ALBANY, Ga. -- Darton State College student Claire Dyal has been named the 2013 New Century Scholar for the state of Georgia.
Dyal, who will graduate Friday with an Associate of Science degree in psychology, is one of just 52 students to receive the honor.
One student from each of the 50 states was selected, as well as one from Canada and the Federated State of Micronesia. Dyal received a $2,000 scholarship and a plaque, which was presented to her at the American Association of Community Colleges convention held in San Francisco last month.
In addition, Dyal will be featured in USA TODAY, AACC's Community College Times and the Community College Journal.
"I was completely shocked to find out that I won," she said.
Dyal found out she had won while attending a luncheon in Atlanta, where she was being honored as a member of the All-Georgia Academic team.
Dyal says her experiences at Darton have helped her in many ways, including a discovery of her love for psychology and preparing her for the next steps of her educational career.
"I have been encouraged by every single one of my professors here at Darton," she said. "One of the main reasons I was able to discover my love for psychology was because of my teachers and their passion for psychology and teaching. Darton has truly given me the confidence and the educational foundation to pursue my goals, and I have enjoyed every part of this experience."
Currently, Dyal is a member of the international honor society Phi Theta Kappa and the English honor society Sigma Kappa Delta. She previously was part of the Darton String Ensemble for two semesters. After graduation from Darton State, Dyal said she will continue her education this fall at Georgia Southwestern State University.
More than 1,800 students were nominated from more than 800 community colleges for New Century Scholar recognition. Competition judges consider grades, leadership, activities and, most importantly, how students extend their intellectual talents beyond the classroom.