GSSM Honors 33rd Class of Seniors at 2021 Convocation Ceremony

September 10, 2021

GSSM Honors 33rd Class of Seniors at 2021 Convocation Ceremony

Hartsville, SC – The South Carolina Governor's School for Science + Mathematics (GSSM) Convocation Ceremony was held Thursday, September 9th at GSSM. Ms. Adaya Sturkey, GSSM’s Class of 2014, delivered the Convocation address.

Adaya Sturkey is a 2014 graduate of South Carolina Governor’s School for Science + Mathematics. Prior to attending GSSM, Adaya was a resident of Marion, SC. While a student at GSSM, Adaya established the Annual Empathy Walk and helped to co-author the curriculum for the interim course, “Mental Health in Pop Culture: the Psychology of Adrian Monk” with Dr. Alison Evans.

After graduating from GSSM, Adaya went on to attend Hampton University where she obtained a Bachelor of Science in Biology in 2018. During her tenure at Hampton University, Adaya completed summer research under the supervision of Dr. Kristina Rother at the National Institutes of Health, resulting in a co-authored publication titled “Factitious Hypoglycemia in Children and Adolescents with Diabetes.”

In 2016, Adaya was selected as an English-Speaking Union Luard Morse Scholar. As a scholarship recipient, she was afforded the opportunity to spend a semester studying biochemistry at Oxford University’s St. Anne’s College, England.

While a student a Hampton University, Adaya co-founded Flourish Mentoring Program in her hometown of Marion, South Carolina, with fellow GSSM alumna Laura Campbell. Flourish was established to provide resources, exposure, and relevant mentorship for middle and high school-aged minority women, who were both college and workplace bound.

In 2017, Adaya was awarded the prestigious Schwarzman Scholarship. This scholarship is internationally recognized as the "most significant program of its kind since the Rhodes Trust" and gives students from around the world the opportunity to pursue a one-year masters in Global Affairs at Tsinghua University. At Tsinghua, Adaya learned conversational Mandarin Chinese, participated in a homestay experience with a family in rural southeast China and visited over 15 Chinese cities.

After a brief stint as a higher education professional, Adaya is currently a medical student at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville. While Adaya does not yet know what medical specialty she wants to pursue, she is excited about the prospect of contributing to the culturally sensitive and holistic care of her future patients.

GSSM's Convocation is a formal ceremony held annually to welcome the newest class of students and present the seniors with academic letters. Academic letters were awarded to 116 seniors, and a formal welcome was extended to the class of 2023, which is comprised of 157 juniors.

This year, Dr. Brygg Ullmer, Class of 1991, is the recipient of the Outstanding Alum Award. Dr. Ullmer is Chair of the Human-Centered Computing Division and Professor within the School of Computing at Clemson University. Dr. Ullmer was in our 2nd graduating class.

“Convocation is a wonderful tradition at GSSM during which we honor our senior class and an Outstanding Alumnus,” said GSSM President Danny Dorsel. “This year’s senior class will be the 33rd class to graduate from GSSM! Prior to coming to campus this year, the seniors completed six weeks of real-world research across the state. This experience coupled with their academic and personal growth as juniors has allowed them to emerge as leaders on campus to the largest junior class at GSSM. We look forward to an amazing year for both classes.”