Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College instructor Lynn Zimmerman and student Terrell Jordan were selected to represent Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College at the annual Higher Education Appreciation Day-Working for Academic Excellence (HEADWAE) program in Jackson on March 2. The day’s activities included an awards luncheon and visit to the state Capitol.
Zimmerman of Vancleave is a science instructor at the Jackson County Campus. She teaches biology, and along with her students, sponsors an annual fundraiser for rare disease research. Each year, her students become intimately involved in discussions about genetics, gene therapy and rare diseases that affect people close to them. The annual fundraising events help students see how they can make a difference in helping local individuals with rare genetic disorders.
“Seeing students who, after learning about rare diseases, decide to study genetics is so exciting,” Zimmerman said. “It’s the power of education and awareness. The profound impact of education and its ability to change someone’s direction in life is truly a beautiful thing. I’m so happy that I get to be a part of teaching our outstanding students and work at such an awesome institution like MGCCC.”
When chosen as the HEADWAE instructor, she said that she was both humbled and excited. “I love our college with every fiber of my being – my coworkers, my campus, our students, our faculty and administrators – everything about MGCCC, but more than anything, I love interacting with our students. We are given every opportunity to excel as instructors by people who work tirelessly to create a student-oriented culture. I am overwhelmed by the realization that I am part of a profession that continues to inspire me and pours into me much more than I deserve. I am so very grateful for this honor.”
From Diamondhead, Jordan is a sophomore at the Jefferson Davis Campus. He serves as Student Government Association president and is involved in the Campus Activities Board and a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. He helped spearhead the food pantry project on campus and was active in campus events including Fall Festival, Coastal Clean-up and Bulldog Day.
When he was told he had been chosen as the HEADWAE student winner, he said, “I am honored to have been chosen as the HEADWAE recipient.” He added, “If it were not for the intimate one-on-one help from my amazing professors and faculty, I may not have been able to accomplish this while working almost full-time, fully enrolling myself as a student, and acting as SGA President. This allowed me to further develop many skills such as time management, communication, and leadership. My choice to attend Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College has been the best decision I could have ever made for my college career, and its influence on me has been beyond significant.”
The Higher Education Appreciation Day – Working for Academic Excellence (HEADWAE) program was established by the Mississippi Legislature to annually honor the outstanding students and faculty members of Mississippi’s higher education institutions. The honorees are students who have excelled academically and faculty members who have made extraordinary educational and civic contributions on campuses and in their communities.
Annual appreciation day activities include honoree recognition by political and corporate groups, educators from public and independent Mississippi Association of Colleges and Universities (MAC) member institutions and others who value and support excellence in higher education. Honorees are invited to tour the State Capitol where they are welcomed by legislative officials, followed by a recognition and awards luncheon program made possible by the support and generosity of Mississippi’s corporate community.