Class of 2026: Exercise Science major chooses Georgia College and makes Georgia her home

L ike most who grew up in the military, Audrey Stippel has moved frequently and lived in multiple states and countries.

Audrey, as a little girl, hugging her father.
Audrey, as a little girl, hugging her father.
But she’s decided to lay roots in Georgia—starting with four years at Georgia College. In fact, her father just retired from the U.S. Air Force and relocated her family to Nashville, Georgia.

“It made the most sense for me to go to school here, and I could not be more excited about it,” Stippel said. “I chose Georgia College because it offered one of the best programs for what I wanted to major in. I love the size of the school and how much it offers. It just felt like the perfect fit, and I felt like God was telling me this is where I need to be.”

Stippel will major in exercise science with a minor in either pre-professional occupational therapy or physical therapy. Because she’s fond of children, she considered becoming an elementary school teacher. But Stipple also has a desire to work in the medical field and help people of all ages live a better lifestyle.

She liked the pre-professional programs at Georgia College and decided on the medical route. She knows it will be challenging, but that’s OK. Stippel’s looking for something to push her out of her comfort zone—partly because she already proved what she can do, once she puts her mind to it.

Audrey with her Hall of Fame award.
Audrey with her Hall of Fame award.
Stippel used to be shy. She was satisfied with just a few friends and stuck to familiar routines. Then, in Dec. 2020—during her sophomore year of high school—her family moved to Bossier City, Louisiana. Like everything else during COVID, classes at her new school in Bossier went online, making it hard for Stippel to meet new people and make friends.

Once school was in-person again, Stippel made a promise to herself: She’d get involved and push herself every chance she got.

“I joined all the clubs that I could,” Stippel said. “By the time senior year hit, I was student body president, an officer of both the National Honor Society and Beta Club, held leadership positions, influenced pretty much every school organization and was even voted into the Hall of Fame at my high school.”

Audrey playing high school soccer.
Audrey playing high school soccer.
“Long story short,” she said, “my biggest personal achievement was being able to leave the impact I did and create so many lifelong friendships in the two years I was there.”

Stippel would love to leave a similar imprint on Georgia College.  

A lot of time will be spent at the Honors College. Beyond that, she’d love to study abroad, get involved in sorority life, community service and perhaps play intramural soccer. She also wants to stay active in her church and continue babysitting to be around kids.

Later, she’d like to do internships with an occupational or physical therapy clinic. This experience will help her choose the correct career path.

Credit: Cat Salley with Red Poppy Photography.
Credit: Cat Salley with Red Poppy Photography.
College courses will be harder than she’s used to, but Stippel looks forward to the challenge and plans to prioritize her time. She can’t wait to make new memories—find a favorite coffee shop, a cozy study niche, watch late-night movies with new friends and walk a host of other yet-untraveled paths.

Stippel and her new college roommate already painted all their dorm wall décor. She’ll decorate her bed with the stuffed shark a high school teacher gave her. And she plans to call home a lot to keep in touch with her parents, three siblings and two dogs—Hooch and Bullet.

Being “a very organized Type-A kind of person,” Stippel said she’ll get all of this done and done right. Her siblings accuse her of being bossy. But she says these qualities show leadership potential.

At the end of her Georgia College years, Stippel will be sure of one thing: She’s in Georgia to stay. Someday, she’d like to have her own occupational or physical therapy practice in Georgia.

I think the most important thing right now is to just take it day-by-day—take opportunities that are presented to me, and things will fall into place exactly like they’re supposed to. I need to keep an open mind and always remember God's plan is greater than mine.
– Audrey Stippel