MGA Honors Students For Academic Achievements & Recognizes Faculty For Teaching, Scholarship, & Service

Author: News Bureau
Posted: Monday, April 17, 2023 12:00 AM
Category: Pressroom

Macon, GA

L-R MGA's 2023 President's Scholars, George Gordon and Tavius Clark. Image: Jessica Whitley-Penndorf

Tavius Clark, a senior finishing his Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education, and George Gordon, a senior completing his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, are Middle Georgia State University’s President’s Scholars for the spring Class of 2023.

The two received the awards at MGA Honors Convocation, held each spring to recognize outstanding students for academic achievements. Every year, MGA’s Student Honors, Awards, and Graduation Committee, with the approval of the University president, designates at least one graduating senior as the President’s Scholar. The student or students chosen must have an outstanding academic record, have been involved in campus and/or community service activities, and demonstrate characteristics indicating the promise of a successful future.

Clark will be the student speaker at MGA’s graduation ceremonies on Thursday, April 11. Clark is already teaching kindergarten at Westside Elementary School in Warner Robins on a waiver and will return there this fall as a fully certified teacher. His long-term goals include earning a graduate degree and becoming a school principal. He is active in the Champion Program at Westside, meeting with troubled children before, during, and after school to offer guidance and mentoring. 

Gordon will speak at the ceremonies scheduled for Wednesday, April 10. A business analyst at Geico, Gordon first began taking classes at MGA in 2013 as a part-time student.  He persevered for several years to complete his core courses, although his grades always reflected his strong academic potential.  In 2021, he began taking his upper-level classes, and his academic performance became even more impressive.  And just to make things even more challenging for himself, he completed a minor in IT along the way.

Also recognized at Honors Convocation was Christian G. Weaver, who is completing his Bachelor of Science in Biology with a minor in creative writing. He is MGA’s 2023 Academic Recognition Day Scholar. Weaver worked on two different undergraduate research projects with faculty on the Macon and the Cochran campuses, while maintaining a high GPA in all of his coursework. He planned to present his research in the spring STEMposium undergraduate research conference held at MGA. Weaver served as the president of the English Studies Organization (ESO) and he wrote this year’s “Mystery Theater” production. He also actively participated in the Cochran Campus Science Club. He was a student representative at MGA open houses and participated in numerous events during his time at the University.

The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia recognizes one student from each of the state’s 26 public colleges and universities as Academic Recognition Day Scholar. Each student best represents the system’s highest scholastic ideals in GPA, excellence, and the ability to share knowledge. The honorees receive a resolution from the Georgia House of Representatives and a letter of commendation from the University System chancellor.

Other students who received academic achievement awards at Honors Convocation are:

School of Arts & Letters

Outstanding Academic Excellence in English, B.A: Emily L. Gibbs

Outstanding Academic Excellence in Graduate Technical and Professional Writing, M.A.: Laura T. Smith

Outstanding Academic Excellence in History, B.A: Katie E. Roberts

Academic Excellence in Applied Art & Design, B.A.: Lydia K. Kelly

Outstanding Academic Excellence in Media and Communication, B.A.: Edward Smart

Outstanding Excellence in Contemporary Musicianship, B.A.: Jozee K. Moton

Outstanding Student Award in Modern Languages, A.A.: Anna Kolbie

Outstanding Academic Excellence in Interdisciplinary Studies, B.A.: Gabrielle Rumph

Outstanding Academic Excellence in Public Relations, M.A.: Tara Cotton

School of Aviation

Outstanding Academic Excellence in Aviation Maintenance Technology, A.A.S: Nathaniel Warren Redding

Outstanding Academic Excellence in Aviation Science & Management-Flight, B.S.: William H. Rolader

Outstanding Academic Excellence in Air Traffic Management, A.A.S.: Casey L. Childs

School of Business

Outstanding Academic Excellence in Business Administration-Financial Economics, B.S.: Taylor Shields

Outstanding Academic Excellence in Business Administration-Accounting, B.S.: John E. McClung

School of Computing

Academic Excellence in Information Technology, B.S.: Mishael D. Smith

School of Education & Behavioral Sciences

Outstanding Academic Excellence in Political Science, B.S: Elijah A. Stinehelfer

Outstanding Academic Excellence in Interdisciplinary Studies, B.S.: Brandon D. Parish

Outstanding Academic Excellence in Criminal Justice, B.S: Hailey K. Deatherage

Outstanding Academic Excellence in Psychology, B.S: Hollyn K. Stafford

Academic Excellence in Elementary/Special Education, B.S.: Myah E. Anderson

Outstanding Academic Excellence in Social Work, B.S.W.: Michelle Gaye Martel

Outstanding Academic Excellence in Master of Arts in Teaching, M.A.: Ian Kloster

Outstanding Academic Excellence in Secondary Education, B.S.: Emily L. Gibbs

The Carol Bloodworth Award in Elementary/Special Education, B.S.: Emily Lynn Dent

School of Health & Natural Sciences

Outstanding Academic Excellence in Biology, B.S.: Christian G. Weaver

Outstanding Academic Excellence in Nursing, M.S.N.: Kimberlee A. Fernandez

Academic Excellence in Nursing, ASN: Katrina Hall

Outstanding Academic Excellence in RN to BSN: Lisa Perdomo

Outstanding Academic Excellence in Nursing, Pre-Licensure BSN: Hannah N. Kimbell

Outstanding Academic Excellence in Rehabilitation Science, B.S.: Philip E. Thompson

Academic Excellence in Respiratory Therapy Entry-Level, B.S.: Samuel R. Knighton

Academic Excellence in Respiratory Therapy Bridge/Completion Program: Hiwot T. Kebede

Honors Graduate Awards

Honors Discipline Graduates: Romaine A. Hinds, Michelle M. Stephens, Angela V. Rogers, A'Daysia L. Bivins, Michelle Gaye Martel, Myah E. Anderson, Modupe Oyewole, Blayne A. Neubauer

Faculty Award Winners

Honors Convocation also recognizes faculty with outstanding demonstrations of excellence in the following fields: teaching, scholarship, service, and diversity and inclusion. These annual awards are very prestigious because the recipients have been nominated and selected by their peers.

Excellence in Full-time Teaching: Dr. Vicki Guarisco (Chemistry)

In addition to fostering learning in classroom and lab environments, Dr. Vicki Guarisco provides mentorship and undergraduate research opportunities to our students outside of the classroom. Guarisco is an innovative and collaborative instructor and has proven to be someone who constantly seeks to improve learning opportunities for students.  It is hard not to see the positive impact that she has had on students at MGA.

Excellence in Part-time Teaching: Miguel Castro (Music)

Aside from being a master musician, Miguel Castro has been a critical member of the music faculty since 1999.  He has devoted much of his professional life to MGA, and there are few other part-time faculty members who have left such a mark. MGA students have unusual access to a broad array of instruments because of Castro’s generosity and his commitment to his studio.  Additionally, Castro has long helped with recruitment and other important student-serving events for MGA.

Excellence in Faculty Scholarship: Dr. Andy Davidson (English)

Dr. Andy Davidson’s scholarship enhances the educational mission of MGA.  He achieves this quality by the acclaim and attention he has brought to our University through the publication of his acclaimed novels, and also through his sharing of his craft and expertise with students. One of MGA's finest professors, he teaches in all levels of the writing programs, and he does so as a team player to improve the education of students.

Excellence in Faculty Service: Dr. Lorraine Dubuisson (English)

Dr. Lorraine Dubuisson has served on too many University and departmental committees to name individually, including six years in the Faculty Senate, which she is currently chairing.  Dubuisson demonstrates service to the profession through leadership positions in the Georgia Philological Association, along with running its annual conference.  On top of that extensive work, she runs a yearly program that invites local youth to MGA to learn about writing.  Throughout her career, she has helped to shape policy, create handbooks, oversee University committees, and run MGA's Faculty Senate.

Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion: Dr. Elaina Behounek (Sociology & Criminal Justice)

Dr. Elaina Behounek has worked tirelessly to advance the mission of diversity, equity, and inclusion at MGA and beyond. Her advocacy and scholarship focus on issues related to gender with the aim of advancing DEI values in gender-related violence, legal processes, and their impact on marginalized populations. She continues to work to inspire and empower others to take action in creating a more equitable and just world.