College of Humanities and Social Sciences

VSU History Students and Faculty Collaborate to Create New Civil Rights Exhibit in Odum Library

In Fall 2021, Dr. Sarah FitzGerald of VSU’s History Department taught an interesting final project in her Public History course, asking her students to take a more active role in presenting history by planning, assembling, and executing a civil rights-themed history exhibit. In her activity, Dr. FitzGerald had students work collaboratively to assemble an exhibit using objects and artifacts from Odum Library’s Archives and Special Collections and the Copeland African American Museum. In groups of three or four, students worked to develop an exhibit organized around the project’s overall theme, civil rights and Black movements for equality in the late 19th and 20th century, alongside a chosen subtheme of either leadership and activism, arts and culture, or education. Once students had a plan, they were tasked with handling the artifacts, planning an exhibit layout, writing exhibit materials, and performing research to ensure the accuracy of their materials. Finally, students had to install their final exhibits on Odum library’s first floor where they still remain for public education and enjoyment.

To look more closely at this project and its contents, one of Dr. FitzGerald’s students, graduate student B. Cordell Motes, was interviewed regarding his group’s contribution and the most interesting parts of the exhibit. He was a member of the arts and culture group, so, for their contribution to the exhibit, this group analyzed a collection of postcards featuring important African American figures ranging from actresses to authors to musicians. Each entertainer displayed is considered to have contributed significantly to African American arts and culture. Of particular note within the exhibit’s “arts and culture” section are some rare books written by acclaimed African American authors James Baldwin and Langston Hughes as well as a carefully preserved portrait of Tuskegee Institute founder Booker T. Washington. On the painting, which was donated to the VSU archives by Bessie M. Foster, the VSU Archives collection states the following: “the passage of the portrait from the Tuskegee Institute to Valdosta State University nearly a hundred years later is a tale of a rural African-American family’s embrace of Washington’s philosophy of self-improvement and achievement.”

To conclude, Dr. FitzGerald’s project asks students to take an active and creative role in communicating an important piece of history, and, in doing so, her students have surely learned much about research and communication within the real world while also being able to explore their passion for history.

(Story Written by Benjamin Elliott for the CoHSS Website:

College of Nursing and Health Sciences

Field Experience Work for Nursing Students

The College of Nursing and Health Sciences provides students with many opportunities for Experiential Learning. One of the goals of instructors in the college is to provided first-hand real-world experience. This Fall, Senior Nursing student, Alana Durrance, worked with Dr. Heidi Gonzalez to provide COVID-19 vaccinations at a local business. Dr. Gonzalez stated that Alana did a great job of working with each patient throughout this activity.

(Pictured in Photo: Left to Right – Alana Durrance, Dr. Heidi Gonzalez)

College of the Arts

VSU Social Media Class Creates a Social Media Campaign for the Annette Howell Arts Center

During the Summer 2021 semester, students in the COMM 3421: Social Media Strategies class were part of the winning team that created and proposed a social media campaign for the Turner center, the digital hub of Lowndes county arts, for their social media class. The Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts is a premier regional arts center located in downtown Valdosta, Georgia, offering a wide variety of art experiences to Valdosta, Lowndes, and surrounding Georgia and North Florida counties. The Turner Center leadership requests the VSU Social Media students to ideate social media strategies for regularly occurring events that will meet the goals of (1) increasing awareness of the events and (2) attracting a younger audience.

There were 3 teams that presented proposals to the Turner centers Sementha Mathews Executive Director and Rebecca Gallagher PR and Marketing Administrator.

(Pictured in Photo: Left to Right – Dr. David Nelson, Nicholas Reed, Shemar Asberry-Holliday, Mathew Whetsell, Earvin Green, Rebecca Gallagher, & Sementha Matthews)

College of Science and Mathematics

NSF Innovation Corps Program Work with Dr. Thomas Manning

Taylor Macera, Teighlor Livingston, and Khyati Patel are in the lab preparing some materials for experimental work.

Four current and recent VSU students are involved in an experiential learning and research project. The NSF describes their program as “The National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps (I-Corps™) program uses experiential education to help researchers gain valuable insight into entrepreneurship, starting a business or industry requirements and challenges. I-Corps enables the transformation of invention to impact. The curriculum integrates scientific inquiry and industrial discovery in an inclusive, data-driven culture driven by rigor, relevance, and evidence. Through I-Corps training, researchers can reduce the time to translate a promising idea from the laboratory to the marketplace.  NSF is developing and nurturing a national innovation network to guide scientific research toward the development of solutions to benefit society.”     Two of the students have co-authored a paper that is submitted to a peer reviewed international journal.  It describes the new compound that was tested by the National Cancer Institute.  While the NCI tested it against nine types of cancer, the student group is focusing on lung cancer, which has an 80% mortality rate.

Former VSU student, Teighlor Livingston, says, “The NSF’s I-CORPS program allows students to move out of the lab and into the industry. I enjoy the program because it provides the opportunity to discover and face potential challenges in innovation development, while advancing interpersonal skills.”

(Pictured in Photo: Left to Right – Taylor Macera, Teighlor Livingston, Khyati Patel)