Class of 2021: Kendyl Lewis named GC’s Academic Day representative

Class of 2021: Kendyl Lewis named GC’s Academic Day representative

R epresenting the highest scholastic achievement as well as a devotion to service, senior Kendyl Lewis has been named Georgia College’s Academic Day representative by the University System of Georgia (USG).

Kendyl Lewis
Kendyl Lewis
The psychology and economics major will graduate in May 2021 with a 4.0 GPA. She’s a member of the Honors College and completed multiple Leadership Programs, including Leadership Certificate Program and the GEM Program. She has also created a student organization to help fellow students in need.

“The selection committee considers academic awards, evidence of scholarship or creativity, and diversity of academic pursuits in their process to determine the recipient of the award,” said Dr. Brian Newsome, dean of the John E. Sallstrom Honors College and chair of the selection committee for the award.  

“As a double major in economics and psychology, who has presented research in both fields and who has an extensive list of awards, Kendyl excelled in every category. She is also a model campus citizen, serving—for example—as the founder and president of Swipe Out Hunger,” he said.  

USG honors one student from each institution as the Academic Day representative. The student must “reflect the system’s best qualities,” as well as have a stellar academic record.

“I was extremely excited and very thankful that the school recognized my academic accomplishments,” said Lewis. “It made me feel like all my hard work for the past four years had paid off.” 

She worked hard in the classroom where she double-majored in psychology and economics, and she’s also been very involved on campus—serving in many capacities including as a student ambassador and a representative on the Student Government Association.   

"I wouldn’t be the person I am today without the support of my professors and peers."
– Kendyl Lewis

“I wouldn’t be the person I am today without the support of my professors and peers,” she said. “They pushed me to be a better student and helped me to grow in my personal academic career.”

Lewis worked closely with faculty from the psychology department and the economic department to complete research related to her food insecurity work. Also very active in Leadership Programs and the Honors College, Lewis credits many staff and faculty members with leaving a “big impression on me” over the last four years. 

“Those include Dr. Harold Mock, Dr. Chris Clark, Dr. Kristina Dandy, Dr. Diana Young, Ashley Copeland and Anna Whiteside,” said Lewis. “They all poured into me and took a special interest in my goals and aspirations. I will forever remember the mentorship and support they provided for me in college.” 

Lewis is president and founder of the university’s student organization Swipe Out Hunger, part of a national organization that works to end student hunger. The goal of the group is to raise awareness about food insecurity and aid students who struggle with hunger. 

Lewis organized a student resource fair showcasing organizations that focus on students' basic needs.
Lewis organized a student resource fair showcasing organizations that focus on students' basic needs.

“I was motivated to start Swipe Out Hunger because there were no readily available resources for students struggling with hunger at Georgia College, and I wanted to create a solution for students to receive meal assistance in a way that wasn’t stigmatizing or shameful,” said Lewis.

“It just seemed senseless to me that I had paid for this meal plan and wasn't fully utilizing it, but there might be another student in one of my classes who can't afford a meal plan, and they would value those swipes more than I do.”

The group has established ways for students to apply for meal assistance without having to have a consultation with financial aid or disclosing any of their financial records. She also worked with the GCSU Foundation for their “A Seat at the Table” scholarship.

“I hope that I have set an example for future students,” she said, “and that the accomplishments I made with Swipe Out Hunger are just the beginning and that future students will carry on the legacy I began by solving problems and creating initiatives to help their peers.”

After graduation, Lewis plans to continue to expand on her food insecurity research before applying to a Ph.D. program.