Gordon State College Celebrates Highlander EDGE Award Winners

Gordon State College presented its 2023 Highlander EDGE Awards on Wednesday, May 10, at the GSC Fine Arts Auditorium.

“This is a unique opportunity to not only honor our students who have achieved so much, but to also reward the faculty and staff that have helped to make their time here at Gordon State College more meaningful,” said GSC Provost and Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs, Dr. J. Ardovini.

The Highlander EDGE represents qualities that set Gordon graduates apart: Engaged Innovators, Dedicated Scholars, Gifted Communicators, and Ethical Leaders.

“It’s an honor and privilege for us to be together and celebrate these young individuals for their accomplishments. The presentation of these awards is a wonderful capstone to a beautiful day,” said GSC President, Dr. Kirk A. Nooks. “I want to thank all of you for weaving this story together. We could take with us into the future and be confident in that our future is in the best hands possible.”

As part of GSC’s strategic plan to recognize excellence across the campus, the Highlander EDGE Awards is an annual event in which outstanding students are selected by faculty and staff. In return, the nominated students also select a faculty or staff member who has most influenced, guided and demonstrated exceptional leadership to them.


The format in which the award winners are listed below is as follows:
[Student’s Name - Award: Faculty/Staff Member Chosen by Nominated Student]

Highlander EDGE Award Winners in Academic Affairs

Ariana Floyd – Humanities: Dr. Erik McCarthy

Kara Tomlinson – Fine & Performing Arts: Dr. Theresa Stanley

Tresay Wallace – Natural Sciences: Dr. Maria Cristina J. Fermin-Ennis

Karlyn Cullen – Nursing: Dr. Elizabeth Nwabuebo

Chrislenn Kight – Education: Prof. Randy Brookins

Livia Boyt – History: Dr. Joseph Jones

Charles Thompson – Applied Sciences: Dr. Maria Cristina J. Fermin-Ennis

Shelby Peters – Business and Public Service: Dr. Jessica Traylor

Shelby Peters – Honors [USG Academic Recognition Day]

Sarah Jones – Student Success: Dr. Alan Burstein


Highlander EDGE Award Winners in Student Affairs

[Award – Organization or Student: Faculty/Staff Member Chosen by Nominated Student]

Registered Student Organization of the Year—Gordon State College Association of Nursing Students (GCANS), President Samuel Balty: Prof. Nancy Walraven


Rising Star Award- Naomi Meyer-Holtz: Dr. Brienne McDaniel

Student Leader of the Year- Joshua McNease: Dr. Brenda Johnson

Registered Student Organization Advisor of the Year- Leslie Daniels


President Nooks wanted the student audience to know that the faculty members present at the event chose to be there [in the evening] rather than wrapping up end-of-year tasks.

“They’re here to celebrate you and that’s what’s special about Gordon State College,” Nooks said. “We understand what it feels like to come together and applaud for the best in each other. We put everything else to the side.”