by Mary David Miller

The University of West Georgia’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion recently came together with the UWG Alumni Association and the Black Student Alliance to present “An Honest Conversation.” The event brought panelists of UWG alumni together to provide diverse insights on matriculation and life.

UWG Alumni Gather for PanelThe five panelist included Melanie Hildebrandt ‘03, Shelitha Hurd ‘99, Leslie Fagin ‘92, Mike Mason ‘94 and Samuel F. Mosteller ‘81. Reginald Moore ‘82 was the moderator of the panel. Each panelist gave advice to students based on their college experiences at UWG, sharing their stories and answering questions.

So what have these alumni accomplished after graduating?

Melanie Hildebrandt graduated with a degree in international economic affairs. She then came back and received her master’s degree in business administration. Hildebrandt is now an economics lecturer at UWG. She strongly advised students to get involved in organizations on campus. She was involved in Honors Council, Omicron Delta Epsilon and Beta Gamma Sigma. These organizations influenced her college experience and deciding what she wanted to do after college.

“There are so many opportunities here at this university. Get to know your faculty and professors because that will truly transform you,” Hildebrandt said.

Emmy-award winning Shelitha Hurd came to UWG to study mass communications and is now a news producer at WSB-TV Channel 2 in Atlanta. Just like Hildebrandt she was involved in many organizations. One of her favorite school memories was joining the Black Student Alliance and making lifetime friends.

Another panelist named Leslie Fagin is currently an instructional technology coach for the Griffin Spalding County School System. Graduating with a 2.10 due to partying, she explained how hard it was for her to succeed. She advised students to never give up and to take control of their destiny.

“My advice to you is to never give up,” Fagin said. “West Georgia is the best university. I found out what I wanted to do here, and you can too. If you want to travel abroad, do it. If you think there is not a way, figure out a way. Follow your dreams, and seriously do not give up.”

Mike Mason graduated with a degree in social studies and came back to earn his master’s in education behavior disorder. He stressed to students how important it is to get involved and to make memories. Mason now teaches special education and is the head men’s lacrosse coach at Carrollton High School.

The last panelist was Samuel F. Mosteller, who graduated with a political science degree and is now state president of Southern Christian Leader Conference. His best school memory is being a part of recruiting the largest class in West Georgia history through student leagues.

Every alumni had a different story to tell. From their experiences at the University to how they have grown into the people they are today.

The discussion wrapped up with several questions from students, with the overall message being for students to seize the endless opportunities at UWG and have fun while doing it.

Posted on October 14, 2016