VSU honors Vanessa Okojie with 2022 Annie Powe Hopper, Outstanding Student Awards
May 9, 2022
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator
Kasmira Smith, intern student
Vanessa Okojie is pictured with her parents, Joseph and Clarice Okojie.
Vanessa Okojie is pictured with Dr Mark Smith, Associate Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences; Dr. Robert Smith, provost and vice president of academic affairs; and Dr. Richard A. Carvajal, president of Valdosta State University.
VALDOSTA — Vanessa Okojie of McDonough, Georgia is the recipient of the 2022 Annie Powe Hopper Award from Valdosta State University.
“Receiving the Annie Powe Hopper Award is a surreal and humbling way to end my time at VSU,” she said. “To represent the university, my family, my college and the village who supported me in receiving this, it is incredible. I give all the glory to God, who has directed all my steps so far.
Recognized as the highest honor bestowed on a VSU student, the Annie Powe Hopper Award is presented annually to a senior who represents the university’s high academic standards and exemplifies its traditions of excellence. It was first introduced on May 2, 1962, and is named for the institution’s first dean, who arrived at what was then known as South Georgia State Normal College in 1920 as a teacher. .
South Georgia State Normal College became a four-year institution in 1922 and the name was changed to Georgia State Womans College. As the doyen of women, Hopper insisted on proper etiquette in everything from demeanor to dress. She believed that a college education provided students with the opportunity to gain a higher level of knowledge and pursue advanced critical thinking processes, and she guided her female students to make noble and meaningful choices in their lives. She retired in 1943, seven years before the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia declared the institution coeducational and changed the name to Valdosta State College.
Okojie also won VSU’s 2022 Humanities and Social Sciences Outstanding Student Award, which is given to a College of Humanities and Social Sciences student with a record of academic excellence and distinguished service within and to outside the classroom.
Okojie received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science summa cum laude at VSU’s 233rd launch ceremony on May 7.
Okojie plans to spend a year working in the legal department of a financial start-up to gain experience before going to law school. She solidified her career goals after completing an internship at the law firm of John D. Holt PC.
As a student, Okojie served as the chairman of the forensic science (speech and debate) team at VSU. She was nationally ranked fourth best debater by the Junior Varsity International Public Debate Association from 2020 to 2021. She served as Vice President and President of the Alpha Beta Mu Chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha: The National Honor Society for Political Science. She was appointed director of academic affairs for the Student Government Association and chosen to serve on University Council Plus.
She has presented research at the VSU Undergraduate Research Symposium and the Georgia Political Science Association Annual Conference. She presented more research at the Midwest Political Science Association’s 79th Annual Conference in Chicago, Illinois, in April. His research covers a variety of topics, from presidential power gains to electoral successes to educational disparities.
Okojie’s commitment to academic, leadership and research excellence has earned him multiple Dean’s List honors, Georgia Power Recruiting and Retention Scholarship, Regents’ President’s Scholarship Choice, Debate Team Scholarship, and 2022 University System of Georgia Academic Recognition Day Award. She was a finalist for the David W. Winder Prize for Best Paper from the Department of Political Science.
Okojie, 21, is the daughter of Joseph and Clarice Okojie.
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