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Group photo of the students selected for the leadership program, including Kayla Crisp, top left.

Georgia Southwestern State University recently named Canton resident Kayla Crisp to its President Jimmy Carter Leadership Program.

Crisp, a Sequoyah High School graduate, is one of 20 freshmen entering the program this fall. These students from Georgia, Alabama and Florida are the third group to enter the program since its creation in 2019. The program was established to honor the legacy of GSW alumnus and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter.

“This is a dynamic group of diverse individuals who bring excitement and commitment to building their knowledge about service and leadership through hands-on experiences,” said Mikela Barlow, interim coordinator for the President Jimmy Carter Leadership Program. “It is an honor for me to work with these future leaders in this prestigious program.”

The four-year program consists of two pathways, an undergraduate research track and a service track.

“I have always had a close attachment to Georgia Southwestern, and I am honored to be associated with the University’s leadership program,” said former President Carter. “They invested in me as a student over 75 years ago, and I want to do the same for the future leaders in our region.”

Students who score a minimum 1100 on the SAT or an ACT composite score of 22, hold a high school curriculum grade point average of 3.0 or greater, and have been admitted to GSW are eligible to apply for the program. Additionally, students who hold a leadership role in high school, whether on a sports team, a student club, or community organization, also qualify.

The Carter Leadership Program provides students with academic scholarships ranging from $1,500 to $3,500 each year they are in the program. The program is made possible thanks to generous support from the Charles L. Mix Memorial Fund. The deadline to apply for the program for fall admission is Feb. 1. For more information on the program and GSW, visit


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