The Andrew Young School of Policy Studies celebrated the achievements of more than 100 of its students during the 18th Annual Honors Day Program on March 25, 2014, at the Georgia State University Student Center Ballroom.
Award categories recognized at the School level included: The Andrew Young Fellowship, awarded to Ph.D. students Mahmoud Elsayed (Public Policy) and Makayla Palmer (Economics); the AYS Undergraduate Scholarship awarded to Lauren Kline Jeong (B.S., Public Policy and Nonprofit Leadership); and the Nance Lu Mescon Scholarship awarded to Dana Chandler, who’s pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Social Work.
Criminal Justice and Criminology, Economics, Public Management and Policy and Social Work—also recognized students for their departmental awards.
Other awards and honors recognized included The Care Fellowship awarded to Angela Smith, who’s pursuing her master’s degree in public policy; the United Parcel Service Foundation Fellowship awarded to Benjamin Hansen, who received his master’s degree in public administration; and the 2014 MLK Torch of Peace Award awarded to Stacey Rodriquez, who recently graduated with her bachelor’s degree in social work.
Several students received awards in recognition of special service to the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies and Georgia State University.
Speakers for the event were alumnus William “Joey” Smith, who received his Ph.D. in economics in 2002, and Lydia Meredith, a graduate student pursuing her master’s degree in public policy. Both Smith and Meredith shared stories from their respective childhoods and how their individual experiences set the path for them to want to make a difference in their communities.
Smith mused about earlier occupational pursuits as a farmer, repo man and welder where his near-death experiences with a cow, an irate repossessed car owner and on the scaffolding of a tall, windy building were wake-up calls for him to pursue a college education.
“It’s because of you (Andrew Young School faculty) that I have a purpose,” said Smith, a first generation Georgia State graduate. “Now I can have an impact on my community because GSU gave me the capabilities.”
Smith is an associate professor of economics at the University of West Georgia.
Meredith is this year’s recipient of the Amanda G. Hyatt Fellowship, awarded to a graduate student in policy studies who has demonstrated leadership and a proven commitment to compassionate public service. As the executive director of Beacon of Hope, a nonprofit whose goal is to provide accessible, high quality and affordable childcare services to children and their families, Meredith says her parents taught her that success was the hard work it took to earn good grades because they believed good grades help to build up a community.
“I implore you to make building community your life’s work,” said Meredith. “You will find it won’t fail you and, in the long run, that’s the point.”