GHC students participate in undergraduate field research for hands-on learning experience

students doing research on lake

Georgia Highlands College hosted a student research poster session showcasing undergraduate research in the field of environmental science recently in the student center on GHC’s Floyd campus.

The session stemmed from GHC Professor Billy Morris’ ENVS 1123 course, where students spent part of their semester “doing science, rather than reading about it,” he said. Students split into teams to study GHC’s Paris Lake and wetlands in Rome.

Ansley Roden, a sophomore psychology major, partnered with fellow student Garrett Johnson.

“I enjoyed it so much,” she said. “It was fun to get outdoors and focus my attention on something I had never knew about before. We even got to use the kayak one day to take samples in the lake.”

Roden was excited to have the GHC community stop by the poster session to view their research first-hand.

“My partner and I are very proud of what we have done, and the results that we found,” she said. “Our poster looked awesome and we could not wait to answer everyone’s questions and make more people aware about what we have learned.”

Julius Fleschner, dean of Libraries and College Testing at GHC, hopes the poster session is the first toward a full-fledged student research symposium in the future.

“We hope that we will learn significantly from our first couple of medium-scale projects like this poster session,” Fleschner said. “GHC is deeply committed to enhancing high-quality teaching. One way to do that is to have faculty work directly with students on undergraduate research.”

GHC Teacher of the Year recognized by Cobb County Chamber of Commerce


For 31 years, Cobb County has hosted Give Our Schools A Hand, an event honoring and recognizing outstanding educators throughout the county.

This October, Kim Subacz, an assistant professor of biology at Georgia Highlands College, was one of the well-deserving educators celebrated with the breakfast and pep rally.

“The event breakfast banquet and pep rally were just so uplifting,” she said. “I haven’t experienced anything like it. A marching band leads the teachers toward the stage. It’s like a concert. The energy level is through the roof. It’s such a humbling and awe-inspiring experience.”

Subacz is still surprised that she found herself in the middle of the celebration. When she was told she had been chosen to represent GHC at the event, she was shocked.

“I still find it hard to believe,” she said. “I feel like there are so many well deserving teachers out there and I am so very thankful.”

Subacz’s journey to GHC Teacher of the Year began in 2015 as a part-time faculty member.

“A coworker of mine in retail told me she enjoyed her classes here at GHC and I was looking to get back into academia,” she said.  “I’m so glad I applied and will always be grateful for that first interview call. I fell in love with the atmosphere at GHC.”

Her passion for GHC hasn’t faded a bit over the years.

“I love that GHC feels like a family,” she said. “This is one of the best work environments I’ve experienced. I feel like everyone here genuinely cares about each other and our students.”

GHC adds new way to take classes this spring

student in class

Beginning spring 2020, Georgia Highlands College is adding a variety of classes on a condensed schedule that will begin later in the semester. GHC’s new “Late Start Classes” offer students the opportunity to complete certain courses more quickly.

This new model follows a successful pilot on GHC’s Cartersville site fall 2019.

The new “Late Start Session” will begin in February and conclude in May. The first round of classes will start on February 4 and the second round will begin on February 18.

Students may also opt to take “Late Start Classes” during a special “Second Session” that begins on March 5 and also concludes in May.

Applicants should note all “Late Start Classes” condense a traditional class length’s worth of content into a shorter amount of time. All “Late Start Classes” will reward the same number of credits as traditional classes.

“GHC strives to provide scheduling options that are convenient for all of our students, from those just out of high school to working adults seeking to advance their careers,” said Dana Nichols vice president for Academic Affairs. “The new ‘Late Start’ schedules are specifically designed so that students can take a full course load and make the same progress toward graduation as those in the traditional semester schedules.”

Current students and applicants interested in taking “Late Start Classes” can view the steps required to apply and the classes available at

Savannah Sloan named head softball coach for GHC Chargers


Georgia Highlands College has chosen Savannah Sloan to lead the Chargers softball team. Sloan comes to GHC from LaGrange College where she has served as the assistant softball coach and recruiting coordinator since 2017.

“We are excited to welcome Savannah Sloan to the Charger family. Savannah brings a tremendous knowledge of the game at the highest levels,” said David Mathis, GHC’s Director of Athletics. “Savannah’s experience and her commitment to academics will ensure the success of our student athletes.”

Sloan holds both a bachelor’s degree in exercise science and wellness and a master’s degree in physical education from Jacksonville State University.

As a player at JSU, Sloan was a four-year starter, primarily playing catcher. She was part of teams that captured regular season and conference tournament championships. She was a two-time All-Ohio Valley Conference first team selection. She has also played professional softball the last three summers in Germany.

“It is truly an honor to be chosen as the head softball coach at Georgia Highlands College,” Sloan said. “Upon stepping on campus for the first time, it instantly felt like home. I am excited to be surrounded by an already outstanding staff.”

Sloan says she has a game plan set for her first days on the job.

“I intend on meeting with the team in order to introduce myself and get to know the players,” she said. “I am incredibly excited to work with this group of student athletes. I can’t wait to see what this program can accomplish.”

GHC student thankful to earn US citizenship this holiday week


Achieving American citizenship is high on Lamin Kuyateh’s list of things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving holiday. After leaving his home country of Gambia and taking classes at Georgia Highlands College, Lamin started working toward his dream of becoming a U.S. citizen.

This year, Lamin completed the naturalization application and test.

The test covered speaking, reading and writing in English and questions about civics, including U.S. history and government. He passed the test with flying colors and was invited to an official naturalization ceremony by U.S. Citizenship and Immigrations Services (USCIS) in October.

At the ceremony, Lamin joined other immigrants in reciting both the Pledge and Oath of Allegiance. He also received his official Certificate of Naturalization.

“It feels good and amazing,” Lamin said of being an official U.S. citizen. “Not only would I like to achieve the American Dream, but I would also like to express my opinion on political issues. Now, I can have the feeling of voting. I can express my opinion on political subjects and things of that nature.”

Lamin first came to the U.S. as a permanent resident in 2014.

“My first goal when I came to the United States was to be able to practice my voting right and be part of a brotherhood,” the engineering major said.

Lamin found that brotherhood after enrolling at GHC. In between taking classes at GHC’s Marietta site and studying to become a US citizen, he has been involved with the student group Brother 2 Brother (B2B).

“B2B certainly helps students like Lamin develop the kind of confidence and leadership skills that he has needed on his citizenship journey,” said Jonathan Hershey, director of Georgia Highlands African American and Minority Male Excellence and B2B.

GHC student helps bring Disney magic to life through Disney College Program

Mickey Mouse hugging student.

Coming from a self-proclaimed Disney family, Georgia Highlands College student Makaylah Young has been dreaming about working at Disney World since eighth grade. The nursing major’s dream finally came true with her acceptance into the Disney College Program.

“The program has gained popularity over the years, so it is more competitive today. It took me four times applying for the recruiters to actually accept my application,” Makaylah said.

After a long application process, including both a web-based interview and a phone interview, Makaylah was selected to participate. Through the program, Makaylah now lives in Orlando near Walt Disney World where she’ll work and take courses for college credit. It’s a busy schedule, but she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“Sometimes work can be draining, but when you step into the parks as a guest on your off-day and watch your favorite nighttime spectacular, or ride your favorite attraction, or meet your favorite characters, you’re brought right back into the magic,” she said. “My favorite part about the Disney College Program will be the lifelong friends I have made, and the never-ending adventures I get to take.”

And on the days she works at the ABC Commissary in Hollywood Studios, Makaylah gets to bring that signature Disney magic to life for others.

“I love being able to make magical moments for people. Seeing a child’s face light up when I give them a free cupcake that Mickey Mouse personally made for them is a surreal feeling,” she said. “I wake up excited to go into work because I know I get to make guests feel just as special as I do whenever I enter the parks.”

Makaylah credits her time at GHC with her success in the program, and beyond.

“At GHC, I developed communication skills, reasoning skills, and problem-solving skills that I use daily. GHC helped me transition into college from high school, and now GHC is helping me transition from college into the real world,” she said.





Dental hygiene students use skills to improve oral health beyond GHC

dental students holding signs

Dental hygiene students at Georgia Highlands College are taking their learning beyond the classroom and into the community through service learning initiatives. These opportunities help students gain hands-on experience in the field while also promoting oral health.

“Community service opportunities give us a chance to give back and to gain perspective about the oral health needs in our community which often go unnoticed,” said dental hygiene student Hailey Sosa.

In August, students participated in the 18th Annual Health Initiative for Men and Women (HIM+) health fair. Held each year at the Floyd County Health Department, the fair is sponsored by the 100 Black Men of Northwest Georgia and the Northwest Georgia Regional Cancer Coalition. GHC students provided oral cancer screening and toothbrushes to approximately 400 attendees this year.

Students continued their community service at the inaugural Live Healthy Chattooga County Health Fair in September. At this fair, Chattooga County residents received multiple free health screenings, including an oral cancer screening from GHC dental hygiene students. Students also provided general oral health education and toothbrushes.

Additionally, the program hosts the Free Dental Clinic of Rome one night each month. Through this event, dental hygiene students and faculty open the GHC dental hygiene clinic to provide oral health screenings and dental cleanings for the community.

Other service learning initiatives include regular visits to Harbin Clinic Cancer Center and annual participation in the Floyd County Teen Maze, Bartow Give a Kid a Chance and BLESS Weekend at the Allatoona Resource Center.

“Our students’ efforts make a difference to the community,” said Regina Gupta, dental hygiene program director. “We hope that when students graduate, they carry with them the desire to volunteer in similar community oral health initiatives.”

For more information on GHC’s dental hygiene program, visit

GHC continues to hold second highest enrollment among state colleges in Georgia

students walking on campus

Georgia Highlands College (GHC) continues to lead the University System of Georgia’s (USG) state colleges in enrollment for fall 2019, according to the USG’s “Fall 2019 Semester Enrollment Report.” GHC holds the second highest enrollment for state colleges in Georgia next to Georgia Gwinnett College. 

According to the USG, fall 2019 enrollment in the USG’s 26 colleges and universities had an increase of 1.5 percent over the previous year. This continues a six-year trend of modest increases in student enrollment within USG. This fall also marks the fifth consecutive year of growth to reach an all-time high in the number of students enrolled in USG institutions. 

“Our overall purpose is to raise attainment levels for communities across Georgia, and the students at our 26 institutions are a critical part of that effort,” said Chancellor Steve Wrigley. “More of them than ever are enrolled on our campuses, and we have also seen a substantial rise in the number of students awarded degrees annually. Getting more Georgians through college to a degree improves not only their quality of life, but also Georgia’s economic competitiveness.” 

The enrollment numbers were released in the USG’s “Fall 2019 Semester Enrollment Report,” which breaks down enrollment by institution, class, race and ethnicity, in-state, out-of-state and international students, as well as gender and age. 

The full enrollment report is available here. 

GHC student club hosts GBI agent for professional crime scene investigation crash course for students

GBI agent on mock scene

Solving a murder doesn’t require a Gucci sweater vest and dramatic monologues, Special Agent Audey Murphy joked. The popular forensic show “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” gets some things right, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) agent said, but by and large, the real work is a long, hard and often gritty process.

GHC’s Political Science and Criminal Justice Club hosted a number of law enforcement officers this week to demonstrate how professional crime scene investigations take place in the field.

Murphy was accompanied by Floyd County Police Chief Mark Wallace and Major Jeff Jones, as well as Floyd County detectives. Murphy created a mock crime scene and walked students through the process of investigating a serious case like murder.

Crime Scene Specialists are required to attend ten-week programs with 170 hours of classwork and 230 hours of fieldwork. Murphy, who has been with the GBI for 21 years and working crime scenes for 17, gave a crash course on the kinds of topics covered in the more extensive program, like blood splatter analysis, technologies used in the field, and key indicators for determining how a crime happened.

Murphy explained that GBI agents use their specialized training and equipment to search for, identify and collect evidence to examine, interpret and preserve physical evidence discovered at crime scenes.

Sometimes this includes digitally reconstructing a crime scene with specialized camera equipment or mapping out bullet trajectories with lasers or using blood drops and splatters, shoe impressions and fingerprints to determine exactly how a crime took place.

Part of Murphy’s job also sees him guest lecturing and instructing for police academies and other educational and service organizations.

After the presentation concluded, students were able to use forensic field tools on the mock crime scene to practice what they had learned during the course.

The Floyd County Police Mobile Crime Scene Unit was also on display for students after the course.





GHC collaborates with TheatreExtreme to present ‘Introduction to Improv’

Georgia Highlands College is partnering with local non-profit TheatreExtreme to present an “Introduction to Improv” for students, faculty and staff.

The free event will be held on Wednesday, November 13 from 5:30 PM to 7 PM at GHC’s Cartersville site in room 102 of the student center.

During the event, TheatreExtreme will demonstrate several improv exercises. Audience members will also get the chance to participate on stage in a variety of roles.

The improvisational nature of the program means language and subject matter will be PG-13.

“Not only is improvisational comedy a fun and challenging way to grow communication skills, but it also supports many aspects of cognitive and social development,” Associate Professor Sean Callahan said. “I encourage anyone who thinks they are funny or has aspirations of becoming an actor or wants to practice being creative to come by and check it out.”

TheatreExtreme is a non-profit performance group founded in 2014 with a mission to promote the exploration of live theatre in new and creative ways throughout the Cartersville community.

Learn more about TheatreExtreme by visiting their Facebook page.

(Picture: Photo taken during one of TheatreExtreme’s events, as seen on their Facebook page).