Robyn Coggins

GHC recognizes research and presents the first Emerging Leader Alumni Award during the 2024 Academic Showcase

Georgia Highlands College (GHC) held its third annual Academic Showcase this month and presented Robyn Coggins, an English teacher at Etowah High School, with the Emerging Leader Alumni Award. 

After graduating with an associate degree in English from GHC, Coggins went on to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Secondary English from Kennesaw State University. Alongside her role as a teacher, Coggins serves as a Faculty Advisor to Etowah High School’s Chapter of the National English Honors Society and is an active member of the National Council of Teachers of English and the Georgia Council of Teachers of English.  

As an avid learner and firm believer in the power of literacy, Coggins dedicates her career to ensuring the growth, achievement and success of all of her students. 

Coggins is the daughter of GHC Associate Professor of Communication Amy Gandolfi. 

The Academic Showcase featured mixed-media student and faculty presentations from across all programs of study. Presenters showed their research and final projects from across the past semester in the form of poster presentations, video and even board games. 

Two students look at art presentation at Academic Showcase

GHC President Mike Hobbs says the Academic Showcase helps lay a foundation for what students will encounter throughout a myriad of careers and disciplines. 

“What’s great about today is that you will take things you’ve learned through the research and presentation process and will apply them to the future,” Hobbs told the presenters in attendance. 

Students view poster presentations at showcase.

For example, Environmental Science and Natural Resources student Hannah Rutledge’s project was based on Liebig’s Law, which states that that crop yield is proportional to the amount of the most limiting essential nutrient. She took water samples from Stamp Creek, the Allatoona Dam and Etowah River to test their AVS [Acid Volatile Sulfide] on a spectrophotometer, lab tested the samples, then analyzed the data. 

Rutledge was interested in seeing firsthand how Liebig’s Law affects the habitat. 

“Stamp Creek is a first-order tributary that originates in Pine Log, and Pine Log recently sold off the property and are going to begin development, so I wanted to monitor and see what could happen in the future if phosphate levels were to increase…which would result in the growth of algae.” 

Students also applied real-world scenarios in some instances, being tasked with addressing something they encounter at their jobs. For example, nursing student Mariam Yusuf, an employee for the company Boston Scientific, researched an automation machine to produce, wrap and package kits for several types of medical procedures. 

“The idea is to largely reduce the possibility of injuries for workers and to streamline the process for them,” Yusuf said.  

Overhead photo of showcase presentations

Awards from the 2024 Academic Showcase are as follows: 


First: “Vitiligo is Beautiful,” Jacquline Palacios 

Second: “Study Of A Human Newborn From Birth To Two Months Of Age – Innate Reflexes And Developmental Milestones,” Lyzette Schott 



First: “Why CGMs are becoming the New Standard of Care in Glucose Monitoring,” Elisabeth Boyd (with faculty mentor Bethany Blevins) 

Second: “Limiting Nutrient Analysis on the Lake Allatoona Watershed,” Hannah Rutledge (with faculty mentor Jason Christian) 


Faculty Poster Winners

“Teaching Critical Thinking in Survey History Courses,” Jayme Feagin 

“Citing Sources & Cracking Concepts: Students Put AI to the Test,” Betsy Fleming and Ryan O’Connor 

Group photo of award winners

View more photos here.

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