May 21, 2024

As an institute of higher education, the University of West Georgia plays a pivotal role in the process of becoming – the result of being shaped by learning – by providing individuals with the knowledge, skills and critical thinking abilities necessary to navigate their personal and professional identities. Earlier this month, nearly 1,600 students celebrated one of life’s major metamorphoses during UWG’s Spring 2024 Commencement ceremonies. Below are excerpts of transcripts from their stories.

Featured Graduates


Kali Arcemont

Becoming is a journey not for the faint of heart. It entails continuous learning and evolving. Kali Arcemont’s journey of becoming began in 2018 when she enrolled as an undergraduate in our Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography program. Following her graduation, Kali achieved another milestone by becoming the very first student admitted into our newly launched Digital and Social Media Communication master’s program in the School of Communication, Film, and Media. Her passion for creativity and strategic marketing led her to excel in the program, during which time she also served as a graduate assistant in the Division of Student Affairs. During her program, Kali refined her skills in internal marketing, building a portfolio that included work in social media, graphic design, videography, and photography. She also managed a team of five other UWG students, showcasing her leadership skills. Kali's training led her to secure a position with one of the premier fine-dining restaurant groups in Atlanta, where she will manage all content creation, brand management, and strategy.

Jordan Chambers

Military service can significantly enhance one’s university experience by instilling discipline, leadership skills, and a sense of responsibility. When Jordan Chambers, one of today’s Tanner Health System School of Nursing graduates, was deployed to the Middle East while he was enrolled at UWG, he worked with his UWG advisor to pivot to online classes, keeping him on track for nursing school. While overseas, Jordan was not only admitted to nursing school but also was chosen by his peers to advocate for them as cohort president. However, his leadership skills reach far beyond the U.S. Air Force and the classroom. He showcased the amazing aspects of UWG and our School of Nursing as a representative during our university’s recent accreditation review; he was selected 2022 Homecoming royalty; and he’s served numerous organizations and met with countless administrators to impact the development of our campus community. His next chapter includes working as a psychiatric mental health nurse and transitioning from enlisted to a commissioned officer in the U.S. Air Force Nurse Corps

Janiah Clark

We offer numerous opportunities at UWG that are tailored to give students first-choice experiences that will launch their careers upon graduation – if not before – just like Janiah Clark. Today, Janiah graduates with a bachelor’s degree in economics. The classes within the Richards College of Business – and the experiences she had outside the classroom – allowed her to amass a wealth of knowledge, skills, and experiences that will serve her well after Commencement. Many of those experiences include exotic things like studying abroad in Italy and interning at JP Morgan Chase, one of the most prestigious investment banking corporations in the world. After graduating today, Janiah will continue her work at JP Morgan Chase in a full-time position in Houston, Texas.

Cole Fisher

The definition of symbiotic strategy is a dynamic relationship creating synergy to propel two entities forward. In chemistry, elements combine to form compounds, much like basketball players collaborating for a common goal. Just as chemical reactions demand precise timing and balance, basketball players must synchronize movements to execute plays effectively in a shared commitment to winning. No one knows this more than Cole Fisher, one of today’s graduates from the College of Arts, Culture, and Scientific Inquiry. Either on the court or in the chemistry lab, Cole remains focused on the main objective, whether it’s adjusting reactions or adapting strategies. For this reason, he was recognized after our men’s basketball team won the Gulf South Conference Championship this year as the GSC Champion Scholar. Cole becomes a two-time recipient of this award after starting all 29 games for the Wolves this season, I might add – all while maintaining a 3.94 GPA as a chemistry major. Cole will be taking the MCAT Exam in July with plans to start medical school next fall. 

Cameron Jay Harrelson

Embodying the spirit of the Wolf, UWG students advocate for one another through intricate social dynamics, ensuring the well-being of the greater Pack. It is this spirit that led post-traditional student Cameron Jay Harrelson – one of today’s graduates from University College – to study criminology. But even long before this ceremony, Cameron has already witnessed his passion for victim advocacy transform into tangible career achievements and meaningful outcomes. With more than one million listeners to date, Cameron produces a podcast, “Classic City Crime,” that chronicles true crime cases and advocates for homicide victims. It was through this podcast that he joined forces with families and legislators to pass the Coleman-Baker Act, which created the cold case homicide unit at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. In addition, Cameron was recognized as one of Athens, Georgia’s Top 10 Under 40 in 2023. That same year, he was diagnosed with cancer – Hodgkin’s Lymphoma – and underwent nine months of chemotherapy and radiation. Although it was challenging, Cameron stayed true to his studies at UWG and remained enrolled while maintaining a spot on the Dean’s List. As of last December, he is cancer-free. And just last month, he started a new job as a relationship manager advocating for cancer patients at The Cancer Foundation, a nonprofit organization that helps alleviate the financial burden for eligible patients.

Megan Henley

At UWG we are committed to connecting the dots between education and industry. Graduating today with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, Megan Henley has been deeply involved in cutting-edge research and academic leadership. As a member of an upper-level chemistry research group, Megan has delved into the synthesis of tin sulfide quantum dots, contributing to the advancement of scientific knowledge in this field. In addition to her research, Megan has also served as a workshop leader at UWG, where she shares her knowledge and expertise with students from introductory courses, helping them to succeed in their academic pursuits. Megan’s passion for her research has inspired her to take the quantum leap to earn a Ph.D. at Auburn University, which is a leading university in quantum dot research, where she will continue her research and further her academic and professional goals.

R.J. Janke

At this university, we dedicate ourselves to the curation of a first-choice institution for everyone – particularly our students. One such student is R.J. Janke, who is graduating today with her bachelor’s degree in sport management from the College of Education, and she is the first student accepted into our Accelerated Bachelor’s to Master’s in Sport Management program at UWG. She is currently completing three graduate courses, and R.J. is a standout student, with her leadership extending beyond the classroom, as she serves as team captain for UWG’s softball team, showcasing her skills both on and off the field. In addition to her academic and athletic accomplishments, R.J. is actively involved on campus, serving on the team that manages this very Coliseum, the fourth-largest collegiate arena in the state of Georgia. And now, while she completes her master’s degree, she has accepted a position with the Atlanta Braves as she will serve on their Game Day Experience team.

Zoë LaBreche

At UWG, our student-athletes are more than just competitors; they are difference-makers who inspire us to pursue excellence in everything we do. Take Zoë LaBreche, graduating today from the School of Communication, Film, and Media. Zoë has demonstrated excellence both on and off the volleyball court as an ambassador for the School of Communication, Film, and Media and recipient of the Gibson Public Speaking Award. On the athletic front, she’s become recognized as a Gulf South Conference All-Academic athlete. Beyond her academic and athletic achievements, Zoë has been actively involved in campus life. Through her involvement with the WOLF Sports Network and the Public Relations Student Society of America, she has sharpened her skills and built lasting connections with peers, coaches, and faculty. As Zoë walks across the stage today, her journey continues, as she will leverage her final year of athletic eligibility to pursue a master’s degree in business administration at UWG, but this time as a Division I athlete. 

Lindsey Long

The University of West Georgia College of Education produces more educational leaders and administrators than any other institution in the state of Georgia. The same is true for professional educators, as well. In fact, when it comes to teachers, UWG is not only the No. 1 producer in the state of Georgia, but we produce more teachers than the next four highest-producing institutions combined. One leader who has benefited from that world-class education is Lindsey Long, who was recently named the new principal at Jones Elementary School in Bremen, Georgia. As of today, Lindsey will earn her fifth degree from UWG, having previously graduated with her bachelor’s, master’s, and two specialist degrees. Driven by her desire to make an impact on the lives of students, Lindsey is graduating today with her doctorate in school improvement. Her dedication to continuous learning and educational improvement exemplifies the values of UWG and our College of Education. 

Dannya Pacheco

At the University of West Georgia, we equip students with the tools they need to be successful in both the professional and personal dimensions of their lives after graduation. As a first-generation college student, Dannya Pacheco excels academically and has been deeply involved in campus life. Graduating today from the College of Education with her baccalaureate degree in speech-language pathology, Dannya’s decision to study that field was deeply influenced by her personal experiences. Having seen the impact of speech therapy on her brother’s life and recognizing the struggles her parents faced with communication, particularly within a predominantly English-speaking community, Dannya was inspired to make a difference to help families like her own to ensure they could communicate effectively and be understood in their first language. As she graduates today, Dannya is embarking on an exciting new chapter in her career as a Speech-Language Pathologist for Paulding County Schools. She will also continue her education at UWG in our Speech-Language Pathology master’s program this fall. 

Malia Pope

In the realm of academia, there are those who not only excel in their studies but also embody a profound commitment to knowledge and personal growth. Every year, each of the 26 institutions for the University System of Georgia chooses a single student who has maintained a 4.0 grade point average to be their Academic Recognition Day Scholar, and this year, Malia Pope – who today graduates with a baccalaureate degree in psychology – was chosen as UWG’s champion. Driven by a profound desire to comprehend the intricacies of human nature, Malia pursued psychology as not just a field of study but as a means to foster empathy and facilitate healing. A natural servant leader, she carried that same spirit outside the classroom as a highly engaged member of the campus community, acting as a volunteer for programs like SPARK, which provides positive role models for teenagers on probation, or Wolves Don’t Waste, a campus-based initiative focused on reducing food insecurity and bringing surplus food to those in need. With her sights set on the future, Malia will attend graduate school studying psychology at the University of Hawaii.

Jenna Schuckman

At the University of West Georgia, we pride ourselves on nurturing change-makers – individuals who not only excel academically but also strive to make a positive impact on the world around them. Jenna Schuckman graduates tonight and she is among those from University College who are making a remarkable difference. She embodies a commitment to public service. Jenna embarked on her academic journey at UWG, and her spirit of dedication shone brightly right away, as she was recruited to be part of UWG's nation-leading cheerleading program, contributing to one of their many national championships as a team. Beyond the cheer mat, though, Jenna has distinguished herself through internships at the Douglas County Solicitor's Office and the Georgia Association of Realtors, where she worked in government relations. Upon joining our UWG Government Relations team in the Office of the President as a graduate assistant, Jenna played a pivotal role on the team that advocates for UWG and fosters mutually beneficial partnerships at the local, state, and federal government levels. But, she is no longer a graduate assistant. While she was finishing up her master’s in public administration degree, Jenna quit her graduate assistantship at UWG so she could take a new role as a health policy advisor in the Office of the Governor Brian P. Kemp

Caricia Zamora

Oftentimes, our journey of becoming begins with an end goal in mind, and that is certainly true for Caricia Zamora, who today earns a bachelor’s degree in social and behavioral health. Caricia’s story is a testament to the transformative power of passion and perseverance. From the moment she realized her calling in victim advocacy, she set her sights on working at a children’s crisis center. During her time at the University of West Georgia, she has honed her skills outside her coursework through internships and real-world experiences that are cornerstones of an education at UWG. Thanks in large part to those experiences, Caricia was able to secure what she refers to as her “dream job” as a Children’s Program Coordinator at the Northwest Georgia Family Crisis Center. In this role, she serves as a client advocate and forensic interviewer, working directly with children and families in crisis. As Caricia graduates, she does so with the knowledge that she has already made a positive impact in the world.