Clayton State University proudly announces its 2017 Presidential Scholars. Recipients have not only shown exceptional academic performance by maintaining a high school GPA of 3.5 or higher, but have proved to be successful leaders and active members of their communities.
All scholars will receive an annual grant of $3,000, University housing for four years and a textbook stipend.
As Presidential Scholars, these students will be active members in the University's Honors Program, have opportunities to work closely with faculty on research projects and participate in Study Abroad programs specifically designed for Honors students.
Kayla Simone Bell (Augusta, Ga)
Kayla Simone Bell is an honor graduate from the A.R. Johnson Health Science and Engineering Magnet School. She was a member of the high school's National Honor Society as well as a member of the Foreign Language Alliance for International Rapport.
While attending the high school, Kayla was the chapter president of the Technology Student Association and was responsible for managing several chapter offices as well as conducting chapter assemblies.
Aside from being an outstanding student and leader, Kayla is active in her community. She is a part of the DELTA Gems, a group of young women who foster volunteer work and community service events. Through this organization, Kayla also serves as a mentor to upcoming high school graduates.
Kayla is pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Biomedical engineering and is enthusiastic about the impact she will make on others by doing so.
"I want to be able to develop new ways to improve the healthcare aspect of this engineering", she says. "With my college education, I hope that I can not only influence others. I hope that I can significantly impact their lives for the better".
Chase Orion Joseph Dunbar (Morrow, Ga)
Chase Orion Joseph Dunbar is an honor graduate from Morrow High School. He was recognized as the top student in two of his AP classes and was a recipient of the Georgia Certificate of Merit, a prestigious honor only awarded to five hundred high school juniors annually.
Chase attended Lovejoy High School during his freshman and sophomore years and served as the class treasurer during that time. He also founded the school's chess club upon discovering that it did not have one and the club quickly became a success.
While attending Morrow High School during his junior and senior years, Chase joined the Varsity football team and was the top player of the Morrow High School Chess Club.
During weekends, Chase enjoys volunteering as a balloon twister and a magician for children's birthday parties. Chase is pursuing a career in Nursing and desires to help those who cannot obtain medical resources.
"As a nurse, my dream is to travel to places with limited access to healthcare. It always made me sad to see how millions of people across the world lived in such terrible health conditions", he says. "I want to drive home knowing that I helped save someone’s life."
Gennisey Jones (Stockbridge, Ga)
Gennisey Jones is an honor graduate from Woodland High School. She was part of the institute's AP Honors program and was an active member of the Future Business Leaders of America and the AKA Leadership Program.
During her time at Woodland High School, Gennisey was elected as Senior Class President. She also served as vice president for the Student Government Association and as treasurer for the Future Business Leaders of America. Additionally, she was a recipient of the 2015 and 2016 Leader of the Pack Award for her outstanding leadership skills.
Outside of the classroom, Gennisey enjoys participating in sports. She plays recreational softball and was a member of Woodland High School's Varsity cheerleading team and its Varsity track and field team.
Gennisey is pursuing a career as a pharmacist but also has dreams of being an entrepreneur and opening her own shoe store. She then desires to start a non-profit organization that will donate shoes to underprivileged children.
"I get overly excited just thinking of what it is I will actually accomplish with my degree", she says. "I feel as though I am past wishing, with my degree in hand, I will be planning and acting."
Bless Loadholt (Savannah, Ga)
Bless Loadholt is an honor graduate from the Savannah Arts Academy. She was a member of the school's National Honor Society as well as its National BETA Club.
While attending the Savannah Arts Academy, she was elected President of the KEY Club. As president, she was an UNICEF advocate and participated in countless community service projects, including volunteering at Candler Hospital for over 100 hours.
Bless is also an accomplished singer and has received many awards for her musical achievements, such as the 2014 Outstanding Vocalist Award and the second place award at the 2015 AASU Solo Competition.
Bless is pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Music Education. She is excited about using her knowledge of and love for music to inspire her future students by showing them how to "make the music come alive".
A college education means much more to Bless than being a music educator, however.
"What I wish to accomplish with my college education is not only to become a music educator", she says, "but to create a better life for myself that is filled with success and happiness."
Meghan Michele Rieger (Clinton Township, MI)
Meghan Michele Rieger is honor graduate from Chippewa Valley High School. She was an Executive Board member of the institute's National Honor Society and has received many awards for her academic achievements to date.
Through her position as Executive Board member, Meghan oversaw several community events which benefited both the Muscular Dystrophy Association and the American Cancer Society.
Meghan served as president of the Peer Mediation Club at her high school and dedicated her time spent as president to ending bullying in schools, which she still remains passionate about.
In her spare time, Meghan enjoys volunteering at her parent's non-profit organization. Her favorite things to do there are packing lunches for those in need and assisting in the soup kitchens.
Meghan is pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Nursing and is dedicated to academic success while attending Clayton State University.
"I will continue to strive to get the grades and get on the Dean’s List", she says. "That is something very important to me. I want to achieve academic excellence all four years of college."
Meghan plans to make a social impact at Clayton State as well.
"The activities around school are some that you can’t miss out on", she says. "I plan to be a part of as many clubs and groups as I can."
Paulina Yi Vang (Winder, Ga)
Paulina Yi Vang is an honor graduate from Winder Georgia High School. She was the secretary of the high school's National Honor Society and was a member of the Spanish Honor Society. She graduated in the top ten of her class and was voted "most successful student" by her peers.
During her time at Winder Georgia High School, Paulina served as president of the National BETA Club. She conducted club meetings and hosted several community service events. Paulina was also an active member of the Student Ambassador club and led the school's voting booth for the 2016 Presidential election.
She was also part of the school band and obtained the position of first chair clarinet in the symphonic band. Paulina is pursuing a career in Healthcare and has dreams of opening her own chain of medical clinics.
"To create a new, innovative healthcare system of my own is what I plan to do with my college education", she says. "I want to create a healthcare system that offers specialized, different services which deal with a variety of health issues and conditions."