CSU sees historic month in student accomplishments

The month of June at Charleston Southern University brought two significant student accomplishments. 

Morgan McCall, a Master of Science in Nursing student from First Baptist Church of Moncks Corner, was named the 2021 graduate student recipient of the Palmetto Gold award. She is CSU’s first MSN student to receive this honor. As part of her prize, she received the Renatta Loquist Graduate Nursing Scholarship worth $2,000.

Palmetto Gold is an annual statewide program that recognizes both outstanding undergraduate and graduate nursing students. The program is highly competitive and only selects one graduate student in the state each year.

Morgan McCall

McCall is a native of Charleston and an alumnus of CSU’s nursing program, graduating in 2012. She is also a certified hospice and palliative nurse (CHPN). Currently, she serves as the director of palliative care for Intrepid USA Healthcare and president for the Lowcountry Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association. She is also a member of the national Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association, the South Carolina Coalition for the Care of the Seriously Ill, and sits on the Women’s Council at Charleston Southern.

McCall said that she was honored to receive this award and that it was a humbling experience, since only one graduate student is selected. She constantly strives to give back to others and meditates daily on Luke 12:48: “To whom much is given, much will be required.”

“I will diligently continue my professional efforts to expand access to palliative care. For me, the MSN was not necessarily something that I needed to do, but something that I wanted to do,” McCall said. “I have been given much, and while I have had numerous opportunities to give back through my nursing career, there is still much work to do. I am seeking an advanced degree to ensure that I am equipped in every way possible to continue to contribute to a greater cause. I want to open doors, and effectively support, inspire, and prepare others to make a difference, as we all work together to advance expert, high-quality care in serious illness and end-of-life care.”

Her hard work and dedication to the nursing profession has earned her the respect and admiration of her peers. Vicki Ball, associate professor of nursing and director of the MSN program at CSU, praised McCall. “Morgan is a standout among her peers,” Ball said. “She is a shining example for our undergraduate students of how to successfully balance academics, work, and family life, while continually focusing on personal and professional growth.”

Harrison Hunt

The month of June also saw the first solo flight of CSU’s inaugural Bachelor of Science in aeronautics program by sophomore Harrison Hunt.

Speaking of his experience flying the Diamond DA-20 aircraft, Hunt said, “I was a bit anxious at first because I knew I would be by myself with no instructor as a safety net. But the feeling of accomplishment and knowing that I had taken a massive step in the direction of becoming a pilot far overshadowed that.”

Hunt had always dreamed of becoming a pilot, so when he found out that CSU would be offering an aeronautics program, he jumped at the opportunity. “I initially planned to be an engineering major to pay for flight school and later become a pilot,” Hunt said, “but when CSU announced the aeronautics program, I knew I couldn’t let this chance slip through my fingers.”

The founder of the aeronautics program, retired Air Force Col. Christopher “C.J.” Will, said that students usually solo after 10-12 hours of training in the aircraft. Training also occurs in FAA-approved flight simulators that are provided through CSU’s partnership with CRAFT Flight Training and Simulation.

Hunt is not the only student excited about the launch of the program. Will said that applications have completely surpassed expectations, with approximately 30 students expected to be a part of the initial class beginning this fall.

The aeronautics program is unique, as it is the only collegiate program in South Carolina. It will offer students a choice between commercial, military, or missionary aviation.

— Sydney Fowler is a senior at Anderson University and is currently a summer intern at The Courier. CSU’s media contact Jenna Johnson also contributed to this story.

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