A message from the Provost

I am filled with optimism as we continue to see improvements in retention and new enrollments, which propel us into a more proactive leadership role. Allow me to elucidate on several strategic measures we have implemented, geared towards molding our students into effective leaders capable of leaving a lasting impact on their respective fields and communities. These initiatives unfolded over the past year, demonstrating substantial growth and deliberate innovation, ensuring our students are equipped with the best tools to realize their aspirations.

As a noteworthy example, I recently unveiled our intention to propose a degree program in Biomedical Sciences to the University System of Georgia (USG).

In anticipation of the forthcoming medical school on the Armstrong Campus in Savannah, I have collaborated closely with Dr. Elizabeth Gray of Augusta University. Together, we are laying the groundwork for welcoming the inaugural cohort of medical students to the campus this coming Fall. This dynamic and transformative partnership has not only broadened horizons but has paved a distinct pathway for our pre-professional students to secure acceptance into their desired professional programs, thereby amplifying the prestige associated with graduating from Georgia Southern.

In line with our commitment to provide exceptional educational opportunities, students pursuing a major in the proposed Biomedical Sciences will receive invaluable training and knowledge directly applicable to medical practice and research. The curriculum encompasses crucial subjects that align seamlessly with the requisites for pursuing a medical degree. It is noteworthy that many pre-medical students deliberately opt for this major over the broader Biology major, recognizing its focused and tailored approach to their aspirations. This strategic choice enhances their academic journey and reaffirms with our vision to empower students for success in their chosen professional paths.

To that end, our innovative Office of Career and Professional Development (OCPD) recently created a Pre-Professional Test Prep Grant Program. This pilot program, launched in January 2024, awards free, private MCAT and LSAT test prep services from Kaplan, Inc. For Georgia Southern students who are preparing for careers in law or in various medical professions, the cost of test preparation is yet another “hidden fee” that must be addressed. The cost of test prep courses adds up significantly and for many students it is a potential barrier to graduate and professional school. The primary program goal is to eliminate the financial obstacle of completing test prep services by awarding free, live online instruction classes from Kaplan, Inc. Through a competitive application process last fall, the OCPD awarded ten MCAT Prep Online courses and six LSAT Prep Online courses. The OCPD Pre-Professional Advising team is monitoring the student’s pre and post test prep practice test scores to measure test score improvement. The ultimate program goal is to significantly increase Georgia Southern student MCAT and LSAT test scores, leading to acceptance at more competitive medical/law schools and access to greater graduate school scholarships.

I would also like to extend a thanks to Dr. Steven Engel from the Honors College for the Honors Scholars' Day luncheons that happened recently. At the Honors Scholars' Day event on the Armstrong campus, Dr. Allison Scardino Belzer delivered the address. In Statesboro, two luncheons happened simultaneously. Due to that, Dr. Amy Potter delivered one while Dr. Meca Williams-Johnson delivered the other.

The best way to predict the future is to create it, and the examples in this message are some of the ways we are doing that. As always, if you have any ideas, questions or concerns don't hesitate to reach out. My office is here to support you.

Emerging Scholar:

Elise Cain, Ph.D.

Georgia Southern proudly announces the selection of Elise J. Cain, Ph.D. as a 2024-2026 American College Personnel Association (ACPA) Emerging Scholar–Designee.

“Dr. Cain has relentless dedication and unmatched energy to achieve her research goals,” said Meca Williams-Johnson, Ph.D., interim co-dean of the College of Education. “We are proud of her accomplishments and the recognition she is receiving for this important work.” 

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Free Community Programs

At CPE, we believe that continuous learning and professional advancement are essential components of success. With great excitement, we announce the launch of our new initiative, the “Free Community Programs” project, aimed at providing accessible lifelong learning opportunities to everyone in our community. These programs will be hosted at the CPE center in Statesboro; best of all, they are entirely FREE!

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Celebrating Brilliance: Dr. Monika Raj Headlines 2024 GS4 Symposium as Keynote Speaker

Georgia Southern University proudly announces Monika Raj, Ph.D., from Emory University as the keynote speaker for the 2024 Student Scholarship Symposium (GS4).


GS4 serves as a dynamic platform for both undergraduate and graduate students to showcase their academic and creative research, providing an opportunity for the university’s best and brightest scholars to unite and share their groundbreaking work and

ideas. Raj brings a wealth of experience to this year's symposium that is set to take place at the Russell Student Union in Statesboro on April 16, and at the Student Center on the Armstrong Campus on April 18.


 “This symposium is an excellent opportunity to highlight our top scholars, fostering a space for them to present their innovative research and exchange ideas,” said Vice President of Research and Economic Development, Chris Curtis, Ph.D.


Raj completed her doctorate in Organic Chemistry from the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur, and conducted postdoctoral work at the University of Pennsylvania and New York University. Serving on the faculty at institutions such as Seton Hall University, NJ, and Auburn University, she recently got promoted to the position of full professor at Emory University. With research on the roles of

proteins in physiological and pathological processes, Raj’s focus lies in identifying therapeutic targets and drugs for disease treatment. Her expertise extends to developing novel chemical probes, cyclic peptides, synthetic strategies, and imaging tools, drawing from the realms of organic and biological chemistry.

"I am honored to be part of Georgia Southern University's GS4, and I look forward to engaging with the enthusiasm and intellect of the students as we explore the frontiers of knowledge together,” said Raj.

Acknowledged for her outstanding contributions, Raj has received several awards in her career, including the NSF CAREER award in 2018, NIH MIRA award in 2019, and the Sloan Research Award in 2020. She has been globally recognized with lectureship and rising star awards in chemical biology, including awards from the American Peptide Society (APS), Australian Peptide Society, Japanese Peptide Society, and the German Science Foundation. In 2023, Dr. Raj received the Distinguished Faculty Lecture at Emory College of Arts and Science and was named a Kavli Fellow by the National Academy of Sciences further solidifying her reputation in the scientific community. With an impressive academic record boasting 50 publications and holding nine US patents, Raj’s presence adds a significant dimension to the symposium’s celebration of scholarly excellence.


The title of Raj’s keynote address at GS4 is “Luminescent Breakthroughs: Transformative Frontiers in Cancer Detection and Treatment” and promises to enlighten and inspire attendees, offering a glimpse into the groundbreaking advancements in her field.

Please share with your Deans, faculty and staff that the 40 under 40 Class of 2024 nomination portal is now open! Give your college alumni the opportunity to be recognized in this prestigious group.

Click here for more.

Georgia Southern alumni are loyal. They’re loyal to the community they built here, the opportunities they received, and the passion that connects them to past and future Eagles.

This Day of Giving is an opportunity for the Georgia Southern community to show the world, once and for all, where our loyalty lies and to create a path forward for future generations of Eagles.

For more information, click here.

Elevating your success

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