27 *Brewton-Parker ............................... 6pm

March 1 *Emmanuel ........................................ 4pm 5 - 9 @ Southern States Conference Tourn.......TBA

March 1 *Emmanuel.......................................... 2pm 5 - 9 @ Southern States Conference Tourn.......TBA

All times Eastern • BOLD - Home Games * Denotes Southern States Athletic Conference Game


College of Coastal Georgia

Class Notes

CLASS NOTES Tom Harvey ’66 left Brunswick after earning

Daugherty, Jim Tungate, Steve Dillard, Gregg

Geri Chapman Culbreath ’77

his associate degree, moving to Atlanta and

“Spider” Lewis and Jimmy Hires. He still laughs

retired in June after working

graduating from Mercer University School of

about interviewing Coach Bob Woodward as a

more than 30 years in Infor-

Pharmacy. He retired from the VA Medical Cen-

reporter for WMOG Radio in the early ’70s and

mation Technology Services

ter in ’97. He and his wife, Sara, currently live in

Woodward’s conclusion that campus streaking

for the college. She began

Johns Creek, GA.

would end as soon as the sand gnats started

her career while still a student

biting. Billy retired in January and lives in

at what was then Brunswick

Newnan, GA, with his wife, Guilford.

College and served as Chief Information Officer

Robert O’Reilly ’66 is living in Kent, AL, and working as a building code enforcement archi-

during Dr. Valerie Hepburn’s presidency .

tect for the State of Alabama Building Commis-

Paul Spaulding ’69 is living in Jacksonville

sion in Montgomery. He is married with two chil-

with his wife, Debbie, who is originally from

Gene Threats ’80 is proud

dren and four grandchildren.

Banner Elk, NC. He is Claims Manager in the

to announce he’s a first-time

Federal Employee Program for Blue Cross and

grandfather: Desmond Pierre

Blue Shield of Florida, but plans to retire at the

Threats, Jr., was born on

end of the year.

June 10, 2013. Gene works

Eddie L. Roberts ’66 and wife Sarah Nell Hughes Roberts live in Winder, GA. He retired from AT&T in 2003 after more than 31 years net credited service and now assists daughter

Mel Baxter ’71, Chairman and CEO of United

Brandi Barr as “nanny” to two seven-year-old

Community Bank of Coastal Georgia, pre-


sented a $1,125 check to the College Founda-





received a surprise visit at the Glynn County Courthouse

tion from the bank for the Alumni Scholarship Fund in mid-June, enabling two alumni scholarships to be awarded for fall term 2013.

part-time in Information Technology Services at CCGA while continuing his career as an artist. He expects to complete his MFA at Georgia State University this fall. Recent exhibits include the Albany (GA) Area Arts Council in February, the Brunswick library in May, the Georgia Sea

this summer from Dr. Valerie

Michael D. Hodges ’73 was elected chairman

Hepburn, who was bearing a

of the College of Coastal Georgia Foundation

brick from the old Brunswick

trustees during their annual meeting in June.

during July. His colored pencil drawing, Under

Junior College entrance. He

Mike is president of Ameris Bank.

the Tree at Pier, SSI was selected as the poster

Sarah O’Steen Sowers ’74 and husband

art for the 2013 Annual Georgia Sea Island

was president of the Student Government Association at the time money was raised by the student body for the original signage. Although the lettering had changed to reflect various names of the college, the signs stood until 2013, when they were replaced by the new Founders, Presidents and Alumni gates.

Gov. Nathan Deal

appointed Judge Lane to the Brunswick Circuit of the First Superior Court District of Georgia in March 2012. Prior to the appointment, Judge Lane served in the Georgia General Assembly for eight years (2004-2012). Karen Vose Winburn, who currently lives in Augusta, attended Brunswick Junior College part time, taking classes during 1967 and 1968. She has two sons, a daughter and a grandson.

Chris recently moved to St. Simons Island from Sky Valley in northeastern Georgia. Their son, Army SSG William Blake Sowers, is presently

Island Festival on St. Simons Island in June and the National Black Arts Festival in Atlanta

Festival and he is working with Tyler Bagwell, Assistant Professor of Speech Communication, on a historical documentary project about Jekyll

stationed at Fort Bragg, NC, with his wife and


three sons, having served four tours of duty in

Darby Chancey ’12

Afghanistan since 2003.


Charlie L. Nutt, Ed.D., ’76, returns to the


Golden Isles four or five times a year to visit friends and family. He owns a house on St. Simons Island that he’s renovating for his eventual retirement, but in the meantime, he serves as executive director of the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) and Assistant Professor in the




’12 (left) served on a mission trip to Leogane, Haiti in February and are currently planning a return trip in 2014. Darby is currently employed at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center as a Human Resources Specialist. Brandice

William O. “Billy” Brewer ’69 has been serv-

College of Education, Kansas

ing as the email operator for the Glynn Acad-

State University. He has been

emy Class of ’67 (

a NACADA member since

index.html) since August 2005. He has great

1991 – when he was a fac-

Rob Cannon ’13 (BS, Middle Grades Educa-

memories of playing BJC baseball for Coach

ulty member and later, administrator, at Coastal

tion) was the recipient of a $1,000 New Teacher

Jim Otte, hanging out at the Student Center,

Georgia (as Coastal Georgia Community Col-

Assistance Grant from Georgia Power for class-

and cheering as a Buc Booster for the bas-

lege.) He attended the college from 1974-’76,

room supplies during his first year of teaching at

ketball team and friends Robbie Cone, Harry

graduating with an Associate of English.

Needwood Middle School.

Birghtwork 26

works with Glynn Brunswick E911 as a Communications Officer 1.

Class Notes

Kari Tracy McDonald ’13 (BS, Biology) is work-

Marys. She was also the recipient of a Georgia

ing at the Amelia Island Nature Center, now

Power New Teacher Assistance Grant.

owned by Omni Hotels & Resorts, and says she is putting her biology degree to good use. Kari

Carol Wright Rogers of St. Simons Island has

was the 2012-2013 recipient of the Sea Island

taken classes at the college off and on for over

Gardening Group scholarship. She and Brandon

four decades. An RN, she retired from nurs-

McDonald were married on February 23.

ing in 2010. Carol writes, “At every turn of my

Chelsea Miller ’13 (BS, Early Childhood and

life, learning…was available at ‘our college.’ I

Special Education) is teaching 4th grade science

am very grateful for this and looking forward to

and math at Sugarmill Elementary School in St.

classes in this latest venture.”

Alumni are invited to share their good news with classmates through this magazine. Reconnect by emailing

Advancement Office Honored


he Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) is an international association of advancement professionals working on behalf of educational institutions in alumni relations, communications, development and marketing. The organization sets the standards in advancement of education: fundraising, marketing, public relations and alumni relations – the management of relationships to increase understanding and support for education. CASE sponsors awards programs to recognize and promote best practices in advancement and outstanding people in the profession. Chief Advancement Officer Elizabeth Weatherly had been personally recognized by CASE for her work in 2007 as one of only five recipients of the national Virginia Carter Smith Newcomer to Advancement Awards that year. But the work of the College of Coastal Georgia Office of Advancement did not garner recognition as a department until February 2012 when the College Foundation’s 2010 Annual Report won a 2011 CASE District III Award of Excellence for printed publications. The 2010 Annual Report was the first developed, written and produced internally rather than by an advertising agency; only the printing of the report was done by a third party. This year has brought significant recognition with two CASE awards recognizing the overall scope of what the

Elizabeth Weatherly

Office of Advancement has accomplished. In February 2013, the office received a District III Special Merit Award in the category of philanthropy for the Total Overall Institutional Fundraising Program. In June, Weatherly was notified that the advancement team was the recipient of a national 2013 CASE Educational Fundraising Award, an honor recognizing superior fundraising programs at educational institutions across the country. The category was for overall improvement, based on the judges’ analysis of three years of fundraising data. Over 990 institutions participated in the data-driven survey; a field of 412 institutions were reviewed for results and considered. From the field


of colleges and universities, 33 higher education institutions won an award in overall improvement and 35 in overall performance. “Great things are taking place at Coastal Georgia,” said College President Greg Aloia. “I’ve discovered a dynamic advancement team, a dedicated team of faculty and staff, and a beautiful campus with a solid infrastructure and phenomenal technology. These things wouldn’t be in place without the leadership of the previous president, Dr. Valerie Hepburn, as well as enduring support of the community, the State of Georgia and the generosity of the College’s friends and benefactors. Clearly, the Office of Advancement and the College Foundation have been working together successfully to develop the resources needed to create this caliber of campus. It’s all top notch, from the quality of the Foundation’s annual report and the College’s magazine to the wonderful relationships that have emerged with our community partners, leaders and supporters.” Founded in 1974, CASE maintains headquarters in Washington, DC, with international offices in London, Singapore and Mexico City. Representing more than 3,600 educational organizations and schools in 76 countries, it is one of the world’s largest nonprofit educational associations, serving almost 70,000 advancement professionals. College of Coastal Georgia

On Campus

On Campus Nine new faculty members have joined the full-time teaching staff of the College of Coastal Georgia for the new academic year

Stephanie Conner, Lecturer of English and Academic Advisor Conner has worked as a part-time English instructor at the College since 2009 as well as tutoring privately in composition, reading comprehension and study skills for over a decade. Prior teaching experience includes six years at the secondary school level. She earned her MA and BA in English from Valdosta State University. Dr. C. Tate Holbrook, Assistant Professor of Biology Prior to joining the faculty of Coastal Georgia, Dr. Holbrook served as Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology at Lynchburg College in Virginia for two years. He received his PhD in Biology from Arizona State University and graduated summa cum laude from the University of North Carolina at Asheville with a BS in Biology, concentration in ecology and evolution. For eight years he has served as a consultant and writer for Ask A Biologist (, an educational resource for preK-12 students and their parents and teachers. Dr. Jose L. Lugo, Assistant Professor of Mathematics Dr. Lugo received his PhD in Mathematics from Purdue University, where he studied functional analysis with a focus on the theory of C*-algebras. He received a 2011 Researcher Visit Award from the Centre de Recerca in Barcelona, Spain, for a one-month research visit funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation and the Dr. Francisco Garriga Medal, the highest honor for a graduating student majoring in Mathematics awarded by the School of Natural Sciences, University of Puerto Rico. Nicole Masano, Assistant Professor of Nursing A registered nurse with 20 years of experience and a certified nurse midwife, Masano served as adjunct faculty in the maternal child nursing track of the Coastal Georgia BSN program earlier this year. Since 2011, she has served as adjunct faculty in the nursing informatics track of Kaplan University’s graduate Birghtwork 28

program. From 2006 to 2009, she was the clinical educator of labor and delivery at Edward Hospital, Naperville, IL, and prior to that, the clinical educator, charge nurse and staff nurse at Swedish Covenant Hospital and clinical instructor at Loyola University in Chicago. She earned her certificate in Health Informatics, MSN in Nurse Midwifery and BSN from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dorothy M. Miller, Assistant Professor of Nursing Prior to joining Coastal Georgia faculty, Miller was an assistant professor for four years at Albany State University with previous experience as a clinical adjunct instructor at the University of South Carolina and Midlands Technical College, as a staff nurse, and as an insurance quality review coordinator, utilization review coordinator and medical claims reviewer. She earned her MSN in Nursing Education from Regis University in Denver and BSN from Landers University in Greenville, SC. Dr. Michael P. Morris, Assistant Professor of History Prior to joining Coastal Georgia faculty, Dr. Miller served as history instructor at Augusta Technical College and Assistant Professor of History at Dalton State College for five years and at Jacksonville State University for three years. He received his PhD in History from Auburn University, his master’s from Georgia Southern University and graduated summa cum laude from Augusta State University with a BA in History. Dr. David Mulry, Chair, Department of Arts and Humanities, and Professor of English Dr. Mulry studied in England and has taught in England, France, Greece and the U.S. He received his PhD in English from the University of Kent in Canterbury and his BA in Humanities with honors from Middlesex Polytechnic University in London. Prior to joining the faculty of Coastal Georgia, Dr. Mulry was Professor of English at Schreiner University in Texas for six years, where he received the Schreiner Award for Excellence in Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity in 2009 and had served as chair of the English and Foreign Languages Department for four years.

On Campus

Matthew L. Raiford, Visiting Assistant Professor of Culinary Arts and Program Coordinator Chef Raiford was the Executive Chef of The Lodge at Little St. Simons Island prior to joining Coastal Georgia faculty, with responsibilities for coordination and public presentation of the culinary arts program related to the development and operation of the new student-managed restaurant on Jekyll Island. He has 20 years of professional culinary experience.

Vargas to Chair USG Steering Committee


r. German Vargas, Chair of the Department of Mathematics, has been appointed chair of the University System of Georgia’s ad hoc steering committee to implement the recommendations of the special report published in July on improving success rates in gateway mathematics courses across the state system. During the past two years, Coastal Georgia’s Department of Mathematics has been actively involved in redesigning learning support curriculum and innovative instruction for mathematics to increase retention, progression and graduation without compromising the integrity of the mathematical content. “The tenacity of our faculty combined with the progressiveness of our institution has allowed our department to be one of the pioneers of these initiatives within the USG,” Dr. Vargas said. “The initiatives are part of the College’s commitment to support the Complete College Georgia vision and strategy for developing a workforce that will ensure a bright future for the state’s residents through a markedly increased percentage of post-secondary degrees and more graduates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics – the STEM fields that translate into superior economic development.” As a result of these efforts at Coastal Georgia, Dr. Vargas was appointed in January to serve as a member of USG’s Task Force on the Role of Mathematics in College Completion. The task force was comprised of eight mathematics leaders from some of the most influential schools in Georgia, such as Georgia Tech and UGA, and was led by senior administrators from USG and nationally-renowned consultants, including Dr. P. Uri Treisman, Professor of Mathematics and Professor of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin and Director of the Charles A. Dana Center. The six-month project culminated this summer in a report, University System of Georgia: Transforming College Mathematics.

The Brunswick native is a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, with post-graduate work at the University of California Santa Cruz Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems. Dr. Ronald S. Reigner, Associate Professor of Reading/ Language Arts Prior to joining Coastal Georgia faculty, Dr. Reigner was with the University of West Georgia for 13 years as Assistant, then Associate, Professor and Director of the Reading Clinic. He has extensive experience as a reading specialist and instructor. Dr. Reigner received his PhD and MEd from the University of Illinois at Chicago and his BA from Emory University.

According to Dr. Vargas, the report calls for innovation and statewide implementation of eight recommendations to increase the success rate in gateway mathematics courses and improve retention, progression and graduation of students. To direct the implementation of the report’s recommendations, the USG tasked the Academic Advisory Committee of Mathematical Subjects (ACMS) to form the ad hoc steering committee. Dr. Vargas, current chair-elect of the ACMS, was appointed to chair the task force. “I’m looking forward to the new challenge,” Dr. Vargas concluded.

Lynch Named Fulbright Scholar


r. Jim Lynch, Accreditation Liaison and Director of Institutional Effectiveness at the College of Coastal Georgia, received a Fulbright International Education Administrators Award to participate in a three-week program for international educational exchange in the United Kingdom. Dr. Lynch was nominated for this prestigious award in March, but had to undergo a multi-phased review process involving the United States-United Kingdom Educational Commission in the United Kingdom, the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. The Council for International Exchange of Scholars, which administers the federal Fulbright Scholarship Program, selected Dr. Lynch as one of 20 university administrators from across the country that were invited to visit several U.K. higher education institutions, including the University of Aberdeen, University of Birmingham, University of Edinburgh, Imperial College London, University of Sussex, University of East Anglia and University of York. Dr. Lynch’s reflection about his Fulbright experience can be read on the College website: page.asp?ID=1368


College of Coastal Georgia

Advancement Office One College Drive Brunswick, Georgia 31520


Freshman Quanesha Wimes from Ludowici, GA, tries to maintain her balance as students in her CCGA 1101 class spent an autumn afternoon working on team building exercises at the College’s challenge course.


official magazine of College of Coastal Georgia