Amber Mariah Hughes of Macon, Georgia, is the recipient of the Spring 2019 President’s Award for Academic Excellence for the College of Nursing and Health Sciences at Valdosta State University.
The President’s Award for Academic Excellence is presented to the graduating student with the highest grade point average in each of VSU’s six colleges — Harley Langdale Jr. College of Business Administration, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, College of the Arts, James L. and Dorothy H. Dewar College of Education and Human Services, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and College of Science and Mathematics.
VSU will celebrate its 227th commencement on Friday, May 10, and Saturday, May 11.
Hughes will serve as the official banner carrier for the College of Nursing and Health Sciences during the undergraduate commencement ceremony at 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 11, on the VSU Front Lawn. She will graduate summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
“I am extremely honored, blessed, and grateful to receive the prestigious President's Award for Academic Excellence and be named the top graduate for the College of Nursing and Health Sciences,” she said. “This journey was far from easy, but with God all things are possible. I couldn’t have made it this far without the continuous support of my loving parents and amazing family and friends. I am overwhelmed with joy to have the opportunity to lead my fellow classmates into the next chapter of our lives. We all have worked extremely hard for this moment, and I know there is nothing but success in our future.”
As a student at VSU, Hughes was a member of Sigma, formerly known as Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing; Alpha Lambda Delta: National Honor Society for First-Year Students; Golden Key International Honour Society; and The National Council of Negro Women Inc. She served the less fortunate as a volunteer at community soup kitchens and Habitat for Humanity. She helped the Lowndes County Health Department provide free HIV testing on campus and conducted free blood pressure screenings for Valdosta area residents.
Hughes completed two service learning-based study abroad experiences while at VSU, spending a month in Costa Rica and a week in the Dominican Republic.
Hughes’s commitment to academic, service, and research excellence resulted in her being named a Zell Miller Scholar and earning the 2019 Alpha Lambda Delta Leonard Book Award, the 2018 and 2019 Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation Scholarship, the 2017 VSU Academic Excellence Study Abroad Scholarship, the 2016 Melvene D. Hardee Scholarship, and Dean’s List honors. She was nominated to represent the College of Nursing and Health Sciences at the 2019 American Association of Colleges of Nursing Student Policy Summit in Washington, D.C.
Hughes plans to work as a medical-surgical nurse at a hospital in her hometown with the American Nurses Credentialing Center Magnet Recognition designation and a Level I Trauma Center. She eventually hopes to return to school to pursue a Master of Science in Nursing and a career as a family nurse practitioner.
“I aspire to one day own my own practice and start a nonprofit, mobile healthcare clinic to improve access to care for underserved populations in my hometown,” she said. She is the daughter of Marshall and Camille Hughes.
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