Campus News

College of Education alumnus wins Dissertation of the Year award

College of Education alumnus C. Ryan Akers received the Southern Association for College Student Affairs Dissertation of the Year award for 2008. This is the second consecutive year a UGA student has received this honor.

Akers, who is now a research associate and instructor at Mississippi State University, earned his doctorate in counseling and student personnel services. His dissertation, “Evolution of Emergency Operations Strategies: Structure and Process of Crisis Response in College Student Affairs,” was written under the guidance of his committee chair Diane L. Cooper, a professor in the department of counseling and human development services.

The idea for his dissertation started well before Akers began thinking about graduate school. During his undergraduate study at Delta State University, seven members of the campus community lost their lives. After entering graduate school, Akers was also ­influenced by the Texas A&M bonfire tragedy; Sept. 11, 2001 and hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Watching the impact these tragedies had on college campuses sparked Akers’ research interest, which he later formed into his award-winning dissertation.

Akers has bachelor’s degrees in biology and psychology from Delta State University and a master’s degree in counselor education from ­Mississippi State University.