story by Claire Miller
Five College of Education & Human Development alumni have been named honorees in Georgia State University’s inaugural 40 Under 40 Program.
The 40 Under 40 program “recognizes and honors the most influential and innovative graduates who embody the values of Georgia State” and were celebrated at a 40 Under 40 Awards ceremony and reception, according to the university’s Alumni Association.
“As an enterprising public research university educating one of the most diverse student bodies in the nation, Georgia State University produces talented and creative alumni every year who go on to do amazing work in a wide range of fields,” said Christina Million, Georgia State associate vice president of alumni relations. “We created the 40 Under 40 program as a way to celebrate those Panthers who are making a difference in their respective organizations and communities.”
Darren Clay (B.S.E. ’10, M.Ed. ’11)
Darren Clay is an assistant principal at Bear Creek Middle School in Fulton County, Ga., where he earned both Teacher of the Year and Assistant Principal of the Year honors and co-hosted the largest school-led Microsoft Redefining Learning Conference to date with more than 1,500 attendees. He’s also co-authored an anthology entitled, “Next in Line to Lead,” which features assistant principals from across the country.
“My motivation to become a school leader stems from a genealogy of school and district leaders. My family’s school leadership lineage dates to 1930, when my great-grandfather served as a school headmaster for more 15 years,” Clay said. “As I began to take the lead on various committees, I gained valuable experience with supporting teachers and strategic planning. Under the tutelage of highly-effective leaders, I took advantage of the opportunity to build my capacity as an educator.”
Desron Dorset (M.S. ’11)
Desron Dorset is vice president of business development for the Philadelphia 76ers and a mentor in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program in Philadelphia, Pa. While at Georgia State, he was a student representative on the Academic Affairs Committee from 2010-2011 and a graduate assistant with Georgia State Athletics when the university first began its football program.
“We viewed bringing college football to Georgia State University the same way you would view an emerging start-up, and that translated to an all hands on deck approach. I learned many things as a member of the team there that I still implement today,” Dorset said. “In today’s day and age, very few people have the opportunity to say they were a part of the inaugural college football season of such a large and prestigious university and quite frankly, that alone makes me wear my Georgia State University gear proudly in Philadelphia.”
Bettina Love (Ph.D. ’08)
Bettina Love is an associate professor at the University of Georgia and a recipient of the 2016 Nasir Jones Fellowship at the W. E. B. Du Bois Research Institute at Harvard University’s Hutchins Center for African and African American Research. Her research, teaching and service are focused on understanding, contextualizing and deconstructing the formal and informal educational experiences of marginalized youth. Her work is informed by critical pedagogy, critical race theory and Black feminism with an aim to create innovative teaching practices through the use of non-traditional educational curricula, such as Hip Hop-based education, critical media literacy, Hip Hop feminism and popular culture.
“I come back every year and speak to classes at Georgia State in the College of Education & Human Development and my work is used in some of their classes. I love coming back to talk to students about their work and next steps to push the field of education,” she said.
Firat Sarsar (Ph.D. ’14)
Firat Sarsar is an assistant professor and vice dean at Ege University in Izmir, Turkey, where he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in 2004 and 2008, respectively. He was a 2009 Fulbright Doctoral Scholarship recipient and received the College of Education & Human Development’s Outstanding Learning Technologies Ph.D. Student Award in 2013. While at Georgia State, Sarsar was founder and president of the Turkish Cultural Student Association, vice president of graduate students in instructional technologies at Georgia State and president of the graduate students assembly for the Association for Educational Communications and Technology.
“During my undergraduate years, I believed that diversity brings colors in our lives and wanted people around me to know and believe the same thing. However, I had a limited knowledge of other cultures. That’s why I moved to the United States. Georgia State was the best place to go because it has a lot of international students and great respect for diversity,” he said.
Kevin White (M.S. ’09)
Kevin White is the deputy director of athletics at Northwestern University and he co-founded UrbaCore, a nonprofit organization that recruits inner-city youth with an interest in computers to earn college credit at Chattanooga State Technical Community while getting real on-the-job training as software developers. He worked for Georgia State Athletics from 2009 to 2014, during which time he helped start the university’s football program by serving in various roles in the athletic department. He became a young adult mentor through his work with 100 Black Men of Chattanooga and has served on the board of directors for the Greater Chattanooga Urban League and the Agape Clinic of Dallas.
“While working in the athletic department at Georgia State, I was fortunate enough to be a frequent guest speaker in the sport administration master’s program. Even now, I make myself available to field phone calls from current College of Education & Human Development students in the program,” White said. “Georgia State will always hold a special place in my heart. We accomplished a lot of things while at Georgia State – starting a football program, and it is where I got my start in athletic administration.”
Photo caption: The College of Education & Human Development’s 40 Under 40 recipients pose with Georgia State University President Mark Becker. (l to r) Kevin White, Darren Clay, Firat Sarsar, Mark Becker, Bettina Love and Desron Dorset.