//VSU graduate honored with outstanding student award

VSU graduate honored with outstanding student award

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Photo: Kevin John Eppes Jr. with Dr. Theresa J. Grove, associate dean of the College of Science and Mathematics; Dr. Robert Smith, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs; and Dr. Richard A. Carvajal, president of VSU.

VALDOSTA – Valdosta State University presented the 2022 Outstanding Student in Science and Mathematics Award to local graduate.


VSU 2022 Outstanding Student in Science and Mathematics Award receipent Kevin John Eppes Jr. is pictured with his parents, Kevin and Zane Eppes.

Kevin John Eppes Jr. of Valdosta, Georgia, is the recipient of the 2022 Outstanding Student in Science and Mathematics Award at Valdosta State University.

The Outstanding Student in Science and Mathematics Award is presented to the College of Science and Mathematics student with a record of academic excellence and distinguished service inside and outside the classroom.

Eppes graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Minor in Chemistry during VSU’s 233rd Commencement on May 7. He will continue his education at the Dental College of Georgia at Augusta University. Approximately 2,000 students applied for admissions, and 90 were accepted.

“I have always had a passion for dentistry and believed it would be an intriguing career and provide an opportunity for me to give back to others,” he said. “Currently, I want to specialize in oral surgery, but I am leaving the doors open to allow God to direct me throughout dental school. I hope to one day be able to come back to Valdosta and serve those in my community.”

As a student at VSU, Eppes served as Pre-Dental Club president, Student Government Association parliamentarian, and Blazer Beginnings Orientation leader. He was an active member of Beta Beta Beta (TriBeta): National Biological Honor Society and Sigma Alpha Pi: The National Society of Leadership and Success. He volunteered to serve low-income residents through the South Georgia Partnership for Health Dental Clinic and the homeless through Lowndes Associated Ministries to People (LAMP) Inc., and he completed an internship with Georgia Department of Public Health, where he helped host dental fairs at elementary schools and educate students about proper dental hygiene.

Eppes conducted research titled “Exploring Deep Eutectic Solvents as Green Solvents for Biocatalyst-Mediated Organic Transformations” under the direction of Dr. Gopeekrishnan Sreenilayam, an assistant professor in VSU’s Department of Chemistry. He shared this work through VSU’s Blazer Summer Research Institute, the Georgia Undergraduate Research Conference, and the Herty Medalist Undergraduate Research Symposium.

Continuing his collaboration with Sreenilayam, Eppes also conducted research titled “Developing Protein-Polymer Nano Constructs as Reusable Biocatalysts,” which he presented at the annual meeting of the Georgia Academy of Science and VSU’s Undergraduate Research Symposium.

Eppes’s commitment to academic, research, service, and leadership excellence resulted in him being named a Georgia HOPE Scholar and earning repeated Dean’s List honors, the 2022 Biology Senior Award, and the Hinman Dental Society of Atlanta Scholarship. He also earned the President’s Award for Academic Excellence for the College of Science and Mathematics and had the honor of leading his fellow graduates during the spring graduation march.

“I want to give all glory to God,” he shared. “Without His unconditional love and mercy on my soul, I would not be where I am today. Through God, all things are possible.”

His supportive family includes parents Kevin and Zane Eppes.

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Established in 1906, Valdosta State University is a premier comprehensive university that offers both the extensive academic, cultural, and social opportunities of a major university and the small classes and close, personal attention of smaller institutions. VSU boasts more than 100 degree, certificate, and endorsement programs on campus and online for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as a full menu of extracurricular activities, from national championship athletic and academic teams to honors organizations, sororities and fraternities, intramural sports, educational and service clubs, a symphony orchestra, art and theatre, research opportunities, and more. VSU is committed to creating a campus culture focused on individual student success, providing students with expanded transformational and experiential learning opportunities, and increasing regional impact by serving as a resource and innovative leader for South Georgia. On the Web: www.valdosta.edu