May 6, 2013

University Honors Students for Academic Success

VSU's Annie Powe Hopper Award receipient is Laura Nicole Hanna, left, pictured with President William J. McKinney during the Academic Honors and Awads Dinner on May 2.

VALDOSTA – Valdosta State University honored its best and brightest at the annual Academic Honors and Awards Dinner Thursday, May 2, in the University Center.

English major Laura Hanna received the Annie Powe Hopper Award, the university's most prestigious academic award presented to an undergraduate.

Hanna has accumulated an extensive list of accomplishments during her time at Valdosta State including numerous scholarships: Hugh C. Bailey Scholarship, the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of Georgia Scholarship, and the Ty Cobb Educational Foundation Scholarship.

With a strong desire to learn and stellar academic performance, Hanna was nominated as a finalist for the Department of Political Science Best Paper Award titled “Transatlantic Relations and the Middle East: Pinpointing Israel and Palestine.” She is a member of the Golden Key International Honor Society, Phi Alpha Delta Honor Society, Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society, and the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi.

In addition, Hanna served as the copy editor for Odradek, Valdosta State’s literary magazine and was a tutor at the Student Success Center.

The Sigma Alpha Chi Honor Society presented the Marga and Mac awards given to the outstanding woman and man in the senior class. Recipients must have demonstrated academic superiority, a 3.0 or better GPA, and participation in a minimum of three campus organizations.

This year’s Marga Award was presented to Jennifer Stakich, a member of Alpha Chi Honor Society, Alpha Lambda Delta, Golden Key International Honor Society, Kappa Delta Theta Epsilon, and Sigma Alpha Chi Honor Society.

Stakich was also awarded the University System of Georgia Academic Recognition Award. Active in the community, Stakich has volunteered more than 100 hours at the Second Harvest Food Bank, as well as participated in fundraising events for St. Jude Children’s Hospital, Bowl for Kids’ Stake, and Make a Difference Day.

Stakich, who graduate in December 2012 with a degree in English, has also received from VSU the William Bartram Award for Intellectual Exploration (2012), Hugh C. Bailey Scholarship, Harold Gulliver Memorial Scholarship (2012) and the Alpha Lambda Delta Jo Ann M. Trow Undergraduate Scholarship.

The Mac Award was presented to J. Daniel Young, a member of Sigma Tau Delta, Golden Key International Honor Society, Phi Theta Kappa, and the Society for Collegiate Journalists.

While serving as photo editor and opinions editor for The Spectator and editor-in-chief for the On Tap magazine, Young wrote more than 50 columns, articles and news stories as well as published more than 30 photographs. 

Young was a student fellow representing VSU at the 2013 Washington D.C. Fellows Program, which is sponsored by the National Newspaper Association. He also received an award of certificate by the National Press Club.

Additional student honored for their academic achievements include: 

Paul D. Johns: Outstanding College of the Arts Award
Jennifer Dandron: The Bartram Award for Intellectual Exploration
Jonathan Brock: Outstanding Student in the Arts and Sciences
Allen Muncy: Outstanding Langdale College of Business Senior Award
Jessica D. Edwards: College of Education Highest Academic Achievement Award
Tammi L. Cooper: Outstanding Senior Nursing Student Award
Harikleia Sirmans: Master of Library & Information Science George Gaumond Award
Dustin Prosser: Most Outstanding AS300 Cadet, VSU Air Force ROTC Detachment
Justin Roberts: Outstanding Male Student Academic Athlete of the Year
Brianna Hancock and Mary Swantek: Outstanding Female Student Academic Athletes of the Year
Jennifer Stakich, University System of Georgia Academic Recognition Day Award
Brittany Butler: Alpha Lambda Delta Marie Leonard Book Award
Colleen Bradley: Clare Philips Martin Scholarship
Danielle Jordan: American Association of University Women Award
Cole Singletary: Georgia Legislative Academic Award

To view all photos from the 2013 Academic Honors and Awards Dinner go to VSU's Flickr page at