The GAEYC Student of the Year award is given to an outstanding student in child development, early childhood education, special education, or a related field.

Award criteria

Recipients of the GAEYC Student of the Year award must meet the following criteria:

  • GAEYC member*
  • Outstanding student in a Bachelor’s degree program, Associate’s degree program, or technical school diploma program
  • Studying Child Development, Early Childhood Education, Special Ed, or a related field
  • Nominated by instructor in higher education

*Know a qualified student who is not yet a GAEYC member? Joining is easy, and GAEYC members receive many benefits.

Recipients of the Student of the Year award

  • 2016: Salena Neuwar

salena-neuwarSalena Neuwar is an undergraduate student at Georgia Southern University. She is the definition of an outstanding, dedicated, passionate student. Salena joined child and family development with a goal of supporting young children and that goal has expanded to learn to support children with disabilities and their families. She has maintained a GPA so high within the university that she was recruited to the University’s Honors Program. Through her coursework, Salena has completed over 150 hours of supervised work with young children. This includes hours in a NAEYC accredited laboratory setting, assessments of young children, field work in a special education early childhood classroom, service learning with after school care, and observations at therapy clinics. Last summer, she spent time in Costa Rica to enhance her Spanish language skills and work with schools to support young children’s educational programming. This year, she raised money on her own and spent the summer in Africa working with children’s programs including shadowing occupational therapists in South Africa and working with a children’s group. Salena is a valuable asset to her undergraduate program and will undoubtedly continue to touch the lives of many children in her community.

  • 2015: Sarah Hawk Turner
  • 2014: Emily Urbanski
  • 2013: Savannah D. Kennedy
  • 2011: Allison Brown
  • 2010: Michelle Smith Lank
  • 2009: Mary Stoklas
  • 2008: Pamela Weatherington
  • 2007: James Peas
  • 2006: Shelley Hoster
  • 2005: Lindsay Marshall
  • 2004: Amanda Webster
  • 2001: Brooke Benford
  • 1998: Joseph Mills