Dr. Ike

‘Dr. Ike’ Nwokike receives GHC College Distinguished Alumni Award at 2023 Academic Showcase

Georgia Highlands College (GHC) recently held its second Academic Showcase, which featured a keynote presentation by Dr. Chukwuemeka “Dr. Ike” Nwokike, who was presented with the Georgia Highlands College Distinguished Alumni Award. 

An alumnus of GHC who moved to the U.S. from Nigeria in 1999, Nwokike went on to earn a Doctor of Medicine degree from Morehouse School of Medicine.  

After completing his postgraduate education at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, he became a nocturnist in North Georgia.  

Nwokike is a dedicated husband and father of three wonderful children. 

The second annual Academic Showcase event featured research and representation from nearly all 40 programs of study at GHC. The event allows the GHC community to come together and celebrate the culmination of work from the past academic year that GHC has produced. This is a day where students and faculty provide oral research presentations and display exhibits and posters. 

You can see photos of the event here. 

Overhead photo from event.

Student Spencer Hood, who takes classes online and is pursuing a degree in education with the goal to teach in grades six through 12, participated in the oral presentation component of the showcase. Presenting on Learning Approaches: Information Processing Theory, Hood said the event gave him a social outlet and the chance to share his research on a personal interest and get feedback from faculty and other students. 

“Going to a campus facility and speaking to a group of people is further developing my social skills and helping me in a way that I can apply what I have been learning online through GHC to an actual group of participants,” Hood said.  

He said the Information Processing Theory, which relates to how one reads, processes and learns through the act of receiving information primarily through visual aid, is a cornerstone tying of his aspirations as an educator. 

“As I was growing up, I noticed some of my teachers had troubles in conveying new ideas to students, and I want to see what I can do to help out with the future generation,” Hood said.  

Student Speaking at Academic Showcase.


Student Camille McClean gave an oral presentation on the topic Political Discourse and the Social Media Dilemma, in which she talked about social media’s impact on news and information. Through her research, she found examples of disproven information being spread and reinforced through algorithms.  

“I wanted to see if there were any links to how social media impacts people’s opinions as [social media networks] have grown in past years, and the research I did for my paper led me to see that yes, social media does impact [opinions] at a pretty fast rate and it helped me to understand what I can do to avoid that in the future with friends and family,” McClean said. 

The event’s poster presentations ranged from literature and art history to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) as well as workplace proposals where students sought ways to improve obstacles they have encountered at their own jobs.  

Two people talking at the event.

For example, Allison Vessell, who is pursuing Environmental and Natural Resources, researched the connection between human health and wildlife decline.  

“We figured out that about 11% of the world’s medicine is dependent on natural resources, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but for perspective, that’s like 50,000 to 80,000 plants being used for medicine and 15,000 of those are now extinct,” Vessell said. 

Additionally, the Academic Showcase featured a performance by The Highlanders music ensemble. Awards were also presented at the event: 

Student Awards 


Kayley Agan Shepherd – Human Impacts on Hammerhead Sharks 

Lindsey Reaid – Butterfly in the Field

Oral Presentations: 

Ansleigh Peshel – Macroinvertebrate Diversity Assessment in Drum Creek 

Cheyenne Bailey – Gay Frogs and their Link to Cancer in Humans 


Poster Presentations: 

Kylie Ingram & Hugo Coronado – The Effects of Acetyl Salicylic Acid on Lettuce and Pea Seed Development and Germination 

Jade Najarro, Madison Morrow, Josh Hall, Jesse Muto and Brittany Lewis Pilgrim – Southern Women Authors 


Faculty Awards 

Poster Presentation: 

Ryan O’Connor, Justin Polizzi, Darius Newton and Maria Holt – Improving the Student Experience in Online Chemistry: Regular Communication Tools 


Oral Presentation: 

Jeffery Linek – Problem of the Week Assessment