By Johnny Jackson
The political science department at Clayton State University gave its first-ever Political Science Program Award to a senior from Stockbridge, during the university's annual Academic Honors Convocation.
The student, Nolan Hyde, said that being the first recipient of the award is "an immense honor. Being able to represent the political science program at Clayton State is a distinct privilege," added Hyde, 30.
A senior in political science at Clayton State, he has been heralded as one of the more active student leaders at the university. "Nolan has been a pleasure to have in my upper-level political science course, not only because he always is well prepared and willing to participate," said political science professor, Joe Trachtenberg. "He is a natural leader whose positive attitude and friendly disposition encourages others to take part as well."
Hyde recently completed an internship with the Georgia Legislative Intern Program, where he was placed with the House of Representatives as an intern in the House Appropriations office.
"I find law is very interesting," he said. "Through my position, I was able to follow many appropriations' bills from committee and subcommittee to floor votes on both sides of the Gold Dome."
Hyde graduates from Clayton State on May 10. He said he hopes to continue his education this fall by attending John Marshall Law School in Atlanta.
"Being recognized for the Political Science Award is an incredible tribute," he said. "However, the true reward for all of the hard work will be on graduation day, when, for those few fleeting moments, my name will be heard over a loud speaker in the presence of my family and friends."
At Clayton State, Hyde has held the office of president in two clubs, including the Political Science Association and the Philosophy Society. He is a member of the Honors Program and a charter member of the Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society.
"I try to do more than just go to school," he said. "I really tried to insert myself into the college community. I think that's possibly why I was chosen - because of my dedication to my school work. I saw excelling in the classroom as much more than a means to an end. It was sort of a job for me."
He credits his wife, who is also a Clayton State alum, with ultimately helping him decide to pursue his degree in 2004 with the aid of the GI Bill.
"I'm very supportive in his goals and personal ambitions," said Amanda, his wife of nearly two years. "I kind of pushed him into going back to school, because I thought he was very smart. In the end, it will be beneficial for us as a family. I'm very proud of him, and I'm very excited for him."
Out of high school, he joined the military and served five years as a senior airman in the U. S. Air Force. He was stationed in Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colo. He later worked in construction for about three years with his father.
"I saw that construction wasn't necessarily what I wanted to do with my life," Hyde said. "So, I decided with the influence of my then-fiance, now-wife, to pursue my education.
"I am and have been successful because of the support of my wonderful wife, my parents, and my grandparents. These individuals helped and supported me when I needed them the most."
Other Henry County residents honored during the Academic Honors Convocation included Matthew Shelnutt and Rene Mussell, both of Stockbridge.
Shelnutt was awarded the Chemical Rubber Company Freshman Chemistry Award, and Mussell won the Excellence in Chemistry Award. The pair received the honors from the university's Department of Natural Sciences in the School of Arts & Sciences.