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Valdosta Resident Presents At Georgia Collegiate Honors Conference

VALDOSTA – A Valdosta native recently presented at the Georgia Collegiate Honors Conference hosted by the University of North Georgia.


Students and faculty with the University of North Georgia’s (UNG) Honors Program hosted the Georgia Collegiate Honors Conference from Feb. 23-24 at UNG’s Dahlonega Campus, and one student won a research award.

Dr. Anastasia Lin, UNG assistant vice president of Academic Affairs and Honors Program director, served as faculty vice president of the Georgia Collegiate Honors Council, while senior Jami Nakan served as student vice president of the Georgia Collegiate Honors Council. Nakan and Lin planned the statewide event in collaboration with a team of volunteers from the Honors Program as well as Lillie Holtzclaw, administrative assistant for Honors and McNair.

In addition to hosting the conference, UNG had 33 students present their research at the event. The students who presented included Erin Halter from Valdosta.

“A huge congratulations to the UNG students who showcased their excellent research throughout the day. And another huge congrats to Jami and the student group who planned the event. They led the charge from writing the call for papers all the way to creating and arranging our program,” Lin said. “We were thrilled to welcome students from across the state to UNG and help them see what makes UNG special: our outstanding students.”

Hailey Pruitt, a junior from Sugar Hill, Georgia, pursuing a degree in chemistry with a biochemistry concentration, won Best STEM Essay and shared a poster on her essay, “Seronegative rheumatoid arthritis: Novel autoantibodies and their implications relative to classification.”

“I enjoyed the connected, interdisciplinary feel of the conference,” Pruitt said. “I was able to hear from a lot of different people.”

Isabella Fordham Neuwirth, a sophomore from Cumming, Georgia, pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, served on the UNG Honors Program committee that planned the event and also presented a poster. With students in fields ranging from science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to the humanities and arts, the preparation required attention to detail.

“We had to make sure we covered all the bases so every student was able to have all the resources they needed and have the best experience they could,” Fordham Neuwirth said.

Nakan, a Johns Creek, Georgia, native who is pursuing a degree in biology with pre-medicine academic advisement, was grateful to bring together 99 student presentations from a total of 14 universities across Georgia.

“It was a wonderful working with Dr. Lin and the planning committee. UNG students are incredibly welcoming. I am amazed at how students from so many diverse fields of study were able to work so well together at this conference,” Nakan said.

Positioned in the fastest-growing region of the state, the University of North Georgia comprises five campuses united by a single mission focused on academic excellence and academic and co-curricular programs that develop students into leaders for a diverse and global society. The University of North Georgia is a University System of Georgia leadership institution and is The Military College of Georgia. With more than 18,000 students, the University of North Georgia is one of the state’s largest public universities. The university offers more than 100 programs of study ranging from certificate and associate degrees to doctoral programs.

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