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Byrdine F. Lewis School of Nursing and Health Professions

100%

Pass Rate
Coordinated
Program Graduates
Department of Nutrition

100%

Licensure Rate
Doctor of
Physical Therapy
Class of 2014

100%

Pass Rate
Advanced
Practice Nurse
Registration Exam

100%

Pass Rate
Certified Respiratory
Therapist and Registered
Respiratory Therapist

ABOUT THE SCHOOL

Every day our health care system faces increasing demands from new health risks and an aging population. The Byrdine F. Lewis School of Nursing & Health Professions gives aspiring health care workers and those who work in the health informatics field the knowledge they need to meet these demands and safeguard the nation’s health and well-being. From nurses and nurse practitioners to physical therapists, respiratory therapists and registered dietitians, our graduates are trained to not only provide high-quality, sensitive care to their patients but also to be leaders in their fields — those who guide health care and build a healthier nation for years to come.

Since 1968, we have prepared more than 9,300 health care professionals for vitally important careers and produced innovative research to both solve current health care issues and anticipate problems on the horizon. Every dollar you donate to the school is an investment in improving our nation’s overall health.

CASE STATEMENT LEARN MORE

FUNDING PRIORITIES
  • Student Scholarships

    Provide scholarship and fellowship support for our students to pursue their education and participate in national and international learning experiences.

  • Endowed Chairs and Professorships

    Recruit and retain the best leaders in the field to enhance teaching and scholarly recognition.

  • Technology, Equipment and Naming Opportunities

    Provide the best possible laboratory and learning environment compatible with a nationally ranked top 50 school of nursing and health professions.

THE DEAN’S LETTER

We envision a Byrdine F. Lewis School of Nursing and Health Professions that will lead the Southeast in healthcare research and clinical education to deliver the best new healthcare professionals available to the marketplace.

At some point in life, everyone will need a healthcare professional. The Lewis School will create models of purposeful and practical leadership for educating the “people who treat people” and ultimately providing exemplary care for all patients.

Expanding our scholarship base will allow us to use scholarships to bring in top undergraduate and graduate healthcare students who can anticipate and meet the healthcare needs of multi-cultural, urban populations.

Growing the environment for visiting scholars, named chairs and endowed professorships will help us to expose our students to top experts in healthcare education. Continuing to improve our simulation labs will also boost our students’ educational experience.

Enhancing community partnerships allows us to place our students in the best clinical training facilities, and building our study abroad programs is providing a more robust international clinical experience.

Nancy Kropf is a gerontologist and social worker whose research and scholarship focus is primarily on older adults as care providers for younger generations.

MANY WAYS TO GIVE

It’s easy — and rewarding — to invest in Georgia State’s future through a private gift. You can quickly make an online gift here and now. If you prefer, Georgia State development representatives are ready to help you create a named endowment or leave a legacy gift that reflects your personal interests. They can assist, as well, with corporate and matching gifts.

GIVE NOW

CONTACT

  • Mike Worley
  • Mailing address: Byrdine F. Lewis School of Nursing & Health Professions, Georgia State University, PO Box 3995, Atlanta, Ga. 30302-3995
  • Office location: Byrdine F. Lewis School of Nursing & Health Professions, Georgia State University, 140 Decatur St. SE, 8th Floor, Atlanta, Ga. 30303

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After Plenty of Opportunities at Georgia State, Ashton Brasher Has Plenty of Options

Just weeks away from graduation, Ashton Brasher still isn’t sure what she wants to do with her life — and she doesn’t sound the least bit worried. If anything, she sounds thrilled.

“I kind of like that I don’t know,” she says. “There are times when it’s horrifyingly scary not knowing what August brings — I at least have June and July taken care of by now — but it’s also really fun to think about what sorts of epiphanies I’ll have over the next several months that might change my outlook on what comes next.”

Brasher’s uncertainty doesn’t come from not having any good options. If anything, it’s the exact opposite: In four eventful years at Georgia State, she’s had so many opportunities and been able to try so many things — both on campus and thousands of miles away — that anything seems possible. “I’m pretty confident I’ll figure it out,” she says, “and that I’ll have a unique and well-rounded skill set going into that decision.”

‘They Were Interested in Me’

In many ways, Brasher’s attitude today is a reflection of her attitude four years ago, when she says she “really had no idea what I was looking for” in a college. “I was really interested in a liberal-arts education, but I knew I could get that just about anywhere,” she remembers. “I think the big selling point for Georgia State, for me, was hearing about all the different opportunities that are so local. And I think that’s held true. This semester, I had the opportunity to intern with the British Consulate, which was conveniently right up the street. And I couldn’t have done that if I’d been somewhere else.”

The Honors College, in particular, made her feel like Georgia State would be an easy place to call home. “They made me feel like they really cared that I was a part of their small community, and l liked that idea of having a smaller liberal-arts feel inside of a big research university. I thought that was appealing because it’s kind of the best of both worlds.

“I went on a lot of college visits, and everywhere it seemed like they really liked my SAT score, they really liked my GPA, but a lot of them didn’t really seem to care about me as an individual. But the first questions they asked me when I visited the Honors College were, ‘What are you passionate about? What are you interested in exploring?’ They were interested in me. I’m really big on that sort of touchy-feely stuff, so that meant a lot.”

The strong bonds Brasher’s built with the Honors College are evident as she relates her story in the lobby of Centennial Hall — it seems like every third person who walks by, honors student and administrator alike, knows Brasher and stops to say hello. As a Presidential Scholar, she got to do a university assistantship under Honors College communications director Annahita Jimmerson, which she credits with sparking many of those relationships.

“She has undoubtedly been the most important person throughout my college career,” Brasher says of Jimmerson. “She has become my mentor, and she has helped me grow so much along the way.”

Establishing a Comfort Zone — Then Venturing Far Beyond It

In addition to friends and mentors, the Honors College also provided Brasher opportunities. One of the first was making appearances at visits by prospective students.

“When we have Honors Visit Days, the main thing that I do is sit on the student panel. It’ll be a few of us at the front of the room, and the parents and students get to fire questions at us and get the student perspective,” she explains. “It’s good public-speaking experience for me, but it’s also an opportunity for them — I know when I was visiting colleges there were only a few times I got to talk to students who actually went to those schools. You’d think that would be a given, but Georgia State really makes an effort to give prospective students that experience.”

That, in turn, led Brasher to writing assignments for Georgia State University Magazine and the 1913 Society, both of which allowed her to display and develop her communications skills. “It’s easy to positively contribute to something, but it can be hard to find a place where all of your talents are really coming together,” she explains. In the 1913 Society, though, “I get to use my communications skills, the warm, ambassadorial spirit that I feel for the university, I get to be supportive of people — when I’m wearing that suit, I always feel like I am exactly where I’m supposed to be in that moment. That’s a feeling that I’ve only felt in a couple of other capacities, so it’s really a cool thing.”

The Honors College was also Brasher’s conduit to a semester-long Press, Politics and Public Affairs Internship with the British consulate, where she did everything from updating the other consulates and the British Embassy in Washington on developments from Georgia’s state government to managing the consulate’s social-media presence and planning events.

“For example, this spring they did a big Holocaust remembrance event at the Carter Center, so I helped plan that and worked with the panelists to prepare them for their questions,” she says. “There was a survivor on the panel, and I got to have lunch with him — he was telling stories and getting really emotional. I think that’s a pretty rare opportunity in itself, to sit around with a Holocaust survivor and hear about it firsthand.”

Brasher went to the UK herself when she used the study-abroad stipend from her Presidential Scholarship to do a British-lit trip to London, Edinburgh and Dublin. She enjoyed the experience so much that she went for another study-abroad opportunity a year later — only of a completely different variety: a geosciences trip to Belize.

“Something I always wanted to make sure of in college was that I didn’t get wrapped up in just one goal or pursuit — I wanted to do a lot of different things,” Brasher says. “Going abroad was challenging academically, physically, and emotionally. The work was challenging, we were doing lots of new things like climbing mountains and snorkeling, and I didn’t know anyone on either trip. It was like a trifecta of leaving my comfort zone.”

Even More Opportunities on the Horizon

That was far from the only trip Brasher took outside her “comfort zone” — just a few months later she found herself in Washington, D.C., meeting U.S. Congressmen and advocating for legislation on behalf of women’s issues. “How many people really get to sit across from a legislator and say, ‘This is what I believe in and I think you should vote for it’?” she says. “I felt very, very fortunate.”

That trip, too, was set in motion at Georgia State, when Brasher took an honors women’s studies class her freshman year. Originally, she says she was only thinking “Eh, it fits into my schedule,” but before long “it completely changed my worldview.” It inspired her to not only attend a leadership conference held by URGE (Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity) but also establish a chapter at Georgia State. That, in turn, connected her with the Trust Women Foundation and the summer fellowship that brought her to D.C.

“Somebody asked me a couple months ago, ‘You’ve had a lot of internships, none of them seem to have a common thread, what do you think it is?’ I think, at the heart of it, I really like to make arguments,” Brasher says. “I think that’s where my initial interest in law school came from, but I’ve actually gotten into philanthropy and fundraising. And I’m doing an internship in London this summer with Scott Prenn, a firm that has clients who are nonprofits, museums and community groups and so forth, and connects those groups with philanthropists and raises money for them.”

Maybe Brasher will forge a career in the nonprofit arena. Maybe she’ll go to law school after all and even mount a run for public office. “I’ve done a million different things,” she says, “so now I have this big mess of experience in front of me, and I have no idea what I’m going to do with it!”

It’s important to note, though, that she says all this with a smile. “I think if there’s any main testament I could give for Georgia State, it’s that I have a lot of friends who are graduating now who know exactly what they want to do next. I don’t know what I want to do, but it’s not because I haven’t been able to explore what I like — it’s because I’ve been able to explore dozens of things that I like. And I think that’s a really good problem to have.”

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Sarah Agnew Finds Her Beach in Downtown Atlanta

 

Beaches, bathing suits, palm trees and cheering crowds: Thanks to the Summer Olympics and the success of the Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) Tour, it doesn’t take long for the words “sand volleyball” to conjure up some very specific images in people’s minds.

At Georgia State, on the other hand, you can swap out the first two items on that list with car horns and freight trains rumbling 10 feet over the heads of the players. But Honors College Ambassador Sarah Agnew and her fellow sand volleyball players have embraced their non-traditional environment.

“Sometimes we’ll wave at the train conductors and get them to blow their horns while we’re practicing,” the rising junior says with a smile. “It’s not something that people expect, but it’s really neat being able to integrate the city feel with the beach feel. Because when we’re practicing on the courts, we really don’t feel like we’re in the city. Sure, we wave at the passing trains and constantly hear car horns and sirens while we’re practicing, but we’ve worked so hard to create a great facility that it doesn’t feel out of place. I really have enjoyed being in the middle of the city but at the same time having the sanctuary of being in the sand.”

The cars, trains and skyscrapers haven’t made the team any less competitive, either. This past season — only the fourth for Georgia State’s fledgling program — the sand volleyballers went 18-3 and, with a No. 7 national ranking, punched their first-ever ticket to the national championships.

Falling in Love with ‘the Hardest Thing I Had Ever Done’

Playing sand volleyball in any environment wasn’t something Agnew spent much time picturing while attending high school in suburban Dallas, Texas. She played on her school’s indoor volleyball team, but was focused primarily on track. Then a sand volleyball program for juniors opened up at some courts behind a restaurant in her neighborhood, and she decided to give it a try.

In the beginning, at least, it wasn’t easy. “There’s definitely an adjustment period moving from indoor to sand,” she says. “We all joke about having our ‘sand legs,’ which means that after spending even a week or two out of the sand, your first few days back are going to feel really funny. So you can imagine how challenging it is to start from scratch. But specializing in only sand, rather than juggling both indoor and outdoor as many juniors do, was very helpful.”

But that challenge didn’t deter her — it did the exact opposite. “Sand volleyball was the hardest thing I had ever done, so I knew it was the sport for me,” she says.

As Agnew traveled to tournaments in California with the rest of her juniors club, she started to learn more about both the sport and the culture surrounding it, and started to “fall in love” with both. Around that same time, the NCAA began sponsoring sand volleyball as a Division I sport, and Agnew’s horizons suddenly got much broader.

“I crossed paths with a few college coaches at those tournaments, trying to get on their radar — I just wanted to see what would happen,” she says. “And that’s when I decided to transition from track to really focusing on beach volleyball.”

A Growing Cheering Section

Georgia State’s sand volleyball program had only a single season under its belt when Agnew first came to Atlanta to check out the university. But she was looking for more than stuffed trophy cases or record books.

“The program seemed phenomenal when I came. It just seemed like the right fit for me,” she says. “It was very structured, but at the same time it was a lot about personal accountability, which is something that I’ve always strived to embrace in my life. I got to talk to our head coach, Beth Van Fleet, and her goals for the program were inspiring. Her investment in the future of our sport was exactly what I was looking for.

“This is a very individual sport, it’s very self-driven, because you don’t have a coach coaching you during the game. This individualistic nature is very unique to our sport, because it’s completely up to you and your partner to make in-game adjustments and find ways to win. It facilitates quick, abstract, independent thinking. But even though we only compete as pairs, our team does a great job of remaining connected as a whole team. Everyone is incredibly supportive of each other on and off the court. We all push each other to be better, and we all hold everyone to very high expectations. I think that’s pretty unique to our team here at GSU — it’s hard to find a balance between the individual side of the sport and the team aspect. But it’s really cool to integrate the two, because even though you’re on the court with only one other person, you always feel like you’re competing for something greater than that. You’re representing your entire program, and there’s no better feeling than that.”

In collegiate sand volleyball matches, each team fields five seeded pairs, with the 1 seed playing the 1 seed, the 2s against the 2s, and so on. Whoever wins each matchup gets a point, and the team with the most points out of five gets the overall win. Players tend to stick with the same partners most of the year, Agnew says, which helped her build a “really special chemistry” with junior Kate Rawls this past season.

But she feels like she’s built some chemistry with the school, too. “Everybody on campus is embracing the sport so well,” she says. “It’s been fun being here for two years now and just watching everybody start to grasp the sport and fall in love with it as we have. Students will ask us how our tournaments have gone, when a few years ago they didn’t even really know that we had a team. The faculty and students have been such phenomenal supporters, and they’re a big reason that our sport is so enjoyable.”

Leading the Way On and Off the Sand

Agnew is currently working toward a bachelor’s degree in exercise science at the College of Education, with an eye toward eventually pursuing a master’s degree in prosthetics and orthotics. Yet it was a class in a completely different field that made her realized she’d found an academic fit at Georgia State in addition to an athletic one.

“My freshman year, I took an honors business class with Professor Nancy Mansfield,” she remembers. “The material in that class wasn’t something that I’m particularly interested in, but it still made such a big impact on me. It was my first semester in college, and she was very open to questions from her students and always encouraged class discussions. That was really helpful to experience during my first semester of college, because I learned that it’s not just about sitting and listening to a lecture, but more about really getting a feel for the material. She’s someone that I’ve still connected with after that class.”

That comfort level has made balancing school work with team responsibilities — usually a challenge for any student-athlete — much less of a burden, Agnew says.

“I wouldn’t really say that it’s a challenge, because they’re both things that I love,” she explains. “Sometimes it is a little hard when I don’t have time for some of my hobbies like volunteering — I’ve volunteered with equine therapy organizations, and that’s something I really, really enjoy — because our schedule is completely booked for the week.

“But it’s still not what I would call a challenge. It’s always something I see as more of an opportunity, because I love spending time with my team and getting reps on the court. The time constraints really aren’t the challenge, the challenge comes from figuring out how I can serve my team and be a leader off the court as well as on.”

That’s a message Agnew tries to get across to prospective Georgia State students as an Honors College Ambassador. She’s currently the only varsity athlete serving as an Ambassador, but she does mention that many other athletes haven taken on the Honors curriculum. “The time commitment is always something that [visitors]ask about,” she says, “and I think I help them realize that if someone can juggle athletics with the Honors College, it’s really not an overwhelming workload — it’s something that’s manageable and realistic.”

Agnew says she can’t wait to get back to campus this fall. When she does, you’ll find her either in the sand with her teammates or mingling with prospective students in the Honors College. The future looks bright for both: The Honors College continues to flourish, and the sand team looks to earn a second trip to the NCAA National Championship in 2016.

Many Ways to Give

It’s easy — and rewarding — to invest in Georgia State’s future through a private gift. You can quickly make an online gift here and now. If you prefer, Georgia State development representatives are ready to help you create a named endowment or leave a legacy gift that reflects your personal interests. They can assist, as well, with corporate and matching gifts.

GIVE NOW

SHARE OUR STORY

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