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Outstanding female student leaders recognized by Women of UNG

March 19, 2021

"Driven," holistic," "model," "servant," "action oriented," "champion of diversity," "dedicated," and "outstanding" are some of the words University of North Georgia (UNG) faculty and staff used to describe their nominees for the Female Student Leadership Award.

The Women of UNG, a shared-interest group of the university's alumni association, selected 10 female student leaders out of 55 nominations for the recognition this year.

"As student-leaders, these women inspire and guide others in their collegiate extracurricular activities, which gives them a special confidence that will help them achieve success in their professional careers," said Gabrielle Barr Lang, '83, chairwoman of Women of UNG. "And, as UNG is deep in its tradition of producing leaders, we are proud to empower female students annually with this leadership award."

The recipients were:

  • Kaleigh Adams, a senior pursuing a degree in elementary and special education with a reading endorsement. She is from Jefferson, Georgia.
  • Anna Caitlyn Anderson, a senior pursuing a degree in political science with a concentration in prelaw. She is from Gainesville, Georgia.
  • Emma Anderson, a senior pursuing a degree in biology with a concentration in pre-pharmacy. She is from Gainesville, Georgia.
  • Catlin Corrales, a senior pursuing a degree in environmental spatial analysis. She is from Athens, Georgia.
  • Alison Gaynor, a senior pursuing a degree in marketing and a member of the Corps of Cadets. She is from Dallas, Georgia.
  • Taylor Malasek, a senior pursuing a degree in biology. She is from Peachtree City, Georgia.
  • Madison Rodriguez, a senior pursuing a degree in psychology. She is from Commerce, Georgia.
  • Vaishali Jorge, a senior pursuing a degree in kinesiology and a member of the women's tennis team. She is from London, England.
  • Eva Sykes, a senior pursuing a degree in kinesiology and a member of the Corps of Cadets. She is from Columbus, Georgia.
  • Zaria Whitehead, a senior pursuing a degree in biology and a member of the Corps of Cadets. She is from Perry, Georgia.

Whitehead said she was shocked to be recognized.

"There are so many female student leaders that I see around me on campus," said the 23-year-old. "Overall, this award boosts other women in the corps to become leaders. This is a significant reward, because it means you are setting the example for the rest of the students who come behind you."

Adams, who is a resident assistant on UNG's Dahlonega Campus, said she didn't realize faculty and staff members had noticed her hard work.

"I've always felt like I was the quiet person who goes around silently and does what needs to be done. Then I do a little extra, because I like to go above and beyond," she said. "To be recognized by this program before I am about to graduate is really exciting."

Since 2017, the Women of UNG have honored more than 60 female student-leaders during an annual luncheon held the first weekend in March, which is the start of Women's History Month. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the luncheon was not held this year. Instead, each student leader was presented her certificate and gift in a face-to-face visit with Lang at UNG's Alumni House.

"This year's presentation was more of an intimate setting where these young ladies felt at ease," Lang said, who asked these students questions about their post-graduation plans.

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