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Georgia Southern faculty selected for prestigious Scripps Howard Visiting Professorship

Georgia Southern University Communication Arts faculty member Dean Cummings, Ph.D., has been selected as a recipient of one of two 2018-19 Scripps Howard Foundation Visiting Professors in Media Ad Sales by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC).

“It is an honor to be selected for this award and I am excited to learn the latest media sales techniques,” said Cummings. “The media landscape is always moving. My students will benefit from what I learn because I will be able to bring relevant and applicable information to the classroom.”

During the two-week visiting professorship, Cummings, who joined Georgia Southern in 2015 following a career in television, will study advertising sales in social media and digital marketing with WPTV in West Palm Beach, Fla. A representative from WPTV will also visit Georgia Southern during a fall or spring semester.

The professorship offers a $3,000 grant for Cumming’s travel, housing and other expenses, as well as $1,250 for the WPTV representative’s campus visit.

The Scripps Howard Foundation is a leader in supporting journalism education, scholarships, internships, minority recruitment and development, literacy and First Amendment causes.

Administered by AEJMC and funded by the Scripps Howard Foundation, the Visiting Professors in Social Media Program will begin its eighth year with its 2018-19 class, while the Visiting Professors in Media Ad Sales Program will begin its third.

A panel of judges from each program evaluated applications based on the value and need of the program for the applicant and the impact of the visit on the applicant’s home campus. The overall strength of ideas for the professional’s visit and quality of the application were also considered.

Savannah Wind Symphony presents 40th annual Patriotic Concert on July 1

In a musical tribute to those who currently serve or have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, and the nation’s first responders, the Savannah Wind Symphony will present its 40th annual Patriotic Concert on July 1 at 3 p.m. at the Fine Arts Auditorium on Georgia Southern University’s Armstrong Campus in Savannah.

“The Band, soloist and I are honored and humbled to perform this important patriotic musical event for the Savannah community,” said Mark B. Johnson, principal conductor and Savannah Wind Symphony music director for the past 21 seasons. “We are inspired by all the heroes and enthusiastic audiences that make this celebration of America one of our favorite concerts of the year.”

The U.S. Army’s 3rd Infantry Division Honor Guard will present the nation’s colors to open the concert. Deputy Commander Col. Marcus Evans will narrate the poem, “I Am America,” to the performance of “America, the Beautiful.” Vocal soloists Peggy Johnson and Scott Rogers will also perform. In addition, there will be a surprise appearance by one of America’s celebrity personas, who will assist one lucky audience member to guest conduct John Philip Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever.”

Savannah Wind will also pay tribute to Ret. Col. U.S Air Force and Georgia National Air Guard Edward I. Wexler, who is the current Chatham County Veteran of the Year.

The Savannah Wind Symphony is a community wind band serving the Coastal Empire and is comprised of musicians from the greater coastal empire region. The organization is sponsored by the Department of Music on the Armstrong Campus.

The mission of the ensemble is to enhance the cultural climate and appreciation of music in the Coastal Empire by performing public concerts at a high artistic level, to provide a nurturing musical environment to talented young musicians in the company of mature and accomplished musicians, and to identify and support scholarship recipients for advanced musical training at the Armstrong Campus.

For more information or to purchase tickets for the Savannah Wind Symphony 40th annual Patriotic Concert on July 1 visit the Armstrong Campus Box Office.

MDC Students win Student Production EMMY Awards for Department of Music Concert

The Regional Southeast EMMY chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences has recognized Georgia Southern University students with Student Production EMMY Awards.

The Multimedia Development Center (MDC) student production team received an EMMY for Sports – Live Events, Fairfield vs. Georgia Southern Baseball. Holden Galatas, anchor for this event, also received an individual award in the Talent category.

“I’m so excited to have received this honor,” said Galatas. “I never really thought this would be occurring in this stage of my career. This has been a team effort since we started.”

Shelby Head, Bradon Holder, Jayden Moss, Robert Jackson, Sterling Mattison and Robert Ross won a Student Production EMMY for Arts and Entertainment/Cultural Affairs for the production of the “Strings at Southern Chamber Music Festival.”

“Working at the MDC has provided me with an unsurpassed professional experience in the broadcast and video production field,” said Holder. “I have been presented with numerous opportunities to grow and augment my major of electrical engineering with this educational experience. I can’t thank Georgia Southern enough for this opportunity.”

The Southeast Student EMMY awards encourage the pursuit of excellence in video production and focuses public attention on outstanding achievements produced by high school and college students.

“We are very proud of our students for winning these awards,” said Art Berger, director of the MDC.  “This year we’ve had many outstanding students who have worked very hard to achieve a true professional level with our live productions, and it has paid off for them. As a staff member at Georgia Southern University it is rewarding for me and all of our team to serve as mentors and to provide this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, watching our students grow, graduate and obtain outstanding media industry jobs.”

The MDC, a division of University Advancement and External Affairs, provides students with media training and hands-on experience that they can then translate into real-world opportunities. Students run cameras, direct, produce and manage over 100 live events each year on ESPN3 and other national televised broadcasts.

The Regional Southeast EMMY Chapter is one of 19 chapters throughout the United States identifying and celebrating television excellence at the local and regional level of The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. This chapter represents television professionals from all disciplines of the industry and from each of its markets in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina and North Carolina.

Elaris Duo to host 2018 inaugural Elaris Summer String Academy on Georgia Southern’s Armstrong Campus

Two Georgia Southern University faculty members will lead the inaugural Elaris Summer String Academy, an intensive training in chamber music for string players, June 1–5, at the Armstrong Campus in Savannah.

The Elaris Summer String Academy is open to committed string players between the ages of 13 and 23 and provides them the opportunity to study with the internationally acclaimed Elaris Duo and other world-renowned faculty. The academy will include intensive training in chamber music, collaborative music making, private instructions, coachings, master classes, workshops and a chamber orchestra experience that will culminate in a chamber orchestra concert on June 5 to showcase the accomplishments of the participants. Concerts available throughout the five day academy also include the Elaris Duo Informance on June 1 and the Student Chamber group recital on June 4. All concerts are free and open to the public. Donations will also be accepted.

“Chamber music is the most wonderful form of collaboration and communication,” said Associate Professor and one half of the Elaris Duo, Steven Elisha, DMA. “In the spirit of the newly consolidated Georgia Southern University, the Elaris Summer String Academy is a great representation of this union and coming together while celebrating one of the most favorite art forms. We are incorporating the highest level of instructions with fun music making for a wide-ranged age group.”

As the Elaris Duo, Larisa Elisha, DMA, and Steven Elisha have captivated audiences around the world including the Lithuanian Music and Theatre Academy, National Taiwan University of the Arts, the Bergen International Festival and other noted national and international festivals, venues and performing series.

Those who are interested in the Elaris Summer String Academy can find out more information onhow to audition and register on the academy’s website,

For more information on scholarships and private lessons contact Steven Elisha at and for additional information from the Division of Continuing Education, please contact Liz Pickard at or by phone at 912-478-6053.

Georgia Southern duo spark conversation at TEDx Savannah 2018

On May 11, two Georgia Southern University Armstrong Campus community members shared “Ideas Worth Spreading,” at TEDx Savannah 2018, an all-day, immersive networking event held at the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center.

Instructor of Communication Karla Jennings and recent magna cum laude psychology graduate Tina Nelson (‘18) were both selected, along with 13 other featured speakers, to interpret this year’s TEDx Savannah theme “Legacy by Design,” with the intention of sparking discussion at the sold-out gathering.

Jennings explored the various reasons humans fear speaking in front of an audience and shared ways to help overcome that fear. She drew on the power of research-backed inoculation messages, or pre-emptive messages designed to prepare individuals for possible challenges.

“‘How can we change the way we think about and respond to the fear of public speaking?’ she asked the crowd, the iconic red block TEDx letters illuminated just behind her. “The key is in designing a response to fear. Inoculation messages can reframe our response to fear of public speaking.”

Nelson, a high-school dropout and mother at 16 who returned to pursue a formal education at age 40, shared her personal story of overcoming an intense fear of rats while working as a Georgia Southern research assistant, and how her new-found closeness to the animals changed the way she sees human behavior.

“As humans, even the most nurturing and animal-loving of us think of ourselves as being pretty high on the evolutionary ladder, and in a lot of ways we are,” she stated. “But one of the things I learned about working with rats is that our higher-order thinking and consciousness puts a greater burden of caring for others on us. Can you imagine what it would be like to not be able to communicate with the only other living species you interact with?”

Specifically, she was referring to Rizzo, a rat she cared for in the lab, who employs body language and behavioral cues to communicate.

“How this translates to us as humans interacting with each other, that’s the lesson that Rizzo and his brothers taught me,” Nelson said. “When humans interact or respond to each other we respond to situations from our own perspective. The lesson for me was in acknowledging that Rizzo’s awareness comes from a different experience than mine. What I learned is that we could reach deeper within ourselves than our spoken or written language.”