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Georgia Southern University​ Student Leading on a National Level


The National Black Graduate Student Association (NBGSA) is pleased to announce the election of Counselor Education Ed.S. graduate student John Nwosu as National Immediate Past President at the organization’s 28th National Conference in Houston, TX on March 19, 2016. John will help NBGSA enhance the academic, professional, personal, and social development of Blacks in Higher Education as the organization works to increase effective recruitment, progression, graduation, and achievement for all students who identify as Black at institutions across the nation.

As a student-run and operated, non-profit, interdisciplinary organization we strive to build upon the legacy of our founders who planned and hosted our first national conference in 1989 to provide an opportunity for Black graduate students to develop professionally. The first conference also serve as a forum for future researchers and academic professionals. Today NBGSA still aims to provide current and potential graduate students with critical resources that enrich their academic, personal, professional, and social experience.

This year the National Black Graduate Student Conference (NBGSC) welcomed attendees from around the world. The NBGSC created opportunities for students, advocates, and professionals to connect, engage, develop, and provide support for one another. NBGSA also provided exceptional students with awards and service-based scholarships. In addition, the Graduate School and Career Fair offered attendees opportunities to network with recruiters and employers from across the nation. Attendees also participated in amazing personal, academic, and professional development opportunities in the form of engaging keynote, panel, and workshop presenters.

“As students who have been entrusted with the honor and responsibility of leading our organization, we aim to create spaces where Black students, with shared experiences from different backgrounds, are able to connect, engage, develop, and find support in safe, affirming communities,” said President Nwosu. The 2016-17 Leadership Team is already working to move forward the vision and mission of NBGSA. The Team will be meeting June 23-26 in Washington, D.C. for its Leadership Transition Meeting where Mr. Nwosu will be officially installed as an officer for the organization. Please support your student leader as they endeavor to help current Black graduate and professional students complete their degrees, encourage undergraduates of African descent to pursue graduate studies, and contribute to a network of scholars who are dedicated to serving the larger Black community.

Olivia Edenfield, Ph.D. named Professor of the Year for 2016

Olivia EdenfieldOlivia Carr Edenfield, Ph.D., was presented with the Wells/Warren Professor of the Year Award at the Georgia Southern University 2016 Honors Day Convocation held at the Performing Arts Center on Wednesday, April 6.

A second-generation Georgia Southern University graduate and Statesboro native, Edenfield (82’) attended school at Marvin Pittman Laboratory School and Statesboro High School before earning her undergraduate degree in English at the University. Her parents, Paul Carr (‘56) and Rose Watkins Carr (‘57), graduates from Georgia Teachers College, passed along their love of teaching to Edenfield.

“My undergraduate professors as well as my parents, both of whom were teachers, inspired in me a deep love for the classroom,” she said.

Edenfield and her husband of 33 years met as students and she couldn’t resist “coming home” to Georgia Southern with him in 1986 when she was hired as a temporary instructor. Since then she has served as a non-tenure track instructor for the Developmental Studies/English Department, a Generalist in the English Department, the Associate Dean for the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, and is now the Executive Coordinator of the American Literature Association and professor in the Department of Literature and Philosophy.

Edenfield is a member of the Ernest Hemingway Society, the Cormac McCarthy Society, the Elizabeth Madox Roberts Society, the American Crime Fiction Group and the Society for the Study of the American Short Story.

Edenfield’s area of specialization is the American short story, and she has published several works including a collection of interviews with Andre Dubus, Conversations with Andre Dubus, as his authorized biographer. Edenfield currently has two works in production, a monograph on Dubus,Understanding Andre Dubus, and a collection of essays on American crime and detective fiction which she is co-editing.

“What I love most about teaching is watching my students develop a passion for literature,” Edenfield said. “I love watching them develop their ideas and become confident scholars in their own right. I love being in the classroom.”

The winner of the Professor of the Year Award is selected annually by the University’s students. Members of the Gamma Beta Phi honor society interview the department heads of the finalists and consider student evaluations of the professors.

The group then conducts a blind review of the finalists before selecting the winner of the award, which is endowed by former Gamma Beta Phi advisors J. Norman and Rosalyn Wells. The award is named in honor of their parents, Nolan and Audrey Wells and Hartwell and Lucile Warren.

“When I found out I was named Professor of the Year, I was especially happy to make my family so proud of me,” Edenfield said. “The award is important to me because it is determined in part by students as well as by my department chair’s recommendation. We have a dedicated interim department chair, Mary Villeponteaux, whom I very much admire, not only for her dedication to our majors and her sense of fairness, but also for her contributions to her discipline. To have her respect as well as those of my students is very important to me.

“I truly love teaching. It is a calling, and I am so blessed to spend my days with English majors.”

Southern students win big at Night of Spectacles


Georgia Southern Fashion Merchandising and Apparel students took home first and second place at the ninth annual Night of Spectacles on April 2 in Atlanta for creating unique fashions from recycled eyewear.

Sidney Walker, a senior fashion merchandising and apparel design (FMAD) major, earned a $1,000 scholarship for first place, and Acacia Miller, senior FMAD major, earned a $500 scholarship for second place.

The fashion show benefits the Georgia Lions Lighthouse foundation, a nonprofit statewide provider of comprehensive vision and hearing services for uninsured and underinsured Georgians. The event challenges designers to create high fashion looks embellished with and inspired by broken eyewear collected through the Lighthouse’s recycling program.

“The event forced me to challenge my creative ability and made me feel more secure as a designer,” Walker said. “Winning the competition has given me an indescribable confidence.”

Not only did eight Georgia Southern University students represent the College of Health and Human Sciences FMAD program as designers at the event, but alumna Felicia Ruiz also represented the program as an official judge.

“The judges were very impressed by the work of our students,” Hope Simpara, assistant professor for the School of Human Ecology said. “This was the eighth year Georgia Southern was represented at the Night of Spectacles with students from our program being awarded first place the last three years.”

To learn more about the designers and the event, visit

Georgia Southern University, a public Carnegie Doctoral/Research University founded in 1906, offers approximately 125 degree programs serving nearly 20,500 students. Through eight colleges, the University offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs built on more than a century of academic achievement. Georgia Southern is recognized for its student-centered and hands-on approach to education.

2016 Psychology Department Research Conference

Friday, April 29, 2016 @ 4:15 pm – 6:30 pm

Joins us for the 2016 Psychology Department Research Conference Friday, April 29 at the Nessmith-Lane Conference Center.

Guilt-By-Association: Understanding Implicit and Explicit Attitude Formation

4:15 p.m. – 5:15 p.m. Student Research Poster Session
5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Dr. Kate Ratliff (University of Florida), keynote speaker

Applications open for second annual BIG Pitch Competition

Undergraduate and graduate collegiate innovators who have creative and sustainable solutions are invited to submit their ideas for the second annual BIG Pitch Competition, hosted by Ocean Exchange and Georgia Southern University’s Business Innovation Group.

This year’s BIG Pitch Competition focuses on sustainability and invites individuals or teams to submit solutions and innovations that improve economies, health and the environment for the chance to win a $10,000 cash prize. Applications are now open, and applicants are encouraged to apply early. The deadline is Sept. 30.

Eight finalists will be invited to present their ideas and solutions at Ocean Exchange Nov. 11 in front of 150 delegates representing businesses, NGOs, academia and government. Delegates will vote on who receives the cash award.

“The board and team at Ocean Exchange are excited for year two of the BIG Pitch Competition,” said Ocean Exchange CEO, Millicent Pitts. “Last year exceeded our expectations in the quality of the solutions that applied. Our delegates at the Ocean Exchange event were gratified to see young adults so engaged in sustainability innovations and entrepreneurship, both cornerstones of our existing Gulfstream® Navigator and Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics Orcelle® Awards. Frankly, I see BIG Pitch as a pipeline to bring solutions into our greater awards process as those collegiate innovations mature in one-five years.”

Last year’s competition drew nearly 30 collegiate team applicants from around the country, Canada and India. Opus 12 from Stanford University was selected as the winner for its sustainable innovation, “Renewable Fuel Production from Carbon Dioxide,” which uses technology developed at Stanford University to take carbon dioxide and convert it into usable fuel, ethanol that can then be used by oil refineries and corn ethanol plants.

“BIG Pitch is quickly becoming one of the premiere platforms for college students to showcase their innovative concepts,” said Business Innovation Group Director Dominique Halaby, D.P.A. “Teams are coming from across the globe for the exposure that comes from presenting in front of such an esteemed delegation.”

Since winning the competition, Opus 12 has won grants from the Department of Energy (DOE) and National Science Foundation (NSF), and also won DOE’s 2015 Transformational Idea Award among several other awards. Nicholas Flanders, the co-founder and CEO of Opus 12 was also featured among Forbes’ 30 under 30 for energy. Opus 12 was also selected by Shell GameChanger to receive funding for an initial feasibility study.

BIG Pitch is part of the Business Innovation Group, in Georgia Southern University’s College of Business Administration. For more information about the competition and to apply, please

Ocean Exchange is an international non-profit with the mission of helping advance the adoption of transformative solutions that support sustainability. Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation and Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics are worldwide sponsors.