First-Year Experience
Georgia Southern University

First-Year Experience Awards

First-Year Experience is accepting supporting nominations for the 2015 FYE awards for faculty nominated by the initial deadline, March 6.  Supporting nominations are due Monday, March 23 at 5 p.m. For more information and to submit, click here.


Each year, First-Year Experience invites the University community to submit nominations for the following awards, which recognize excellence in the teaching and mentoring of first-year students at Georgia Southern University:

The Outstanding Advocate for First-Year Students award recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the academic and/or personal lives of first-year students.  For the past several years, FYE has recognized one full-time faculty member and one administrator or staff member. Individuals who hold faculty rank but are 12-month administrators are considered as administrators and not faculty for the purposes of this award.

The FYE Peer Leader of the Year award recognizes a peer leader who works in harmony with his or her FYE 1220 or FYE 1410 faculty member to provide a quality classroom experience while engaging students in the overall University community and serving as a positive role model.

The First-Year Experience Advisory Council selects the recipients, who receive a plaque and travel to an FYE or other professional conference (Outstanding Advocate winners) or $100 (Peer Leader).  The awards are funded by First-Year Experience and Phi Eta Sigma, the first-year student honor society.

2014 Outstanding Advocate (Faculty): Dr. Edward Mondor

In 2014, students and colleagues nominated twenty faculty members to be recognized as the 2014 Outstanding Advocate for First-Year Students:

  • Ruth Baker (Henderson Library)
  • Jessica Burke (Art)
  • Dr. Dan Calhoun (Leadership, Technology & Human Development)
  • Janet Dale (Writing & Linguistics)
  • Benjamin Drevlow (Writing & Linguistics)
  • Dr. Eric Hall (History)
  • Abby Johnson (Sociology & Anthropology)
  • June Joyner (Writing & Linguistics)
  • Dr. Brenda Lady (Chemistry)
  • Dr. Brenda Marina (Leadership, Technology and Human Development)
  • Dr. Leticia McGrath (Foreign Languages)
  • Dr. Edward Mondor (Biology)
  • Dr. Linda Mullen (Marketing)
  • Erin Murk (Writing & Linguistics)
  • Dr. Tanesha Osborne (Chemistry)
  • Nathan Palmer (Sociology and Anthropology)
  • Dr. Abdur Rahman (Electrical Engineering)
  • Dr. Salaman Siddiqui (Electrical Engineering)
  • Dr. Gary Vanderlaan (Biology)
  • Dr. Brent Wolfe (Human Ecology)

The 2014 Faculty Outstanding Advocate for First-Year Students is Dr. Edward Mondor, Associate Professor of Biology.

Ed 4

Dr. Mondor teaches large numbers of first-year students in BIOL 1230: Environmental Biology and BIOL 1331: Insects and People.  He is actively involved in various advising initiatives both in COSM and for undeclared students. He has led thirteen sessions of Conversations with Professors over the years, perhaps more than any faculty member.  One of his nominators wrote, [Dr. Mondor] “continually strives to help first year students be successful, in and out of the classroom, here at Georgia Southern. . . . [He] spends a tremendous amount of time working with first-year students, often sacrificing his evenings and weekends, to ensure that students are successful in their academic and personal lives.  I’ve never met someone who feels so strongly about helping students to achieve their personal best!”

Provost Dr. Jean Bartels, COSM Dean Dr. Martha Abel, Biology Department Chair Dr. Steve Vives and FYE Director Dr. Chris Caplinger surprised Dr. Mondor during a meeting in the First-Year Experience office, as members of the COSM advising staff looked on.  FYE assistant director Jen MacDonald had asked him to come help train new staff members on SOAR advising.

2014 Outstanding Advocate (Staff/Administrator): Kerry Greenstein

In 2014, students and colleagues nominated ten administrators or staff members to be recognized as the 2014 Outstanding Advocate for First-Year Students:

  • Jane Cason (Academic Success Center)
  • Jean Dixon (COSM Advisement Center)
  • Kelly Gagel (COSM Advisement Center)
  • Kerry Greenstein (Dean of Students’ Office)
  • Memory Littles (Student Activities)
  • Janet O’Brien (Academic Success Center)
  • Jason Pollett (Career Services)
  • Amy Rowell (Career Services)
  • Kim Simpson (CLASS Advisement)
  • Laura Yocco (COSM Advisement)

The 2014 Outstanding Advocate for First-Year Students for Administrators or Staff Members is Kerry Greenstein, Associate Dean of Students.

Kerry 4Dean Greenstein’s nominators wrote about both his direct impact on students as well as the ways he empowers others as student advocates. A student nominator explained, “If I ever faced a difficult problem he was the person that I would go to for help. He honestly cares about all of his students, and does his best to be there for them. Also, he encourage[s] his students to grow as people and to reach their full potential. I have never met a better man.” As one colleague wrote, Dean Greenstein “demonstrates characteristics through his everyday interactions with students that at its core, exude what advocacy is. . . . [H]is positive influence doesn’t just affect his students, but influences his colleagues and how they interact with their students as well.”

Vice President Dr. Teresa Thompson, Dean of Students Patrice Jackson, and FYE Director Dr. Chris Caplinger, along with numerous other of Dean Greenstein’s colleagues, presented the award during his LEAD 2000: Collaborative Leadership class. He is pictured here with his students after the presentation.

The 2014 Staff Outstanding Advocate for First-Year Students is Kerry Greenstein, Associate Dean of Students. One of her nominators wrote, “Mrs. Thompson was my Goal Setting FYE teacher this semester. She is one of the most caring teachers I have ever had in all my schooling years. She was constantly asking us how we were doing and if there was anything she could help us with. She . . . challenged us to think, explore, and find out who we really were. I got to know some of my classmates very well through the activities and class work we did. She taught us to embrace the differences in our lives and accept each other without judgment.”  Her dean wrote in support that she “works tirelessly to support the success of first-year students” and that she “has engaged the Center’s staff in professional learning that targets strategies to support first-year students.”Provost Dr. Jean Bartels and Assistant Provost Alan Woodrum presented the award at a leadership meeting of the College of Education.  She is pictured here with them.

Previous Advocate Award Winners
  • 2013 (Faculty): Leigh Ann Williams, Visiting Instructor, Writing & Linguistics
  • 2013 (Admin/Staff): Christine Thompson, Director, College of Education’s Student Success Center
  • 2012 (Faculty): Dr. Padmini Shankar, Associate Professor, Health and Kinesiology
  • 2012 (Admin/Staff): Mike Czech, Assistant Director, Academic Success Center
  • 2011 (Faculty): Dr. Trey Denton, Professor, Marketing
  • 2011 (Admin/Staff): Patrice Buckner, Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Student Conduct
  • 2010 (Faculty): Dr. Bridget Melton, Assistant Professor, Health and Kinesiology
  • 2010 (Admin/Staff): Ms. Jodi Middleton, Assistant Director, Office of Student Leadership and Civic Engagement
  • 2009 (Faculty): Dr. Dan Czech, Associate Professor, Health and Kinesiology
  • 2009 (Admin/Staff):  Bob Frigo, Assistant Director, University Honors Program
  • 2008 (Faculty): Jessica Orvis, Assistant Professor and Director of General Chemistry
  • 2008 (Admin/Staff): Janet O’Brien, Director, Academic Success Center
  • 2007:  Dr. Michelle Cawthorn, Assistant Professor, Biology
  • 2006:  Dr. Donna Saye, Assistant Professor, Mathematics
  • 2005:  Kellie Pickett, Coordinator, New Student and Parent Programs
2014 FYE Peer Leader of the Year: Caitlyn Evans

CaitlynThe 2014 Peer Leader of the Year is Caitlyn Evans, a sophomore pre-early childhood education major and the peer leader for Dr. Eric Hall’s FYE 1220 course in Fall 2013. Dr. Hall explained that Caitlyn “was the epitome of a great Peer Leader: mature, full of initiative, warm and welcoming.” He explained that “[s]he graded student essays, kept track of attendance, evaluated (with me) group presentations, met with students individually for 30 minutes, and taught a wonderful lesson on time management. Caitlyn even taught the class on her own on several occasions when I was out of town (and did a fantastic job from what I hear). She answered my emails promptly and professionally. . . . She asked for the floor a number of times to discuss registration, campus activities, and housing policies.” According to Dr. Hall, Caitlyn “was truly more of a co-instructor than a Peer Leader.”

Dr. Hall and FYE Assistant Director Alicia Spence presented Caitlyn with the award at a Folio training session for 2014 peer educators. Caitlyn will serve as a peer instructor in FYE 1220 in Fall 2014.

2014 Peer Leader of the Year Nominees
  • Natalie Buckshaw, sophomore communication studies major
  • Jasmine Carr, senior management major
  • Zachary Davidson, sophomore pre-computer science major
  • Caitlyn Evans, sophomore pre-early childhood education major
  • Lauren Kennedy, sophomore sociology major
  • Emily McGuire, sophomore pre-nursing major
  • Elijah Wellington, sophomore, pre-business major
  • Jamal Wright, junior chemistry major


Previous Winners
  • 2013: Samuel Ivey, junior biology major
  • 2012: Matt Kempton, senior middle grades education major
  • 2011: Ansley Callanan, senior English major
  • 2010: John Kile, senior political science major
  • 2009: Brandi Heath, junior chemistry major
  • 2008: Erin Rice, senior psychology major
  • 2007: Synovia Edwards, senior psychology major
  • 2006: Amanda Fischer, senior biology major
  • 2005: Abby Lynes, senior human resources major
First-Year Experience • P.O. Box 8145 Statesboro, GA 30460 • (912) 478-3939 •