GHC presents employee awards, welcomes new faculty members


Georgia Highlands College started its new academic year by concluding some business from the old one. 

The five-campus college kicked off fall semester by presenting awards for the 2017-18 academic year to faculty and staff members during its annual in-service meeting Aug. 24 at the Clarence Brown Conference Center in Cartersville.  

“GHC fall in-service is the kickoff to our new academic year," Vice President for Human Resources Ginni Siler said. "It provides an excellent opportunity for our president to speak to the institution’s strategic goals, for current topics to be addressed with faculty and staff and for professional achievement and annual awards to be announced."

Awards honor employees who have completed significant degrees, certifications and major programs of study and recognize individuals and groups "that continually contribute at a high level," Siler said.

"Our employees work extremely hard to make GHC the best possible experience for our students and for each other," she said. "Our commitment to recognizing and honoring successes is just another reason GHC is a wonderful place to work, excel and grow.”

Karen Yerkes, an administrative assistant in campus Dean Leslie Johnson's office on the Cartersville campus, won the Employee of the Year award, designed to recognize individuals who consistently support the mission and goals of the college by routinely demonstrating shared values and supporting an environment of excellence.

"There are so many people that deserve this award, and I really appreciate the support that I’ve received from co-workers," said Yerkes, who's been at the college only two years.

The "transplant" from the Philadelphia area said she is "thrilled to be a part of the GHC family."

“Everyone is so wonderful," she said. "We moved because of my husband’s job relocation, but I really think I ended up with the better position. The people here in Cartersville are so friendly. I felt such a warm welcome as soon as I started working here. Exciting things are happening at GHC.”

Other award winners were Julia Areh, Outstanding Administrator Award; Katie Bridges, Vivian Benton Award; Paula Stover, Community Involvement Award; and Human Resources, Department of the Year.

Georgia Highlands also welcomed 14 new full-time faculty members to the college during the in-service:

  • Erna Anderson, master’s degree in systems engineering from George Mason University, math instructor. 
  • Mahirah Baker, master’s degree in pharmacology and toxicology from Michigan State University, biology instructor.
  • Marc Dawson, master’s degree in creative writing from National University, English instructor.   
  • Marlene Goodrum, master’s degree in mathematics from Kennesaw State University, math instructor.   
  • Charles Grimm, doctorate in English rhetoric and composition from Georgia State University, English instructor. 
  • Lisbeth Hyde, master’s degree in nursing education from Western Governors University, nursing education instructor.  
  • Lucinda Montgomery, master’s degree in logistics and supply-chain management, assistant professor of logistics and supply-chain management.
  • Mesrop Najarian, master’s degree in English literature from the University of Oxford, English instructor.
  • Ejiroghene Ogaga, master’s degree in biology from Georgia State University, biology instructor.  
  • Shannan Rivera, master’s degree in professional writing from Kennesaw State University, English instructor.  
  • Matthew Summerlin, doctorate in medicinal chemistry and pharmacognosy from the University of Illinois at Chicago, chemistry instructor.
  • Tara Suswal, master’s degree in secondary mathematics from Kennesaw State University, math instructor. 
  • Shanika Wright Turner, master’s degree in business administration from the Florida Institute of Technology, assistant professor of business administration.
  • Sean Zearfoss, master’s degree from Kennesaw State University, English instructor.