Four students in the Gadsden State Community College Practical Nursing Program have been chosen to attend a conference at the Lonnie E. Mitchell Behavioral Health Policy Academy in Atlanta. Carissa Martin (Heflin), Samantha Blevins (Gadsden), Precious Jackson (Anniston), and Charlemaine Barger (Southside) will be joined by Carl Byers, Jr., Valley Street HBCU campus director, and Kassie Mathis, Title III director, for the educational conference dedicated to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities.
The opportunity to attend the conference was made possible due to a mini-grant from the Historically Black Colleges and Universities–Center for Excellence in Behavior Health. Gadsden State is a sub-awardee through Morehouse School of Medicine, located in Atlanta, Georgia. Gadsden State was selected by Morehouse as one of twenty colleges invited to send four representatives each to the conference which will focus on ways for students to help their communities. This is the third consecutive year for students from Gadsden State to participate.
Byers and Mathis will guide the students in their development of a project and action plan to share the information learned throughout the conference with other Gadsden State students. Vice President Valerie Richardson said, “It is such an honor for our students to be chosen and a wonderful learning experience. They will become leaders and mentors in our college as well as our communities. We are proud that our students will enjoy participating again this year and thankful for the grant that makes this opportunity possible.”
The students chosen to represent Gadsden State have exhibited an interest in behavioral science, excelled in their field of study, and participated in student support programs including tutoring other students. Their mission was to learn how to better communicate to others the commonality of mental issues plaguing our nation and the various means of gaining help to cope with the everyday stressors.