Clayton State University graduate student Malika Pen (Morrow) recently won the inaugural Thomas V. Barnett Award for being the outstanding graduate student in the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS) program for the academic year 2009/2010. Pen’s will be the first name on a perpetual plaque hanging in the Clayton State College of Arts and Sciences.
“I feel extremely honored to be the first recipient of this award. All of my continuous effort, hard work, and dedication have been recognized with this outstanding honor,” Pen says. “I’ve enjoyed my classes at Clayton State University because they have been challenging and mind expanding. My professors have also been very helpful and supportive.”
Pen admits there have been some challenges.
“One of my challenges has been juggling school and a full-time job,” Pen says. “Time management is key. It was difficult in the beginning, but I have learned to better manage my time so that I can be more efficient and productive in both my studies and my job.”
Despite a few challenges Pen’s experience has been rewarding.
“My future goal is to be able to utilize the knowledge I have obtained throughout the program to advance my future career goals in my area of study, which is English,” Pen says. “I’ve enjoyed my classes at Clayton State University because they have been challenging and expanding. My professors have also been very helpful and supportive.
“I've enjoyed the class discussions and critical examinations of the text because I have learned and gained so many different perspectives on culture, history, and literature, as well as the relationship between each, from my professors and classmates.”
The award is named in honor of Dr. Thomas V. Barnett, the first director of the MALS program at Clayton State. MALS was the University’s first graduate-level program, beginning in 2006.