Dr. Catherine Adams, Dr. Timothy May and Dr. Bryson Payne heard more than 100 combined junior speakers during their time in higher education. In December 2021, a trio of University of North Georgia (UNG) faculty will become junior speakers.
May, Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Letters, will be the first speaker at the graduation ceremony at 6 p.m. on December 17 at the Convention Center on the UN Dahlonega Campus. A day later, Payne, a professor of computer science at the Mike Cottrell School of Business, will speak at the ceremony at 11 a.m. Adams, assistant professor of the Department of Social Foundations and Leadership Education, College of Education, will follow the ceremony at 3:00 pm.
Adams received the 2021 Distinguished Professor Award for the Gainesville, Cumming, and Oconee campuses from the UNG Alumni Association, while Payne was awarded the 2021 Distinguished Professor Award for the Dahlonega and Blue Ridge campuses.
May received the 2021 Teaching Excellence Award from the United Nations Center for Teaching, Learning and Leadership; 2014 Distinguished Professor Award from the Alumni Association; And the Distinguished Professor Award in the Athletics Department for the year 2008.
All three were surprised, honorable, and excited about the task.
Adams is the coordinator of the Doctor of Education program at UNG in Leadership and Practice in Higher Education. Like many of her students, she worked full time while pursuing all of her degrees, incorporating adult learning strategies, such as practicality and empathy into course design and program development. She is Associate Editor of the Journal of Community Engagement & Scholarship.
“Working as a speaker at the opening ceremony is really on my to-do list,” Adams, who was a first-generation college student, said. “From the moment I saw my first graduation ceremony, I thought about what I would say if I were the speaker. I asked myself, ‘What would I say to motivate people?'” How can I inspire them? What suggestions or advice would I prefer? Give?'”
Payne, the Student Cyber Security Program Coordinator, has trained UNG for first place in the 2019 and 2020 NSA Codebreaker Challenge competitions. He has received the Army Department of Public Service Medal from the US Army Cadet Command and the Thor Medal from the Military Internet Professionals Association. Paine wrote three books on coding and cybersecurity. Payne also knows what to say and is a first-generation college student.