So, last week I received a cryptic email from the Provost/VP Academic Affairs at GSC that one of my students had won an award and that I had had a significant impact on them during their time here. So, they were requesting my presence at the awards ceremony. I thought that this was pretty cool and I just wanted to go and show some support for the students who have really worked hard at their studies and were being honored.
Truth be told, I have some of the top students in the college doing research with me and I am very fortunate that they have chosen to work with me. I actually went to the ceremony assuming that another one of my students was going to be winning an award (which they did, but it wasn’t the one(s) I was expecting). Much to my surprise and pleasure, Dr. Theresa Stanley, announced Justin Serna as the top student for the Department of Biology and Physical Sciences.
Justin has been working with me for a couple of years on a project that has been assessing the utility of the 26 core Ranavirus genes for phylogenetic reconstruction. He has presented posters at both the Georgia Academy of Sciences (2017) and the GSC Undergraduate Research Symposium (in 2016 and 2017). He has been an absolute pleasure to work with! He first started out as an embedded honors contract student and then he continued his work as an undergraduate researcher. I am very proud to say that he will be starting his MS in Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry this fall. While I will miss working with him, I know that this is what he has been working towards, and I am so pleased that he’s continuing his education.
The twist comes after the students have received their awards. Each of the student honorees was able to choose a faculty member at GSC who had most impacted them. I am honored and humbled to say that I was Justin’s choice. While I have received many awards and honors during my academic career, I have to say that this is the one that means the most.
I am fortunate to have another student award winner that works with me, Riley Fuller. She was the student honoree for the Student Success Center. The center provides peer tutoring for students at GSC. Riley has been a tutor there for a couple of years. In addition to this, Riley was also named as GSCs Outstanding Scholar. Lucky for me, she’s only a Jr. and has agreed to work with me next term as well.
Below is a link to the official release from GSC: