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SWU graduate seeks to nurture healthy communication

    07.28.15 | Alumni Success Stories: Humanities Career Success Story: Education

    Dr. Ashley Joiner George, pictured with her husband Thomas during the 2015 Alumni Awards, where SWU President Todd Voss, left, presented her with the Professional Excellence Award – College of Arts and Sciences. At right is Roger Lampkin, president of the SWU Alumni Board.

    Dr. Ashley Joiner George, assistant professor of interpersonal communication in the Department of Communication Studies at Samford University, Birmingham, Ala., is studying the critical role of communication within health care.

    Interpersonal communication is a subject that fascinates George, even more so when she observes her students as they start thinking critically and as they gain a deeper understanding of the study of communication processes. Most of her scholarly work centers on social support and how it affects relationships.

    “Specifically, I have a vested interest the connection between social support and health communication, whether in patient/provider communication, among family members experiencing health crises, or in the mental health context. I am currently working on a project with a colleague in Kinesiology on pregnant women, physical activity levels and social support among spouses and among patients and their providers,” she said.

    George recently accepted a tenure track position at Samford, which will begin in August 2015. She looks forward to teaching an intercultural communication course this summer in London.

    George decided to attend Southern Wesleyan University after visiting the Central campus and observing how the professors cared for students and how the typical class size was just right.

    “When I came for my campus visit, it felt like it was where I was supposed to be. The Carolinas are just beautiful! It just felt like God was leading me there, and I am so glad He did,” she said. George received her BA degree in English from Southern Wesleyan in 2007. She went on to earn her master’s degree and her Ph.D., both in communication studies, at the University of Alabama.

    George looks back on how Southern Wesleyan education laid the groundwork for her chosen career and helped mold her life.

    “Southern Wesleyan provided me with countless opportunities to learn from amazing professors and to be mentored academically and spiritually,” she said.

    George recalls the profound impact of her professors, including Dr. Betty Mealy, now retired.

    “I learned so much from her in the classroom, and she also modeled a beautiful picture of what it meant to be a fearless investigator of texts and research while intertwining her steadfast faith. I can only hope to be half the professor to my students that she was to me.”