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Photo Courtesy of Lana the Intellectual

UWG Honors Minorities For Their Academic Achievements

Last Wednesday the Multicultural Achievement Program (MAP) at the University of West Georgia held the 40th Multicultural Achievement Awards (MAA) ceremony at the Campus Centre. The MAA is given to minority students at West Georgia as a way to celebrate their academic achievements.

Jeff Igbokwe

Last Wednesday the Multicultural Achievement Program (MAP) at the University of West Georgia held the 40th Multicultural Achievement Awards (MAA) ceremony at the Campus Centre. The MAA is given to minority students at West Georgia as a way to celebrate their academic achievements.

These awards are a tradition that have been around at the university since the 80’s, and have since evolved to support the growing student population at the university. They were designed to enhance the wellbeing of minority and multicultural students through the support and encouragement of academic success.

“I feel that awards like these give students from multicultural backgrounds an opportunity to be praised because of their successes,” said sophomore Solana James, a MAA student present at the ceremony. “It also provides an environment that uplifts them while also being surrounded by people that look like them. While it is great to integrate various backgrounds, it is good to stay in touch with your community and remind yourself that you belong in every aspect, whether that’s socially, economically or academically. You can be multicultural and extremely intelligent.”

The MAAs contribute to the success and retention of minority students by creating a positive environment which offers academic support services including major and career development, freshmen mentorship and cultural programs. These resources gear students up for global competitiveness and creating communities of belonging.

“This award means a lot to me because high school was very hard,” continued James. “I didn’t win any awards and I didn’t get honour roll, so to come to college and just become a superstar I feel really good about myself. Having been awarded with this achievement, I feel more motivated to work even harder than I have already been. Before receiving my MAA I achieved a GPA of 3.7, so I really went above and beyond.”

To be eligible to receive the award, students must identify as a minority or international student, have an overall GPA of 3.3 or higher and must be enrolled for the Spring semester of awards programs.

The Helena Harbridge International Student-Athlete Award was also presented, which was awarded to Women’s soccer midfielder Catherine Reeves. This award honors the international student-athlete with the best combination of athletic performance, classroom achievement, teamwork, team spirit and community involvement.

During the ceremony guest speaker and UWG alumna Anita Lamar spoke about how she was able to excel in her field as a black woman in law through hard work at UWG and Oklahoma City University School of Law, emphasizing the fact that the student’s academic success will pay off.

“I think it is extremely important to honor multicultural achievements in an academic setting like how West Georgia has done with its minority students,” said James. “On a personal level it really shows me that my race and ethnicity does not dictate my academic journey and my success, however I also feel that it’s great to show others how you can be something amazing regardless of your racial or ethnic background.”

The MAP has made it their goal to inspire other students from racial and ethnic minority backgrounds to achieve academic success.

“I think the MAP will encourage people by showing them that there will be applauded for doing well,” said James. “They will be recognised and work does not go unnoticed. You do matter even when you think that nobody is watching.”