Twenty GSW students selected for President Jimmy Carter Leadership Program

Published 2:25 pm Thursday, October 28, 2021

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By Chelsea Collins

AMERICUS  — Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) has named twenty freshmen to the President Jimmy Carter Leadership Program, established to honor the legacy of GSW alumnus and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. These students from Georgia, Alabama and Florida are the third group to enter the program since its creation in 2019.

“This is a dynamic group of diverse individuals who bring excitement and commitment to building their knowledge about service and leadership through hands-on experiences,” said Mikela Barlow, interim coordinator for the President Jimmy Carter Leadership Program. “The newest cohort members were selected through an application and interview process. The group commits to program requirements that include a two-year residency, 240 service hours, a leadership certificate, and a senior research or service project. It is an honor for me to work with these future leaders in this prestigious program.”

The 2021-2022 recipients of the Carter Leadership Program are:

  • Miranda Brannon – Seminole County High School, Donalsonville, Ga.
  • Tim Burke – Houston County High School, Kathleen, Ga.
  • Ashley Carag – Howard High School, Macon, Ga.
  • Kayla Crisp – Sequoyah High School, Canton, Ga.
  • Alex Espitia – Baker County High School, Newton, Ga.
  • Henderson Hurdle – Mount De Sales Academy, Macon, Ga.
  • Angel Jarvis – Metter High School, Metter, Ga.
  • Natasha Jones – Randolph-Clay High School, Cuthbert, Ga.
  • Regan Lee – West Nassau High School, Callahan, Fla.
  • Savannah McKleroy – Kathleen, Ga.
  • Chase Moore – George Jenkins High School, Lakeland, Fla.
  • McKenzie Norton – Montgomery Catholic Preparatory School, Montgomery, Ala.
  • Emily Plank – Port Saint Lucie High School, Port Saint Lucie, Fla.
  • Abi Richey – Pataula Charter Academy, Edison, Ga.
  • Shy’neshia Salter – Early County High School, Blakely, Ga.
  • Jayden Sims – Westover Comprehensive High School, Albany, Ga.
  • Dréa Singleton – Brookstone School, Columbus, Ga.
  • Sean Siwek – Tampa Catholic High School, Lithia, Fla.
  • Shaniah Tolbert – Early County High School, Blakely, Ga.
  • Abigail White – Worth County High School, Poulan, Ga.

“I have always had a close attachment to Georgia Southwestern, and I am honored to be associated with the University’s leadership program,” said President Carter. “They invested in me as a student over 75 years ago, and I want to do the same for the future leaders in our region.”

The program consists of two pathways, an Undergraduate Research Track and a Service Track, that exemplify Carter’s lifetime of leadership in education, politics and community service. Guided by the evidence-based “The Social Change Model of Leadership Development,” the four-year Carter Leadership Program allows students to develop their leadership skills both individually and within a group.

Students who score a minimum 1100 on the SAT or an ACT composite score of 22, hold a high school curriculum grade point average of 3.0 or greater and have been admitted to GSW are eligible to apply for the program. Additionally, students who hold a leadership role in high school, whether on a sports team, a student club, or community organization, also qualify.

“These students are at the top of their class,” stated GSW President Neal Weaver, Ph.D. “I have enjoyed watching them interact with their peers on campus and serve others within our community. I am confident they will continue to carry on the great legacy of President Carter.”

During their first year, students will focus on individual growth and development, working to understand their own beliefs and values. The second year will explore the role of the group, how to build trust with others and how to work collaboratively towards common goals.

In year three, students will choose between the academically-focused Research Track and the service learning-focused Service Track. In the fourth and final year, students will develop a senior research or service project dependent upon their track.

The Carter Leadership Program provides students with academic scholarships ranging from $1,500 to $3,500 each year they are in the program. The program is made possible thanks to generous support from the Charles L. Mix Memorial Fund.

The deadline to apply for the program for fall admission is February 1 of each year.