Friday, March 30, 2012

Stay West this Weekend

Two great events are lined up this weekend. Begining today at 3 p.m. will be the Good Vibes Fair sponsored by the Mind-Body group. Join Weekends West Georgia four a double-whammy this Saturday afternoon. Beginning at 3 p.m. in the HPE Gym there will be a simultaneous Casino Night and putt-putt golf course for students to enjoy.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

West Fest Music Festival, A Great Event For A Great Cause

 West Fest Music Festival is coming to the University of West Georgia Athletic Complex on April 21, from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. With a talented musical lineup for the event, along with activities for the whole family, you won’t want to miss this event. All proceeds will go to sponsor Carroll County’s chapter of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Tickets can be purchased online at until April 19. Early bird pricing is available until April 1.

West Fest is an annual music festival sponsored by Greenway Medical Technologies, the University of West Georgia and other corporate leaders in the community to benefit a worthy cause. The local chapter of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America houses more than 170 children daily in after school and summer programs. West Fest will raise funds to support the organization with needs like transportation, facilities, teachers, technology and a safe and healthy learning environment for kids ranging from 6 to 18-years-old. The Boys & Girls Clubs teach life applicable skills while having fun and preparing kids for their future.

Attendees will experience concerts by numerous performers, including:
Darrel Scott, the Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter who has penned tunes for the Dixie Chicks, Hank Williams Jr., Faith Hill, Brad Paisley, Garth Brooks and others. (
Jackson Lawrence, who opened for Luke Bryan during his recent Carrollton show. This talented young band will rock your socks off. (
Paris Luna, a local favorite who has performed with Zac Brown and was nominated for the GA Music Awards’ Best Rock Female category for her hit song “Tell Me Why” (
The Steed Brothers, a blues inspired band
Homegrown Band, country favorites from Carrollton (

Participate in a day of activities and fun for the whole family while enjoying UWG’s Athletic Complex. Wolves cheerleaders and players will be on hand for face painting and football toss. There will also be clowns and more for the kids. 

Current West Fest sponsors include: Greenway Medical Technologies, the University of West Georgia, the Boys & Girls Club of Metro Atlanta, Ra-Lin & Associates, Sii, West Georgia Technical College, Carrollton Office Equipment, Wells Fargo, Charter Bank, Grillo & Associates, SMI, Southwire, Scott Evans Dodge, Jordan Truck Sales, Pool RX, OmniCall, Carroll EMC, Drakeats, Big Daddy Car Wash, Georgia PR Girl, Garrett-Robinson, Carrollton High School, David & Andrea Godwin, Chick-fil-A, J.Smith Lanier and Bowdon Junction Quick Stop.

West Fest. “Band Together For Good.”

For more information, ticket purchases, sponsorship or donations, please visit

Media Contact: Marion Webb/Georgia PR Girl 404-245-5280
Melissa Graves/Greenway Medical Technologies 678-476-4363 

UWG's On-Time Registration

All current UWG students who wish to take Summer and Fall 2012 classes.
The registration schedule can be found on the Registrar’s Office webpage or in The Scoop at
Begins March 26, 2012 and runs until Open Registration begins on April 9th.  On-Time Registration and Open Registration will close on April 25th.
You must see your Academic Advisor before you can register for courses in your secure Banweb account.  Check your account after seeing your advisor for any HOLDS and resolve any issues before your registration time.  Any issues you encounter after you begin the Banweb registration process can be directed to the UWG Enrollment Services Center in Parker Hall.
This is your opportunity to get your first choice of classes for Summer 2012 and Fall 2012 ahead of the crowd and to avoid the last minute rushing and stress.  On-Time Registration is also beneficial because you avoid getting the LATE FEE.


SUMMER 2012:  Any UWG Current Student will get a $75 late fee if you wait until May 3rd to begin your registration for Summer 2012.

FALL 2012: Open Registration will re-open May 3rd—July 27th for Fall 2012 without a $75 Late Fee.  Fall Late Registration begins August 2nd and does have the $75 Late Fee if you wait until this time to begin your registration for Fall 2012.
On-Time Registration Dates for Currently Enrolled Students:
Current Seniors & all Graduate level students - Mar. 26
Current Juniors ss# ending in 50-99 – Mar. 27
Current Juniors ss# ending in 00-49 – Mar. 28
Current Sophomores ss# ending 50-99 – Mar. 29
Current Sophomores ss# ending 00-49 – Mar. 30
Current Freshmen ss# ending 25-49 – Apr. 2
Current Freshmen ss# ending 00-24 – Apr. 3
Current Freshmen ss# ending 75-99 – Apr. 4
Current Freshmen ss# ending 50-74 – Apr. 5

Open Registration** – Begins April 9 and Ends at Drop/Add (see below)
Drop/Add Periods:
Summer Session I - May 7
Summer Session II - June 4 & 5
Summer Session III - June 4 & 5
Summer Session IV - July 2
Fall Semester - August 20-25

**Registration will be closed during each fee payment processing period.  Check the Registrar's announcements regularly for more details. 

FEE PAYMENT DEADLINES for On-Time/Early Registration:

SUMMER 2012 – April 30, 2012 @ 6:00 (Minimum of Tuition & Mandatory Fees Must Be Paid)
                       June 06, 2012 @ 6:00 (for all students that owe a balance, 100% of charges must be paid)

FALL 2012 – July 30, 2012 @ (Minimum of Tuition & Mandatory Fees Must Be Paid)
                   August 28, 2012 @ 6:00 (for all students that owe a balance, 100% of charges must be paid)

Spring Commencement Set for April 28

The University of West Georgia's spring commencement ceremonies will be held on Saturday, April 28 at UWG's Coliseum.
There will be two ceremonies, at 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.
The speaker for both will be Hank Huckaby, chancellor of the University System of Georgia.
Huckaby began serving as chancellor in July 2011. His career has focused on a long record of public service to the state of Georgia in many areas of government, including the University System, where he earned both his undergraduate and graduate degrees. He has headed up at various times in his career the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget, the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, and the Georgia Residential Finance Authority. Huckaby also served in the Georgia House of Representatives in 2011, prior to taking the helm at the USG, representing Georgia House District 113 as a Republican. His legislative experience also includes a stint as the director of the Georgia State Senate Research Office.

Here are the approved order and times for University of West Georgia Spring Commencement on April 28

Morning 9:30 AM

College of Arts and Humanities

College of Education

School of Nursing

Afternoon 2:00 PM

 Richards College of Business

College of Science and Mathematics
College of Social Sciences


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Does HIV Look Like Me?

Does HIV Look Like Me?

Date: March 29, 2012
Location: TLC 1305
Time: 7:00pm
According to the Center of Disease Control there are over 1.2 million people living with HIV or AIDS in the United States. Each year over 55,000 Americans, half under the age of 25, are infected with HIV. It is estimated that one out of every five individuals of those living with HIV or AIDS, do not know they are infected.

DOES HIV LOOK LIKE ME? is presented by young people living with HIV or AIDS. The event includes an informative HIV and AIDS 101, the talent sharing their story of being diagnosed and living with the disease and always time for questions and answers. The talent will offer a variety of diverse stories with information and a personal connection to young people by sharing their unique perspective and the realities of their own life of living, not dying, with the disease.

DOES HIV LOOK LIKE ME? is encouraging young people to know their status and end stigma and discrimination against those living with the disease-all without using fear.

Sponsored by Rx Committee
Free and open to the public

Contact information: 
Carrie Pitzulo
Colleen Vasconcellos

A Night of Peace, Music and the WOLF Internet Radio

The WOLF Internet Radio will celebrate its second year of success with WOLFstock 2012 on Thursday, April 5. The festival starts at 6:58 p.m. in Love Valley on the campus of the University of West Georgia.
The WOLF Internet Radio will celebrate its second year of success with WOLFstock 2012 on Thursday, April 5. The festival starts at 6:58 p.m. in Love Valley on the campus of the University of West Georgia.
It will feature live performances from five bands that appeared on The WOLF’s weekly show, “Waylin’s Pub.”
The event is free and open to the public.

“Waylin’s Pub” was created to highlight the local musical talent on campus and around the state. “We are extremely excited to bring some of the bands back to celebrate our anniversary,” said Christopher York, operations manager and co-creator of “Waylin’s Pub.”
Some of the featured artists for WOLFstock 2012 are: up-and-coming hip-hop artist, Reign; Come Down Denver, a popular local rock group; and Kurt Thomas Atlanta’s-own rising country star. Other performers include Wired Method and Amsterdam Station.
Shawn Isaacs, UWG alum and general manager of The WOLF, said the station wants to showcase local musical artists of different genres.  UWG students may have never heard of them, but will find them talented and entertaining, Isaacs said.
In addition to the live performances there will be free food and drinks, including Papa John’s Pizza, Monster Energy and Vitamin Water. The WOLF will also be giving away prizes, such as signed CDs, t-shirts, hats, cups, key chains, movie tickets and free dinners from local restaurants.
This event is presented by the Mass Communications Society. For more information go to contact: Krystal Horne, event promotions director, or Isaacs at 678-839-663 or
The WOLF Internet Radio is UWG's very own radio station run “For Students, By Students.” It was founded in 2009 by Brad Yates, as associate professor in the Mass Communications Department, through a Technology Fee grant, The WOLF officially launched to the public April 21, 2010 through the efforts of students in COMM 4421-Radio Practicum and other volunteers. The WOLF is an experiential learning lab for students majoring and minoring in Mass Communications and other fields. The WOLF is committed to quality radio programming for students, faculty, staff, alumni and the UWG community.

UWG Online Announces March Newsletter

The Department of Distance and Distributed Education and UWG Online produce a monthly newsletter referring to current news, training opportunities, faculty and departmental accomplishments, as well as resources and professional development opportunities regarding distance education and online instruction.

UWG Online March Newsletter:

UWG Online Newsletter Wiki Archive:

UWG Places four on Winter All-Academic Team

Carrollton, GA – Success on the court and in the classroom is a goal of UWG Athletics. Monday, a quartet of West Georgia student-athletes was honored for exhibiting such excellence.
Four University of West Georgia basketball performers were honored as members of the 2011-12 GSC Winter All-Academic Team. Women’s basketball standoutsKrystal Delph and Breonna Mosley received the honor, while Gavin Field andMarcus Cowan were chosen from the UWG men’s team.
The GSC All-Academic Team is chosen in joint vote of the Faculty Athletic Representatives and Sports Information Directors from throughout the conference. To be eligible for consideration, a student-athlete must have maintained a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.2, and must have been a significant contributor to his-or-her team’s success during the season. Also, community service and extra curricular activities are also considered as part of voting process.
Delph was one-of-three unanimous selections for the All-Academic Team. A senior from Winter Haven, Fla., she is a Sport Management major with a 3.72 GPA. On the court, she averaged 8.7 points and 5.4 rebounds per game.
Mosley, a sophomore from Hampton, had numbers very similar to Delph: 8.0 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. She is majoring in Biology and has a 3.34 GPA.
On the men’s side, Field is two-time All-Academic selection after making the squad a year ago. As a senior, he helped lead UWG to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2005 with an average of 13.8 points and 5.2 rebounds per game.

A Sport Management major from South Lake, Australia, Field ended his career as a holder of four school records and ranks in the all-time top ten in a variety of categories in the UWG record book.
Cowan rounds out West Georgia’s All-Academic contingent. A junior from Lithonia, Cowan averaged 2.2 points and 1.6 rebounds per game in reserve roll last season. He is majoring in Biology, and carries a 3.62 GPA.
Beyond the All-Academic distinction, UWG’s four student-athletes are also members of the GSC Academic Honor Roll. Joining them with that distinction are four additional UWG performers. Men’s basketball players Brett SeljakAndy Olejackand Jordan Nelson qualified for the honor, while Angela Davis from the Wolves’ women’s team earned the distinction.
So far this academic year, six UWG student-athletes have been named Academic All-GSC. Football standout Randy Sides and cross country stalwart Robert Fenesterer claimed the honor in the fall. Also, UWG can boast of 52 academic honor roll honor roll members through the fall and winter sports seasons.

Honor Society Salutes First-Year Students at UWG


The University of West Georgia announces that 117 first-year students will accept membership into National Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society for First Year Students on Wednesday, April 4 at 7 in the Campus Center Ballroom.

The executive director of the national organization, Dr. Glenda Earwood, will deliver a keynote address to the inductees.

Founded in the spring of 1924 at the University of Illinois by Dean Maria Leonard, Alpha Lambda Delta is a national honor society that recognizes and encourages academic excellence among first-year students.  Today, Alpha Lambda Delta has over 260 chapters throughout the United States and more than 700,000 students have been initiated into membership since the first chapter was started more than 80 years ago.

Membership in Alpha Lambda Delta is open to full-time freshmen students who earn a scholastic average of 3.5 or better at a four-year college or university.

Alpha Lambda Delta emphasizes that educated persons have a responsibility to “have tolerance in your dealings with all persons, generosity in giving to those in need, and insight into the feelings of others” Earwood said. Members are challenged to make a “meaningful contribution to society.”

For more information about UWG’s Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society for First Year Students, visit or contact Ashley Lewis at 678-839-6280.

Ashley Lewis, Advisor
UWG Chapter of Alpha Lambda Delta

Friday, March 23, 2012

Spring Enrollment Figures

The official spring 2012 student enrollment at UWG is 10,933, which exceeds last spring’s number by 3.6 percent. Enrollment by gender puts the female students at 63 percent, a percentage point increase from last year. Total enrollment by student classification shows that the largest proportion of students enrolled are freshmen (23 percent), followed by seniors (22 percent). Sophomores and Juniors account for 21 percent and 18 percent, respectively. Graduate students represent 15 percent of the student population. New students account for just 6.4 percent of the total enrollment this semester.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Residents Highly Satisfied with Quality of Life, West Metro Atlanta/West Ga. Survey Finds


Residents of the western metro Atlanta/West Georgia area remain highly satisfied with their community and their lives, despite economic struggles and considerable national political and social divisions.

That's the finding of the second annual West Georgia Area Survey conducted by the University of West Georgia's Survey Research Center.

More than nine out of 10 respondents reported that they were “very happy” or “happy” with their lives, while a virtually identical percentage rated their local community as “excellent,” “very good,” or a “good” place to live. These numbers were consistent with the results of the previous year's West Georgia Area Survey.

Respondents reported relatively modest levels of “generalized trust” (trust in people in general), though the results were virtually identical to those asked an identical question in a recent national survey, the 2010 General Social Survey conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago. However, like last year, several measures of “localized trust” yielded a much more favorable view of others in their community, including trust in neighbors, those with whom they worship, and local law enforcement officers.

At least 80 percent of those who answered each of these questions expressed “a lot” or “some” trust in each of these groups of people. There is also considerable trust in co-workers and local community leaders, though it is somewhat less strong than trust in the community members mentioned above.

Participants also again reported being highly engaged in their community, as measured by involvement in a variety of aspects of civic life. Roughly half participate in religious organizations and charitable organizations for the needy, with significant numbers of individuals taking part in a variety of other activities like senior citizens groups, neighborhood organizations, Scouts and other youth groups, and other types of local organizations. Finally, once again most respondents (73 percent) participated in more than one type of local civic activity, with almost half taking part in four or more types.

Todd Matthews, co-director of the survey, noted that “once again, the citizens of the West Georgia region have expressed a strong level of satisfaction with their community and their lives, despite the daily barrage of negative news. This is likely because they are engaged, active participants in civic life, which has long been found to be a hallmark characteristic of a good place to live.”

Other topics explored in the survey addressed: perceptions of crime and the criminal justice system; attitudes regarding civility in contemporary life; participation in religious life and activities; concern about the environment; crime victimization and fear of crime; and basic demographic measures gathered by the researchers to use for comparative purposes.

The West Georgia Area Survey was a landline and cell phone survey conducted in late 2011. There were 632 respondents from a seven-county area around UWG: Carroll, Coweta, Douglas, Haralson, Heard, Paulding, and Troup. The lead researcher on the project was Catherine Jenks, director of the Survey Research Center in UWG's College of Social Sciences and an assistant professor of criminology. Matthews, assistant professor and chair of the Department of Sociology and  L. Michael Johnson, associate professor of criminology, were co-directors of the project. The project will continue on a regular basis in future years, with questions designed to explore continuing trends or new and emerging issues on a variety of topics of interest to researchers, policy makers, business leaders, and local citizens.

The researchers are available to present data from the study to local organizations and community leaders. Please contact Matthews at 678-839-6325 or by e-mail at if you are interested in learning more about the study results.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

UWG Names Estes Vice President for University Advancement

The University of West Georgia has named Dr. Bill Estes as its vice president for university advancement. Estes comes to UWG from the Texas A&M Foundation, where he served for nearly 22 years as regional director of major gifts and helped lead two major capital campaigns for the university.
Estes has spent 26 years in university development and alumni relations and 14 years in intercollegiate athletics, having worked for a number of institutions including Wayland Baptist University, Dallas Baptist University, North Texas State University, Grand Canyon University and Belmont College.  He earned bachelor's and master's degrees from North Texas State and doctoral degrees from Vanderbilt University.
 "I am delighted to have, on the UWG team, a person of Dr. Bill Estes' caliber, and breadth and depth of experience," said UWG President Dr. Beheruz N. Sethna. "I wish him every success at UWG."
Estes said leading UWG's Division of University Advancement, which includes development, alumni relations and athletics, presents a unique combination of responsibilities.
"I saw this role at UWG as a perfect fit for my background and work experience in development and athletics, and I'm thrilled to accept this great opportunity," Estes said. "I look forward to helping an institution that wants to move forward. Its recent growth has been impressive and its vision for the future looks even brighter."
             Estes begins work April 2.

Multicultural Achievement Program to Hold Awards Ceremony at UWG

The Multicultural Achievement Program at the University of West Georgia will hold the 28th Annual Academic Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, March 28 at 7 p.m. in the Campus Center Ballroom. 
The ceremony will recognize
313 minority and multicultural students from UWG and 16 area high school students for their academic achievements. MAP will award the ACE Awards to the UWG junior and senior with the highest GPA, the Academic Achievement Awards to students with a 3.25 or higher and the Academic Excellence Awards to juniors and seniors with a 3.75 or higher.
This year, the Helena Harbridge International Student-Athlete Award will be presented, recognizing the international student-athlete with the best combination of athletic performance, classroom achievement, team work, team spirit, and community involvement.
            The speaker for the evening is Kim Holder, a UWG alumna and a Richards College of Business lecturer of economics. Holder strives to teach more than just textbook economics.  She has always looked at the world a little differently from the status quo and is passionate about passing on that unique perspective to her students.  She actively uses music, media and pop culture to inspire student creativity, with the hopes of inspiring each of them toward a greater love of learning.  Her research work focuses on the integration of popular media into the classroom to enhance student engagement.

Area High School Students Being Honored

Bowdon High School                                                            Bremen High School
Lyric Maze                                                                        Jamie Dukes
Arisha Johnson                                                            Dipesh Patel

Carrollton High School                                                Central High School
Kelcy Newton                                                                        Justis Ward
Miguel Lazaro                                                                        Orlando Cler

Haralson County High School                                     Oak Mountain Academy
Mahogany Harris                                                            Suhani Patel
Jeleen Ross                                                                        Yinan Zhang

Temple High School                                                            Mt. Zion High School
Cinnamon Williams                                                            Justin Crawford
Adriauna Clay                                                                        Hannah Wood

Friday, March 16, 2012

UWG to Award Honorary Doctorate to Entrepreneur, Former Faculty Member Bob Stone

The University of West Georgia is proud to announce that it will award an honorary doctorate to Bob Stone, a former faculty member who also is founder and chairman of Systems and Methods Inc., a data processing firm. The honor will be presented at UWG’s spring commencement ceremony on April 28.
The University of West Georgia is proud to announce that it will award an honorary doctorate to Bob Stone, a former faculty member who also is founder and chairman of Systems and Methods Inc., a data processing firm. The honor will be presented at UWG’s spring commencement ceremony on April 28.Stone, who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Georgia Institute of Technology, began his career at Lockheed Aircraft – Georgia Division, followed by stints at Southern Railway and Georgia State University. In 1969, Stone came to West Georgia as an assistant professor of business, where he would become chairman of the computer center committee and director of the business internship program.
In 1971, while still at West Georgia, he founded SMI, a computer service bureau that offered payroll, accounting and consulting servicing. His company automated a food stamp process and donated it to Carroll County. Shortly thereafter, SMI was serving all 159 counties in Georgia. The company would grow to deliver over $1 billion in food stamp services to 15 states. In the 1980s and 1990s, SMI was the largest private issuance provider of food stamps in the nation. SMI has since developed and supported information systems for tracking data for Health and Human Services agencies and processing child support payments and check imaging.
Stone’s professional honors and affiliations include, from the university, Honorary Alumnus (1997) and Executive in Residence (1998-1999), as well as Georgia County Welfare Association, Carroll Chamber of Commerce chairman (2001-2002) and Citizens Bank & Trust of West Georgia chairman of the executive board.
“Bob Stone is, and has been for a very long time, a great friend and supporter of the University of West Georgia,” said UWG President Dr. Beheruz N. Sethna. “He has maintained his strong ties to the university, and we are delighted to award him this honorary doctorate.”
Stone said he was proud of his 43-year association with UWG and the relationships that it has produced.
“Needless to say, I was most surprised, pleased and honored when Dr. Sethna called to give me the news of my nomination for the honorary doctoral degree,” he said. “Through the years, I have remained an ardent supporter of a growing and dynamic university that is fulfilling Dr. Sethna’s promised concept of a ‘quality education in a personal environment’.” 

Step show to honor African American history and culture

The University of West Georgia, Department of History and Center for 
Public History has partnered with the Georgia Humanities Council and 
the Smithsonian Institution to present a step show performed by our  university’s Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.  The show will be held on Monday, March 26 at 7:00PM in the City of Bremen at historic Sewell Mill (126 Hamilton Avenue).

The event is free and open to the public. The show has been designed to appeal to students of all ages and will highlight various aspects of African American history and culture. The show will last approximately one hour.

If you would like to provide students with extra credit opportunities to attend this event please contact Dr. Keith S. Hebert ( to make arrangements.  If anyone has any questions or needs additional directions, please contact Keith Hebert.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Peking Acrobats

The Peking Acrobats have redefined audience perceptions of their ancient folk art which dates back over 2,000 years. With amazing displays of contortion, flexibility and control, these masters of agility and grace defy gravity. They perform daring maneuvers atop a precarious pagoda of chairs and they are experts at treacherous wire walking, trick cycling, precision tumbling and gymnastics. Accompanied by live musicians playing traditional Chinese instruments and high-tech special effects, the Peking Acrobats present all the pageantry and spectacle of a modern Chinese Theatrical Circus!

UWG Student Wins $5,000 Arby’s Scholarship

A University of West Georgia student has won a $5,000 scholarship from Arby’s Restaurant Group. Dana Towns, an aspiring journalist, competed against other Arby’s employees in the southeast for the college scholarship.

“This will put me ahead of my bills,” said Towns, who is scheduled to graduate in December. The 22-year-old juggles her studies and her Arby’s job with three others – at UWG’s Center for Student Involvement, UTV 13 and Atlanta Heights Charter School.

“I plan to give some of it to my mother. She’s the reason I am here,” said Towns, who lives across the street from campus and works at the Arby’s in Bremen. “I’ll pay some bills and put the rest in savings.”

For the scholarship, Towns wrote a 1,000-word essay about her goals. She wrote about wanting to be a reporter: when she was younger, she wrote and published the Family Tribune. She filled it with news and tidbits about her relatives for her family’s weekly gatherings.

“Dana is probably one of the most positive people I’ve ever met,” said Erin Mills, who was the general manager of the Bremen Arby’s and encouraged Towns to apply. “Whatever is going on in life, at school or at work, she can still come in to work with a smile. She has been the backbone of the store.

“She has that very rare and special quality – no one is a stranger to Dana. She will always talk to customers and employees, she’s very generous and caring,” said Mills, who is currently an area supervisor for Arby’s.

Towns was surprised with scholarship win during a recent annual meeting in Decatur. There was a festive atmosphere as awards were announced for various stores. But Towns didn’t know she had won the scholarship. She thought she was among the finalists. Mills and her general manager stood next to her as the vice president of operations described the winner.

“He said ‘This young lady joined us in 2009.’ I said, Ok, I’m still in it. Then he said ‘She’s a student at UWG.’ I broke down. I started crying immediately.”

Her mother and sister joined her onstage. “Everybody started cheering. I was crying and crying,” said Towns, who graduated from South Gwinnett High School in Snellville. “I was preparing myself to lose. It was very emotional for me. It was one of my proudest moments.”