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Mary Carpenter Receives Prestigious Gold ‘A’ Award and Bhatia Foundation Award

At the Awards Convocation for the Georgia Southern University Armstrong Campus on Thursday, April 19, senior Honors Program student Mary Carpenter (rehabilitation sciences ’18) received two of the campus’s most prestigious awards: the Gold ‘A’ and the Bhatia Foundation Award.

The Gold ‘A’ Award is given only occasionally, when a student wins both the Silver ‘A’ for Academics and the Silver ‘A’ for Service, which represent outstanding achievement in academics or service to the university, respectively.

The Bhatia Foundation Award was created in spring 2012 as an opportunity to recognize students who embody the ideals their foundation seeks to promote. The Bhatia Foundation Award is given to a graduate who is focused on the betterment of humankind and the promotion of friendship and goodwill for all cultures. The recipient must also hold the university’s Gold or Silver ‘A’ for Academics or Service.

Carpenter found out she would be receiving the Gold ‘A’ award prior to the convocation and was proud to have earned it. “For me receiving the Gold ‘A’ symbolized how much I have grown as a person while at Armstrong. There is no way that as a freshman I would have been able to accomplish what was necessary for either of the Silver ‘A’s,” Carpenter said. The Bhatia Foundation Award, however, she was not expecting. “After I received my Gold ‘A’ I thought was done going up on stage and I was completely surprised to receive the Bhatia Foundation Award. I am very honored to have been chosen to receive this award. I see it as a challenge to continue striving for my own self-improvement and the improvement of my community as a whole,” Carpenter said.

Dr. Sara Gremillion, who knows Carpenter through the Honors Program and met her as a freshman, said, “Her active involvement in our program made her stand out from the start…. She was easily voted into the [Honors Ambassador] position by me and our Director, Dr. Jonathan Roberts.” The duties of an Honors ambassador include representing the program at university recruitment events and freshman orientation sessions and serving as a mentor to incoming Honors students. Dr. Gremillion went on to say, “It also includes serving as a trusted peer who is willing to listen and help when a student has a personal problem. Mary has done a great job in the position and has represented our program well!”

Carpenter’s Honors Project research mentor, Dr. Keri Mans, also spoke highly of her. For their study on behavioral memory and zebrafish, Carpenter was instrumental in helping to create an experimental method that Dr. Mans’s lab will continue to utilize in future. “Mary’s ownership of this project certainly never failed to impress. We are fortunate to have had Mary join our lab for the past year as our honors student,” said Dr. Mans.

In addition to serving as an Honors Program Ambassador, Carpenter has served as Vice President of Rho Tau and Vice President of Phi Eta Sigma, as well as a volunteer for a variety of campus and community organizations, including West Rehab and the Armstrong campus’s Youth Orchestra program. Carpenter has also presented research at multiple regional conferences and has received numerous awards for her excellence in academics and service, all while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.

Carpenter will graduate from Georgia Southern University on May 4, 2018, and then begin the Doctor of Physical Therapy graduate program at the Armstrong campus later in May. In the future, Carpenter would like to specialize in inpatient therapy and ultimately work abroad in the field of pediatric therapy for developing countries where there is limited access to medical care.

The Georgia Southern University Honors Program is proud to call Mary one of its graduates and wishes her the best in her future endeavors.


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