2021 CoSM Student Awards

Congratulations to the Spring 2021 Graduates and Student Honorees of the College of Science and Mathematics. We are proud of your accomplishments! And, to our graduating seniors, even though you are leaving VSU to blaze your own path, you will always be part of our Blazer family. 

Meet some of our outstanding students and Spring 2021 Student Award Winners in the College of Science and Mathematics.

To watch the live streamed awards ceremony, click here: 2021 College of Science & Mathematics Student Awards Ceremony


Madelyn Adair

Madelyn R. Adair

Award Received: Martha H. Barnes Scholarship
Activities: Shadowing Dr. Sanders, a general surgeon at SGMC, and a couple other healthcare professionals this past summer.  I also got the opportunity to help out with a blood drive and pass out flyers.
Favorite class: Ecology and Evolution because it was the first biology class I had where we did hands on stuff for labs.
Career Goals: I plan to go to medical school. I don’t really have any particular school in mind yet, but I’ll probably try to get accepted into the Medical College of Georgia. I know I want to go into surgery, but I haven’t decided what specialty.

Shaun Anderson

Shaun W. Anderson, Jr.

Award Received: Polymer Chemistry Award in Organic Chemistry
Activities: Research involving antibiotics/cancer drugs, the ACS (American Chemical Society), Black Student League and the NAACP - all great organizations and great networking opportunities. I highly recommend you learn and get different perspectives and get the opportunity to have those uncomfortable conversations in the world we live in today.
Favorite class: Medicinal Chemistry with Dr. Manning because it involved dealing with drugs and it’s different uses and origins as well as on the molecular level how these drugs are assembled and arranged and how they have such impact both good and bad in our bodies.
Career Goals: After Graduation I plan on attending a Special Masters program to get my masters degree then continue my education to Medical school as I aspire to become an Anesthesiologist.


Jalen J. Bell

Award Received: Aerospace Outstanding AS100 Cadet
Activities: Cadet with AFROTC Detachment 172 

Lauren Braswell

Lauren T. Braswell

Award Received: David and Cecelia Ratcliffe Scholarship 
Activities: Tri Beta, Sigma Alpha Pi, and two directed studies projects: “Exploring Novel Reactivity for an Engineered Myoglobin Biocatalyst” and “Scientific Results of a Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experience in Mycology.”
Favorite class: Entomology and Biodiversity of Macrofungi
Career Goals: After graduation, I plan to apply to medical school.

Mallory Buckler

Mallory LeAnne Buckler

Award Received: Outstanding Student in Mathematics Award
Activities: I was able to participate in the Undergrad Research Symposium (2020, 2021), join Pi Mu Epsilon, and work as a Mathematics tutor during my time here.
Favorite class: I also got to learn from a number of wonderful professors and take fun classes like Calculus 2 and Topological Data Analysis. Some classes were challenging, like Calculus 3 and Big Stats, but the experience was one I'll never forget.
Career Goals: My plans for the future are still being decided. Do I want to teach? Go into business? Engineering? Or do something completely different? It's still in the air, however, whatever I end up choosing I'm glad I was able to spend these years preparing for it at a wonderful university. It wasn't perfect, but I won't be forgetting this place anytime soon.

Sierra Courson

Sierra N. Courson

Award Received: Maya Goel Scholarship
Activities: While at VSU I have been a member of the Blazin’ Brigade, an upcoming member of Pi Mu Epsilon, and a committee member for the Math Lecturer search committee.
Career Goals: After graduation I hope to attend University of Georgia to pursue my masters and then doctorate in Mathematics education. I hope to one day teach at a university.

Thomas Falkenhausen

Thomas J. Falkenhausen

Awards Received: Outstanding Chemistry Senior Award, Undergraduate Award in Inorganic Chemistry
Activities: I am currently the Student Chair of Valdosta State Pride Connection, A tutor/SI Leader/Mentor/Sr. Mentor over at the Academic Support Center where I supported courses from Math, Biology, Chemistry. As far as research goes, I have been on two professor research teams and presented my research at Ga Capital, GURC, and this coming week NCUR. My experience here at VSU has been amazing!
Favorite class: Biochemistry 1 and 2  with Dr. Woldman. I really enjoyed learning about how complex the chemistry of life can be!
Career Goals: My plans after graduating in the fall will be to apply to graduate school to further pursue a doctorate in Chemistry with a focus on biochemistry.


Alexander Gomez

Awards Received: Biology Senior Award, Martha H. Barnes Scholarship

Rahmel Gordon

Rahmel A. Gordon

Award Received: Outstanding Computer Information Systems Award
Activities: My most impactful activities on campus included me serving as the 2020-2021 President of the only all male organization on campus that isn’t related to Greek life, Collegiate Men with spearheading voter registration and facts this past fall semester as well as the usual service to campus and community. I am also a part of the first cohort of M.O.C.H.A Men. And finally, we get the course of the past four years, I was able to establish and grow myself as a photographer & videographer under the brand name of Undrafted Productions.
Favorite class: Music Appreciation: Jazz and Introduction to Weather & Climate
Career Goals:
Some of my post-graduation plans include entering my 3rd consecutive summer as a Computer System Analyst intern for Parsons Corporation as well as growing in my craft and business of Photography. 

Cole Griner

Cole C. Griner

Award Received: Andy Koppy Memorial Scholarship 
Favorite class: My favorite classes during my time at VSU were my German classes with Mrs. Stellmacher.
Career Goals: As for my after-graduation plans, I hope to find an opportunity to work abroad in a German-speaking country through a US-based company, such as Coca-Cola.

Nathan Hart

Nathan T. Hart

Awards Received: College of Science & Mathematics Outstanding Student, Undergraduate Award in Physical Chemistry, American Institute of Chemists Award
Activities: I did research in the chemistry department for Dr. Dean Duncan and Dr. Gopeekrishnan Sreenilayam. I also published a journal article in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Chemical Education with Dr. Linda de la Garza. In addition, I was a member of the Student Members of the American Chemical Society (SMACS) club on campus.
Favorite class: Quantitative Analysis with Dr. Linda de la Garza
Career Goals: I have been accepted to attend the University of Florida for a PhD. Program in analytical chemistry.

Cameron Hester

Cameron G. Hester

Award Received: Outstanding Student Award - Geosciences
Activities: Teaching Assistant for the Principles of Physical Geology Lab, Geoscience Student Society member, Directed Study with Dr. Groszos titled "Structures Within the Dean Formation, Hanging Dog Creek, North Carolina", Spring 2020 Undergraduate Research Symposium Poster Presenter "Properties of an Iron Octahedrite Meteorite collected at Odessa Meteorite Crater, Odessa, TX" under the guidance of Dr. Leake, Undergraduate Thesis research with Dr. Leake titled "Properties of an Iron Octahedrite Meteorite collected at Odessa Meteorite Crater, Odessa, TX"
Favorite class: My favorite class was the 2019 Maymester Field Trip, which allowed many students like myself to camp and hike across the Southwestern US for the first time.
Career Goals: I have accepted a summer position with the Montana Conservation Corps and will be working with the US Forest Service in Flathead National Forest from May through October. Following the summer term, I hope to continue working to promote outdoor conservation efforts.

Alana Hiers

Alana S. Hiers

Award Received: Undergraduate Award in Analytical Chemistry
Activities: SMACS, the Honors College, chemistry tutor with the ASC
Favorite class: Instrumental Analysis with Dr. Manning
Career Goals: I’ve been accepted to the University of Georgia to pursue my PhD in Chemistry.

Julia Higdon

Julia R. Higdon

Award Received: Martha H. Barnes Scholarship
Activities: Alpha Lambda Delta, plans of joining the VSU theater department to aid with stage management and set design, in the process of starting a club for people interested in pursuing careers involved in a surgical team
Favorite class: Biology lab with Dr. Chambers. I really liked how hands-on the class was and how fun Dr. Chambers made the class with his lectures.
Career Goals: After college I plan to go to medical school and further my studies to become and orthopedic surgeon.

Juliannie Hoare

Juliannie A. Hoare

Awards Received: Mack Varnedoe Greer Sr. M.D. Scholarship, Martha H. Barnes Scholarship
Activities: Orientation leader, directed research with Dr. Kang, biology tutor, peer mentor for CoSM, participated in the undergraduate symposium with Dr. Calestani
Favorite class: Ecology and Evolution with Dr. Grabarczyk
Career Goals: After graduation, I plan on taking a year off, and during that time, I will focus on internships and admissions into medical school.

Andrew B. Kinnion

Award Received: Outstanding Student Award - Physics
Activities: At VSU I was part of SAS and SPS (which I think may grouped into one thing now) for my freshman year, I usually focused heavily on academics, so I did not spend any time really on clubs or organizations.
Favorite class: My favorite class is a hard pick, but a few that I liked were my mathematics senior seminar class, quantum mechanics, linear algebra, and certain periods in my astronomy and physics classes that inspired wonder.
Career Goals: I have been accepted into the Physics graduate program at the University of Florida, specifically on the road for a PhD. I also will be working there as a graduate assistant and got a yearly stipend. I am not sure what I will be doing there but I know it will be a lot different than what I'm probably used to at VSU.

Xipei Liao

Xipei Liao

Award Received: Scruggs Scholarship
Activities: At Georgia Tech, I am hoping to participate in Co-op and study abroad programs where I can both gain experience and see different cultures and their unique ways of solving health issues.
Favorite class: Some of my favorite classes were Circuit Analysis and Signal Processing where I had the opportunity to be exposed to a great professor and engineering in general.
Career Goals: I will be attending Georgia Tech starting summer 2021 as a biomedical engineering major where I hope to focus on artificial organs post-graduation.

Rebecca Lupinek

Rebecca G. Lupinek

Award Received: Gerald Petrella Outstanding Student Achievement in Mathematics Education Award
Activities: Outside of classes, I spend most of my time at the Boys & Girls Club of Valdosta, serving the youth in our community as an Americorps VISTA (Volunteer In Service To America) Leader. I also am a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success, as well as the Alpha Chi National College Honor Society.
Favorite class: My favorite classes have been my math education classes, Math 2008, 3161, and 3162. Although I always succeeded in my math classes, I never really enjoyed them or found them interesting until I took these classes at VSU. Dr. Benjamin Wescoatt has been a phenomenal instructor, and he has challenged me and helped me find my love for math.
Career Goals: After I graduate next May 2022, I plan to serve elementary aged students as an educator in the community of Valdosta.

Danielle McKay

Danielle B. McKay

Award Received: Southwest Georgia Section of ACS Optima Chemical Award
Activities: During my time at VSU, I participated in research under the mentorship of Dr. De La Garza. Our project was entitled “Spectroscopic and Electrochemical Characterization of Iron (III) Oxide Based Electrodes for Photo Electrochemical Cells.” I am also serving as the President of the Student Members of the American Chemical Society.
Favorite class: Biochemistry
Career Goals: Post-graduation, I plan to pursue a career as a Cosmetic Chemist.

Hannah Michael

Hannah Michael

Award Received: Freshman Chemistry Award
Favorite class: Calculus 1 with Dr. Charles Kicey
Career Goals: After graduation, I will likely take a gap year or pursue a Master’s, after which I will apply to medical school.

Kayla Mills

Kayla R. Mills (Nease)

Award Received: Department of Chemistry Undergraduate Research Award
Activities: S.M.A.C.S. (Student members of American Chemical Society).  I served as president of SMACS in 2019-2020.  I also participated in pre-pharmacy club, and acted as the pre-pharmacy event coordinator for 2019-2020. I conducted cancer drug research with Dr. Thomas Manning.
Favorite class: Medicinal chemistry with Dr. Manning
Career Goals: My post graduation plans are to attend pharmacy school at South University in Savannah, Ga.  I will begin classes June 14, 2021.

Vraj Patel

Award Received: Martha H. Barnes Scholarship

Mark A. Perez

Award Received: Marsha Paulk Scholarship

Estefani Quinones

Award Received: Dr. M. Elizabeth (Betty) Derrick Award
Activities: I am part of the 2018-2019 CAMP alumni; I was in the program freshman year. During my time at VSU, I was involved in Latin American Student Association (LASA), Habitat for Humanity, and participated in other community service projects around campus.
Favorite class: Environmental Chemistry, I loved the hands-on experience and real-world problems discussed in the course.
Career Goals: As of right now, after graduation I plan to get an internship and take a gap year between undergrad and graduate school. If I do not get an internship, I plan on going to graduate school after VSU.

Armando Rodriguez

Armando Sam Rodriguez

Award Received: Threadfill-Thompson Scholarship
Activities: I was involved with undergraduate research with Dr. Chakraborty and also research with Dr. Hojjatie and the smart city project.
Favorite class: My favorite class was Calculus one with Dr. Kicey
Career Goals: I hope to pursue a job in the space exploration field. Hopefully working for NASA or a private space company such as SpaceX or Blue Origin.

Evan Steedley

Evan A. Steedley

Award Received: Outstanding Computer Science Award
Activities: While at VSU, I worked as a tutor during my 3rd year.
Favorite class: Introduction to Big Data/Machine Learning.  It was a very fun project-based class that let you apply what you learned in a useful setting.
Career Goals: After graduation, I plan to work at a local Computer Consultation startup.

Winston Turner

Award Received: Martha H. Barnes Scholarship

Carli Tuttle

Carli Tuttle

Award Received: Martha H. Barnes Scholarship
Activities: Blazin’ Brigade and plan on participating in PAWS
Favorite class: Biology 1108 class with Dr. Chambers
Career Goals: After graduation I plan to attend UGA where I will study veterinary science.

Rena Viele

Rena D. Viele

Award Received: Outstanding Student Award - Astronomy
Activities: Secretary for the Society of Physics Students and the Society of Astronomy Students. Conducted undergraduate research with Dr. Chakraborty implementing a low-cost low-pass filter using microstrip structure and implementing a dual-mode hairpin resonator using FR-4 Material.
Favorite class: Functions of a Complex Variable (MATH 4300) with Dr. Kicey, and Thermodynamics (PHYS 4310) with Dr. Drake. I also enjoyed taking two years of Russian courses.
Career Goals: My goal is to earn a Master of Arts in Teaching in Secondary Education to become a high school physics teacher.

Aliya Warren

Award Received: Martha H. Barnes Scholarship

Brooke Wiggins

Brooke L. Wiggins

Award Received: Southwest Georgia Section of ACS Optima Chemical Award
Activities: A few organizations I was involved in were SMACS, Wesley campus ministry, as well as president of the pre-pharmacy club.
Favorite class: Biochemistry and lab with Dr. Gosnell as well as Quantitative Analysis with Dr. De la Garza
Career Goals: My plans after graduation are to attend Mercer College of Pharmacy starting in August 2021!

Taylor Wilson

Taylor Wilson

Award Received: Undergraduate Award in Biochemistry
Activities: Dr. Manning was kind enough to take us to the Florida Keys, and I will be forever grateful for those days.
Favorite class: Quantitative Analysis was my favorite, but Immunology, Linear Algebra, Genetics, Quantum Chemistry all were close contenders.
Career Goals: Exploring multiple avenues, including science education and getting clinical lab certification.

David Yoo

David H. Yoo

Award Received: Scruggs Scholarship
Activities: I am currently working as a student assistant for Calculus I. Also, as a research assistant, I am participating in the smart city project for Valdosta, which is in collaboration with Georgia Tech. I am selected as an intern for Georgia Tech’s SMART Community Corps and will be working on it for this Summer.
Favorite class: I enjoyed ENGR 2200 (Statics) class, which enables me to think in a more creative way.
Career Goals: My career goal is to become a professor of data science who structures, processes, and analyzes big data for more effective solutions and better decision making. I am applying for transferring to GA Tech majoring in industrial engineering.